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Short Story: Lizzie’s White Skirt

Lizzie’s White Skirt
A Short Story By: Katherine Elizabeth MacIntyre
Publish Permission By Say Grace Publishing LLC 

Chapter I
If you were to ask Elizabeth Sue (Lizzie) what her one favorite piece of clothing was, it would had been her perfectly pressed white skirt. Which when paired with her soft blue cotton sweater and crisp white blouse, created her most sought after cheerleader uniform.  This was Lizzie’s second year as head cheerleader at Kansas City High.

Lizzie was warm, personable and highly intelligent.  Her classmates had voted her the most popular girl,  three years 
running.  Teachers at KCH enjoyed having Lizzie as a student in their classrooms.  Lizzie learned quickly, was polite, turned in her homework on time and exhibited a warm and enthusiastic attitude. 
On the outside, Lizzie lived an idyllic life.  Her parents ran a small general store on the outskirts of town.  The home Lizzie grew up in was originally owned by her mother’s parents, both of whom had died shortly before Lizzie was born.  What Lizzie knew about her grandparents came from the family photos that adorned the walls of their two story colonial home, along with 
family memories her mother would often share with her.
Lizzie’s grandfather, Samuel had a mischievous sense of humor and loved playing practical jokes.  Her grandmother, Ida was old school; prim, proper and truly appalled at times by her husbands behavior.  From all accounts, Lizzie’s grandparents were wonderful, kind people, who deeply loved and cared for one another. 

Often times, Lizzie fantasized her grandparents were still living.  She’d comfort herself with the image of her grandmother gently swinging on the green and white glider that faced the flower garden in the back yard.  Lizzie would sit beside her grandmother, wrapped snugly in her arms, laughing at her dog racing wildly across the lawn.  The enormous branches of the oak tree provided shade, while the slight summer breeze was cool and refreshing.  A small bird would be perched on a low hanging
tree  branch,  just out of the reach of her cat, Tilly.  It would be a glorious, peaceful summer day.  Lizzie felt safe, sitting along side her grandmother.  This was the day dream Lizzie hung on to, when things were bad.  

Lizzie’s mom and dad ran the family grocery store they had inherited.  Everyone assumed her parents were an ideal couple.  Lizzie’s mom, Meredith was strong in family values, presenting a positive image to the community.  Lizzie’s dad Seth, had a dual personality that no one was aware of but them.  There was the public Seth; kind, generous and a loving father.  Then there was the private Seth; self centered, demanding and often cruel to the two women whom he claimed to love.

Chapter II

It was the last day of school and Lizzie flew off the bus on to the long dirt driveway that led to her house.  Buster was there to 
greet her, tail wagging and barking with glee.  Lizzie and Buster were best of friends and Lizzie loved Buster dearly.  Buster was a mix of several breeds. He had long golden fur with large pointy ears with white fluffy tips.  Kind of funny looking, but no dog could be sweeter or more faithful. 

Today was Friday, so her parents would be working late at the store.  Lizzie loved it when she had the house to herself.  She would race upstairs to put on jeans and a sweat shirt, then bound down the stairs to the kitchen for a snack.  Lizzie could be as loud as wanted, since no one was home.  When Seth was around, she had to be careful not to disturb him.  Loud noises of any kind could set him off on a temper rampage, which would spoil the day for everyone.

Lizzie’s dad Seth, had met her mother, Meredith a few months before her grandparents were killed in a car accident.  Meredith loved how confident and charming Seth was.  She was immediately taken in with him, even though Meredith’s parents didn’t seem as easily won over.  Meredith assumed in time, they would grow to love Seth as she did.  Only, as it turned out, her parents died suddenly, leaving Meredith on her own to manage their estate. 

Within weeks of her parents death, Meredith had married Seth.  Partly because she loved him; partly because she couldn’t cope being alone and mostly, because Seth just sort of took over.  Meredith had never been on her own before, or faced with the enormous responsibilities she was left to deal with.  Seth eagerly dealt with everything.  All Meredith had to do was sign a few papers and grieve for her loss. Marriage seemed like the perfect solution to all her problems.

