Rae, Run

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“Happy 18th birthday, Rae!” my mother happily exclaimed.

“Aw, thanks mom! But really, eighteen hundred dollars? That’s a litt-”

“No Rae, your eighteen now. It’ll come in handy later,” my dad interjected.


As much as I love my parents, in the previous month approaching my eighteenth birthday, they had been showering me in adoration, gifts, and compliments. Not that I minded that, but I was curious as to why they were acting like that.

“Look, Mom, Dad. I love you like crazy, but what gives? In the last month, you guys have been treating me like a queen!”

My parents exchanged a secret glance. Right away I knew that they were hiding something. After eighteen years of seeing quite a variety of secret looks on my parents faces, I didn’t understand what this one meant.

My mother breathed a heavy sigh. “Rae, there’s something me and your father need to tell you.”
“In the early years of our marriage,” my father continued, “your mother had a couple miscarriages. When we went to the doctor to figure out what was wrong, we were informed that your mother could never have a child.”
“That’s impossible! You had me, right? Right?” I asked, as I begin to realize the answer. Instantly I felt our living room begin to spin as I connected the pieces in my mind.
“Rae,” my mother whispered in a soft voice, “you’re adopted.”
“How...how could you? Why didn’t you tell me?” I snarled. I felt my voice begin to raise as the anger inside of me exploded like dynamite.

“Rae! Calm down!” my father instructed me sternly. My dad is normally an easygoing man, so this caught me off guard. “We kept it a secret for good reason. Your mother and I thought that if we told you on your eighteenth birthday, you could try and find your biological parents if you so desired. After all, you are officially an adult now.”

“Okay, and what if ‘I so desired’ to find my real parents? How could I? I don’t even know their names!”


“Kim and John Calvery. They live in Lansing, Michigan,” my mother informed me, “The information was provided when you were put up for adoption. It’s a ways, but if it’s important to you...”

Because we live in Miami, Florida, my mother was right about one thing. It was a ways, but if I wanted to meet my real parents...

“I’m going to do it,” I announced humbly. “I’m going to do some research, make some phone calls, then I’m going to meet the man and woman who gave birth to me.”

“Rae, there’s one more thing that might make your search for your biological parents a little easier.” My father reached into the breast pocket of his green-and-blue sweater and pulled what appeared to be a piece of old, discolored paper. “The facility we adopted you from said the parents wanted this picture to be given to the couple who brought you home.”

My dad gently handed me the small piece of paper. The paper turned out to be an old photo of my biological parents, in what I’m guessing is their early twenties. They are standing close to each other; the woman with shimmering blonde hair and big, blue eyes. The woman, Kim, is quite beautiful. Her arms are both wrapped tightly around the man’s waist. The man, John, has jet black hair, slicked back with styling mousse. Kim has a teethy, white smile plastered on her face. John is wearing a smile too, but something about his doesn’t seem right. Kim’s smile is genuine, but John’s seems to be more...distant. Just as I was trying to observe the picture more closely, my mother’s voice shattered my thoughts.

“I hope you aren’t too angry with us,” said my mom.

“Not angry, exactly, just surprised. I need to go. I need to go to the library to do some research. I’ll be back soon.”

“Alright, honey. Good luck, and remember we love you!” I could barely hear my mom’s words as I grabbed my car keys and ran out the door.
*


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*

At the library, I logged into one of the community computers. I went to Yahoo People Search and typed the words:

Kimberly and John Calvery
Lansing, Michigan

To my great surprise, there were only two results. I clicked on the first result, but I knew instantly that this was not the couple I was looking for, because the picture provided on the website was that of a young African American couple. I clicked the back button, which took me to the page of my original search. There was only one other search product, but it was listed only as John Calvery. I clicked on that result. When I was redirected to information about this John Calvery, there was a picture of a man, but he was alone. I yanked the old photo out of the pocket of my blue jeans. I stared at John, then stared at the photo of the man, who could possibly be my dad, on the computer screen. I could definitely see the resemblance of the men in the two pictures. Really, the only difference was the old photo had a happy woman in it, and the other was just a sullen, older man.
I scrolled down on the page to learn more about him. John was forty-two years old, but the fact that shocked me most was that he was widowed. By Kim Calvery. I felt my jaw drop as I kept reading. It turns out Kim died seven years earlier of “unknown causes” at the age of thirty two.
This is awful, I thought. But just because I’ll never know my mom, doesn’t mean I can’t meet my dad, right?
I inspected the page for his address and phone number, and located them quickly. The current address read:
3400 Oakwood View
Lansing, Michigan
(734) - 578 - 2551


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*
*

Three days later, I was at the airport, getting ready to board the plane from Miami to Michigan. The previous day, I had called my biological father for the first time. I honestly believed he was as pleased as I was that I had found him and wanted to meet him in person. John continued by saying that if I wanted, I could stay at his place, in the guest room. I agreed eagerly, but when I did, something in the back of my mind was telling me I made the wrong decision. My thoughts were shattered when I heard a loud voice, a voice that most likely belonged to a young, giddy woman, over the speaker system.

