Everyone sat down at the large dining room table. The dinner was soup and salad plus some cold cut sandwiches. Claudette said, “Sorry dinner was not so creative, I was short on time.” Nicole smiled. “Chicken soup is my favorite. I think it is delicious.” Claudette said, “No matter how much flattery you give, you are still doing the dishes.” Nicole pouted.
Everyone quietly ate their dinner until the phone rang. Malcolm said, “I hate it when someone calls while I am eating. It better not be a salesman.”
He picked up the phone. “Hello Claude. You are getting on the plane and you will be back by tomorrow. That is wonderful. There will be quite a surprise waiting for you. Yes, you can talk to your sister.” Malcolm handed the phone to Claudette.
She spoke into the phone in French. “Vous ne croyez qui est ici. quelqu'un est venu à la vie, Molly Dillon. Bonjour vous stil là, Je suppose que je ne peux pas vous blâmer pour être surpris, son père a tué votre femme et la femme de Bruce. “
“Damm It Woman, you told him!” Malcolm yelled. “You know how upset he gets. The poor man probably fainted.”
Claudette grinned. “Je suis surpris que vous saviez ce que je disais. Votre français est généralement mauvais.
“Femme, je l'ai été avec vous pendant près de 100 ans. Je l'ai ramassé beaucoup. Je prétends juste que je ne comprends pas quand vous parlez français. Quand je fais ce que je vous ignorer. » Malcolm said.
Claudette glared at him. U panse ou yo, se pou entelijan. Ou konprann m 'koulye a? kòm pou inyore m ', mwen pa bay yon kaka. Mwen inyore nou tou. espesyalman lè ou ale sou sou mache a stock estipid.”
Malcolm put his head down and looked deep in thought. “I think you said, “Do you think you are smart? Do you understand me now? I don’t give a shit if you ignore me. I ignore you also, when you talk about the stupid stock market.”
Claudette clapped her hands. “Très bon vous n'êtes pas aussi stupide que vous regardez. “
“What did you guys just say ? What language were you speaking? I am confused.” Molly said.
“When Claudette talked to her Brother on the phone, she was speaking French. “Malcom said. “The words I had to guess were Haitian Creole. Her ancestors were from Haiti before they came to Lafitte Island. You think it was tough understanding her? Wait until she code switches.”
“What is that?”
“When a person who speaks multiple languages and they switch back and forth in the same sentence. She drives me crazy when she does that.” Malcolm said.
“Se pou sa Je le fais mon amour. Mwen gen kenbe ou sou zòtèy ou. I also do it pour tester si vous If you are paying attention to me. Claudette said.
Molly laughed. Malcolm said. “See what I have to put up with.”
“What did Claudette say to her brother?” Molly asked.
“I said that we have a surprise visitor and to have a safe trip home.” Claudette said. She looked down at the floor. Malcolm glared at her and cleared his throat. He shook his head. He raised his hands and clapped them. “I thought we were done lying to Molly? She needs to hear the entire truth of what went on at the massacre.”
Molly did not want to hear anymore. She can’t imagine any more pain caused by her father and his family. She feared if she heard anymore she would be sick.
“Just tell me.” Molly said.
Malcolm sighed. “Claudette said that she did not blame Claude for being upset that you are alive and here at the house. He would be upset because your father’s family killed his wife. They also killed my Brother Bruce’s wife.”
Molly gagged and choked. She began to sob. Her stomach churned like a washing machine, then flipped upside down. Her throat burned. She let out a loud belch and vomit spewed all over the table. Her head fell in the middle of it on the table. Colleen gasped and picked Molly’s head up. She grabbed some napkins and wiped her face. “Are you satisfied, you stupid feckless bastard?” She yelled at Malcolm. “The poor girl passed out. Shame on you. I ought to kick your fecking arse!” Sean walked over to Molly and his wife. He picked her up and cradled her in his arms. “I am taking her upstairs. She will sleep in me and Colleen’s room. She is done for the day. The poor girl needs to be left alone for the rest of the night..” He glared at Malcolm. Malcolm backed away and held up his hands in a placating manner.
