Friday’s Corner

It’s Friday! Made it through another week. I’ve had hardly any work to do but since everything is blocked on the internet I’m left sitting playing solitaire on the computer. I had people express their sympathy for how I’m being treated and that it hasn’t gone unnoticed but that’s not going to change the fact that I’m looking for another job. I had two emails from employers, ‘we are going ahead with our process’ or ‘we feel another candidate would be better suited.’ I’m just hoping that my current employer has given a bad reference. Why would they? I’m bringing my doodle book and some other stuff to keep me occupied.

I wrote a little short story. It’s nothing much but it was enough to get me excited about writing again. Happy Friday!

Corner Watcher

For years she played with Gemma. They were inseparable just as a girl and friend should be. Then her Gemma grew apart having less in common. Gemma sits on a chair in the corner of her friend’s room, watching as she made plans and growing up.
She sat in that corner for years watching her friend grow up into a young woman.
She watched triumphs and trophies, first loves and heartbreaks. She watched fights with her parents and life learned lessons. Through the years Gemma noticed an unknown shadow slowly get closer to her friend’s window. At first, Gemma didn’t think anything of it but grew concerned when she could see that the shadow had human characteristics. She wanted to scream at her once forever friend about the danger lurking outside. One night her friend was woken by the sound of broken glass. Gemma could see the figure was now in the room and her friend was making an escape. Gemma glared the man down as he hurriedly left out the window he broke through. The father came in the room with a 911 operator on the floor, ‘Yes, I think we’ll be able to identify the intruder,’ as he picked up Gemma from her corner chair. As usual, Gemma saw everything sitting in the corner. The triumphs, heartbreaks, plans being made and thanks to the little nanny came, she also saw the intruder.

Prompt: August The Doll Maker

Back to my goals of writing and plan on catching up on my classes here soon. This means I have to push myself instead of curling up in my recliner brooding over bullshit that I can’t handle. Yes, this isn’t my best work but it’s something. I took August’s prompt words and created a short story.


August the Doll Maker
lawyer justifies beliefs

‘The headline read: Lawyer Justifies Beliefs.’ It was difficult not to follow the doll maker’s story. Growing up we were told not to go in the north woods where a society of witch crafting people dwelled. It was rumored that the witches that lived in the woods would steal children and keep them stored in their cellars like we would keep pickled vegetable and jam for the winter months. I turned the page to read about the wide-eyed doll that was the key evidence in the crime.

The doll creator, August, being charged with murder was a feeble man that everyone in our town felt sorry for and purchased his creations as often as possible. They weren’t your run of the mill homemade crocheted dolls or something that you see everyone on a Pinterest DIY mom board try to recreate. No. For a man living in the woods created beautiful, delicate, yet resilient dolls that stood the test of time. I actually have one of his sitting on my mantle that was my mother’s. I cringed looking at the doll and back down at the paper.

The doll maker’s picture in the paper made him look more domineering than weak and I found an absence of sorrow for him. ‘The bodies of 3 missing kids and cow were found during the search of the property.’ I felt betrayed more than anything as I’m sure the entire town was feeling, reading the same paper. We trusted this man believing he was trying to launch a business so he and his family wouldn’t go hungry, but that wasn’t the case. He didn’t have a family to feed he had crimes to cover. ‘The surviving victim stated that he was supposed to be part of the next line of products. Lamps were something that his kidnapper would work on almost every night by the light of his own old coal oil lamp. August wanted to bring back the antique light sources.’

The paper continued ‘August struggled with creating a voice box that mooed for his farm animal line of dolls and was some of his most recent unsuccessful creations.’ I remember those mooing dolls. They were hideous cow shaped monstrosities that he was very pushy about selling. The sound after pulling the cord on the animal’s back wasn’t a moo but more of a cow being slaughtered. I nervously laughed that day, struggling with politely refusing the purchase. I crossed the street that day and turned to see a child clinging to his mother as the doll maker realized that he was losing another sale. The image of the survivor that was pictured in the paper was the same child that clung to his mother that day. The child looked as if he aged overnight full of wisdom and advice.  I guess a traumatic experience would do that to any person.

