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Those Who Trespass Against Us

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The smell of the coffee downstairs woke me up from what seemed like only a thirty minute nap. I could hear the TV downstairs so I knew the kids were awake too. I rolled out of bed feeling like I wanted to just cover my head with the blankets and sleep for half of the day. I slipped on my fuzzy blue slippers that I wanted so badly for Mother’s Day last year and headed downstairs.

“Seriously, Logan if you don’t give me the remote I am going to body slam you!” I could hear my oldest son Garrett saying.

“Dad! Garrett is trying to change the channel when he knows that this is my favorite episode!” Logan said to my husband Shane while squinting his eyes and pursing his lips at Garrett.

“Ok guys, time to turn the TV off anyway and get ready for school,” Shane said while rubbing Logan’s head.

“Morning guys,” I said to them while pouring an extremely large cup of coffee.

“Morning honey,” Shane said as he still stood in the middle of the boys just in case anyone attacked. “How did you sleep?”

“Ugh…awful,” I sighed, still wishing I was under the covers in bed.

“We had a breech last night that didn’t deliver until almost 2:00 am,” I said with my face over the coffee cup, inhaling the scent coming out.

“Could somebody, anybody, please come and wipe my butt?” we both heard coming from the hall bathroom.

Shane laughed, “I’ll take this round.”

It was our three year old daughter Charlotte. She wakes up every morning like clockwork, grabs her tablet and heads to the toilet. Now this is not just any toilet, she must go poop in the downstairs hall bathroom for “the most privacy.” She sits in there for about twenty minutes before announcing she is finished and ready to depart her throne.

“Momma!!” she yelled when she saw me as she rounded the corner to the kitchen and rubbed my pregnant belly.

I picked her up and kissed her little ski jumper nose and ran my hand through her curly blonde hair.

“Good morning baby girl. How did you sleep?” I asked.

“I kept waking up because Garrett was playing his Xbox,” she said while taking a seat at the kitchen table for breakfast.

I turned my head to glare at Shane, who must have felt my stare burning through his shirt.

“He got his homework done early and I told him he could play,” as he put the milk back in the fridge.

“Shane I told you he doesn’t get enough sleep if you let him do that,” I sternly said, still using my glare on the back of his head.

“It was one night Carly. He will be fine,” Shane said, finally looking at me as Garrett walked in the kitchen.

“Ready Dad?” he asked, standing there with his headphones and backpack on ready to walk out the door. He was almost taller than me already, with dark brown hair and brown eyes and the most beautiful smile, if he ever showed anybody.

“Good morning Mom, how are you today?” I sarcastically say to myself since he had yet to notice me this morning.

“Hey Mom,” he said while putting his hood up. “Meet you in the car Dad.”

“He officially hates me,” I said to Shane as I poured another cup of coffee. Wow, I drank that first one really fast!

“He doesn’t hate you Carly. He is eleven years old and going in to middle school. He has a lot on his plate,” Shane said as he walked over to me and stood in front of me so I could help him with his tie.

“Yeah I guess you’re right,” I whispered as I perfectly tied the tie, as usual.

“Mommy? Do you know where my Barney is?” I heard Logan yelling from upstairs.

“Ah ha, somebody still needs me,” I laughed as I ran up the stairs.

“I need you too Momma,” I heard Charlotte say from the kitchen, “but I do prefer Daddy’s chicken tenders.”

I walked in to Logan’s room and he was on his hands and knees looking for his Barney. His walls were covered in dinosaur stick-ons and glow in the dark stars. Logan is the most precious, kind hearted six year-old on the planet. He is quite a clumsy little boy though. He has already had stitches three different times now. He was only ten months old the first time he attempted to walk and fell face first on the coffee table, hitting his eyebrow and needing three stitches. The second time was when he was two and riding a tricycle at daycare and the third time when he was learning to ride his bike with no training wheels. I think it is safe to say that a career in BMX is not such a great idea.

“Yes! I found him!” he said jumping up from the floor and hugging Barney, who he has had since he was six months old.

“Good job baby! Let’s get downstairs. Daddy is waiting for you,” I said as I high fived him on his detective skills.

“Bye Charlie,” Logan said as he walked by her finishing her Cocoa Clusters. The boys started calling her Charlie when she was a baby and it kind of stuck for all of us.

