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❐ The Conjuring
❐ Starters (01)
❐ Replies (12)
❐ Drabbles (16)
Discord: Words On Fire#6171
Twelve years old and on a weekend retreat from the Catholic girls’ school she normally attended. A weekend that didn’t allow for socializing or even talking of any kind. Only praying. Deemed necessary by one of the teachers at her school because she had been considered ‘fanciful’ when she told the Sister that the woman’s light shown brighter even than that of the Mother Superior. How was she to know that others couldn’t see the things she saw? She had thought it was perfectly normal. And, oh how she wanted to be normal. Why couldn’t she just be like everyone else?
She truly didn’t understand why someone wouldn’t want to know something like that. A brighter light meant a brighter soul, a good person. Shouldn’t everyone be told they were good? But, if there was one thing that Lorraine Moran was, it was a fast learner. That weekend made her realize that the things she saw, sensed and felt were not normal, everyday things that everyone experienced. They were not always things people wanted pointed out and maybe…maybe they were not things she should talk about at all.
Because, they were not always good things like what she had said to the Sister. She saw other things, too. Things that were scary and she wanted to pretend weren’t there because if she didn’t acknowledge them, maybe they would go away. Those things she didn’t talk about. Talking made things more real and she couldn’t pretend if she brought those things into the light.
Shadows slithering, sliding, creeping. Sometimes appearing somewhat humanoid in shape, sometimes nothing even close. Sometimes just something slightly darker than the shadows around it, sometimes something not visible at all but still so clearly there. A whisper in the dark. A feeling of being watched, stalked, hunted. A bad feeling that couldn’t be described as anything but just that: bad.
The weekend away gave her time to do nothing but think and she didn’t like where that thinking had taken her. The Sister had said that she was fanciful because she had pointed out something that others couldn’t see. Was that true? Was she making it up? She didn’t think so. Why would she do that when she wanted nothing more than to be like everyone else? When she had thought she was like everyone else. No, what she saw was really there, but maybe…maybe it didn’t have to be.
Maybe if she denied it hard enough, convinced herself, willed hard enough…maybe it would just all go away. She couldn’t think of these abilities – if that was the right word for them – as gifts at all. They were more like a curse that made her stand out among the rest of the world, prevented her from fitting in, and showed her things she didn’t understand. Things she sometimes didn’t want to. What was the good in having such things?
Her retreat had been a sobering one and her return revealed a different child. She was even more quiet and somber upon first arriving. Clearly the weekend had had its intended effect and she was no longer going to be going on about the things that had caused her to be sent away in the first place. She was going to focus more on her studies and the things that her school and the church offered. She would be what they wanted her to be and leave those other things behind.
It was harder than she had anticipated, deliberately not seeing the things all around her, not allowing herself to believe they were there, that she had made them up and had now seen the light. It was like something constantly out of whack, out of reach. It was like walking on egg shells as she attempted to play the part of normal, dutiful little Catholic girl with nothing extraordinary about her at all.
But, no matter how much she pretended, how much she wished it all away, she couldn’t stop it all completely. In sleep she had no control. In sleep those things suppressed in the daylight had free reign. Both the good and the bad, but the bad seemed to have more strength the more she tried to deny it all.
Darkness. A darkness so black that it felt almost tangible, thick and inky and oppressive. There was something there in that darkness. Watching. Waiting. For what she had no idea, but it sent chills down her spine and jolted her into what she thought was wakefulness.
Jerking upright in bed with a gasp, she pulled her blankets up to her chin and squinted as she waited for her eyes to adjust to the blackness around her. It took longer than she thought and a terror began to creep through her as her eyes darted this way and that, trying to detect what it was that was in the room with her.
When that didn’t work, she squeezed her eyes shut, clinging to the blankets almost like a shield that would protect her from anything that might wish her harm. “This isn’t real…I made it all up…I’m a fanciful child with fanciful stories that have no basis in reality.” The first part was her own thinking, the second parroted from what she had been repeatedly told before the epiphany that brought her to her current state of denial.
