Ink (A Newt Run Module)
By Chad Inglis
Copyright 2012 Chad Inglis
For Jenna Inglis
Aside from her brother, her grandfather was her only living relative. She had a father somewhere, maybe, who had run out on them when they were both still children and hadn't been heard from since. When she was in high-school her mother died of breast cancer. She was in the hospital room to witness it, along with her brother and her grandfather. She stood beside the bed and watched life leech from her mother's pale features. The sound of a heart monitor filled the room, striking her as a horrible cliché, an absurdity that everyone did their best to ignore. Her grandfather approached her and placed his hand on her shoulder, meaning to be kind, but to her it felt like a dead animal or slab of meat, and it was all she could do not to slap it away. Her brother stared at her from across the room, his eyes shaded, and distant. The eyes of a mannequin, she thought, or the hollowed-out gaze of a drug addict. A part of her wished he would say something, but he didn't, and neither did she.
They moved in with their grandfather the following week. He had been a miner, working for twenty years in the deep pits until he was transferred to the docks, and he was still a large man. His arms were powerful, and covered with coarse hair, but his shoulders had been bent by age and by the time his two teenage grandchildren moved in with him, arthritis had settled so deeply into his joints that he had trouble moving from one floor to another.