Lindsay, a Notre Dame University graduate, drags along three of her friends for a fun, end-of-the-year journey. She forgets to mention that she is trying to dig up the mysteries of her past. Oh well. They'll get with the program soon enough.


3. Chapter 2


“Wake up you sleepy heads!” Lindsay rapped hard on Tommy and Jack’s door. Their muffled groans indicated that they had just awoken, heads buried under covers. Tommy rolled over in the blankets, sadly in the wrong direction. In his turning, he became much like spaghetti on a fork, tangled and messy. When he fell, the swaddled blankets limited his movement and he fell face-first into the hard floor.

            “Oof… “ He let out a muffled grunt. “A simple good morning would be greatly appreciated!” Tommy beat his fists on the floor in frustration, trying to get out of the blankets. It was much like watching an unfortunate fly stuck in a spider’s web. Each move ended with him more entangled.

            Jack lay in his bed, examining the recent developments in the morning’s routine with great amusement. He sat up on the side of his bed, turning on the lamp. “Nice Superman boxers.” Tommy turned a deep shade of violet.

            “Clark Kent beats all. Especially sissy white boxers.”

            “Dude no come-back will regain your pride.”

            “Go to hell…” Tommy muttered.

            “A great distance your words have gotten you.” Jack grinned broadly.

            “Help me please.” As he coughed out the words, he gave up struggling and slumped onto the floor. “And I don’t need the snarky comments.” He added.

            “Huh? What was that? Was it the wind?” Jack savored the moment, lying back into his bed. “I think I’ll just go back to sleep.” After much more pitiful squirming, Tommy let out a sigh of resignation.

“Okay! I’m sorry.”

Standing up, Jack swaggered over to Tommy, grabbed an end of the blanket, and dragged it out from under him in a ferocious swipe. “Why was that so easy?” Tommy jumped to his feet.

            “I could have gotten out of that myself.” He stammered.

            “You spent ten minutes on the floor doing the inch-worm. I think not.” With this, Tommy seemed to decide that any more arguing was pointless and slumbered over to the bathroom.

            A great banging came from the door. “You guys better not be watching TV! We have to get on the road!” Lindsay’s voice rang through their room again and diminished any drowsiness still remaining. Jack grabbed his pants and shimmied them on, then hastily throwing on a Kellogg’s Tony the Tiger shirt. Tommy came out of the bathroom in casual clothes, jeans and a sweatshirt, but light hair neatly combed back. His grey eyes glinted in the light. 

            “Really? Frosted Flakes? I might have worn that when I was five.”

            “I might have worn Superman underwear when I was five.” Jack retorted. Tommy punched him in the shoulder as they walked out the door.  

            Lindsay and Laurence were waiting for them, quite irritated, in the hallway. 

            “Took you long enough. But enough complaining. Breakfast!” Laurence said.

            “I hope they have pastries!” Jack exclaimed with glee, only earning another dead arm from Tommy. They went out to the hotel dining room, a few rusty chairs surrounding a wooden table on an unattractive burgundy carpet. A pitiful sight. But, to Jack’s delight, they had a wide assortment of donuts, which he grabbed three of, then sitting down at the table to begin snacking on. They others soon followed, their plates stacked high. While they ate, Lindsay began to track the route they were going to take, a torn map in front of her.

            “That reminds me, where are we going?” Tommy asked, feeling very foolish.

            “Oh right, I haven’t told you guys yet.”

            “No, no you haven’t.” Laurence said, clearly feeling the same as Tommy. Lindsay went quiet, looking down at her phone for somewhere to slink into.

            “Lindsay, you dragged us along. I should at least have the right to know, now that I’ve spent a day in the car next to this dude.” Jack gestured over to Tommy who gave him an amused look.

            “Alright!” She said, quite flustered. “I’m… I’m adopted. Well, more precisely, a woman found me on her doorstep took me in.” She seemed very embarrassed.

            “Lindsay, we’ve known this for a while.” Laurence said. Lindsay glared at him.

“But I can’t remember anything before then! I’m going back home, to Colorado, to see if I can find my birth parents. I brought you guys cuz I figured you would be good company.”  

“GOOD COMPANY?” Tommy roared. But Jack punched him hard in the shoulder before he could say anything else.

            Laurence looked at her with a mixture of uncertainty and determination. “Linds, I will do everything I can to help you find your parents, but you will have to meet them alone.” The others nodded.

