I wrote this story while thinking about life and family. Everyone has secrets; sometimes these...
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A meager amount of food remained in the house due to the Carson family's recent departure. Regardless of scanty provisions, Mother whipped up a meal fit for kings. We dined in our new home, remembering our life in Fargus. After a lengthy day, I was exhausted. I ascended the stairs and crawled into bed. I rarely went to bed on time without Father's scolding. My eyelids fluttered against sleep, but thoughts of the eery old woman flooded my brain. After thinking about my encounter today, fatigue dragged me beneath the covers. Finally, I surrendered and drifted into darkness with the wrinkled face fresh in my mind.
Only two weeks after arriving at the new home, my sister Lilly was born. She was delivered by a local doctor, Harold Rummington. Lilly was a healthy baby and she was very eager to learn. Mother and Father rejoiced while Trevor and I gleamed with pride.
“Can I help teach her new things?” I inquired.
“Yes, Matthew, you can. How could I teach her everything alone?” Mother laughed.
“I am expecting both of you to assist in anyway possible,” Father stated boldly. He hugged Trevor and then me. Love emanated from his body, making me feel safe. I was finally beginning to appreciate life in Safe Haven. After holding Lilly for the first time, I wanted to see the fountain again.
“Mother, may I go visit the fountain today?” I asked sweetly.
“Yes. However, be home before dark,” Mother warned.
I reached the fountain once again, which seemed to spray jets of water to celebrate my arrival. The bench creaked as I slumped against the worn boards. I closed my eyes to listen to the rhythm of the dance and quickly slipped into sleep.
When I woke up, I knew punishment waited at home. Falling asleep at the fountain proved deadly and nightmares of the heinous woman jolted me awake. Darkness began to cloak the town and I was a few minutes away from home. Sprinting full speed, I flew through the streets. When I arrived home, I attempted to sneak in the door without alerting my parents. I entered the house and shut the door, thinking I was safe. Seconds after the lock clicked in the door, Father coughed to catch my attention. He sat in the armchair in the sitting room and beckoned me forward with his rough, callused hand.
“Matthew, where have you been? Tell me!” he ordered with an unprecedented fierceness.
“Father . . . I am sorry! I fell asleep on the bench and lost track of the time,” I said.
His eyes glowed with disappointment. “Matthew, you are banned from the fountain for three weeks. I cannot risk losing you and letting you travel alone is a huge risk,” he asserted. “I am sorry.”
My head slumped forward in defeat. I was forbidden to visit the one place I enjoy in the town. Slowly, I ascended the stairs and slid into bed. Fresh tears collected on my eyelashes before falling onto my pillow. In the corners of my mind, I could here the old woman cackling at me.