“Bye,” she replied, not even looking up from her tablet. She begged and begged for me to download the new princess coloring app so she was in another world.

I walked out to the garage to wave to the boys like I try to do every day if I am not working. I am a nurse at the only hospital in our town. My shift is three days a week for twelve hours a day or more, like last night, so I have extra time to see my family. We live in a small town about a hundred miles outside of Las Vegas. I used to be a nurse in Philadelphia when I met Shane one day when he came in to the emergency room after a car accident. At the time we met, Shane was a lawyer in Pittsburgh and when an opening came up for a lawyer in Detroit, he asked me to join him and I couldn’t say no. We lived in Detroit for about two years before getting transferred to Las Vegas. Shane was the nicest guy I had ever met. He is 6’2, although he likes to say he is 6’3 because apparently that is way taller than 6’2. He has bright blue eyes and wavy dark, brown hair that he always runs his hands through when he gets nervous.

I got to the garage as they were backing out. I could see Logan in the back seat blowing me kisses. Shane waved and smiled while maneuvering his mirrors. He is a very attentive driver, which gets really annoying. Garrett was sitting in the front seat looking down at his Ipod and still wearing his hoodie. He never even looked up. As much as I try to pretend it doesn’t bother me, it breaks my heart. I know what Shane says is right and I need to give him his space, but he is my baby and I miss that. He used to sleep in the middle of Shane and me in our bed until he went to Kindergarten. He would have terrible nightmares since he was two years old and the only thing that would calm him down was singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star into his ear while rocking him to sleep in my arms. So when he walks past me in my own house and acts like I am a stranger, it is devastating.

When the boys were out of sight, I started to close the garage door and noticed a moving truck parked in the driveway across the street. The Baker’s lived there for ten years before retiring and moving to Arizona. The weather helps Mrs. Baker’s arthritis tremendously, according to their postcards. I went inside and peeked out the kitchen window which faces the front of our house. There was nobody outside so I would have to stalk them a bit later.

“Mom, this app is already boring me,” Charlie said as she walked to the fridge for a juice box. “Can we check for more later?” she asked.

“Of course bunny,” I smiled to her and kissed the top of her head. I have called her bunny since we brought her home in white bunny pajamas complete with a little hoodie with bunny ears. Charlotte is only three years old and definitely a little genius. One night a few months ago, I was laying with her in bed reading a bed time story and she started reading the book. I thought at first it was that she memorized the book, since it was her favorite, so I grabbed another book she never read and she read it perfectly. We try to treat her the same as any other three year-old, but that can be difficult. She is enrolled in a half day of kindergarten a few days a week and is begging to take a karate class like Logan’s.

Today was one of my off days at work so I planned on dropping Charlie off at her Kindergarten class for the morning session and then meet my best friend Susan for some more coffee and hopefully a mani/pedi, if time allowed. I decided on wearing my favorite yoga pants and Yo MTV raps t-shirt for our excursion. While I was getting dressed, I saw the new neighbors out my bedroom window. It appeared the husband was a young man in his early thirties, tall and huskie with dirty blonde hair. His wife was walking behind him and she was petite, late twenties, with long red hair and appeared to be seven to eight months pregnant. I am pretty good at gauging moms to be on their due dates, which drives Shane crazy, especially in the middle of Target when I approach a complete stranger. I threw my long brown, wavy hair into a messy bun with a headband, brushed my teeth and put on some lip balm. It was going to be a sunny, warm day so I opted for no makeup so I could get some sun on my face. I ran down the stairs where Charlie was standing with her princess backpack and tablet in hand.

“Seriously, how long does it take for you to get ready?” she asked as she turned around, walking to the garage door.

“Touché,” I replied, nudging her ahead of me out the back door. We climbed in to my Prius and backed out of the garage, but not before Charlie put her Phil Collins CD into the player. Yup, another one of her quirks. The new neighbors were getting things out of the back of their moving truck when I pulled up to the end of their driveway.

“Good Morning,” I said to them waving out the window.

They both turned around, “Hello,” the young woman said and quietly turned back around.

The man looked at her and then at me, “Good morning. You must be our neighbors,” he said very politely.

“We sure are. I’m Carly and this is my daughter Charlie,” I said to him as Charlie rolled down her back seat window.

“Pleasure to make your acquaintance sir,” she said.

