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The Tale of Tabby
Beep, beep, beep…
Tabby Kavanaugh had to force herself to roll out of the small nest that she had created with the blankets. She wobbled across the room as fast as she could and shut off the alarm before it woke the two small children asleep on the mattress. She glanced back to see the small children huddled together. It was a frigid December day in Michigan and the heater had quit working about a week ago.
Life was tough.
She stared at her babies and thought of a time when life had been good. It seemed like forever ago when it had only been about 7 months since her long time boyfriend and father of her children had died in a tragic car accident. He had been her life. Tabby had no family, she was a loner, and she had no one to help her when life had turned sour. Tabby had been forced to quit her job in order to take care of her children, she had had savings but before to long they had ran out. The bills were adding up and she was on the verge of being evicted. The state was threatening to take her children. What made it worse was that two weeks after Michaels death Tabby had discovered that she was pregnant with their third child. Tabby was desperate to find a solution.
Tabby glanced back down at the alarm clock, it was 6:34. Tabby quickly got dressed and then as quietly as she could opened the bedroom door and headed towards the kitchen. She opened up the fridge.
Tabby sighed deeply as she saw the mostly empty fridge and took out the few remaining eggs. She grabbed a pan and spatula and then cracked open the eggs. Tabby stared blankly out the frost covered kitchen window that was above the stove. After the eggs were fully cooked Tabby turned off the stove and took out two little plates. She equally divided the scrambled eggs onto the two plates and then filled up two cups with water.
She headed across the hall to the kids room. It was the only room in the house that had been left untouched in the past couple of months. All the other rooms had been emptied. After all the money had been spent Tabby had been forced to sell the furniture and most of the knick-knacks around the house. Tabby couldn’t bring herself to sell any of the kids things though, she felt the predicament they were in was her fault and she wasn’t going to deprive the kids of their things because of it.
Tabby walked over to the dresser in the far corner of the room and began to take out clothes for her daughter’s. Her oldest daughter, Riley was five and enrolled in the school down the road. Her other daughter, Haidee, was three.
Tabby gathered both of their outfits and both of the plates off the kitchen counter. She went and set in down on the floor and then went and got the cups, when she returned to the bedroom she set the cups next to the plates and then walked over to the bed and gently brushed the hair from Riley’s face. After her fathers death the little girl that had once been a little jokester had became very withdrawn. She barley talked anymore.
Tabby lightly shook her, “Wake up sleepy head,” she said in the most cheerful voice that she could muster.
Rileys eyes twitched and she blinked twice before glancing up at her mother. She looked confused for a few minutes and then sat up. She shivered as the blanket slipped down her arms and the cold air in the room hit her. She rubbed her eyes tiredly and glanced at her sleeping sister who was beginning to stir.
“You need to eat before your food gets any colder,” Tabby handed Riley a plate and glass. Haidee was beginning to sit up about that time and Tabby sat down on the edge of the mattress and set the other plate down in front of her.
“Go’morning Mum,” Tabby smiled, Haidee was always the one to cheer you up. She was happy no matter what time of the day it was and under any circumstance. She was an easy child and content as long as she was around people.
“Good morning sweetheart, eat your breakfast so that we can get ready to take sis to school,” Tabby ignored her own growling stomach, she knew she should find something to eat, her unborn child needed sustenance but she found that no matter how hungry she may seem even the smell of food made her sick and she didn’t feel like having to force feed herself.
When the girls had finished their breakfast Tabby set their plates and cups back down on the floor so they could begin getting dressed. Tabby helped Haidee get dressed as Riley went to get her backpack.
Tabby helped the girls get into their coats and then it was ready to leave. The school wasn’t that far from the house, only about seven blocks but the farther along Tabby got into her pregnancy the longer the walk seemed and it didn’t help that the ground was currently covered in about four inches of snow. Tabby found it hard to keep up with the two as they ran ahead and ignored Tabby’s plea for them to slow down.
Tabby had worked up a sweat by the time they reached the small school.
“Bye Momma, I love you,” Tabby could barley hear Riley. Her voice was a very light whisper.
Tabby bent down as far as her stomach would allow and placed a kiss on Riley’s cold nose. She stood there watching as Riley walked up the lawn and entered the double doors in the front of the school. Tabby then took Haidee’s hand and began to walk back down the road towards the house.
“Do you want to go for a short walk?” Tabby asked Haidee. She hated being in that house, it was just to depressing.
“Umhm,” Haidee replied.
