Country: United States
August 08, 2018
03/24/2019 03:10 PM
“I know how it feels to lose a loved one.” She murmured as she sat next to him on the couch, her head on his shoulder in a gesture of comfort and closeness without trying to be too close. She had been able to feel his pain and other pulsing emotions even before he’d been fully through her front door. She had known who it was pulling up to her house without even looking. And now that he was there, she wanted nothing more than to offer the little comfort and understanding that she could. She couldn’t fix anything for him, but she could make sure that he knew he wasn’t alone and even after…everything, she didn’t hate him or think any differently of him. No matter how he felt about himself.
“I know it’s not the same situation. It never is. So, saying ‘I understand’ always seems almost…stupid to me. Something I never want to say because no one understands completely. So, I’ll just say ‘I’m here.’” She paused for a moment to let the simple words that weren’t so simple at all sink in. “No matter what, I’ll always be here.” It was more of a vow than a mere promise and one she meant with every fiber of her being. “When you’re lost, I’ll find you. I’ll see you and make sure you can see yourself, too. Someone has to see the real you. And I do.”
Again she fell silent for what seemed like a long time. She didn’t expect him to speak or to really respond and that was okay. He didn’t have to talk. She just wanted him to listen and to believe that he was safe and loved with her. Even now, especially now. She didn’t ask what he had done that had brought him to her in the state he had been in before she had helped him get cleaned up. If he wanted to tell her, he could. If he didn’t…she wouldn’t try to force him. And after what he had been through…she really wouldn’t blame him either way.
Shifting slightly so that she could look at him, she watched him for a moment and then spoke again, making sure he was looking at her first. “I love you, Nacho. Even if you don’t love yourself. I can do enough for both of us.” He was one of her best friends and though she had said that before, had made sure he knew she considered him family, she wasn’t sure she had actually ever said she loved him. Those three words that didn’t always have a romantic connotation attached to them, but were sometimes the most important three words in the world.
“We don’t have to talk more tonight.” She told him after making sure he had heard what she said, whether he actually believed it right now or not, that he knew she meant it. “Or we can if you want to. Either way, I’m just…going to stay with you, okay? That would make me feel better.” She knew he wouldn’t turn her away when she put it like that and she was sure that it would be better for both of them if she did stay right there with him.
Pulling a blanket up around both of them, she leaned into him one more time, one arm holding the blanket while the other snaked around him in a comforting embrace, just holding on because someone had to. She was almost surprised when one of his arms went around her in return, though he still didn’t say anything and she sighed a little as they sat there in silence. Together because sometimes that was all that was needed to get through the darkest of nights. Someone to face it with you.
Face the darkness together.
03/17/2019 08:01 PM
Bloody Mary - Drabble
“It’s just an urban legend. You can’t scare me.” Makayla scowled at her friend, preferring the shield of anger over the fear she felt creeping up her spine. She would never admit it, but this ‘urban legend’ did indeed scare her. But, most things did. She hated horror movies and stories and being alone in the dark. She was easy to scare and she hated that, too. Her friends loved it and took every advantage they could. Like this story that she was too stubborn to walk away from, too hard headed to tell her friend to stop. They all knew she was afraid, but that didn’t mean she didn’t try to prove them wrong now and then. She wanted to be brave. It was just harder than anyone thought. ---
“It’s not an urban legend. It’s a true story. Kenna did it and barely got to the lights in time.” Julia was clearly enjoying this immensely. “Ask her the next time you see her.” She nodded solemnly. “She’ll tell you.” She tilted her head. “Besides, Mary was a real person. She was sick and fell into a coma, but the local doctor was old and feeble and pronounced her dead instead. Her family were idiots and they held a funeral and buried her alive.” She leaned forward as she spoke, dark eyes serious and intense, a disgust in her tone that couldn’t be feigned. “Her family lived near the graveyard and her mother swore she could hear Mary screaming from her grave, but no one believed her, writing it off as maternal hysterics. It took a few days to convince them to dig up the grave, probably more to convince her she was wrong and to shut her up than anything, and when they did, they found Mary dead. But, they also found scratches on the top of the coffin and Mary’s fingernails were bloody and torn from trying to escape. Her mother had been right. Mary had been screaming for help and to be released, terrified and alone…no one had believed her until it was too late.”
Julia sat back, watching Makayla closely. “It’s said that you can call Mary’s ghost if you go into a bathroom and turn off the lights while standing in front of the mirror. You chant ‘Bloody Mary’ three times and turn around in place each time and she’ll appear in the mirror before you. If you aren’t fast enough with turning on the lights, she’ll stab you in the back. A lot of people say she wants revenge on the living for being so stupid as to condemn her to a horrific death she didn’t deserve. I think maybe she’s just lonely and wants some company. After all, when you’re sick no one wants to be around you, so her life had to be as lonely as her death. Or close enough.”
Makayla frowned. “I’ve never heard that part. Any reasons for her to kill someone. Does it matter why?” Her voice shook slightly. “I mean…if it were real and all.” She deliberately sat up straighter to prove she wasn’t a pathetic little scaredy cat, hanging on Julia’s every word as if being told of a personal experience rather than just a story meant to frighten her. “Which it’s not.” Her chin came up and she managed to look halfway convincing. At least she hoped that was the case. “It’s a story and I don’t believe it.”
“Prove it.” She had known the words were coming, known that Julia would challenge her to follow the supposed instructions for calling the dead girl into their world, and her heart sunk nonetheless. Because she knew she would do it. She couldn’t say no without receiving even more relentless teasing from all of her friends than she already did. But, she really didn’t want to do it. A tiny part of her wondered if it might really be true, if it might work. And what if it did? What if she wasn’t one of the ones quick enough to turn on the lights? She shivered involuntarily and swallowed hard, glancing up to see Julia watching her. After a moment she straightened her shoulders and nodded. “Fine. But, you have to come with me. You won’t believe I did it otherwise.”
“Okay.” The agreement came almost instantly and Makayla found herself almost disappointed. She had been hoping, though she knew it was in vain, that Julia would refuse to go with her and she wouldn’t actually have to do it. She should have known better. “Okay.” She echoed the word and got to her feet to lead the way to the bathroom. Once inside, she closed the door behind them and faced the mirror, watching her reflection for a moment and wondering if she could really do this. She tried to tell herself again that it was just a story. Nothing was going to happen. She was being stupid. Consciously she knew that was the truth. That part that was always afraid thought differently.
Taking a deep breath, she reached behind them to flip the switch and plunge them into darkness. She swallowed hard and followed the given instructions. “Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary…” She chanted, closing her eyes and turning in a circle each time she said it, ending with facing the mirror one more time. She was afraid to open her eyes, but she did so anyway. Slowly she peeked, squinting slightly in the darkness, terrified of what she might see in the mirror. She let out a sigh of relief when it was just herself and Julia standing there. It really had been a story. “I knew it –“ She began to speak, but gasped in shock and pain as the knife pierced her back. Falling forward and attempting to catch herself on the counter, she met Julia’s eyes in the mirror. The eyes looking back at her were different, cold, menacing. They weren’t Julia’s eyes at all. Not as she knew them.
“It’s both.” The girl who stood beside her spoke calmly as she raised the knife once more. “Revenge and loneliness. And I’m so looking forward to more company on the other side. When I eventually return.” Those were the last words Makayla heard as the knife descended once more.