Nicole walked over to them. “Can I go upstairs with her?”
Colleen patted her on the arm. “No dear, Molly needs her rest. Nicole nodded and sat back down at the table.
Claudette seized Malcolm’s elbow and dug her fingers into it. Quand elle se réveille, ne vous avisez pas de dire un mot tu ferais mieux de ne pas lui dire ce qui est arrivé à Bruce. pas un mot sur quel point il a été blessé par son père. pauvre fille ne peut pas prendre plus. pauvre enfant avait beaucoup de choc à traiter dans une seule journée. Laissez-la reposer pendant la nuit.“ When she wakes up, do not you dare say a word you'd better not say what happened to Bruce. not a word about how he was wounded by his father. poor girl can not take it anymore. poor child was a lot of shock to deal with in one day. Let it sit overnight. "
Malcolm responded. “Pensez-vous pas qu'elle sera en mesure de gérer le choc quand elle le voit? Je pense qu'il est préférable que Molly a un avertissement avancé. pensez-vous pas d'accord? Don't you think she will be able to handle the shock when she sees him? i think it is best if Molly has some advanced warning. do you not agree?
“Non, je ne, je voulais dire ce que je disais, la laisser seule. Elle peut attendre jusqu'à ce que Claude et Bruce rentrent à la maison. Je me sens certaines choses que vous devez savoir OT pour vous-même. Quoi qu'il en soit, elle ne devrait pas être bouleversé quand elle voit Bruce, elle n'a rien fait pour lui ou sa femme blesse.” Claudette said. “Ce pauvre enfant n'a pas de sang sur les mains. pourtant, je peux dire qu'elle hersef blâme pour chaque mauvaise chose, elle entend parler. Un peu comme vous. Vous devriez sentir une certaine sympathie à son égard.” Claudette put her hand on Malcolm’s back. “Au lieu de cela, vous êtes méchant avec elle. Ce qui explique pourquoi vous dormez sur le canapé ce soir.” She smacks Malcolm on the butt and walks up the stairs to the room where Molly will sleep
No I do not,I meant what I said, leave her alone. She can wait until Claude and Bruce get home. I feel some things you need to find out for yourself. Anyway, she should not be upset when she sees Bruce, she did nothing to hurt him or his wife. That poor child has no blood on her hands. Yet I can tell she blames herself for every bad thing she hears about. Kind of like You do. You should feel some sympathy towards her. Instead you are mean to her. Which is why you are sleeping on the couch tonight.
Malcolm just glares at her back and makes a rude gesture at her back. He then walks over to the couch and lays down on it.
Nicole went to the table and began clearing it off. She got a sponge and wiped off the vomit on the table cloth. She got out some containers and put the leftover food in them. Alister walked into the kitchen rolling up his sleeves. “Here let me help you.”
Nicole said in a loud stage whisper. “Thank you, at least some one is decent enough to help me. Instead of some people who plop their lazy arses on the couch.” Malcolm responds with another rude gesture.
Alister looked at Nicole reproachfully. “Leave him be he has had a difficult day.” Nicole rolled her eyes but kept her mouth shut.
Claudette appeared in the kitchen. Alister walks over and whispers in her ear and points to Malcolm. Claudette nods and walks over to the couch. “I was only joking about sleeping on the couch. Come on let’s go to bed.”
Malcolm gets up and takes hold of Claudette’s hand. They walk upstairs to their bedroom.
Alister and Nicole begin to wash and dry the dishes.
They are interrupted by a knock on the door.
Alister walks over to the kitchen door. Andrew Stirling stands in the doorway. Nicole walks over and looks out the door. “Where is Allen? I thought he was coming back with you?”
Andrew shook his head. “He had to catch a plane to catch.”
“Where is he going?’ Nicole shakes her head and raises her hands. She plays with a strand of her hair. Her mouth is turned down at the corners.
Andrew and Alister exchange glances. “He went to Louisiana.”
“I thought Jean-Marc and Fred were handling things?” Nicole asked.
“I do not trust Fred. Most of the time, you don’t know whose side he is on.” Andrew said. “He is nothing but a stupid, selfish coward. He only cares about himself. He makes decisions based on how much they will benefit him.
