The End

Contributor: Rebecca Welch

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Rain tapped on the windshield, provoking the wipers to come alive. The persistent swoosh of the blades, combined with the beads of water falling in rhythm, created a song. I allowed nature's music to enter my thoughts and let it attempt to soothe the confusion I felt inside. Why was that car in front of our house? Why do we have to stay somewhere else tonight? From the back seat, I looked up into the rearview mirror at my mother's face. She smiled but lines of worry and fear were etched along her eyes. I knew something was wrong. I just couldn’t figure out what it could possibly be or who.

“Mom, where are we going?” I asked.

“Honey, don’t be afraid, ok? We’re just going to stay with Uncle Mike tonight, that’s all,” she replied.

Uncle Mike lived just outside of town in a rundown two-bedroom house. He lived alone, but you couldn’t tell it with all of the stuff he had sitting around. Though it was dark when we pulled into his driveway, I could clearly see all of his so called 'lawn ornaments' in the beam of our headlights. Mike was standing on his front porch waiting for our arrival. It was difficult to tell from the car, but an object in his hand caught the moonlight and gave me a shiver.

“Mom, why does Uncle Mike have a gun in his hand?” I asked.

“You know your uncle, always paranoid about something!” she said.

It was true, Mike always had a new crazy theory to talk about. This time I had a feeling that wasn’t the case. This time, I knew it had something to do with that car we saw.

We got out and quickly carried our bags inside out of the rain. In the house, the pouring rain added an ominous feel to the overstuffed living room.

“Honey, it’s been a long day, why don’t you go ahead and get some sleep. You can have the spare room upstairs, ok?” Mom said.

With that, I carried my stuff upstairs and tried to calm my nerves. Dust puffed off the bed as I heaved my bag down. This room had clearly been unoccupied for a long time. Attempting to settle in, I laid as quiet as possible trying to register any noise downstairs.

“Mabel, you ok?” Mike said to my mother.

“Just a little shaken up. I don’t understand how he found us. This is why we moved in the first place, to get away from him,” mom replied.

I leaned over the dusty mattress towards the floor, trying to be sure I didn’t miss anything.

“Well, you know I could go take care of him right now. I’m not afraid and besides, it’d be self defense, I’d make sure of it,” Mike said.

“Mike, I don’t need you getting hurt. You know how dangerous he can be. Besides, we have a restraining order, I just need to call the cops and let them handle it,” mom answered.

“Whatever you say Mae, I’m just saying I could handle him once and for all.”

I scooted back to the middle of the bed, mind racing. It was my father. We moved a few years back. Mom said because she wanted to be closer to her brother, but I knew then there were other motives, I just wasn’t sure exactly what. My father was in our house.

He was looking for us.

At some point, I guess I drifted off to sleep, because I woke to a loud banging on the door. My mother ran into my room and slammed the door shut. She drug the rickety dresser out from the corner and used it to block the door.

With a quiver in her voice my mom said, “Hadley, I need you to stay quiet and still, ok? Your father is here, but Uncle Mike is taking care of it.”

There were three loud bangs. I held my breath; a tear collected in the corner of my eye. My mother clung to me, wrapping me within her like a blanket of protection. Silent sobs racked her chest and shoulders as she rocked me back and forth.

I could feel her warm tears falling into my hair as she whispered, “It’s going to be ok…” whether it was directed towards herself, or me I don’t know.

All I did know was, it was done.

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