It took a moment for the ringing of the phone to penetrate the fog of sleep that surrounded Lorraine. She had been having a pleasant dream for once, something that didn’t happen very often, and she groaned as she blinked awake in the darkness, trying to figure out what the sound was. After a moment, she realized it was the phone and stumbled out of bed with the intention of answering it before it woke Ed or Judy.
Reaching for her robe, she tried to hurry out of the room, biting back a curse as she stubbed her toe on the foot of the bed and limping down the hall to finally pick up the phone. She was half surprised she hadn’t run into anything else along the way, that one of the animals hadn’t decided to add insult to injury by following and tripping her up or something.
“Hello?” She had to clear her throat and try again as she picked up the receiver, waiting for whoever was on the other end to speak. There was a long moment of silence before a female voice answered. “H-hello?” She sounded uncertain, afraid. “Is this Mrs. Warren?”
Lorraine was frowning, already reacting to the fear in this girl’s voice. “Yes. Who is this?” It wasn’t rude or even demanding, just information seeking. Depending on where this call was coming from, it was an odd time to be calling. Unless there was a very good reason. Flipping on the light switch, she squinted in the light for a moment before looking for the clock: 3 A.M. Well…that wasn’t good.
“My name is Julia.” The girl answered after another long moment of silence. “I’m sorry to disturb you at such a weird hour, but…my friend and I did something and something bad happened and…I need your help.” There was a slight note of pleading, a quiver in the girl’s voice. “Please?”
Lorraine’s frown only deepened. “What did you do?” She had to ask, though the girl certainly seemed afraid of whatever had happened and it couldn’t be coincidence that it was at this time that she had called. Only lending credence to whatever she was going to say being real. Or at least something having happened.
“I don’t know if you’ll believe me…” Julia hesitated, but with Lorraine’s assurances that she might be surprised by what was believed, she continued. “Well…I know it’s an urban legend, but have you ever heard of Bloody Mary?” Getting a nonjudgmental affirmative, she continued. “My friend and I did the mirror thing…you know, where you call her in the dark and all that. Well…it worked and my friend…” She trailed off, biting back a sob. “I need your help. I think Mary, or whatever it is, is still here. Can you come?”
It was the second time the girl had said she needed help and asked her to go. Though the story was an odd one, an urban legend indeed, that didn’t necessarily mean that something hadn’t been called up when they’d foolishly decided to test the theory. And Julia truly sounded afraid. And, if it wasn’t real, so much the better. She much preferred when that was the case anyway. “I’ll come.” She was saying the words before she even fully processed the decision.
“Thank you.” Julia’s tone had changed slightly, but not enough to be overly obvious as she got the agreement she wanted. “I’ll give you the address.”
It's just an urban legend...
03/11/2019 11:40 PM
The First Time - Drabble
“Are you sure about this?” Lorraine stood outside the fence that surrounded what was said to be a haunted house, a completed painting of said house in her hands. The people had been watching curiously a few days before as they stood in pretty much this same position while Ed sketched the house so the painting in her hands could be completed. He had quite the interest in anything paranormal and haunted houses were at the top of that list. She wasn’t so sure about this method he had come up with to allow them to maybe investigate one of those houses, but she supposed they couldn’t just walk up and ask to do so. People would think they were crazy. Maybe they were a little.
Ed grinned in response to her uncertain question. “Of course I’m sure. You’re beautiful and charming and kind and understanding and who in their right mind wouldn’t want to invite you into their home? Especially when you come bearing a gift?” He gestured to the painting in her hands.
Lorraine rolled her eyes but she was smiling as well. “And you’re not the slightest bit biased, are you?” She shook her head and looked back toward the house. When Ed had started his studies in demonology and first suggested they ‘check out’ these haunted houses and other places, she hadn’t really thought he was serious. Or maybe she just hadn’t understood exactly what he meant by ‘check out.’ To most people that meant just going to those places to see what, if anything was going on. To Ed, it meant something different.
He was convinced that God had brought them together for a reason. That she had been given her ‘gifts’ for a reason. And it wasn’t so that she could hide and try to bury them for years as she had done before she met him. Maybe it was to help people with their claimed ‘hauntings.’ Maybe it was to make some kind of difference. He knew they could, they just had to convince others of that fact.
Her life had been something of a whirlwind since meeting him anyway. They had met and fallen in love at sixteen, he had enlisted in the Navy a few months later at seventeen, they had married when he was home for a month on survivor’s leave at eighteen and now, at twenty-two, they had a three year old daughter. Adding this…whatever this turned out to be, turned into, really didn’t seem as odd as it probably should have. Something inside her told her that he was right. She should be doing something with these abilities that she had slowly come to terms with possessing after years of wishing she didn’t. If she could actually help people by using them…well, that was what she would do.
“Maybe a little.” Ed leaned forward to give her a quick, sweet kiss. “But, I’m also right and these people will think so, too. And you’ve seen the articles in the paper, claiming they’re crazy or imagining things or just want attention. It will be a relief to find out that someone believes them. Or can give them a rational explanation if it’s not what they think.”
Lorraine considered that for a moment and then nodded slowly. “If they don’t think we’re the crazy ones.” She smirked a little, but it was half-hearted because they had already dealt with more than enough people who thought those exact things about them. Looking at the house one more time, she unlocked the gate and stepped through, making her way up the sidewalk.
Halfway there, she paused and frowned because she could feel something inside the house, even from here. And it wasn’t the people she was about to seek entrance from. Squaring her shoulders and sparing a glance back at Ed, she finished the trek to the door, lifting a hand to knock. Shifting her weight, both hands now holding the painting as she waited for someone to answer, she glanced up at the house above her. It looked perfectly normal, of course. But, looks were often deceiving.
Her gaze was drawn back down to the door as it was pulled open by a woman several years older than herself. She offered a smile and held up the painting like the offering it was. “Hello. My name’s Lorraine Warren.” She kept her tone light and friendly as she explained that her husband was taking art classes and currently and that he wanted them to have the finished product since they had allowed them to stand outside and sketch the house without running them off even though it had to seem strange to them. “He tends to prefer houses like yours for his subjects.”
The woman studied her in return for a long moment. “You mean supposedly haunted houses that aren’t really haunted?” Her guard was up, indicating this wasn’t the first time she had heard something like that, though nothing of the sort had been said this time. “Haunted houses, yes.” Lorraine confirmed, not feeling the need to try to lie or skirt the subject. She met the woman’s eyes for a moment and then held out the painting again. “No one said anything about it not being real.”
This seemed to throw the woman for a moment and she was silent until a teenage boy appeared at her side. “What’s this?” He asked them both, eyes darting curiously between the women. Lorraine repeated her speech for the boy and he was reaching for the painting practically before she finished speaking. “Cool. I wondered what you were doing out there the other day.” He looked at the painting, his expression saying he was impressed. “This is good. I tried art. Wasn’t my thing.” He glanced at the woman, whom Lorraine assumed was his mother and then over her own shoulder back at Ed. “You two wanna come in?”
When the woman didn’t protest, merely stepping aside, Lorraine smiled and thanked them, gesturing for Ed to join her. Stepping inside, Lorraine glanced around, her gaze drawn back to the boy as he spoke again. “I’m David and this is my mom, Carolyn.” He offered his hand at the introduction. “I’m Lorraine and that’s Ed.” Lorraine returned the introduction, reaching for that offered hand.
Their hands touched in what she assumed was just going to be a friendly handshake, but her eyes widened as a vision made the world around her disappear.
