"What's the prognosis doctor?" I asked, my voice cracking softly. I coughed, trying to hide my obvious distress. The doctor noticed, but didn't press it.

"It's not looking great. The cancer is spreading at a quicker pace than originally calculated. It looks as if he'll have a year at the most. Maybe more if the treatment goes well." I lowered my head, my knuckles going white from gripping my hands together so tightly. He placed a sympathetic hand on my shoulder. "We'll do everything we can to keep him alive. But stage four is difficult to stop…" I sighed, but gave a nod.

"I appreciate everything you're doing. I'll let the hospice nurse know." I stated as I stood. My hand extended to shake his hand. The doctor took it and made his way towards the door.

"Just have her call in his medication and if anything changes. I'm sorry again Mister Barr." I chuckled, looking back towards the doctor as I left the room.

"Mister Barr is my father, not me." The doctor gave a friendly smile, nodding his head towards me. As I walked down the hallway, my mind went towards happier times. To him teaching me how to swing a bat, throw my first football and tying up my tie for my final prom. It had always been me and him since I was only a few years old. When my mother died in a car accident upstate, he never left my side until it was time for the baby bird to fly the coop. Now, it looked like I would be alone. My once strong and powerful father sat hunched over in the waiting room chair, a sad and hollow look on his face. Tears threatened to run down my face, but I sniffled in order to trap them in their chamber for another time. "Hey dad. Let's go get some food. I'm starving." I said as I approached him. He looked up, a sad smile spreading across his gaunt and almost lifeless face.

"Sure son, let's go." I helped my dad back towards the car and took off to a small restaurant by the beach. For an late in the season spring day, it was chilly out by the water. We took a seat out on the deck, looking out towards the ocean. "Sure reminds me of the days when we would go fishing right off the pier." My father commented as he looked out towards the distance Peach Creek Pier. I smiled, remembering when I caught my first fish.

"Yeah, seems just like yesterday, doesn't it?" We both laughed, but was greeted by our waitress. After ordering we began to people watch and talk about days from the past.

"Still talk to that girl you were always around? Nazz I think he name was." I sighed, the image of Nazz popping into my thoughts.

"She's married with a kid now. I was at the wedding, it was beautiful. She looked gorgeous." I sighed, happy for Nazz but slightly jealous. Although I would never admit it out loud, she was the only person to know my deep dark secret.

"Everyone in the neighborhood thought you two were going to be together. Seems that was not the case." I shrugged my shoulders, taking a sip of my water.

"Yeah, well things change pops." I smiled but a distant noise caught my attention. There was now a small group of kids, who couldn't be older than eight, out by the water. Admiring something in the sand. I narrowed my eyes in an attempt to see better. But my breath was caught in my throat as I noticed a familiar figure by the shore line. "Shit…"


"Now kids, does anyone know what this is called?" He said sweetly, pointing at the small object in the sand.

"Horseshoe crab!" A group of them yelled, their attention focused on the sea animal in the ground.

"Good! Can anyone tell me how old these crabs are?" The man asked, moving some black hair behind his ear. A little girl with blonde pigtails raised her hand excitedly. "Suzy!" The man said with equal enthusiasm as he pointed at the little girl.

"Thousands and hundred and millions of years old!" She clapped, her attention going back to the crab. He laughed, a bit deeper than his actual voice. He rubbed her head carefully, bending down to the crustacean.

"Close. They've technically been around since the dinosaurs. So they're considered living fossils! Isn't that interesting class?" The small group shook their head in unison.

"Mr. Eddward! Mr. Eddward!" A little boy cried out as he turned his attention to the water. "Can we go in the water?" The man, Eddward, laughed as he stood back up.

"Normally I'd say no… Considering how the sea this close to land is filled with multiple parasites and filth…" He was about to continue, but sighed. "I don't see why you can't get your feet wet." A few kids cheered and began to take their shoes off. "Only your feet can get wet!" He yelled, a chuckle soon following his calls. He brought a hand up to his head, running through his long wavy black locks. A chill went down his spine as he glanced behind him, eyes locking with a man on the deck of a boardwalk restaurant. He narrowed his eyes but was quickly drawn back to the children as a scream grabbed his attention. "Jason! Don't throw sand at Jessica!" He yelled, walking over to the group.


"Kevin, the food is here!" My father yelled as he hit my with his napkin in order to grab my attention. I couldn't look away. That hair. That laugh. That knowledge. There was no mistake. "Kevin!"