I took a deep breath and nervously laughed to myself. The last thing we need is the new neighbors thinking we are a bunch a weirdos.

“Where are y’all from?” I asked him with my Texas accent slipping in there like it does from time to time. I graduated nursing school in Dallas so I still throw in that accent unexpectedly.

“We moved here from Nebraska,” the young man said as the young woman starting walking toward the front door of the house. The man must have seen me notice because he said, “Please, don’t mind my wife, she is very hormonal these days,” he laughed. “I am Ben and that is my wife Hope”.

“It is very nice to meet you Ben,” I replied, feeling a bit awkward, “if you need anything, please let us know, we are right across the street in 1409,” I smiled to Ben.

“I sure will Carly. Nice to meet you ladies” Ben said as he waved and started walking back to the house also. He went inside the front door as I pulled away.

“They were kinda weird,” Charlie said from the back seat.

“Charlie, we don’t say that about people,” I scolded her, as I was actually thinking the same exact thing.

******************************

“Maybe they are Mormons?” Susan said to me as she sipped a glass of wine while we were getting our pedicures.

“Susan!” I yelled back at her. “It wasn’t that, something was just really odd to me,” I said to her, still thinking about our new neighbors.

Susan and I are both nurses at the hospital on the same shift so we always try to plan these special days just for ourselves as much as we can.

“Maybe they are aliens like in that Tom Hanks movie,” Susan said as she downed the last drop of her wine.

“No more wine for her,” I whispered to the pedicurist as she attempted to stand up to refill her glass.

“I think I am going to see if Shane wants to go over there and officially introduce ourselves, you know like a welcome to the neighborhood?” I told Susan, somewhat worried about her response.

“Yeah, I think that is actually a good idea. You can see what kind of weird shenanigans are going on inside the house,” she replied, still trying to get the last drops of wine from the bottom of her glass.

We finished our mani/pedis and stopped at a few boutiques along the walk way before heading home. Susan has twin daughters that are sixteen years old and on the cheerleading squad. They were having some end of the year presentation for the parents so she had to rush off. It was a good thing she stopped drinking the wine for sure. I peeked at my watch and still had time to get home and do some yoga on the Netflix before I had to pick up Charlie. I pulled up to my house and there was a big golden retriever doing his business in my front yard.

“Scoot! Go away!” I yelled at him while swinging my purse in the air.

“Buster! Get back here,” I heard a woman’s voice coming from across the street. I turned around and it was my new neighbor Hope.

“I am so sorry about that,” she said as she walked across the street while hitting her leg to get the dog’s attention.

“He is so confused since we got here,” she smiled at me while barely making eye contact.

“Oh gosh, don’t worry about it,” I politely told her, as a whiff of Buster’s newest creation wafted into my nose.

Hope stood in front of me with a blue and green flowery dress on and her beautiful red hair blowing in the wind. She was much prettier closer up. When she smiled, she had crooked lower teeth and a small scar on her lip.

“It is so nice to have you in the neighborhood Hope,” I told her as I reached down to pet Buster.

“No! Don’t do that. Please,” she snapped and pulled Buster back.

“He is very vicious,” she said as she started to hurry away with Buster back to her house.

“Umm, OK bye,” I muttered under my breath as she walked away. I went inside and started my yoga. I was just getting into my Crescent Moon pose when my phone alarm went off to pick up Charlie.

******************************************

“Why do we have to go with you guys?” Garrett asked me as I put the Pizza Hut box in the fridge. “It’s so stupid.”

“Honey, we want to make a good impression on the neighbors and show them how nice and normal we are,” I confidently said.

“Normal? That is hilarious,” Garrett said while shoving the last piece of his crust into his mouth.

“I think Garrett’s right Car. We will be right across the street and we are only stopping by for a few minutes,” Shane said as he stared at me, hoping the few minutes would be accurate.

“Ok, fine, whatever,” I said to them throwing my hands up in defeat. Logan and Charlie were watching cartoons in the living room and from where they were in the show, I figured we had about eighteen exact minutes to go drop in on the neighbors.

“We will be right across the street guys, so we can still hear and see you. Any arguing and no technology for a week,” Shane told the kids as we walked out the front door. I had stopped at Yankee Candle on my way home this morning and got Hope and Ben the new Lilac Summer candle. Ok, I also got myself one but Shane does not need to know that.

