The Reflection Lies


karen_icon.gif kaylee6_icon.gif

Scene Title The Reflection Lies
Synopsis Kaylee reunites with her mother and learns another lost truth of her childhood.
Date May 3, 2021

People are screaming.

Metal-footed desk chairs scuff across a tile floor. Tiny shoes squeak in retreat. Children’s voices rise in alarm.

An adult—dark haired with glasses, Ms. Schulyer—pushes through the wall of fleeing students. A boy lays on his back between rows of desks, arms and legs convulsing, white foam spilling from his mouth, eyes rolled back in his head.

Ms. Schulyer is flush with panic, her hands shaking. She kneels over the boy, fumbling for what to do. Some students are crying, others screaming, many have just run out into the hall to call for help.

One is hiding in the bathroom across the way. Tucked up small under a sink, legs pulled to her chest, mouth against the back of her knees, eyes puffy with crying. Kaylee didn’t mean to hurt anyone.

And yet.

Twenty-Nine Years Later

North Egremont

May 3rd

9:47 pm

It’s been a long road since Cambridge.

The trip west out to North Egremont would’ve taken two hours before the war, but now it’s closer to four. It’s pitch black out here, just headlights and a lonely stretch of back-country road surrounded by tall pines. There’s no radio stations this far out, no cell service, nothing. The old freeway atlas sitting on the passenger seat of Kaylee’s car is her only means of navigation now.

It’s left her with a lot of time to think about the margins of her memory. Bits and pieces of her childhood coming back in a jumbled order. It’s hard to tell what came first, Charles’ visit, the harassment in the classroom, the boy she—


Lights up ahead shake Kaylee from a dark possibility. Lights from a home on the winding road, a single-level ranch with an attached garage sitting in a clearing set back from the street. Her stomach twists into knots, turns upside down.

This is it.

Her mom’s place.

Sitting there staring at the quaint little home, fingers gripping the steering wheel at two and ten, listening to… the sound of her own breathing. Kaylee couldn’t help but feel like she was getting ready to walk into some horror film. Maybe it was the old memories seeping through the cracks in whatever dam Charles created in her mind that were tainting the moment.

Her mom was alive and had survived the war.

Swallowing down the anxiety and uncertainty, Kaylee reached for a bag next to her. The crinkling sound of the brown bag and it’s few hastily stuffed sheets of tissue paper, seem overly loud in the confines of the car. It was a small gift for her mother. A picture of her, Carl, and an unwilling Willy huddled together in a selfie. It was an older picture, but it was her personal favorite.

Glancing at herself in the rear view mirror, Kaylee takes a deep breath and lets it out, whispering, “You can do this.”

Kaylee wasn’t so sure when she popped open the car door, suddenly feeling exposed. Bob would be furious she’d snuck away without a security detail. Even more so if he found out she detoured.

Paper crinkles further with each step up to the front door, while a slew of emotions - fostered by a lifetime of contention with her mother - was gnawing at her resolve like a dog would worry at a bone.

Here again Kaylee forces herself to take a deep breath and…

She knocks.

Karen answers the door almost immediately. Judging from her pajamas she’d been planning on sleeping, but she’s too alert to have actually done as much. The woman Kaylee sees on the other side of the door is at once alarmingly familiar and distressingly different. Her mother is older, tired, eyes puffy from recent crying and yet her smile hasn’t changed in decades.

There’s no hesitation when Karen pushes out from the house into the cold of night and throws her arms around Kaylee’s shoulders. “When it got dark and you hadn’t shown up I thought—I thought maybe you’d changed your mind.” She murmurs into her daughter’s shoulder. She’s smaller than Kaylee remembers, more delicate. A child’s memory of a mother bends to separate reality from nostalgia.

There is no helping the stiffness that Karen receives from her daughter. Back ramrod straight and body perfectly still, with the small bagged package held between her two hands, crinkling between them almost like a shield, Kaylee looks confused. She’d half expected anger or… or…

Kaylee lets out the breath she’d been holding. What had she been expecting? With that breath all that tension flees and she quickly wraps an arm around her mother to finally return the hug - if rather awkwardly.

What had happened to the larger than life figure that always seemed to loom over her? Kaylee had a hard time comparing what she remembered to the frail and small figure she was holding on to.

