There’s a girl who lives alone in the woods

Down a long dirt road, past a mile or so of forest, there’s a girl that lives all by herself in a big house. All of her relatives have passed, leaving her a treasure trove of valuables and money that she keeps on the property. There’s not even a dog to keep her safe from people who would take those things away.

And when the wrong ears hear all those things, their eyes fill with dollar signs and they decide to make the trek.  

They always make the same wrong assumption though-

That I’m really alone.

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Mr. Ferguson

I think the whole street breathed a sigh of relief when we saw the EMTs take a body bag out of the Ferguson house. I was only about ten or eleven at the time and it’s been a while so some details of my childhood are lost to time, but I can’t forget Mr. Ferguson.

There was never a Mrs. Ferguson in the picture, as far as I know. He lived in the house on the corner, the one with the bright yellow shutters and the gorgeous garden out back. The garden didn’t make up for the rotten old bastard he was. I wondered once if he was nicer when he was younger, when he didn’t have to walk with a cane and could actually get around without help, but my dad set me straight on that one. Mr. Ferguson had always been a terrible person and the neighbor from hell.

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Crimson Wings

My husband Shaun and I love… well, loved, camping. We would go all year around, snow and rain was no object. We didn’t have kids and our trips didn’t have to be long, we’d pack up on Friday and be back on Sunday night when we couldn’t get any time off.  

Last July we’d managed to scrounge up enough PTO for a whole week trip. We were heading down to Tennessee and it was going to be one of our best trips yet.

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Biter

I’m never going to complain about working at a daycare, it really is my dream job. I love working with kids and seeing how they grow up, when they learn to talk and walk, when they learn to string together sentences… It’s the best.

However, there are some kids that drive me up the wall.

“Ow! Parker, you don’t bite people!”

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Problem Child

As a social worker, you’re bound to come across some really messed up stuff. I’ve been at this job for nearly twelve years and I’ve seen everything. Joel was raised in a kennel with a dog, he was so small I thought he was two years younger than he really was. Andrea went into a doctor’s appointment only for the doc to find out the kid had contracted chlamydia. Sophia who had been tied to a bed and beaten to ‘get the devils’ out of her. Fynn had been choked for enough time by his stepdad to have permanent brain damage. 

But all of those kids have homes now. They were adopted by loving families, I send them cards on their birthdays. Joel is now a complete Potterhead and went to Florida with his mom during summer vacation. Andrea now speaks regularly at sexual abuse seminars and helps other victims come forward about what they went through. Sophia wants to be an astronaut, Fynn is beating the odds and making us all proud with all he’s accomplishing.

I can’t say the same for Bonnie.  

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Nicky

It happened ten years ago. I was only eight years old. I woke up that morning to the smell of frying eggs and bacon.  

Stumbling down the hallway, I was greeted by the sight of a dark haired woman at the stove, humming some friendly tune as she filled a cup to the near brim with orange juice. She turned to me and I nearly jumped out of my skin. In a sense she was pretty, but she had a vicious scar running down the left side of her face.

“Andy! You’re up!” She beamed as she picked up the plate stacked with a delicious smelling breakfast. “I had to run to the store, but I hope you like breakfast!”

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The Cure

You could say that I had a rough life.

My mom died. My dad was alcoholic and whacked me around. The boyfriend I had in highschool promised me the moon until he got me pregnant. Then those promises were quickly forgotten. I had to drop out. Became a waitress. Waited tables all day to come home at night to a cold one bedroom apartment. It was just me and Jessie. Life was dull and gray. Any dates mysteriously became busy once they realized I had a kid. Bills piled up. Nothing felt good anymore.  

Then Paul came into my life.

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Cracked Eggs

“Daddy! Daddy look! I found another one!”

Lisa ran up to me, holding the white and pink printed egg. I laughed and held the basket forward. “Good job, pumpkin! That makes how many now?”

For a few seconds, Lisa counted up each one before she straightened herself and beamed.

“Six! I found six!”

“That’s right! That’s my smart girl!”

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Christmas Cookies

Oh man, I love my momma’s cookies.

Peanut butter cookies. Chocolate chip. Even oatmeal raisin. Whenever my mom made cookies, she always made them the best. But there was one place where she went from great to godlike when it came to cookies.

Christmas Cookies.

She’d gotten the recipe from her mom, who I’m guessing got it from her mom. The recipe was a carefully protected secret, momma said she’d never written it down, she’d simply been taught by Grandma and had it locked in her memory. I was her oldest son, so when the time came, she’d teach me how.

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Chatroom

I didn’t go into my twelve year old daughter’s browsing history with the intent to snoop. I know as her father I need to respect her privacy and even though lately she’d seemed distant, I needed to respect that.

I was just trying to switch the Chrome profiles from ‘Kids to ‘Dad’ when I saw there was a new profile there. Normally Blanche remembers to switch for me, I don’t bother with all that. I figured it was a mistake and clicked onto the new profile with the name ‘Lexa’. I’d just delete it and go about my life.

But then I realized this was not just some sort of weird virus or glitch that created a new profile. This was something made with the intent to surf the web without me knowing where they’d gone.

So. I decided to check her favorites.

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