Two women attempt to resolve their differences.

The Possible Murder

By Joseph Logsdon

Carly stared at the forbidden trail. Her stepdaughter, Maura, walked beside her. They had been patrolling the same area for hours, tirelessly searching for an exit. They were, most certainly, alone and without assistance. In every direction, there was nothing but darkness. It was just them, the forest, and the wild animals. What began as a simple camping trip, had become a nightmare.

Around every corner, noises teased their uneasy nerves. Everything sounded like it was going to eat them. All through the night, there had been an unsettling sense of doom. Maura stared at Carly, distrust in her eyes. There was certainly no love lost between the two strong, independent women.

“This is all your fault,” Maura huffed, the look of disdain on her face.

“My fault? How is it my fault?”

“First of all, this was your idea. You thought that if I came on this trip with you, we would somehow become closer. It wasn’t enough to marry my father, you had to drag me into it. I’m getting ready to leave for college, and when I do, don’t expect to see me again,” she hissed.

Carly didn’t immediately respond. Tears poured down her face, the type of tears that would make anyone feel sympathetic. Almost instantly, Maura saw through her performance. They were false tears, meant only to deceive her.

“I’m not the monster you think I am. With your mother gone and everything, doesn’t he have the right to be happy? I would not, could not, in any shape or form, take her place. Surely by now, you must realize that. What can I do to convince you?”

“I don’t know, maybe jump off that cliff,” Maura chuckled.

Carly suddenly looked down. Just a few feet in front of her, the trail came to a sudden end. There was a canyon, wider and deeper than anything she had seen before. It stared at them, waited patiently for them to come closer.

“Do you hate me so much, that you would actually want me dead? It’s really too bad; we would’ve been great friends, the two of us. I was like you once, long before I ever met your family. Just as your father remarried, my father also remarried. You didn’t know that, did you? For what seemed like the longest time, I hated my stepmother. Exactly like you, I didn’t want her to replace my mom. I knew that once I accepted her, loved her for who she really was, my childhood would be over. Do you want your childhood to be over, Maura?”

Maura remained speechless. Inside her heart, part of her wanted to believe what Carly was saying. She stood in the dark forest, torn between what her heart told her, and what her mind told her.

“I don’t want it to be over. As things stand, I’m considering not even going to college. Why should I, when there’s so much to do at home? It would be best for me, for everyone, if I stayed at the house and took care of things. Dad being sick and all, it doesn’t seem like I have much of a choice,” she cried.

“You forget, I’m perfectly capable of taking care of your father. You need to get out of the house, begin your life properly. Staying behind, I should say, would only disappoint him. Isn’t it time that you made a life for yourself? I know that I, personally speaking of course, would’ve given anything to have had the options that you’re going to get. Do what’s best for yourself, to put it bluntly,” Carly stated.

Their eyes suddenly met. Everything Maura had thought about her stepmother, no longer applied. Tears were in her eyes, legitimate tears. They wrapped their arms around each other, embraced one another with a soft tenderness. Maura let go of her mistrust, and in its place, formed something far more powerful.

It didn’t seem like the moment was going to end. There were no secrets, no resentments, just them and the lonely forest. At the very end of their embrace, all the hatred and bitterness, the dishonesty and deceitfulness, had seemingly disappeared.

“I misjudged you,” Maura admitted.

“I’ll say, you seemed like you were going to kill me,” Carly laughed.

“Who knows, the night is young,” Maura chuckled.

The two women continued to walk along the unstable path. Having long since forgotten about the cliff, Maura failed to notice what was directly in front of her face. No match for the dangerous landscape, her feet started to slide to the right. The next thing she knew, there was no ground beneath her. She was falling, quickly and suddenly. In a frantic attempt to save herself, Maura grabbed the ledge. Directly beneath her feet, existed nothing but the sweet sound of air and death.

All her energy combined, Maura attempted to pull herself to safety. She had two choices: die and end the suffering, or live and fight another day. It was in that moment, seemingly at the end of her life, when Maura realized the truth. Carly stared down at her, disappointed and at the same time, satisfied with what she was seeing. Her eyes were cold, full of hatred and contempt.

“Carly, help me,” she begged.

Carly didn’t say one word. The hatred inside her came to the surface, manifested itself in its purest form. On the other side of that beautiful face, existed something wicked.

“I can’t, it’s too far down. I’ll go find someone, bring back help,” she exclaimed.

“The time it would take to do that, I would be dead,” Maura screamed.

“I’m sure you’ll be fine. Close your eyes, imagine that you’re somewhere else. I really did love you as a daughter, for what it’s worth. You remind me of a younger, dumber version of myself. Whereas you lost, I won,” Carly chuckled, venturing out of sight.

“Don’t let me fall, Almighty God,” Maura screamed.

The End


Submitted: September 30, 2015

© Copyright 2023 JL reaper. All rights reserved.

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