Three Days Later
The day of the funeral arrived sooner than the family would have liked. Today served as a reminder that the life they all knew would never be the same again.
But things aren’t always as they appear.
The Night of the Accident
Everything happened so quickly. There was no way anyone could have predicted what was about to happen.
Little did Edward know, he hadn’t been in the park alone that night. A young couple visiting from Riverview had been out on a romantic date that same night. After an exciting evening of dramatic theater and dining at the Bistro, they had come to the park to stargaze and whine down for the night.
The couple had heard the arguing. At first, they didn’t want to get involved. After all, it only sounded like a lovers quarrel and it was none of their business. As the argument started to get more heated, the couple became concerned. By the time the couple had gotten to the scene moments later, Christy was already lying motionless on the ground, blood pouring from the back of her skull, and Edward running from the scene.
The couple quickly called for an ambulance and Christy was rushed to the hospital. A hospital she had been to so many times before. The same hospital where many of her children had been born, but this time things were different. This time, her life was hanging in the balance and no one was sure whether she would live or die.
Christy’s children – or at least the six children that were living at home with her at the time – were called only an hour after Christy was brought in. They had been told nothing about what happened or what the bloody scene looked like where the paramedics found Christy. All they knew was that their mother had been in an accident, and doctors weren’t sure she would make it. While their mother struggled to stay alive and keep her unborn children alive, the other six were placed in the waiting room.
Two hours passed. Then another three hours passed with no word from the doctors.
The waiting was unbearable. Several times, Theodore and Zeus broke down into tears thinking the absolute worse had happened to their mother. They didn’t understand why this was happening or who would ever want to harm their mother. In fact, none of the children understood why this had happened, but the older children were able to hide their emotions better than the younger ones. It took Evelyn’s soothing words of reassurance before the two boys finally calmed themselves down.
Eventually, the doctor appeared and to the children’s surprise, the doctor who had been working on their mother had been their very own half-brother, Adonis Quinn (Baby #11)
Adonis wasn’t able to stay and talk long with the children, but what he was able to tell them brought a smile to all of the children’s faces.
Somehow, Christy had managed to survive the severe accident. Despite all the odds, she was now stable and it was predicted that she would regain consciousness within the hour. Even though Christy had managed to survive, her face was badly bruised and she would need to remain in the hospital for a few more days so Adonis could monitor her condition.
As predicted, Christy regained consciousness a little over an hour later. She was so confused. What had happened? Where was she? The last thing she remembered was being at the park. She knew she had gone to meet with Kathleen, but she couldn’t remember if she had spoken to her.
As Christy groggily forced herself out of the hospital bed, a sharp almost unbearable pain shot through her body. She instantly fell backwards, bracing herself against the bed. Her vision began to swirl, making her balance even shakier. The more she tried to force herself to remember what had happened, the more she found herself in pain, but she HAD to remember. If she was here and in this much pain, maybe Kathleen had been injured as well.
No, she couldn’t remember even seeing Kathleen the night before. As much as she forced herself to recall that night, none of her memories were of Kathleen. That’s when she remembered.
The fighting and falling backwards…
She remembered feeling so much pain and then darkness…
As Christy steadied her balance by bracing herself on the bed, she noticed a familiar face entering her room. Christy – despite all her pain – smiled at Adonis when he entered the room. She knew he was the reason why she was still alive right now. Only her children would fight so hard to save what most would have considered a lost cause.
Adonis smiled at seeing his mother awake, but at the same time, Christy could sense his worry. She could tell that he thought it was too early for her to be out of bed, and considering how woozy she was beginning to feel, maybe her son was right.
After checking her vitals, Adonis asked his mother what she could remember about the previous night. The couple who had called the hospital to report the incident had been able to give them very little information about what happened, and Adonis hoped his mother might remember more. Christy told him everything she could remember, but then she remembered something she hadn’t thought about before.
She had been pregnant before her encounter with Edward. As she placed her hand on her abdomen, she felt empty inside. What had happened to her babies?
Adonis helped his mother into a wheelchair moments later. There was someone that Christy needed to meet. He rolled her down the hallway to the nursery. Inside laid three small infants: two girls and a boy.
The stress of the event that took place the previous night had sent Christy into premature labor, but thankfully, all three babies arrived safely.
First born was her little genius, Athena…
Second was her light sleeper, Artemis…
And finally was her excitable Apollo…
Christy was so unbelievably happy that all three of the triplets were born healthy. It was more than she could have ever expected. Considering they were born premature and the amount of stress that Christy had to deal with moments before their birth, it was truly a miracle that all three were alright.
A Few Hours Later
After telling Adonis all she could remember, her son worried that if Edward knew his attempt to kill Christy had failed, he might try something again. No one at Sacred Spleen Memorial Hospital was told about Christy’s survival for fear that somehow Edward would find out. Adonis secretly transferred both Christy and the triplets to his private clinic just outside of town for their safety.
It was here that Christy began to find things out that she had never known about Edward. It all started when she walked in on an argument between Thomas (Baby #18) and Eleanor (Baby #29)
Both Thomas and Eleanor had been working in the Police Department since they moved out of the Quinn family home. Ever since Adonis had called and told them their mother had been attacked, they had been investigating Edward Rayner. The things they managed to find, Christy could scarcely believe.
