Terror In The Afternoon

Theresa stirred the curried chicken for the umpteenth time. The basmati rice with turmeric and raisins stood off to the side getting cold. Curried chicken and yellow rice was Rosy’s favorite dish, “soul food”, as Rosy would call it. This was Rosy’s first weekend home after leaving for university. Theresa put the salad back in the fridge to keep it fresh. “Where are Rosy and Bill? They were supposed to have arrived two hours ago!” she thought to herself. This uneasy feeling in the pit of her stomach just would not let up.

She couldn’t sit still. She could feel her heart thudding in her ears. Her breathing was shallow and the smart watch on her arm said that her heart was beating at 105 beats per minute. The trembling in her hands seemed to extend through her stomach into her knees.

Theresa went upstairs to check that Rosy’s bedroom was just right. She fluffed the pillows and straightened the duvet cover again. She closed the window as she saw menacing dark gray clouds pack together from the east. She went back downstairs and made herself a cup of tea to see if that would settle her tummy. She called Bill’s cellphone. No answer. She called Rosy’s cellphone. Voicemail. She left another message. “Rosy honey, I’m really worried! Where are you and your Dad? You were supposed to be here two hours ago! Please call me!”

The doorbell rang. A vision of Bill’s mangled car flashed through her head. Theresa opened the door and stifled a sob that rocked through her body like a tectonic earthquake, breaking her apart from the inside out. “Are you Mrs. Theresa Mullens?” the police officer asked.

“No no no no no,” Theresa said covering her ears, sinking down into a shivering ball. She couldn’t bear to hear the words that would inevitably come next. “Mrs. Mullens, there has been an accident …”

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