***SPOILER ALLERT!!!*** This story is a sequel to a sequel. To read story 1, The Compact click here. To read the follow up character interview to the compact, click here. To read the sequel My Reality, click here. To read the follow up character interview, click here.
I sit at the window watching Angela as she tries to hide from the light. She looks so much like her mother. What would she and her mother be doing now if that day, ten years ago, had been different?
I tug at my beard. “She’ll start screaming if you try to talk to her again.” My jaw tightens at the thought as I watch her father walk out of the visitor’s cafeteria and into the yard. “At least she isn’t completely alone.”
I go back to bed as the sedatives I’d been given takes over and wander back to that day a decade ago…
“Ronnie!” Donnie says, smacking at my shoulder.
I grumble and roll over.
“Hey, lazy, I need your help.”
Opening my eyes, I see the comic book poster on my wall and recognize my childhood room. I begin to shake.
“What’s your problem, weirdo?” Donnie laughs, shoving the black hair out of his eyes that our mom gave us both. “Get dressed,” he yanks a pair of jeans out of a drawer and throws them at me, “it’s Mother’s Day and I need you to help me get some flowers for Mom.” He kicks at the desk, his nose scrunching, “Dad will kill me when he gets home, if he knows I forgot to do anything for her.”
“I’m not going anywhere with you!” I throw the jeans away like a fireball.
Donnie looks at me for a moment. “How old are you?”
“Nine,” I say.
“How old am I?”
“Then,” stepping forward, he takes my ear and twists it as I try to pull back, “you’re going to help me.” He pulls me out of bed as I argue. “Come on,” he says.
Looking down, I see that I’m dressed.
I follow Donnie down the stairs wondering if I can finally change this horrible dream.
As we enter the kitchen our mother smiles, her green eyes kind and loving. “There are my brown eyed boys!” She pulls us both into a hug.
I close my eyes and hug her tight, burying my face in her blueberry scented hair.
“Donnie!” She frowns, chasing his hand away from her cooling pies. “Why are you two dressed so early? Remember, there’s no church today. We’re playing hooky.” She winks at me.
“We need to go to church!” I say, an idea coming to me. I tug on her sleeve. “Jesus will be sad if we don’t.”
She pats my head. “Honey, Jesus knows we love him, he’ll understand if we miss one service. Besides, I need a day with no work, nowhere to go, and nothing to do but be with my boys.”
“Come on, turkey!” Donnie grabs my arm and pulls me away.
“Where are you two going?”
“We left your present in the woods.” He says over his shoulder.
“He’s lying!” I say.
She laughs. “Well, just promise me you won’t cross the road.”
As her voice trails behind us, my heart begins to pound. “Donnie, can’t we walk to the store and buy her some flowers?” I say.
He snorts. “No. Mom likes wild flowers.” He drags me deep into the woods behind our house and I tug at his hand.
“No she doesn’t, they make her sneeze.” I look for a large branch, or a stone. Anything that will make him bleed. Anything that will make him stop.
“It’s that stupid cat she rescued that makes her sneeze, not flowers.”
“It’s not Caramel’s fault she sneezes!” I jerk my hand free. Picking up the small stone at my feet, I chuck it at his head.
“Hey!” He scowls, rubbing his nose where the stone hit.
I duck as he takes a swing.
“Stand still you idiot!”
I keep bobbing out of the way as he punches. “If I’m the idiot, why can’t you hit me?”
Turning, I run like I wish I had that day, away from the road.
“Get back here, pansy!”
I push away a branch as I run past, and he yelps as it hits him. Sweat drips into my eyes, but I keep running. I have to lead him away from the road.
I jump over a rotting log and hear him trip and curse.
“I’m telling Mom you said that!” I say. I can hardly see as sweat drips into my eyes. I duck down behind a bush and fight my heavy breathing.
“You’re such a brat, Ronnie! Why can’t you just help me?”
I shrink back into the shadows as Donnie stops in front of me.
“Ronnie! When I find you, you’re dead!”
I hold my breath as he looks around, his fists clenching. Behind me, a twig breaks.
His evil smile turns up the edges of his mouth, baring his teeth as he looks beyond my hiding spot. “Do you think what Mom said is going to keep you safe? If you broke her rules, then so can I.”
My heartbeat slows to a painful blasting pulse as his name sticks in my throat. I turn to see the road I had tried so hard to avoid, and the accident I can’t stop.
Donnie runs into the road, a minivan’s horn blaring as his feet fly out from under him. He sails into the air like a rag doll as the driver swerves in her panic, her van stopping at length across the road. I leap up, but I know she can’t hear my calls over her own screaming. I cover my eyes as an oncoming truck hits her van.
Gas fumes try to choke me, and my eyes water as I make my way to the van and slide open the back door to find Angela. I undo her belt and pull her unconscious weight to safety as her mother screams one last time…
I open my eyes, the nightmare falling into my past again. I don’t fight my tears.
Thank you so much for reading! I hope you’ve enjoyed this story. Have question you’d like to ‘ask’ Ronni? Leave it in a comment below and I’ll be sure to include it in my next character interview.