“This isn’t real. I made it all up.” The words were repeated as if she could convince herself and therefore the world that they were true. Almost a prayer in their intensity and the desperate need for them to protect her. Something she didn’t feel she could do herself, something she had been telling herself wasn’t necessary. If things weren’t real, then she needed no protection from them.
She was trembling as the words faded, but her mouth continued to move, silently repeating the words over and over. The words froze on her lips and ice shot through her veins as she felt something touch her shoulder. What flashed before her eyes was something she couldn’t describe later had she tried.
So many people suffering. So much torture and death and worse. Betrayal and possession and everything that couldn’t exist that went bump in the night. People dying, people crying, people hurting each other and themselves.
Laughter, cruel and mocking and triumphant. Eyes glowing red, eyes black as the deepest pit of Hell. Claws and teeth and horns. Cheshire grins and eternal amusement with the suffering of others.
A voice, deep and regretful, almost shimmering in the darkness, sad as it came from the shadows. Unfamiliar, never before heard, but resonating in her heart nonetheless: “I’m sorry, Lorraine.”
A shock, another jolt, but of a different kind. Her eyes snapping open, tears streaming down young, child plump cheeks. “No!” Sobs tearing from her throat as her head jerked back and forth in denial, in terror. Overwhelmed and teetering on the brink of insanity. Something clicking, almost snapping into place with a finality that left her senses numb as the visions faded and the silence descended once more.
Opening her eyes once more, she swallowed hard, the painful sobs tapering off slowly. The darkness was fading, the touch on her shoulder gone as if it had never existed. A glance around and she knew she wasn’t alone. But, this presence was different. This presence was lighter. This presence didn’t want to hurt her. Yet part of her didn’t want to see it either. Didn’t want to see any of it. She just wanted it all to fade back into her imagination where it all belonged.
But, it wasn’t fading. It was only getting stronger and since it wasn’t going away, she did the only thing she could. She called out to it. “Hello?” Her voice trembled, hoarse as if it hadn’t been used for some time. “I know you’re there!” It didn’t come out as strong as she wanted it to, but part of her knew it didn’t have to. She would be heard whether she spoke aloud or not. “I’m not scared!” A total lie. She was still trembling as she watched and waited for what was to come.
It couldn’t be worse than what she had already seen, could it? She wasn’t sure, but she knew she was about to find out as she watched something step out of the shadows.
Whatever the reason for these dreams, they only made Lorraine more determined than ever to suppress these things, to ignore them, to forget them if she could. For the next few years, that was just what she did. She focused on being what she was supposed to be: just like everyone else. Or…not quite just like them, but at least normal.
Oh, her girlfriends became use to her little quirks. The times when her attention would wander and she would appear to be somewhere else entirely. They just figured that she was daydreaming more than the rest of them and they needed to draw her attention back. They liked her enough that they were usually more amused by it than anything, teasing her about what she might have been thinking about that had taken her attention from them. They were never even remotely close, but it was nice to know that they accepted the things that she couldn’t – wouldn’t – explain to them. It was good because it helped her to ignore it better as well, though none of it ever fully went away.
It wasn’t until she was sixteen-years-old that this began to change. That was the year that she met her soulmate and the one person who believed her, who understood, because he went through things that were unexplainable and definitely not ‘normal’ as well. She knew from the moment that they met that they were meant to be together and she wasn’t wrong.
Engaged at seventeen, married at eighteen, they were as close as it was possible for two people to be. Truly two halves of one soul brought together for a reason. Though Lorraine didn’t know that reason at first and she didn’t really care. They were together and that was what mattered. Even after he enlisted and left her for a time. They still managed to make it work. They had each other, they had their daughter and somehow she always knew he was going to come back to her.