Tabby turned down one of the side streets not going any where in particular. It was about eight now and still kind of dark. There was nothing to do in the small town, Tabby used to go window shopping in the neighboring city but she had to sell her car about two months ago in order to pay the rent.
Tabby listened to Haidees stories as they walked. Haidee had the biggest imagination and the stories she came up with amazed Tabby sometimes. She was very mature for such a young age. Haidee had understood why her father was never coming home and out of the three of them she was the only one that had recovered.
Tabby glanced down as she felt a tugging on her arm, “Mum, my legz hurt.”
“Alright lets head home.” Tabby tightened her grip on Haidees hand and began walking down a path that was a short cut that would lead back to her street.
About halfway down the path Tabby began to slow down as she saw a man crawl out from under a tree about ten feet away from them.
“Got any spare change?” the man asked. He was very dirty and had a black eye and cuts on his face like he had recently been in a fight.
“N..no,” Tabby stuttered. She cautiously walked closer to him as she made her way down the trail. She felt bad for him. She knew that before to long she would have no where to go either and would be in the same situation as he.
As Tabby walked past the spot where he was laying back under the tree, she set Haidee in front of her. If the guy tried anything this way at least she knew Haidee would be free to run.
Tabby let out a sigh of relief when she was almost home and way out of the mans way. In ten minutes they were home. Tabby took the key out of her front pocket and opened the front door. As soon as the door was open Haidee ran down the hall into her room no doubt to play with her toys. Tabby was getting ready to go to the kitchen for a glass of water when she saw the red flashing light on the stand indicating a new message.
She walked over to the answering machine and hit the play button, “Hello, my name is Louis Daniels, I was calling for a Miss. Tabby Kavanaugh. I am an attorney for Zareena Xanthis. This is concerning a large amount of money left to you from Ms. Xanthis. Please call me back as soon as you receive this message, you can reach me at 546-5562. Thank You.”
Tabby grabbed the edge of the table in order to hold herself up as the message sunk in. This had to be a joke. Xanthis was Tabby’s biological parents’ last name. They had put her up for adoption when she was still three. They had been drug addicts and the last time Tabby had heard about them was ten years ago when they had took off on a trip to Missouri and they never returned. Tabby had been adopted by an older man and woman a few towns over from her parents, they had been nice enough to allow her the choice of knowing her parents. Tabby had visited them a few times but she knew that their lifestyles would never allow for it to be a real relationship. Her parents’ family never really saw her as one of their own. They had thought that the only reason she had started to come around was because she wanted money from them when all she had really wanted was to know the family that was her blood. They had told her that she was not welcome in their homes when Tabby had sought them out seven years ago when she was nineteen. Her foster parents had been quite old and had both passed away one right after the other. Tabby’s foster parents had both came to America from Europe where all their family had stayed and Tabby had never meet any of their family so she had went to what was supposed to be her real family thinking that they would welcome her but, with her biological parents gone the fake smiles they had thrown her way faded and she was left feeling abandoned all over again. She had been dating Michael for about four months when her foster parents had died and he let her come stay with him. He also had no family and together they both finally felt like they belonged somewhere.
“Mumma look wha I made,” Tabby blinked away the tears that had begun to gather in her eyes to look at the little girl and the picture she held up.
“Beautiful,” Tabby stated, “a Picasso in training.”
Haidee made a happy screeching sound and then hopped back into her room.
Tabby grabbed a notepad and pen from behind the answering machine. She hit the play button again and quickly jotted down the attorneys’ number. She still couldn’t believe that this was happening. She had never even heard of a Zareena Xanthis and couldn’t believe a complete stranger related to the family that basically hated her would want to give her anything or help.
Tabby took a deep breath and said a silent pray that this was truly happening before she picked up the phone and dialed the number.
The phone seemed like it had been ringing for hours when finally a deep male voice answered, “Louis Daniels, how may I help you?”
“H..Hello this is Tabby Kavanaugh, you called me earlier.”
“Yes Hi Miss. Kavanaugh, I was calling concerning the will of Zareena Xanthis. Ms. Xanthis passed away last week. She was quite wealthy. In her will Ms. Xanthis stated to leave everything to you.”
“Why would she do that, she doesn’t even know me?”
“I don’t know the answer to that question Miss. Kavanaugh. She didn’t give me a reason and I am just following what I was told. You are to receive an amount of 2.1 million dollars. It will be transferred to a bank account and you will have access to it starting tomorrow.”
Tabby felt as if she were suffocating. No air would enter her body and her eyes were beginning to burn with the tears that were starting to slide down her cheeks. As the first tear hit the ground Tabbys legs gave out and the baby began to kick wildly.
