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A Sweet Dream, A Living Nightmare

by Marissa Horstmann 3 months ago in Horror

Inspired by an actual dream Part One

A Sweet Dream, A Living Nightmare
Photo by David Tostado on Unsplash

It was the year 2021. A hot summer day, Carla and her husband Shawn were helping revitalize a new town that was abandoned in Nanton Alberta. Carla and Shawn were a big part of the community 20 years ago helping those overcome addictions as well as rebuilding houses in the more run-down areas of the town. The reason for the abandonment of the town that there was no employment and resources had run dry. It was an odd year before, a global pandemic swept the nation, killing thousands of people in its wake. It was a destructive year that’s for sure. There was a small civil war between two groups of people. The anti-maskers and the “sheep”. As they would call them. Carla always looked back on those days and was shocked to see that her and her family had survived the riots and the outrages. The government had made this war possible between the two groups of people. While there were families separated because there was an up roar about the vaccine that was released, locked away in these camps that locked people up just for them to die there. No medical staff was on the premises of these camps. Just military men who were dressed in full PPE, holding guns. It was like something that Hollywood would portray as the world ending. Carla is still in disbelief that it had all happened the way that it did. She was just happy that she and her family made it out alive. Her whole premise of restoring this town was a safe haven for people who needed to seek asylum from the government.

“Carla, let’s take a break and check on the kids!” Shawn had shouted across the street. Carla had two children, 4 and 12 years old. Oh, how she loved them so much. She taught her daughter, who was four how to shoot an arrow, and her 12-year-old son how to defend himself from the dangers in the outside world. They were home-schooled, by their nanny who was watching them while Carla and Shawn worked on this town. They were not far from the parents. They were 10 minutes away from site. Carla didn’t want them there as it was too dangerous and as a parent wasn’t very trusting of other people. Shawn and Carla always did check ins with the kids. Just to make sure they were okay. As Carla half jogged across the street to Shawn, she checked her phone to see what was happening around the world. There was a video that was released that was breaking news. “Oh shit!” Carla thought to herself. “Shawn! Look at this!” Carla shrieked in fear, as her jaw was dropping with tears in her eyes. “Today we announce that there is a new science break through. We have developed a new species that can trace those who have not accepted the vaccine last year, they can also sense fear. They will be released today at random. They are indestructible, they cannot be destroyed. They are programmed to attack, to kill. That is all.” the broadcaster said with a smug smile.

As the video ended, Carla and Shawn heard intense screaming and shouting from across the field they were in. There was one of the workers being attacked by this white looking wolf.

“Fuck, we got to go get the kids.” Shawn said with terror in his eyes. Carla ran to the truck to go start it. Her heart was pounding out of her chest. “This could be the end she thought.” All she was focused on was getting the kids and getting the hell out of dodge that’s for sure. Carla had driven the truck to Shawn so he could climb in. “What are we going to do for the rest of the crew.?” Carla asked barely breathing. “Fuck it, we need to save our own family.” Shawn replied with fear in his eyes. They could hear screaming and shouting of “Help me!” with pain in their voices.

“I am going to try and get a hold of the kids, just drive. Fuck there is no signal, they cut off signal to the cell towers. They really are serious about a great reset hey Carla?”

Carla was trying to keep her cool as she was just focused on getting to the house to rescue her kids from what was going to be the biggest genocide in history. She was really trying not to lose her shit, holding back tears, she pressed on the gas petal. This was the longest trip to the house; it was only 10 minutes but it had felt like 10 years.

Shawn and Carla had pulled into the drive, the house still looked alive, as in there was a sign of life in there. Carla ran up the stairs so fast that she had tripped up the stairs, that she managed to rip her knee open. She was bleeding. “Crap!” she had exclaimed as she was hurt pretty bad. She limped into the door of the house. Carla looked at Shawn in pain, “Go get the kids love, and I'll find supplies and fix this mess I have created.” Carla was a tough girl and always has been. Shawn was more like a teddy bear and was always a softy. Carla was tough as nails. Nothing broke her. Nothing stopped her.

