Ocean Park, WA

April 29th , 2020

Aiden was at work for the day and Richard was down for a nap with her mother and father doing their own thing in the house. She’d just about moved everything from her old room over to Aiden’s one-story home just a few streets down, and Richard would be leaving only a box of toys here so that he had something to play with when they came to visit. Other than that, it was just a couple more boxes and she’d be moving out again. Her parents were very happy this time however, which made a huge difference. They liked Aiden quite a bit, and had already expressed as much.

Looking around the home that she’d been raised in Mariah could only hope that this time would work, that she’d picked a good man in Aiden, and could be secure with him as she’d wanted to be with Clinton. Heaving a silent sigh she made a quick decision as she began to walk down the hallway. Upon reaching the living room area she saw her mother busily working on another project she’d taken up only a few years before.

The half-knitted sweater on her lap looked rather warm for the summer months, but it would probably work during the winter.

“Mom I’m going to go to the range, can you listen for Richard?”

Her mother smiled as she nodded, “Oh yes. Grandma will have something sweet for the little guy when he wakes up.”

“No more sugar mom,” she said with a groan, “He’s had enough.”

“Oh poo,” her mother said, waving a single hand at her, “Go shoot your silly targets and let us spoil our grandson.”

Rolling her eyes Mariah made her way to the garage where she still had her bow and quiver hanging up on the far wall. Why she hadn’t taken this yet she wasn’t certain, but Aiden had his at his, their, home hanging up just as hers was. It was a strange observation, but it still made her feel a bit warmer in that moment as she went back to the door that would lead into the house, pressing the glowing red button that would open the garage door.

The squealing, grating, rumbling sound of the door brought back memories. She couldn’t even say when her father had purchased the opener but it had been here as long as she could remember. That memory faded quickly however as the growing gap between the bottom edge of the door revealed a pair of boots that were too familiar, followed by the jean-clad legs, then the flannel shirt that eventually led up to the face that would likely haunt her dreams for some time to come.

Mariah’s grip tightened on her bow as she acted on instinct, unknowingly grabbing a single arrow out of her quiver as she quickly nocked it and took aim. The rest of the arrows clattered to the cement floor of the garage, the quiver following with a soft thump as it lay empty and forgotten. Clinton didn’t even move as he grinned at her.

“Well look at you,” he said, “Little miss Robin Hoodrat. You think you can take me down with one shot?”

“If she doesn’t I will,” said a voice from the side of the garage, “You get out of here now.”

“Shut up old man,” Clinton growled at her father, who was just out of sight beyond the door, “I wasn’t talking to you.”

“And I’m not even going to talk,” Mariah said, loosing her arrow.

(to be continued)

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