The Book Kate Wrote for Beverly

Submitted into Contest #186 in response to: Write a story within a story within a story within a ...... view prompt

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Drama Fiction Mystery

Maggie couldn't breathe.

The longer she remained trapped inside this confined space the worse it became. Her heart beat louder than it ever had before and Maggie wasn't able to concentrate because it drowned out everything else.

There wasn't enough air.

Escape was everything.

Maggie rolled onto her back and positioned herself so that her legs were higher than her head. She used all her body weight to kick at the object that was currently keeping her prisoner.

One, Two, Three powerful blows to the black monster and then one enormous lunge that came from somewhere inside that was driven by pure adrenaline. Maggie screamed.

The next two kicks were delivered with enough force to loosen the screws to the latch. Maggie gave it everything she had, just one more time. When she attacked the latch a sixth time it propelled off the trunk and landed on the other side of the room.

Maggie shot straight out of the enclosed space like an animal being released from a trap. She tried to calm down. But the adrenaline was enough to cripple her. She took a couple of deep breaths but it only made her light headed. The space was dark and damp. She ran her sweaty palms down the legs of her jeans and tried to adjust her eyes to take in what little she could make out.

The fear remained with her but her escape from the trunk had brought on a sense of elation. Maggie began to walk forward and almost fell right down. The space was jam packed with debris. She used her hands to guide her from one object toward the next without loosing her balance.

***

Beverly closed the book and let out a deep sigh. She wanted to know what happened next but she was so utterly exhausted, she could barley keep her eyes open. She shut off the lamp and sank down under her comforter letting sleep carry her away.

Beverly had become their mother. It wasn't a role she thought she would excel at but she would love them like they were her own. Be careful what they overheard, look out for them and nurture them. They lost both their parents in less than a year. Losing one parent was difficult enough but to lose both? That had to be unbearable.

Emily was painfully shy. She hardly let anyone in but Beverly could see how bright she truly was. Peter was harder to read. He acted tough and told her he needed nobody but she had the feeling, he was the most in need of love. Teddy was the baby at three and an absolute wild child. He had more energy than two toddlers rolled into one.

A dark head of thick curls sat on top of his head with deep brown eyes to match. He was a beautiful boy. But that energy, that desire to race around until he fell down, it exhausted Beverly. She was approaching forty. Three young children that now relied on her for everything was a big responsibility. She loved them more than she ever thought she could love anyone. They were her sisters children but more than that they were family. It wasn't going to be easy. Hell, it would be harder than anything she ever imagined. She wasn't a quitter. Nor was she a complainer. Beverly was a smart, strong and capable woman.

***

Kate stared a the thermometer again. "No, this has to be wrong."

Peter tossed in his bed. Kate pulled the blankets up to Peters neck.

"Honey try and lay still. I'll be right back."

She raced out of her sons bedroom and into her own. She took her cell out of the charger and dialed her sister.

"Hello?"

"Beverly, I'm sorry I know its really late. Peter is burning up. I have to get him Tylenol. Can you come now please?'

Beverly yawns and wipes the sleep from her eyes.

"Calm down. I have to put something on..."

"Please! You have to come now! His temp is 103, I'm scared!"

Beverly could hear Kate quiver into the phone.

"I'm coming. I'm out of bed, wake up Emily so you can go. I'll be there in less than ten minutes."

Kate still holding her phone, runs into Emily's bedroom and shakes her awake.

"Sweetie, your brother is much worse. I have to bring his fever down. I need you to sit with him until I come back. Aunt Beverly is already on her way."

Emily still sleepy follows her mother into Peters room. Kate hands Emily a cloth she has soaked in rubbing alcohol.

"All you have to do is place it on his forehead. I won't be long. Please don't worry sweetie."

Kate grabbed her coat on her way out the door and jumped in her car then backed quickly out the driveway.

***

Beverly folded the second load of laundry while Teddy took his nap down the hall. She waited for the school bus to bring Emily and Peter home. It was unusually warm for September. Some called it Indian summer. Beverly just loved it. She looked at her wrist watch for the tenth time. They were late and she felt nervous. Did worry and love go hand in hand? Because everything now revolved around these three children. She exhaled deeply and tried to chase the negative thoughts away. A moment or two passed before the school bus came into view. Beverly began to calm down. The brakes halted the bus to a stop at the curb and the door squealed open. The children came bounding down the steps.

Together they made their way across the street and up the gravel driveway. Peter was first to enter the front hall. Emily was following close beside Beverly.

"Please keep the noise down. I need Teddy to finish his nap today."