“What the hell? They aren't here Carla!” Shawn shouted from up the stairs in horror. “Carla, Carla, we have to go NOW! We need to go now, and look for our kids, no one is here. Where could they have gone to.” Horrified, Carla and Shawn had looked at one another in fear. They already lost a child two years ago when they were trying for a third. The stress that Carla was going through made her give birth to a still born child. She knew what it was like losing a child, but she managed to carry on like nothing happened. Carla was very good at that. Any pain she felt. She just carried on with it. Worked through it like nothing happened.

Carla was thinking where these children would've gone to.

The nanny was live in for the time being, where she stayed in the bunk house just beside the house. It didn’t make any sense that the nanny would kid nap them and put them into danger. Carla was also thinking that the nanny would've hid them, but where? There was nowhere to hide on the property. Carla’s heart sank, she felt like this before. She is losing her mind and her children. She is hoping they are tucked away where no one can find them. Just tucked away neatly out of sight from these horrific creatures.

“Carla, we got to go, we got to find them before it's too late...” Shawn said as calmly as he could to his heart broken wife. The mess that she had created was spilling onto the floor where she sat. “Come on Carla, we need to go. Where is one place that they like to go? Where they feel hidden?”

Carla pondered on that question for a little bit, where she thought of the many places they would go and the children would play the game of hide and go seek.

There was an old military base that they had explored a year ago before everything happened. Why would they go there? That’s practically like telling these people that they are there and are ready to be killed on their own free will. Which Carla knows her children. They must be scared and a little shocked, but she is determined that she will find her kids.

“We should go to the old military base, to see where they are at. Maybe they are there. It's worth a shot. I know I sound crazy enough to go in there. We just need to find them.” Carla said shakily. “It's not crazy, if we need to start there, then we start there.” Shawn replied with a loving hug.

Shawn and Carla packed up what they could, food rations and some spare clothing. At this point they didn’t care about how they looked. It was a new wave of an apocalypse and they both knew it. They just didn’t vocalize it. Shawn looked at the house one last time and let out a heavy sigh “I am going to miss what we had built for our family.” as he looked around, he saw their wedding photo and the family photos that hung so neatly on the wall. Carla had insisted the purchase the most elegant frames they could find and keep them in there. Shawn decided to take the two favourite photos off the wall. The wedding picture and the family photo.

Shawn had remembered the day of the family photo. Carla was annoyed that the kids weren't acting right that day. The 12-year-old complained about everything and the 4-year-old well, just wanted to whine about everything. It was hard to get a decent photo, but Shawn just laughed that day, because well, that’s what dads do. They find humour in the most inconvenienced times.

Carla always wanted the perfect house and the perfect family which is what she got. It was always a dream and goal that she had. She came from a very broken home where her dad was always gone and her step mother was a spiteful, filled with hate human being. She never knew what love was or how to accept it, but she learned it all when she met Shawn. She was an addict before she met him. He was her saving grace; she never knew where she would've ended up if it weren't for him.

Shawn was kind of an introvert; he always had a knack for playing video games and just liked to hang out at home. He said because he didn’t like society and all the bullshit it came with. Too much negativity out there in this world.

Carla and Shawn were the perfect match. Carla had gone to school to be an addictions worker, where she would help people out of where she was at before in life. Carla was a beautiful soul, an empath where she would want to always help people. Shawn had always supported her through whatever goals she had. He was her rock, and knight in shining armour. Carla and Shawn then had two children. Tabitha and Jeremy. Which were Carla’s whole world.

“You think that the children are alright? It's getting dark and Tabitha is terrified of the dark. “Carla asked worriedly, wondering if she would have her dark world lit up again. “I am sure they are fine. Jeremy is there to hold Tabitha's hand through it all. He is such a good big brother. You have nothing to worry about my love.” Shawn spoke of empathy and positivism. He knew what Carla was going through, he had to walk on eggshells for his wife, as she could explode at any moment of anger or resentment.