“You are so full of shite!” Nicole walks back into the kitchen, picks up some dinner plates. She leaps at the door and throws the plates at Andrew. “
Andrew manages to catch the plates. One breaks in in his grip. A sharp chard cuts his hand. He drops the plate and swears at Nicole.
“You have issues with trusting my step-dad? Wow!” Nicole said. She snickers. “This coming from someone who has lied to both Molly and me for 10 years. Who lied to their family and friends? Whatever!”
Andrew walked over to Nicole. He pointed at her. “What I did was different. I lied to protect my family. I wanted to protect Molly.” He shakes his head. “
“Both of you need to shut up.” Alister said. “You all need to start acting like adults! I am sick of the bickering. That is no way to handle a crisis.” Alister paces back and forth with his hands behind his back. He stops. “Come on let’s go sit at the table. Andrew you look like you are starving.”
Andrew said. “For some reason. I don’t have much of an appetite because my stomach hurts. It feels like somebody stomped on it. I wonder why.” He smiles at Nicole.
Alister picks up his cane and swings it at Andrews head. “Apparently your ears don’t work either. I said no bickering! Grow up!
Nicole sticks her tongue out at Andrew. She walks back into the kitchen and gets out the containers. “To show you how sorry I am; I will heat up some chicken soup for you.
Alister beamed at Nicole. “Such a good girl. She knows how to behave like a grownup.”
Andrew snorted and giggled. “Good girl? HA!” He looked at the floor shaking his heard. He looked up at Molly. “That is not what Fred said. He cursed every word in the book when he mentioned Nicole’s name. He also said he is fed up with having to work for and protect the Stirling family. He said we were not paying him enough. He threatened to get a better offer from Jean-Baptiste Lafitte.”
“Of course you would say that. You still have a vendetta against him.” Nicole pointed and shook her finger. “You are still angry because he would not kill the drunk driver who killed your family. He told you to let the courts handle it.”
“Shut up! I forgave him for not doing what I asked. I would have done it myself, but I was in too much pain at the. time. I could not walk, let alone kill someone.” Andrew said. “Besides, I have another reason for not trusting Fred.”
Alister slammed his cane on the table. “We do not need to bring up ancient history. What happened has nothing to do with what is happening today.”
“My stepfather has always proven his loyalty to the Stirling clan. “What possible reason could you have to not trust him?” Nicole asked.
“You really want to know? I don’t trust him because he spoke to Jean-Baptiste two weeks before the massacre. I have proof, I got his phone records. I know he tipped the Lafitte and Jones families off. They knew exactly where and when to strike. Funny coincidence, after the massacre, he paid of the mortgage on his house. Seems he must have had some sort of heavy pay out.”
Alister hit the table with his fist so hard it cracked. “Fred explained to me that he talked to Lafitte to warn him against helping the Jones family! He did not tip him off! As for the money, he sold his stocks to the company. He also got lucky at the horse races.”
“Of course he made up a story. You will believe anything that man says. You are stupid to trust that pathetic excuse of a man.”
Alister slapped Andrew’s face. “That man has saved my life on many occasions. He has been a blood donor to me for decades. He has jumped in front of silver bullets so they would not hit me. Fred is the most loyal man I know.
“Father” Andrew said, “He did not do those things out of loyalty, but for money. Do not mistake loyalty with greed for Fred helping you.”
Alister picks up his came and leaves the table. “Nicole don’t listen to Andrew. He really is full of shite.”
Nicole looks at Andrew. “I think he is right. Sometimes Fred does things out of desperation. No matter who he hurts.” Nicole sighed. “I have heard him recently talk to Jean-Baptiste recently. Last week. It sounded like they were planning something. Fred said he will help the Lafitte family take back what is theirs.”
“Nicole maybe you head him talking to Jean-Marc. You could have got confused. They both have the same last name “Lafitte.” Alister said.
“I clearly heard the name Jean-Baptiste. Plus he kept saying he will keep everything a secret from the Stirling family.”
