Copyright 2011 © Rebecca Garner. All Rights Reserved.

Written for the September '11 WCC (link for voting in my profile), so if you want check it out. Here is the prompt: flickr .com/photos/avikbangalee/3310403007/ (just remove the space after flickr)

All reviews of substance will be returned ASAP, and if a few days go by pls send me a reminder PM :)

I left the ending a little more open so that if i feel like writing more of it later, i can. Thanks for reading, in advance!

Becca

He almost felt sorry for her, but alas, almost was the operative word. There was that girl, no more than thirteen years old, standing over the bodies of her parents. After taking a long drag of his cigarette, Tristan watched the young girl's reaction carefully through the window. It was a shame such a pretty girl would be forced to take the rap for his part of the business deal.

"C'est la vie , darling. Deal with it or end up like your dear Mummy and Daddy." He took one final puff on his cigarette, and threw it on the ground to stomp it out...

xXx

Sylvia'd run to her parent's aid, soaking her white tank top and jean shorts in their blood as dark as wine. She drew her father into her arms, weeping in a mixture of rage and grief. A knife's blade glinted in light as Sylvia rocked back and forth with her dad dying in her arms. Tears rolled down her cheeks swiftly and fell onto his elderly face contorted in pain.

"Daddy, please don't go! Don't leave me all alone." she sobbed.

He tried his best to say something, yet the effort to form words with his severely trembling mouth was more than he could handle. His final breath released, the stab wound in his chest killed him. It was too late to save him. She'd been too late to save him.

Sylvia's eyes sprang open, finally dragging her from the depths of her subconscious, which seemed to enjoy torturing her with this nightmare nearly every night. It was her memory of the night her parents died three years prior... and the nightmare hadn't shown any mercy by ever hiding for even a week. Four days was the longest she'd gone without being plagued by the guilt. It was all her fault... she'd run to her Daddy, left her mother lying there watching in her final hour of life as her only child chose her divorced husband over her. Her mother was only there to pick her up for the weekend, trying to redeem the hurt she'd instilled in her once perfect family. Now she and Daddy were dead, and it was all Sylvia's fault.

The dream had begun to appear more and more frequently with every passing night for a week. Each time she was forced to relive the memory, the more time elapsed in the dream world. She knew why this was, though. This morning was the day she planned to return to the sight of her parent's double-homicide; her childhood home. It had been three years living with her best friend/ boyfriend, Anthony, and he'd helped her cope with the pain, the guilt, the sorrow and the nightmares when everyone else deserted her. He was her rock. Yet somehow it didn't seem enough. She needed closure about what happened, and seeing as the investigation into her parent's death had gone stone cold and it seemed they would never catch the psychotic, homicidal bastard responsible, so this seemed to be her only available course of action.

Tony walked into the room, ready to drive me the hour ride back to her hometown.

"Babe are you sure you're ready for this? Its a huge step, and if you think it'd be better to just skip the return to home, we can go out for drinks instead with my brother?" Tony's brother was a classic Italian snob, but he bought them beer so she found it easy to tolerate him.

"Yeah, I—I'm sure. It may be...difficult, but I, I need this Tony."

He heard the anguish in her voice and pulled her into a tight embrace. "I love you, Syl." He whispered into her hair as he kissed it. "More than anything in the world. I hope you know that, sweetheart. You do know that don't you?"

"I know." She held him tighter to her and nuzzled her head against his shoulder. Slowly, tears began to form in her eyes, and soon enough she was quietly sobbing into his shirt. He moaned soft assurances into her hair and he pet it gently.

Tony was two years older than her, and already had his own car and license, so he could drive her to both their hometowns. They'd gone to the same middle school for, like, ever. Through years of sharing classes and being best friends, he'd finally taken the step up to ask for more than just friendship from her. And now that he had it, he never wanted to let her go. He clutched her all the tighter to his chest.

Afraid Tony was trying to go farther than she was ready for as he tightened their embrace, Sylvia pulled away from him slightly, kissed him chastely on the lips and turned away to wipe her tears away.

When she was assured the sexual tension between them had abated enough, she turned back to face his deep hazel eyes, light brown hair, and lightly tanned skin with stubble scattered across his jaw bone. But his eyes weren't judging, or desire filled. They were more like love-sick and worried.

"Did you have the nightmare again?"

"Do you even have to ask?"

He looked so sexy as he watched her remorsefully. There was nothing he could do anymore for her, he'd done everything he could possibly think of. But Tony didn't mind the "maintenance" his girlfriend required, as his brother might say; he loved seeing her face light up whenever he did something boyfriend-y. She'd had so much pain and horror in her life, Syl deserved a little happiness. Unfortunately however, this day promised nothing but hurtful memories for her. Tony'd been very reluctant to agree to Sylvia's request to go back to her home, but he couldn't deny her anything.

Xxx

An hour and a half later the couple pulled into the drive way of Sylvia's childhood home and the site of her parent's double-homicide. As she stepped through the front door, memories flooded her mind's eye. She remembered when Daddy taught her how to ride her bike, she'd fallen and scraped her knee. He'd carried her into the house and to the kitchen to wash it off. He'd sung her the lullaby that lulled,

"Hush, little baby, don't say a word.
Papa's gonna buy you a mockingbird

And if that mockingbird won't sing,
Papa's gonna buy you a diamond ring

And if that diamond ring turns brass,
Papa's gonna buy you a looking glass

And if that looking glass gets broke,
Papa's gonna buy you a billy goat

And if that billy goat won't pull,
Papa's gonna buy you a cart and bull

And if that cart and bull fall down,
You'll still be the sweetest little baby in town"

A tear rolled down her cheek as she remembered every soothing pitch of his voice. It rolled through her mind, making her feel as though she was three again and he was singing to her right then.

She remembered movie night in the living room. Every Friday night, the family of three would sit down to watch the newest G rated movie. Until, she recalled, they had that one substantial argument and suddenly her mother was moving out and into an apartment with a special friend of the male persuasion. A divorce soon followed. The last memory that flowed forward was of the night they died, knife wounds covering their torsos. She'd been out with Tony, gotten home to see a hooded figure running from the house as she ran to her parents.

Would she the nightmares ever cease torturing her? Would she ever forgive herself for her role in their deaths? Would she ever be able to give herself to Tony in the way she knew he wished she would? But even over all of these questions swarming her mind, one question posed itself as the most important. Would the law ever catch up with the bastard who'd killed them. It was the only question she had even half an answer to. She may not know if the law would ever catch up with him, but Sylvia sure as hell would. Her hands would be stained with blood for the last time.