- A Serialized Novel -

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

Author’s Note: This story is not really what I envisioned it being when I started it so many years ago. I was going to bother my grandpa for stories about restoring his Maxwell, a friend of mine suggested making the car a time machine, I thought about something like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and then Carson ended up with these nightmares and secrets locked in his head. The restoration parts still fit, but I don’t know about the rest of it.

No Rest for the Traumatized

“Mac’s room is down at the end, and on the right is the bathroom. My room is here on the left, but this is where you’ll be staying. Well, if you decide to try and sleep, that is. I don’t know if you’ll want to or not.”

Carson didn’t know, either. He was tired, since the day had been miserable and he hadn’t slept the night before, not after the nightmare, and then he’d driven out to her place, so he should just crawl into bed and call it a night. He didn’t want to sleep, though. He knew it was stupid, but he was afraid of what he’d find in his dreams this time. He had a feeling he’d picture his father doing horrible things to him, and he wouldn’t know if it was real or not. He did know it would be ten times worse because of his close resemblance to his father—if he looked in the mirror at his own face, would he always remember those horrible nightmares? Could he live with himself looking like he did if that was the truth?


“Sorry. Mind wandering. I don’t think I want to sleep.”

Mackenna nodded. “I don’t blame you. Mac’s a pretty heavy sleeper, but we don’t want to be too loud all the same. Can sit out in the front room and look at pictures or talk. The television always wakes him, so watching it or a movie is out. I do a lot of reading if I’m not working on a project. If I’ve got one, then I’m planning it out. What do I need, where can I get it, what can I afford to buy, and what I need to put it together. I do a lot of research online. Mac hates that.”

Carson found himself smiling. “Yeah, my grandfather wasn’t big on the internet, either. Must be his generation.”

“I think so.”

“Tell me about what you’d do with Phantom. I don’t know anything about old cars. Or new cars. I was never that into them—Larry liked to tinker with a few of Grandpa’s old wrecks, but not me. I’ve never been all that comfortable with them.”

“Well, since your dad was apparently murdered by one and you saw it happen or were involved in it somehow, I guess that makes sense.”

Carson sighed. “It’s amazing how many of my issues go right back to that.”

She shrugged. “That’s the same for a lot of people. We all have things that seem to tie back to one moment in our lives, and if we could go back and change that, then everything would be different. Better, probably. Worse in a few cases…”

“What’s your one moment?”

She shook her head. “I don’t have one moment. I have several, and I’m not in the mood to talk about them.”

“You know just about every dark secret of mine—even if some of them are only suspicions, not facts. You really think I am in any position to—what, judge you? I can’t. I’m not. I’m a mess, remember? I’ve got panic attacks and flashbacks and nightmares and sometimes I jump at my own shadow. Earlier we were discussing the possibility—and it’s unfortunately a good one—that my father was abusive in some way, that he might have… Well, I guess I just don’t know that there’s much worse than what I might have. I’m either a killer or a victim, maybe both.”

She shook her head. “You could still be a witness.”

“I don’t think I am. If I was just a witness, it doesn’t make sense for Grandpa not to tell me what I must have seen.”

“Unless, of course, he didn’t know. He just suspected. Maybe he didn’t know who killed your father, but he hid the evidence to protect his family.”

“And then left me it in his will?”

“So you could find your answers if you wanted—though the truth is, they’re just locked up in your head. They always have been. That’s what you have to face. It’s not about the answers anyone else can give you.”

Carson leaned against the wall. “My mind has never been willing to give them up before, so why would it start now?”

“I don’t know.”

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