“S-sorry, Mom,” Kaylee says when she finally lets go of her mother, not even hiding the conflicting emotions or the obvious nervous awkwardness. “Had a bit of an unplanned detour,” she explains sheepishly. “But I made it, as promised a-and brought you this.” The crumpled gift bag is held out. “Of course, Carl sent a letter. A drawing, too… he’s excited to meet you next time.” If there is a next time she almost adds. Teeth click together as she forces herself not to babble on or slip up and say something she’ll regret.

“He’s been kind of jealous that his cousins have a grandma,” Kaylee adds instead.

Karen looks down at the proffered bag, but only in a glance. She takes it, but in the same motion sweep an arm behind Kaylee and ushers her into the house. “Come on in, we’re letting all the heat out.” She tries to smile, as if nothing is strange or wrong after all this time, but the weariness in Karen’s eyes belies a deeper sadness.

Her home is a modest one, but something that has weathered the years since the Civil War mostly intact. The front door empties right out into the living room, carpeted and warm. The walls are a rich cream color and most of the furniture looks like it’s about two decades old, something from the early thousands.

A wood stove across the living room is crackling with warmth and all of the lights are from small oil lamps on the driftwood coffee table and end table by the armchair. Kaylee doesn’t get the impression the house has electricity that doesn’t come from a generator.

“I’d made dinner but…” Karen laughs awkwardly to herself, “it’s all gone cold now. “But I could put it on the stove and heat it up if—if you’re hungry?” She smiles, nervously, as if afraid at any moment Kaylee will simply turn into smoke and disappear.

Kaylee is on guard as she’s hustled into the house, again moving a bit stiff like she was waiting for the other shoe to drop. Her eyes dart this way and that, taking in every detail of her mother’s new life. Kaylee could only label it as homey. It reminded her of some of the old Ferry days.

It was overwhelmingly surreal and felt - much like her mother - if she breathed wrong it would all suddenly disappear. Or that her mother would go back to the woman she grew up with.

In fact, something nagged at the back of her mind, telling her not to let her guard down

“I’m good, mom. I wouldn't want to impose. It was my fault for not being here on time,” Kaylee says, offering her mom an appreciative smile, allowing herself to be directed where her mother wished her.

“Life happens,” is the least-Karen thing that Kaylee could imagine her to say. But she does. Where is the high-strung and high-stress woman Kaylee remembers from her childhood?

Karen settles down in an armchair diagonal from where she directs Kaylee to sit on one end of the sofa. There’s a nervous tension in her, to be sure, but also worry and more surprisingly: love.

“I can’t believe you’re… really here.” Karen says with a tightness in her voice. She’s struggling to keep it together. “I—I’m sorry it’s—that it took so long for me to reach out to you. I just—I didn’t know if you’d ever want to talk to me again. With—with how things—” She cuts herself off, hastily wiping at her eyes to hide tears.

Slowly sinking onto the couch, Kaylee can’t get herself to relax enough to lean back. There is a lady-like properness in the way she sits; a lingering influence on the younger woman.

“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t say I’m as surprised as you,” Kaylee admits regretfully, glancing over to her mother with a look of regretful apology. “But… I admit, even though I’m surrounded by family… it feels a little empty without the one I grew up with.” Which doesn’t say specifically who she missed. “I… even went back to look for y’all… only found Granny’s old cat.”

Hands rub on the tops of jean clad thighs, a nervous gesture. For Kaylee she felt like she had to step on eggshells. Here goes nothing.

“But…” Kaylee drawls out, finally pulling her attention from the scrutiny of the house. “Just like I think you are, I’m starting to remember things. Never could remember my childhood… Now I’ve got a good idea why.” Her blue eyes watch her mother’s reaction carefully, while missing her ability to know what was going on in her head.

Karen’s smile falters some and she looks down at her lap, wringing her hands together. “Bits and pieces,” she admits in a shaky tone of voice, “from when you were… about five, I think.” She looks up with worry evident in her eyes. “Stuff that—I’d have nightmares like it when you were older, but I… you know I thought they were just dreams. Now, y’know, with the world we live in and… and everything shaking lose I—”

Karen fidgets in her seat, looking guilty. “You looked for me?” She asks with a tightness in her voice, tears welling up in her eyes and jaw trembling. She hadn’t ever expected that, not after the mother she knows she became.

While she watches her mother’s reaction with a lingering touch of skepticism that lowers her brows just a touch, Kaylee couldn’t help but feel sympathy for her. Maybe, because… now she was where her mother had been. “Just because…” Her voice catches, forcing her to clear it to continue. “Just because things were… tense,” Horrible she doesn't say, “doesn't mean I think about you or wonder what happened.”