“Mrs. Kavanaugh are you still there?”
Tabby set a hand on her belly in an attempt to calm the unborn child, “Yes, I’m sorry this is just a bit overwhelming and hard to believe.”
“Well it is true…I will let you go and contact you tomorrow when the money has been transferred, have a nice evening.”
“Thank you, you to.”
Tabby stood there staring at the phone for a few moments before she started laughing a little hysterically. There problems were about to be solved. Tabby no longer had to worry about the future of her children. They could refurnish the house, all the kids could go to college, they would once again have a full fridge, no longer would they have to walk two miles just to get a loaf of bread they could buy a new car. A new start, she could get a new house and a fresh start, finally let go of this house and the past.
Three Weeks Later
“Where do you want this ma’am?”
Tabby looked at the movers that were walking up the long drive with her new couch. “Upstairs, first room, you can just leave it by the window for now,” Tabby directed the movers.
She looked around her new home. It was beautiful. It was a two story home not far from her old house. There was a huge lawn and a two car garage where her new Dodge Charger and Mercedes were parked.
There were three moving trucks parked in the driveway. There had been movers at the house all day long unpacking the trucks. They had been filled to the top. The day after Tabby had received her inheritance from the mysterious relative she had started looking for a house, and the moment she knew she had the house she wanted, she went on a shopping spree. She bought everything you could think of for the house. Life had turned around.
Tabby walked through the house directing the movers and finally when the trucks were empty and the house was mostly set, Tabby wrote the movers a check and sent them on their way. She went back inside the house and headed into the kitchen. She grabbed her keys off the ring next to the kitchen door and then headed towards the garage. About the time she reached the door that was attached to the kitchen, the phone rung.
Tabby held on to her stomach as she ran into the living room. She was one week away from her due date and by the time she reached the phone she was out of breath.
“H…h…h…hello,” Tabby answered, trying to catch her breath.
“Hi, Tabby how are you today?”
“Great,” Tabby answered. It was her biological fathers’ sister. Her name was Kimberley and ever since she had found out about Tabby getting money she called about every other day.
“Oh well I was wondering if you would like to go out to get a bite with me and Vanessa this weekend.”
It irked Tabby how fake people could be when they wanted something. Vanessa was Kimberleys daughter and she hated Tabby just as much as the rest.
“Actually I’m going to be quite busy for the next couple of weeks with the new house and the baby coming and all.” Tabby had no idea how they got her number. “I gotta go though it’s time to pick up the girls.”
“Oh, tell em I said hi and please tell us if you need our help when the baby comes.”
“Okay,” Tabby said sarcastically and hung up the phone.
The first time she had called Tabby they talked for hours. Kimberley had apologized for the way the family had treated her all those years ago. Then she had gone on to tell Tabby about all the tragedies that had hit the family over the past couple of years. Tabby hadn’t bought her stories at all.
Tabby walked back to the door in the kitchen that led to the garage. She walked out in the garage and got into the Mercedes. It was time to pick up the girls. Tabby had enrolled Haidee into the daycare that was attached to the small school that Riley attended.
Tabby left the house and started on her way down the street. Tabby arrived at the school and glanced down at the clock. She still had at least twenty minutes until Riley and Haidee would be released. She thought of going to get them early but, the walk seemed to long so Tabby decided to go for a ride around the neighborhood.
She decided to go pay a visit to the house that brought back both good and bad memories. She pulled into the driveway and stared up at the bright yellow siding. Even though it had only been a few short weeks since she had left the house it seemed longer. She got out the car and walked to the back yard to stare at the small swing set that sat in the middle of the lawn and thought of her and Michael arguing over how to properly set it up. Lost in thought Tabby didn’t hear the man that had walked up on her until he touched her shoulder.
Tabby screamed out and almost fell over as she swung around and tried to get away from the man.
“Hey, got any money.”
“No,” Tabby replied. Of course she had money but why should she have to share it with anyone. She deserved all the money. She had been through so much. She needed it all.
The man had returned his hand to Tabbys shoulder. When she tried to pull away the mans hand tightened on her shoulder to a point of pain.
“I seen that car of yours, don’t be lyin to me, you got a few dollars to spare, come on don’t be stingy!” By now the man was yelling at her.
“Let go of me!” Tabby hit the man in the head with her purse until he released her asnd then she ran to her car.
She slammed the car door and fumbled in her purse until she found her keys. She shoved them in the ignition and turned them. The car immediately started, she shifted into reverse and hit the gas. As she backed out she felt something slam into the back of the car and then a thump as the car went over a hill.
