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Coming of Age

by Nikolle Freeman about a year ago in Short Story
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A gift passed down from generation to generation.

A gift? Or a curse?

Maddy woke up in a cold sweat, she could feel the hair on her nape standing on end. She lurched out of bed and raced to the bathroom. Her knees popped as she slid towards the toilet bowl, gripping the porcelain as she heaved.

What kind of dream had that been? Another alarm blared from her phone, her grip tightened as tears streamed down her face. She trembled violently, that was not a dream, it was a premonition. Mother had always said the women of her family were special, she had taught Maddy everything she could but, it wasn't until recently she had started to believe it.

She wouldn't be making the interview she had been excitedly prepping for for months. No, to leave the safety of her apartment would mean certain death. Gradually her grip loosened on the toilet and she crossed her arms across the seat, full on weeping at the unfairness of her ‘inheritance’.

This job had been a perfect fit; great location, good starting pay, room to grow into the business. But a pipe-bomb meant for an executive, who had slept with a former employee’s wife, wasn't the type of welcoming basket she'd hoped for. The employee would be delivering it himself, having murdered his wife the night before. All of those people, innocent bystanders and guilty businessmen, caught in an inferno that would leave 3 floors collapsed and only few to survive.

Maddy shakily laid down, the cool floor soothed her tear blotched face.

"Oh, darling," came a whisper, "I'm so sorry...I should have prepared you more." She felt the chilling press of a hand through her hair,.

"Yes, you should have, Senna, look at her. Undone by a single premonition, barely worth the fuss she's making."

The hand disappeared after a cool breeze whipped her hair and the sound of a slap echoed in the bathroom. “I would have taught her better, girl. She's useless like this, turn her into shape. You may be dead but she can still learn from you."

Mother had said that Gran had been a harsh woman, but she had died before Maddy was born. Now, Maddy understood why her mother had struggled to raise her in a loving home. Maddy felt as if a tight knot had been loosened inside her stomach, her mother had loved her; she just hadn’t known how to properly show it.

Maddy squeezed her arms around her head, soaking in the acceptance of her mother’s passing and the feelings of hurt she had harbored for 5 years. She wished that she could tell her father about all of this, that he could experience hearing his love’s voice again.

She leaned back, away from the toilet, and slumped against the wall. She knew at least one sure method to see if this premonition was true, she squeezed her eyes shut and pressed her hands against the tile floor. Maddy exhaled as she found the leylines of the city. She pressed her back into the wall and waited. 20 more minutes, such a short time but still a long wait.

The leylines vibrated first, sensing the disturbance before the initial blast. She quickly cut the connection, too overwhelmed by the flood of fear and death. Mother and Gran were gone...for now. With their departures she felt her tears return and her bathroom echoed with the sound of her sobs. She had longed for this day for years, an inheritance she'd been promised would be a gift. Something that she would be able to utilize and sway the fabric of time and happenstance. But Maddy hadn't truly understood what her mother’s words meant, she wasn't prepared for the visceral feeling of fire on her skin and the sounds of screams piercing her ears.

In her kitchen the landline rang until her answering machine beeped on. Maddy wept harder to the sound of her father singing happy birthday to her and wishing her luck on her interview.

Short Story

About the author

Nikolle Freeman

Aspiring horror/thriller writer. Currently working on short stories/prompt fills. I have a larger piece I am working on and look forward to opportunities on Vocal. Fool's Gold order: Fool's Gold, Michael, then Emily.

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