“What the fuck do you want from me?!” Carly shrieked, her heart pounding harder and faster with every passing moment.
She could hear the ruffling of crunchy leaves being stomped upon behind her.
She knew she wasn’t alone, so Carly kept frantically running, looking behind her every so often, certain she would see someone… something. All she ever saw were a million trees, dying leaves, little gray sky, and no path—complete chaos disguised as nature. Carly ran faster, harder until she tripped over a big brown box. She stood up and took a step toward the box when her feet slipped from under her. Instantly her world went black save for a bit of white light coming from somewhere…
She looked up and realized she was underground, that the white light was from the sky above her. She fell into a hole in the ground and tried climbing out, slamming her feet into the black dirt around her and clawing in the blackness.
Every bit of her ached.
She just wanted to go back to the way things were when she and Troy were arguing over whether or not to move and start over. She wanted a change. She was desperate for a change, but this was not what she had in mind. She envisioned a small home on the outskirts of the city—close enough to the fabulous restaurants and shopping but far enough for some peace. She didn’t want to be near too many families anymore—that was her only requirement. Troy couldn’t wrap his head around this, insisting they would have a child one day.
“What if I never get pregnant again?”
“It’s only been a couple days,” Troy answered. “It will happen again. You’re gonna be a mom soon.”
“You don’t know that. Nobody does. I can’t go through that again!” Carly started sobbing and soon she hugged her knees into her chest. “I can’t do it again.”
Troy moved closer to her on the couch and put his arm around her but nothing could comfort her. Nothing but sleep or her baby that was sucked out of her the week before.
The next several weeks Carly spent all her energy into looking for a new place to live. The city apartment overlooking the city park where kids romped and gleefully played just wasn’t good for her anymore. She had to get away from it before it drove her crazy.
With a few places lined up to look at, Carly took a day off work to get out of the city. She knew Troy wasn’t interested in moving so she went without even telling him, knowing he’d be too busy with new clients to check in with her at work anyway.
When she got to the first place, she smiled when her eyes landed upon an A-frame nestled on a cul-de-sac. Kid friendly neighborhood, but no park too nearby to remind her of her loss on a daily basis. She walked in the home and felt at ease. The windows were large and inviting. The sweet scent of vanilla filled her nose. When she turned the corner of the foyer, panic started to rise from within as her eyes met a brown box sitting on small table against a beige wall connecting the living room and dining room.
The box looked like the one in her dreams.
Upon further investigation, she discovered it was an old record player, and her spirit lifted a little: Oh how she loved listening to those old 45s when she was a kid.
She tried looking around the record player at the rest of the small home, but her attention kept washing over the record player.
“Would you like to see the back?” the realtor asked.
Carly smiled, nodding.
He opened the back door leading to a small wooden deck and three steps down into a lush back yard fenced by an abundance of trees.
Mommy, a small voice whispered.
“Excuse me?” Carly said turning to the realtor who looked at her, raising his eyebrows.
“I didn’t say anything, but what do you think? Pretty nice, huh?” he said looking at the open yard and woods off in the distance.
“It is,” Carly replied, feeling as if she was being watched from the woods. “There’s nothing but trees back there?”
“Nope, not for like half a mile or so,” the realtor answered while looking at his phone. “I have to take this, please excuse me for a minute.”
The realtor stepped inside the house and Carly was sure she heard it again: Mommy.
She looked around and there was nobody. She looked into the house and saw and heard the realtor on the phone.
Carly took three steps down from the deck and looked more closely into the trees.
“Is someone there?” she called toward the trees before looking back at the realtor still talking on the phone in the kitchen.
Carly slowly walked toward the woods, leaves crunching with every step. Just before reaching the woods, her feet slipped under and everything immediately went black save for a dim white light coming from somewhere…