Fast forward 19 years and life wasn’t quite as simple any longer.  Seth, Meredith discovered, had a side to him she loathed.  Seth demanded perfection from his family, yet failed to live up to their expectations of him.  Meredith also suspected Seth was being unfaithful to her, although she could never quite prove it.  But a wife knows when something is wrong and Meredith had been having that uncomfortable feeling for a very long time now.

Since the weather was warm and inviting, Lizzie and Buster headed out the back door, sandwich in hand, to sit on the garden swing.  Buster immediately grabbed a ball for Lizzie to throw.  As Lizzie sat on the swing eating her sandwich and tossing the ball for Buster, she noticed the second story spare bedroom window was open.  The breeze had blown the white cotton curtain out the window,  to where it was waving like a flag in the wind.

Lizzie quickly ran back in to the house and up the stairs to close the window.  Seeing the window open was very curious, since no one used the spare bedroom.  Opening the door to investigate, Lizzie discovered several boxes opened on the floor.  Normally, the boxes were kept in the attic, but someone had brought them in to the spare bedroom.  

As Lizzie was picking up papers that had been scattered across the room, she noticed the papers were important documents, all of them bearing her grandparent’s name.  An envelope addressed to her mother, Meredith was torn opened but empty.  Lizzie quickly put all the papers back in to the boxes, stacking the boxes neatly up against the wall behind the bedroom door.  Closing the window, Lizzie headed back outside to enjoy the warmth and sunshine.  

As was always the case, Lizzie’s freedom was cut short with the arrival of her parents.  Lizzie decided to stay outside as long as she could, to enjoy the summer day.  The field behind Lizzie’s house was a safe haven where she could hide amongst the tall grasses.  Lizzie would lay on her back for hours, staring at the soft white clouds floating overhead. Often times, she’d fall a sleep, as was the case today.

Chapter IV

Lizzie woke to the sound of her parents arguing.  She sat up, hoping to hear what was being said, but the words were muffled. Lizzie had never heard her parents argue this violently before.  She felt both startled and afraid.  Buster, who had been lying besides Lizzie, was growling and had become very agitated. Worried about her mother’s safety, Lizzie approached the house, grouching down below the living room window to hear what was being said.

Seth was yelling at Meredith, “you don’t know what you are talking about!”  Meredith replied, “I know what you did, you are a murderer and a liar!”  Meredith was so angry, she was nearly in tears.   Then out of nowhere, Lizzie heard a vase break and a loud fire cracker went off, followed by silence.  For a moment, Lizzie was unable to move.  Something was horribly wrong. As Lizzie slowly lifted her head to look inside the window, she saw her father standing across the living room, staring at her.  Then there was the deafening sound of a second fire cracker that seemed to explode inside her.

Chapter V

The shrill of the police sirens and the swarming of people around the house felt surreal.  Lizzie had found herself sitting on the glider in the back yard, simply to stay out of their way.  People were racing about the property, talking loudly, yet no one seemed to notice her sitting there all alone.  Buster on the other hand, was barking loudly at the intruders as a couple of police officers attempted to nab him.  But Buster was too, quick and agile to be caught, so he eluded his would be captors with ease.

Out of the corner of her eye, Lizzie saw her mother at the other end of the yard, just standing there, watching the scene unfold, just as Lizzie was doing.  Her mother raised her hand and waived at her.  Lizzie smiled.  For whatever reason, Lizzie was no longer fearful.  She felt quite at peace, even though the house was swarming with strangers, who were creating quite a ruckus inside.  Lizzie knew her mother would not be happy when they finally left and she had to clean up their mess.

As Lizzie gently swung back and forth on the glider, she imagined her grandmother sitting besides her.   Her grandmother, as always, hugged her and comforted her as the coolness of the summer breeze embraced them.  As nightfall approached, the 
yard was peaceful and quiet.  This was Lizzie’s favorite time of the day and she felt utterly joyful and happy.  

Meredith sat down next to her mother, Ida and the three of them reveled in the ending of another glorious summer day.  To Lizzie’s surprise, as quickly as the strangers had arrived, they were gone.  The house was once again empty and life was back to normal.  Buster was patiently sitting by the back door, waiting to go inside.  As the back door swung open, Samuel motioned for the girls to join him.  As they walked hand in hand across the yard to the house, the sound of choir music filled the air.  A very curious event Lizzie thought, but then again, today had been a most unusual day. 

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