As we were walking up the sidewalk to Ben and Hope’s door, we heard arguing coming from inside. I couldn’t tell what they were saying, it was just really loud.

“Maybe we should do this another time,” Shane told me as he turned around.

“Let’s just do it now,” I said, as I went up the porch stairs, “besides, everyone argues, right?” I said with a raised eyebrow, somehow mentally reminding Shane we had an argument like this last week, possibly only louder.

I knocked on the door and the yelling stopped and the barking began.

“Buster, quiet down boy,” I heard Ben calmly say behind the door. He opened the door and smiled, “Hey guys!”

“Hi Ben, I hope we aren’t bothering you,” I said to him.

“No, not at all,” he nervously responded. “Please, come on in,” he politely said while holding Buster’s collar.

“This is my husband Shane,” I said.

“Hello Shane, good to meet you,” Ben said as he reached out his hand.

“Nice to meet you too, Ben. Welcome to the neighborhood,” Shane answered, patting Ben on the shoulder.

We went inside where Ben showed us to the living room.

“Please, have a seat. I will go get Hope,” Ben told us politely while motioning to the couch.

I could barely hear Ben down the hallway telling Hope we were there. I was trying to listen to what they were saying.

“Oh man Car, these are those couches we saw at Slumber Palace that I loved,” Shane loudly said while rubbing the couch.

“Shhhh!!” I sternly gave him a look and nodded my head toward the hallway.

“I am trying to hear them,” I said through my clinched teeth.

A moment later I could hear walking down the hallway on the hardwood floors, which were also quite gorgeous.

“Hello,” Hope said as she wiped her hands off on a paint splattered apron she was wearing.

“Excuse my appearance, I was painting the nursery,” she smiled as her messy bun shook her long, red ringlets.

I handed her the candle and she took off the lid to smell it. “Thanks Carly, I love it,” she quietly said.

“Could I get you a drink?” Ben offered presumably feeling the awkwardness. “We have soda, water, beer?”

“Sure,” Shane replied, “I will take a beer.”

“And you?” Ben asked looking at me.

“Water, please. Thank you Ben.” I said as Hope headed toward the kitchen.

“So Ben, what do you do for a living?” Shane asked.

“I am a highway contractor. We got transferred out here to work on the new Highway 453 conversion,” Ben said.

“Oh, yeah,” Shane said after taking a drink. “That is a huge project I heard.”

“Yeah it is. Hopefully with the manpower we can get it done in nine months,” Shane said, looking over at Hope, who gave us a half smile.

“When the construction is done we have to return to Nebraska. We are only here on contract,” Ben told us as he stepped closer to Hope and rubbed her back.

“Carly, would you like to see the nursery?” Hope then asked right away.

“Yes, of course I would,” I said as I stood up, actually surprised she asked.

We walked down a long hallway to a beautiful bedroom with pink and white curtains, a white crib and a white rocking chair.

“This room faces the East and I want the sun to shine on her every morning,” Hope sweetly said looking out the window.

“It is so beautiful Hope,” I told her as I ran my hand across the top of the crib. Above the crib on the wall was a name spelled out in white, wooden letters, “AVERY.”

I looked down at the dresser where there was a beautiful silver frame holding a picture of Hope with who I assumed might be her mother.

“Is this you and your mom?” I asked Hope as I picked up the picture.

“Yes it is,” she said smiling, “she lives in Maryland with my stepdad. “How about your parents?” Hope asked.

“My parents both passed away when I was in college,” I said as I put the picture back perfectly on the dresser. “Shane’s parents both died when he was little so he grew up with his grandmother who recently passed away a few years ago,” I continued. “Neither one of us ever had any brothers or sisters so it’s just us which is why I always tell Shane I want ten kids!” I laughed, as I rubbed my round belly.

“Oh gosh I am so sorry, that must be awful,” Hope told me as she refolded the gorgeous pink blanket on the rocking chair.

“Thanks,” I smiled, thinking of how great it would be for the kids to have grandparents.

“Listen Carly, I wanted to apologize to you about today,” Hope said while looking down at her feet that were slightly pigeon-toed.

“I told Ben before we came here that if we were only going to be here for nine months, I didn’t want to bother even meeting anyone who I would never see again,” she said shaking her head. “It was silly of me and I guess I want to blame my hormones,” she laughed and looked up at me with a genuine smile. “We were even arguing about paint color when you got here,” she laughed.