And he did. And he brought her back to herself as well. It was because of him that she began to accept her abilities. Those things he called ‘gifts.’ The things she had been trying to ignore and get rid of for the last four years of her life. She began to accept that she was never really going to be normal and that was okay because neither of them were normal but they could be odd together. They could use that strangeness for good. They could use it to help others. People who couldn’t find help anywhere else because no one else believed.
And so, that was what they did. She embraced her clairvoyance and other abilities and he became the only non-ordained demonologist recognized by the Catholic church and they set out to do what they were meant to do.
At first it was touch and go, hit and miss. At first people didn’t ask for their help, they had to offer it. But, they had to offer it in a way that it seemed like they weren’t. In their twenties, the young couple would be drawn to these ‘haunted’ houses and to gain access they took a rather odd route, but one that seemed to work out rather well. Her husband would stand outside the house, sketching it and then painting it while those inside watched and wondered what he was doing. Once the painting was finished, she would take it to the door and offer it to the residents as a special gift, all of her personality and charm gaining them access to do what they needed to do.
It wasn’t long before they became more well known and people started seeking out their help. It was help they didn’t deny and the cases stacked up, but never blended into each other. They weren’t all legitimate, of course. Though all the cases they accepted were from people who truly believed they were being haunted. A lot of those scary things could be explained away, debunked without too much effort and those were the cases that they liked. That was what they wanted the results to be.But, there were plenty of times that was not the case as well and the things they faced were much darker, much scarier, much more dangerous. Those were the things that lingered in her mind and heart and took a little piece of her each time they faced them. Those were the things that she refused to let conquer her – though one had come close – and that was how she found herself where she did today.
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How we met: At the theater where Ed worked.
First Date: Jitterbugging at the local dance hall, early 1943
“Do you go dancing often?” She finally asked, when the silence had gone on for a bit. “I don’t. I mean, I’ve gone with my girlfriends and of course the whole family night thing, but…” She trailed off, thinking that just sounded lame. “But not…on a date.” There. It wasn’t something she had wanted to admit, but with how she was acting, she figured it was pretty obvious she didn’t do this a lot, didn’t know what she was supposed to be doing or how she was supposed to act. She liked him. A lot. And she didn’t even know him. But, she wasn’t sure he felt the same, couldn’t see why he would.
She attempted a smile again when they arrived at the dance hall, hesitating and wondering if she should wait for him to open her door for her again as he had before. He took the option from her as he hurried around to do so and she reached for his hand again, not waiting for him to accept this time as she climbed out of the car and he closed the door behind her. “Thank you.” She shifted to weave her arm through his as she had earlier, feeling slightly more confident this time, though not much. He hadn’t pulled away any of the other times she had initiated such contact, so she was taking that as – and hoping she was right – a sign that he wouldn’t do so now.
Her eyes lit up as they got closer to the doors and they could clearly hear the strains of Glenn Miller from inside. She did love to dance and she was good at it, even if she didn’t have much practice on the couple part of it. And who didn’t love Glenn Miller?
She found herself tugging on Ed just a bit as the doors were pulled open for them and they were greeted with a grin and wide welcoming gesture into the main floor of the dance hall. The music was loud and there was already a crowd. While it might normally be intimidating, Lorraine was surprised to realize that she was really happy and looking forward to this. The dance floor was full, the crowd seeming like one group willing to dance with anyone. Couples, singles, it didn’t matter who you were, if you were in range, you became a dance partner to anyone who found themselves needing one.
Turning sparkling eyes on Ed, Lorraine grinned. “Ready to swing a wing?” She asked, not waiting for an answer before pulling him toward that crowded dance floor and weaving her way through to a spot big enough for both of them before she let go of his arm and started to move to the music. It was hard not to let the music move you when in such an atmosphere as this. It was one of the reasons she loved this place. It wasn’t just a group of people, it was a unit, everyone happy to include everyone else. It was magic.
