SECRET SCARS: Chapter One
“Please, please stop! I’m sorry! Please stop!” Her screams dissolved
into sobs as she fell to her knees on the floor, her face buried in her hands. He paused, only momentarily, before striking her once more, sending her reeling backward. As she scrambled to all fours, she turned burning, anguished eyes upon him, her husband. Her mind quickly flitted to their wedding day, when he had taken her in his arms and said his vows, swearing before God to protect her, to love her, to take care of her. Staring up at him now, his face a mask of rage, she knew that the man she had married was gone, that this was who he was now. At that thought, a boiling hatred filled her, a hatred so strong it guided her steadily to her feet to stand before him. Her husband looked stunned, completely caught off guard as she threw her hands out and shoved him.
“I hate you! I hope you rot in hell!” she screamed as he staggered
against the counter.
He recovered quickly, grinning malevolently as he pushed away from the counter. The gun seemed to materialize out of thin air, and his fingers were steady as they flexed around it.
“Tell me again,” he said calmly, the first coherent words he had
spoken all evening, since he had arrived home and his rampage had begun. She turned tormented eyes on the nearly forgotten little girl huddled behind the couch in the living room. The child was crying silently, her hands clasped over her mouth. Close your eyes, her mother mouthed. She said something else before looking back at her husband, balling her hands into defiant fists at her side. She drew in a long, shuddering breath, knowing it would be her last.
“I hate you,” she said evenly, enunciating each word, pouring
every ounce loathing she felt into the phrase. He pulled the trigger, the sound so loud that it drowned out the heartbroken scream of the seven year old that had never shut her eyes.
Ten years later
“Hey, Alexa, wait up!”
Alexa Miller turned at the sound of the familiar voice. She was now seventeen, halfway through her senior year in high school, living happily with the foster family that had adopted her years earlier.
“Hey, Sawyer,” Alexa greeted her boyfriend with a grin.
“How’s it going, beautiful?” Sawyer Harvey kissed Alexa on the
temple and took her backpack from her, slinging it over his shoulder. Alexa and Sawyer had been dating for over a year, and as much as she loved him, the guilt that Sawyer knew nothing of her past always gnawed at her stomach.
“You ready to go?” Sawyer asked her. “I have to swing by the gas
station on the way to your house.”
Alexa nodded and followed Sawyer to his car. If there was anything in the world that he loved almost as much as he loved Alexa, it was his car. A deep orange the color of sunset, Sawyer’s Dodge Charger was his pride and joy. A lot of girls would be disgusted at his passion for his car, but as he gunned the powerful engine, Alexa felt nothing but peace when she saw the exhilarated expression on his face. It was so rare she felt completely tranquil, and as her therapist always told her, “it’s the little things.” Sawyer guided the car smoothly to the gas station and hopped out gracefully.
“You want to come in with me?” he asked. Alexa climbed out of
the car and followed Sawyer inside. She stood beside him as he asked for his cigarettes at the counter, her eyes grazing over the tedious magazine headlines before falling on the newspaper. An article quickly caught her attention, and she snatched up the paper and began reading.
Man Escapes Iowa Prison
William Hawkins, convicted ten years ago in the shooting death of his wife, Alison Hawkins, escaped from the prison around midnight...Prison employees are puzzled as to how the inmate managed to flee unnoticed...Police are concerned he may be searching for his daughter...
Alexa’s vision blurred as she began to tremble.
“Alexa? Alexa, baby, what is it?” Sawyer’s panicked voice
sounded so far away. She was barely aware of his hands on her shoulders.
But Alexa didn’t hear him. Her dark green eyes were unfocused, unseeing of the scene in front of her, only seeing that night in exploding flashbacks, her young, loving mother looking at her with eyes full of terror, telling her to close her eyes, and then one last time her lips shaping her daughter’s name, Alexa, like a final prayer of peace. But just as they were then, Alexa’s eyes seemed frozen open. There was blood, so much blood, as her mother’s lifeless body fell just a few feet from Alexa’s hiding place, while Alexa screamed and screamed and scampered out of the house, slipping in the blood, nearly falling, as her father reached for her.
“Alexa!” Sawyer screamed her name this time, and Alexa
flinched, plummeting back to the present. She looked around, at Sawyer’s pale face, at the frightened cashier, at the newspaper gripped so tightly in her hands that her knuckles were white. She opened her mouth to speak, but the terrible words stuck in her throat. Her knees buckled, and darkness swallowed her as she collapsed into Sawyer’s arms.