I finished my cereal while reading the article. ‘The doll maker believed that sacrifices had to be made to live in today’s society stated his lawyer. While the lawyer curved this reporter’s questions of black magic and the death of children he did state that his client was mentally unstable to stand trial and his medical team will ensure that his client will get all the medical treatment necessary and are diligent in his care. He is asking for the death penalty to be removed as part sentencing and a life without parole be considered instead. The lawyer also stated that his beliefs are justified as many people pray for survival in this world. He shouldn’t be persecuted for his religion and solely on his crimes that don’t warrant death as he was delusional about how to worship. The doll that was gathered for evidence was created from his previous victims discovered through forensic testing and the police are asking that anyone with a doll created by the defendant to bring it to the police station.’ I clapped my hands together afraid to touch the poor soul sitting on my shelf and instead ran and dialed the local PD to remove the doll.

6 Word Story: 8/12

I use today’s prompt word like it is second nature but haven’t really thought much of the definition. I think I have even used it in a few work emails. I also think that it a word that can be used in both reassuring and threatening ways. I’m running super behind but have a lot planned for today and tomorrow. My son is even joining me in writing one of his own stories.

The more I thought about this prompt the more I realized that it has taken me a long time to even accept who I am as a person. It’s tough living up to everyone expectations and beating myself up about who I am not or what a failure I am. I’m trying to turn that around.


Prompt: Insure

Guarantee your happiness; love yourself unconditionally. 

 

Zero Flashes

I decided that I needed to write something…anything. Today’s word prompt for the 6-Word Story was time and thought why not continue it to something longer. I edited it and rewrote parts trying to keep in mind what I have learned so far in my writing class. I focused on a character’s description trying to use as few detailing words as possible. The end goal was for the main character not to live hour by hour but rather moment by moment. This was achieved by force from an outside source. I think I may have failed at this. It feels generic and boring. I haven’t really written anything in length in a while and lost my train of thought more times than I can count. I know it’s the pain in my jaw but it’s less today and I need to get back into the swing of things… especially ones that I love. The prompt was, ‘All the clocks stopped working’.


sundialSam ran her life by the clock. The little timepiece on her wrist, on her phone, in the car, and even in her bathroom added numerical values to her daily life. Sometimes it was stressful and sometimes it felt like time would drag on. Some days she would have everything completed while others she had nothing but time left over with nothing to fill the tick-tocks between numbers.
5am- Run for half hour
5:30am- Shower
6am-Dress, gather and pack purse and lunch
6:45am-Breakfast
7:30am-Arrive at work
Sam’s mornings were always like this, day in and day out. She was a creature of habit and completely ok with her life, all while checking what time it was.

It was late fall when she woke up to her alarm clock flashing zeros. She panicked a little knowing she woke up late and behind schedule but also concluded that the electricity had gone out. Picking her phone up she realized the time face on her device was flashing zeros. Now confusion was added to her panic. She thought her watch would be able to tell her which number in the day she was really at but the little thin gold hands weren’t making their rounds. As she went from room to room all her clocks stopped and that’s when she thought her brother was playing a prank on her. The previous night she told her brother that she would have to check her calendar to see if she had time to meet him for dinner next week. When she was looking through her phone’s calendar app she told him that she could set a reminder for 7pm next Wednesday. Her brother laughed at her, ‘You have to make time to see your family?’ he said laughing at her. Dismissing the memory of the conversation, she turned the TV on to find the time. Nothing.

It was light out already, not yet bright and Sam thought it was past time for her daily run and shower. She shoved a hastily made sandwich and water into her purse and ran out the door. The clock in her car wasn’t any help either. Some people sped past her and some she had to pass. Once she was at her office she noticed it was absolute chaos and confusion. Some of her coworkers were present and some were not. She sat at her computer discovering all her programs and internet were working correctly but the clock. That damn useless clock displaying zeros. Was her time up? Was the world’s time up?
‘SAM!’ she turned to see her little round boss red, sweaty, and out of breath.
‘Yes, Mr. Timbalt?’
‘Do you know what time it is?’
Knowing this couldn’t be a trick question and that she wasn’t in trouble she answered honestly. ‘No,’ she said in a lost voice.
Mr. Timbalt’s face dropped and he took off in what would be considered fast for him but regular pace for Sam. A newspaper runs on deadlines but there was a story. They are ALL living it right now.