“Now which Lafitte would want to keep secrets from our clan? “Andrew asked. “Jean Marc has always played straight with us.” He shook his head and folded his arms. “My theory is that Fred is double dealing. I wonder if he has another financial emergency.” He winked at Nicole and smirked.
Nicole put her head down. She sucked in her cheeks and then puffed out a sigh. “I found out that my stepfather took out a reverse mortgage. My brother’s legal fees are very high. Plus, his rehab expenses.”
Alister patted her on the shoulder. He put an arm around her. “Why did he not come to me? I would be more than willing to help an old friend.’
Andrew rolled his eyes and continued to smirk. He rocked back and forth on his heels and kept his arms crossed. He then let out a loud shriek of laughter. It was a rude, nasty sound. His whole body shook mirthless laughter He walked over to the wall and banged his head.
Alister walked over and raised his cane toward Andrew’s head. “Boy if you are trying to knock some sense into yourself, I’ll be happy to help!” He struck at Andrew. The blow hit his shoulder. “That was a warning shot, next will be your thick skull!”
Andrew fell against the wall and held up his arms over his head. When Alister put his cane by his side, he peeked at his father. “Old man, you are the one with a thick skull.” He shouted. Spit flew from his mouth. “All these years of Fred scheming against you, many of those schemes having to do with keeping Nicole away from us. Yet, you still put your trust—
“Leave me out of this!” Nicole shouted. “That is in the past and we have all made peace.”
Sean comes stomping into the room. “Please keep it down. Molly is sleeping upstairs and I don’t want her up until morning! “He shook his head and glared at everybody in the kitchen. “What the hell are you arguing about now?”
“Good old Fred Norwich, you know the man who would only marry your daughter over your dead body? You and Colleen said he was the worst thing that happened to your daughter.”
Sean waved his hands in the air. “Water under the bridge. Fred has been a good husband to her. He stuck around, despite Mary’s mental problems. Not many men would do that. Plus, the situation with Nicole. I doubt many men would want to stick around for that.” He walked over to the table, sat down and began eating. “Sorry, I am still hungry since dinner was cut short.”
Andrew sat down across from him. He leaned his head into Sean’s face. “Did you know Fred is in Louisiana? He is doing the bidding of the Lafitte family. Andrew said.
“So, that is his business. Whatever he is doing, I trust him. He—
“You should not trust him. He helped my father and I fake Molly’s death! “Andrew waved his hands in the air. He clapped them. “He got documents made. Fake death certificate. He used his government friends to bury Molly and make a new person named Heather Smith. He helped with false records for Child Protective Services.”
Sean jumped up so fast his chair flew backwards and crashed on the ground. “That feckless bastard knew all along! If he were here, I would ring his feckless neck!”
“Gee, how convenient he disappeared when the shite hit the fan? “Andrew said.
Sean slammed his fists on the table. He kicked the chair. A keening wail came from deep in his throat. “How many more people are in on this betrayal?”
Fast footsteps could be heard coming through the living room and across the kitchen. “What is wrong with you people? There is a very exhausted girl resting upstairs.”
Sean walked over to Colleen. “Fred was in on it also. I hope Mary is not.”
Colleen put her hand over her mouth and wailed. She shook her side to side. She was trying to hold back sobs. She turned and looked at Nicole. Her lip curled into a snarl. She grabbed Nicole by the hair. She wrenched her head and got into her face. “Did you know?”
Nicole gasped for breath. “NO! Not until this year! Yes, I always suspected, or maybe it was hoped, Molly was alive. I had a hunch and followed it. Grandma, Grandpa, I would never keep something like that from you!”
Colleen let go of Nicole’s hair. She collapsed into a kitchen chair. She put her head on the table. “I hope that is true.”
Andrew looked at Nicole then at Colleen. “I don’t know, maybe she follows in her dear step-daddy’s footsteps.”
Nicole started to sniffle and tears came out of her eyes. “Leave me out of this. This is about helping Molly.”
“I want to be sure of your loyalty.” Andrew put a hand on Nicole’s shoulder. She shook him off. “This will not be the first time you schemed with Fred against the Stirling family.”
