This chapter is rushed and the events in it happen very quickly. So it kinda sucks lol. Sorry 😝
A soft golden light falls across the bedroom as the sun begins to sink into sleep. All is quiet; a heavy silence punctuated by only the steady tapping of keys. Briar rubs her eyes and stares at the screen again, feeling her head starting to ache again. A particularly difficult burglary case has been shutting her up in her room for a couple of days, and she is beginning to feel very frustrated.
The door bangs open and an cacophony of sound hits her painfully. She wheels around to find her triplets rushing in, Cherry crying and her sisters screeching at each other. “MUMMY, CINNA TOOK PINKY AND RIPPED HER HEAD OFF!” Cara shrieks, flailing her arms. “FOR PAYBACK!” Cinna stomps her foot. “YOU DREW ALL OVER MY BOOK!” The two continue squabbling as tears spill down Cherry’s cheeks, who is trying to pull her sisters apart.
Briar pushes the chair back roughly and stands, her fingers curling in stress. “ENOUGH!” She shouts, and her children stop at once, looking rather frightened at their mother’s tone.
“HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I TOLD YOU NOT TO INTERRUPT ME WHILE I AM WORKING?! CARAMEL, CINNAMON, YOU ARE BOTH GROUNDED FOR TWO WEEKS, NOW ALL OF YOU GET OUT!” During this, the triplets had shrunk together despite their fight just a few seconds ago, trembling and with huge eyes.
Huffing, Briar turns back to her report as her children run out of the room. Guilt begins to seep in, but she forces it away. She was right; she had told her family many times to stay out of the bedroom… sighing, Briar gazes at the screen again, but the words spin around in her head.
The case is hopeless, the robbery had just been too well done. She closes the report as unsolved, slumps onto the bed, and lets the stress building up from the last few days carry her into sleep.
About an hour later, someone shakes Briar awake and she rolls over to find Max looking down at her, with an unusually stern look on his face. “You missed dinner, Cherry wanted to bring some up to you but she was afraid to interrupt you.” He says gravely, his arms crossed. Feeling ashamed of herself, Briar stretches and stands up. “I shouldn’t have shouted.” She sighs. Her husband simply nods.
“I’m sorry, it’s just work is being hell right now… do they hate me now?” Briar asks quietly. There’s a pause, in which Max shakes his head and hands her an envelope. “What is this?” She turns the smooth paper over in hands. “Just open it.” Her husband kisses her on the cheek before leaving the room.
Curiously, Briar slits open the envelope. There’s a piece of printer paper, folded into thirds.
We are so sory for barjing into your room today and interupptn your impoortant work. We relly very hope you dont hate us now, we didnt meen to anoiy you. If you do we can live on the striets if you want and Cara and Cinna promisses to be best friends but we still love you!!
Love Cherry, Cinna and Cara xoxo
Briar doesn’t realise she is crying through her laughter before a tear drips onto the duvet. The clumsy, but certainly neat for a seven year old, handwriting is obviously Cherry’s. Sniffing, she traces the wonky hugs and kisses with her finger, and feels a horrible guilt bubble up in her stomach like acid.
Briar wipes her eyes on her sleeve. “Cara, Cinna, Cherry!” She calls out of the door.
It is a few moments before her children come into the bedroom, clearly terrified, which makes her feel even worse. “I read your letter.” Briar begins, and Cherry peeks through the hands covering her face. “And you don’t have to live on the streets, my babies. I’m sorry that I lost my temper and scared you and I love you all so much too.” Cara and Cinna look immsensely relieved. “Come here.” Briar holds out her arms and her children rush into them.
“Are you crying, Mama?” Cherry says in a small voice after her sisters skip off, happy again.
Briar smiles at her, feeling tears dripping off her cheeks. “Yes, I am. But they are happy tears, my little cutie pie.” Cherry giggles at the old nickname and hugs her mother again. “I love you, Mama.” She says quietly. “I love you too, Cherry. Now go off and play with your sisters!” Beaming, her small daughter skips out of the bedroom, and Briar watches her go, feeling immsensely content.
Beep. Beep. Beep. She looks around and sees her cellphone vibrating on the desk. “Unknown.” Briar reads the ID and frowns. “Who the hell is this?”
What she reads next makes her blood run cold.
“Boss.” A bespectacled man pokes his head around the office door, and Briar raises her head from her hands. “Have you found where it’s from?” She says sharply. The man hesitates before answering. “Well, we tracked it down to a house in the poorer suburbs.” “And?” “It doesn’t make sense, only an old woman lives there and we’ve already questioned her, she’s sworn she knows nothing about it.”
Briar feels her fingernails draw blood as she digs them into her palms. “Have you finger print dusted her house?” The answer is already in the man’s eyes, and she cuts him off as he begins talking again. “Just do everything you can to find out who sent it, I want them in front of me by tomorrow. You are dismissed.”
She begins pacing around her office as the man nods and shuts the door gently behind him. The threat, so neatly spelled impersonal pixelated letters, flashes in front of her eyes, and fear prickles at her throat. I will rip apart your family like you ripped apart mine. Like you ripped apart mine… who could be so angry with her to send such a threat? Briar had sent countless people to prison in the years gone by, and as the Sunset Valley Police Chief, discontent from criminals and relatives alike had to be expected. But not this… not such a message that strikes fear so piercingly into her… not her dearest husband, not her sweet, innocent children…
Some people might dismiss this as an empty threat, but in Briar’s knowledge, the harder it is to find the suspect, the more determined the suspect is.
On a warm Friday night, the air is fragrant with the many new scents of spring. Briar glances at the clock, impatient to get back to her family and watch over them along with the many rigorous security measures she had installed after the offender had been failed to be caught. She breathes a sigh of relief as the clock strikes ten and she can hurry out of the station and to her house.
The relief turns into panic as fire engines wail past her, heading for the hills. Briar sprints for her car and guns it, speeding after the engines, gripping the steering wheel hard. Please don’t let it be my house, please… she prays. But the flames, burning bright against the inky sky, are swallowing her beautiful home- just two years old and being reduced to cinders right in front of her eyes.
A blurry haze of panic begins building in her mind as she thinks about Max, her kids. Briar jimmies her phone out of her pocket and jabs keys clumsily with her left hand while driving with the right. “Hi, you’ve reached the voicemail of Max Kingston. I am not available right now so please leave a-” She slams the phone down and the car skids to a stop in front of the burning house.
Firefighters are already running into the flames, shouting to each other. “MY HUSBAND, MY CHILDREN ARE IN THERE!” She shrieks at one pulling down his visor next to the fire engine. “Please calm down, ma’am, we will get your family out.” He says in a reassuring voice. It would be effective if not for the roaring inferno in front of her, the heat burning at Briar’s face even here at the roadside, and the same sickening horror she had felt when she knew Ash was going to die…
The world feels like it is already crumbling around her.
Wow, I know, pretty sucky chapter. But guess what, ladies and gentlemen, that was the very last chapter of Generation Two!