Carla always lost someone close to her. She carried on anyway, like it was another day. She never dwelled on it. She always had a weird relationship with death. She didn’t see it as sad. She thought of it as beautiful.

Carla had a few bad habits of laughing at a funeral, just for no reason at all. Just because she didn’t dwell in the facts that death himself taken those whom she loved but the memories she had shared with those people. She believed in positive spirits and not to create negative energy with them. As they are earth bound if they are negative, that’s why she always forgave people when they have done something so bad to Carla. She doesn’t want to be earth bound. She wants to be free. Carla was traditional like that. She was a very spiritual woman.

She had carried herself in a way no other woman in her life could, despite past abusive relationships and insecurities she would pick herself up and carry on, like she had just battled with death himself and she won. She was a warrior,

Carla was a strong woman with many different views of the world ahead of her. She came from an indigenous background; she didn’t know it all that well as she was adopted into a “white” family. She never matched her adoptive family as she had long dark hair and dark brown eyes, she had a slender build, her body collected random tattoos and scars over the early years of her life. She was always the empathetic type towards the ones that she loved, but never to strangers and was always cautious towards other people as she has met numerous people from all walks of life. She was always weary with people considering where she grew up and what kind of people she associated with. Carla always wanted to help people when she gotten sober from her past life, as getting sober on her own wasn’t the easiest thing to do. She knew she wouldn’t get far in that career path in a small town. There were no schools for her to go to as the town was so small that if you were to blink you may miss it. There were no employment opportunities except to work at the bar that was in the middle of the town and if you’ve even wanted a job there, you would need to know someone to get a job there. Carla applied for schooling in Calgary, Alberta. She was just waiting for the approval letter from student finance services as well as the school. That’s when she would make her big move. Move away from the shitty people and shitty relationships that she had endured over the years. Have a fresh start in the world. Meet new people. Meet new goals and higher expectations of herself.

When Carla graduated in college in Calgary that’s when she had met Shawn. It was like something that came out of a romance movie, they bumped into each other at a coffee shop.

Carla was on her way to a job interview. She was already running late and a bit tired as she found out that her father had passed away from a stroke. So, she was up all night with the thoughts that she wouldn’t be attending the funeral. Carla didn’t realize that her student loans had kicked in and her card declined.” Shit! I'm so sorry, I didn’t realize that loans came out today! This is embarrassing!” Shawn was standing behind Carla and offered to pay for her coffee and breakfast. Carla hesitated for a moment and sighed “Look you don’t have to do this, I'm not asking for charity, just stupid that I didn’t check before leaving. I'm going to be late to an interview.” Carla was an independent woman and she always wanted to handle her own. Shawn looked at Carla with a smile and reached over to the debit machine, tapped it and gently said “That’s okay, everyone forgets sometimes, you just gotta pay it forward.” Carla said “Thanks.” smiled and rushed out the coffee shop to her interview. Interview went well other than Carla being late. She got the job even though it was temporary but it was something. It was in the slums of Calgary, but she didn’t mind, it was about the same atmosphere as her small town. She could handle her own.

Shawn was the type of man that would help someone in some kind of way. He had a knack of paying it forward, with small humankind gestures. He knew it wasn’t much, but he’d rather see someone eat than to brush it off like it was nothing. Carla wasn’t used to that kind of behaviour from someone as she was always so used to being pushed around by pretty much everyone in her life. Coming from a small town they were always so greedy and they would just watch as you were struggling. Like it was some sick cruel joke.

From that moment on Carla had her faith restored in some humanity, but not all.

Months had passed. Carla had landed a job working for an addiction's recovery house in the slums in Calgary, she was hesitant on even agreeing to the contract but she still had picked it up anyway, she needed the money. Between paying rent and paying back her student loan it was kind of more than crucial. She felt as there was something about to happen that day as she was pretty good with a gut feeling type of situation. She had shrugged it off and carried on her daily routine on getting ready for work.

