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Image from WikiMedia by Gerrit.

Image from WikiMedia by Gerrit.

She decided to go to her father’s grave, to ask his advice before she committed to her new job. Liz would be moving to another country where she knew no one, but it was a job she’d dreamed of having, with an excellent company. Many risks, many rewards.

Parking on a slice of gravel strewn dirt that may or may not have been a parking space, Liz grabbed the bouquet of daisies from the passenger seat, and clicked her key fob to lock the car ash she walked away, stuffing the keys into her pant’s pocket as she walked. Carefully she picked her way past the graves, until she reached father’s grave, and placed the flowers in the vase built into the gravestone.

For a moment, she waited.

“Dad?” She stared at the stone. “Dad, I need your advice. I have a choice between an easy path and a hard one. And I know, you always said take the difficult path, but if I fail…” She twisted her hands together. “If I fail, it’ll be so terrible, and difficult to recover from. I’m scared to make the wrong decision.”

She had come to the grave before, to talk about the opportunity before she applied, and about how the teleconference interviews had gone, and now she had an offer, and just a little while to choose.

“Well, honey, you’re going to have to decide if the rewards outweigh the risk,” he father said, floating above his stone, just transparent enough that she could see the faint lines of the other stones behind him.

“I know, but–”

“There are no guarantees, sweetie. And I can’t answer this for you. But you don’t have to always take the more difficult path. I just don’t want you to reject it only because it’s more difficult.” He was fading more, losing some of his color, like a washed out photo.

“I know,” Liz said again. “I’ll be so far away from you, though.”

“Honey, I’m dead. You shouldn’t visit me too much, anyway. And I’ll be here if you need me,” he smiled, the color nearly drained out of him.

Liz bit down the fact that with every year, she had a little less time with him, as his energy faded. Soon enough, he would only have a few moments with her before he vanished again. Because it made her heart ache to see him seep back to the world of the dead, she nodded, smiled tremulously. “I know, Dad,” she said a third time. “I’ll make my decision with my courage, not my fear, I promise. I’ll let you go, but I’ll visit before I leave, if I decide to take the job.”

“Of course, sweetie,” he said, and sank into the earth, just a hint of color clinging to him before he disappeared from sight.

Liz rubbed her eyes, fighting back tears, and walked back to her car, past a few curious ghosts hovering above their graves, all newly dead and almost solid-seeming. She already knew the answer, though. As much as it would pain her to leave her dad, he would be so disappointed if she let him be an excuse. The job was everything she wanted. She’d call tomorrow to accept it.

About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

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