The news channel in the office sputtered to life with both anchors looking disheveled and unprepared. They couldn’t give answers as to why no one could tell time but it happened all over the world and all at once. They explained experts were going to come and help tell what time it is by the sun during the days measuring light to add back a semblance of order to the chaos. These experts were actually hunters, farmers, fishermen, and astronomers to name a few. Sam thought it was unusual to refer to this method as a lost art but in reality, the confusion the entire world was going through proved that it was.

A year later, life was still productive and scheduled but it was relaxed and prioritized with the essentials. The world wasn’t thrown back into the Stone Age and technology still advanced. Time was a gift now appreciated and not live by. Sam still works at the newspaper and still makes deadlines but isn’t a slave to her watch. All around the world, the clocks that remained in place stand like statues with their hands resting at 12 and one seconds over. Some speculated that the time loss was due to a magnetic phenomenon while other’s suggested that it was an act of God. Sam thought it was an answer to bring life back to what’s important no matter what caused the zeros.

Photo: Sundial

6 Word Story: 7/30

Why did I pick this word?! I am having the most difficult time coming up with ANYTHING! I hope others fare a little better than I did. Then again, that’s the whole point, isn’t it? To try and challenge ourselves to better our art form? How about this?

Side note/question: Should I make a prompt list for August?


Prompt: Thud

 

Grotesque Angel: Pt 2

Continued….

Minnie giggled then her face went blank holding a photo.
‘Minnie, what’s wrong?’ I asked with all the concern a friend would have.
‘This guy right here looks like the one in the schoolyard. EXACTLY like what’s in the schoolyard.’ She said.
‘Oh him? He was on the Brittania at 527 West 110th Street and they call him the scholar. I’m pretty sure that it’s a replica of a suitable figure for a school. I don’t think the school could afford the original even if the Brittania was parting with the grotesque.’ I said shoving some southern seasoned green beans in my mouth. Minnie looked through the rest of the picture and we chatted about the news that I missed and I told her more about New York. Then it was back to the office. I decided a walk home would be best as I gorged myself of fried goodness and thought it best to burn off the million calorie dinner. I took the photo out and thought that the gargoyle did look exactly like the one in the picture I held. Shrugging it off, I did my daily routine at home and went to bed.

I was woken up by what I thought was thunder but when looking outside there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. I turned on the 24-hour weather station out of curiosity and the doppler didn’t show anything in our area not even a blip of green on the screen. I listened closely but this time it didn’t sound like thunder. It sounded like something heavy was thrown from a high distance. This time I stood on the porch but couldn’t see anything. There wasn’t even a breeze. I waited just a few more minutes for the thuds to gauge distances but nothing happened. I fell back to sleep surprisingly quite quickly. When I woke up the next morning I had faint recollections of a dream. It wasn’t a nightmare but I remember feeling scared then safe. There was a beautiful blonde man but I couldn’t remember the face. I was distracted the rest of the day playing the dream over and over in my head. Like lightning hitting the water, a small movie clip from my dream played in my head. The blonde man was standing in front of me but behind him was a gargoyle with his head bowed then in the next sequence he looked as if he was lurching in my directions and wings spread. I realized I have seen this gargoyle in New York but his head was tucked as if to graciously bowing. Another tiring day behind me as I collapsed in the bed when arriving home. I didn’t even eat dinner or water my plants.

