by Caloeb Hampton

             "Mom, please don't do this. Please just come back with me," says Cameron Niell, looking up at his mother with his blue eyes and his black curly hair soaking in the rain. "Please don't go."

            "It's going to be okay son. Remember that I'll always be there in your heart," Cameron's mother says as she places her hand over his chest. "I'm going to be in heaven with your sisters now," she says with a smile. In tears Cameron closes his eyes and goes in to hug his mother but she pushes him away. "Run on home now," she says with an oddly calming gesture in her voice. "It's all going to be okay."

            "Mom, just come back home with me and we can get your medicine and make you feel better." Cameron says with hope in his voice.            

            "NO!" Cameron's eyes open wide in shock. "I'm not going back Cameron. I can't keep living like this. Not after what happened to your sister's. It's...It's all my fault," a tear rolls down her face.

            "You didn't know he was like that Mom. No one could have known."

            "But I did know Cameron..."

3 months earlier

              "Cameron, Lilly, Libby, get down here you're going to be late for school!" shouts Elizabeth, the mother, from down stairs. Cameron comes up to his mother with a puffy face and red eyes.

            "I'm not feeling good today, can I stay home please?"

            "Well let me check your temperature and if it's too high, you can stay." Elizabeth goes to the kitchen and opens a drawer and pulls out the thermometer and checks Cameron's temperature. "Yep, 102 degrees. Here go lay back down and I'll bring you a cold rag to put on your forehead. Lilly, Libby, this is the last time I'm going to say this, get down here now!"

            "We're coming mom, geeze," says Lilly as her and Libby make their way down the stairs.

            "Joshua is waiting outside in the truck to take you to school. You know how impatient he gets."

            "Well maybe you should find a less impatient man to marry then," says Lilly in a smart remark.

            "You know how much he does to help us Lilly! I don't want to hear another word from you," Elizabeth says as she hands the girls their sack lunches. "Now you two better behave while at school today."

            "Have fun at school," says Cameron grinning at his two sisters.

            "Shut up," says Lilly as she and Libby make their way out of the house.

            "Bye mom, love you," says Libby. "Love you too Libby." Says Elizabeth as she turns to Cameron motioning him to go back to his room and get some rest. Libby and Lilly leave the house and get into Joshua's shitty 85 Chevy Silverado with rust spots all over it. The smell of cigarette smoke fills the girl's nostrils as Joshua takes another drag.

            "Can you please stop smoking with Libby in the car," says Lilly. "You know she has asthma."

            "Does it look like I give a shit kid?" Joshua says as he takes another drag. "Just be quiet. I don't want to hear a damn thing come from your mouth!"

            Lilly sits back in her seat, her face starting to turn red. She doesn't know if she is angry or just sad. Joshua goes to start the truck and the engine turns over and over until it finally starts. He puts it in drive and they make their way down the road. Lilly notices that he's swerving quiet a bit and she starts getting a little nervous. She notices that Libby grabs her hand and is holding it tightly. She must be scared too, Lilly thinks to herself.

            "Are you okay?" Says Lilly.

            Joshua looks over and grabs Lilly's shirt who is sitting right next to him. "I said I didn't want to hear shit from you!" Shouts Joshua. His voice a bit raspy. He lets go of Lilly and as soon as he puts his eyes back on the road he slams on the brakes and comes to a screeching halt in front of a stop sign.

            This startles Lilly and Libby both as they both are thrown against the dashboard because his truck doesn't have seatbelts. They sit back up in their seats and Lilly looks down and sees half a bottle of vodka. She looks and Joshua and ask, "Have you been drinking? It's 8 o'clock in the morning and you're driving us to school, what is wrong with you?"

            Joshua looks down and shoves the bottle back under the seat. "What did I tell you?!" Joshua shouts. He reaches back and pushes his hand against Lilly's head and slams on the gas. "You thought that scared you, just wait." Joshua laughs.

            Libby starts crying and Lilly wraps her arms around her trying and comfort her. Lilly closes her eyes trying to hold back her tears...

            Elizabeth wets a rag in the kitchen and brings it up to Cameron's room. "Cameron, honey get in the bed."

            "Okay mom," says Cameron as he crawls back into his bed.

             Elizabeth places the wet rag on his forehead. "Hopefully this will cool you down a bit before Joshua gets back from dropping the girls off. I'll call him and tell him to bring you some medicine."

            "Ugh, why does it have to be Joshua?" Ask Cameron, rolling his eyes.

            "Because there's no one else that can watch you so don't give me sass for it." Explains Elizabeth. "I have to get to work now. Get some rest. I don't want you up playing with your toys. I love you dear" Elizabeth kiss Cameron on the forehead.            

            "Love you too." Says Cameron.

             Elizabeth leaves the room and walks back down to the kitchen and picks up the house phone and dials Joshua's number. The phone rings but no one answers. He never answers, Elizabeth thinks to herself. Elizabeth picks up her cellphone and heads off to work. I'll try calling him in a bit, she says to herself. Elizabeth walks outside and gets into her blue Nissan accent. She puts the car and reverse and starts heading down the street towards her work. As she's driving she has to pull over as two ambulances go speeding by. Elizabeth remembers how Josh never picks up his phone and starts to get worried. I'm sure their all fine, what are the odds that those are for them, Elizabeth nervously laughs to herself. Elizabeth arrives at work. She works at the front desk of a dental office. Her day is starting off normally with patients coming and going, but then Elizabeth gets a call. She looks at her cellphone and it's from the Lancer Heights sheriff's department. "Hello?" Elizabeth answers.

             "Hello, is this Elizabeth Shield?" Asks the voice on the phone.

             "Yes it is," says Elizabeth.

             "Ma'am, we're sorry to inform you that Joshua, who says is your boyfriend and the two young girls that accompanied have been in a car accident. The man, Joshua, is responsive and claims that the two girls were your daughters. Is this true?

             "Yes! Are my girls okay?!" Elizabeth shouts into the phone

             "Ma'am, I'm sorry to inform you that the two girls have passed. One died upon impact with the tree and the other died moments after first responders arrived on the scene." Explains the voice on the phone

              Elizabeth drops the phone and she feels her heart sink into her chest. Elizabeth ask herself, What have I done?

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