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Friday, January 17, 2014
A Taste of Friday with Carole Brown and The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman
Carole Brown loves to weave
suspense, tough topics, a touch of romance and whimsy in her books. Together,
she and her husband enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the
simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?
The Redemption of Caralynne
Hayman Carole Brown The Lighthouse Publishing of the CarolinasSeptember 2013
The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman
Twenty years earlier
The shadow creatures on
the wall shook their wings and legs. Heads with horns nodded.Scary, dark faces watched.
The little girl clasped
her floppy-eared rabbit against her chest and stared into the dark.
“Mmm …” Mommy’s murmur
reached to her through the walls, and the giggles from her mother tiptoed in,
shooing away the fear.
Whoosh. She blew out a
breath and squeezed her rabbit tighter. “Mommy has a friend with her, Ramsey.
She loves me just like I love you and will give me hugs in the morning after
the man leaves.”
Ramsey said nothing. She
ran her fingers over his face and could feel his black button eyes staring at
her, trusting her to protect him.
“And she’ll read to us,
and I’ll sit on her lap and we’ll snuggle—all of us together.” She nodded and
tugged on Ramsey’s left ear.
She rolled over.
Real live whispers and
laughter floated into the room.
Opening her mouth in a
wide yawn, she patted Ramsey’s tummy and whispered again, “Don’t be afraid. I’m
“Please. That hurts.”
“Mommy?” The little girl
frowned but her eyes wouldn’t open. Just like when she and Mommy put cucumbers
slices on their eyes.
Rubbing at her eyes, the
little girl sat up. Mommy had never sounded like this before, and neither had
any of the men—the men who brought flowers and candy and money. What were they
doing? Maybe Mommy was angry at the man and had sent him away.
She slid her feet to the
floor and hesitated. Mommy didn’t like her to leave her room whenever any man
“Come on, Ramsey. We have
to go check on Mommy.” She tucked her rabbit under her arm then padded barefoot
to her door and edged it open. Mommy’s room was the next one, and a second
later she’d tiptoed to it and pressed an ear to the crack. Someone grunted and
whispered in an angry voice.
“Serves you right,
Horse? The little girl
frowned. That wasn’t Mommy’s name. Was the man calling Mommy a bad name? She
touched the door, and it swung open wider.
The man was on top of
mommy, leaning over, his hands wrapped around—her neck.
The big eye on his arm
glared at her, scaring her, making her want to run back to bed. But she had to
help Mommy. Tiptoeing closer—behind the man—she peeked around him at her
Mommy’s mouth was open as
if she was screaming, but she wasn’t. Mommy stared at the man, her eyes wide
and blank. Every once in a while he jerked her and said words Mommy always told
her not to say.
She whimpered. “Mommy?”
The man’s head turned,
his eyes scary and mean, and not at all like Mommy’s laughing ones. His lips
twisted into a snarl. “Who are you? Are you this—is she your mother?”
His hands released their
grip on Mommy’s neck. He crawled out of the bed, grabbed for a pair of pants,
and slid into them, turning his back to her. Then he straightened.
She backed away and
raised a fist to her mouth.
“Come here, girl.” His
voice had softened, but not his eyes.
She backed another two
steps and whispered. “Mommy?”
“Your mommy can’t talk
right now.” The man flipped a glance at the still figure in the bed. “You have
a pretty barrette in your hair. Come let me see.”
She lifted a hand to the
barrette. Mommy always let her wear it when she was with a man ’cause it was a
special treat for a special girl. “No.” She shook her head. “Go away. I don’t
The man growled and
sprang at her. Ramsey dropped to the floor as she sobbed and dodged the groping
hands. “I want my mommy.”
The man said a bad word
and stopped chasing her. “Come here and let’s talk about your mother.”
Her mother hadn’t moved,
hadn’t spoken. “Did you hurt her?”
“Of course not.”
“What’s wrong with her?”
“Your mother’s sick.”
“You hurt Mommy.”
Bad words spilled from
his mouth in a steady stream.
She wanted to clap both
hands over her ears. Mommy told her over and over she shouldn’t say those kinds
He folded his arms across
his chest, the big eye rippling on his arm, never blinking, only staring. “You
keep your mouth shut. Do you hear me?”
She closed her eyes and
opened them—fast. The eye still stared.
“If you talk, your mommy
will die. Do you want to kill her? Do you?” His lips spread into a clown’s
Her stomach hurt. Her
Go away, you.
All she wanted was to
climb on Mommy’s lap and have this bad man go away.
“Remember, it’ll be your
fault if she dies, and everyone will know you killed your mother.”
No. She didn’t want to
He eased forward, crept
closer, capturing her, holding her tight with his eyes. Like the snake that’d
almost bitten her last summer.