Weeks passed with only a few dreams and the only difference was that my gargoyle would be just a smidge closer. At the end of the month, I noticed more stone creatures showing up all over our small town. First my neighbor Sal, then it was the school but now the library, grocery store, and even the bars were homes to these statues.
I was walking to work when I saw my neighbor sitting on her porch drinking coffee,
‘Morning Sal, so, where did George find that beautiful specimen?’ I nodded down towards the stone figure.
‘You know it’s the damnedest thing. George told me he didn’t buy him,’ she said puzzled but not all that concerned. However, I felt uneasy.
‘Oh, you’re not the least bit curious as to where he came from? Worried some random serial killer could be marking homes with these things?’ I asked.
‘How do you know it’s a boy?’ I just looked at her in response to her odd question.

‘I’m only guessing? Wouldn’t you think the gargoyle would be a male? Men can be scarier and more threatening,’ I said with a smile.
‘I think I can top the scare scale when I haven’t had my coffee,’ I giggled and waved as I headed into work.

TO BE CONTINUED…..

Jo/© thecreativeptsdgal.wordpress.com

And a Reminder about Fenton Friday’s…Fenton needs more story and details. Check out the past two Fridays.

  1. Who is Fenton?
  2. Fenton Friday: Week Two Collaboration Project

 

Pat York, Pat. “Front View of House.” Flickr, Jonesboro, http://www.flickr.com/photos/60464669@N06/5681550750.

The Story that’s Getting Away: Grotesque Angels

This started out to be a short story and it feels like it has a mind of its own. I had characters developing in different ways than imagined and characters I didn’t even know were there. It’s becoming a bigger undertaking than I thought and I’m going to try and limit myself to sharing 500 words at a time.


Gargoyles have been around for an eternity and possess a wealth of history, meaning, and tales. Now visitors viewing these stone creatures post pictures on social media sites and not give them a second thought. I was once one of those people not so long ago on a trip to New York taking pictures of all the old churches, parks, and the gargoyles. We don’t have them in our small town just some old churches and a couple of bars. The trip was a success and I have beautiful pictures to prove it.
I had been home a week when I noticed a gargoyle perched on my neighbor’s porch as I walked by.
‘Hey Sal, when did you get that cute little guy?’ I asked her pointing towards her step.
Sally looked down with a puzzled expression, ‘Hmm…I didn’t get him, maybe George did.’
‘He’s great, have a good day.’ I waved and continued about my daily errands. I did my marketing because being gone on a trip I didn’t have any food and needed to stock up.
‘Oh, son of a…’ I danced around holding my foot.
Sal must have been proud of her new statue and moved him to the end of her pathway because I almost tripped stubbing my toe on the damn thing walking back home. Groceries spilled out all over the sidewalk. I cursed more very graphic language and when the stinging went away I packed up my staples and headed home but with a little hitch in my giddy-up.

About a week later, staring out my office window, I noticed that the schoolyard has adopted three of their very own stone gargoyles. They didn’t look as mean but more fatherly.
‘Oh, hey Minnie,’ I exclaimed as she walked past my office.
‘When did the school get their new sculptured friends?’ I asked as she stepped in and pointed her gaze in the direction of the schoolyard.
‘Oh I don’t know, I never really noticed those before. Maybe they’ve had them and we never paid any attention. Think about it, how often do you survey a school playground when you don’t have kids?’ She raised her eyebrow and pointed at me implying that I should think about that.
‘You know, one of the legends that surround these pieces of art is that they are to protect people from evil. That’s why churches have them, to protect the congregation.’ I said just as a matter of factly as she brought up not having kids. First, you need to have a husband or at least a boyfriend to produce offspring. Truth be told, this small town doesn’t have that many bachelors seeking mates. They are either too immature and or aging to concern themselves with those ideologies. I always wanted a family and she knows that’s a sore spot for me. Sure she set me up on blind dates or a friend of a friend type of date but they weren’t my type. She knew what I was saying without saying it.
‘Lunch?’ Minnie asked but what it really was is a change of subject past the awkward silence.
I packed mine today but it’ll keep in the fridge. Are you thinking Buck’s or the deli?’ I asked taking her proverbial olive branch.
‘You decide, she replied and disappeared.
‘Noon?’ I hollered and off in the distance I think it was a ‘yup,’ for her reply.

