An Old Manís Letter

by

Beth Hamilton



My dear best friend,

It has been exactly forty two years since youíve gone away and I can feel myself doing the same. I have so much to tell you. Youíve missed a lot of great moments in my life that I wish you couldíve been a part of. When you died, it felt as though a little piece of me died along with you. I became someone I wasnít. Winston said he could hear me cry all night, every night. Youíd be pleased to hear that I didnít play loud music anymore. I didnít play music, but when I did, it would depress me so much that I would cry out and punch something delicate. I didnít understand why I acted the way I did. Now I do, and itís because I missed you with all my heart and Iíve never stopped.

A few months passed. Winston and Lara had accepted your death and had moved on while I was stuck, on the outside looking in, missing you and crying every day, praying you would remember me when I came to join you someday. Winston couldnít bear to see me like this so he set me up with this stupid bereavement support group. At first I didnít want to go, insisting I was fine, but something changed my mind. You might guess Iím talking about a girl here. Her name was Veronica. She was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen in my entire life. Her skin was as white and pure as virgin snow and her smile was like the face of the sun. She had these eyes that were so stunningly beautiful that I couldnít help swimming in them. My mom once said they were like two sapphires, hanging high and proud in the night sky, blinking and twinkling so much harder than the regular stars. Her hair was definitely my favourite feature of hers. Her hair was as red as the fire that destroyed the mansion. Her curls were long, glossy, luscious and shimmering. She looked so much better than those hot girls on the shampoo advert. I suppose you already know that, considering sheís the one sitting next to you in the Heavens. Well, let me tell you something. I think I can honestly say it was love at first sight.

Then I was pressurised into making a difficult choice. When I first started working for her, Lara told me quite firmly that I cannot be married and work at the same time. I had dismissed this immediately after hearing it. I never even planned on getting tied down. Guess which path I chose. Yeah, thatís right. I chose Veronica. It was a little heartbreaking when the time came for me to move out of the mansion but it had to be done. Just a few short months later, Miss. Veronica Campbell became Mrs. Reginald Williams. Our biggest surprise was our firstborn son. He was born in the same year when that horrible earthquake hit Haiti. I remember that day well. Veronica was feeling sick and I didnít know why. I was watching the news, weeping over the distressing news broadcast. My eyes were stinging because I was crying so much. She came in, grinning, and she too had tears in her eyes. She sat down and bombarded me with the news that I was going to be a father. We named him Michael Nicholas. Hair like wool and eyes dark as charcoal, he was easiest the loveliest baby in the neighbourhood. All our friends said he looked just like me. Life from then on, was never the same again. Four years later, we were gifted with another baby. It was our second little boy. Guess what? He has the same birthday as you. There would have been exactly thirty six years between you two if you had been alive and kicking. For that, I wanted to do something special for the little tyke. I wanted to name him after you in honour of your memory. But I was afraid. I was afraid Veronica would think I hadnít put the past behind me so I named him Alan Matthew instead. That was when our family was complete. I lived a long, eventful life with them. My kids have their own kids now. They donít need me anymore and here I am, with a lame leg and nothing to comfort me but my memories.

As you might have guessed, Lara didnít live a long life like I did. Not long after Alan came along, the world was hit with the most terrible news since Elvis Presleyís death. Whilst trekking across the Sahara desert, she and her guides had been brutally killed by a gigantic lion-like creature. She was buried by her fatherís side, where she belonged. Veronica and I went to the funeral. It was so moving. Millions of people came to honour this woman. Each and every one of them had tears streaming down their faces. It surprised me to see how many hearts Lara had touched. Her gravestone was inscribed with a wonderful message. ĎSpending years chasing adventure, Lara kept our hope of an impossible dream alive.í Thinking back now, I guess she did keep my dreams alive. She encouraged me to follow them and chase adventure just like her. Donít tell me she didnít encourage you too because I was there. Remember when you first started the job? That was a laugh! You were so terrified about Lara getting injured that you fainted right there on the spot! By the time yours was running out, it was like you had become bored of her running after old broken pieces of stone and jewel.

After Lara died, Winston was free to leave Croft Manor. I donít think he wanted to because he stayed. He lived in that big old mansion all by himself. He continued his lonely life as normal. No one expected it to happen to him Ė not to Winston. It was so sudden. It happened on the 3rd March, his eighty fourth birthday. He hanged himself in Laraís bedroom. When I learnt the news, it was so hard-hitting that I refused to believe it at first. Winston was the man who encouraged me to battle my demons and get help moving on. From then on, I made a vow and I still keep that vow to this very day. I was determined to survive. I had to survive for my familyís sake. I was determined to fight the depression that shook the spirit of Team Croft. Even though I cried every once and a while, I won the battle. I won it because you would have won it for me. It was my own unique way of showing how much you mean to me and you mean a hell of a lot to me, Alister Fletcher. Well, until I see you again, I love you and I miss you so much.

With love,

Zip

And with that, Zip drew his last breath. He let his battered old skilful hand drop down by his side. The pen fell to the ground with the faintest tapping sound. No one really knew how much he cared for Alister and they never will.

THE END



NOTICE: This story is a work of fiction. Lara Croft, her likeness, and the Tomb Raider games are all copyright of EIDOS Interactive. There is no challenge to these copyrights intended by this story, as it is a non-sanctioned, unofficial work of the author's own.