Take my hand
Take my whole life, too
I can't help falling
In love with you
*****First connection box (left side) starts here.*****
*****Second connection box (right side) starts here.*****
The day sixteen-year-old Lorraine Moran met her soulmate was a day like any other. The year was 1943 and signs of the war raging over seas were present all around them as she and a couple of her girlfriends walked the main street of Bridgeport, Connecticut on their way toward the Polis Majestic theater. Posters and radio ads screamed for the purchase of war bonds, an emotional plea for the citizens of the United States to support their men and their country in a simple act of patriotism that anyone could participate in. Everywhere you looked you were encouraged to do your part and contribute to the national defense.
Enlistment posters were just as prominent, recruitment attempts for men to fight for their country, their freedom and to destroy the Japanese who had gotten the US involved in this war to begin with - Pearl Harbor had been forgotten by no one – and to free those held under Nazi tyranny to reopen world communication and cooperation. Women were encouraged to join the fight as well, due to the shortage of manpower. Not only were they needed as switchboard operators, telegraphers, mechanics and drivers, but to actually join the women’s Army corps and the Navy. By the fall of last year the Women’s Auxiliary Air Squadron began training women pilots who flew planes to different military bases in the United States. They tested the aircrafts and performed other non-combat flight duties, afraid they would never be allowed in the military again if they weren’t sufficient in a chosen role. Woman power was on the rise.
Even those at home were encouraged to accept the ration books with grace and dignity, proving that women were just as important in their ability to care for their families, to keep them happy and healthy on less than they had once had. That rationing was an art that women were to be praised and appreciated for. They were also encouraged and expected to step into the rolls of the men who had gone overseas to fight for their country, staffing factories and manufacturing plants, for the duration of the war and only until the men returned. Many women who had been employed in fields strictly for women, such as secretarial positions and domestic jobs were eager to try their hands at jobs only men had done before, becoming taxi and streetcar drivers, heavy construction machinery operators, lumber and steel mill workers, building dirigibles, making munitions and much more.
Propaganda was everywhere that you looked, print, film and radio. Rosie the Riveter, in her bandana covered hair and her blue coveralls with the sleeve rolled back proclaimed “We Can Do It!" from posters seen just about everywhere.
Amidst that propaganda and the demands that the country to what it could to aid in the war efforts, radios cried out news from around the world, while newspapers could be seen on street corners and in hands of many around the city, headlines screaming out to catch the attention of those patriotic enough to care…or just curios as to the state of the world they were now living in.
WAR CONFERENCE OF HIGH OFFICERS HELD IN NORTH AFRICA
ROSEVELT, STALIN, CHURCHILL AGREE ON PLANS FOR WAR ON GERMANY IN TALKS AT TEHERAN; 1,500 MORE TONS OF BOMBS DROPPED ON BERLIN
U.S. FORCES HAVE OUTFLANKED JAPS ON GUADALCANAL
ALLIES TAKE 2 CITIES: DUCE FREE, SAY NAZIS
JAPS EXECUTE YANKEE PRISONERS
AMERICANS TAKE KASSERINE GAP: BRITISH PROBE MARETH OUTPOSTS: NAZI ATTACKS SLOW SOVIET DRIVE
None of that was really on the minds of the three girls as they walked, however. Though war and its effects swirled around them and was unavoidable, life still had to go on and they were still teenagers. Discussions ranged from school to studies to friends – and enemies – to the fact that Betty had a new pair of Saddle shoes. Of all of the topics, the shoes were by far the most important because there was a shoe ration along with all of the others and shoes were, of course, a big deal for all of the girls.
“Aren’t they just killer-diller?” Betty was twisting her foot this way and that, just outside the movie theater where they now stood, so that her two companions could get the best view of her new footwear. She knew that she was stylish and a thing of jealousy in that moment. None of her friends had such a thing to show off and so she was enjoying her brief moment in the spotlight. She flipped her dark hair over one shoulder and offered a huge smile to her friends.
“Yeah, yeah.” Alice was rolling her eyes and making a point of looking anywhere but at those coveted shoes while sneaking a glance whenever she could. She didn’t have as much as most of her friends, money or material possessions, and jealousy hit her hard and often. As her gaze was drawn to those pristine white bobby socks and the ever-coveted shoes, she repressed a scowl, but she couldn’t manage a smile. So, she settled for an attempt at aloof instead.