We sat at a booth in Buck’s Diner because I wanted some real home cooked food. My father and mother had their first date here. Hell, I think everyone’s parents had their first dates here. The mashed potatoes didn’t come from a box and the rest of the food didn’t taste like it was commercially made. The waitress set down our lunches; Minnie a salad, and the fried chicken and mashed taters for me.
‘How was your trip? Meet anyone interesting?’ Minnie asked as I was shoveling a huge forkful of taters and gravy in my mouth. I held up one finger and handed her an envelope of the pictures that I thought looked the best for print. She daintily took a bite of her salad and delicately took the photos out of their protective sleeve.
‘Not really but I was only there for the art. But one thing I missed was this right here,’ I took a huge bite out of my chicken leg.

TO BE CONTINUED…..

Jo/© thecreativeptsdgal.wordpress.com

 

Pat York, Pat. “Front View of House.” Flickr, Jonesboro, http://www.flickr.com/photos/60464669@N06/5681550750.

Meaningful Music

Today was an off day. It started with my walk and even though the weather said that it was going to be another clear hot day, the sky suggested something completely different. Combine a dark sky, hurried pace, and a couple of soundtracks inspiration was found.

A sample from my playlist:

I am a HUGE fan of Hozier and almost ALL of his songs. I am unhappy in my body and didn’t want to get back to my 400lb self and decided that I was no longer feeling like me. I worked and went through so much to get to where I was and I found myself slipping back. Being labeled as having C-PTSD, Pagan, overweight, and in some circumstances as standoffish sometimes music is the only salvation to set things right.

Inspired Writing from Walk:

I’m not the only lover that hasn’t paid her debt. I thought I had escaped my past but soon found out there is a debt to be owed but not at my hand, but my mothers. My life changed and I was the payment of her debt.

It was an unusually windy week, even for Chicago. The commute to work was almost impossible. There were times when a gust would almost knock me over. Thursday morning and I was already running late and needed to pick up a treat to share with the office. The sky has been dark with rolling clouds since Monday, but today I noticed that they looked like a spider following me. I now know that it was following its prey.

I managed to make it into the bakery without the door flying into the wall and purchased the last 2 dozen cookies. I don’t know why it’s customary to treat on one’s birthday but you would think it would be the other way around. I paid the baker and bid him farewell in which he replied, ‘Happy Birthday Aspen.’ Here I was turning 25 and hated hearing those words. Walking out of the bakery I noticed that the same spider clouds were almost waiting for me. I didn’t think much of it and arrived at the office just in the nick of time. My hair may have looked like I was stuck in a wind tunnel but by George I made it.

The day was the usual mundane office chores and everyone enjoyed the break for cookies. During lunch I checked the weather the whatever this storm was is still going to be hanging around. According to the meterologist, the system seemed to cyclone over us and predicted to stay for another week. This kind of put a damper on my plans because I was supposed to go on a hot air balloon ride with Justin. Even though we were the couple that broke up and got back together the next day we still enjoyed each others’ company during our broke up periods, this being one of them. I finished my day and headed home only to find the same spider cloud following me. This worried me a little and thought it would be best if I took a cab until the storm passed.

The next morning I hailed my cab and right in front of me it was struck by lightning just as my hand was reaching for the handle. I looked up and found the same dark ominous could over my head. I decided that I would take a sick day and hang around in the apartment. The day was relaxing and great up until I had to go out for lunch. The wind was more powerful than it ever was. I was steered into a park and into a tree. I was alone and frightened. I sat down at the base waiting for the force to pass but then the whispering started.

‘Every lover has a debt to be paid. You, my dear, are the price of your mother’s debt.’ Someone said.
I panicked. ‘What the hell? Who the hell?’
‘You are my daughter and your life on Earth has come to its end. You have duties to fulfill as Nuada’s child.’
I remember my dad fighting with my mom and saying that I wasn’t his daughter but I was young and the argument was dismissed. My father loved me until the day he died which oddly was a year ago today.
‘If I’m your daughter, prove it. I won’t fight but I need proof that I’m not a hallucinating nut job that needs to be admitted to the hospital for observations.’
‘Aspen, daughter of Willow, let me show you.’ the voice said. And with that, a scene of my mother with another man unfolded in the sky. Didn’t prove anything until I see her sign a contract stating that when the time comes that I am to live with my real father and begin my true duties. I found that contract when I was younger in the attic. My mother yelled at me for playing with it and think was relieved that I didn’t understand the writing.

