[Story] Tale Of An Overnight Villain [2/10]

Neo’s eyes started to widen as he felt himself being wrapped around in a warm, soft cloth. Underneath him seemed to be something that was soft as well, but he wasn’t sure as to what it was. As his vision cleared, next to the fireplace sat an old man next to a chair. He seemed to be so at peace, that Neo didn’t even want to make a movement as it may disturb him.

When Neo started to get up, he saw the old man slowly turn from his chair. “Please, don’t get up. You need time to rest and heat up.” The old man had a raspy voice, but a sense of calmness overtook Neo as he spoke.

“Oh, sorry sir. I must get going as I don’t want to become a burden to you.” Neo then grasped onto the cloth that was covering him, but then quickly relaxed his hands.

“Oh no, we insist. You seemed so cold out there that we had to help you out. You even passed out at the door!” The old man then did a small chuckle and smiled at the young boy.

“Matilda!” The old man had called out. Seconds after, a small girl had entered the room loudly as she busted the door wide open. The girl seemed to have two ponytails on her head wrapped around in red string. She held onto a white teddy bear in one hand and made a salute motion with the other.

“YES POP-POP!!!” The girl seemed to have screamed so loud that Neo felt as if he wanted to go back asleep.

“One of these days Matilda you’re going to break my eardrum.” He then continued with his contagious chuckle as before. “Would you please be so kind to get… wait, what’s your name again?”

The boy had a brief pause before answering the old man’s question. “Neo, sir.”

“Ah yes, Neo; what a wonderful name. Matilda, would you please give our guest, Neo, some water and the soup that your Maw-Maw has been making?”

“YES POP-POP!!!” Matilda had then cutely shuffled away from the room and Neo was left alone again with the old man. The old man randomly had made a laugh and smiled off into the flames of the fireplace.

“I love that little girl. She means the world to me. She’s been with us for about a year. I only wish that when she grows up, she’ll be able to travel the world just like her father did.”

“If you mind, where our her parents?”

“Well… her mother died while giving birth to her so from day one her father, also my son, had to take care of her. The problem was that he would soon have to be enlisted to the navy, so he requested that we take care of her while he was away. He’s been gone from her life ever since then.”

Neo then marveled at the idea of getting away and traveling the world. Wanting to know more, Neo pushed over some questions. “What’s it like for him traveling the world? What food does he eat? What people does he meet? What’s the best part about traveling the seas?” Neo then rambled on with question after question to the old man. Neo stopped when he saw the man frown.

“I wish I could ask him those questions myself, but you see… he’s dead. The navy never went into detail but they said he had lost his life in a battle against pirates.”

Neo then began saddened and guilty that he asked anything about it. “How did Matilda react?”

The old man had a brief pause. “We haven’t told her yet…”

“Told who what?” Matilda has entered the room with a tray of water and a bowl of soup. A steamy loaf of bread sat on the tray as well. Behind Matilda stood the old woman that he had seen earlier.

“Oh it was nothing, don’t worry a thing about it.” Matilda had then walked over to Neo putting one foot in front of the other every two seconds or so.

“That’s our little Matilda, always being like her father. How are you feeling sweetheart?”

“I’m doing very well thanks to you all. Thank you Mister and Miss… what would you like to be called?”

“Just call us Pop-Pop and Maw-Maw!” The old woman had responded.

“Pop-Pop and Maw-Maw…” Neo had thought to himself. He had never thought about such names before, they seemed so foreign to him. Though the names seemed weird to him, they just felt right to say.

“Thank you Pop-Pop and Maw-Maw! I really owe you both. Including you too Matilda.” As the tray was placed on the wooden table next to where Neo was laying, he grabbed a spoonful of the soup and put it into his mouth. The others in the room started to have warm smiled towards him, with Neo returning a smile to them all back. This feeling of warmth never felt as good as this.