- A Serialized Novel -

Sorting out Carson's legacy only leads to more questions.

Author’s Note: So I had the ending to this story clear in my head. I did. I do. I can’t get it on paper, though, not for the life of me, and so I’m getting kind of tempted to stop posting parts until I have that ending. I don’t know what to do. It’s very frustrating. I know what should be there, I know how the flashback should work, but it doesn’t work. It refuses to. Not the the scenes I wrote before it are the greatest ever, but that flashback is key to the mystery and the ending, and it is not working at all. I’ve got a few scenes left before it comes that I can post, but I admit… I’m running out fast, and I don’t know that I can make it work in time for when I’m out of the stuff that was good. 🙁

Mackenna to the Rescue

“Carson? You about ready?”

“I think you should go without me.”

Mackenna frowned, pushing open his door. She didn’t know what he thought he was doing, but if he was going to sleep in, he could do it another day. Today was special, and they didn’t have a lot of time. They were going to be late, and she didn’t want to be late. They still had plenty to do when they got to the car. “You’re not dressed.”

“I… I am not going. Just leave me alone.”

She shook her head, crossing over to his side, and when she got closer, she grimaced as the stench of vomit assailed her nose. “You’re sick? Why didn’t you say so? How long have you been throwing up, anyway?”

“It stopped a while ago. I’m not… sick. I’m just… Mackenna, I killed him.”

She knelt down next to Carson, putting a hand to his head and checking for a fever. He had to be talking crazy. He hadn’t killed his father. That was not who he was. She didn’t believe him, not for a second. “You didn’t. You must have talked yourself into a nightmare or something because you are not a killer.”

“It was so clear. Mom was trying to get me cleaned up, she was talking about the blood, and she… I said it. I said it plain as day. I said I killed him.”

“You were eight. You could have been confused. You don’t know that you did anything of the sort. All you know is that you were injured and she was cleaning you up. You don’t know why you would have thought you killed him, but just because you did doesn’t mean that you murdered him. That’s not you. I know it’s not.”

He shook his head, sounding so lost and miserable that she didn’t know what to do. She wrapped her arms around him, and he stiffened, but she held on tight. She couldn’t let him go, not now, not like this. She just couldn’t. Not when he was convinced he was a killer. She knew better. He had to be wrong.

“I want to believe it must have been an accident, but if it was an accident—”

“Then you, as a little kid, would have assumed that it was something worse. You would have blamed yourself. You wouldn’t have listened to reason then, just like you’re not now.”

“I think I hate myself.”

“You don’t need to do that, either. Carson, please, you still don’t have all the pieces. Yes, your younger self thought you were a killer. Does that mean that you were? No. You didn’t know how to process it. You probably had no idea what it would have meant if it was an accident or if it was self-defense. You didn’t know how to comprehend it, so your brain blocked it out, and now you’re jumping to the conclusion that it was like murder when it couldn’t have been. You’re not that kind of person.”

“If he molested me and I did it in self-defense, is it really that much better?”

“In some sense, yes. Not only did you get a bit of revenge, but you had a good reason to use whatever you had to in order to stop him.”

Carson shook his head. “I… I can’t do this. I think it’s past time that I go—”

“No. If you get all of your memories back and you need help dealing with them, that’s one thing, but you’re not going to lock yourself away just because you might have done something to your father. You don’t know that you did.”

“You don’t know that I didn’t.”

“I do,” she insisted. “I know you. You’re a good man. If you weren’t my instincts would have warned me away from you a long time ago. They didn’t. I’m still here. I’m not going anywhere, not abandoning you.”

He took a couple deep breaths, shaking his head. “I don’t understand how you can do that. Or why you care about any of it. I didn’t mean to dump it in your lap, but for some reason, you stayed with it. With me.”

“Well, at first I felt sorry for you,” she said, knowing the admission wouldn’t help. She reached up to run her fingers through his hair. “I think you should shower and clean up a bit. You’ll feel a lot better when you do. I want you to stay with me today, okay?”

He nodded, and she smiled, glad he’d agreed to that. “Wear the blue shirt today. Then we’ll match. Kind of.”

He snorted, and she gave him another squeeze before rising to deal with the trashcan. “If you take too long in the shower, though, you’ll worry me and I’ll come in after you. Fair warning.”

“I won’t be long.”

“Good. I have something to give you before we leave this morning. Well, it’s in the Maxwell, but I have something for you, all right?”

“All right.”

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