I wake up in a dark place. It’s quiet and still but underneath me, I noticed the floor is the sky that has a raging storm brewing under my feet. ‘Am I dead?’ I said to the darkness. A gentleman walks up to me with his hand outreached.
‘Aspen, I’m your father, Nuada. Come. You have much to learn my child.’
I didn’t know where I was or who he really was but I felt safe. And the only thing I could do was trust him.

 

Jo/© thecreativeptsdgal.wordpress.com

Assuming Parents

I started writing this early this morning at work and with being slammed with work and then having multiple things go wrong here at home I’m finally finished. It was a fun piece to write in response to Discover’s prompt. There is adult content so readers be warned. Also, it’s longer than I intended. so sit back and read a spell. It felt good to be writing again…or getting back to it.


When I was a young girl I remember seeing my parents watch a 10th Anniversary airing on the news about an infant missing and mother murdered and father still claiming innocence. They didn’t look worried or concerned but held each other and smiled enjoying each other’s company. They were always a very loving couple and set the standards to which I held every one of my relationships too. My father and mother owned a small grocery store in our small town of Assumption, Minnesota. I remember when it was big news that they were adding a deli/butcher counter. The entire town of a little over 500 people was ecstatic now that they don’t have to drive over an hour out of their way to purchase fresh meat.

Even though my parents worked tirelessly at the store they made time for me. If I had a recital or wanted to go to the movies, or had a bake sale, they were there. I didn’t go without either and thought myself to be a very lucky child. The 15th Anniversary airing was on the news and again my parents didn’t seem bothered just enjoyed sitting next to each other. I was 15 at the time and was heading out the door when I stopped and stared at the TV. The mother of the poor infant was red headed and green eyed like me although my hair wasn’t curly. My mom looked over her shoulder and asked what time I would be home breaking me out of the trance. I politely replied 10:30pm and out the door, I went.

I got to Annie’s house and she and her family were all sitting around watching the news. Annie looked at me strangely and I knew what she was thinking but we didn’t say anything. The news report stated that the crime happened in Wisconsin and that the father still claimed his innocence and is begging for someone to come forward with any information. Even as he sits in jail he was still searching for his wife’s killer and baby girl. The anniversary airing was interrupted by a special report. A woman has been missing for the past 48 hours and if anyone knows of her whereabouts or has seen her to contact their local law enforcement agency. She was described as having red hair, green eyes, 156 lbs, and 8 months pregnant. I thought my mom was about 8 months along too. My father and she were so excited to add to the family. Annie and I hung out for a bit as there wasn’t really anything to do in Assumption but hang out. We talked about the missing woman and the dance next week and who was taking us. We talked about hair, makeup, and the essay due. During all the talking we pigged out on pizza that her mom made with the fresh pepperoni from my father’s deli. I got home and assumed my parents were already in bed as they weren’t on the couch. I quietly went to my room and fell asleep.

It must have been late morning when I woke up to the phone ringing, nonstop. I wobbled out of bed and downstairs to the kitchen where there was no breakfast and no mom and dad. I picked up the phone but it went dead. I guess the caller gave up. I looked and there wasn’t a note on the fridge but thought maybe mom and dad let me sleep in and they went to open the market. I was sitting down to a glass of OJ and reading the paper when someone knocked on the door. So hard, in fact, it startled me and dripped juice down the front of my shirt. Wiping my chin I opened the door while looking down trying to wipe away the wet spot from my shirt,
‘Lacey? Are you Lacey Dupree?’
I looked up to see two men standing in front of me both with serious looks on their faces.
‘Who’s asking?’ I said suspiciously.
‘I’m Detective Winslow and this is my partner Detective Cummings.’ Explained the taller gentleman showing badges. Are you Lacey?
‘Am I in trouble?’
‘No, but we need you to come into the station for questioning.’
I nodded and asked if I could change clothes and do something with my mop of hair. Annoyed, they obliged and then the next thing I know I’m sitting in the police station with a cup of hot chocolate that was probably there since the office was built and everyone staring at me.