Tabby slammed on the brakes. She looked around for the old man as she had a bad feeling. The man was no where in site. She slowly opened the door and stepped out on shaky legs and headed towards the back of the car. She saw the blood that was flooding the cracks of the driveway first and then the limp hand that lay next to the tire. Tabby felt sick already but couldn’t stop herself from walking further behind the car to fully see the corpse squished under the tire. She stared almost in awe for a couple of seconds as she realized she knew the man. It was the same homeless man she had seen the day she had received that call from Louis. Her stomach gave way.
Tabby held onto her stomach as she gagged and lost her lunch on the ground. When her stomach was empty and there was nothing else to throw up she got up and walked back to the front of the car. She didn’t realize that she was being watched as she got in and speed away, she didn’t see the two men and woman that were hiding around the corner.
Tabby got in the car and drove to the car wash. She sprayed the car down and got all the blood off and then drove as best she could to the school to pick up the kids. Tabby sat in the parking lot well the kids ran to the car and Riley helped Haidee into her car seat.
“Hi, Mommy!” both the little girls said.
Tabby grunted, she was incapable of speech, still traumatized.
The ride was silent as the girls were confused by their mothers strange behavior.
They got home and the girls ran upstairs to see their fully furnished rooms for the first time. Tabby stayed in the garage where she slid to the floor and let the tears that had been waiting flow.
Two Days Later
Tabby stared across the room as the nurses gave her son his first shots. She had gone into labor late last night. Haidee and Riley were down the hall with one of the nurses “helping her”.
The nurses were done and they handed her Michael Jr. before they left the room. Tabby smiled down at him and told him stories of his sister’s and father. The baby was lulled to sleep by the sweet sound of his mothers voice. Tabby stared at his beautiful sleeping face for several minutes until she heard a knock on the door.
“Yes?” Tabby answered assuming it was one of the nurses.
She looked up as the door opened revealing a police detective. He was holding a note pad and pen. His face was blank and Tabby stomach shrank as she remembered the mans guts spread across her old driveway.
“Hi are you Miss Kavanaugh?” the officer asked.
“Y..Yes,” Tabby stuttered.
“I’m sorry to tell you this Miss Kavanaugh but there was an arson earlier today, someone set your house on fire. It was a complete loss.”
“Oh my god,” Tabby couldn’t believe it. She was sad of course but at least none of the kids had been there.
The officer told Tabby details of the fire and bid her goodbye.
Later that night there was a call to the hospital, it was Kimberley. She said she was sorry about what had happened and wished good luck with the baby, and then she offered to let Tabby and the kids come stay with her for a while. Tabby declined.
When she got out the hospital the next night she went and rented a hotel room for her and the kids. She figured they could stay there until Tabby figured out where they could move. The following day when Tabby dropped the kids off for school she decided to drive past her old house again. There was no police tape, they had just cleaned up the body and went onto another case. There had been a small article in the paper but that was the only mention of the dead man. Tabby then drove down the side street that her and Haidee had walked down that one day long ago. She got to the park where the trail was located and parked. The park was empty. Tabby sat there and thought of nothing in particular for several minutes when a car pulled up not far from hers. After several a few beat up looking men and a woman walked up to the car and tapped on the window. The older woman inside rolled down the window. The woman in the car looked very familiar and Tabby found that she couldn’t help but ease drop and the people didn’t seem to notice her.
“I paid you good money, how is it you all screwed up?”
Tabby knew that voice.
“I didn’t think it would be this hard, you guys did say you’ve done this before.”
“Yeah well it ain’t are fault she wasn’t home. Look she killed one of our good friends we want her gone just as much as you do.” One of the men replied.
“Why do you want her dead so bad anyways?” The woman asked.
“Cause she didn’t deserve that money, she wasn’t even part of this family.” That’s when Tabby realized who the woman in the car was. It was Kimberley.
The group of people looked her way as she started the car hit the gas hard. She speed out of the parking lot as fast she could and headed to the hotel they had stayed at the night before. She gathered what little property they had in the room and packed it into the car. When she was done she went back to the small school and picked up her kids.
“What’s wrong mommy?” Riley asked as she entered the car.
“Nothing sweetheart,” Tabby replied, “we’re just going on a small trip and I figured the earlier we left the better.”
In the end after hearing the group talking over her attempted murder Tabby decided it’d be best if she got rid of the money as soon as possible. After leaving the state and buying a small house, Tabby got a job and then signed the rest of the money over to various charities. She figured if she had no money there would be no envy.