Could her mother not understand that? “You’re my mom,” Kaylee says as if Karen was silly to think otherwise.

“You gave birth to me, kicked Ray’s ass out the door - which he honestly deserved - and despite everything you were there.” Even though her Granny did most of the raising and Kaylee had told her often to just go away. “I just didn’t realize it then… and I can't say the same about Edward.”

Kaylee looked down and away from her mother as she admitted something to herself, it raked claws of guilt across her stomach. Yet, she couldn't hold them secret, the words just spilled out. “The drive gave me a lot of time to think… and I realized that no matter how much we screamed at each other, you didn't walk away, I…” Hot tears suddenly blur out her mother, when she looks up again, and her throat constricts around the words she wants to say.

I did,” Kaylee croaked out through the strangling emotion. “I walked out of your life - you and Granny - just like he did. I'm… I'm sorry… saying it just doesn't seem enough.”

Karen rises from her chair and swiftly moves to Kaylee’s side, sitting down beside her on the couch and taking one of her daughter’s hands in her own. “Baby,” she says in a hushed tone of voice, tightly squeezing that hand. “Baby no you—you didn’t walk out on us. I didn’t—I didn’t know how to be a good mom,” she says with a croak in her voice, tears welling up in her eyes. “I didn’t know how to be a good mother and I—I should’ve been there for you.”

Exhaling a shuddering breath, Karen looks for all her worth like she wants to pull Kaylee into an embrace, but she can’t bring herself to. Even though it was easy when Kaylee was at the door, the awkwardness of so many years apart makes them feel like they’re miles from one-another right now.

“I was so wrapped up in my own life, with—with things I—” Karen shakes her head and hiccups back a sob. “I must’ve pushed down all those things. All those things I didn’t understand. I must’ve just—forgot. I forgot you were hurting, and scared.”

And that’s the most tragic thing of all about this. Karen Thatcher has no frame of reference for what happened. She doesn’t even know who Charles Deveaux is, or what must have happened. She just knows her daughter was hurting and she forgot. The guilt must be immense.

It might be a good thing she doesn’t try to be a mom and hold her, Kaylee feels herself tense up when her mother moves to sit beside her. The warmth of her mother’s hand in her’s is welcome, though, and she clings to it while she sniffs and scrubs at tears with the heel of a curled hand. A part of her hated showing this weakness to her mom.

Old habits.

One thing was clear, her mom didn’t know and she deserved to know… she hadn’t always been a bad mom. “I know… but it wasn’t your fault,” Kaylee finally says, turning to her mom, taking both her hands in hers and looking… regretful. “You… you didn’t really push down anything. A man named Charles Deveaux. I’m pretty sure he was a friend of Edwards…. He was a telepath and he altered our memories. He made us forget who Edward Ray really was, made me forget what happened to me because I manifested my ability too early… dangerously early. Child manifestations are rare, but it happened to me and like Edward said… I-I-I hurt someone, momma.” Fresh tears started to slide down her cheeks as her eyes go distant lost in a recovered memory, she looks haunted.

“I think when he did that… altered our memories, I don't think he knew the consequences.” She blows out a breath and focuses on her mother again. “I want to believe he hasn't meant for it cause this…this rift.” Kayless motions at the space between them.

Karen glances up to Kaylee then looks away as she wipes at her eyes with one thumb, trying to discreetly brush tears out of them. “I don’t know…” she says with a small shake of her head. “I mean—about fault.” She says with a hitch in her voice. “I—I remember being real nasty t’you. Just—just awful.” Her jaw trembles, eyes wrench shut, and she struggles to keep herself together in front of her daughter. She didn’t want today to be like this.

Kaylee,” Karen gasps, forcing her eyes open and blinking away tears. “I—I’ve been fighting bits and pieces of this for years now. Nightmares of—about you. I keep seeing—it’s like a bad day happening over and over again.”

Karen struggles to articulate what she’s dealing with. Swallowing noisily, she looks Kaylee in the eyes and asks a question that makes her stomach turn upside down. “Do you remember Oak Grove?”

The attitude went both ways really, but Kaylee doesn’t point it out. Finding herself not wanting to dwell on blame, but on the fact they were there now, trying to find a connection.