“Dam it Andrew! Stop bringing up the past! There is no point to it. Nicole is right. We need to focus on helping Molly. Not bickering amongst ourselves!” Alister said. “We got to pull together. There is a war coming.”
“The impending war is precisely why I bring up incidents from the past.” Andrew said. “Our clan and the Dillon clan needs to know for sure whom we can trust.
“I am telling the truth about Molly. Please believe me! Let me explain.” Nicole said.
1990 the night after the massacre
Nicole lies in a hospital bed. She is strapped down at the wrists. Her head slams back against the pillow. Blood seeps onto the bandage around her head. She yells “Where is she? Where is Molly! I want my cousin.”
Fred runs into the room. “Honey, please you are going to hurt yourself. You are already badly injured.’
Nicole glares at her step dad. “Tell me about Molly. I need to know. Please, I beg you!
Tears fell out of his eyes. “I am sorry; she did not make it.
“Her wound was not that bad. The bullet went straight through her cheeks. I saw it come out the other side.”
Fred shook his head, “It was much worse than we thought. There was a lot of blood. She choked on it.”
Nicole screamed and shrieked. She thrashed against her restraints. Fred hit the nurse call button. Nurses came running into the room and pulled out a syringe. They jabbed it into her arm. Nicole went limp. Fred sat down beside the bed. He put his head in his hands. Heavy sobs wracked his body.
Six months later
“Nicole, what is bothering you? You mope around and hardly say a word to anybody.” Mary Norwich asks.
“Gee Mom, could it be that I am still upset about Molly dying? She was my best friend. I considered her my sister.”
“Come on, out with it. Tell me what is really bothering you.” Mary said.
“Fine. I don’t believe Molly is dead. I think her death was faked. “
Mary laughed. “Sweetie, you have been watching too many soap operas!”
“Go ahead and laugh. I don’t care. I will find out the truth and I will bring Molly back home.” Nicole said.
She was only eight years old at the time, but she was very determined. Not a day went by that she thought about Molly. She knew that her young age prevented her from doing anything. She definitely could not ask Fred. She knows he was in on it. She did not want to talk to her grandparents. She did not want to cause false hope; in case she was wrong. So Nicole thought and planned and schemed for many years.
In middle school, 1995 she met a girl who was in the foster care system. Jamie told her about what it was like being bounced around from home to home. Never staying in one place for very long. Nicole knew that Molly could easily have been sent away and moved from place to place very easily. Out of curiosity, Nicole asked Jamie if she lived with any girls with red hair. Jamie said she did. In Altona PA she lived with a girl who was 7 years old. Nicole was disappointed. Molly was five when the day of the massacre. She would be 10 by now.
When Nicole started high school, she began taking computer classes. She became interested in the fringe world of hacking. He friends James, taught her how to break into any type of system. Nicole frequently hacked into records of Child Protective Services. She would spend hours scouring pages of documents. It was very difficult. She checked for girls who were 15 years old. None of them matched Molly’s description. Something in the back of her mind told her she was going about the wrong way. One night she decided to change the “parameters” of her searches. She put Molly’s age back one year. Nothing came up. She put the age back two years. A record of 13-year-old girl named Heather Smith came up. She was in the system since 1990. She dug deeper into the file. Nicole could not believe her luck when a picture was attached to the file. The girl had red hair, green/brown eyes. Most importantly, both her cheeks had deep scars on them. The latest record came up that the girl lived in Philadelphia PA. She saw that she went to a charter school called Philadelphia Prep. After two years of hard work, she knew where Molly was. Nicole had cried herself to sleep for almost 10 years. She still had nightmares about the awful massacre. Yet something in her gut told her that Molly was not dead! ‘She packed her bag and left that night. She had to leave right away, or she would lose her nerve. She had no idea what she was going to do when she found Molly. That did not matter. Nicole was happy she found her best friend and sister again.
Present day 2000 three days after finding Molly
Colleen looked at Molly with sadness in her eyes. “I am sorry for grabbing you by the hair. I do not know what came over me.”
Alister patted her on the back. “This has been a very stressful day for everyone.”
