Congratulations, reader! You have reached the end of Night Aggressions. This is the last chapter, and we're so excited for you to finish the journey. Please, we ask you to take a moment after reading to leave your comments in the comments below and head over to the Night Aggressions page -- where you can rate and review the story for future readers.
It's hard to believe we've been on this journey since October, but here we go. And it's also hard to believe that I'm writing this post under a stay-at-home order, because of a pandemic. Needless to say, had I known the COVID-19 stuff was going to go down, I would have picked a different story to post. But here we are...
If you enjoyed reading our free story, Night Aggressions, please consider purchasing one of other books on the website. We have Fatal Flaws and Gun out now, and more coming in the future -- like Sweet Sixteen Killer.
And don't forget to stick with the blog, as I'm sure we may drop another story for your reading pleasure come October again. 😉
Shoutout to my collaborator on this, Trent Becker, and Jake Cesarone for editing all these chapters as they came. It was a group effort.
Chapter 27: The winner takes it all
Mandy finished reading the story she had written for her creative writing class. She looked up for the first time and saw that everyone was either grossed out or in shock. Some were both. Her teacher Mr. Maxwell broke the silence by clearing his throat before speaking. The clearing of the throat was a nervous tick of his she’d picked up on.
“Well,” he said, “That was interesting. Graphic. But interesting.”
She had written a short story detailing the events of Tipton that fateful night. The details of which had never made it to the evening news. To the best of their knowledge, only the three of them had survived or even knew what happened in Tipton. The coverup had been thorough.
As for Elderton, she had never caught up. Mandy and Maggie had figured her for dead, but Martha remained ever the optimist regarding Elderton.
It was one year later. Mandy and Maggie were completing their education and Martha had been serving as their phony mother. No one knew where they had come from, what they had been through. They carried the burden of knowledge all alone.
“Thank you for that,” Mr. Maxwell said. “Any questions?”
“You may be seated, Mandy,” Mr. Maxwell said.
She sat down at her desk. Pete, next to her, leaned in and whispered, “Hey, Mandy, hey.” She looked at him. “I thought it was cool. Depressing, but cool.”
“Thanks.” She tucked the story back into her binder. It was only a fiction. It would remain a fiction.
“Hey, Mandy, hey,” he continued, “You gotta date to the dance?”
She looked at him. “I’m gay, Pete.”
“Oh,” he said. He slid back into his seat. “That’s cool.”
That night around the dinner table, their little family discussed the story and how it was received. After a bit there was silence. Martha noticed the girls were both looking down, Mandy picking at her food and Maggie staring off.
“Alright,” Martha said, “What’s up?”
“Well,” Maggie started, “Mandy and I were talking the other night, and we were wondering… what if the Aggressors are still out there?”
Martha took a deep breath and set her fork down. “There will always be monsters like the Aggressors. Always. But you can’t live in fear of running into one. What you can do is remain strong, as I know you both to be. You’ve encountered the worst of the worst already, you’re battle ready. Should you meet another one someday, just do what you know you have to. But don’t live in fear of that day. Live your life. Live it well. Live it the way you want. If you don’t, then they win.”
The night of the dance, Mandy came down the stairs in a tuxedo. She had struggled immensely trying to get her bowtie on and eventually gave up. Her shirt collar was wide open at the top. She’d fiddled with it to get the collar’s pointy ends to stick out just right. After staring at herself in the mirror for a moment, she determined she’d never felt so badass.
“Damn,” Maggie said when she saw her. “Lizzie is gonna faint.”
“I hope not,” Mandy said, “That would be super awkward. You don’t look so bad yourself.”
Maggie did a little spin in her red dress. “Thanks.”
Martha came in from the living room. “Alright you two, I want a picture before you go.” They rolled their eyes and followed her into the living room. “In front of the fireplace. You both look amazing.”
“Alright, sometime before the Y2k Bug,” Mandy chided.
Martha cut eyes at her and then quickly took a picture of the two. “Thanks.”
Martha put on an old ABBA record and turned it up. She poured a long glass of wine and kept the bottle near. A long night alone while the girls were at the dance was too good not to take advantage of. The girls were practically raising themselves, her role as mother was in appearance only. After all, they had already lived on their own before they became a family.
She took the first sip.
It was on nights like this that she couldn’t help but think of Elderton. She really wanted to know for sure that she had survived. She couldn’t stand the idea that she had fallen at the hands of Wendy. She shook her head. She figured Elderton had lied to them and went back to the town to try and save more. She was a sheriff first and foremost.
The doorbell rang. She took her second sip.
She wondered who on earth could be ringing her door in the middle of the night. She sat her wine down and stood up. She left ABBA running on the record player. At the door, she opened it slowly and it caught on the chain—a precaution against Aggressors.
“You got some explaining to do!” She hollered to the night visitor as she opened the door.
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