The boy, David, and several other teens around his age sat around a demonic symbol drawn on the floor. Black candles flickered around the room. They were laughing and joking and apparently having a grand old time. David held an open book in his hands as he grinned around at these other teens and they took that as a signal to clasp hands so that he could begin. As everyone closed their eyes except David, the boy began the Latin chant from the book in his lap…
Jerking back as if she had been burned, Lorraine blinked as the vision disappeared and she was confronted with the boy’s face once more. He looked surprised and confused, which only made sense. He hadn’t known what she was seeing. But, her next words told him, though she hadn’t meant to blurt them so bluntly. “You summoned a demon?!”
David looked absolutely stunned and at a loss for words at first. “What?! No! I mean, it was a game. We were just messing around…you know, like with Ouija boards. None of that stuff is real…” But, it was and the fact that his house and his family had made several papers with their claims of the things happening here only drove that fact home, even if most of them claimed they were frauds.
“None of it’s real?!” This time it was Carolyn who spoke from behind her. “Why didn’t you tell me you were the reason all of this stuff has been happening? You can’t deny it, David. Unless you think I’m lying, too.” The boy’s gaze dropped as if he were a toddler receiving a scolding from his mother instead of a teenager. “No, I know you’re not…” He frowned and looked up, but it was at Lorraine, not his mother. “How did you know?” He asked, suspicious now that he had had a moment to think about it.
“I saw it.” Lorraine answered simply, feeling Ed’s hand gently on her shoulder as he finally joined her, supportive but not interrupting. “It’s like…a look behind the veil, a glimpse into another person’s life. It doesn’t happen all the time, but I saw you and your friends.” When the suspicion only deepened, she described in detail what she had seen and the suspicion began to fade into surprise because she was right. Every thing she said had happened.
“It’s not real…” David tried to insist one more time, even as the lights flickered and a booming, pounding sound seemed to surround them both from inside and outside. After a moment, the coffee table behind them was flipped and thrown into a wall, shattering loudly into tiny wooden pieces, making them all jump and step back.
“That looks pretty real to me.” Ed murmured, looking between mother and son. “Is this the kind of stuff that’s been happening?” Carolyn nodded and mentioned a few other things, things that hadn’t been in the papers. People already thought they were crazy enough. They didn’t need more ammunition to fuel the fire.
Ed asked a few questions, nodding at the answers he received, before he looked between them again, his gaze settling on David. “Okay. We’re going to need to know exactly what you did and to see the book if you still have it.”
Carolyn looked between the strangers, both hopeful – because someone believed them and seemed to know what they were doing – and surprised and confused. “What are you going to do?”
Ed glanced at Lorraine and let her answer. “We’re going to figure out just what it is that’s been called and we’re going to help you deal with it.” She answered matter of factly. “Because that’s what we do.”
Are you sure about this?
03/09/2019 12:55 PM
Boys Don't Cry
“Ricky? What’s wrong?” Lorraine stepped out the front door of their house, closing it behind her as she approached her little brother. He was sitting on the steps, facing away from her, but she had heard him crying through the open window and come to investigate. She moved closer, but didn’t sit or step in front of him, waiting for him to respond.
The boy sniffled and hastily wiped his eyes. “N-nothing.” He mumbled, not looking at her. A sure sign that ‘nothing’ was a lie even if everything else hadn’t already told her that. He was clearly waiting for her to accept his answer and leave him alone. It didn’t take him long to realize that wasn’t going to happen. “I’m not crying!” He pointed out as if she had or would say anything against such a thing.
Moving around him and down the steps, she stood in front of him for a moment, more on the same level as he was, but not invading his space. “Okay. What are you not crying about?” She asked gently. “You know you can tell me anything, right?” She tilted her head slightly, waiting for him to either decide that he did know that or to simply protest again. After a long moment he finally nodded. “I know…”
“Okay, good.” She didn’t push him to talk, knowing he would likely do so in his own time. He was only six, but that didn’t mean she didn’t listen to him just as closely as she did to everyone else. He may not be an adult, but he was still a person and he deserved to have his feelings heard and acknowledged just like everyone else did. She was always quick to assure him she was listening to him. That she cared about what he had to say, even when no one else seemed to.
Finally, he looked up at her and she could see the remnants of his tears. “Thumper died.” She had no idea who he was talking about, but it was obvious it was a traumatic and tragic thing for him. “Thumper?” She asked for clarification, hurting to see him hurting. He nodded again. “I found a rabbit in the woods. He was hurt real bad. I brought him home ‘cause I wanted to help him.” This was no surprise, they were all animal people, but Ricky wanted to be an animal doctor. He was constantly finding sick or inured animals and wanting to help them.
“I knew you would help me, but I couldn’t find you, so I went to Dad.” His gaze dropped once more before he looked up again. “He didn’t want to help me. Said Thumper was hurt too bad and I should just get rid of him. I didn’t want to and he said I could keep him. I thought that was a good thing…but then he said Thumper would make good stew.” He sniffled again, though he tried to hide how upset he still was. “I don’t want to have rabbit stew!” It came out almost as a wail. “Thumper was my friend, not dinner!”
Lorraine was quiet as she tried to control the anger she felt that their father would say such a thing. She would never expect him to be sympathetic to any animal’s plight, especially a random one that Ricky had found in the woods and was clearly going to die anyway. But, that…that wasn’t right. “Don’t worry. No one is going to do that to Thumper.” She assured, moving to sit next to him and wrap her arms around him. “We’ll make sure, okay?”
Ricky buried his face in her chest and let a few tears fall, but not many. “It’s okay to cry.” Lorraine told him softly, meaning it with her whole heart. But, he pulled back slightly and shook his head. “Boys don’t cry.” He told her matter of factly, sounding like he was parroting something he was told often. She didn’t like that at all. “Who says?”
Ricky shook his head and shrugged. Okay, she wasn’t going to get that out of him now. “I know plenty of boys who cry.” She told him just as matter of factly, as if it were no big deal at all. “I think it’s better to let your feelings out like that than to try to hold them in whether you’re a boy or a girl. It’s doesn’t mean you’re weak or a baby or whatever you might have heard crying means. It’s something everyone does and it’s okay.” She leaned down slightly to meet his eyes again. “And if you cry with me, I promise no one else will know. I’ve told you before that what’s between you and me stays between you and me. You believe that, right?”
Ricky nodded immediately because he did truly believe that. She had never told anyone his secrets. Ever. That was part of the reason he usually came to her with everything. He adored her and he trusted her. Sometimes he wished she was his mom instead of his older sister. Though he didn’t tell her that. That was just for him to know. “I believe you.” He paused and then added, “But, I don’t wanna cry more.”
Lorraine nodded in return, offering a small understanding smile. “Okay. Well…where is Thumper?” She asked instead of trying to coax more tears out of him. Upon learning that the deceased rabbit was in the back yard because Ricky didn’t know what to do with him but was still convinced their father would make him their dinner, she nodded again. “Why don’t you go get the shovel and I’ll get Thumper and we can go bury him in the woods? Then he’ll be safe and can rest in peace.”
Ricky looked surprised but grateful at the same time, another kind of tears springing to his eyes. “Really? You’d help me do that?” He didn’t have to say how very much that meant to him as he threw his arms around her and held on tightly. “Thank you.” It was muffled, but still audible and Lorraine merely wrapped her arms around him in return.
