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On defeated steps, two months past that tumultuous incident, Sarah dismounted the stairs from her room and walked into her Grandma’s kitchen.

Grandma Ruth turned from the hot stove.

At fifty-eight, rigours of life might have etched their mark, but they hadn’t yet succeeded in erasing every trace of the striking woman she had once been.

Ruth Carter understood it was still far too soon for the young girl to accept the truth of what happened and make peace with it, but to see the wound of the haunting past gaping so painfully open in her eyes was crushing.

“Oh, my poor child.” Through the haze of her own wet lashes a loving smile still touched her quivering mouth. Closing the distance, she embraced her grand-daughter.

“A sweet girl like you can’t only know a life of tears.” Not a doubt marred the indomitable faith she gathered from the ages in the white of her hair. “That painful chapter of your life has closed. It ended with your father. Bless the officer, who shot him before he could have taken you, too, from me.” Her thoughts grew pensive and all colour left her face. “I shudder to think what would have happened if one of the neighbours hadn’t called 911 on time.”

Sarah wiped a stray tear from her Grandma’s cheek, bringing her out from the pain of her loss.

Ruth looked at the precious girl before her. “I had already lost a daughter to that monster, I couldn’t have survived losing my precious grand-daughter, too.”

Adoringly she smoothed down a hand over Sarah’s braided hair resting on one shoulder.

Light brown in colour, Ruth had seen them gleam as the purest honey under the beaming rays of dawn. The peach hued sundress Sarah wore gracefully evinced her feminine curves at the threshold of full bloom. Her face was reflection of innocence itself. And her eyes, green as a Jade lost in the deepest blue of the five Oceans, observed everyone with shy apprehension.

Sarah’s father might not have curtailed his vices from her, but upon his own twisted logic he had sheltered his daughter from most other evils of the world.

“Look how beautiful you have become. Like the first blossom of Eden.” A twinkle sparked in her Grandma’s eyes. “And to mark this new beginning of your life, I have a present for you.”

Moments later, a shiny silver charm bracelet graced Sarah’s slender left wrist.

Ruth, however, didn’t see the joy a girl Sarah’s age took in a bauble like this.

Oh, how effectively her worthless son-in-law had killed even a hope of happiness from his daughter’s life. All this poor girl had ever known was pain and fear.

“Don’t, sweetheart. Don’t just yet give up. This bracelet, it’ll bring the love destined for you, you’ll see. The love that’s just waiting to gather you in its arms.”

“Thank you, Grandma.” Sarah whispered her gratitude.

She didn’t suffer from illusions of love and happiness but she smiled nonetheless, unconsciously displaying the allure of two tiny dimples on either side of her cheeks, to ease at least somewhat of her Grandma’s worrying on her behalf.


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