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“There's a time and a place…there's a space and a race…one day soon you and I will meet and know we face our fate,” Maqua whispered to the two women as they slept. And so, their story begins….






It would be so easy to end all the pain here and now.


Amanda Lawson stared into the murky depths of the Susquehanna River as she rested her elbows on one of the two rock walls of the narrow footbridge that spanned it. A seemingly endless flow of tears coursed down her cheeks as the water‘s mesmerizing movement urged her to surrender and become one with its icy coldness.


She studied the length of the bridge as she idly wondered if she could manage to climb over the wall.


Suddenly a shiny penny peeking out from between two dandelions and a small patch of grass nestled close to the wall caught her attention. Time seemed to stand still as she gazed at the object.


“Someone said that when you find a penny, you've been kissed by an angel,” she reminded herself as she sighed and picked up the coin. She made a decision.


“I've never taken the easy way before…why start now?” she whispered aloud.


Her feet were numb and her legs ached as she walked with determination back toward her vehicle. Once she got to her car, she turned back, certain that she heard the water calling her name.


No, not today.


She got in and flipped the switch to heat the seats. She knew the heat wouldn’t do much to ease the pain, but there was some degree of comfort in the warmth. Opening her fist, she looked at the coin, and shook her head at her own weakness before flicking it into an ashtray filled with other pennies. She moved the gearshift into drive and eased the vehicle away from the river and its insistent beckoning.


There were other routes to get to her home, but for almost two years she had always taken the same one. Her eyes scanned the side of the road until she saw the dilapidated billboard near where a small white cross stood. The tires of her vehicle crunched on the gravel as it came to rest on the shoulder. All that was left of the billboard was a spate of red scripted letters spelling out EVIL along with a pair of cow's eyes and the barest hint of black, which had once been a cow nose. At one time, Middleville Dairies had been a thriving business but now it was only a sign—a sign that, if one thought about it, read evil eyes.


The sign marked the one-mile point from her house, and it also marked the place where her happiness had ended.


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