“I do… bits and pieces,” Kaylee breathes out. “At least for me, my childhood was mostly blank or fuzzy, until I tripped on the cat - Karma I think it was? - and broke my arm. I think I was ten. Freaked you and Granny out. But, most of what I remember is from stories you told about me.” Her young and active imagination had filled in the blanks.

“But,” Kaylee draws out that word as she grasps at mental threads, “I…remember Granny and Papa dancing on the porch, looking so happy.” Her only memory of the man and even his face was a blur in her mind’s eye. “But most importantly, I remember a tornado.” Her words are measured and thoughtful while blue eyes are focused on a point just over her mother’s should, brows furrow as she drags up that terror filled moment. “I-I remember how loud it was, it vibrated through me,” The images in her head were so fuzzy, but that sound was so clear… “I-I…. remember running down the stairs into the basement, your fingers around my wrist.” She rubs at her wrist as if she could still remember what that felt like, “It was dark and things were falling on us. Then… nothing.”

That was the only moment of her younger years Kaylee remembered. “That’s it… I honestly have more memories of Cambridge, where you don’t remember ever living, then I do Oak Grove.

Karen is silent for a long time, eyes unfocused and distant looking. They well up with tears and her throat works up and down to swallow the bile rising in the back. When she looks back up to Kaylee, looks her in the eye, the glow of the lantern light dances in her glassy eyes. “I—I remember Cambridge,” she says with a quaver in her voice, “but that storm…” her voice tightens.

That wasn’t a tornado.

Twenty-Eight Years Earlier

Oak Grove

April 17th

Times weren’t easy, but they weren’t always bad either.

The hours that Karen Thatcher put in at Fort Campbell meant being away from Kaylee more often than she’d like. But the weekends were time for catching up, for skinned knees and grass stains, for playing in the yard and enjoying what they did have: each other. Life after Cambridge wasn’t sunshine and roses, but even weeds could be pretty in the right light.

It’s a warm spring evening that had Kaylee and her mother out in the field behind the farm house. The tall grass is up past Kaylee’s armpits and Karen kept track of her by the bob of her little blonde head over the top of the windblown blades. Fireflies dance in the dusk light, many of which have already fallen victim to the mason jar little Kaylee keeps in one hand. Her laughter rises up into the air and Karen watches her collect fireflies with the patience and appreciation of a loving mother.

When Karen notices someone else in the field, her heart drops into her stomach. The man standing in the tall grass had been just outside of Karen’s peripheral vision. The grass behind him leading to the yard was matted down by his approach. He’s wide-eyed and disheveled, wild hair streaked with threads of gray, a full beard and clothes of a homeless person.

Bean?” Karen calls out to the grass, the tenor of her voice relaying concern. Kaylee turns belatedly, laughing as she holds a firefly on the palm of her hand.

“Look!” Kaylee proclaims excitedly, jogging through the grass back to her mother. The stranger looks from Karen to Kaylee, and begins to walk forward.

Karen’s blood runs cold. “Bean!

Present Day

Karen’s House

“He’d walked up the driveway from off the road,” Karen says with a tremor in her voice, slowly shaking her head. “I—I only remember bits and pieces. But I remember his eyes. Those—those cold, dead eyes.” She stares at her lap, trembling. “He went right for you, and I—I ran after him. I don’t—remember tripping, but I fell over. Picked up a shovel from Nana’s tomato garden, and I came up and—”

Twenty-Eight Years Earlier

Karen strikes the stranger in the back of the head with the shovel, dropping it in the same motion as he crumples to the ground.

“Bean run!” Karen screams, dashing over to her daughter and grabbing her by the wrist. “Run, baby! Run!” She cries again, sprinting for the farmhouse. Kaylee is screaming now, not out of any fear of her own but sympathetic fear in seeing her mother so terrified. She runs as fast as her little legs will carry her toward the house.

As they run toward the front door, the wooden posts holding up the porch awning split as if under some tremendous force and the whole porch roof collapses down over the front door. Karen screams in confused terror, yanking Kaylee to the right as she runs toward the basement door. Shutters tear off of the farm house, fly through the air and whip past the fleeing mother and daughter.

Run!” Karen keeps shouting as she pulls Kaylee with her to the open basement stairs. The pair thunder down the bulkhead steps and Karen turns to pull the doors shut over them, but the moment they close they’re torn open again and wrenched off their hinges, whirling through the air.

