The man in the mirror was changing every time Randy looked.
It was a slow transformation. His once calm and bland features turned into a landscape of worry wrinkles. His blue eyes became murky gray.
He knew the change was about more than just growing old. Something was evolving in his mind. Something dark that slithered around his consciousness just out of sight. Fear of the other. People with different beliefs and colors.
Randy’s world, rooted in another era, was gone and he missed it so much it made him angry. Hate crept into his heart like a venomous snake.
Raymond turned away from the radio in time to see his Mother’s worried eyes.
“Don’t worry,” he assured her. “This is just nostalgia radio with Orson Wells narrating War of the Worlds.”
Suddenly static. Sounds of people panicking. A man’s voice “This is not a drill” Fading. Static.
“It’s not for real, Mom. It’s from a 1938 broadcast.”
Static stops. A man’s voice. “The president was able to flee in Air Force One when…”
“Son! When Franklin Roosevelt was in office in 1938 there was no Air Force One!“
They both turned to the window in time to see the mushroom cloud.
Since the ghost first appeared while Jena was making herself dinner, she was determined to ignore it.
No such things as ghosts. Common knowledge. Still it was getting harder to ignore her dead husband who only showed up when she was alone. His appearances were becoming more frequent lately.
One day she decided the “ghost” might be her conscience. If so, it was a first. Even her family thought she was “calculating and cold-blooded.“
With restored belief there were no ghosts, she smiled the next time she saw him, even though he was holding the revolver she killed him with.
Don stopped typing and looked at the last passage he wrote about a horrendous murder in his hometown:
“The Burke family was slaughtered in their beds. Parents and the two children had their throats slit. No clues left behind. Investigators baffled about motive.“
As the lone reporter for the local newspaper he had to write about the murder. He didn’t want to sensationalize it, but the editor insisted. One side of his brain said tamp the story down. The other said quit worrying and do your job.
The last thing he wanted to do was bring unwanted attention to himself!
Clem got off his worn-out horse. The poor creature was near death after three days of running from his tracker who he suspected was a bounty hunter.
His crime, killing a man in self defense. No trial.
Took his saddle and warbag off his horse, turning him loose. In the horizon he saw a cloud of dust. A rider. Maybe an hour away. The blazing sun was merciless. He was out of water. Only one bullet left in his revolver.
This was his last stand. Finally, the rider drew near.
“Is that you Clem?” his brother cried out in surprise.
Tom heard scratching at the front door and turned to his six-year-old sister Sara to see if she heard it. She was clutching her rag doll and he could see by the fear in her eyes she had and was looking for guidance.
He wished their parents were home while clutching the pistol. They had to go to town, a days ride from the ranch. At nine, he was considered old enough to be in charge.
It was snowing outside and the wind whistled through the wooden cabin like a banshee.
The door opened.
A half frozen man crawled in.
They had him surrounded.
Tito refused to come out when they called his name. If he let his hostage go he worried they’d kill him. He prodded the janitor in the back with the tip of his knife as he considered his predicament.
The crowd thought he’d killed the coach’s daughter. It was a matter of time before they rushed the gym and overpowered him. Desperate, he let the janitor go with a message that he was innocent of any crime.
The crowd outside rushed in with weapons!
“Stop!” The coach’s daughter suddenly shouted from the top of the bleachers.