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The room was deathly quiet as Darah walked in slowly, her head hanging low. No one spoke; they all just looked up at her, not knowing what to think, much less say.
The girl had died. That was all there was to it. She could not take back what had been done, no matter how many times the word “sorry” came out of her mouth.
“Darah you have to talk about it,” her aunt whispered quietly in her ear. She had been taking care of Darah and her little sister for 3 years since the first accident. “If you keep it bottled up, there is no telling what you will do to somebody.”
Darah had blocked her aunt’s voice out of her head after the words. “Darah you have to…’ She could not stand being told what to do, especially by a woman who had to take her mother’s place. It wasn’t that she disliked Aunt Karen; she just did not want to even think about anything at that particular moment.
All of a sudden, the door bell rang, followed by a loud banging on the door. Everyone jumped and Uncle Fred shuffled quickly to answer it. He opened the door and saw it was Jason, Darah’s boyfriend. Hoping she had not seen him, Fred quickly closed the door behind him as he made his way onto the front porch.
“How is she?” Jason asked, very distraught and not stable at all. “All I heard was that there was a wreck involving Darah and a young couple with a five month old baby. I sped the whole way here; I just have to know if she is ok? Please tell me!”
Fred looked to the floor and messed with his pants leg before he answered. “Jason you have to be strong for her. She is fine, only minor cuts and bruises, which we are very thankful for. Darah was going way too fast, almost 40 miles per hour over the speed limit. The police report said she had been intoxicated. She didn’t see the stop sign ahead of her.” Fred paused, trying to hold back tears. He had never thought Darah would do a thing like this, especially after the incident that had killed her parents three years ago to the day. Fred thought back to the day that seemed so long ago that had changed his life forever.
It had been a cool crisp day as Fred went about his normal daily activities, including waking up, taking a shower, reading the newspaper while drinking coffee, then heading to work. He was the accountant at a big attorney’s office in town. Since he had found out that the head accountant had been fired, Fred had been pushing for a promotion. He went to the office and was greeted by his fellow accountants clapping and congratulating him.
“Well Fred, this is a big honor. Why don’t you have the rest of the day off to celebrate?” George, his new boss told him.
Fred wasn’t going to argue so he left the office, all smiles on his face. As Fred contemplated what he should do with all his free time, he decided to call his wife, Karen, to break the big news.
As he dialed the number, he thought of a good way to begin the conversation, then just spring the news on her.
“Hello, Fred?” Karen whispered into the phone, barely audible.
“Karen? What’s wrong? Are you okay?” Fred began to speed up, heading toward home.
“Fred, I need you… Come home!” She hung up the phone, leaving Fred speechless on the other end.
Something inside him seemed to snap and he got home the fastest he had ever gotten home before. The house was quiet and Fred looked around for his wife.
“Karen?” He called, just loud enough for her to pop up from being on the ground. “What happened?”
“Sherry and Mike are gone… gone,” Her voice faded off and her eyes were expressionless.
A car driving by honked its horn, acknowledging that the driver knew Fred, snapping him back into reality. He realized he and Jason were still on the porch. Fred felt like he was reliving the same nightmare he had experienced three years ago. He patted Jason on the back and they walked into the house.
Darah looked up, her eyes searching for hope and someone to draw comfort from. Jason went over to Darah and she melted in his arms, whispering over and over, “I killed her, I killed her!”
She looked up from his shoulder, looking straight at him. “I murdered someone exactly the same way my parents were murdered. I was so mad at the person who did this to my parents three years ago, I didn’t think clearly. I murdered a little girl!”
Jason took her head and put it back in his chest, tears rolling down his face. He knew it would be a long journey, especially once he revealed the secret he had been keeping from everyone for three years now, when it had happened.