Shadow:Satan's Fury: Memphis Chapter(5)

By: L. Wilder

She watched as I rushed across the street to get in my car. I could see her standing inside the door as I inserted my key and turned the ignition. She was still standing there when there was only a clicking sound as the engine refused to turn over. I tried over and over to get that stupid car to start, but the thing wouldn’t budge. I knew I was in trouble. Ms. Hallie had warned me that this wasn’t a good part of town, so I knew staying put wasn’t an option. Just as I was starting to panic, I heard a tap on my window. I glanced up and found Ms. Hallie standing there. “Is everything okay?”

I didn’t know what compelled her to come out and check on me, but I was so relieved that she did. I eased my door open and said, “My car won’t start.”

“I see that. Why don’t you come inside? I have plenty of room at my place. You can stay with me. We can have someone come see about your car tomorrow.”

“No. I couldn’t put you out like that.”

“Sure, you can. Besides, I’d love the company.”

As great as her offer sounded, I wasn’t sure what I should do. I had no idea who she was or why she was willing to help me. “I don’t know.”

“Honey, it’s late, and if I had to guess, I’d say even if your car was running, you have no idea where you’re headed.”

“No. I don’t guess I do.”

“That’s what I thought. Why don’t you just take me up on my offer? I have a pot roast in the oven, and I’m gonna whip up a batch of mashed potatoes. I’d love for you to join me.”

“That sounds so good. Are you sure you don’t mind?”

“I’m positive. Now, grab your things and let’s go get us a bite to eat.”


I did as she said and grabbed my bag out of the back seat. Once I’d locked up the car, I followed her back into the store. As we headed upstairs to her apartment, she turned to me and asked, “Do you have a name?”

“Umm … Yes, ma’am. I’m … Alex. Alex Carpenter.”

“Well, it’s nice to meet you, Alex.”

I never dreamed that I would find my sanctuary in a small book store in the middle of Memphis, Tennessee, but I did. Once Hallie realized that I didn’t have a place of my own, she not only offered for me to stay with her, she insisted on it, and not only that, she gave me a job working at the book store. I don’t know what I would’ve done without her. She knew I was running from something and was concerned for me. I could see it in her eyes whenever she looked at me, but she never asked questions. It was then that I realized why she seemed so familiar to me on the day we first met. She reminded me of my mother. They both loved unconditionally and with all of their hearts.

I wanted to tell her about my past, but I couldn’t bring myself to say the words. Finding out the truth about my mother’s death nearly destroyed me, and since the day I’d learned what really happened, I left home and never looked back. A part of me knew that running away wasn’t the answer, but I felt trapped—imprisoned by the weight of the hatred I felt for the man who was responsible for taking my mother from me. I simply had no choice. I had to get the hell out of there, away from him—my father—and everything he represented, and save what was left of my sanity.

It had been almost eight years since the day I’d left home and found myself living with Hallie, my guardian angel. She showed me a life that I never knew was possible, a life filled with love and joy, and I absolutely adored her for it. During those times I’d spend listening to her stories, I felt safe in the world she’d created for us, like my past was just a distant memory. Hallie helped me see the endless possibilities of my future. Whether she realized it or not, she hadn’t just given me a place to stay. She reminded me how it felt to have someone who truly cared about me, put me above others, and there was nothing in this world that could’ve felt better.

When Hallie died last year, I was completely heartbroken. She had been such a strong force in my life, and I had no idea what I would do without her. But in true Hallie fashion, she was always thinking one step ahead. Without even telling me, she’d left me the bookstore, along with the apartment upstairs. Even from the grave, she was looking out for me, and I was proud to continue her legacy.

Every morning, I woke up early and went downstairs to make a pot of coffee, water the plants, and dust the shelves. I’d learned from Hallie that presentation was everything, so I wanted to make sure that the store was perfect before I opened the doors. While I was rushing around, I found myself wondering if this would be one of those mornings that he’d be around—the unbelievably hot biker who made my knees tremble and breath quicken. I knew very little about him, just that he’d stop by the bookstore from time to time, and while it was obviously not his intention, his routine had sparked my curiosity. He’d enter the front door, and after a brief greeting, he’d make himself a cup of coffee and find his way to the back of the store. Once he’d picked out a book, he’d make his way over to the very sofa that I’d found to be so comforting on my first visit and sit there for a half hour or so, drinking his coffee and reading silently. When he was finished, he’d place his empty cup in the garbage and put his book back in its proper location, leaving no sign that he’d even stopped by for a visit. As he made his way to the front door, he’d place a twenty on the counter and bid me farewell.

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