Lauren couldn’t believe it was two years to the day when this all started with the tragic death of Ellen’s parents in an unlikely car crash. Wendy and Leonard (Lauren’s brother) had just had their five year old car overhauled, new brake pads, new muffler, new shocks, even new tires so how their sturdy reliable SUV ever crashed was a mystery. Yes it had been piss pouring rain but still they had a large safe vehicle and even hydroplaning would have only slightly damaged it if they hit something. But to careen down the steep  hillside road they were on so fast suggested that Leonard didn’t apply the brakes nor did he seem to steer away from danger even when they were headed straight towards a gas station. Surely he turned the steering wheel or at the very least why didn’t both of them bale out when they saw their deadly destination. They hit the gas station propane tank for barbecue fill ups head on causing a massive explosion and all that was left was a burnt out shell of the vehicle there were no bodies left to bury. Ellen must have cut the brake lines and disabled the power windows and locks so they couldn’t get out but how did she rig the steering wheel? Whatever the case Ellen raced her parents towards the finish line long before their time, Lauren knew that now. At the time Ellen was so traumatized that she had to see a shrink for weeks afterwards making her appear vulnerable. The girl was such a great actress that she had everyone feeling sorry for her how could such a tragedy happen to such a good kid? Ellen had a bunch of friends, a steady boyfriend, and she was a straight A student it was such a flawless cover that people fell for her act. At Ellen’s parents’ funeral all the relatives stepped up to the plate and volunteered to take custody of Ellen; they were all ducks in a shooting gallery, so trusting.

Illustration by: Jason Hendrickson