Since the second World Unknown Review releases in another week, I figured I could tease everyone with the beginning of my story that will be included in it. Here’s the first scene of Into the Sun:
I shoved the last bundle of clothes into the saddlebag before closing the flap. She stood there in the doorway, and I couldn’t bring myself to meet her eyes.
“Trace,” she called out to me, “you don’t have to do this.”
She knew I did.
My head jerked up at that one, finally looking at her. Another day, the anxiety in her eyes, the fading bruise on her cheek, the way she hung back would have made me want to comfort her. “Don’t call him that. Don’t you ever dare call him that again, Mom.”
“He raised you,” she insisted, her gaze darting out into the yard before coming back to me.
“He humiliated me,” I said. “He hit me.” He’d done all of that, once again, the night before. I couldn’t take any more of it.
“He took care of you.” I heard a certain desperation in her voice.
“He did his best to destroy me and you too. That man is not my father.”
“How do you know yours is any better?”
There it was, the truth she never wanted to talk about. The truth I learned at fifteen that caused my stepfather’s treatment to only get harsher.
“He couldn’t be much worse.”
“You can’t say that when you don’t know him.”
“Whose fault is that, Mom?”
“You don’t understand,” she said, wrapping her arms around herself. “He scared me.”
“And he doesn’t?” I gestured out toward the road where my stepfather should be coming from soon. I reached for the helmet sitting on the back of my bike but only held onto it for a moment. “You don’t have to stay either, Mom.”
It didn’t surprise me when she didn’t respond. Instead she said, “If your father’d had wings, he would have flown right into the sun. Where would that have left us?”
“Maybe with a man who could actually love us,” I shouted. “I obviously won’t change your mind. I’m outta here.”
I pulled the helmet down over my head and started to strap it on when she walked over to me. “Trace, wait.”
“Why should I?”
Her lip trembled, and I regretted my harsh words. I couldn’t change her mind, but she wouldn’t change mine either. She stepped up to me, resting her hands on my shoulders. This wasn’t an easy task for her, as my shoulders were nearly at her eye level.
“Don’t fly too high,” she told me. “I don’t want to see you burnt. I did what I thought best. I’m sorry you didn’t see it the same way.”
“I don’t see how this could be best, Mom. He hurt you, too. You know I have room on the back of the bike.” I tried again. “You can come with me.”
She only hesitated a moment then shook her head. “I told you I’m never getting on one of those things again.”
Again? I couldn’t ever remember my mother even talking about riding a motorcycle. My stepfather certainly didn’t approve of them. “You’d rather stay here with him than trust me to take you on the bike? I’d keep you safe, Mom.”
“He’s my husband, Trace. I have to stay.”
There was no more point arguing once she started on the ‘he’s my husband’ path. So, I turned away.
After straddling the bike, I turned back to her and reached for the visor on the front of my helmet. “I’ll call you when I can, Mom.”
She gave me a short nod, her arms wrapped tightly around her body. “Just take care of my son,” she said.
I flipped the visor down, twisted the throttle, and I was gone.