She knew her attempt was futile when Betty’s smile only grew and she preened even more. She seemed to live on other peoples’ admiration and jealousy. “Aw, c’mon, Ali-girl.” She wheedled. “You know they’re pretty special. You can admit it, I won’t tell.” She stuck her foot out again, admiring the shoe herself. “You know, I’m sure Charles would get you a pair if you asked him real nicely.” She spoke as if the idea was an offhand one, but the sly smirk said otherwise.
That drew Alice’s attention back and her eyes narrowed slightly before she shook her head as if brushing the idea off without much thought. “Charles has much more important things to spend his money on than that.” She spoke as if her boyfriend were above such things and her friend was a child for even suggesting such a thing. Besides, it took much more than just money to acquire more shoes than each family was allotted in their ration books.
“More important than you?” Betty couldn’t resist, though she knew she was pushing it. Not only was Alice the jealous type when it came to things like killer-diller shoes, but she was very possessive of the aforementioned boyfriend and the slightest mention of him being anything less than completely devoted was enough to set her scowling.
When the dig got her nothing more than the expected scowl, she was somewhat disappointed. But, since she didn’t really want to fight anyway, she shrugged and turned her attention to her other friend who had made no mention of her shoes or their friend’s boyfriend’s priorities. “What do you think, Lorraine?” She asked, sticking out her foot one more time, knowing she could usually count on at least an attempt at pleasantries from that corner.
Lorraine, however, wasn’t paying attention to the controversial shoe conversation at all. Her gaze was riveted on the movie house they stood outside, a slightly glazed look in her eyes. Something pulled her toward the place, though she would never in a million years tell her friends that. She had learned her lesson the hard way when she was twelve and she had mentioned to the nun at the girls’ Catholic school she was attending that her light shown brighter than even the Mother Superior’s.
At the time she had thought that everyone could see and feel the things she did, but she had quickly learned that was not the case. That revelation had resulted in a weekend away that allowed for no talking or socializing of any kind. An entire weekend of strictly praying and contemplating the admonishment to not be so fanciful. While she might not have learned the lesson that was intended, she had learned another. Those things about her weren’t special at all. They made her different and different was not what she wanted to be.
She had stopped mentioning anything that could be considered different or strange, buried those abilities, or whatever they were, deeply inside. She tried to avoid them, to tell herself that they weren’t real and that the Sister had been right. She was just a fanciful child. Yet, even at her most convincing, they never went away entirely.
“Lorraine!” Betty snapped her fingers in front of her face with an exasperated and yet amused expression. She and Alice were used to their friend’s wandering mind and constant distractions. She often seemed to be elsewhere, thinking about other things rather than paying attention to what was going on around her. But, that was okay. They liked her anyway. “You awake in there?”
Blinking, Lorraine stared at her friend for a moment and then she felt a heat rise to her cheeks that she hoped wasn’t resulting in a visible blush. “Sorry. I was thinking about something else.” She murmured, relieved to see a grin on Betty’s face, though she adopted a mock offended expression shortly after.
“Clearly!” She huffed, hands on her hips. “Here we were, admiring my new shoes and you weren’t even paying attention! And I thought you were my friend!” She put a hand dramatically over her heart and the other on her forehead as if she were a martyr from one of the movies they all so loved and might just pass out from the utter betrayal.
After a moment, she peeked at Lorraine from under the hand on her forehead and her expression shifted to one more knowing and teasing. “There’s only one thing I can think of that might be more important than me.” She said, dropping both hands and leaning slightly forward. A glance at Alice showed that the other girl was apparently over their little discussion and was arching an eyebrow as she waited to hear what the darker girl had come up with.
“Something’s more important than you?” Lorraine attempted levity, but she wasn’t sure what her friend was getting at, so she didn’t try too hard. “I would never have guessed.”
