The tricked out V8 Hemi in her brother’s truck rumbled, deep and throaty. Shea guided the screaming scarlet extended cab pickup into the driveway of her family’s farm. She stopped just off the road, slid carefully out of the jacked truck using the foot board and cursed her pencil skirt. With a quick glance around to make sure no one could see in the gathering dusk, she hiked the skirt up high enough to expose her thigh-highs and hopped down to get the mail.
The huge, old mailbox looked like a cat with its tail sticking up, flagging her to come empty its belly. When the door—shaped like the cat’s lower jaw—fell off, Shea muttered, “Should’ve been replaced decades ago.” She knew why her father hadn’t removed it. He’d never gotten over her mother’s death, and the fool thing had been her favorite.
Shea didn’t have many memories of her mom. Vague impressions of a gentle contralto voice, the scent of her skin and the color of her hair, black and worn in long locks to her waist. She remembered the soft clicking of the beads and shells her mom had ended each twist with, and the colorful head wraps she’d worn to contain her hair when she was working.
Her hands trembled a bit as she reached out to empty the overflowing mailbox. She flipped through the bills, all marked over due, past due, pay immediately, until she got to the one she’d been expecting. Auction notice. She closed her eyes and tried to still the aching pain in her gut.
She opened the envelope and scanned the information quickly in the glare of the headlights. The auction date for the farm had been set for ten days from now. Unless she could make arrangements to refinance or pay the past due amount—neither of which she could—her farm would be sold to the highest bidder. She piled the mail in her arms, it overflowed but she managed to toss it all into the seat of the truck.
She glanced at the broken mailbox and a sad huff erupted. Couldn’t be called a laugh, not with that much despair in it, but the damned cat looked cuter with a broken jaw. Shea slid her skirt up her thighs again and climbed into her brother’s truck, careful of her high heels on the foot board. She started the engine with a well tuned roar and drove up the half mile long driveway to the farm house. Cautious, as always, of the pot holes filled with rainwater.
She collected her things, bag, groceries, the mail, and made her way to the door. Damned wood had swollen again with the rain but with a familiar shoulder shove and hip bump she got it open without dropping much. She piled her stuff on the hall table and set the keys down. Then Shea braced her hands on the edge of the table and hung her head. The house smelled of astringent and dust, but the echoing silence of the medical equipment weighed heavily in the darkened rooms. For so long the never ending hisses and beeps from the machines keeping her father alive and comfortable had been a background susurration. Now, everything was quiet.
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