- A Serialized Novel -

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

Author’s Note: For me, it wasn’t enough to have Carson remember what happened when his father died. He needed to remember what happened afterward as well.

Rushed Assumptions

“Carson? Carson, where are you—No! No!” His mother stopped, dropping down next to his father’s body, tears pouring down her cheeks as she touched his face, pushed open his shirt, trying desperately to convince herself that he was alive. She shook her head, pleading and begging through them, not wanting to accept what she was seeing even as she confirmed that her husband was dead.

Her father touched her shoulder. “Leave him.”


“Your son needs you now. Don’t waste your tears on him.”

She bit her lip, looking back at Carson, cursing. “Oh, baby, what happened to you?”

“What do you think happened, Nancy? Take a good look at him and tell me what you really think happened.”

Her head shook, fast enough to where she should be dizzy. “No. Absolutely not. He wouldn’t. I know you hate him because he left, but you’re wrong. He would never do that to Carson. Not to any of the boys. He’s not like that. You know he’s not.”

“He’s been gone for years. You don’t know him anymore.”

“I don’t care how long he’s been gone. I don’t care where he went. I don’t care what he did. I know him. I know what he was like. He wouldn’t do that. Not to his son, not to any little boy.”

Grandpa shook his head. He pointed to Carson. “Stop defending that bastard. Focus on what you should be doing. Your son is crying. He’s covered in blood. You need to take care of him. I will take care of the rest of it.”

His mother blinked. “The rest of what?”

“The body and the car.”

“What? Dad, no—”

“Your son had to kill his father. His father hurt him, he… Damn it, Nancy, look. Look at what he did to your boy. We’re going to get rid of this body and everything that goes with it. No reminders. No memories. We’ll hope that he forgets about all of this.”

“That’s not a solution. He can’t forget—”

“He’s eight. Eight. He needs to be able to live a normal life. He’s too young to cope with what his father did. What he did. When he’s older, when he’s ready to remember, when he can handle it, then we can tell him, but do you honestly want him going through life with the guilt? The shame? You know better than that. Think of what’s best for him. Right now, we can only hope and pray that he’s able to forget.”

She bit her lip, looking at his father’s body before stepping close to Carson. “Baby, can you hear me? You going to let me get you cleaned up?”

He looked at her. They wanted him to forget. Everyone wanted him to forget. He lifted his hands, and they shook, but he didn’t have any words. She lifted him up into her arms. “Oh, honey, I am so sorry. So sorry that you were hurt and scared and… It’ll be okay now.”

Carson shook his head. She turned back to his grandpa. “Can you carry him inside for me? I’ll start a bath as soon as we’re inside.”

“I’m going to need time. Larry and Nick don’t need to see this. We’re going to need to keep them out of the barn for a while.”

“I suppose you’d better tell Tim. He can keep the boys busy while we… while we take care of the rest of this.” His mother combed her fingers through Carson’s hair. She sighed. “I don’t understand. This shouldn’t be possible. He wasn’t that kind of man.”

“He became one, then. Stop trying to deny it and think about your little boy. He’s the one that matters. Take care of Carson. Don’t worry about the rest. I’ll handle that.”

His mother sighed before she kissed Carson’s forehead. “I still think you’re wrong.”

“Don’t you dare go pushing him to tell you. He’s in no state for that. Let him forget. Just let them all forget. They’re better off without him.”

Carson heard her crying as she carried him into the house. “I don’t ever want to know, Carson. I don’t. I won’t believe it. I won’t listen. Your father… I don’t believe he did that. I never will. I don’t know… You couldn’t… I don’t believe it.”

He closed his eyes, hoping his grandpa was right and that he could forget all of it.

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