“Of course. Thumper was your friend. Friends deserve to be honored.” She held on as long as he wanted and then reluctantly let go when he pulled back. He sniffled one more time, wiping his nose with the back of his hand, eyes still shining with unshed tears. “I’ll get the shovel.” He told her, standing and heading off to the shed to do that while she watched him go. After he was out of sight, she made her way around the house to collect Thumper so that she and Ricky could give him a proper goodbye.
She met up with her brother, taking his free hand in hers, and led him toward the woods out behind their house. Squeezing her hand, Ricky looked up at her as they walked. “Thank you, Lori. For listening and for helping and for…” He shrugged. “Just thank you.”
Lorraine smiled in return, shifting to kiss the top of his head. “Anytime, little brother. You know I would do anything for you. I love you.”
Boys don't cry...
03/06/2019 10:58 PM
I Need a Gun (Part 2)
Two simple words, a command and a request at the same time. One she didn’t really want to comply with. She looked up at him for a long moment, more agitated than she wanted to admit and showing it more than she normally did. It usually didn’t matter how upset she was, she was very good at stoic-polite face. That ability to not show emotion in times of stress was one the two of them shared.
She tried glaring at him for a moment, tried being mad that he had denied her, but she couldn’t hold that for long. She didn’t blame him and none of this was his fault, so that glare melted into a sigh and a long moment of silence while she thought about how to explain. “I have a…stalker, I guess.” She finally admitted. It was strange. With all the people she had met, people of all walks of life and mentalities, this was a first. Maybe it shouldn’t be. She and Ed put themselves out there quite a bit and their personal information – at least phone and address wise – wasn’t at all a secret. People came to the house to see their artifact museum all the time. But, still, this was different.
She held up a hand to stop him before he could speak, watching as his expression changed only slightly. It wasn’t enough that most people would notice, a tightening of the jaw, a darkening of the eyes, but she saw it. “I don’t know who it is. Or where they are or anything like that.” She added, knowing that would be his next demands. “I haven’t actually seen them.” She paused and frowned a bit. “At least I don’t think I have.”
She shook her head. “It started out stupid. A phone call where they just hang up. Or where they don’t and they do that creepy breathing thing. Or even stupid questions that make no sense and can be threatening, but can also not be…” She wasn’t sure any of that made sense, but in her line of work she dealt with a lot of people who were not…normal. So, she didn’t think much of it. Prank calls weren’t that far out of the ordinary.
“Then those became more frequent and started to feel…different.” She shrugged again because she couldn’t even begin to explain that one. “There were comments about where I’d been or something I’d done, but I wasn’t too worried. I’m not exactly out of the public eye most of the time.” She attempted a smirk or a smile, but couldn’t quite manage either. “They slowly got more threatening and I don’t care who you are, consistent things like that get to be unnerving. But, I still wasn’t…scared, you know? They were just phone calls. Anyone can do that.”
She shrugged and dropped her gaze, but she was also fidgeting a bit, getting agitated again. “Then I started getting pictures. Not mailed or anything. Some were in the mailbox, sometimes they would show up on the porch…” She shook her head and reached for the drawer in the stand next to the chair where she sat, pulling out a few polaroids and handing them over, albeit reluctantly.
They looked like an attempt at candids that seemed more like surveillance, showing her at different times during the day – and night – both outside the house and inside. In town. Out and about. Someone had been watching her for a while. “You’d think I would see someone taking them, right? Or…know that they were there. That’s kind of part of what I do. Sense things that other people don’t.” She looked down for a moment and then back up as he came to the bottom of the pile of photos.
These were the ones that bothered her. They didn’t feature just her, but herself and Judy in the same ways as the first ones, out and about, doing mother-daughter things, just spending time together, even just talking and such. “I could handle if it was just me.” She was completely serious. Threats to herself didn’t get to her as much as they probably should. “But, that’s my daughter in those pictures. If something were to happen to her because of me…” She trailed off and swallowed hard. “I know this person is after me, for whatever reason.” She actually had no clue what she had done, what that reason might be. “But, what better way to get to me than through her?”
That made more sense. It wasn’t a need to protect herself, but her family. She shifted her weight again as he stared down at the photos, his expression now totally unreadable. “There’s this, too.” She finally added, a bit more reluctantly than the rest had been, as she pulled out a small note scribbled on a yellow sticky paper. It was a single sentence, but the intentions behind it were quite clear.
‘You can talk to the dead, but can you talk from the dead?’
Now his expression shifted into scary mode and even she felt a jolt of fear as his eyes lifted to meet hers. She hadn’t left her seat and she was actually glad for that, feeling like she would have needed to sit down if she had. She swallowed hard. “And I found one of our cats out back…” She trailed off because that had been a heartbreaking discovery in itself. She was glad she had been alone and neither Ed nor Judy had seen that message.
She knew that the words didn’t mean he was taking it lightly or indicating that this was nothing to worry about, but the exact opposite. He was asking if she had any more to tell him. Shaking her head, she didn’t speak right away. That was all she had and it was more than enough to set her on edge and want something to protect her family with. Something he could easily get for her if he wanted to, if he agreed.
“I’ll take care of it.”
She sighed again and looked up. “You don’t even know who it is.” She continued before he could tell her that it didn’t matter, that he would find out. “And you can’t be around twenty-four-seven to figure it out. That’s why I need this.” She hesitated for a long moment. “Please.” She wasn’t begging, but she was as close as she could get without outright pleading for him to agree.
“I’ll take care of it.”
She wasn’t sure what that meant, but she thought it wasn’t what she wanted and so she frowned a little as she tried to figure it out. When he didn’t make it any more clear, she had to ask. “What does that mean?” Usually she didn’t want to know, but this time was different.
“It means I’ll take care of it. Don’t worry about it.”
She nearly laughed at that, though it would have been borderline hysterical if she had allowed it. Don’t worry about it? What kind of thing was that to say? “Right. Don’t worry about it.” She scoffed. “That’s such a simple thing to do.”
He arched an eyebrow at her and started to hand the pictures and note back, but changed his mind, slipping them into a pocket instead. “I got this. Just stay put.” He eyed her for a long moment. “I mean that.” He would get eyes on her while he figured this out and took care of it the only way he knew how. The only way someone like this creep deserved.
“I got this.” It was said one last time before he was out the door, phone in hand before it even closed behind him, leaving her to wonder just what he was going to do to fix this because she had no idea how to do so herself aside from what she’d already asked.
Sighing, she moved to lock the door, but didn’t really think that would do much good. She didn’t feel safer now that Nacho was in on the secret, she just felt…vulnerable. It was yet another feeling that she hated and just wanted to go away. She wrapped her arms around herself and retreated to the living room and one of the chairs that wasn’t in plain view of the curtain drawn windows.
“You got this.”
I got this...
03/06/2019 10:36 PM
I Need a Gun (Part 4 - Final Part)
“I’m anything but perfect, but I know what I can be.” His expression had darkened as soon as she’d asked to go with him, to ‘tag along’ with whatever he decided to do to finish this whole nasty affair. She’d known what his answer would be as well. Which was why she plowed over him before he could give it. This guy was stalking her, had been for some time. She deserved to have a hand in what happened to him once he was caught. She wasn’t surprised by the single word that came from Nacho’s mouth, displeased, even angry despite being only that one and Lorraine answered with a single word of her own.---
He stared at her for so long that she shifted her weight uncomfortably, waiting for some kind of reaction. “You crazy, woman?! Ain’t no way Imma allow that!” He finally hissed at her, eyes flashing, hands clenched into fists at his sides. If she hadn’t known him so well, she would have been terrified, worried that he might lash out at her. But, she did know him and she knew that it wasn’t really her he was angry at. He might think she was stupid for her suggestion, but overall he was angry at whoever was responsible for this and worried about what could happen.