Karen falls backwards down the stairs, taking Kaylee with her. The two lay on the cold basement floor, scrambling away at the bearded man steps into view at the top of the basement stairs. Karen’s voice is just a hoarse scream now, pushing Kaylee behind herself as the stranger descends the steps one at a time. As he raises one hand, the stranger hauls Karen off of her feet and suspends her in the air by an unseen hand. Then, just as easily as a child discarding a toy, throws her across the basement against the wall.

The stranger approaches Kaylee, looming over her with wide, ravenous eyes. Her screams pierce the air, a whining howl. The stranger takes a knee in front of her, draws a hammer out of his belt loop and raises it high over his head and then

Present Day

Karen’s House

“…and then he just left.”

Karen’s voice is a hoarse whisper. She wipes her eyes with her hands and shakes her head. “Some men came later, said—said there was a tornado that blew through. Granny said she remembered seeing it and—and I did too. I forgot that man. They made us forget him.”

But there’s no way Kaylee could. Even as Karen had walked her through the story, she’d been remembering it as if it were yesterday. Whatever dams had been holding these memories back, they were crumbling. She could never forget the face of the man who nearly killed her family.

Because she recognizes him.


And he just left her.

A laugh of disbelief leaves Kaylee before she can stop it, quickly covering her mouth before she could let out another. Samson was a man of peculiar tastes and leaving something like her ability alone… it seems out of character for him.

She was never aware of how close she - her real self - had come to dying that day. Now she did and wished she didn't.

“Why did he leave?” Kaylee breaths out in wonder, voice wavering. “I-I-I know who it was, I’ve met him.” She was friends with his son. That part she lets die on her tongue. “He was a man—a serial killer—who murdered for abilities… Took them as his own.” He had wanted hers.

“I n-n-never knew,” Kaylee says breathless.

Why didn't he take it? Why didn't he try the other times they had been face to face. Did he remember her? Even as she asks herself, she feels sure a child like her was just another face among the many.

Kaylee finds herself trembling as if she was suddenly chilled to the bone, worse still were the tears. She had dealt with the man, keeping him at arm's length - treated him like a wild animal that would turn on you so easily out of instinct—but something changed with that memory. How could she face him now with a clear mind?

“But… why did he just leave?” Kaylee hears herself ask.

“I don’t know.” Karen says with a shake of her head. She’s wondered that same thing ever since those memories started coming back. “The men that came, I don’t remember it all well. It comes in… bits and pieces, scraps of something that used to be there. But that same man from our apartment showed up and he—he told us everything was going to be okay. He promised.”

Karen stares at her lap, looking down at her hands. “It wasn’t,” she says in a small voice. But it isn’t monsters and the supernatural that Karen is talking about, but rather the struggles that a single mother has raising a child in a world stitched together by a patchwork quilt of false memories. “It wasn’t okay and I wasn’t a good mother.”

Therein lies the struggle Karen has been dealing with. It isn’t the layers of questions and conspiracy that all begin to unravel for Kaylee, but the immediacy of the fact that her dissonance with her daughter, her struggles, can’t just be hand waved away by things that laid half-forgotten in the past. There’s decisions she owned, terrible ones, that actively harmed their relationship. What hurts Karen more is that her daughter was suffering in ways she never knew on top of all of that.

“I don’t know how to make it better,” Karen whispers, shaking her head again. Then, she looks up to Kaylee with tears in her eyes. “But I want to. I want to.

Oh Kaylee… you can be so dense sometimes…

Spending so much of her life having to look for the conspiracy or ulterior motives was blinding her to what was happening there in that living room. Seeing the pain in her mother’s eyes was freeing in some way, with a twinge of inappropriate righteousness. But that emotion was stifled and pushed away into the corner of her mind.

Her mother needed kindness not for Kaylee to rub her face in the past.

“Mom,” Kaylee says with a tone that Joseph used on her many times, it was gentle and firm all at once. “Momma…” It’s her turn to cling to her mother’s hands, which were so much frailer than she ever remembered. It was hard to forget the shouting shouting matches and unkind words thrown around by both of them, but under that was the truth. They had been manipulated into that war.

“Don’t think too hard about that… I know it’s hard, it’s hard for me too.” There was no need to sugar coat that bit. Fingers squeeze in reassurance. “What’s important is we’re here…. right now. And we know the truth.” Kaylee studies her mother’s face, noticing the changes over the years. “It’s all up from here,” sorta… her stomach twists at that small lie, but she also has a sudden idea.