As Carla stepped into the shelter, she could hear two people arguing. “Great.” She thought to herself. Maybe this was the gut feeling situation she had felt. Carla was approaching closer and the words more amplified "I sank every fucking dime I had into this place! For what!? My sister to die!” Carla immediately froze as soon as she saw who was screaming, for it was the man who had bought her coffee and breakfast that one morning.

Carla stammered on her words for a minute “Sir, can I help you?” trying to catch the attention of the distraught man.

Shawn turned to Carla and froze in his spot and stopped mid-sentence. Again, Carla asked this time stammering even more trying to remain calm. “Sir, I am going to ask you again if you are in need help?”

“No! I was just leaving!” Shawn looked at Carla one last time and stormed off. Carla knew that this was an emergency situation. She put her things down in the entrance way and hurried after Shawn. She finally caught up to him as he was about to get into his car. “Can you please tell me what's going on?” Carla asked, stopping Shawn from driving off. “We can chat inside, talk about what happened in there. I see you're angry but we can sort this out.” Carla was trying to diffuse the situation. It was like trying to disarm a bomb that was about to go off. She knew that and it could potentially be dangerous.

“Sort what out? I have a dead sister and no one seemed that they wanted to help me. They found her in her room here, she must've snuck something in because they suspected that she had overdosed sometime in the night and didn't see it until this morning” Shawn replied with tears in his eyes. “Okay, well we can go to my office and sort this out.” Carla said calmly, she saw that Shawn was hurt and wanted to help him. “Come on, we can get through this together.” she coaxed him out of the car with a warm smile and a reaching arm. Shawn still filled with angst agreed and got out of his car and went with Carla.

As they approached her office, everyone was staring at Shawn like he was the devil. Carla knew in her heart that he was hurt, she too, had felt this way before. Numerous times whenever she was let down by the people she had loved.

Shawn was a bigger built man, with short black hair and green eyes. He was covered in tattoos. Looked like the meanest guy on the planet, but Carla wasn’t scared of him as she knew who he was. As they bumped into one another before. “Please tell me what happened earlier. My name is Carla, and we are going to find out what happened. I recall it was having to do with your sister?”

“My name is Shawn; my sister was in a recovery program here. I’ve been working three jobs to get her in here and for her to stay here. A couple months ago my sister had a bad run in with a few people where she had lost her children to child services. She was hooked on heroin, so I wanted to help her get off the drugs and back on her feet. Reunited with her children and go back to work. She was doing well for a while, she had her bad days where she hated me, but she was doing so good after that. She was talking about getting a new house. Supervised visits with her kids.” Distressed, and almost back in tears Shawn let it all out. “Those kids are going to be in foster care forever and being in group homes; did nothing but bad for me and my sister.” Shawn looked lost and angry. “Now I have to explain that their mother made a terrible choice and she’s gone.”

Carla knew that there was going to be some cases like this and it broke her heart seeing this up close and personal. Especially since that this was the same human that bought her the coffee and breakfast that Carla could not afford.

“I’ll take a look into her file and come up with ways that we can sort this out. Are you close with the children?”

Shawn replied with a heavy sigh, like a heavy weight was lifted off his shoulders, because someone seemed to care "That would be greatly appreciated, and yes I am still close with them, as I am the only solid male role-model they have in their life.”

After Shawn had explained that what was going on in the past few months, he had the look of realization that the woman he was talking to was the same woman that he had told to pay it forward.

“Wait a minute here, you’re the woman that I had bought breakfast for, the one who’s card declined.”

Carla sat there in shock, like someone had actually remembered who she was. Like she mattered to someone. “Yes, I am that woman, I knew it was you from the moment I walked into work this morning.” She smiled. “Well, what I can is give you my information, and if you have any questions or concerns you can contact me anytime.” Carla said passing Shawn a card with all her information on it.

Carla didn’t know what else to say, she strongly believed that everything happens for a reason. Good or bad. She knew that the universe worked in mysterious way and this was one of its ways.