Finally, she took a deep breath and found her voice once more. “I’m not really asking.” She didn’t wait to see if he would interrupt. “I’m going to do this whether you agree or not. I actually thought about not saying anything to you at all.” She didn’t meet his eyes as she admitted that, not wanting to see what he thought of it. “But…I’d like for you to have my back.” She ran a hand through her hair and looked up at him again. “And, since you won’t get me the weapon I requested, you can either let me go in unarmed and vulnerable…or you can be that weapon. I can tell you what I’ve got or…we can act like we never had this conversation and go back to my family as if nothing is going on at all.” Her family who were the reason she was doing this.
She leaned against the wall as if she were perfectly calm and this was an every day conversation of no importance. Just a regular conversation between friends, though the tension would be obvious to anyone who might enter at that moment. She wasn’t going to beg, but she also wasn’t entirely sure what her expression was telling him. She didn’t want to do this alone, but she would. She also didn’t want him doing it alone and so she would make sure that didn’t happen. She knew he hated every moment of this face off as much as she did, but she stood her ground. She felt no relief when she got the answer she wanted.
Letting out a small sigh, she nodded and pushed off the wall. “Okay. Come in here.” She led the way to the study, closing the door behind them before she moved to one of the end tables with a locked drawer. Pulling out the pictures she had mentioned, she handed them over to him just as she had the first set. “These are the pictures I got this morning. This time I got something off of them.” She didn’t think she really had to explain that she didn’t mean fingerprints or anything so obvious. He knew she could sometimes get feelings or flashes like visions or memories and such off of both people and sometimes inanimate objects that belonged to people.
“This was the first time. I didn’t get anything from any of the others. Aside from the normal creepy feelings that anyone would get, that is.” It wasn’t like realizing you had a potentially dangerous stalker was a great feeling for anyone, but she hadn’t gotten anything else at all. “It was actually kind of weird not to get any kind of signature or whatever considering the intent behind the pictures. But, that’s not the point. Either something changed or there are two people.” She looked up and studied him for a long moment at that and then shook her head. “And if that’s the case, I don’t want to know.”
“But, that’s not what’s going to help us.” She knew he wouldn’t accept ‘feelings’ as enough to go on for what he thought was some crazy and risky scheme she had come up with that he already hated without even hearing it. “I didn’t see the person or anything. That would be too easy.” She smirked, but it immediately faded when he merely stared at her. Clearing her throat, she continued. “I got a glimpse of a car, but nothing like a license plate or whatever. No real identifiers. But, I do know this place.” She pointed to the pictures in his hand, indicating the store she was leaving in it. “I don’t have a set schedule, but I go there fairly often and I didn’t make the connection, but that place is in some of the other pictures that I didn’t keep, so…” She shrugged. “It’s a favorite spying place.” She couldn’t say how she knew, but she did.
“When I was there earlier I mentioned that I needed to go back tomorrow for something I forgot.” She looked up at him again. “And I’m going to do that. And he’s going to be there. I know it because I have seen him there before, but again thought nothing of it. It’s a fairly busy part of town during the day, but he’s been there every time recently.” Recently but not when all of this started. But, she again didn’t want to think that that meant there was more than one person involved. “I don’t know who he is and he’s not close enough for me to get a good description, usually. And there’s never anything obvious like a camera or anything like that. He never seemed to be staring or showing any interest at all. He never seemed out of place. But, I know it’s him.” She paused. “I know it’s him and I know he’ll be there.”
Her insistence, her certainty, on that never wavered. It was fact to her.
She stepped back and fell quiet for a moment as he studied the pictures and then her in turn, not saying anything at all. “I think…” She shrugged, not sure how to explain that it felt like she had to do this and that ‘this’ was what everything had been leading up to. They were going to catch this guy or he was going to catch her. Either way it would be over.
“I think maybe I am crazy, but this has to happen.”
As she stepped out of the store into the darkness, she started to doubt the whole thing. Shivering, she pulled her jacket a little more tightly around her and looked around. Nothing seemed out of place at first, but then she saw the car parked across the street. Squinting, she frowned because she recognized the vehicle. Not because she had seen it in person but because she had seen it. That meant he was here. Just as she’d thought.
Another look around didn’t show anyone around, even her backup, though she knew he was there somewhere. Squaring her shoulders and taking a deep breath, she set off down the sidewalk, attempting a calm and nonchalant pace despite the tension and anxiety she was feeling. After a couple minutes the hairs on the back of her neck stood up and she glanced behind to see a shadowy figure step out from around a corner. He was wearing a long coat and a hat, but he wasn’t hiding his presence. He wasn’t trying to blend in. And he was watching her.
Swallowing hard, she picked up her pace slightly, glancing over to the side to see him doing the same on the other side of the street. After what seemed like an eternity, he crossed and her instincts told her to run. But, she fought that instinct because she wanted to catch him, not lead him on and then let him get away. Normally when confronted with fight, flight, or freeze, she did one of the two former, but this time she paused, eyes going wide as he rushed to get in front of her, halting her progress completely.
Before she had time to process what was happening, she saw the gun in his hand – and spared a brief wish that she had been successful in getting her hands on one of her own – and the grin on his face and ‘freeze’ took over. He opened his mouth, but never got a chance to say whatever he had been planning. He toppled to the ground from an unexpected blow to the back of the head as the gun was kicked out of his hand and skittered across the sidewalk.
Now the relief came even as a punch to the face followed the original blow and blood began to flow. She took a step back, bending to pick up that gun. She couldn’t tear her eyes away as Nacho grasped the man’s hair and jerked his head up so that his face was visible. He stared the already confused and terrified man down for a moment before turning his gaze up to her. Easily holding the man still and completely helpless, he arched an eyebrow at her without speaking a word.
She knew what he was asking and she was asking herself the same thing. She had a gun in her hands. They had the person who had made her ask for such a thing in the first place. Did she still want to use it? Not here, of course. They would take him elsewhere. Neither of them were stupid. But, could she do it? Not in self-defense. Not even in defense of her family because the danger was over now. But, what would be point blank revenge on a captive person.
Sighing heavily, she lowered the gun and shook her head. She couldn’t do it. Even if he hadn’t been silently begging her not to, even if he hadn’t been held helpless and bloody, she wasn’t sure she would be able to. To kill someone wasn’t in her. She should have known that. She felt weak and almost guilty for her decision. Shouldn’t she have been able to do what had to be done? Wasn’t that what she had wanted all along? Maybe. But, her decision had been made.
Nacho’s grip on the man never wavered and he simply offered her a single nod in return, acknowledging what she didn’t need to say and giving her what he considered reassurance at the same time. “I got this.”
I got this...
03/05/2019 01:08 PM
Bring Out the Sun
Sitting in the attic, Lorraine’s pen flew across the paper that she held in her lap. It used to be that she never came up here, never had a reason to, but that had changed not too long ago. It seemed this was the only place in the house that she could get any privacy and she wanted that for writing her letters. It was hard to put feelings to paper in a house full of five other people, three of which were often times annoying younger siblings who just wouldn’t shut up. She loved them with everything in her, but sometimes she just wished they would be quiet. It wasn’t too much to ask in her opinion.
