"Be careful out there," your mom said as you grabbed your duffel bag and headed on a camping trip with friends. "You know that tonight is the anniversary, don't you?" You nodded, then shut the door behind you before getting in the car and taking off.
Nora wrestled her way into a blue pullover hooded sweatshirt, as her mother stood at the counter stirring a bowl of cookie dough with a wooden spoon. Pop music played from the boombox radio on the counter and cool evening breeze trickled its way into the room through the open kitchen window.
“It seems silly going camping this time of year.”
Nora rolled her eyes and zipped up her ragged duffel bag, “Its not that cold out.”
“it is with the rain.” Nora’s mother quipped and stopped stirring. She pulled a cookie sheet from the cabinet and set it on the counter. “Did you pack extra socks?”
“Yes.” Nora hefted the duffel up on her shoulder, “I’ll be home tomorrow afternoon. I promise.”
Her mother pulled a spoon from the drawer and scooped up some cookie dough. She plopped it on the cookie tray, “I just worry.” She got another spoonful of the dough, “I want you to be careful, tonight is the anniversary of…” she dropped the dough on the cookie sheet next to the other dough and shrugged, “well, you know.”
Nora pushed back the stray curls of brown hair that fell across her forehead and let out an exasperated sigh, “Seriously? You’re going to keep bringing that up like I don’t know? Like it isn’t common knowledge in this entire town?” She opened the back door, “I’ll be fine, mom, you worry way too much.” She shut the door and trounced down to her truck, tossing the duffel bag unceremoniously in the back. With her hand on the door handle, she paused, her green eyes flicking to the bushes on the side of the cement porch. That was where she had hidden, her shoulder screaming in pain, her clothes soaked crimson from the blood. Inside she had heard more shot gun blasts and she had curled into a fetal position, making herself as small as possible. She had no memory of the events that led up to her bleeding and cowering in the bushes.
A wave of guilt washed over her. She may not remember that fateful night, but her mother did. She let go of the handle and walked back to the house. Her gaze fell on the empty sleeve of her mother’s shirt and moved to the ugly scars that trailed from her mother’s forehead, over her now misshapen skull.
“Did you want help with the cookies, mom?”