Sarah stood in the fog. It smelled like strawberries. A man sat on a park bench, reading a book. Sarah walked slowly toward the bench, trying to make out the man’s face. As she got closer, she recognized David, the annoying guy from the library. She froze. He patted the bench and smiled. Sarah sat down beside him. They didn’t speak. It was a comfortable silence.
David’s smile faded and he nodded to three people standing in the distance. Bradley, Melody, and Sarah’s mother stood in a circle, looking at the ground. She walked toward them, the sense of dread growing with each step. The air erupted in a loud whispering sound.
“What did you do, Sarah?” Bradley had tears in his eyes.
“What are you talking about?”
“How could you?” Melody buried her face in Bradley’s chest. He put his arm around her and kissed the top of her head.
Sarah turned to her mother.
“It’s nothing. Forget about it. Soon, it’ll be like it never happened.” She held her arms out. Sarah ignored her.
“Bradley, Melody, what did I do?” Bradley and Melody parted, revealing a basket of blankets on the ground. Sarah took a step backwards. Bradley took her by the elbow and dragged her to the basket.
Her mother shrugged. “We did the right thing,” she said. She popped her sunglasses on her nose and strode off into the fog.
Sarah pulled back the pile of blankets, revealing a dead lamb. “What happened to it?” Bradley and Melody snorted. “What?” Sarah whispered.
“You killed it.” Melody spit out.
Sarah looked to Bradley for help. “What’s she talking about? I didn’t do this.”
Bradley’s eyes darted down her body and he shook his head.
Sarah looked down. She was covered in blood. She wiped her arms frantically. “Where did this come from? Bradley?” He took Melody by the elbow and led her into the fog. “Please, help me,” her voice lost in the loud whispering.
“I’ll help you.” David’s voice startled her. The whispering stopped.
“The lamb. ”
“What lamb?” David frowned.
“There.” Sarah pointed to the basket.
David smiled. “It’s just blankets.”
She rummaged through the blankets. “It was here. Where did it go?”
“It’s gone, Sarah.” She shook her head and put up her hand to show him the blood. It was clean. “It’s forgiven.”
“They won’t forgive me. They’re so angry.”
“They will. You have to tell them.”
“Tell them what?”
“The truth. Tell them the truth.”
Sarah woke up bathed in sunshine. She looked at the clock: 1:00. Sixteen hours of sleep and she was still exhausted. Tell them the truth. She’d never rest until she did. She would be exhausted forever.
This week we asked you to flip freedom upside down and write about the forbidden or the taboo. The word limit was 450.
This is a heavily edited scene from my Camp NaNoWriMo novel. I cut almost 800 words and I only mourn about half of those. (Slaying those darlings is tough.) Still needs work, but that’s why it’s called a Work In Progress.