She had had a discussion a few nights ago with Alice that made a lot of sense. Her friend had pointed out that she shouldn’t be spending all of her time on these letters, so much time focused on what wasn’t here that she lost what was. And she was right. But, that didn’t mean these letters needed to stop completely. She needed them and she thought maybe Ed did, too. If he was even receiving them. They weren’t quite as frequent or as…mushy as the first ones had been, and she didn’t let them consume her life anymore, but she still wanted to keep them going. It made her feel closer even though he was so very far away.
I want to say that I hope this letter finds you well, and I do. But, to start out that way seems cliché and stupid and I never want to be that. But, I sincerely wish for you to be safe and if not happy in your current situation then secure in the knowledge that it won’t last forever and home is waiting for you. I am waiting for you. The clouds never last and the sun will always find a way to shine through. Remember that I love you and together we can conquer anything. Even if that togetherness isn’t always physical.
I saw your parents yesterday. They even managed to not roll their eyes at me or slam the door in my face when I went to check up on them for you. I’m making progress! They want me to send their well wishes as well. They miss you, but they’re proud of you and they’re doing okay. My parents hope for your safe return as well, though it’s hard to tell when all my Dad does is grumble his responses whenever you’re mentioned. He’s slowly warming up to the idea of us. Mostly because he doesn’t have any other choice and deep down he knows that.
Betty has a new boyfriend. I know, big surprise, huh? You probably know him. His name’s Matt…something. Yeah, I know that’s very specific, but I haven’t met him and though she seems head over heels, I have a feeling it won’t really last. Alice and Charles are still going strong. I think whatever you said to him before you left made him see her in an entirely different light. Look at you, you matchmaker, you! Making sure true love prevails and all that. And you always say you’re not a dreamer like that.
Maggie took first place in her Spelling Bee and Joan took third place in her gymnastics meet. Ricky has adopted a puppy that he named after you. He’s six. Take that as the compliment and honor it is. They all ask about you now and then, and not only when I bring you up. Shh. There are times when I’m not talking about you, even if they are few and far between. All three of them are convinced that they are going to be our personal decorators when you come home and we get our own place. It’s set in stone in their minds and they sound like a bunch of hopeless romantics when they talk about it. It’s kind of nice, I have to admit.
The theater is hiring and I’m thinking about trying for the job. It’ll give me something productive to do and some extra money that my family could use. I need to do my part, you know?
A series of climbing and creaking sounds from the ladder leading from the top floor of the house to the attic where she now sat made her lift her head and look toward the entrance as her youngest sister popped her head up and looked around for a moment. Spotting her, she grinned and climbed smoothly up the rest of the way, moving to plop herself down directly in front of her. “Whatcha doin’?” She asked as if she had been asked to come, or at least her presence would be more than welcome. Which it usually was.
“Maggie said you’re up here writing some mushy love letters or something and she’s afraid to interrupt. She said you yelled at her the last time.” Joan grinned a little. “If you did, good for you. She never listens unless someone’s yelling at her.” She leaned forward as if trying to peer down at the aforementioned letter in her sister’s lap. “So, is that what you’re doing? Can I read it? Or am I too little for that?” Her expression shifted into something between a smirk and a pout and it just resulted in some comical unnamable thing instead of whatever it was intended to be. “You know that eight isn’t too little right?”
Lorraine just waited for another long moment before speaking, her own lips twitching into a smile. “Oh. Are you finished? Can I speak now?” She teased. Joan glared, though there was really no anger behind it at all, and she couldn’t help but laugh. “First of all, I never yelled at Maggie for interrupting. She’s exaggerating as always.” She shook her head as Joan’s expression shifted into a knowing grin at that. “And no, it’s not a ‘mushy love letter.’ It’s just a letter.”
“Do you say you love him in it?” Joan asked, cocking her head with interest. “Is it mushy if you do? What is mushy anyway? Is it bad? Is that why I can’t read it? Is there something no one’s supposed to see?” She sat back, waiting for her sister’s answers.
Lorraine’s eyebrows shot up for a moment before she shook her head again. “It’s not bad and it’s not mushy, but yes, I say I love him in it because that’s true. It’s really just a letter. Telling him how everyone is doing and what’s going on while he’s away. The only reason you can’t read it is because it’s private and everyone should be allowed to have things that are private.”
Joan considered that for a long moment. “Okay.” She nodded once. “I know I have some stuff I don’t want anyone to see. It’s like that, right?” At her sister’s nod, she accepted the answer easily. “Okay.” She repeated. “Did you tell him about Ricky’s puppy?” She asked after a moment. Getting confirmation of that, she rattled off several other things that she felt were important for Ed to know, whether they actually would be to him or not.
“See? Those are good things. I want him to know good things.” Lorraine offered a genuine smile. She wanted to tell him everything that was going on, about all the people who were still here, about how everything he was fighting for was worth it. About how it was still and always would be ‘home’ and when he returned he would be welcomed with love and open arms.
“Good.” Joan nodded once more and moved to climb to her feet. “Okay. I’m gonna go work on my gymnastics routine. Tell Ed I said hi!” She waved and was gone before Lorraine could really reply at all, a smile and another headshake following her sister back down the ladder as she returned her attention to her letter.
She added a few of the things her sister had mentioned, added some things about Ed’s friends, whom she was keeping up on as well. She wanted him to be constantly in the loop, to know everything that was going on because he may be overseas, but he wasn’t gone. He would be back.
Signing off with her love, she read the letter over once more. It was some combination of serious and light hearted, just the way she wanted it to be. If she couldn’t see him, at least she could talk to him this way. Maybe she could still be the sun that he didn’t often get to see. Maybe she could still help him weather everything even from here. Because that was what you did when you cared about someone. You weathered the storm and brought out the sun.
I'll be here waiting, hoping, praying that this light will guide you home...
03/04/2019 01:42 PM
Wait For Me
The knock on the study door didn’t come as a surprise, but neither did it garner much interest. Lorraine didn’t even look in that direction. “Yes?” Even the word, though a question, didn’t contain any curiosity or desire to know who it was on the other side. Of course, she figured she already knew. Finally lifting her gaze from the unread book in her lap, her suspicions were confirmed as the door was pushed open and her husband took a step inside. He looked worried, almost fearful…he also looked like he had something to say.---
“How are you doing, hun?” He asked after a long moment of just studying her and she tilted her head slightly, almost confused by the question. “I’m fine.” It was an automatic, flat answer. It was a lie, even if she didn’t fully realize it herself. She should be fine by now. She could shake off anything, why not this? Maybe because ‘this’ wasn’t like anything she had dealt with before.
She could still see the home of the last family they had tried to help. Tried and failed. It wasn’t the first time they had lost, but it was one of the worst. Maybe the worst because what they had lost – what she had lost – was a child. A boy of merely nine years old. Charles. Charlie, he had asked her to call him. If she closed her eyes she could still see him.
“Please, Angel!” Tears ran down pale and hollow cheeks as chocolatey eyes begged for her to help him, to save him as he believed only she could because she was an angel. He had convinced himself of that despite all of her attempts to make him believe otherwise. She was no angel, she was not divine in any sense of the word. She only wanted to help where she could and she wanted more than anything to help him. He had stuck to calling her Angel anyway. He wanted to call her something that no one else did and he continued to think it was an appropriate choice.
