- You scumbag! My son just died! My - My baby boy is gone and all you people want is a bloody freak show... Well, here's your damn freak show! Any of you go anywhere near my family, and I'll kill you.
- -- Buddy Baker
Appearing in "The Funeral"
Synopsis for "The Funeral"
On the day of Cliff Baker's funeral, his father Buddy has spent the night in a hotel because his mother can not bear to be with him. While Buddy gets ready, fighting through his tears, Ellen can barely get out of bed, while her own mother Mary prods her to get ready. Maxine is already ready, and Mary warns that Ellen owes it to her daughter - and to Cliff - to get up and go to the funeral.
The ceremony is small, with the priest offering a speech reminding of how no one can truly understand the pain of a family who has lost a child, but he notes that their presence and obvious pain is a testament to just how loved Cliff was. Following the funeral, Buddy chases after Ellen and Maxine, begging for the chance to talk. Ellen explains that she isn't ready to talk, but Buddy interrupts to say that there might still be a chance to save Cliff, with Maxine's powers. Angrily, Ellen shouts that Maxine will do no such thing. Ellen wants a life with her family that doesn't include powers or weirdness any kind. Finally, she deflates, stating that she can't be with Buddy anymore. Their marriage is over. She drags Maxine away, leaving Buddy behind.
As Buddy returns to his hotel, a group of paparazzi is waiting outside, and asks how the funeral went, and whether he and Ellen are divorcing. Hurt and angry, Buddy lashes out at them, taking on animal characteristics and warning them that if any of them ever comes near his family again, he will kill them.
Maxine, meanwhile, returns home, and calls out that it is safe for Socks to come out of hiding. Ever since what happened to Cliff, she has been worried what her mother might do if she knew that Socks was still around. She admits to him that she still feels as though Cliff is out there, somewhere, but the cat assures her that Cliff is dead, and that accepting it is the first step.
Buddy, meanwhile, enters The Red to tell the Totems of the Parliament of Limbs that it is time to take away his family's connection to the Red, and find a new Animal Man and Avatar. When he arrives there, though, he is not expected, and Shepherd warns that the Totems are in no mood to be interrupted. Naturally, Buddy will not listen, and pushes past his old friend to see them.
Angrily, the Totems chastise him for ignoring their rules, but he stands his ground, warning that they need to leave his family alone, and find a new avatar. Regretfully, the Totems express their own grief for the loss of Cliff, but note that his death was a necessary sacrifice so that Maxine might live. With his death, he joins the Red. Buddy will not accept their placation, and insists that they leave his family alone. Instead, one of the Totems grabs him up in a massive fist and shouts that to be chosen as their champion is an honour, and regardless of what he wants, Maxine belongs to them. They will not tolerate any attempt by him to keep her from them. She is their avatar, he is their Animal Man, and he will do their bidding. Finally, they strip him of his direct connection to the Red and toss him aside, warning that he will never be allowed back into the Red unless they call him.
Buddy finds himself alone in the desert, and realizes that his connection to the Red has been weakened significantly. Combined with the loss of his son, the loss of that connection leaves him feeling more alone than he has ever felt.
- This book was first published on April 3, 2013.
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