The next few days had passed and no word from Shawn. Although, Carla knew that this was a hard time for him, his sister just passed away and well there were two children that needed to be spoken for before they became a part of the foster care system. Carla knew deep down that Shawn would eventually call or email. Not like she thought of him romantically or anything. Who was she kidding, she did fall for him just a little bit? As she sat there looking at files and getting ready to write her day report her phone rang, spooking her for the slightest moment. Without a doubt she picked it up. “Hello, Carla speaking, how may I assist you today?” she sounded so professional yet so serious. She learned that you can't be overly bubbly or too undertone, you kind of have to sound like you're a robot.

“Hey, its Shawn. I need someone to be on my side in court and I have no one. I know you don’t know me and I'm sure you haven't read my sisters file, but I need to adopt these kids before they become a part of the system forever.”

Carla sighed into the phone “Yes, I can help. I will try and help to the best of my ability. First, we need a lawyer and we will break it to the children together that their mother is no longer with them.”

“Thank you.” Shawn thanked Carla abruptly and hung up the phone.

There was no telling what was going to happen in the future but the gut feeling that Carla had mysteriously went away. Carla knew a little bit about her heritage, that gut feelings or dreams can mean something, and well, this meant something. Maybe she was meant to help this mysterious Shawn guy. Maybe she was just supposed to be in his life for a split moment. She sat there in her dead quiet office, trying to piece it all together. Strange, she thought to herself. Carla snapped out of it and back into reality as the phone rang, it was always pretty quiet in the office other than the residents that lived there. Even then they kept to themselves, she kind of knew what they were feeling anyway. Always being in some sort of shame, embarrassed because they lost their lives and their happiness to drugs and alcohol.

Carla had to go to the home where the children were to pay a visit and talk to the foster parents about removing the children from their care and into the home of Shawn. She knew that they may put up a fight as some foster parents only cared about the paycheck and not the kids. She also knew that she needed someone with a higher pay grade than her to go with her, plus it builds a stronger case on Carla’s end.

Nothing was more tedious than the part where she was going to have to tell the children that their mom had passed away, they are children and that was their whole life. It broke Carla's heart that it had to be this way, be the way where she had to be the bearer of bad news. That was the downfall of her whole career. She learned this when she was in her practicum working under Child Welfare. She was not emotionally prepared for things like that. They always tell you to never get attached. It's different when there are children involved.

Carla always wanted children of her own, but she couldn’t because when she was an addict, she always used the hard drugs, and it had destroyed her body, plus she was never in a stable enough relationship to even think about a child. She was always mistreated and abused to the point where she almost faced death a few times.

Carla had gathered her thoughts and emotions. Setting up what was going to be traumatic for these kids. She never thought that this was going to be the start of something so large in her life.

Letting out the heaviest sigh Carla picked up the phone and whispered to herself “I got this” as she was about to pick up the phone and have a phone conference with a child lawyer and social worker, Shawn walked into the office. He looked like he was in serious defeat, his face was puffy from the tears, his hair was in mange, and it looked like he hadn't slept in days.

“Hey Shawn, are you okay?” Carla asked looking at him in worry.

Shawn heavily dropped himself in the chair in front of Carla "I just spoke to the funeral director and they won't bury her on cemetery ground”

“Why not?” she asked with the look of worry on her face still residing as it was a permanent emotion.

“Well, she was of Catholic faith, and they do not condone suicide, and overdose is considered suicide in their faith.” Shawn shakingly said. “This is bullshit. Extreme bullshit. Why on earth do things like this unravel in our family history?”

Carla knew exactly how Shawn felt in that exact moment, she knew that once there was a silver lining that things were going to fall to shit within the next three days as it seemed.

“Well, what we can do is look over options. Why don’t you go home, shower, eat some food and catch up on some sleep? It looks like you haven't slept in days and well, we can't focus properly without any sustenance.” coming from the girl that would get things done with an insomniac episode or even go days without eating anything.

“Gather yourself and we can get this done.” Carla looked at Shawn with a thin smile as he was still distraught in the chair in front of her.

