Thursday photo prompt – Flight – #writephoto
In part one, Tunnel, our heroine escaped death at Arlene’s hands. Ten years later…
“If birds descended from dinosaurs, did people descend from angels?” My nine-year old daughter asked.
How was she to know I was fighting for both our lives?
“Where did that come from?” I wondered.
“My tutor says there are no such things as angels, just kind people.”
“I’ll remind her that she’s there to teach you paleontology, not expound about her views on religion,” I said, trying to ignore the semi-automatic presently pointed at my head.
“Miss Arlene says she’s your best friend. Are you practicing a scene in your next movie?”
“Yes, sweetie pie. It’s past your bedtime.”
“Aw, mommy?” she complained.
She stopped at the door, her eyes on my calm face. I smiled at her and she trudged up the stairs to her room. I turned back toward Arlene, watching the snow fall past the picture window on a mansion so far away from the 10 foot brick wall protecting my home that no one could see it from the house.
“Imagine my surprise when I discovered you had a baby 9 months after our trip to the cave,” Arlene said.
“I had a boyfriend two days after going to college. Imagine my surprise when I found out I was pregnant. I took off a semester, had Charlene, and my parents took care of her while I finished college.”
“I spoke with some of your classmates,” Arlene said. “While I was in the military, you were laughing behind my back!”
“Did any one you spoke with know your name?”
Arlene thought about it. “No, but they said you didn’t have a boyfriend the first semester.”
This I had prepared for. One of the students went to a frat party 3 days after school started. He fell from a 2 story building and broke his neck. I made a point out of crying at the funeral and alluding to a one-night stand with him, calling Charles an incredible guy. Charlene was born a week late, another factor in my favor.
“Did you look at the name on my daughter’s birth certificate?”
“I know who the father was!”
“I doubt Charlene’s paternal grandparents would agree with you,” I replied. “You’ve accused me of laughing at you behind your back, but no one at my school knew your name. The man who died at the frat party was an only child. Charlene is their only grandchild. I combined her father’s name with yours to honor you both.”
“You’re jerking them around, just like you did me.”
Her eyes filled with so much hate, she wasn’t going to let this go unless…
It helps to keep tabs on your enemies.
“I’m one of the highest paid actresses in the world, and have the highest paid security team,” I said. “You got past them as if they weren’t there. People know we were friends in high school. How would you like to work as a bodyguard for Charlene and me? We could go shopping and no one would know you were there to protect us.”
“What?” Arlene chuckled bitterly.
“I told you before…friends are the people who don’t ask questions, they just help you bury the bodies. I don’t know what happened to you in the military, but if you’re that good with stealth and a gun, it couldn’t have been easy. I’m giving you a chance to bury the past and start fresh with the people who love you.”
Tears…I hadn’t seen those roll off Arlene’s cheeks since high school. She stuck the gun into a holster. “I…”
“Think about it, and give me a call,” I said. “Can I reach into my purse?”
“A card with a number I only give out to friends and family,” I said. “Next time you come through the door, we’ll have dinner together.”
“I have a 6-year-old son. He has Down syndrome. I doubt you’ll want to be associated with him.”
And that’s why she was angry. I had it all…money, fame, a beautiful daughter.
“Bring him along, too,” I replied cheerfully, holding my card toward her. “If you can sneak out as easily as you were able to sneak in, I’ll pay you $200,000 a year and pay for the finest tutors in the world for your son.”
“Are you willing to put that on paper?”
“I told you that no one would know about the contents of that cave. Did I lie?”
“No, but…I’m going to have another child…”
“Tutors come in all shapes and sizes,” I said with a bright smile. “There’s a great future waiting for us. Are you ready to embrace it?”
Arlene nodded yes. She looked at her watch, timing her escape, and slipped out the same window she’d entered.
I waited 20 minutes to walk upstairs. Charlene, her door cracked open, slept soundly, her soft breathing reassuring. Thank God my daughter had my hair color, eye color and face shape or this night would’ve ended far differently.
I thought about the choice I’d made this night. I could’ve had security haul her off, and she might spend a few years in jail, but a woman with her skills would find a way to kill me and possibly my daughter. Instead of having to look over my shoulder for the rest of my life and the certainty of dying at Arlene’s hands, there was a good chance that she’d find someone else to obsess over killing. I now had a chance to outlive her.
If birds did indeed descend from dinosaurs, and people descended from angels, what do you call a woman sent back to the same life 3 times after being killed by Arlene twice before? Tonight I dared to soar where angels feared to tread.
When I’m old, my life is going to make the best seller list, and one hell of a movie.