Paths (A Short, Short Story)

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Jack Howard didn’t know that things would be different after Sara died. Well, he knew things would be different, but not like this. Not like this.

The funeral was quiet, since Sara didn’t know a lot of people. She was quite the loner, but Jack figured that he could have done something to help her. Something to keep her from doing this to herself…

“Wait.” Tessa called to him. Jack turned around, ready to face the music.

“Yes, Tess?”

“It’s not your fault.” Tessa was crying. She was his first wife, but he knew the truth. He had abused Sara to the point where she’d rather be dead than deal with his drunk ass every night. Everything was his fault, and he was the cause for her death. If only he could tell his children the truth…

Just over a week ago, Jack had found Sara locked in the garage with her Honda Civic running for what must have been at least 2 hours. Carbon monoxide poisoning. That was the cause of death, but he told his two beautiful daughters that their mother died fighting off a mugger. That she was a hero, instead of a coward.

Giana was the eldest of the two, and she was her mother’s favourite, no matter what Sara would argue. Fea was seen by her mother as the trouble child. Getting into drugs, hanging out with the wrong crowds at school, and going to clubs and parties she should never have gone to.

Fea knew that she was part of her mother’s cause of death, no matter what her father told her. She wasn’t as gullible as her sister Giana, and she knew that her mother was disappointed in her and didn’t want to deal with her anymore.

Giana only felt depressed. She lost her mother, her only love. Fea may have had a boyfriend, even though he wasn’t the best influence, but at least Fea wasn’t alone. Giana had recently been divorced, and was afraid that her mother’s death had something to do with how her ex-husband treated Sara. She knew that if only he wasn’t so rude… and so forward… maybe her mother would still be alive.

It was all their faults, but there was an unspoken rule where no one told anyone what they thought actually happened. When Giana had went to the morgue and asked to see her mother, she didn’t see any of the stab wounds that her father had described. Just a cold, dead face, blue and…well, dead. She didn’t understand why her father had lied to her, until she realized that he was trying to protect her from the truth. Kellan, her ex-husband, had been very… intimate with her mother, but it wasn’t until that moment when Giana realized the truth.

Sara was only forty-one. Forty-one years old, and so much of her life still ahead of her. But she knew.

Somehow, she knew. And somehow, her children and husband knew why she did it.

She may not have been the best mother, but now, she could. She could look after all of them, and make sure that their lives would go down the right path – just like hers did.