“Nine months is a long time Hope,” I said to her, putting my hand on her arm, “and it doesn’t mean never seeing us again.”

“Yeah you’re right,” Hope said. “Let’s go check on the guys.”

“Honey, the kids,” I quietly interrupted Shane and Ben as they talked about football.

“Crap, I forgot! Thank you so much for having us over. It was nice meeting you both,” Shane said, shaking both of their hands.

“We will discuss the Bears defensive line next time,” Ben laughed, patting Shane on the back and winking at me.

“Thank you again. I love the candle,” Hope said as she put the candle on the coffee table. “I am looking forward to being your neighbor,” she smiled.

“Me too,” I said waving as I went down the front steps.

We walked in our house just as I had predicted. The credits for the show were playing, Logan was doing karate moves, Charlie was asleep in the recliner and Garrett was eating pizza, again.

Once we got the kids all set for bed and their morning checklists done, Shane and I climbed into bed.

“Oh man, what a day,” Shane sighed while covering up with our blue and white flowered comforter I have had since middle school.

“So?” I asked Shane, while pulling on the covers also.

“You were right. They are perfect,” he said putting his glasses on to watch Sport Center.

“I told you so,” I whispered as I kissed him on the cheek, turned off the light and rolled on to my side.

***********************************

“Carly? Are you OK?” I jerked from my sleep and was sitting at my computer at work.

“Room 4815 is paging you,” my co-worker Allison said, looking at me concerned.

“Oh, sorry Allison,” I told her as I got up and headed down to Room 4815. I hadn’t been able to sleep for going on the fourth day now and it was finally catching up with me.

After returning to my desk, I slumped over in my chair.

“What is up with you lately?” Susan asked while spinning around in her chair to look at me. “Are you feeling OK?”

“Sorry. Just a lot going on I guess,” I told her as I rested my elbows on the desk.

“How are your creepy neighbors?” Susan asked as I returned from down the hallway.

“They are actually really cool after all. We stopped over there earlier this week and they are super nice. She apologized for being weird on the first day and Shane was already talking football with Ben,” I smiled.

“Oh good,” she continued, “Have you been getting enough sleep?”

“Nope, not at all,” I sighed. “Does a mother ever get enough sleep?”

“Very true,” she laughed. “Promise me you will start to work less and rest more ok?”

“The kids are all staying at Molly’s tonight so hopefully I can sleep in,” I said excitedly, thinking of my precious blue and white comforter. Molly lives a few blocks away from us and has children the exact same age as our three kids so when she suggested a sleep over, it didn’t take me long to say, “Yes! Of course!”

When I got home that night it was already past midnight. I parked in the driveway because Shane was helping Garrett with a science project in the garage and there was no room for two cars.

The lights were still on at Ben and Hope’s house and I could see a TV through the window. Someone was watching HGTV.

I walked in the house through the garage door that leads right in to the kitchen.

“Hi honey,” Shane said, sounding surprised to see me.

I turned around to see Shane sitting at the table with Ben, beer and tequila.

“Hi guys,” I said, taking off my shoes. “Excuse me while I go change. Have a good night Ben. Nice to see you,” I said very politely, when I was about to explode inside.

“Sorry about this you guys. I don’t drink very often, and definitely not Tequila,” Ben said as he attempted to slap Shane on the arm but missed.

I went up to bed while Shane attempted to get Ben back across the street. As quiet as they were trying to be, I could still here them laughing out the window.

I was already in my pajamas and in the middle of brushing my teeth when I heard Shane come in the bedroom.

“How was work?” he asked while sliding his slippers under the bed and taking off his shirt.

“It was fine,” I coldly responded.

“Come on Carly,” he continued while climbing under the blankets, “it’s not that big of a deal.”

I rinsed out my toothbrush and headed to the bed. “It is a huge deal to me Shane,” I said as I grabbed my Sudoku book from the nightstand.

Shane put on his glasses and turned on SportsCenter. I must have quickly fallen asleep because I woke up in darkness with my Sudoku book still on my chest and sirens blaring outside.

“Shane! Wake up!” I yelled to Shane who sat up and ran to the window and opened the blinds. All we could see were orange flames engulfing Ben & Hope’s house.

