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The inside was like a fairy cottage, too. It put him in mind of a hobbit hole, only cheerier and brighter. A sense of peace washed over him. He felt at home.

Cherie had her eyes closed and was rocking on her feet. “Down the hall on the right?” he said.

“Yes. Also, there’s a bathroom across the hall.”

He shook Cherie and plodded down the hall after her. He could hardly believe it; they would be sleeping in real beds. And they had a bathroom.

Pa said something, and he stopped. He didn’t catch the words, but he was familiar with the tone. The very air changed. A storm was brewing.

“You would know better where she is than I would, Milton. And this is my house,” Aunt Peg said. That knife’s edge. She wasn’t afraid of him. Bobby stopped, his exhaustion ebbing away momentarily. This was about Mama.

“Your sister spoke to me like that once. Just once.”

Now Aunt Peg said something he didn’t catch. Low, like a panther’s warning growl.

“Shut up. I tol’ you. She ran off with someone.” He turned toward our room again to find Cherie had woken up. She stared at him, her eyes round and her skin pale. He pointed to the room.

They went inside and shut the door. They heard Pa slam his way out the front. They stared at each other, and she whispered, “Do you think Pa—“

She didn’t have to finish. He nodded. Cherie began to cry, and he held her against his chest, tight, so no one else would hear. If Pa got any inkling that they knew, they’d end up somewhere no one would ever find them.

Like Mama.

What I Write

Thriller and mystery with a paranormal twist.


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