The Crossing

If you had the power to change your past - to fix every mistake you've ever made, to live the perfect life - would you do it?

Alice Carlton, the sixteen-year-old good girl, is dying because of a single mistake.
Charon is trapped in a living death because he dared fight his fate.
Two wrongs never make a right. Or do they?

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7. Murder

            The porch light was out, plunging the entryway into darkness. Alice watched her mother squint out the window beside the door, trying unsuccessfully to see who had knocked. Why would come to their little house this late at night? With Alice’s father out of town on a business trip, her mother was always extra paranoid.

            “Just open it Mom,” Alice’s little voice rang in the silence, prompting another harsh knock.

            With a worried look at her ten-year-old daughter, Mrs. Carlton turned the handle and slowly pulled open the door. The man standing in the entryway was dripping onto the welcome mat, his head covered by a hood and his hands knotted in his pockets.

            “Hello Mary.” His voice was deep and harsh, and as soon as the door was all the way open, he lunged for Alice’s mother. She slammed the door in his face just before he crashed into it.

            “Alice, get upstairs and hide. Now.” Alice’s mother was frantic, that much was clear. She bolted the door and ran for the kitchen after shoving Alice in the direction of her bedroom. At first Alice ran, but then she slowed and stopped. She knew – somehow – that running was a bad idea. Something horrible was about to happen.

            She heard the door bang open again, and heavy footsteps heading toward the kitchen. The room where her mother was still dialing the police.

            Alice crept carefully over to the door, jumping over the loose board by the wall, and peered into the room. The man, his hood thrown back to reveal a shock of tangled brown hair, was advancing toward Alice’s mother, who stood whimpering by the pantry door.

            “You thought I wouldn’t find you, Mary. But I know everything. Where’s that husband of yours? Is he going to save you this time? And that little girl, how’s he going to help her?” The man didn’t hear Alice over his own voice, so she managed to get all the way into the room and crawl toward the island. The sound of the opening dishwasher brought both the intruder and her mother’s heads whipping around, but by then it was too late. Alice grabbed the butcher’s knife from the top shelf and held it out before her.

            The man laughed and stepped toward her, into her range. He wasn’t expecting a little girl to be able to hurt him, knife or not. But when he lunged, Alice was ready. She twisted and brought the knife down into his arm. He reared back and screamed, then went for her again. Alice flipped over him, using skills she didn’t remember having, and then drove the knife into his back. She didn’t know how she knew, but she did. That was where to stab if she wanted to kill. And Alice wanted to kill this man.

            He went limp as soon as the knife went in, dead instantly. Alice’s mother screamed and grabbed her, pulling her away from the spreading pool of blood and into the protective shelter of her arms, whispering soothing words. Alice had the feeling that it was less for her benefit than for her mother’s.

            “It’s alright, Mom. He’s gone now. He can’t hurt you this time.”

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