Where the Truth Lies…
By Henry Duthler
The snow covered the ground like a white satin sheet draped across the bed in the honeymoon suite at the Holiday Inn. The night air, crisp and clean, caressed her cheeks as Samantha stepped out of the cab. She leaned over to the open taxi window…and told the driver to keep the change…she smiled and turned towards the walk leading up to the old house on 49th street that she had vowed never to see again.
Her skin tensed as she traced the white picket fence that ran along the side of the yard. Sam could feel a shiver begin to fall down her spine…her hand started to clench and she could feel her eyes about to water…but she would not let it stop her. She couldn't. A distant memory of a time long ago, a shadow dancing in the moonlight of a nightmare she had long since pulled her self from, would not get in her way.
The old neighborhood was quiet now…all the children had long since gone off to college upstate, or found themselves with families of their own. The only light given -came from newly installed street lights…far brighter than the old ones, "They must be that new energy saving halogen kind." she thought to herself as she heard the cabbie pull away from the curb. Something had brought her here tonight, but at that moment, she couldn't imagine how she ended up standing on the curb in front of this old house nearly 10 years later. Ten years after it happened, ten years since she found herself…lost in some strange place in a life she didn't even recognize as her own. In a world where nothing else mattered except getting out…and getting out fast.
The stillness of the night surrounded her like prison dogs, salivating hungrily. Waiting for her to make a move…any move, keeping a watchful eye on her every breath. She again began to trace the fence, a little faster this time…almost hoping to somehow outrun her beating heart as it pounded against her chest in protest. She could see the place where the stake had been broken off of the fence the morning she had forgotten to go out to the store and pick up sugar for his coffee. There was the tree in the yard that they had planted so many years ago…to somehow signify their love. His way of showing the world that they had finally planted their roots and to tell her that those roots ran deep, very deep, so deep that this tree would withstand anything. She could remember the look in his eyes, the way she felt when she saw them. She could still feel them invading her soul even though the leaves were all gone…the branches were all bent and distorted like some 14th century painting, and the tree looked as dead as their love that she had blocked out for the last decade.
The house had obviously been empty for a long time, the windows were boarded up and the front porch looked as if it were about to fall completely off of the house. The exterior walls hadn't been painted and what still remained curled up along the edges in abandonment. The rusted chain on the far side of the swing had given out, and the swing itself had been left to rot as the summer rains beat against it leaving it colorless, empty and utterly useless. She briefly imagined how things would have turned out if she hadn't left that day. There was no sure way of knowing, but she didn't think it would have mattered. Not to her anyways.
TO BE CONTINUED...
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