It Ends HereWillow Rose
Important message from the Author to Kindle Unlimited readers
About the Author
Books by the Author
What hurts the most
1. September 2015
2. September 2015
3. September 2015
4. September 2015
5. September 2015
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Copyright Willow Rose 2019
Published by BUOY MEDIA LLC
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission from the author.
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of characters to actual persons, living or dead is purely coincidental. The Author holds exclusive rights to this work. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited.
Cover design by Juan Villar Padron,
Special thanks to my editor Janell Parque
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Important message from the Author to Kindle Unlimited readers
Before you begin…Are you reading this book in Page Flip mode? If you do, I won't be paid. The way things are right now in Kindle Unlimited, Amazon pays the author per pages read, so every time you flip a page, I will get a small amount of money. But not if the Page Flip mode is turned on.
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It wasn't easy to tell whether the boy was dead or not. He was lying motionless on the wooden planks, his arms stretched out to the sides, and had someone entered the abandoned house on Second Street, they might have thought he was just sleeping, or maybe it was part of some game he was playing. There was no blood to indicate he had hurt himself or that someone had hurt him. There were no bruises and no wounds to indicate a crime had been committed or an accident had happened.
Outside, a thunderstorm approached, and lightning struck not far from the house, while buckets of water soon splashed on the boarded-up windows. Meanwhile, inside, there was a calmness unlike anywhere else in the world. There was just the boy, lying lifeless on the dusty floor that his mother would have told him—had she only been with him—was too dirty to be playing around on.
But his momma wasn't there. In fact, no one knew the boy was lying there, not breathing, arms spread out like Jesus on the cross.
No one would find him till many hours later.
"Alexander? Alex? Where are you, son?"
Mrs. Cunningham walked out of the store and looked in the parking lot. Dark clouds were gathering in the distance, and she knew she didn't have long before the thunderstorm would hit them. A crack of thunder could already be heard in the distance, and the sky rumbled above her like an empty stomach. Her worried eyes scanned the area while she wondered where the boy could be. She had told him to wait in the car while she went to grab something at Webster Hardware and Farm Supply, and when she came out, the door to the car was open, but the boy wasn't there.
Could he have gotten out of the car? Was he playing somewhere nearby?
Mrs. Cunningham walked around the car, then looked in the direction of the store across the street, called El Curiosities. Outside on display, they had the strangest water fountains and odd figures for your yard, including a colorful humanized rooster and a cow made of metal. Alexander had been asking to go into that store ever since he heard that they had a real knight’s armor in there. But he would have to cross the street to get to it. He wouldn't have done that, would he? He was only five. He knew he wasn't allowed to cross any streets.
She turned around and walked away, then looked at her watch. She had a charity event tonight and had to get home to get herself ready. Why did something like this always happen when you were in a rush?
She scanned the area around the supply store once again, looking for any movement or a red shirt poking out somewhere in the bushes behind it, but she couldn't see any. Then she sighed and decided he'd have to have gone to the store all by himself. The temptation might have been a little too big.
Mrs. Cunningham grumbled, then shut the car door and walked up to Market Boulevard, the main street going through town. Right before she crossed the street, she turned her head for a brief second and glanced toward NW Second Street behind the supply store, where she could see that awful abandoned house towering behind the trees, the one that no one dared to approach. Not just because of what had happened in there once, but also because they feared the roof might fall on someone's head one day. Why they hadn't torn the house down long ago was a mystery to most people.
"Alex?" she called as she approached the small store across the street. She approached the big figurines, then wondered who woul
d possibly want a metal statue of a Mexican man playing guitar in their front yard. The fountains, at least some of them, she could understand, but those figures, it made no sense that anyone would buy them, except children.
Mrs. Cunningham scanned the front of the store, then called his name again, but received no answer.
A mother and her child were looking at the huge rooster.
"Have you seen a little boy? About this tall, wearing a red shirt?" Mrs. Cunningham asked, her voice quivering slightly.
The mother shook her head. "It's just us out here. Have you tried inside?"
Mrs. Cunningham shook her head, then stepped inside the store. There were rows and rows of useless junk everywhere, and she sighed as she walked down an aisle, then yelled her son's name again and again. At the end of the aisle, as she leaned against the wall, she found the armor, but there was no Alex there either. A salesperson in a green polo shirt, wearing a nametag reading Stu, walked by and she stopped him.
"Have you seen a little boy, five years old, wearing a red shirt? He might have come in here and looked at the armor. He loves anything about knights. You know how they are…boys at that age. If anything catches their interest, they'll stop at nothing to find it, not caring at all about rules and worried mothers."
The man shook his head. "No, ma'am. I haven't seen any children at all today, except for the little girl outside with her mother."
"Oh. Okay, thanks."
Disappointed, Mrs. Cunningham walked back through the store, then took it aisle by aisle once more just to be sure. When Alex wasn't there, she rushed back outside, where her eyes met that of the mother who had now moved on to look at a big reindeer with her daughter.
"Still haven't found him?" the mother asked while her daughter giggled and touched the deer statue, petting it like it was a real animal.
"No. But if you do see him, tell him his mom is looking for him. I'll be right across the street in the parking lot in front of the supply store, where he was last seen. So, you can just call for me if you do see him, please."
"Of course. I will do my best to help," the mother said and sent her a sympathetic smile that in one way told her that she felt for her, but at the same time said This would never happen to me. I always know where my child is.
