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Kate (standard:drama, 4055 words)
Author: J F MaschinoAdded: Apr 20 2004Views/Reads: 3249/2135Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
An urban legend brought to life
 



I hate driving in the rain and I hate driving at night.  I really hate
driving in the rain at night and will do anything to avoid it, but last 
September I didn't have a choice. 

It was shortly after ten.  I was relaxing on the sofa writing in my
journal after spending a frustrating day working on my new suspense 
novel.  I was having problems with the plot.  Every twist I had 
explored seemed shallow, unimaginative, and arcane.  It seemed the 
creative portion of my brain had gone on strike.  Several times I had 
come close to quitting for the day, but was pig headed enough to stay 
at the computer until I had finished my daily quota of six single 
spaced pages, even though it had taken me nearly twice as long to do 
so. 

Michelle, my wife, was sitting beside me enthralled by the Weather
Channel's coverage of Hurricane Fredrick's murderous trek up the 
eastern seaboard.  Eroded beaches, destroyed homes and businesses, 
felled trees, lost power, and ten confirmed deaths.  His eye was just 
north of Cape Cod and he was losing strength as he continued northward 
into colder water.  Local meteorologists were predicting Fredrick would 
be downgraded to a minor tropical storm by the time he came on shore 
here in Maine near midnight.  I was hopeful.  The winds were already 
gusting over forty miles an hour.  Torrential rain seemed to be falling 
sideways.  The lights had blinked once, but had stayed on. 

The phone rang. 

Michelle grabbed the cordless phone from the end table and handed it to
me without answering it.  “It's for you,” she said.  “It's always for 
you.” 

“Not always,” I said closing my journal, then taking the phone from her.
I pushed the talk button.  "Hello?” 

“Aaron!  You've got to come at once!” My mother sounded frantic. 
“Someone's trying to break in.  You've got to come, Aaron!  Who knows 
what he'll do to an old defenseless woman like me once he gets inside.” 


“Calm down, Mom,” I said feeling Michelle's stare.  “What's going on?” 

And she repeated herself word for word with her aged voice rising and
falling in exactly the same locations as though she was an actress 
practicing her lines for an upcoming role.  I glanced at Michelle 
during Mom's litany.  She was staring at me in her “now what's the 
matter” look.  I shrugged, rolled my eyes. 

“It's just the wind,” I said using the same soothing voice Mom used on
me during my childhood when I woke screaming from a nightmare.  “You've 
got a tree limb scraping the side of the house.  No one's trying to 
break in.” 

“There is too!”  She shrieked.  “I was born in this house.  I've lived
in this house all my life.  You, Aaron, you were born in this house.  
Your Father died in this house.  Don't you think I can tell the 
difference between a branch scraping the side of the house and someone 
trying to break in?”  A short pause.  “Well, of course I can.” 

She had used the same argument late last year after Dad had lost his
battle to prostate cancer when Michelle and I had tried to convince her 
to sell the house and move in with us.  Instead of discounting the 
branch theory, she had concluded the argument by saying, “And I plan to 
die here, too.” 

“What do you want me to do, Mom?” I asked.  “Call the police?” 

“Haven't you been listening to me, Aaron? You've got to come at once,”
she said.  “Only God Himself knows when this monster's going to get in 
so he can rob me, beat me, stab me, and rape me.  If you keep wasting 
time, you're going to find my nude body lying in a puddle of blood on 
the kitchen floor when you get here.” 

“Maybe you should've been the writer.” 

“What?” 


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