"Your father is right to have your cousin ride with us. I don't want you with that harpy aunt of yours," Sophia told Ethan as they left the house. The sunlight was weak, since it was early yet, and Ethan pulled the brim of his hat closer over his eyes to avoid any possible glare.
"Yes, Grandmother," Ethan sighed.
"If she had her way, you'd have died of your illness. I will not forget that she had said such a thing to me back in January!"
"It doesn't surprise me," Ethan sighed. He was resigned to Aunt Beatrice's ill will toward him. He'd heard the grown-ups speaking once about how it was spurred by "jealousy," though Ethan could not figure out who Beatrice was supposed to be jealous of.
"Stay away from her and her spawn!" Sophia warned him.
"As long as I can avoid Virgil, I will." Ethan climbed into his grandmother's gig. At the last moment, Theodore Stanwood, Ethan's favorite cousin, also bound into the carriage.
Marcus got a sudden, mischievous glint in his hazel eye. "Wait, we're going to Hyde Park after the service aren't we? I think it's time we made a bit more of a splash."
"What on Earth can you be thinking about, Marcus?" Sophia asked.
"Let's take the steam carriage!" Marcus blurted out.
"Yes!" Ethan's spirits were so lifted that he leaped out of the carriage seat in one swift move.
"Won't we get in trouble, Uncle Marcus?" he heard Theodore ask, though he hardly sounded worried.
"What are they going to do? Fine me? So what? My son is feeling better at last, we're going on our first outing as a family in a long time. I want to make this Easter service enjoyable for once!" Marcus declared.
"But Marcus dear, can you imagine the ruckus we're going to have at the church when we show up in this thing!" Sophia fretted.
"That's the whole idea, Sophia. You only live once!" Marcus huffed and opened the door to the steam powered carriage. "Climb in, my dear, and you two fellows!"
"You shouldn't be so certain that you only live once, Marcus dear!" Sophia warned him. "If you collect too much bad karma, your next life could get rather sticky!"
"Oh, dear, here we go with that argument again! Very well, Sophia. What did I do in a previous life?"
"I told you, Father! We were embalmers in ancient Egypt!" Ethan reminded him jovially.
"Oh, no, Cousin Ethan! We were Egyptian princes! Surely not embalmers!" Theodore teased him.
"Say, I thought we are not supposed to be discussing such pagan topics as reincarnation on our way to church to celebrate the rising from the dead of an imaginary person!" Marcus pointed out.
Theodore gasped, but Ethan merely shrugged. "Father, no matter how much you try, the church is not going to catch fire if you walk in there."
"It's not?" Marcus pouted.
"Someday, the churches will all have atheist sensors at the doors, but until then, you and the church are safe," Ethan teased. He knew his father only brought him to church as a favor to him, since he had so little opportunity to get out of his grandmother's house, where he'd been living for the past few years.
Marcus had declared himself an atheist before Ethan was even born. Once, his father had been a believer, like Uncle Malcolm. He'd given up on God while in Cambridge. Marcus had associated himself with one of his professors, and together, they believed that there indeed was no mighty judge above them in the clouds, ready to strike them down.
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The Inventor's Son: The BeginningScience Fiction
It begins with a meeting... where a promising new technology for amputees and soldiers is demonstrated. But soon, the truth is discovered: the mastermind who created such miraculous prosthetic limbs is not interested in a business deal. He only want...