Today, we learn the fate of Claire and her family, introduced to you in Monday’s Micro-Fiction Monday…
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Part Three of Three
By: Rachel Carrera
Three weeks later, the Keene house was abuzz about Van’s upcoming business trip to Elmhurst. Billy grinned. “Dad, will you bring us back a present?”
Susie hugged Van’s neck. “Daddy, be sure to send us some picture postcards. I’ve got some three cent stamps you can take with you.”
Van stood and straightened his tie. “Of course I’ll send you postcards and bring you gifts, kids. And what would your mother like me to bring home?”
Tears shimmered in Claire’s red rimmed eyes. “I’d like you not to go, Van. Please change your plans.”
He rolled his eyes. “Kids, it’s time for bed. I’ll see you in the morning at breakfast before I leave. Goodnight.” After the kids went upstairs, he gently grabbed his wife’s shoulders. “Claire, we’ve been all through this before. I have to go. It’s for work. Nothing’s going to happen to me. Now, would you please calm down?”
Her body quaked. “I can’t! Van, I’ve had the same dream all week long. You can’t go! If you do, you could be—” Tears spilled down her cheeks as she buried her face in his chest.
He sighed and patted her back. “Hon, I don’t know why all of a sudden lately you think you’re some sort of soothsayer, but I couldn’t get out of it if I wanted to. The Smithfield account depends on me making this trip, and Mr. Watley left it in my hands. If I can secure this account, I could get a promotion, then we’ll be set. Besides, don’t you see I have to go now to show you that there’s nothing to those dreams of yours?”
She buried her face in her hands and gritted her teeth as she put her back to him. “You can’t. You just can’t…”
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The following morning, Claire’s eyes were bloodshot as she spooned up four bowls of oatmeal. A loud crack of thunder made her gasp and jump just as Van and the kids entered the kitchen.
Van peeked out the window. “Wow. That’s gonna be some gully washer. I hope when I get on the road, I can outrun this storm, and it doesn’t rain all the way to Elmhurst.”
Billy stuffed a bag of marbles in his pocket and flopped in his seat. “How long is it to Elmhurst, Dad?”
“Six hours. Don’t worry; I’ll call when I get checked into the hotel.”
Susie smiled a faraway smile. “Imagine, a luxury hotel. You’ll probably have room service, and valets, and everything! Daddy, that’s just so… dreamy!”
Van chuckled and eyed Claire who was looking down. He frowned. “Aww, come on, Hon, lighten up. I’ll be home in four days.”
She silently shook her head and stirred her oatmeal. “Never mind me. Just do what you have to.”
He exhaled loudly. “Kids, go get your teeth brushed and gather your books. I’ll drop you off at school on my way.” As they made their way upstairs, he held Claire’s hand and tucked her chin to face him. “Honey, please, don’t make this harder than it has to be.”
Her chin quivered. “Van, don’t you understand? I love you, and I don’t want to live without you.”
He smirked. “Claire, I’m going to Elmhurst, not Mars. I’ll be back Thursday evening.”
“No, you won’t!”
He rolled his eyes and picked up his suitcase. “I don’t have time for this. I need to get going. Now, kiss me goodbye.”
She turned her face away as he tried to kiss her. He shook his head. “Alright. I’ll call you when I get to the hotel.”
She nodded and sucked back her tears as he and the kids stepped outside.
A few minutes later, Van came back in with a red face. His stride was purposeful as he headed to the kitchen sink and washed his hands.
Claire followed him. “Where are the children?”
He dried his hands on a dishtowel and scowled. “They walked. Someone cut both back tires on the Pontiac! I’m gonna have to call Howell’s Garage and have it towed. I can’t believe you’d do this to me. Claire, really!”
He jumped when the phone rang, and he picked up the receiver. “Hello? …Yes. …Oh? …Oh, okay. Next week, then. …Alright fine. Thanks. …Yes, goodbye.”
He narrowed his eyes. “Honey, did you seriously think I wouldn’t find out that you called Mr. Smithfield’s office and rescheduled my meeting? Look, I don’t know what’s going on with you lately, but this is ridiculous! You could’ve very well just cost me my job! Claire, I’m seriously starting to question your decision making abilities.”
Tears streamed down her cheeks. “Van, I did it for you! Can’t you understand how much I love and need you? The children need you!”
He rolled his eyes and threw his hands in the air. “This is unbelievable! I love you, too, but I don’t understand why you think something’s gonna happen to me! You’re not prescient! I’ve had enough of you and those silly dreams! Now, you really need to—”
They both turned their heads when their neighbor, Maxwell, knocked then walked in. He carried a portable transistor radio, and his face was grim. “Van, thank God you’re still here! I was afraid you’d already left!”
Van furrowed his brow. “No, I had car problems. Why? What’s wrong?”
Maxwell turned up the radio. “Because the bridge over Owl Creek just washed out. You’d have been there right about now. They said the fog’s so thick up there, you can’t see your hand in front of your face. Eleven cars went over the edge before anyone realized what had happened. They’re trying to get a crew in there to pull them from the water, but with the rain and fog, they say it’s doubtful they’ll recover anything. Van, it’s a lucky thing your car broke down, or you’d be a goner.”
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Time to chat: Do you believe visions can sometimes accurately predict the future? Do you believe we’re sometimes sent dreams for a reason?