Death in the family PART TWO
“I’m keeping her here,” Rebecca declared. “She’s not going anywhere with that husband of yours, she’s staying with me!” Gene watched in horror as her mother stood up and started to drag Tabitha up the stairs. She wrestled her daughter out of her mother’s arms and ran out of the door. The last thing Gene heard as she started the car was her mother scream “You will regret this Gene!”
The memory of the incident made Gene’s head throb as she dialed Roger’s number. It was eight in the evening, Tabitha was sure to be asleep then. Her husband answered the phone. When she explained everything to Roger, he let out a low whistle. “Is Tabitha asleep?” Gene asked.
“No, she’s here with me. I’ll put her on.” Roger said. Seconds after, Gene heard the familiar high pitched squeak of her daughter’s voice.
“Hi, mommy! Daddy said you went for dinner at Grandma’s house,” Tabitha said. Gene had told Roger not to tell Tabitha what happened. They decided to gently break the news to her together.
“Yeah, I’m still here baby. I’m having fun with grandma,” Gene could feel her voice cracking. “Listen Tabby, you love your Nana Becky, right?”
Tabitha was silent at the end of the line. She finally let out a quiet “She scares me, Mommy,” after a few seconds. Gene laughed at her daughter’s childish honesty. But her laughter quickly died down.
“I love you, baby, do what Daddy tells you and be a good girl, okay? Give the phone to daddy,” with the phone back to Roger, Gene finally confided in him her biggest fears. “Was my mother depressed, Roger? Maybe that argument last week was her way of trying to spend more time with us, maybe I didn’t see the signs…” Gene started. Maybe I could’ve stopped this, maybe this was my fault, Gene thought.
“Don’t blame yourself,” Roger said firmly over the phone. “I think you need to go home, get a good night’s sleep, and wait for me to come back tomorrow.” And with that, Gene put the phone down and went back to the living room, where the cop was waiting for her. He told her that her mother’s body was sent to the coroner’s and that they were treating the case as a suicide. The cop added that they were willing to escort her home as a precaution since she wasn’t in the most stable mental state. But Gene wasn’t listening, something clicked in her head, and she asked the cop to wait for a few minutes.
Gene climbed back up the stairs and went into her mother’s bedroom. It took her a few seconds to get her bearings straight; the figure of her mother hanging by her neck was still flashing in her eyes. She searched in her mother’s bookcases, among the crochet books in her desks until finally finding what she was looking for under a novel by the bedside table. She held the small notebook close to her chest and allowed the cop to drive her home.
At the back of the cop car, Gene opened her mother’s diary. She didn’t mean to violate her mother’s privacy, but she couldn’t shake away the feeling that her mother was clinically depressed. If she was feeling suicidal, she may have written about it in her diary, she thought as she thumbed through the pages. Entries written in hectic cursive caught her eye:
September 12, 20XX
My daughter and my granddaughter came over today. I offered her some crackers but she didn’t take any. Whenever she opens her mouth I hear sirens go off in my head, and the girl’s eyes turn red. She won’t come near me even though her mother tells her to. That spoiled brat is making me miserable.
September 15, 20XX
Today, I talked to the others about Tabitha. I told them how rotten she was. I remember, before that girl was born, my daughter didn’t fight with me or her husband. I think that child is the cause of all my daughter’s problems.
September 16, 20XX
Gene and her daughter came for lunch today. I made my special fruit juice especially for them, but that Tabitha choked on it and coughed the juice out. The little girl glared at me so angrily it was like the devil incarnate. I think my daughter is having marital problems. Why else does she keep visiting me? Now I know it’s because of Tabitha. I will consult with the others what to do.
September 18, 20XX
The others are getting restless. They are telling me to get rid of that evil child if I want my daughter to live in peace. I love Gene.
September 19, 20XX
My daughter is coming today, bringing that girl with her. The others told me that I need to get rid of Tabitha on the 26th. I need to do it on that day if I love my daughter. It has to be on the 26th, or else my daughter will suffer. I love Gene.
September 25, 20XX
I love Gene. I love my daughter. I love Gene. I love Gene. I love Gene. I could never hurt Gene. I love Gene. I love Gene. I love Gene.
“We’ve arrived,” the cop said from the driver’s seat. He frowned as he saw Gene’s expression in the rearview mirror. “Are you alright Mrs. Sullivan?”
“Ah, yes,” Gene hastily told him as she tucked her mother’s diary into her jacket. “I’m fine…” Gene silently, shakily, closed her mother’s diary. Instead of depression, it seemed like her mother showed a violent dislike for Tabitha. Was it a cult? Schizophrenia? She didn’t know; she was not a psychiatrist. As she fumbled in her pockets for her house keys she realized with horror: today is the 26th …she was going to kill Tabitha today…