Ever Flowing Streams

August 13th, 2016

But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
--Amos 5:24 (ESV)

Alice was running on raw adrenaline. Her perfect evening had been shattered in ways she never dreamed possible. The twins were to go to visit grandparents, the baby had a sitter, and Hal was due in at the airport. They were going to spend the weekend... well most of it... alone, then start a two week vacation. Instead, Zack had gotten into trouble and it involved the police.

The matter had been cleared up. Zack was in the store, and though he admitted to hanging out with the Baxter boy before they went inside to cool off, all he knew was that his friend wanted him to ride his bike home.

The atmosphere in the car was frigid and gloomy. Except for the baby. Amy was her usual, cheerful, 4 year old self. She sang, and bounced along in the car seat, making up her own words and music. She didn't use words, as much as hum to herself, and the toneless music didn't often fit any known rhythm.

"I hope I'm not too late." Alice said as much to herself as to Zack. "The sitter was supposed to be here an hour ago. And you..." her words were replaced with as long as a glower at her errant son as she dared while driving. "What am I going to do with you." It was a statement, not a question.

Zack stared at his feet as he mumbled, "Sorry, mom. I'll get ready for going to grandma's as quick as I can."

"Maybe I won't let you go." Alice was numb as her mind went into a spiral. "Maybe I'll just leave you with the sitter, with your sister."

"Aw, mom," Zack moaned. "I'm not a baby. Grandpa..."

His words were snapped short. "I don't want to hear it. Don't you think that ruining the weekend deserves punishment? We had this planned for the whole family." She began, "Why should you be rewarded for the kind of stunts you were involved in today."

Randall looked out the window to see a second car pull in the drive behind his mom.
That must be the sitter. " he said to himself. "I guess mom can let her know what to do," and he went back to the new comic book he was reading.

Zack came trudging in. "You better hurry and get dressed." Randall didn't even glance up from the comic.

"I don't have to," came the voice of a condemned boy. "Mom is making me stay with the sitter."

It was hard to hear the conversation from down the hall. Muted tones, and muffled snippets. The sitter sounding apologetic, probably for being late herself. Rapid fire words of instruction from mom for the sitter, followed by a clear shout, "Randall! Get your things! It's time to go!"

Doors slammed, the car was long gone, and Zack sat for an eternity, feeling paralyzed in his room. 'How do mom's do it?' he wondered to himself. It was bad enough that the cops called her about the store. He hadn't been entirely honest with her. He knew what Ted was going to do, but he didn't know how to stop him. If that were all, she wouldn't be nearly as upset with him. Sure, he would still be banned from hanging out with Ted... for ever... but all the rest... She would never have found out. Why did Mrs Chandler have to show up, just when we were leaving?

He didn't help Ted steal that bike, but he didn't count on being caught breaking mom's rules. He was supposed to mow the lawn, but he snuck out of the yard, and left it for Randall. 'I don't know why I do stupid things like that,' Zack said under his breath as he remembered letting the air out of his brother's bike tires. 'If it wasn't for that...' he let his words and thoughts hang. His mind was a fog. 'If it wasn't for that, Randall wouldn't have had to air them up at the gas station. If it wasn't for that, he would have been riding through town, instead of running into Officer Baily. If it wasn't for that, mom wouldn't have met Mrs Chandler on the way to the car. . That's when his whole day unravelled.

Mrs Chandler saw him from her kitchen window. Zack wasn't supposed to be out of the yard, let alone on the other side of town. She saw him in the park, definitely not where he knew mom would let him go without permission, or taking his brother or sister along. Not that any of these were against the law, like stealing a bike. He knew there were chores to do. He knew that dad was coming home. He knew about all the family plans. "What was I thinking?" Zack asked himself to add to the countless other times those words ran through his head tonight. Mom wasn't making him miss the trip next week, but he had to stay home tonight with the sitter she had for Sissie. How embarrassing.

Zack sat and stewed in his own regrets. He didn't hear the soft tapping at his bedroom door at first.

"Are you going to come out for dinner?" It was the sitter. Zack's insides fell in on his empty stomach. "I'll be right there," he answered through the closed door. 'How bad can this bee?" Zack commented, "The night can't be any worse than it is, why add being hungry to it?"

The instant he stepped into the kitchen, Zack froze. It just got worse.

"You!" came the shout of recognition from the big, blond teenage freight train who had somehow invaded his house. "I told you I'd get you, but I never dreamed it would be as easy as this."

"Dean!" the girl shot back at her boyfriend. "You'll go home right now if you don't settle down."

It was the couple from the swimming pool who Zack had been teasing. Janet was hired for the night as the sitter.

Zack could only spin on his heal, race for his life to his room, and lock the door behind him. Not that it mattered. Dean didn't seem as outraged as he was in the park,

"See what you did?" scolded the sitter. "I told you this afternoon the twerp wasn't worth it. It's time for dinner, and you go and chase the kid away."
"I wasn't going to hurt the brat," Dean defended himself, "Just mess with him a little." The sound of chairs scuffling, and Dean's voice getting closer down the hall filled Zack's ear as he pressed it against the door.

"Come on out kid." Dean sounded like he was trying to coax out a scared animal, "time for din-din."

'Pretty close,' Zack thought, his words mixing with the raging drumbeat in his head.

"Dean! Leave the kid alone." Janet's reprimand worked, and Zack heard Dean as he disappeared back down the hall in mock admonishment. "If you don't eat your dinner, there won't be any treats later."

Zack's life was falling apart, and he only had himself to blame.

Disclaimer: This has been 100% pure fiction. Any resemblance to a person, place, or event, living or dead, in reality or fiction, is purely coincidental.

Thanks in part to:

WordPress, and the #DailyPost

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