Photo by Brenda Lee Brown
Overgrown now, it still retained its charm. She passed as if it wasn’t familiar, walking by with the aloofness of a stranger. She had no ties here, this house wasn’t her home anymore.
Caroline sat down on the bench across the street. Her mind wandered back to a time when this was her home, when she and her mother were happy. Those were good times and she caught herself before a smile leaked out. There was nothing to really smile about.
After her father died, Caroline and her mother were struggling. Maybe that’s why her mother chose him. Someone she knew nothing about except for the fact he was an available repairman, albeit a drifter. Her mother needed help with the old house and this man stopped by one day as she was working in the yard. She grew fond of him, and not a bit cautious.
After a time, they married and everything seemed pleasant. As Caroline grew, she tried to accept him, but she always felt an unrecognizable fear around him. One day school ended earlier than usual and Caroline went to retrieve her bicycle out of the shed and discovered her stepfather. “What are you doing in here? Get out!” Caroline forgot about the bike and left.
The following day the rumor in the neighborhood was that a robbery took place at the nearby gas station and the owner was killed. The constable came after a witness described the man. Apparently Caroline’s stepfather had a record of felony and the local police were keeping an eye on him. They were searching the area for the weapon used. Caroline remembered his actions in the shed and told them. They found the murder weapon and arrested him.
Caroline’s mother never forgave her.