“Only one thing.” Betty nodded sagely, pausing dramatically for a long moment. “Boys!”
The revelation made both Lorraine and Alice blink in surprise and then they all burst into laughter. It would figure that was the one thing Betty would deem important. “Boys? Why would I be thinking about boys?” Lorraine finally asked, neither confirming nor denying the accusation.
“Why wouldn’t you be?” Betty asked in return, shifting to link her arm with both of her friends as she guided them toward the ticket booth. She almost started laughing again when she saw just who it was that was working the booth and settled for subtly nudging Lorraine’s shoulder meaningfully instead.
Lorraine didn’t notice the nudge, her attention was once more focused on something that wasn’t her friends. Though the same age as them, she wasn’t so sure that Ed Warren qualified as a ‘boy.’ He was serious and hard working and…well, she didn’t know him enough to know what else he was. She just knew that she often saw him working here at the theater when she made her way downtown. He was…interesting, but she had never really spoken to him at all. Ignoring the nudge completely, she released both of her friends’ arms and stepped forward to request their tickets, offering a shy smile to Ed as she slid her money forward.
He studied her for a long moment and then placed the money on top of the tickets and slid them all back to her with a smile. “On the house.”
The smile did things to her that she hadn’t thought possible and Lorraine was at a loss for words as she reached for the money and tickets. “Oh, you don’t have to do that.” She finally managed, attempting to pay once more, her hands shaking slightly as she tried to figure out just what it was that was going on.
He shook his head and mock pouted. “Are you trying to stop me from being a gentleman here?” He asked as if disappointed. “I’m trying to do a favor for a pretty lady. I would appreciate it if you’d just accept it.” He flashed that smile one more time and she couldn’t come up with a reply.
“Hey, thanks!” Betty swooped in to the rescue, grinning at Ed while she took Lorraine’s arm and started to guide her into the theater. “Come on, Lorraine. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.” She offered a wave back to Edward and pulled Lorraine forward.
A glance back showed Lorraine that he was watching her. Something clicked with almost an audible sound, making her feel an entirely different warmth than the embarrassment of a few minutes earlier. She found herself offering him the most beautifully sincere smile she had ever displayed before returning her attention to her friends.
“I think he likes you.” Betty nudged her again, while Alice agreed from the other side, both girls were getting far too much enjoyment out of a simple nice gesture, she was sure of it.
A glance back showed that he had turned his attention to another customer and was no longer looking in her direction, but she could still feel him anyway. “What makes you think that?” She asked almost absently. Of the odd feelings she got almost constantly, most were not pleasant. This was something entirely different than she had ever experienced before.
“Just a feeling.” Betty grinned, shifting to take her hand instead of her arm as she pulled her toward the doors to find their seats. “Just a feeling.” When they were seated and waiting for the movie to start, Lorraine expected the gossip to start up again or for Betty to show off her shoes just one more time. What she got was not what she had thought. “You know.” Betty leaned forward so that she could see both of her friends. “Some things are just meant to be.”
The streamers strung across the window shouted the sentiment in brightly colored letters during what should have been a loud and rowdy birthday party hosting several ten-year-olds. What it really was was the three of them waiting for any of those invited to actually arrive. It didn’t look likely at this point that any would. Balloons were blown up and party hats waited right where they had been laid out
Lorraine discreetly checked her watch as she sat at the table with Judy. Her daughter looked so sad, though that briefly changed to a glimmer of hope as she looked up at her father returning from answering the door. Ed wore one of the party hats on top of his head and had been trying to keep spirits up for nearly an hour now. The look Judy shot him broke Lorraine’s heart and when he shook his head and said it had just been a delivery, she thought she would cry for her daughter.
“Hey…” She reached for Judy’s hand as her daughter’s shoulders slumped and her gaze dropped to the table when Ed sat back down. “We can still have fun, yeah? We can play games and open presents…” She tried to sound hopeful, to sound happy, but it was hard. She knew Judy had to be devastated and nothing she could do was going to lift her spirits right now.