The detectives returned and were asking me basic whereabout questions and about my parents. I told them everything that I did that night, where i went, who I was with, and what time I got home. They asked about my parents and I told them that they were already in bed when I got home. After a few more questions we were interrupted by my mom storming through the station with her red hair flying behind her.

‘Lacey, are you ok?’ She had my face in her hands looking into my eyes then over me like a mother does. You! You had NO right asking my daughter anything without parental consent. And before you say you couldn’t get a hold of us I would like my husband released NOW!
‘Mrs. Dupree your husband is being detained for the suspicion of kidnapping Lana McWhirter.’  I gasped remembering seeing the pregnant woman on the news. ‘Daddy wouldn’t do that!’ I yelled.
‘Mr. Dupree has legal counsel on the way so the questioning stops now!’
My mother demanded to see my father and took me by the hand as we were being escorted to see him. I realized then that she was a force to be reckoned with. The door opened to my father, sitting there calmly in a white painted masonry block room with a buzzing light overhead.  

‘Katey, Lacey, what are you doing here?’
‘We’re here to take you home.’ My mother said approaching him to offer comfort.
‘I assume you called Charles?’
‘He’s on his way,’ my mother reassured my dad. He patted her lovingly on her pregnant belly and reached over and gave me a huge bear hug and asked if I was questioned.
‘Up until mom came barging in. You should’ve seen her dad. No mercy was shown and I think she even scared them a little.’ He chuckled and we went home.

Walking out of the station was a huge relief and mom and dad held hands smiling as if nothing had ever happened. We got home and dad made a few phone calls and told mom that he had to run to the store for a few hours. She nodded and asked him to bring back some mustard. Mom and I worked on dinner in the kitchen and by the time it was done dad pulled in the driveway. I set the table and mom pulled the casserole out of the oven.

‘Dinner smells amazing girls. My girls. I’m so proud of the family we have and soon we will have a new addition.’ Dad sat at the table and mom started making plates and passing food around. We talked about the rest of the day and what Annie and I had done the night before. Mom said that the doctor said to be prepared that the baby could come at any time. Then we discussed what needed to happen for the baby’s arrival. It was like dad was never accused of kidnapping. Dad put the mustard on the table, ‘You started putting mustard on everything before Lacey arrived.’ dad told mom and she grinned at him.

The next few days were as normal as always. Work at the store, family breakfasts, and dinners, homework, hang out with Annie, the occasional minor tweaks on the baby’s room and one more mustard run even though the first bottle hadn’t been opened. It was as if the entire police station scenario was just a bad dream. Not even the community noticed what had happened. The nightly news reported that there weren’t any new leads about the missing woman and a reward was posted. Dad sat on the couch next to my mom with his hand resting on her now bigger belly. We said our goodnights and everyone headed to bed.

The next morning I woke up to an empty house but found a note on the fridge this time.
‘Mom went into labor last night. I will call you with any news. Love Dad’
I was super excited and pissed at them for not waking me so I could go to the hospital too but thought about getting ready for school and how they probably didn’t want to interrupt my day. I ate my breakfast, got dressed and packed my school bag. I thought, ‘I’ll have a new baby brother or sister when I get home from school,’ locking the door behind me as I left. The trash cans weren’t at the curb for pickup and grabbed them on my way to the sidewalk when I noticed that there was a box of red hair dye in the bin. ‘Mom must be trying to cover her few silver strands of hair. I couldn’t sit still during class and told Annie that mom went into labor last night. We talked about if it was a girl how we would dress her up and make her look like a little doll.