Thomas went on to explain that Edward Rayner fit the description of someone the police had been hunting for a very long time. He had been on their radar for years and was involved in all kinds of criminal activity. At first, it started off as petty theft and then as the years went by, he had been suspected for more advance crimes. He was even suspected for killing his former boss and taking his place.
“According to some of our undercover contacts, this guy is considered ‘The Emperor of Evil’ by his underlings, but he’s good. He’s never been caught.”
“Typically, he is seen in the company of his two bodyguards: Edgar Smart and Luther Vick. Have you seen them?”
Come to think of it, Christy had seen both of these men. She had seen them at both the park as well as the bistro the night of the date, but at the time, she hadn’t thought much of their presence. She certainly never would have thought the two were with Edward.
“Mom, that’s not even the worst of it.” Eleanor stated sadly before she placed a photograph in front of Christy.
As Christy looked down at the photograph, she saw four different women. Two of them she had never seen before, but she recognized one of them as my friend Calista. Her blue hair was unmistakable. Christy glanced to the fourth woman and her mouth nearly fell open as she recognized herself. What was more disturbing was that there was a red “X” marked through her picture.
“After we found out who Edward Rayner was, we went and searched his home. The same home that you claim to have met his ex-fiance, Kathleen Woods, at. It didn’t appear that he had been home for months, but we found this board in his bedroom.” Eleanor paused almost as if she didn’t want to continue her thought.
Christy urged her daughter to continue. She had to know what all of this meant.
“Mom, you were targeted. We suspect that Edward was looking for a challenge mother to seduce, trick, and once the child was born…kill.”
“The pictures we found suggest that he had been stalking all of his targets for quite some time. For whatever reason, Edward chose you. He studied you until he knew exactly how you would react to any situation you were placed in. He knew what your response would be before every action he took, before every word that he said.”
At this point, it was decided that another of Christy’s children needed to be brought in. So far, Christy’s survival had been kept a secret for everyone’s safety. If Edward thought he succeeded, he wouldn’t try anything else. Only a few children had been told about Christy. Adonis because he was the doctor who worked tirelessly to save her. Thomas and Eleanor because they were the best officers in Sunset Valley, but they needed someone else.
Connie Quinn (Baby #10) was brought to the hospital under the disguise that one of the doctor’s had assaulted a patient. This was unheard of in Sunset Valley and so the story would really catch the attention of Connie’s readers if the facts checked out. When Connie arrived, she was told the truth and immediately agreed to help.
Connie was asked to write a false news article on her mother’s death. The article would be the final nail in the coffin for any doubts that Edward might have had about Christy’s death. The article would help Christy disappear and start a new life without constantly fearing for her life.
It was also reported in the article that all of Christy’s remaining underage children would go into the custody of their two older siblings: Rhys and Evelyn. Both had recently become young adults and the younger children knew them more than any of Christy’s other children.
One more detail was reported in the article to try and draw Edward Rayner out of hiding for the police to capture him. The article stated that one of Christy’s children had accompanied her to the park on the night she was attacked, but remained in the car. This, of course, wasn’t true. Christy had gone alone to meet Kathleen. The article reported that the child who had gone with Christy had seen her attacker and the police would be questioning them the following day.
Sure enough, the night after the article was published, the Quinn family home was burned to the ground. Knowing something like this was a possibility, none of the children had been at home, but one of Edward’s underlings had been caught shortly after starting the fire. Unfortunately the police were unable to get anything out of the man that would lead them to Edward.
Back to Day of the Funeral
The day of Christy Quinn’s funeral arrived quickly. It felt strange for Christy to watch her own funeral from the shadows of the church balcony. As she watched her friends, family, and even complete strangers arrive to show their respect to her, Christy wished she could just tell them. She hated this lie she now had to live. She hated watching her friends and children – those who still didn’t know their mother was alive – cry because she was no longer there.
One by one, Christy’s friends went up in front of everyone and told them some of their most cherished memories of Christy. Some of the stories brought tears to the eyes of those who were in attendance.
While other stories would make the listeners smile as they recalled all the good things Christy had done over the years since starting her challenge. She was called a wonderful friend, a terrific mother, and someone who would help a complete stranger for no reason other than to help.
Listening to all of the kind words from her friends made her heart ache. What was she doing? Would they ever be able to forgive her when this was all over?
Once all of Christy’s friends had the opportunity to speak, a strange older female stepped up. Christy had never seen this woman before, and she didn’t have a clue what this could be about. Turns out, she was with the Gardening Committee and was there to present Christy with the Gardening Hero trophy.
Christy had been nominated over a month ago, but they had only received word of her acceptance the night before her “death”.
The question now is: Where does Christy go from here?
As far as the rest of the world was concerned, Christy Quinn was dead. There was no way she could possibly continue her challenge now, not without drawing suspicion and possibly have Edward attempt to kill her again. She had no way back to her past life, and she had no idea what the future would bring for her.