Nicole looked at Colleen. “It should be even more stressful for you, grandma, because you have breast cancer.”
Everybody gasped in shock. Sean hung his head. Colleen glared at Nicole. “How did you know? I told your mother not to tell you.”
Nicole grinned. “I was listening on the other phone. I could tell by the way my mom was acting that something was very wrong. So I spied on her.’
Alister looked at Colleen. “Why was I not told?”
“I wanted to be sure. I wanted a second opinion. I did not want to scare anybody if it turned out to be nothing. I felt a lump in my breast two months ago. I went to a doctor and had a biopsy. Then I went and got a second opinion. They say that the cancer was caught early.” Colleen said. “So don’t make a big deal about it.”
“Now you know why I went and got Molly.” Nicole said. “I knew for about two months that she was alive. I wanted to gradually get to know her, to be sure. I wanted to write her letters and send her pictures. When I found out about you have cancer; I decided to move fast. I wanted her to get to know you before you died.”
“So that is my story. I got lucky. I only wanted to find Molly to bring her home.” Nicole said. “To think that it WAS some plot by Fred and I against your-our family is a joke. I can’t believe that you are so paranoid Andrew! Maybe you should take the psychotropic drugs you forced me to take? You need them way more than I do.”
Andrew grinned. “Nicole, I am way too tired to argue with you anymore. I can barely stand up. I don’t even think I have the energy to drive home.”
“You’re more than welcome to sleep here. In fact, Alister can stay here too. Claude and Bruce’s quarters are empty; you can stay in there.
Both men nodded gratefully. They walked to the other part of the house, down a long hallway. Nicole looked at Sean. “Grandpa, can I stay here? Even though it is only 9:00, I am dead tired.”
Sean nodded, “That is fine. You can sleep in the same room as Molly. There are two twin beds there. Please let her sleep. You can talk to her in the morning.”
“Please do not tell her about the cancer. I want to do it in my own time. I want to give Molly time to adjust.”
Nicole nodded and yawned. “Don’t worry, I can barely think let alone hold a conversation.” She yawned again and walked up the steps. Sean followed her.
Nicole quietly walked up the steps. She went into the bedroom where Molly was sleeping. She stood and watched over her. She thought about waking her up, but decided against it. She could not believe she was going to bed at this early hour. She sat down on the bed and took her boots off. She pulled the covers back and crawled into bed. She fell asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow.
Nicole thought she was dreaming. She could hear someone screeching and screaming. She could hear someone yelling “Mommy Get up!” Over and over again. Nicole bolted out of the bed and looked at Molly’s side of the bed. Molly thrashed in and shook in her bed. Her face was pale and sweat pouring off. Her mouth was a grimace of pure terror.
Nicole stood in shock. She had no idea what to do. She was about to run from the room when Sean and Colleen ran into the room. Colleen put her hand over her mouth and moaned. Molly had sat up while still screaming. She was thrashing are arms as if to ward of someone attacking her.
Colleen tried to grab her by the shoulder. Molly shoved her away. Malcolm came into the room. “Let her be. She needs to get through her night terror. She can’t hear anybody or respond. “Malcolm sighed and sat down on Nicole’s bed. “I have had enough of these terrors to know the best thing to do is wait it out.
Try to make sure she does not go anywhere or hurt herself. Poor girl will not even remember having an episode. I wonder how often and for how long she had these?”
Colleen looked at Malcolm. “What is going on? Is it a nightmare? She acts like she is fighting somebody.”
Molly continued to wail and shriek. She tried to get off the bed and out the door. Malcolm gently grabbed her and sat her down on the bed. “We wouldn’t want her falling down the steps.” He put his attention back on Colleen. “A nightmare is different. People know those are not real, usually. A lot of the time people remember them. This is a full blown terror. Young children often have them and they are harmless. A child is stuck between waking and sleeping.” Malcolm shakes his head. “I feel this is much worse than a simple night terror. People with PTSD has these types of terrors. If they suffered from a violent attack. I wonder what is going through the poor child’s head.”
“Listen to Sigmund Freud. You really learned something in that summer college psychology class. Nicole snickered. Malcolm made an obscene gesture. Nicole tilted her head and studied him. “Hey, why do you care? You hate Molly.”