"Yes, alright jeez!" I retorted in frustration, slinking down in my chair further. I angrily grabbed a fry and took a bite of it, my eyes going back to the man and his group of children. They were walking towards the pier, continuing on their journey. I tried to eat my food, my appetite suddenly leaving me.

"You seem spooked son. A ghost from your past?" He asked honestly, taking a few bites from his burger. I shrugged, forcing myself to take a bite from my own burger.

"I guess, yeah. Let's just eat." My father glanced backwards, a mischievous smile on his lips.

"Alright. After we eat let's go to the pier, I wanna see the view from there." I shrugged again, eating my food in silence.

It didn't take long for us to finish and make our way to the pier. The summer season was quickly approaching, so the businesses were beginning to open and cater to the locals before the tourists came into town. My father was talking up a storm before going silent.

"Hmm, what's this?" Towards the edge of the pier was a small girl with blonde pigtails. She looked familiar and then it clicked that she was one of the school kids with the mystery man. I approached her with caution, only to hear her crying softly to herself as she leaned against the railing. "Hey, are you okay?" I asked, keeping my distance but showing that I meant her no harm. With big watering blue eyes, she sniffled and shook her head no.

"N-No… I got s-seperated from my g-group.." She said through tears. I approached the girl and kneeled down in order to get to her level. "Mr. Eddward is go-going to be re-really angry with me…" Her tears grew larger as she cried louder. I hesitantly reached out to pat her shoulder. As soon as my hand touched her, she lurched at me, grabbing onto me and crying even louder. My father couldn't help but laugh as he stood back and watched the scene unfold. With even more hesitation, I gently rubbed her back.

"H-Hey, no need to cry. Mr. Eddward won't be mad. You just left the group." I gently pulled her away from my chest, using my thumb to wipe away some of her tears. "Now let's go find your teacher." She sniffled once more before nodding her head, a determined look on her face. I lifted my hand to her, grabbing onto hers to help her gain confidence and be on our way. "Where's the last place you were with your group?" I asked as I stood up and walked back down from the pier. As I turned around, a man came running towards us.

I thought it was an episode of Baywatch as time itself seemed to slow down.

With each step the man took, his hair bounced freely. Lifting and then failing into a perfect position each time. No strand was out of place and he wasn't even breaking a sweat. He had grown another few inches at least since I last saw him. His body sturdy, yet still on the slim side. And that expression… It was a mixture of pure fear and excitement. It was adorable….

"Suzy! Oh thank goodness you're alright!" The man yelled as he scooped the girl into his arms and pulled her close. The little girl squirmed in his grasp, but succumbed to his relief. "Why did you walk away from us when we were at the restroom?" Suzy hiccuped as she fought back tears.

"I-I saw a bird…" The man sighed. With a shake of his head, he let the girl down.

"Never. Run. Off." He firmly said as he pointed a long and slender finger at her. "You could have been lost, you're lucky this wonderful man here decided to help you." She sniffled, tears beginning to flow freely again. He sighed. "It's fine Suzy. I'm happy I found you. Tell Mr. Barr thank you." Double-D looked upwards towards me. His gap-tooth grin gentle and sincere. I must have look ridiculous because he just started laughing. "Salutations Kevin." He cooed. I blinked not once, but five times before realizing what was happening.

"H-Hey Double-Dork.. I MEAN… Eddward." I quickly said, causing Edd to laugh again. Suzy looked between the two of us, obviously oblivious as to what was transpiring. Edd patted her back and gestured towards me.

"O-Oh. Thank you Mr. Barr." I could feel my cheeks grow red, highlighting the freckles that dotted my skin. I stood quickly and looked away out towards the water.

"Yeah, no problem. Just… Make sure to stay with your group." I awkwardly said while placing my hands behind my back. Eddward chuckled as he slowly rose from the ground, Suzy's hand in his.

"Well, it was good seeing you Kevin. I need to return to my class." He waved, his posture as perfect as a skeleton in an anatomy book. Suzy looked down, almost as embarrassed as I was.

"Good-bye Mr. Barr…" She mumbled, turning around to lead Eddward away. Edd gave another wave as she pulled him along.

"Double-D!" I yelled before realizing what I had just done. He continued to walk but turned around, his head tilting in curiosity. "N-Nevermind!" I yelled back, turning to walk towards the railing. I could hear his booming laughter from down the pier.

"I'll be at your house at 8!" He yelled back, giving me no time to respond as he was already out of ear reach.

My father began to laugh louder than I could ever remember. He walked over and slapped me hard on the back. "Let's go home stud."