“Oh no!” Shane yelled as he ran out of the room and down the stairs. I was frozen in the window staring out. The firetrucks were just arriving and the entire house was unrecognizable from the flames. I ran downstairs and outside after Shane. As soon as I opened the front door, I could feel the heat coming from their home. Shane was standing in the middle of the street with several of our neighbors, as the police were putting up barricades for people to stay safely back.

“Shane!” I cried as I ran into his open arms. “Were they in there?” I asked, afraid to know the truth.

“I’m not sure yet, the firemen are trying to get inside but the smoke is so dense it is difficult,” Shane said as he squinted his eyes from the smoke.

We watched and waited as firetruck after firetruck tried to put out the flames. The fire had gotten so big that it had spread to the houses on either side, but luckily the firetrucks were already battling those flames before they got out of control.

“We have been out here forever and nobody knows anything yet,” I impatiently said to Shane while I paced back and forth on our front porch.

“I will go and check with them,” he said as he jumped down the front steps.

He started talking to the fire chief when I noticed the sun was already coming up and starting to shine right where the nursery would have been. I looked back at Shane and he was heading back toward our house looking down.

“What? Did he say anything?” I nervously asked while tugging at a hang nail on my thumb.

Shane shook his head, “They didn’t make it out,” he said as he pulled me into his arms.

“I will go start some coffee,” Shane offered as we heading in the house. I sat at the table and put my head in my hands.

“It’s good that they were able to keep it from destroying the Miller’s and the Mitchell’s,” Shane said as he grabbed the creamer out of the fridge.

“Do you think they will be able to save anything from the home?” I asked Shane.

He shook his head, “Those flames were so hot that they were blue. By the time the firemen got there it was just too much. Nothing could have survived that,” he told me while stirring my coffee.

“Will they be able to recover their bodies?” Shane then asked me seriously.

“They will find Hope and Ben’s bodies, but if the flames were hot enough to destroy the home, it would look like she was never carrying a child. An infant’s bones are much softer and would burn, leaving no trace of a baby,” I reassured Shane as he put my coffee cup in front of me.

“What did you do with the gas cans?” I asked him.

“I drove them out to the landfill last night and put them back in Mike’s supplies. He has hundreds of them, he would never know any were missing,” he reassured me as he kissed the top of my head.

“I know this was a hard decision for you, but this is the only way we didn’t have to move again,” he continued.

I looked down at my coffee and noticed some parts of creamer that were still not fully mixed.

“Finish your coffee because we need to get this done before anyone stops by,” Shane insisted as he got some towels out of the hallway linen closet.

Shane brought all of our old towels up to our master bedroom bathroom where I met him with alcohol pads and trash bags. I turned on the bath water and started sanitizing the bathroom.

“Carly? The baby is crying,” Shane told me as he came back in the bathroom.

I went down the hallway to the last room on the left. I opened the door where the pink and white curtains let the sun shine in onto the beautiful white crib. I walked over to the crib and reached down inside.

“It’s OK baby, don’t cry,” I said as I sat in the white rocking chair in the corner of the room.

“Your mommy is here,” I whispered as I looked up at the white, wooden letters on the wall spelling out “MADELINE.”

“Honey?” Shane whispered as he peeked into the room. “Are you ready?”

I followed Shane upstairs while holding Madeline and running my hand through her curly, red hair. I set her down on the bed and went into the bathroom.

“You need to cut really high so nobody will see it,” I told Shane as I climbed into the bathtub and lifted my leg up onto the side. I cleaned an area of my upper thigh with alcohol wipes while Shane cleaned the scalpel.

“Ready?” he nervously asked me.

“Go ahead,” I told him, closing my eyes.

It didn’t hurt as much as it burned.

“OK, now sit down,” Shane instructed as he wiped off the scalpel.

I sat down in the warm water as blood spread throughout.

“Ok, I can take her now,” I said to Shane, holding up my arms as he went to get her from the bed.

He grabbed the camera as I lay her on my chest. The blood in the water gave it the perfect rust color. Shane took pictures of Madeline and me and then I took pictures of the two of them. When we were finished, Shane took Madeline and got her dressed and wrapped up in a blanket. After I was cleaned up and bandaged, I called Susan.

“Susan?” I said when she answered the other line. “It’s Carly, we had the baby!” I cried out excitedly.