“Thank you, Carla, and thanks for not giving me the text book bullshit of “everything will be alright” because right now it is not!” as Shawn got up from the chair and left the room, Carla was kind of in a conundrum, where she was faced with difficult emotions, she was genuinely sad for this man and what he’s been going through. She knew in her heart that she shouldn’t be becoming attached. Her main concern was getting these kids out of foster care and into the guardianship of Shawn.

Carla was remembering the day that her and Shawn had bumped into each other, maybe this was her paying it forward, maybe it was just a part of her job. Maybe this is the beginning to the end.

She was looking into the file of the two kids of Shawns sister, they were in a small town on the outskirts of Calgary. “Great” she thought, another small town to deal with, as she rolled her eyes. The kids were 2 and 10, boy and girl, Tabitha and Jeremy. They looked so sad in the pictures in the file, like they just lost their world, confused, why their mom couldn’t be there for them anymore. Just by looking at their faces, Carlas heart was breaking, she too had that look on her face when her mother died. She was 5 when it had happened, she was a mess. She knew in her soul that these kids are going to be crushed when they find out as they were told that this was temporary.

“Okay, I am going to try this one more time! Call the lawyer and the Social Worker.” Given the events that had happened 20 minutes ago she was preparing herself for one hell of a ride.

“Hello, my name is Carla and I am an addictions worker on the South side of Calgary. I am calling to inquire about two children in the foster care system, they currently reside in Nanton. I have their uncle here wanting to adopt them as their mother had passed away in our facility a week ago.” Carla covered the phone and let out a huge breath, this was terrifying to her as this was the first case she was requested to be at. She always thought that with her skills and background that she could manage things like this, with that “go-get-em’” attitude, there she was wrong.

“Hi Carla, we can start building a case. We just need more information on the uncle to go forward our process. We need to get into contact with him and set it up as we need to speak with him in person. We can also arrange to meet at your office, since that the event had happened there. We do have his sister’s file as the children are in foster care. We do have an application that he has to sign off on.”

Within the weeks ahead they had set up and arranged meetings for all of them to sit down and talk about the adoption process. In the meantime, Shawn was allowed to go see the kids. He wasn’t working three jobs anymore so he can dedicate a lot of his time to them. He was saving money to buy a house so the children were permanently situated, before this everyone knew that they would have to go break the news to the children.

Carla and Shawn agreed to go visit them together and break the news to them together, as it would be a difficult task if Shawn was to do it himself.

As they were approaching the foster home, Shawn grabbed Carlas hand. He let out a huge sigh and was almost in tears. “I don’t think I can do this.” he looked at Carla. “Yes, you can.” she smiled. “You got me to lean on for support that’s why I am here.”

As Carla and Shawn stepped out of the car, the children, Tabitha and Jeremy bolted to their uncle with the utmost excitement that they had in a while, their shrieking screams of “Uncle” were piercing to the ears, almost like it was a cry for help, in a way.

Shawn had stretched his arms open while the two children came barreling towards him, like a missile being shot out of its casing. Shawn had this huge smile and his face lit up like a Christmas tree. “Hey guys! So glad to see you!” he said with enlightenment. Carla knew what it felt like to see someone you cared about, it felt like forever and a decade, but it was a welcoming feeling, like you belonged in the world, and that you were the only one in the world, that someone was there to rescue you. Carla was close with her dad, that was about it, other than her aunt, but they were always there for Carla and she had felt like she had her own Saviour. Well, two. She wasn’t mentally prepared for what was to come to the two children that were over the moon to see their uncle, she wasn’t prepared for the heart wrenching news that they were about to receive, though Carla knew that deep down they deserved to know, to know that their mother wanted to try and get better for a healthier life, and that the kids were her world. Carla also found it strange that their mother overdosed in the facility, there was a sober rule within the facility, and anytime the patients went anywhere, they were to be searched for any contraband. She knew deep down that this wasn’t their mother’s fault, she was about to brace herself for what was to come.