Teeth catch on her lip nervously. Was it too rash? What would Richard do? Taking a breath, Kaylee takes a leap of faith, “In fact, I want you to consider moving to the Safe Zone… to the Raytech apartments. We have room, you’d be closer to me and your grandson. We probably even have a job if you want it.” It was bold of her to assume that her siblings would sign off on it, but then Richard was gone and Valerie was a sweetheart. “We can’t start over, but we can move forward and grow.”

“The Safe Zone?” Karen asks in surprise. “I—I heard there’s a waiting list. Only so many people at once, I—I can’t afford…” Before she can finish her sentence the real weight of what Kaylee is offering hits her. She looks back to her daughter with wide eyes, shaking her head. “I—I don’t deserve—I can’t…” There’s nothing in Karen’s tone that says she really means any of those denials, save for that she doesn’t think she deserves a daughter’s love.

“I’ve been out of your life for so long.” Karen barely manages to say through a strangled sob. “I—how can I—” She squeezes Kaylee’s hand, covering her own face with the other as she tries to keep from breaking down. Large tears roll off her lashes and dribble off her chin and she hiccups back a sob.

A part of Kaylee wants to reach out and hug her mother, but she wasn't there yet. Baby steps. What she does offer is a crooked smile, through her own sympathetic tears. “That is the cool thing about being part owner in a very successful family business, Momma. We can set you up in a small apartment of your own. No lists.”

Kaylee’s smile fades a bit at the edges and worry settles in, dashing away some of the growing enthusiasm at having this chance to fix things with her mom. “I should warn you, though, I own this business with Edward's other kids. Two half siblings and one adopted.“ As she gently lays that out, she watches Karen’s reactions. Could her mom accept that? Especially Valerie who came after. “They’re really good people… well, Warren takes getting used to, but… we’ve been all we had for some time - especially during the war - and our kids are growing up together.” So her mother would be seeing them often.

Taking a deep breath Kaylee offers a little more, because she didn't feel her mom should walk into the arrangement blind. “And my world since I—” walked away. Well, more like stormed off. She was good at that. “Since I went to college all those years ago… it has been weird.” Major understatement there. “You might see or hear about it. Thankfully, my part in it has never ended up on River Styx.” Her nose wrinkles even mentioning that show.

“The world is far more complicated and bigger than we knew, Mom,” Kaylee says softly, looking down as the hand in hers, brows furrowing. It was all so surreal. “And Raytech tends to be in the thick of everything weird going on.” It is obvious she is really worried about her mother rejecting her over it all. “But we’re also trying to help rebuild the world and make it better, too.”

Kaylee gives a small huff of amusement when she says, “Richard likes says we’re in the business of saving the world.”

Karen’s expression is so difficult to read. But eventually it turns enough into a smile through the pain that it’s clear where she’s come in this conversation. “Don’t get much television out here,” she admits with a wryness growing in her smile, “but I heard you. On the radio, back when the war ended, when all those awful people got what was coming to them. I heard you.” She must be referring to the Albany Trials.

“I may not have been able to be in your life,” Karen says with a shake of her head, “but I saw your brightness at a distance, like the sun on a beautiful day.” Karen wipes away fresh tears. “But—But I’d—I’d like t’be a part of your life,” she says in a smaller, less confident voice. “If you’d have me. If you think I deserve that.”

“If…if it had been any other time, I’d have said no,” Kaylee admits ruefully, offering her mother an apologetic smile. She needed them both to understand the stakes of her mother coming back into her life.

Sniffling and scrubbing at her face, Kaylee quickly adds, “But, it's clear who you were wasn't completely your fault, momma, and I think that deserves another shot. I've grown to believe, over the years, that everyone deserves a second chance.”

Giving her mother’s hand another squeeze, Kaylee finally releases it so she could turn both hands to the task of composing herself. “Besides… it’s what Granny always wanted. Her girls trying to get along.”

Karen exhales a tired, weary sigh and leans forward toward Kaylee, managing to wrap her arms around her daughter before she completely breaks down crying. The sound of her sobs ring off the walls and sing a story of longing and fear decades old. All of which, now, is set to change. The sound can be heard outside, far enough away though that even on the back porch there’s just a faint indication of the drama playing out inside.

A single raindrop falls and lands on the deck. The first of many to come.

But as the saying goes, a single raindrop never believes itself responsible for the flood.

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