She’d lied. But she’d lied for a reason.
She should’ve told her grandfather exactly the way it happened. But the fear had flown up in her throat like a flock of birds and choked her. She wished it had been dark when the sleek black car had glided toward her as she rode her bike then she wouldn’t have seen it run her parents down, wouldn’t have seen their bodies scattered and bleeding, wouldn’t have seen them die. She’d told her grandfather right before she passed out how she screamed and screamed. Then when she woke up again, he’d held her on his lap and asked her to tell him what else she saw. She’d told him she knew they were dead and she’d snuggled into her shoulder and sobbed until her chest ached. When she’d cried herself out, he’d asked if she’d told him every-thing. She nodded the lie.
She carried that lie in her heart and into her dreams. And she never told a soul. But at night the lie would come out and she would see its face. And no matter how hard she wished it away, it stayed with her. She thought about telling her grandfather that she’d lied but she knew he’d be disappointed so she didn’t. She began to worry what God would do to her. He knew everything. He knew she was a liar. She only hoped he would forgive her.
Sometimes, her grandfather would smile at her and put his fingers near the corners of her mouth and say, “Smile, little one. We don’t want your face freez-ing like that, now do we?” Emily would just nod and keep her fears to herself. It was eating her up inside but she couldn’t tell. If she did, the world would come tumbling down.
Things had gotten better when her grandfather took her to his farm in the country. She no longer felt the fear clawing at her and began to let go of it. Here in the country, she was safe. He would never be able to find her now. Or better yet, maybe he’d forgotten all about her and what she’d seen. She breathed easier now, there was no way he’d waste his time looking for her here.
But lately, every time they’d take a trip into town, she’d feel the fear fill her throat again. She’d look around her, feeling someone’s eyes on her. And, she felt it now. She pretended to stop to tie her shoelaces, sitting down on the sidewalk bench to do it, taking a moment to look around. It didn’t seem anyone was bothering with her. People were walking and talking but the fear wouldn’t let her alone. It was choking her as if there were fingers of steel around her throat. She sat for a moment looking up and down the street but there just wasn’t anything to see.
When her parents had been run down, it was believed that she’d seen everything from a distance, too far away to see faces. Emily had kept it to herself that as the car sped away, she’d clearly seen the face of the driver. The car had slowed and the back window had rolled down and she’d seen that face as well. That face told her without speaking that one day he’d come for her.
Meg had seen the face of evil. It was forever etched on her young mind and would never forget it. She’d never let herself forget what he’d taken from her. One day, when she was grown, it would be her turn. She’d go looking for him.