When I got home I could hear my dad and mom in the living room cooing over the baby. Home already? I thought. My mom was sitting in her rocking chair with a tiny white bundle in her arms. Mom looked like an angel and dad as proud as ever.
‘Come meet your little sister, Hailey.’ mom quietly said. I walked over to see the tiny pink little girl with the reddest hair I’ve ever seen. We both must get it from our mom.
‘Oh she’s so tiny,’ I sang at her reaching to hold her. Mom stood and had me sit down and placed my little sister in my arms.
‘Is it ok for you two to be home already? She looks so small.’ I asked with concern.
‘Yes, dear. She came so quick I didn’t have time for medication or doctors. We left right before you got up and she arrived right there in the car. Your father got to deliver her. We stopped at the hospital and they checked both of us over and said we were both ok and sent us home. I just need to take it easy and little Hailey just needs to eat. Would you like to feed her?’ Mom asked as she handed me the bottle. I was in love with this little girl and couldn’t wait to dress her up and teach her how to play Barbie and tea party.

Dad had a sale at the deli counter on fresh ground meat and ribs in celebration of my little sister arriving. People congratulated him and even sent home gifts for Hailey. I helped out more at the store so mom could rest. I just closed the store for the evening and started home when Detective Cummings asked if I needed a ride home. I kindly declined and headed home. It was there that mom had dinner ready and dad just laid Hailey down. We just sat down for dinner when there was a knock on the door. Dad answered and the next thing I know he’s asking mom to set another place and that Detective Cummings would be joining us for dinner.
‘Where’s your partner, Winslow?’ My father asked cutting into his meatloaf.
Shoveling a pile of my mother’s mashed potatoes in his mouth and speaking with his mouth full, ‘Winslow is executing a search warrant on your store Mr. Dupree.’
‘I haven’t given consent, does my legal counsel know? I haven’t seen any paperwork.’ My father said and that’s when I noticed that my mom was white and my dad was glaring at her. He never looked at her like that. My mom was up and on the phone, ‘Charles, this is….’
Mom was calling the lawyer and my dad was reading papers that Winslow slid to him as he continued to eat our dinner.
‘God! Can you stop eating our food!?’ I said getting up from the table. Mom and dad didn’t seem to care about my rudeness. I walked into Hailey’s room and she was there staring up at her mobile. I picked her up and rocked with her in the chair annoyingly waiting for the dinner hoovering menace in the kitchen to leave.

Everything happened so fast. There were sirens and mom and dad were cuffed then placed in cars. Hailey was taken out of my arms by a strange woman with a badge and I was told to leave with her and Hailey. I’m now sitting in a hospital having my cheek swabbed and blood drawn. I was interrogated about my mom and dad and then asked if I knew who they really were.
‘I assume they are my mom and dad since they raised me from birth. They are grocery store owners. They are in love and just had another baby.’ I said crossing my arms confident in my answers.
‘I hate to tell you this but they aren’t who you think they are and that isn’t your baby sister.’

Months passed and I have met my biological father a couple of time but not ready to live with him yet. He was released from prison when mom and dad were convicted of my biological mother’s murder. I learned that my mom and dad were actually serial killers and used the deli and butcher counter as a front to sell the evidence of their crime to our town’s people. Mustard was a code word for it’s time to finish the crime and kill the victim. Lana McWhirter was my mom and dad’s last victim. Mom and dad wanted another child but since my father was sterile and didn’t want to wait for adoption approval they hunted the poor woman for slaughter and to take that precious baby. I also learned that there had been 19 victims in total, all of which the town consumed. Assumption assumed that I was in on the crimes but luckily my father and mother or the people that I assumed were my parents backed my claims up. I now live in a foster home until I’m ready to either live with my real father or live one my own. Hailey or rather Rose is with her real father and will grow up knowing that her mother loved her very much.

I still visit mom and dad. I need answers to questions only they know. Did they love me? Did they eat my mom? The answer is yes they loved me and we never cooked human meat. How can I still love these monsters? How do I move on from my family history? Will Rose hate me when she learns the truth about her mom and my parents? Do I continue to assume the role of their daughter? Some answers are easier to come by than others.

‘We will always love you and be here when you need us.’

 

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