Peter nods his head in her direction then disappears into the den. Emily joins her Aunt in the kitchen. The scent of cookies is the first thing Emily notices. She pulls out a chair and tosses her backpack beside it on the vinyl floor.

"Can I have some cookies?" Emily says as she stares at the wire rake full of chocolate chip cookies that sits on the counter.

Beverly smiles.

"Yes, you get the milk and I will get you a plate."

Emily brought the container of milk to the kitchen table. Beverly placed a plate with four cookies on it in front of her niece, then she poured milk into a paper cup.

"How was your day? Do you have any homework?"

Emily took a bite of the warm cookie and nodded her head,

"I'm here if you need help or you want to share anything."

"I still miss them."

"And that's ok. I miss them too. Your Mom was an amazing person. She loved you kids. More than she loved anything. Don't ever forget that Emily."

'I know. and I'm trying to be happy but its kind of hard. I like it here."

"Good, I'm glad. I know what its like. How hard it is on you. My Mom died when I was fourteen. I felt just like I died with her. But I had people that loved me and I had your Mom, it helps to have family."

"I want my Mom back. I miss her voice..."

Emily cries and Beverly pulls her close.

"I'm here sweetie. Let it out. Let it all out."

***

The roads were coated with black ice. Kate had to use caution and navigate her car from one treacherous road to the next. Kate pulled into the parking lot of a open drug store. She wanted to run to the door but the icy conditions made that impossible. Inside the store she flew to the cold aisle. Kate frantically looked for children's Tylenol. Once she saw the box she grabbed it and rushed towards the front counter.

Back inside her car, Kate made her way out of the parking lot. It was beginning to snow. She turned on the wipers and cursed the weather. All she had to do was get home to Peter. Kate waited at the next intersection for the light to turn green. Soon as the light changed, Kate took her foot off the brake and slowly began to make a left turn. The truck came out of no where and its high beams blinded her. She panicked and applied her foot to the brake. The car continue to slid on the ice. The truck slammed into her car and pushed her off the highway and into an embankment.

***

Maggie had managed to climb a narrow staircase in the pitch black. She was trying to pick the lock on the basement door with the back of one of her earrings. It was near impossible but she needed to try. The sound of footsteps over head made her heart leap up into her throat. Maggie yanked the backing out of the door lock then held her breath.

***

Beverly let out a yawn. Tonight she would not be able to finish reading again. She was about to stand up from the sofa but decided to read the dedication once more. She returned to the front of the novel.

To my sister Beverly

You are my biggest cheerleader and by far my favorite fan.

You always say how grateful you are to be my sister

But I'm the lucky one

I love you and respect you and admire you

This book was made possible because you believed in me

February 24, 2023 15:13

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6 comments

Natalie Laharnar
11:34 Mar 19, 2024

Great execution of the prompt. Liked the twist at the end!

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MJ Simons
20:52 Mar 13, 2023

Great use of descriptions and dialogue. This was a sweet story but a little tricky to understand. The first transition made sense; Beverley was reading a book. The stories between Kate and Beverley confused me. Ultimately, we see that Kate is grateful for Beverley believing in her to finish a book. Still, I didn't get that from the story. You did a good job putting the story into a story, but it took some work to follow.

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Joyce Schook
15:30 Jun 27, 2023

Thank you so much MJ for your kind words and taking the time to read and comment. I'm sorry if any of it confused you. I thought for sure the book within the book plus Kate and Beverly's relationship would come shining through, and there wouldn't need much explaining. I always wanted to write a book or story within a story however it can quite tricky to pull off. Thank you again.

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Juan M.
08:31 Mar 02, 2023

The story begins by grabbing the reader by the throat without giving them alternatives. Bravo! I liked the combination of the two stories, and also the final twist. I wonder whether that twist doesn't need some foreshadowing not to appear "out of nowhere." I also wonder if these phrases (More than she loved anything. / I felt just like I died with her.) aren't slightly cliché. It caught my attention: "They were her sister's children, but more than that, they were family." I would have expected the order of priorities to be the other ...

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Joyce Schook
18:14 Mar 02, 2023

First I want to say thank you for reading my story and taking the time to comment as well. I wanted to pull the reader right in and I feel proud I was able to. I always wanted Kate to be the main focus of the story, yet Beverly is just as important. I originally planned to have Maggie be the author but decided to change it to Kate later on. It is based on my close relationship with my own sister even thoughshe is very much alive and well.

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Juan M.
09:55 Mar 03, 2023

You're most welcome. Feel free to comment on my story. I have only one posted here (you can find it through my profile) and would love to get feedback.

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