Marie went into her room in the children’s wing. It was cool and dark, perfect for sleeping. She went into her bathroom and pulled off her suit. She took a shower and washed her hair. The water felt good on her hot, sunburnt skin. She stood out of the protection of the umbrella, talking to the neighbor for at least an hour. But it was worth it. It was the first time in recent memory that she felt happy and excited. It was just for coffee, she reminded herself. But it was a start.
She got into her bed, completely relaxed and refreshed. She fell into a deep sleep. Suddenly, she was awakened, hearing a scuffle. Her first reaction was to run out of her room, but she was stopped by the voice of a man. She didn’t recognize the voice, but it was definitely a male. She tiptoed to her door and slowly and carefully turned the knob.
“Don’t hurt her!” Pam screamed!
When had she gotten home? Marie closed the door and locked it. She crept back to the bed and got her cell phone, keying in 9-1-1. She whispered into the phone that she thought there had been a break-in, that someone was hurting her aged mother. The dispatcher said they would send cars out right away. She hung up and went back to her door. She could hear Pam’s voice, low and pleading, and her mother whimpering. She didn’t know if she should go out to help them or stay locked in her room. What would make things better? Worse? She chose staying put. In less than five minutes, she heard the whoosh of cars out front and then a loud “Bang!”
Excerpt from Pam of Babylon by Suzanne Jenkins
The novel is included in At Odds with Destiny
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