            “I know,” she whispered. There were no further questions on the topic.

 They finished their breakfast in pondering silence and checked out of the hotel, going out the parking lot. The car, which they had now christened “Rusty Thunder” due to its color and the sound it made every time they started, was, if possible, looking more beaten than it had at the beginning of the trip. They rambled in, the car moaning as they opened and closed its doors. And at the start of the engine was the unforgettable rumble. They began the long day of driving with full stomachs and a new determination.  

Laurence continued his sketches, Tommy shamelessly reading Superman graphic novels. Jack, nor tired nor bored, was left with time to ponder over. His mind fogged and he was in the past again, reliving each punch of heavy fists. He was running, from who, his legs screaming, each breath a tiresome labor. He is still running. But he rejected the memories, refusing to believe them. They never happened. Never happened. Never happened. In his seat, he crunched into a ball, forcing tiresome waves upon himself, and dozing away into the safe arms of empty dreams.  

                        <>                   <>                   <>

Shadows impale the wooden desks, splitting them apart into darkness and light. Richie, barefoot, stumbles through the room, slipping over dropped files, ripped papers. A chair is splintered on the floor, its legs scattered in the sea of papers. He makes it past the mind field and enters the kitchen, which mirrors the wreckage in the study. Plates, glasses, bowls are smashed upon the ground. The many cabinets aligning the walls are swung open, the contained items jumbled. The knife drawer is open, a few missing but not seen anywhere in the kitchen. Noticing this, Richie comes to a halt. He stops in front of the shards of class littering the floor, unsure of how to maneuver around the mess. There is so much glass; he can’t jump over.

A woman’s scream shudders through the room, one he has heard before, his mother’s, followed by a smashing and tumbling. With urgency, Richie tries to step onto an area of the tiled floor devoid of class, but his wincing shows failure. He does not falter though, and continues walking across the room. Finally reaching the end, he ignores the pain in his feet and runs down the hallway. Pictures, of their family, his mother and father smiling with him. They lie on the ground, slashed through many times. He keeps running, tears beginning to stream down his face. A light at the end of the hallway, another scream. He reaches the light and sees his mother, eyes empty of any life, kneeling in the empty room. “A monster…” She spits out the words with every amount of contempt she can muster. Richie looks at her, tears a river down his face, and than sees something behind his blurry vision. A blade flying towards him, hitting him in the chest. But the image fades from his mind and he is left looking into the hollow grey eyes of his mother.

“Mommy what is wrong?” He says, his voice surprisingly strong though his eyes carry pain. He stands shaking in the doorway.

“I am not your mother.” She stands up, revealing two sharp blades in her limp hands. “I am not the mother of a monster.” She raises a knife above her head, her eyes now filled with a red craze, and flings it, spinning, at her son. Richie comprehends barely in time, the knife missing his chest but slicing into his side as he whirls out of the way. The knife imbeds itself into the wall of the hallway. He clutches his side, blood seeping through his fingers, as he stares at his fingers.

“Mommy. Why are you doing this?” He whimpers. The woman’s eyes bulge as she stares at the knife in her other hand.

“HELP ME!” She screams to the ceiling, eyes filled with an insanity Richie has never seen, now raising the knife to her neck. He looks away, but can’t ignore the warm red liquid that splatters on to him. Her screams are forever silenced.  

<>                   <>                   <>

            The sun blazed in the sky as they drove through mountains and valleys, forests and hills. Lindsay calculated that they would reach Martha’s house late at night and had called to let her know. It had been a very brief conversation, and very awkward with the boys listening to her every word. But it had been comforting to talk to her. Martha said she would do everything she could to help Lindsay, and that had made Lindsay tear up, so much so that she almost rammed into the car in front of her because of the blurry vision. And then the boys laughed at how sensitive she was and she took her arms away from the wheel to swat at them and then they almost hit the car again. Martha almost had a heart attack over the phone.

            But they were making good time, and amidst all of the jokes and laughter in the car, they were all on edge. Laurence didn’t know how they were going to find her parents from any of this. What if she had run away? What if her parents were dead? The amount of “what ifs” was stacking up and Laurence had no way of asking her without insulting her. It would be questioning everything that she was, or at least, that would be how she would interpret it. He sighed. Woman.





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