Chapter 45

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"Hailie, I've been calling you. Why didn't you answer?"

Hailie turned to face the Captain. "You were? I am sorry. I did not hear you." She looked out towards the town.

"Get down from here. You promised not to come up here."

"I promised not to smoke up here. I never promised I would not come up here. You should have been more specific." She paused. "Captain, was my father really such a terrible man? A man in town told me that Uncle Lance came here personally and cleaned up the town, and made it how it is now, and that it was bad before because of my father. He spoke highly of Uncle Lance and many people have as well. They say he is a better governor that my father was and that it is a good thing that he died, but I saw what happened that day. I was there. I saw what Mr. Winston did to everyone, and I saw what Uncle Lance did, and I heard from his mouth the orders he gave to his men. How can that man be better than my father? I never left the house until after everyone had died so I do not know what things were like before. Was it really that bad? You said he made you do lots of bad things. Is that true? Even Benji's father said he was a bad man."

It took the Captain a while to answer.

"Yes. It is. I'm not sure about Lance but Gerald was bad. There are men who are far worse than he could have ever been but he did many wrong things. That doesn't mean he deserved to die the way he did, and his entire household with him."

"Mr. Morris told me that Kendra is your adopted daughter. He says that it's good you both are still together. He wants you to call him, but I told him you might not. Do you remember who he is?"

"Of course. Benji and I have already talked. I told him he could tell his father our names. The boy had already figured out who we were anyway. I'll go back and give him a call. It would help ease his mind a little more."

"He asked me to come home with them. He told me I could stay with them in their house. He told me that he was going to come back for me as well, when he came for Benji and Faith."

"I already told you that you can stay here. He told you that you can stay with him. You have two places you can go to now. Why do you look so depressed?"

Hailie sighed and leaned her head against the mast. "Some time ago, I stayed on an island. I thought that maybe I could stay there forever. I really liked it there. I have never liked a place as much since my family died, but people kept dying for one reason or another and they said it was my fault, and that I brought death with me and eventually I was forced to leave. I have heard variations of that over the years. That I destroy things like a storm. Is that why my mother named me this? Is being bad in my blood? Maybe letting me stay here was bad judgment on everyone's part."

The Captain sat down next to her. "You're not making any sense. You know precisely why she named you Hailie-Storm."

"I have heard the story before. That the hail came just as she went into labor, almost as if I had brought it with me. The power it possesses and the awe it inspires, she wanted me to have that, but I am starting to think that maybe it was a prophecy as well. A hail storm destroys things and then disappears. That is what I do. I never stay anywhere for long. I go somewhere, cause some amount of destruction, and then I disappear. It is almost like a habit."

He didn't say anything for a while. "You've changed a lot in the past ten years, though I'm sure most of that change happened in the last five."

She turned to him. "Is that why Terrence broke off the engagement?"

"He broke it off?"

She nodded. "Yes. His current wife, then girlfriend, was pregnant so he wanted to marry her. He talked to Father and broke off the engagement. Mother told me that it was because he didn't think I would make a suitable wife, why he went for that other girl instead."

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