Watching Over Her

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Knock, knock, Mr. Murry opened the rustic wood door to find Grace, his 15 year old babysitter and neighbor standing on the cement porch of his two story, turquoise colonial house in Bradenton Florida. She was tan, with wavy light brown hair in a messy ponytail. She wore a faded coral sweatshirt with the words Florida Art Club across the chest, her favorite broken-in blue jeans, and black Old Navy flip-flops. She stared back at Mr. Murry with her piercing emerald eyes. He was a tall, skinny, middle aged man, and modeled glasses and a sky blue polo shirt.

Grace had known Mr. and Mrs. Murry her whole life and enjoyed going to their house every Saturday to babysit their two children, Luke who was five, and Tessa who was eight. They now stood beside their father happy to see Grace arrive. Grace smiled politely and stepped into their house. Just then Mrs. Murry appeared and said it was time for them to leave, so Grace waved goodbye to the parents and got ready to spend five hours filled with Candy Land, Disney Channel and arguing.

Three hours later, Grace looked up at the clock and notice it was nine o’clock, and time for the kids to go to bed. She walked them up the stairs into the room that they shared, tucked them under their warm down comforter and read them a Christmas Story until their eyelids fluttered as they dreamt quietly. Grace tiptoed out of the room and quickly closed the door behind her. Although as she approached the stairs she tripped on a yellow fussy slipper, left behind by Tessa, and tumbled all the way down the stairs until she reached the landing with a thud. Grace chuckled to herself as she stood up and thought about how when she was a little girl her mom, before she disappeared seven years ago, would tell her that she regrets naming her Grace because she is so clumsy.
Grace snapped out of her daydream and peered down at a worn leather-bound journal that had fallen from the shelf at the bottom of the stairs. She lifted the notebook and prepared to place it back in its original spot, when a tattered copy of a wanted poster fell out of its pages. Wondering what the poster was about Grace hesitantly flipped over the poster and stared in awe at a picture of a younger looking Mr. Murry.

“How could this be?” Grace pondered to herself. Mr. Murry was not a criminal, or so she thought. Grace shivered as the wind whispered in her ear through the opening of a window. She suddenly had this very unsettling feeling so she turned on the television. Although she soon turned it off do to the fact that the only thing on was the news on the recent trial for a man caught attempting to commit murder.

Lucky for her it was time to take her medication. Grace had been taking the meds. Every day sense she started losing her memory after a surfing accident last year. The doctor said she would get better but she feared she would forget everything, including what her mother was like. No one knew about her issue and so it became her greatest secret, she just didn’t want her friends treating her differently. Although she was distracted by the light of Mr. and Mrs. Murry’s Volks Wagon pulling into the driveway. Grace gathered her belongings along with her medication that she would take later, and hurried out, only stopping shortly to collect her money and wave goodbye.

Rushing into her room and locking the door Grace paced on her pink, plush, carpet frantically thinking about what she should do. “Should she tell the cops?” Should she just forget everything?” “Is he dangerous?” all these questions twirled through her mind like the teacup rides in the amusement park that she refused to go on. Feeling light-headed she plopped down on the floor. Little did she know, she would not get to answer these questions because all of a sudden the doorbell rang, as if on cue.
Grace cautiously made her way to the door and swung it open. Her face froze in terror at the sight of Mr. Murry towering above her. He asked if he could speak to her outside. Grace wanted to scream, but who would hear? Her dad was out of town on business and all the other neighbors were fast asleep in the protection of their homes. She gulped and stepped out into the night that was almost as dark as the fear growing inside of her. He grinned and pulled out from behind his back the wanted poster like a magician that just chopped his assistant into three pieces.

“Um, uh, um.” Grace mumbled as she tried to make a quick getaway to her old rusty red Huffy bike. But Mr. Murry grabbed her by the collar and dragged her into the backyard out of sight, as if she was merely a rag doll. He pushed her against the tall white fence that separated their houses and demanded she tell him everything she knew. She said she knew nothing, and had no idea about the poster. But he did not believe her for one second and explained that as he was climbing the stairs he discovered the poster carelessly placed on top of the stained oak shelf. Grace’s body stiff, she could feel the nerves racing up in down her body as she stood against the rough wood fence and anticipated her fate. He proceeded, with a grim smirk upon his unshaven face, to tie her up in his car with rope that burned her skin like the sun at the beach in September. The only difference was she could not escape to shade, no, she was stuck and had to indore the raging pain as Mr. Murry drove to an unknown destination, her final destination.

Feeling defeated grace started to dose off and eventually surrendered to the sweet serenity of sleep. When she awoke she could not recall who she was, or who she was with, all she could remember was her pills, she had pills, she was supposed to take pills. But where were they, where was she? She lifted her heavy head and felt the sun’s rays fall upon her face as it crept through the heavy greenery blocking its way. She could smell a mixture of pine and fresh air, and could feel the viscous sap clinging to her hands and the sharp ping of small pine needles which she now lay upon. Grace resulted that she was in a forest, but was apprehensive to open her eyes for fear it would be true.

Finally gaining the courage to gradually lift her sagging eyelids she noticed a man that was digging by a pine tree. He carefully stood up, placing his hand upon the damp ground for support. Turning around he told her, in a monstrous way, that it was time for her to be buried, just like he had buried her mother for the same reason 7 years ago. He aggressively yanked her up and shuffled her across the forest to the grave in the ground. But because she was so clumsy, Grace slipped on the ground, fresh with morning dew, sliding the man’s feet out from under him. At the same time Grace fell knocking her head on a tree stump and suddenly her memories came flooding back to her as if someone flipped a switch in her head.

She rolled over to see Mr. Murry stumbling to get up. This gave her just enough time to make a mad dash for it. It didn’t matter where she was going, as long as she got away. She just kept running, her legs told her to slow down but the horror inside her drove her to keep going. When she was almost out of breath and she could feel her pulse about to burst she heard the sound of cars roaring by.

Grace appeared from out of the trees to a highway that just happened to be a block from her favorite breakfast diner. She reached into her left pocket and pulled out the money she got from babysitting the night before. She used it to make a call on the pay phone to the police. They arrived at the restaurant and Grace spilled everything that occurred in the last twenty four hours. The cops searched for Mr. Murry for weeks and eventually found him attempting to make a permanent trip to Cuba.

Some people say that Grace was lucky for getting out alive that day in the woods, but Grace knew it was her mother, watching over her.





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