Fiction Crime Horror

I can pack all of my belongings and my son’s in under thirty minutes. I attribute part of this to my military kid upbringing. My parents liked to live the minimalist lifestyle, they’d only put a few decorations up here and there. And while I hated seeing bare walls on each house or apartment we lived in; I definitely see the appeal now.

My son is homeschooled because it is easier to do that then explain to his teachers why we move so often. And before you ask, it’s not because of the military. Granted, my son is only in first grade, so I’m finding the material relatively easy to teach, but I’m sure in a few years it’ll get hairy.

My son, Carter, is always a good sport about leaving, He may not fully understand why at times, but he’s too young for me to tell the whole story and I don’t want to burden him with that right now. This has been the longest we’ve stayed in one place; it’s almost been eight months now. Which I’ve found is long enough for Carter to make friends and I loved and hated that at the same time. Not at the thought of him making friends, but the inevitable conversation I’m going to have to have with him when the time comes to leave. 

He took the last move a little hard, and frankly I did too. I moved us to the West Coast, a place I had always wanted to live since I was little but never got the chance to. I wanted Carter to breathe in the saltiness of the seawater, put his feet in the sand and build sandcastles. I wanted him to experience what it was like to just be a kid for once and put hopefully put down roots. And he got to do that but only for a measly four weeks. 

Now living in dreary Seattle, a place I never wanted to move because of its constant gloominess and downpouring rain, is the place we get to call home. Well at least until she finds us again, and I hope for Carter’s sake she won’t.

I supposed I should now tell you the story of why we are running. On the day that I turned 38 I realized how quickly my biological clock was ticking. I had two failed marriages at that point, and I was desperate to have my own child. I did a few rounds of IVF using a sperm donor and when I received countless negative pregnancy tests, my hope dwindled and so did my bank account. I felt hopeless until my sister volunteered to carry my child for me and be my surrogate. 

            I was surprised to say in the least, considering we had a rocky relationship over the years and rarely saw eye to eye. But when she offered to be my surrogate it was as though we had a clean slate. Though I’ll admit at times that I was jealous that she could be pregnant while I couldn’t. But I knew without her, I wouldn’t be having a child. I was just thankful she was doing this for me. 

Her labor was horrendous. She pushed and pushed for hours and wanted nothing more than a natural home birth. The home birth was one she planned for as soon as she found out she was pregnant, instead she was taken to the hospital for an emergency c-section. I held her hand the entire time throughout the ride in the ambulance and to the surgery. 

I felt as though I had taken a breath for the first time when I heard his cry. When he was set in my arms instead of hers, I watched her joyous expression turn to envy.

As she laid in the hospital bed, recovering, she stared at him in the bassinet before turning to me. “Can I name him?”

My eyes flickered towards her, her mouth agape as she gave me a sweet smile. “Name him?” I asked, still in awe.

“Yeah, I had a whole list of names while I was pregnant and now that I’ve seen him, I have the perfect name.” She paused, waiting for my reaction. I raised my eyebrow and she replied, “Elliot.” Excitement was written all over her face as soon as she said it. While I didn’t hate the name, I have always wanted to name my son, Carter. There were no words to explain how grateful I was that she did this for me, but I couldn’t just give up the name that I’ve been wanting to use for years.

“Carter Elliot Smith.” Her face dimmed when I said this.

“So, you won’t use Elliot as his first name?”

I shook my head, and she plastered on a fake smile, one that I thought was real at the time. “I love it.”

When I left to go to the bathroom, I thought I heard her call him Elliot. But I didn’t know if I was just being paranoid and hearing things, so I brushed it off. 

The first couple months were hard, way harder than I was expecting. He was colicky, barely sleeping and therefore neither did I. My sister was more than helpful and even started living in my guestroom to help with those late-night feeds and anything else I needed. It was perfect, until I woke up one morning and they were gone. It took me almost a week to find them and that was only because my mom managed to trap them at her house. My mom knew that she took him as her own when she called him Elliot. 

Now looking back at it, I wish I never would have taken her up on her offer. Not that I don’t love my son, but I don’t love having to move every time she discovers where we live. I hoped she would move on by now, but she’s reminded of Carter anytime she glances down at her c-section scar. 

I heard feet scuffle in the hallway, and my breath hitches every time I hear the sound of shoes close to our door. Not knowing whose they were, I walked over to the door and stood on my tiptoes. She’s standing right in front of the door. As if she knows I’m standing behind it, she smiles that sinister smile of hers and says, “You can’t run forever.”

January 31, 2024 21:39

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Sylph Fox
11:02 Feb 19, 2024

Hello Bri, You do have a talent of naming your story. I love the title! I run an audiobook podcast and am currently on the lookout for stories like yours for my upcoming season. I would be truly delighted to feature your work. If you're open to having your story narrated by me, I'd be grateful if you could reach out to me at SylphFoxSubmission@gmail.com. Feel free to take a listen to my podcast and share your thoughts. Apple Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/au/podcast/codename-sylph-fox/id1667146729?i=1000642489156 Spotify: https://op...


Bri Heron
15:42 Feb 24, 2024

Hi! Thank you! Yes, I would be interested, you have permission to use my story!


Sylph Fox
12:16 May 04, 2024

Hey Bri, Here are the links to your story : Apple Podcast : https://podcasts.apple.com/au/podcast/codename-sylph-fox/id1667146729?i=1000654514174 Spotify : https://open.spotify.com/episode/5aHLymCuEIpSdgoRInHf8g?si=4671a5baaebf412b Thank you once again for the great story. I enjoyed narrating it! :) Sylph


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Alexis Araneta
14:18 Feb 08, 2024

I love the tension building you did here. Great job!


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Xuan Liu
08:42 Feb 06, 2024

I like this story


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