She stood in a room with him, only a few feet away from the center where he rested on hands and knees, agony etched in his features and desperate pleading and trust in his eyes. “Help me…” His head dropped for a moment and then his body jerked and his jaw snapped shut teeth biting into tongue before a scream erupted from his throat and he collapsed on the floor, jerking as if in the midst of some kind of seizure, blood spilling from his mouth to drip on the floor.
She was on her knees beside him, gathering him into her arms before she even thought about moving, tears rolling down her own cheeks as she tried to get through to him. “Charlie! Charlie?! Can you hear me?!” He continued to jerk, gashes appearing in flesh where it shouldn’t have been possible, adding to the blood already smeared on the floor. “H-help…” His teeth were chattering as he shuddered and his eyes were wide and terrified. The demon inside of him was tearing him apart before her eyes.
She had tried expelling it before with no success and so Ed had gone to get approval for an exorcism. Their bishop, of course, needed to see proof that it was necessary and Lorraine had refused to leave Charlie alone, so Ed had taken it to the church on his own, though extremely reluctant to leave her alone with Charlie. She had insisted because they had to do this and there was no time to waste. She had been right and now time was up.
Eyes darting around the room as if searching for some kind of help, her gaze fell upon the bible she had dropped near the door and she felt a brief tinge of doubt that she ruthlessly shoved away before pulling herself and Charlie toward that book. She couldn’t get to her feet to carry him with the shudders still wracking his body so violently, but she wasn’t willing to let him go either. It seemed an eternity before it was in reach and she kept one arm around the boy, rosary in hand, while she pulled it over and began frantically flipping through the pages for what she needed. She had never done this on her own before. She was no exorcist. She had assisted, but that was it. That was nothing like doing it yourself.
“I’m going to help you, Charlie.” She told the boy, as her fingers landed on the passages she was looking for and she glanced back at him one more time. The shuddering slowed and the boy blinked at her, once brown eyes now a bottomless black as a smile spread across bloody lips. “Yes, help me, Angel.” The voice was not Charlie’s and it chilled her to the bone, terror shooting down her spine. She could do nothing but stare at him for a long moment, but then she swallowed hard and turned her attention back to the bible and began reading.
The demon fought. With more strength than anyone of Charlie’s age should be able to possess, and soon both she and the boy were bruised and bloody and praying for help. Finally, with a final shudder and an almost deafening screech, the demon vacated its host, leaving the wreckage of the child in Lorraine’s lap, looking up at her with a smile as the light returned to his eyes for only a moment. “Thank you, Angel.” And then faded even as she watched, body going limp in her arms.
“Charlie?” For the longest moment, she couldn’t comprehend that he wasn’t going to answer. That everything they had just gone through was for nothing. She had gotten rid of the demon who was torturing the child but…Charlie was gone, too. How was that possible? That wasn’t what was supposed to happen. She had been stupid to try the exorcism on her own, to not wait for help. She had let desperation cloud her judgement…
Strong hands gripped her shoulders and she looked up into Ed’s pale face as he tried to offer some kind of comfort, though he knew that was impossible in that moment. He was terrified that he would lose her to this as well and there was no way he could cope with that, so he just held on as if that grip would keep her with him. He and the parents had returned shortly after Lorraine had started the exorcism and he had had one hell of a time keeping them back so as not to interrupt and shatter her concentration and destroy everything she was trying to accomplish.
Staring at him for a long moment, eyes dull and confused, Lorraine finally spoke. “I’m so sorry…”
“Really?” It didn’t come out as much of a question because Ed knew she wasn’t fine as she claimed and it ate at his heart and soul that he couldn’t fix things for her. He shook his head before she answered. “I don’t think so, love.” He moved closer, not actually sitting beside her, but clearly wanting to. “How about I stay with you for a while?” He watched as she considered that and then shrugged a little before turning her face away from him.
Dropping down onto the couch beside her, he reached out to gently take her face in both of his hands to force her to look at him once more. “You don’t get to do that.” He told her firmly, meeting her almost lifeless eyes with his own fierce and devoted ones.
She frowned a little, not understanding what he was talking about. “What?” He was quiet for a long moment. “You don’t get to leave me again.” He finally answered. There had been one other case that had had such a deep impact on her and he wasn’t even sure that had been as bad as this. It had resulted in an eight day locked seclusion away from both him and Judy. He had been terrified that he had lost her then, he wasn’t going to allow that to happen again.
“I’m right here.” Her tone was as flat as her eyes. It was true that she hadn’t locked herself away this time, that she had continued with living, if you wanted to call it that. He saw it as more going through the motions. She did things, but she wasn’t really there when she did them. She was somewhere else.
“Are you?” He finally asked, wanting an honest answer and not another ‘I’m fine’ because he hated to hear her lie, even if it was an instinctive thing to do. She never lied to him. Sometimes she didn’t tell him things because she thought they would hurt him, but she never actually lied.
She didn’t answer for what seemed like an eternity and he wasn’t sure if it was because she didn’t know how to answer or if she didn’t care to or something else entirely. Finally she murmured three simple words that were anything but simple. “Wait for me.”
Feeling tears in his eyes, Ed nodded without hesitation. She wasn’t okay and she knew that, but…someday she would be. “Forever if I have to.” He pulled her closer, kissing the top of her head and then wrapped his arms around her as if he would never let go. “Forever for you.”
I love my hands, but it hurts to pray...
03/04/2019 01:41 PM
I Get It From You
The rain ran in rivulets down the window as Lorraine sat next to it, legs drawn up, looking out. Thunder boomed and lightning flashed and she sighed a little as she stared out into the gray and gloomy day. Lifting a hand, she placed it on the cool glass, watching as the raindrops continued their course uninterrupted on the other side while her other hand rested absently on her stomach. The weather seemed to echo her mood perfectly and she sighed again. She had been feeling more down than usual lately and the weather only enhanced that today.
“Are you in here moping again?” The voice made her slowly turn her head to see her sister poking her head around the doorframe to look in at her, one eyebrow arched and an almost annoyed expression on her face, though there was concern hidden not very well beneath it if one knew how to look for it. Which Lorraine did. She knew all of her siblings very well, sometimes better than they knew themselves and so she didn’t take offense at the question. “I’m not moping.” She protested, dropping her hand from the window to join her other on her stomach. “I’m just…sitting.”
It sounded lame to her and clearly Maggie felt the same because now she rolled her eyes as she stepped into the room. “So…you’re sitting and moping.” It wasn’t a question this time. She stopped in the middle of the room and placed her hands on her hips, echoing a stance she had seen Lorraine take many times when she or their other siblings were doing something she didn’t approve of. “You know that’s not good for you, right?” She asked, doing her best to adopt the motherly tone Lorraine often had as well. “You need to be doing…stuff…” She faltered there because she wasn’t sure what ‘stuff’ exactly except that she didn’t like her sister doing nothing but feeling bad.
Lorraine tilted her head slightly, studying her sister. “What stuff?” She finally asked, wondering if Maggie would be able to come up with anything at all. She was partially amused by her sister’s demeanor and well aware that it was identical to how she acted as big sister-mother figure all the time. Maggie blinked and scrambled to come up with an answer, dropping her hands and finally shrugging. “I don’t know. Stuff. Not…this.” She gestured to Lorraine. “Not sitting here like your life’s over.”
She shook her head. “I know your husband is gone again.” She blinked again and paused. “Do you know how weird it is to stay that? ‘Your husband?’” Her eyes widened a little to emphasize her point. “I know you’re eighteen and gonna be a mom and all, but it’s still weird. Don’t you think?” She seemed to have completely distracted herself from her original mission as she moved to sit with her older sister. “I mean, not really the mom thing. You’ve been that for us for as long as I can remember.”
