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Rain drizzled on the Mandels cottage in Cave City, Kentucky. The sound was comforting to Florence Mandel, as she was getting ready to go to bed. She put on her pajamas and combed her silky brown hair as the rain trickled upon the roof. Drip drop. Drip drop. Suddenly, a loud bang was heard from afar. The sound slowly dwindled away; yet, it was very ominous. Florence, though, was beginning to feel the blood rushing through her veins. Each second, her blood would become increasingly warmer. She looked at her hands; they were bleeding.
“Mom!” Florence yelled. Panic was present in her voice. No response. Perhaps the thuds from the thunder masked her cry. The storm ensued.
Beep. Florence’s alarm went off, and she had twenty minutes to get to school. Her palms were sweating, she was breathing quickly, and she could not move. She looked at her hands – bloodless. It was just a dream.
“Come downstairs darling,” Florence’s mother said in her normal jolly manner. “You do not want to be late, do you?”
“Don’t worry mom. I won’t be late,” replied Florence.
Florence managed to get dressed somewhat quickly, leaving five minutes for breakfast. As she was going down the stairs, she tripped and fell flat on her face.
“Oh my! Florence, what happened?” asked her mother from the kitchen after hearing the noise from the fall.
“Help!” screamed Florence.
She rushed to her daughter and saw her lying on the floor. Florence’s face seemed a bit flushed.
“Are you okay?” asked the mother.
“I think I’ll be alright. I just fell down these stairs. It’s really not that big a deal. When you called, I was just very frightened. It was so sudden. I was just walking and then, boom, I was rolling down the stairs. Simply uncalled for.”
“Are you sure you are okay? Should I call Fred to walk with you to school? He goes to school an hour later, and that will give you time to relax and just take your time. I wish I could walk with you, but I must go to work. You know the way the market is very busy during this morning hour. Anyway, you are not allowed to walk alone. I think you should use the extra time; you seem very stressed. Should I call him?”
“Thank you mom. I could use the extra time. Please, call him.”
“Anything for you.”
At that, Florence’s mom returned to the kitchen and called Fred.
Fred was in Florence’s ninth grade class at Cave City High. He had only been in Kentucky for a few months, and ever since, Florence had liked him. His blonde locks, hazel eyes, and perfect teeth had immediately caught Florence’s attraction. Whenever she came home from school, all she ever thought of was Fred. Her mother even knew about him since they all met at Cave City Coffee.
It was on one of those freezing days of winter, and everyone seemed to be going to Cave City Coffee, the city’s only coffee shop. Florence was with her mother on an endless line for coffee. Her mother could not help but notice Florence staring at this guy by the fireplace in the corner of the store.
“Who is that guy you keep on looking at?” asked Florence’s mother.
“What are you talking about?” Florence replied.
“You keep on staring at that guy by the fireplace. This line will be forever. You should go over to him,” answered her mother.
“No way! I could never do that.”
“Wait here then, Florence. I’ll go over to him and introduce myself.”
“You wouldn’t dare!”
Her mom then went over to Fred and conversed with him while Florence waited on line. The entire time, Florence made sure not to make eye contact with them. Finally, Florence was able to get the coffee and left the store immediately. Her mother heard the store’s doors squeak as Florence left the shop and went outside to go home with her daughter.
“Florence, the guy is very sweet. His name is Fred. He says you are in his environmental class.”
“I know who he is. I really like him, but I am too shy to talk to him.”
“I knew you liked him. Then, I guess you’ll be glad to hear that he offered to take you to school anytime. He may like you too. He kept on asking about you. I’m not sure, though, if you will ever be able to go with him to school because his classes start an hour after yours. It was still very nice for him to offer. Aren’t you happy I went over to him? Perhaps he can be the one who really makes a difference in your life. Do you know how I have these friends that really have helped me during my life? Perhaps, he too can really have an impact on you.”
“You never know. Anyway, thank you. I really like Fred,” Florence replied.
Florence was resting on the couch reading an animal magazine when Fred knocked on the door. Her mother had already gone to the shop, and Florence was the only one home to answer the door.
“Hi Fred. Good morning.”
“Good morning. You look really nice today Florence.”
The two left the Mandel cottage and headed for school. They walked very quickly along the dirt road, leaving trails of dust behind. They approached a hill, and as they walked up, neither spoke a word. When they reached the top of the hill, Florence broke the silence.
“I just wanted to thank you for walking with me. I really appreciate it.”
“It is seriously my pleasure.”
Clouds started to appear in the sky. A few minutes later, it started to drizzle.
“Look, it started drizzling,” Florence said.
“Yeah, I know. It’s good it isn’t pouring so hard,” replied Fred.
However, a few minutes later, the rain started to really come down heavily. Their feet were starting to get very dirty from the muddy path.
“I’m going to go ahead and look for a shop to dry off in. You should just wait here. I’ll be back very shortly,” said Fred.
“Okay. I’ll wait here. Anyway, where are we? This isn’t the way I usually go to school with my mother.”
“We are not too far from the center of town. I took you this way because it is very scenic. The view from up here is very amazing. I just wanted you to have a very memorable walk with me. I really have feelings for you.”
Fred left, and she was left alone in the rain. Florence looked at the view, and it was indeed remarkable. She gazed at the scenery and started to dream about Fred. While she was trapped in her imagination, footsteps seemed to be running in her direction. Finally, Florence returned to reality and saw two pit bulls running at her. Instantly, she began to run for her life. Her effort seemed hopeless; the pit bulls were only three feet behind her. Two feet. One foot. One mile – the distance Florence fell off the cliff while running away.
The storm intensified. Drip drop. Drip drop. Lightning then struck the dogs’ metal collars, which said “Property of Fred.” The chance of Fred returning for Florence was nonexistent, just as Florence’s life. The last rain dropped.