“Last call for flight 202 to Lansing, Michigan!” I swear her voice was so packed with enthusiasm that you could punch her in the face and she would flash a smile.

“Oh, shoot!” I exclaimed. I grabbed my carry-on, which basically consisted of my cell phone, my iPod touch, a Nicholas Sparks book, and a red-and-white sweater that made me look like a walking candy cane but keeps me warm nonetheless.
I handed the gatekeeper my boarding pass and boarded the plane. I inhaled deeply and stared out the window, preparing myself for the long flight ahead. As soon as we lifted into the seemingly endless sky of puffy white clouds, I pulled out my iPod and eventually drifted asleep.
*


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*

“Welcome to Lansing, Michigan, passengers!” The same, blonde, bottle-of-sunshine’s voice from the airport jolted me awake. “We will be landing in about ten minutes, so pack up and get ready to have some fun!”

Fighting through crowds of people and searching for my luggage. How much more fun can a girl have? I grumbled inside my head.

About twelve minutes later we were in Lansing, getting off the plane. I quickened my pace to a run towards the luggage carriage, and found my suitcase much faster than I thought I would. Since I forgot John said he would pick me up from the airport, I jumped when I heard a male voice call my name from behind.

“Rae?” My father looked confused as I turned around, but the confusion disappeared when I acknowledged him by saying his name.

“John?” The first thing I noticed about him was his emerald green eyes, and instantly I knew where I had gotten mine. “We...we have the same eyes..?” It came out more of a question than a statement.
John laughed a boisterous laugh. “Yeah, I guess we do. Here, let me take your suitcase and I’ll show you to the car.”
When we got to John’s car, I couldn’t hide my shock as I stood with a gaping mouth.
“Whoa! This is amazing!” What stood before me was a crimson red Mercedes.

John crammed my luggage into the trunk and invited me to sit up front with him. We were driving for about twenty minutes when John broke the silence.

“Ahem,” John cleared his throat. “So, what do you want to do? I know there’s a mall only a few minutes away from here, or we could see a movie. Oh! There’s also an ice cream shop that makes the best ice cream you’ll ever eat.”

“That all sounds amazing,” I replied politely, “but I couldn’t have you buy all that.”

“Just think of it as me...making up for all the years I missed. Let’s go to the mall first,” John decided.

“...if you want...but really, you don’t ha-”

“I want to, and we’re almost there anyway,” John interjected.

“Uh...okay,” I replied, feeling almost like I had been cornered into a situation and had no way out.
*


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*

By the time we made it to back to John’s house, I was exhausted. As soon as we stepped inside, I was instantly awake. John’s house was unlike anything I had ever seen before. The house was full of glass cabinets containing fancy pottery and assorted sparkly things; the furniture obviously cost a bundle. Oddly enough, there weren’t any pictures of either Kim, or Kim and John together. Quickly dismissing the thought, I asked where the guest room was, then kindly excused myself.
When I opened the door, I quickly realized calling it a guest room was a severe understatement. The walls were painted a forest green, with crown molding lining the ceiling, and the comforter was decorated with a leafy pattern to match. As if that wasn’t enough, there were three pots of vibrant flowers lining the room. Feeling the same emotion I had when I had seen my real father’s car, I wondered how on earth one man could afford so much. Thinking back on the day, I remembered how John acted at the mall. Anything I even glanced at, he offered to buy. Once I looked at a horrific hat, and he eagerly asked me if I liked it, because if I did, he would buy it for me. I declined abruptly, explaining that I didn’t like the design much, feeling a bit weird. Later, when we went to get ice cream, I ordered a small cone, but this order didn’t go without John’s desperate pleas for me to purchase a large cone, because to him “it was no big deal”.
Well he probably felt bad about all the years and birthdays of mine that he missed, I thought. John was just trying to let me know that he cared about me.

Clearing my mind, I unpacked my suitcase and put my clothes into the beautifully crafted dresser with intricate designs carved symmetrically on each drawer. Realizing I had left my cell phone at home, I silently cursed myself under my breath. When the large task of unpacking was complete, I slipped into my pink pajamas with matching fuzzy slippers I had bought myself as a gift. After looking around the room for a few more minutes, I left the guest room and found John in the kitchen, cooking a dinner of a steak and mashed potatoes. The dinner left a heavenly aroma wafting from the kitchen.