Malcolm glared at Nicole. “I don’t hate her! Actually I don’t hate anybody. Hate is a waste of time. Hate eats away at your soul. That is a lesson you need to learn.”
Nicole rolled her eyes. “Blah, Blah, Blah. I heard it all before.” Nicole pointed at Molly. “Why are you being so nice to her? After you gave her a hard time all day?
Molly sat up in bed and waved her arms and then started hitting herself in the head. Her shrieks rose in volume. She repeated the words, “I’m sorry” Malcolm looked at her and he had tears running down his cheeks. “Sweetheart you have nothing to be sorry for. I should be apologizing to you.” Surprisingly Molly calmed down. She stopped hitting herself. He shrieks began to quiet. She then flopped down on the bed fast asleep as if nothing happened.
INSIDE MOLLY’S NIGHT TERROR
Molly did not remember getting into bed. She briefly woke up and realized she was in a bedroom. She could faintly hear shouting from downstairs. She heard her aunt and uncle storm down the steps and tell everybody to shut up. She closed her eyes again. A short time later she woke up to the sound of gunshots. She heard screaming. She was deep in the woods. She ran filled with terror. She was surprised to see blood all over her shirt. Her mouth and cheeks felt like they were on fire. She was scared and all alone. She stopped when she saw a clearing. She was shocked to see her mother come out behind a tree. Her mother walked over to her and gave her a hug. “Molly dear, keep running. Don’t let him get you.” Molly knew she met her father Eddie Jones. She saw her father run into the clearing. He stopped and pointed a gun at her mother. “You have a choice. You and Molly come with me, or you both die.” Her mother screamed. “Leave her out of this! Just kill me.” Eddie grinned and shook his head. “How dare you be so ungrateful? I planned this ambush especially for you and Molly. My grand plan to reunite my family.” Kathleen Dillon spit at Eddie. “We are not your family! We are nothing to you!” Eddie shot Kathleen in the chest four times. She fell down screaming.
Molly stood and wailed at the sky. She sat down beside her mother’s body. “Mommy, get up.” She cried. To her shock her mother did get up. Kathleen shot Eddie. The bullet hit him in the shoulder. The second bullet hit him on the side of the face. It grazed him. The third shot hit him again in the shoulder. He fell down. Molly’s mother fell down and blood gushed from her chest. Molly fell on her body. She brushed the side of the gun and took it out of her mother’s hand. She got up and walked over to her father. She gripped the gun in both hands and fired at his head. She kept firing until the gun was empty. She thought he was dead. She began to walk away. “Molly, come back here, Now.” Molly turned back around saw her father sitting up. He talked to her even as the blood poured form his mouth. She stared at him in sheer terror. “You should be dead!”
Eddie grinned. “I am. You think death can separate us? You and I are bound by blood. Do you know that it is a sin to kill your own blood? Especially your own father! You will burn in hell for that! I want you to know that you will never get rid of me. You will never get away from your destiny. My family will find you. You will be a hunter. You can’t run form it or them. I tried, but the Jones family found me and here we are. Young lady, the same blood that runs through me runs through you!”
Molly screamed, ‘No. Go away.”
Eddie pointed to her Mother. “You also killed your mother. If you had been a good girl and came over to daddy instead of running, I would have let her live. Her blood is on your hands. See what you did?”
Molly screamed “I’m sorry” A voice broke into the dream. “You have nothing to be sorry for. I should be the one to apologize.”
THE NEXT MORNING
Molly woke up and rolled over. She was shocked to see Nicole in the other twin bed. She sat up and looked at the clock. It was 10:00 am. She called out softly to Nicole. “Wake up.” She stood up and shook her shoulder. “Come on wake up.’
Nicole opened her eyes. “Alright, just give me a minute to wake up.” She sat up and looked at Molly. “I am surprised you are so wide awake after last night.”
“What do you mean?”
“You don’t remember. You had some kind of nightmare or night terror.”
“Shit, I hate it when I do that. They can get so bad that some foster homes kicked me out. They said I scared their children. I never remember them.”
