“Sweetheart! I’m so glad you agreed to come over.”
“Just remember your promise, okay Mom?” Sue’s voice held a stiffer tone than intended, but after the major blow-up two days before, Sue is afraid to let her guard down yet. She notes the grieved expression on her mother’s face.
“I know and I never want to quarrel with you like that again, Sue. I’m sorry I got so vehement. It’s just that when I heard the Pastor’s sermon about the end times, about the rapture when Jesus is coming back for us, I was so afraid of leaving you behind. I wanted to give you the truth so you cannot be deceived. I love you so much.”
Sue nodded absently, joining her mother, Anna, on the couch. Sue’s eyes are drawn to the green stationary scattered across the coffee table.
“You hate the color green.” Sue winced at her own blunt statement. “I mean, the time dad re-painted the living room sage, you had a cat.”
“I was wrong for doing that Sue. I’ve been wrong about many things.”
Sue raised one eyebrow in surprise.
“Actually, green has become my favorite color. But I’m afraid I can’t tell you why because it would break the promise I made you to not talk about my new faith if you came over today.”
Sue sighed. “Okay Mom go ahead, but please don’t try to shove religion down my throat. Just stick to the green part.”
Anna’s eyes sparkled. “When I gave my heart to Jesus – just a few weeks ago – a lady from my new church gave me a Salvation bracelet and explained the meaning of the different colored beads. I focused on the green one because it represents one’s journey as a new Christian. I went out and bought a green journal and this stationary. I’ve been writing letters to old friends and family, telling them the truth I’ve found.”
Sue shifted uncomfortably. Her eyes flickered over the stack of addressed green envelopes.
Her mother read her mind. Anna selected one and held it to her breast, tears beginning to stream down her cheeks.
“This one is yours Sue. But please, promise me you will not open it until you are ready to hear the truth.”
Sue swallowed, feely oddly calm.
…One Year Later…
“Are you feeling all right Mom?” Sue’s voice held genuine concern. Her mother had been strangely quiet during her daughter’s visit.
“I’m fine sweetheart. Just thinking.” Anna paused, gazing earnestly into Sue’s eyes. “I just want you to remember this when I’m gone: I left the truth behind with you.”
Sue bit her lower lip, an uneasiness settling over her.
Anna squeezed Sue’s hand. “More tea?”
Sue nodded, watching her mother as she left the room. Sue could hear the tinkling of the porcelain teacups.
The sound of a broken dish resounded through the quiet house.
“Mom? Are you okay?” Sue bounded into the kitchen.
Frozen in the room’s only doorway, fear gripped Sue’s heart.
Her mother’s favorite teapot lay shattered, steaming liquid spreading across the floor. Sue could hardly breathe as she stared around the empty kitchen.
A bloodcurdling scream sounded from outside the house. Squealing tires. An explosion. Suddenly, the house went dark.
Sue lay curled in the middle of her mother’s kitchen floor, powerless.
The entire world is in chaos. Sue’s world is in chaos. She had tried to contact all her family and friends, but not a single call had gone through. Her frantic trip through the neighborhood had revealed sheer hysteria.
“I left the truth behind with you.” Her mother’s words echoed in Sue’s mind.
“What truth?” Sue whispered into the haunting emptiness, struggling to suppress the panic she felt.
An image exploded in Sue’s brain, jolting her free of the paralyzing fear.
Running through the barricaded streets, Sue tried to shut out the pandemonium around her. She is not alone in this nightmare.
Sue reached her apartment, slamming and locking the door behind her.
Snatching up a flashlight, Sue moved swiftly to her desk, breathless.
“Come on, come on, where is it? Oh God, help me find it!”
Sue yanked out each of her drawers, emptying their contents onto the floor.
There, in the midst of it’s own chaos, lay the green envelope.
Fingers trembling, Sue traced her mother’s handwriting. Slowly and carefully, as if it were a sacred document, Sue turned over the green envelope and broke the seal.
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