“Yeah…” Judy looked up and between them, doing her best to smile, doubtless because she thought that was what they wanted when all they really wanted was for her to be happy. They didn’t want her to feel like she had to pretend. Lorraine squeezed her hand and then let go, glancing at Ed across the table. He looked as upset about the whole thing as she felt, but she knew Judy wouldn’t be able to tell even if she had been paying attention instead of focused on her own feelings. She could just read Ed like a book as he could do with her.
“I’ll get the cake.” She finally offered, standing to do so. There wasn’t much they could do except follow through with the things they had planned for the party that so clearly wasn’t happening. She knew Judy loved them, but kids deserved to have more than their parents at their birthday party, and she had every right to be upset that none of her classmates had shown up. Ed merely nodded and took over trying to comfort Judy.
Moving into the kitchen, Lorraine opened one of the drawers to retrieve a knife to cut the cake. Glancing at the counter beside her she frowned a little. That day’s newspaper sat where it often did, but it was the headline that screamed up at her that she didn’t like: HEROES OR A HOAX? On top of that was a picture of herself and Ed during one of their lectures. The article referenced an exorcism they had recently been involved in and brought to light the controversy that always surrounded such things, skewing them in a not so pleasant light while trying to appear to be objective about the whole thing.
Flipping the paper over, she sighed. She was fairly certain that had something to do with their conspicuously empty dining room. Not only the article, but what she and Ed did in itself. She was almost used to people questioning and not believing them, accusing them of being frauds, fakes, of being strange, crazy…any number of things. People tended to lash out against things they didn’t understand or believe and those who didn’t agree.
But, none of that was Judy’s fault or anything she should have to deal with. The sins of the parents and all that. Their daughter had nothing to do with their choice of career and what they did for a living and she shouldn’t have to suffer the backlash. But, clearly she did. She didn’t seem to have a lot of friends anyway, despite being a wonderful child. She was kind and considerate and fun. Somewhat shy and quiet, but once she opened up she was a great friend. But, rumors flew and if her parents were strange or worse, then how could she not be the same?
She never complained when asked. She said she had friends at school, but seldom went to visit any and even less often did any come to their home. Those that had had seemed more intent on seeing the ‘scary things’ there than actually being there to visit a friend. She didn’t doubt some were afraid to have anything to do with her at all. She knew that was the case with some of the parents they had met at some of the Parent/Teacher nights. It wasn’t fair and she would do anything to make it different, but she knew there wasn’t really anything she could do and, as a mother, it hurt her heart to be so helpless in such a thing as making her daughter happy.
The ringing of the doorbell pulled her out of her thoughts, and she moved to prepare the cake to be taken to the table, placing the candles and such. She was picking it up when Ed returned once more. This time he wasn’t alone, and she offered a smile to their guest. Mary Ellen was often Judy’s babysitter, but more than that the teen was a close friend of the family, more like a sister to Judy than anything and her presence had been missed. She may not be a classmate, but she was someone who had made the effort to show up and that mattered.
Greeting them all, Mary Ellen put her present on the table and gave Judy a hug, chatting with her a bit as if she hadn’t noticed that no one else were there, as if it was the upbeat and wonderful party it had been planned as. It brought a partial smile to Judy’s face and Lorraine was more grateful for that than she could have ever put into words.
Moving to bring in the cake, she plastered a grin on her own face and began to sing as she put it in front of Judy. “Happy Birthday to you…” The others joined in and Judy’s smile grew just a bit as the song came to an end and she leaned forward. “Don’t forget to make a wish.” Lorraine reminded, still smiling and trying to be happy because at least they were together.
Judy’s smile faded a little as she nodded. “I won’t.” She murmured before blowing out the candles. Lorraine didn’t ask what her daughter had wished for. Not because of the superstition that the wish wouldn’t come true if told, but because she wasn’t sure her heart could handle hearing the answer.
Judy Warren - Open Role