“You don’t know what you “dream” about?”
“I have no idea.” Molly sighed. “Did I wake everybody up?
“Colleen and Malcolm came in. Malcom was actually very nice to you.”
Molly’s jaw dropped. “Seriously? I must have a bad episode if he was nice to me.”
Nicole shrugged. “He said he knew what you were going through.”
Colleen walked into the room. “Good, you girls are finally awake. Claudette and I are making a huge breakfast.”
Molly and Nicole got up and followed her down the steps.
Everyone was sitting at the dining room table. The scent of frying bacon and eggs wafted throughout the house. There was also the scent of pancakes, maple syrup and waffles.
“Molly, how do you like your eggs?” Claudette asked.
“Nicole, what about you?”
“Sunny-side up, please.”
The eggs were made and the girls took their plates to the table. They sat down across from Alister and Malcolm. Alister and Malcolm rose when the girls sat down.
Molly looked at them in surprise. “Why did you do that?”
Alister cleared his throat and glared at Andrew. “A proper Gentleman always rises when a lady sits down at the table.”
Andrew stood up and sat back down. “Forgive me, I am a little slow this morning. I did not sleep well last night.”
Malcolm looked at Molly and put his hand on hers. “How are you this morning?”
Molly said. “I am fine. Nicole told me that I had one of my nightmare episodes. I don’t remember anything. She told me you helped me.”
Malcolm sighed. “I am no stranger to night terrors. I sympathize with anybody who has them, especially someone as young as you.” He cleared his throat. “Listen, I want to apologize for my appalling behavior yesterday. I was in shock when I saw you. I do not want you to think that I will treat you like that all the time. When I heard you last night, I knew there was no way you were sent here by the Jones family. I could tell you went through some horrible things. I realize you are a young terrified girl who got caught in the middle of a feud. I can’t blame you for what happened in the past. Please forgive me.” He kissed her hand.
Molly face turned beet red. Her freckles blended in to the redness of her face. She giggled.
“See I told you, megalomaniac.” Nicole said.
Malcolm blew a kiss at Nicole. “Pardon me for apologizing to her.”
“Oh Malcolm is not a megalomaniac; he is a major flirt. He can charm any girl or woman.” Claudette said.
“Not my niece! She is off limits.” Collen screamed.
“For now she is, but in four years she will be 18. She will be fair game then.” Alister said.
“What do you mean? I am only 13.” Molly said.
“No dear, you are 15, soon to be 16 in April.” Colleen said. “I am sure of it, because you were born one week after Nicole was born.”
“That is what my foster care record says.” Molly said.
Andrew cleared his throat. “As a precaution, to keep people from finding out about you, I made you two years younger. Apparently, it was not enough.
“That means you and I will get our driver’s licenses!” Nicole said.
Alister crossed himself. “Remind me to stay off the sidewalks!” Everybody laughed.
“Let me make myself clear: No way will any of you Stirling men will touch my niece! No matter what age she is! It will be your funeral if you lay one finger on Molly! “Colleen said.
“Blech. Don’t worry Aunt Colleen, I am not into old men anyway! I would never be with either of them.”
Alister said. “You know what they say about saying never?”
Claudette broke in. “Who knows what the future will bring?”
Claudette and Colleen sat down at the table and they ate with everybody else. Claudette looks up from her food. “I forgot to tell you, Claude and Bruce will be here around lunch time. They will get their car at the airport and drive back.”
“Where were Claude and Bruce at?” Molly asked.
“They went to Lafitte Island for Mardi Gras, then they went to see their children on Delacroix Island. That is where the Delacroix family lives.”
“Your family has its own island? Awesome.”
“My family were very wealthy plantation owners. They lived on that island since the 1800’s. After my parents died, I spent half the year with mon Pere’s side of the family. The other half with the Lafitte family, ma mere’s side the family. They live on Lafitte Parish.’
“I’m surprised you didn’t go with them.” Molly said.
“I had some things to take care of.” Claudette said. “They were gone for over a month. I can’t wait for them to come back home.”
Malcolm muttered. “Should be an interesting homecoming.”