(Photo by Dan Felstead of Wood and Pixel Narratives)
She brushed the tears from her eyes and pretended to be busy sweeping the floor, trying hard to concentrate on the dust bunnies always hiding under the coffee counter. She knew she should be used to the gossip by now, but it still stabbed at her heart when others talked in hush tones about her “tragedy.”
April Sue Higgins was from a small town on the outskirts of Lexington, Kentucky. Rabbit Whistle was just a dirt spot in the road with only one stoplight and if you blinked going through downtown, you would miss the entire place. April had grown up in Rabbit Whistle and had lived 17 of her 18 years in a junk heap of a house near the L & N Railroad crossing and the Sack and Go Feed Store.
April’s father had died when she was a baby, so her only memories of him were a few black and white photos her mom kept in an old Whitman’s Sampler candy box. Candy Higgins had been a pretty young thing in her youth, but hard years spent working the tobacco fields and becoming a widow before the age of 20 had left her with the haunted looks of someone twice her age.
When April was barely three years old, her mother took up with Roy Stevens and within two months he had moved into the tiny house with Candy. At one time April thought there had to be some good in Roy Stevens, after all, her mother had taught her there was good in everyone. But years of unspeakable abuse at the hands of a cruel monster leave no room for offering the benefit of a doubt.
Finally, after graduating high school, April escaped the confines of Rabbit Whistle and moved to Lexington to attend college. She hated leaving her mother behind, but whatever compassion April had for her mother had finally evaporated when Candy had chosen Roy over April.
Thinking she was finally saved from the gossip of her hometown, April busied herself in schoolwork and her afternoon job at a local diner. The L & N Diner was built to look like a railway dining car, her last little reminder of home. Little did she know, but her life was going to be changed forever ...
...to be continued.