“Oh, Carly congratulations!” Susan said, “How did it go with your first water birth?”

“It was a lot harder than I thought,” I sighed, looking over at Shane who was holding Madeline and staring at her beautiful face.

“There was an accident last night. Our new neighbors’ home caught on fire and they didn’t make it. It is all over the news. The shock of it all sent me into labor,” I cried.

“Oh my goodness Carly, I am so sorry. What happened?” she asked.

“We aren’t sure yet, but Ben was here drinking when I got home from work last night and we informed the police,” I sadly said.

“Go get some rest and call me later so I can come see the precious girl and we can talk about all of this,” Susan lovingly said.

I got off of the phone, put Madeline in her crib and cleaned up the bathroom. I waited until dusk and went to our backyard and started a fire in our fire pit. I could still smell smoke coming from Hope and Ben’s house as little ashes flew over our roof. I looked in the window and saw Shane asleep on the recliner with Madeline on his chest. I picked up the garbage bag I had brought outside with me. The fire pit had just started to grow larger flames. I took out the pregnancy belly that I have shown many middle school kids how to wear to avoid becoming pregnant. I can’t say I was sorry to see it go since I had been wearing it for five months straight. I tossed it into the fire and it started to crackle. I stared into it, mesmerized by the multi colored flames and melting silicone.

I went back into the house and up to my closet.

Bottom left drawer.

I grabbed all of the papers in the drawer and snuck back downstairs, careful not to wake up Madeline.

“Honey,” I whispered to Shane, “you should call the kids and tell them we had the baby.”

“Good idea,” he smiled as he rubbed Madeline’s back.

I stepped back outside to the fire pit where the flames were growing larger. I looked down at my stack of papers, which were old newspaper clippings. The first one I came to read:

The Philadelphia Informer October 4, 2006

School teacher David Warner and his wife Shelby were arrested Friday morning on charges of child endangerment and neglect when they claim their two year-old son Max went missing from the local park. They stated they were playing at the park when they turned their heads for a moment and Max was gone. The Warner’s were released from jail Saturday morning. “I just pray my baby is alright,” his mother Shelby told the Post. “He could never fall asleep without me singing Twinkle ,Twinkle Little Star and rocking him,” she cried. There are currently no leads in this case and the Philadelphia Police Department ask that anyone with any information, please contact them.

The next paper read:

Detroit Gazette December 9, 2010

An automobile accident off of an icy cliff in Taylor County left a husband, wife and their nine month-old son dead. The icy conditions that have been in the area all week were responsible for the accident. The bodies of the man and woman were found near the ravine, but due to frigid temperatures, divers were restricted from entering the water in search for the child.

And another…

Taylor County News December 14, 2010

Family members gather at St. Rita’s Church to hold a memorial for the family killed last Thursday near the ravine. Alexander and Kayla Hall were involved in an accident along Route 89 last week that cost them and their nine month-old son Gage their lives. “Alex was a wonderful dad, so loving and supportive,” a family friend said. “Kayla was an amazing mom to Gage. She watched Barney with him every morning and he brought his Barney doll everywhere,” she continued. “They will all be missed so much.”

Las Vegas Times May 14, 2012

World renowned scientist Frederick Hollman was arrested Tuesday morning after a frantic call was made to 911. The caller stated they were the families’ housekeeper and upon entry to the hom, found Mrs. Hollman stabbed in the kitchen and Mr. Hollman bleeding and holding a knife on the living room floor. The couple have a six month old daughter Emeline that is now missing. Mr. Hollman states he does not remember anything from that night. He is being psychologically evaluated at Buxin University. Mrs. Hollman survived the attack and is now frantically searching for Emeline. Emeline is six months-old with blonde hair, blue eyes and was last seen wearing white bunny pajamas. She asks that if anyone have any information on this case, to please contact the police.

I crumbled up all of the papers and threw them into the fire.

“Carly, the kids want to talk to you,” Shane said holding the phone out to me on the back porch.

I smiled and grabbed the phone, “Hi my babies, Mommy misses you,” I said as I closed the sliding glass door while the fire continued to burn and all of the words disappeared from the world.


Those Who Trespass Against Us

  • Author: Sara Nelson-Rosales
  • Published: 2015-11-06 04:05:19
  • Words: 6497
Those Who Trespass Against Us Those Who Trespass Against Us