FM 4

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It was a humid evening not too long after school had ended for summer and we were all in the living room watching a movie together when a news report interrupted. Mom gasped loudly then told us to close our eyes and cover our ears until the report was over. But the damage was already done. We heard his name. And what he’d done. Still we laughed and did what she asked, thinking maybe it was a game. She spoke no more about she’d seen on the news for the rest of the day. That night before bed, we stood outside of Mom and Dad’s bedroom door waiting for one of them to come tuck us in. We could just barely hear little snippets of what they were saying to each other. Something about the creek. Mom came out and ushered us to our beds to read us a story…but she seemed worried. “Mom, who’s the Creekside Strangler?” I asked, interrupting her right as she got to the part where Ariel sees Prince Eric for the first time. “Shannon!” Madison chided me. “It was just getting good!” Mom shook her head. “We’ll read more tomorrow, it’s time to go to sleep.” She gave us a tired smile. “Can we have pancakes in the morning? With blueberries!” I asked excitedly. She smiled warmly at me and kissed me on the forehead. “Anything you want, sweetheart. Now close those pretty eyes and dream.”

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