I wrote this story while thinking about life and family. Everyone has secrets; sometimes these...
Show full author's note »
After Mother returned, I asked her again if I could visit the fountain.
“Go ahead, but remember the rules!” she reminded me. “Also, I need you to get these things,” Mother stated as she handed me a list. “Run along, now!”
I settled into my usual spot on the bench nearest the fountain. The fountain began its usual routine and I glanced towards the alley. The old woman was not in the alley, but a small, brown package was leaning against the wall. Curious, I stepped over and picked up the bundle. Before I could view the contents, the estranged old woman appeared from around the corner and began shrieking at me.
“What are you doing?” she squeaked. “Stealing is punishable by decapitation! You had better watch yourself! The Holy Knights will sneak up and steal your arteries!” she cackled. Her cloak rustled in the wind. As I retreated from the alley, the sound of the fabric rubbing together made me shiver. I turned and sprinted towards home. I knew sickness clouded her mind, but she sounded very confident about the Holy Knights.
After returning home, I found Mother in the kitchen preparing a poultry dish.
“Mother, who are the Holy Knights?” I innocently asked. Mother's eyes swelled with anxiety.
“No one dear. Now, hand me the spices over there,” she stuttered.
I handed her the small containers. “Mother, who are they?” I repeated.
“I said no one! Respect your Mother!” she screamed. I backed away, wondering what type of monster had possessed my mother. I knew Mother was hiding something; I just had to find out what.
Hours passed and the sky faded to darkness. Mother's anxiety grew intensively as time passed. Father was due home from work over three hours ago. Mother mumbled something about “idiot” and “irresponsible.” I knew the anxiety was shredding her patience, but I still did not like hearing her talk about Father that way. Another hour passed before Mother could not handle the emotions any more.
“That's it! I am going out to find your father!” she said. “Matthew, stay here and watch your brother and sister.” Mother gathered her coat, scarf, and hat before rushing to the door. She slammed the door open to find a man in a policeman's uniform standing by the staircase.