“Wow, if the food smells this good, I can’t wait until I can eat it,” I said teasingly, although half meaning it.

“The mashed potatoes are done, and the steaks have about three minutes left. Care to take a seat?” John gestured to the table as he spoke. He had laid out fine china, resembling the way it would look at a five-star-restaurant.

I felt out of place as I made my way to the table. In about three minutes, John had brought the steak and mashed potatoes to the table. I served myself and was not disappointed. The steaks were fantastic and the mashed potatoes tasted light and fluffy.

When I finished the meal, I brought the china to the counter and announced, “The meal was great, thank you. I know it’s only nine, but I’m worn out from the flight and I want to get to bed early.”

“Good idea. The bathroom is the first door on the right, in case you want to wash up.”

“Thank you. Goodnight, John.”

“Goodnight, Rae.”
*


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That night, I woke up around two-thirty a.m. in a cold sweat. I had a dream that I was deserted in a jungle, and something was watching me. When I turned around, a large animal stood before me, barring its teeth, ready to kill. Immediately I began to sprint in the opposite direction of the beast, but no matter how fast I ran, the animal ran faster. Soon there was no space between us and the animal pummeled me. I tried to scream but nothing came out. At a painfully slow pace, the beast clawed and scratched until I was nothing.

As I tried without success to erase the memory, I heard a barely audible sound. Silently I clammered out of bed and gradually opened the door. I then became aware that the noise was coming from John’s room. As I made my way just close enough to the door that I could hear him, but he couldn’t see me, I wondered why he would be up so late. I pressed my ear against the wall and it sounded as though John was on the phone.

“She called me yesterday and told me she wanted to meet me. I offered her to stay at my house, and of course she naively agreed,” John sounded mischievous as he whispered. “Her name is Rae and she’s eighteen.”

I had a million questions bouncing around in my head as I kept listening.

“How am I going to kill her? It’s simple. The same way I killed Kim. Drug her up then choke her. I’ll tell the police I found her in the field near my house. She’s better off dead than finding out that I killed her mother for life insurance money.”

I could barely hold myself together as I clicked the puzzle pieces together in my mind. He killed Kim, my mother. That’s why he doesn’t have any pictures of her around the house. That’s how he could afford all of these fancy things. His distant smile in the photo my dad gave me. He never really loved her. He pretended to love me so I would trust him. So he could kill me.

I tiptoed back to my room and laid down on the nice bed, most likely bought with Kim’s death money. It was then I knew what I had to do. I grabbed my candy cane sweater and slipped it on over my pajama top. I knew I couldn’t take the car, it would be an instant giveaway. I waited about an hour in the guest room, until I was almost positive John, the Killer was asleep. Carefully, I left through the front door.
*


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I racked my brain, trying to remember where I saw the police station in Lansing. I recalled seeing it on the way back from the ice cream shop, fortunately close enough for me to know my way. As soon as I was off John’s property, I quickened my pace to a slow jog. I had gone about a half mile and noticed that houses were becoming fewer and farther between. Soon, I was surrounded by nothing but haunting blackness with trees on both sides of the dirt road. I assumed that this must be the place John was going to pretend he found me, dead. Chills ran up my spine. Suddenly I heard a rustling noise from behind me and I spun around in an instant. At first I saw nothing but darkness, but then, in the blink of an eye a ghostly figure jumped out from the trees. My heart skipped a beat as I came to the painful truth of who that person was. It was John.
*


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*
I turned around in a half a second and sprinted as fast as I could.
“Where do you think you’re going?” John snarled as he gained on me.
I tripped and I couldn’t hide my terror as John approached. John grabbed me before I could stand up. His big hand covered my mouth just as I was about to scream. I wasn’t sure what would happen next until he pulled out a sharp knife that shined in the moonlight. I struggled to loosen his grip on me, but it never budged. Instead I felt the knife enter my stomach. I nearly fainted in his arms. He must have thought I really did faint, or all around died because he let go of me and removed his hand from my mouth as he darted away from the scene as fast as a bullet leaves a gun.
Every passing second became more agonizing than the last as my red and white sweater was dyed red with blood. It once brought comfort, but now it just filled me with horror.
I...have...to...to tell the police..., I stammered in my head. I’m almost...there.
Finally, I picked myself up and dragged myself to the police station. It felt dream-like as I opened the door that in reality was probably about ten pounds, but felt like one thousand. I watched the male and female cops on duty as their eyes bulged out nearly enough to fall out of their heads. I stumbled to their desk as I choked out the words:
“Joh...John Calvery. Stabbed me in the...the stomach...killed Kim Calvery...3400 Oakwood Vie..”
It was then that I collapsed on to the tile floor and took my last breath.





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