“What?” Lorraine couldn’t help the surprised question at her sister’s last comment. Maggie sounded so honest and nonchalant, but she hadn’t really thought about it like that before. Her siblings were her responsibility and she had always done her best to take care of them. She didn’t know any of them thought of her as anything but an overly protective annoying older sister.
“What what?” Maggie asked, not seeing anything to be questioned. “Oh. You didn’t know you were our mom? I don’t see how you couldn’t. I mean, you’re the one who always took care of us. Whether we wanted you to or not. Ricky’s even called you Mom before. You just didn’t hear it. He’d do it all the time if he thought it was okay.” She thought about that. “Well, maybe not now since he’s eight and ‘all grown up.’” She smirked at that because it was the one thing their younger brother was always telling everyone. How grown up he was.
Suddenly the smirk faded and she attempted to look stern. “Hey! You distracted me!” The accusation was light and dramatic and she mock glared at Lorraine as if she had really done something wrong. This only made Lorraine smirk a little herself as she shook her head. “I didn’t distract you. You did that yourself.”
Maggie opened her mouth and then snapped it shut for a moment before she nodded once. “Yeah. You’re right. I tend to do that.” She conceded easily. “My point was –“ She met Lorraine’s eyes again. “That I know you’re sad and stuff, but you’re not alone. And you can’t let it get you so down like you are. It’s not good for you or my little niece or nephew to be. You gotta take care of yourself and him or her…or let us do it. You took care of us for long enough, let us return the favor once in a while, will you?” There was a little exasperation in her tone now. “Let something be about you for once. It’s not that hard. Believe me, I do it all the time.” She grinned a little and was pleased to see Lorraine smile in return.
“I hope that smile is a yes, because you know how annoying I can be until I get my way.” Maggie continued blithely while Lorraine shook her head, small smile still in place. “Yes, I do know how annoying you can be.” She confirmed easily, her own tone lifting despite herself which seemed to please Maggie to no end.
“I’m going to take that ‘yes’ as the yes that I want.” She informed, nodding and moving to stand up. “Okay. Up. No more sitting here like a lost puppy.” She held out her hand for her older sister. “Let’s go get something to eat and spend some time with our family. Or we can go for a walk or something. The rain’s letting up and you always liked to walk in the rain. I refuse to believe you’ve changed so much that you don’t still enjoy that.”
Lorraine looked at the offered hand and then raised her eyes to Maggie’s. “You’re fifteen. How did you get to be so smart?” She asked, finally uncurling from her position by the window and accepting that hand as she climbed to her feet. Maggie’s hand closed around hers and squeezed slightly as she grinned at her. “I get it from you.”
03/03/2019 01:17 PM
I Need a Gun (Part 3)
It had been several days since she had seen Nacho. Since she’d begged him for a weapon that she never would have wanted to lay hands on before circumstances had pushed her into feeling the necessity. Since he’d denied that request and left to deal with everything himself. She had halfway expected to get a message saying it was done, though he hadn’t had much to go on in finding out who her stalker actually was. She didn’t underestimate his abilities to get information that no one should be able to obtain.
She still wasn’t really happy with his denial of her pleas, but she didn’t hold onto her anger for long. The people in her life meant to much to her for that and she would rather cherish the time they had together than waste it being angry and fighting with each other. So, she had sent him a message instead. A simple invitation to family dinner.
Judy had helped prepare the meal while Ed kept them company and it had been a rather pleasant evening, even if she was still feeling tense and wary about everything. There had been a reason that she hadn’t received the expected message from Nacho. Because everything wasn’t done. The situation wasn’t fixed. But, she wasn’t going to tell her family about it. Not unless there was no other choice. She hated to upset them and she knew how she felt about it herself, she didn’t want to put that on them.
She still wasn’t entirely certain how Ed felt about her friendship with Nacho to begin with. It wasn’t something he tended to want to talk about and she didn’t push too much. He wouldn’t try to tell her she couldn’t be friends with him or anything like that, no matter how he felt. He just seemed to prefer to keep his thoughts to himself. That bothered her a little, too, but it wasn’t going to change anything and so she let him keep his peace until it was time to try again.
Judy, on the other hand, made no secret of the fact that she adored the man. He was a babysitter and friend and idol all rolled into one and he was one of her favorite people. Nothing was going to change her mind on the matter either.
When dinner was done and her message sent, Lorraine went about setting the table and making sure everything was prepared before letting her guest in upon arrival. She studied him for a long moment, but didn’t ask him where he had been or what had happened. Most of the time she didn’t want to know the answer to either of those, though she would listen any time he did want to tell her. It was the least she could do for him.
Dinner itself was a mostly pleasant affair, the food was good, the company was good and everyone was friendly and congenial for the most part. Something that made Lorraine quite happy because she wanted her entire family to get along, and that included Nacho, whether he wanted it to or not. After they were finished eating, Ed and Judy simultaneously volunteered for clean up duty and Lorraine wandered out of the kitchen with Nacho.
“I’m not going to ask.” She finally told him once they were alone, though part of her wanted to. Part of her wanted him to tell her he had taken care of it just as he had promised. Another part of her wished he wouldn’t try because she didn’t want him in that position of thinking he needed to do such things for her. For anyone.
She leaned against the wall for a moment, gathering her thoughts and debating what else she wanted to say. She wanted to ask if he was okay, if he needed anything, all of those things that just came naturally to her mind. But, she didn’t do so. He would tell her if he needed her. It might take some time, but he would eventually come around.
She hadn’t even been looking at him, but he was now looking at her with narrowed eyes, studying her in that way that made her uncomfortable sometimes because sometimes she felt he could see things most others couldn’t with the exception of Ed.
“What what?” She asked, lifting her head and smirking a little despite the expression on his face. It didn’t shift except for a slight lifting of an eyebrow that said she knew exactly what he meant. He knew something wasn’t right still and he didn’t like it. Shifting her weight, she sighed a little. “I almost expected you to tell me ‘it’s done.’” She finally said, lifting a hand to run it through her hair as she sometimes did when her anxiety was rising. “I want you to tell me that, but at the same time I don’t because I don’t want to know what that means, what you feel you need to do.” She tilted her head a little. “And I know it’s not true anyway.”
His expression had darkened slightly and she had to marvel once again at how he conveyed so much with single words. It would be pretty impressive if she wasn’t so worried. And the look on his face made her not want to say more, though she had been wavering before. He had already been so angry when she had first come to him. She didn’t want to make that worse. But, she had started this and he wasn’t going to let her not tell him.
She still hesitated and he waited patiently, almost too patiently. He knew she was going to talk and he didn’t push her any more than she pushed him. At least not verbally. His expressions did that enough. “I received more pictures.” She finally admitted. “This morning. So, unless you’ve done something since then…” She tried not to sound hopeful, but she couldn’t help at least a little slipping in, even torn on how she actually felt about it all.
She shrugged a little as if it wasn’t a big deal, trying to lessen the impact of the words because they meant that her stalker was still out there, still watching and waiting to make whatever move all of this was leading up to. “I’ll show you if you want to see.” She told him after a long moment, studying him as he studied her. “But, I have a request as well for whatever you’re going to do.”
The other eyebrow joined the first as he waited for what she might possibly have to ask.
“Can I tag along?”
She wanted him to tell her it was done.
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