Stop! This is the twenty-fifth episode!
Looking for the beginning of Kay’s Story?
The day went by quickly and before long, it was almost closing time.
Humming softly to herself and balancing Destiny on her hip, Kay carried an armload of boxes out the back of the store. The sunset was a glorious display of red and orange, bathing the rooftops in the colors of fire.
She dropped the boxes by the loading dock and stood, stretching her back with a tired but contented yawn. As she stepped back, she was suddenly stopped by the strangest sense of déjà vu.
I could have sworn I heard something in that dumpster. Ever so slowly, she lifted the huge lid. There, wild-eyed and cowering among the garbage was Belinda! Before Kay could react, the woman pounced up and grasped at Destiny’s chubby little arm.
“Give me the baby! Quick! Before they see! They’re watching, watching, always watching! …must hide, have to hide…” Belinda’s voice was frantic and her whole body was rocking back and forth.
Pure panic and fierce maternal protectiveness joined forces. “Let. Go. Of. My. Daughter!” Kay ground out the words between gritted teeth. Without stopping to think, she yanked away the woman’s gripping fingers and whirled the now screaming infant out of reach.
“Help me! Somebody help!” Kay screamed as loud as she could, clutching Destiny close and scrambling back towards the store.
Her boss, Brian, appeared in the doorway, pale and out of breath. “Kay! What the-?” His gaze took in the scene, uncertainly darting from the shaking mother and baby to the ghoulish apparition rising from the trash.
“No-no-no-no! Don’t let them take me! Don’t let them take the baby! Hide! Hide! Hide!” Belinda let out a final shriek and without warning, her eyes rolled back in her head and she crumpled out of sight.
Brian cleared his throat and spoke slowly, as if his voice could imbue some sort of calm into the chaos. “Kay, I need you to walk into my office slowly and quietly, okay? Then, I want to you sit down and take a few deep breaths.” As he spoke, he pulled out his cell phone and dialed 9-1-1. “Don’t worry about the customers. Just take a minute. Is the little one okay?”
Kay nodded her head vigorously and with wobbly legs, she followed his instructions.
In the safety of the office, she inspected Destiny’s arm. Angry red finger marks were plainly visible on her tender skin. With a sob of her own, Kay gently pressed her lips against the crying baby’s forehead and murmured to her softly. “Oh, sweet girl, Mama’s so sorry. Hush, brave princess. You’re okay. It’s okay now.”
To be continued…
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