Mrs. Cunningham's eyes swept the area in front of the store once again before she crossed the road to get back to the car and see if Alexander had made it back yet. If he had, he was sure in for a scolding for leaving the car like that when his mother had told him to wait.
Maybe he went into the supply store to look for me, and I missed him somehow. Yes, that's it, she thought to herself. He got bored in the car and wanted to know how much longer he had to wait.
Happy that it was—of course—just a silly misunderstanding, Mrs. Cunningham went back into the store, and her eyes met the clerk's as she stepped through the door.
"Mrs. Cunningham, you're back already? Did you forget something?"
"Yes," she said, feeling silly for freaking out. "I seem to have forgotten my son. Is he here?"
Mrs. Cunningham locked eyes with the clerk for a few seconds, and she could tell he was searching for words. Her heart dropped when he shook his head.
"I am sorry, Mrs. Cunningham. I haven't seen him. Was he supposed to be in here? I didn't see him come in."
The blood left Mrs. Cunningham's face, and she rushed outside, now yelling her son's name in what could be mistaken for a scream, while panic settled in. She ran around the warehouse building housing the supply store, then back to the parking lot and looked down First Street, then back up at Market Boulevard. She ran up to the road and walked further down, yelling his name, then hurried back to the parking lot to see if he might have returned while she was gone, hoping and muttering little prayers under her breath.
Frantically, she grabbed her phone from her purse and called her husband.
"I lost Alex," she said, barely getting the words across her lips. "What do you mean, what do I mean? I can't find him. He was in the car when I went into the supply store, and when I came back out, he was gone. What do you mean, am I sure? Do I not sound like I’m sure? Yes, I’ve searched everywhere. I’m telling you; he's not here. I’m scared. Where can he be?"
"I don't know how you’ll deal with it all alone," I said, holding the phone between my shoulder and ear. I reached a red light and stopped. "But you'll have to. There’s no other way; I’m afraid."
"I can't believe you," Sune said, almost hissing at me. I hardly recognized him anymore. The way he spoke to me lately was so far from the way he used to adore me and everything I did. It was hard to tell that he had once loved me and I him. We had loved each other enough to have a child together. We had created a family, and now he had destroyed everything.
He was the one who had an affair with his nurse while in recovery from being shot. Once I found that out, I was done with him. I told him so numerous times when he asked me to forgive him and let him come back. It wasn't going to happen, I had said over and over. Now, Sune was with Kim, staying at her place and she had become a part of our lives. I didn't like her much—no that would be too mildly put—I loathed her. I couldn't even stand the thought of her. Yet I'd have to live with the fact that she was in my life, and—even worse—in my children's lives.
Sune had moved in with her in her condo not far from our house. I had stayed in the rented beach house and hoped I could afford to stay there until we figured everything out. But it required me making a lot of money, and that meant I had to work.
"Listen, I know you’re busy with getting back to working again and spending time with your new girlfriend and all that, but you have to take your turn here. I’ve been taking care of all three kids for the past week, and now I’m asking for you to take them for three days. I know Julie is not your child, and therefore not your responsibility, but I also take care of Tobias when you need me to. We promised each other that we wouldn't separate the children, remember?"
"Of course, I do," Sune said, sounding less agitated. "I just don't think it's fair, Rebekka. You spring this on me the day before you leave and I’m just supposed to throw everything else I have in my hands and do as you tell me? What if I had a photo job?"
"Well, do you? Do you have a job?" I asked.
"No, not yet, but hopefully, I’ll get some soon. I’m trying to get back to my life here, and that means I need to be available. Now, I won't be for the next three days."
I tried to control my anger. I could understand it if Sune actually had a job he needed to get to, but he didn't. I did, on the other hand. Why couldn't he just do this for me without complaining?
"I didn't get this assignment till yesterday," I said. "I know it’s last minute, but I need to work; I need to eat too, Sune, and so do the kids. So, I have to take the jobs I can get. You're the one who wants us all to stay here in Florida so you can be with your precious nurse Kim. I don't mind it here; I actually love it here with the weather being so nice all the time and all, but when I discovered you with her, I asked for us all to go home. You didn't want that."
"I also asked you to forgive me and take me back," Sune said. "You wouldn't do that for me."
"No, I wouldn't because I can't trust you anymore and, frankly, I don't want to. But then when I asked if it wouldn't be for the best if we all went home, you said no. You wanted to stay so you could be with her. I agreed to stay, so William wouldn't lose his father, and the kids would still be able to be together, but that means I have to work as a freelancer and take whatever assignments I can get."
I paused to breathe when the light shifted, and I continued over the bridge onto the mainland.
"Don't you for one second think I like having to go do a promotional interview with some author about her next book, when I could be at home covering real stories for a real paper," I continued. "I could be writing about things that actually matter. Plus, I could be with my dad, who isn't doing too well. I’m doing all
this for you, Sune. For you and the kids. So, you better help me out when I need it, okay?"
Sune was still silent and, for a second, I wondered if he had hung up. I heard him chuckle and rolled my eyes.
"You're with her, aren't you?" I asked. "You're not even listening to what I’m saying."
"So what if I am? Am I not allowed to hang out with my girlfriend?" he said, suddenly sounding like he was fifteen. Sune was the only man I knew who seemed to be maturing backward, getting more and more childish by the minute. It was ridiculous the way he acted these days, and I was sick of it, to be honest.