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God willin' and the creek don't rise.


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Atticus Hammond

It’s mid-afternoon when his cell phone rings, summoning Atticus’s attention away from a thick black grimoire covered in hand written notes. The contact flashes across his screen – Sookie Hammond. Gray eyes crinkled, face twisting in frustration as he slides to ignore the call. Just as his body is turning back to his desk, the phone begins to ring again. With a ragged sigh, he lifts the phone up one more, swipes to answer, and presses it to his ear.

Yes?” His greeting is curt, never one to share sentiments with his mother.

“Atticus? Sweet Jesus, it’s been two months. Where in the hell have you been?” To her credit, her tone carries a degree more panic than he’s grown used to. What she lacked in maternal instinct, she made up for in gumption.

Two months? Don’t exaggerate.” Parched lips murmur in response, his twang crawling out as it often did when he spoke with his mother. Exhaustion creeped on his tone. How long had it been since he’d left this desk? A day? Two? And how much longer than that was his last decent meal? He could easily lose track of time, and this was no exception.

“You’re a father, Atticus. You can’t just dump your daughter on my doorstep for half the year and run off because you’ve got another one of your hunches.”

Don’t say it like that.” He replies irritably. “And don’t scold me on proper parenting. You didn’t earn any gold stars, Sookie, believe me.” His eyes wander back to the grimoire, feeling drawn back towards its inviting recluse. “I have to go.”

“Atticus!” She shouts, garnering his ever waning attention. “Are you okay?”

No.” He replies with a smile, pulling the phone away so his thumb could press the ‘End Call’ button.

Not that Atticus has moved much from his small slice in Paris since he arrived, his time in London hadn’t been much different. Something had happened in Olduvai Gorge, Atticus was… off. His normally well-groomed appearance had given way to shaggy hair, black bangs threatening to reach his eyes. His beard was unkempt, having been grown out in its patchy glory. He was sunken looking, dark purple circles under his eyes. And his attachment to the grimoire now lovingly held in his hands again… Something was wrong.

But Camille wasn’t here to know any better, and those around him were only meeting him for the first time – perhaps this was just normal Atticus. His phone would vibrate again moments later, only for him to upend the device in a glass of water. He couldn’t afford any further interruptions – time was of the essence.

October 11, 2018 03:38 pm
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