With the speed of wind, I blurred past buildings and the dangers of the night. Beads of sweat streaked down my forehead and into my eyes. My legs burned from the one hour race, but I kept my pace.
Mum had disappeared, leaving a letter underneath my pillow. In the letter, she’d written: ‘I’d rather die by my husband’s side, than keep ruining the life of the one I love the most.’
Only when I arrived at the graveyard did I take a moment to catch my breath. My legs trembled underneath me, and although I longed to sit down for a moment or two, I pushed forward. Mum was my priority. My thoughtless outburst had forced her to contemplate suicide once again. I’d never forgive myself if anything happened to her.
Beside a distant grave, something moved. I advanced in that direction, my eyes fixed on the grave. “Mum?”
A figure darted behind the tombstone. Aware of a presence, it crawled to hide behind another tombstone. Undesirable thoughts crowded my mind. How could I have come to a graveyard all by myself at 3a.m in the morning? I’d heard stories of ghosts lurking around graveyards during the dark. And although I’d never believed in ghosts, I felt myself sinking into fear.
The figure sprang out of hiding. It lunched itself at me, its momentum sending us crashing into the ground. A scream fought to escape me, but I shoved it down my throat. I wouldn’t want to attract the wrong attention.
Clawed fingers swiped across my neck and chest. I kicked and scratched, but the furry beast had a firm hold on me. Screeching like a banshee, it sank its razor-sharp teeth into my hand.
“Get off me, you furry bastard!” I seized the creature’s limbs and shoved it off. It meowed, more like a growl. While I scrambled to my feet, the cat launched at me with a death screech. I swatted it away, sending it crashing into a tombstone.
“I have nothing to live for,” a voice said. Though a distance away, I could recognize that voice even in a dream. Mum.
“If you’re going to kill me, do it now, before you change your mind.” Her voice, my light in a dark tunnel, led me to her.
“Mum!” I screamed.
Mum turned to look at me. And so did the two men who threatened her with their presence.
“Vicky, no!” she cried. “Get out of here!”
The men exploded in savage laughter. The one nearest to her grabbed her arm and pulled her to himself. “Mother and daughter?”
My face wrinkled with disgust. How dare he touch my mum?
“I do not fear death,” mum said.
“Ah, but you’ll certainly fear the things we’ll do to your precious little daug—”
Mum spat on him, cutting him off. Grunting, the man raised his clenched fist at her.
I pulled out father’s gun and trained it on him. “Don’t you dare.”
Blood drained from his face at the sight of the gun. His raised hand froze in midair, and then he let out a deep, taunting laugh. “Do it. You can’t.”
Adrenaline surging through me, I bit down the urge to empty the gun in his skull. “Let her go.”
“Or what?” the second man taunted.
My hand squeezed the trigger. A bullet sailed through air and buried itself in his kneecap. He yelped in pain and hit the ground, cursing under his breath.
I redirected my aim to the first man. “Still want to find out what her precious little daughter can do if you don’t let her go?”
The man let go of mum and took a tentative step back. Even as mum walked over to meet me, my eyes didn’t stray off target. The man looked past me, at something behind me.
I felt a presence behind me. The warm fingers of my hero wrapped around the trembling hand with which I held the gun. Although we hadn’t spoken for a week since our breakup, I’d informed him just before leaving the house.
“I’ll take it from here, babe,” he said.
Still wondering what he was doing out of his house by this time of the day and how he knew we were here, he collected the gun from me and pointed at the second man.
The man who feared his end has come fell on his feet and pleaded with my hero to spare his life.
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