“So, how’s everything here? Do you like it here? What have you two been up to?” Shawn asked awkwardly to his niece and nephew. “It's okay here, it sucks sometimes because Diana makes us do a lot of chores. We’re never allowed to watch television or play video games.” Jeremey said in a snarky tone. “Well, chores are better than being bored. Teaches you a few things too. Chores are not so bad you know?” Shawn laughed at the fact that they were already forming their attitudes.

“Yeah well, Diana makes me watch Tabitha while she hosts dinner parties, it's really annoying!” Jeremey replied with a sense of annoyance. “Mom would never make me watch Tabitha, as she always had said that the baby is not my responsibility! I want to go back to live with her!”

Shawn's heart sank. Sank so deep that he didn’t know that he was able to handle the fact that he had to tell Jeremey the news of his mother’s demise. “About your mom...well...”

Shawn started to hesitate and a tear rolled down his cheek, it's like Jeremey knew right away by the look that he was giving his uncle. “Shes dead...isn't she?” Jeremey cut off his uncle, sounding angry at the world for taking his mother away on such short notice. “I'm so sorry's like she was good one day and the next she was gone...” There was a silence followed by a burst of anger from Jeremey “I fricken knew it! I wondered why she wasn’t here to come see us! I knew it!” Carla was watching the heart ache, she was so upset for the little boy and girl that were on the receiving end of the demise of their mother, she knew what was entailed in this catastrophe as this was their world ending, crashing down like a meteor crashing and destroying anything in its wake. She knew what this had felt like, she was so empathetic towards them. Carla grabbed Jeremey and hugged him tight, “It's going to be okay buddy, I promise, I'm here.” Tabitha was standing there like she had just seen a ghost, not really knowing what was going on she started to cry because the chaos.

Carla beckoned to Tabitha to come join in for the hug, Tabitha latched on like a leech to its first meal.

Shawn took off for a cigarette, standing at the end of the driveway, looking out at the empty field before him. Carla approached him with her arms crossed, looking down at the gravel driveway beneath her feet. Her smile that she once had on her face now turned into a concerned expression.

“How are you holding up?” She asked hesitantly.

“That was the most fucking brutal thing I have had to do in my life, those kids deserve better. Why the fuck now? They deserve a break.” Shawn replied in a monotone voice, taking a long drag from his cigarette.

“I came to the conclusion that she had not overdosed on her own, that it was planted there, like it was a choice she had to do. I came to the conclusion that it was someone in the building that had snuck in the drugs for her to take, like one of the staff wanted her dead.” Carla puked those words up so fast, but she needed to say them before it was too late, like she wouldn’t have caused any more damage than there already was, to Shawn and the children. Carla walked to the end of the road and sobbed, so much for them saying it would be easy, she thought to herself, looking out at the horizon that was painted orange before her. The next steps were to take the children out of foster care and place them with their family member, their uncle. Which the work was already cut out for Carla, she had to find out who did this to their mother in the first place, she needed to make a few calls to the police and the lawyer when Shawn and herself went back into the city.

Shawn was getting ready to say goodbye to the children and leaving the depressing message in their wake. He didn’t want to leave them after he delivered the heartbreaking message in the first place. He knew that those kids have been through a lot, Tabitha and Jeremey have witnessed their mother escape death, witnessed her passed out on the couch, and they were constantly left with strangers while she was out getting high and whatever else. Shawn knew deep down that it wasn’t going to last long and they’d end up where they had started.

“Okay kiddos! Come here and give your uncle a hug before he goes!” Shawn was tired and felt defeated. Like it was a normal feeling for him. Jeremey sauntered over, with the longest face in the world. “I don’t want you to go, and I don’t want to stay here either. I'd rather be where my friends are. Where I belong, back in normal school.” Jeremey sighed and looked at his uncle, with the look on his face of despair and remorse. “It must be so hard for these kids” Shawn thought, that’s when the determination came over him. “We will get you out of here buddy, I promise.” Shawn smiled and gave Jeremey a hug, Tabitha held on so tight that they had to pry her off of her uncle, as he was the only family that she had left...


Marissa Horstmann

Read next: Let’s Begin with Ourselves

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