By Christine Leigh
Summary: Why is she afraid? Written for The Haven's 500 Word "Back to the Future" Challenge - either a pre-XF or a post-XF moment in the life of one of the main characters.
"Bill Jr., that's enough. Please leave your sisters alone."
Maggie was tired and hot, and they still had two hours to go. She and the children were on their way to spend a week with her husband's parents, and the humidity and heat were about to finish her. The girls had been well behaved, but her son was starting to get restless. She was thinking of the lovely, cool airport back in Atlanta.
"Mom, I'm hungry."
They were going to have to stop for lunch, but Maggie would have done anything to just get to their destination. Bill would be flying in on Saturday, so there was light at the end of this tunnel, but that was two days away, which at the moment, might as well be two years.
"Guys, we're about ten minutes away from the next town. What sounds good? McDonald's?"
"Yes." This from Bill and Melissa.
"Dana, are you hungry?" Her youngest daughter had been very quiet, which wasn't all that unusual, but this was different. She had been staring out the window for the last half-hour.
"Can I have a milkshake?" Maggie smiled. Dana loved milkshakes. Her four-year old appetite rarely was able to finish one, but she always wanted her own. There was no splitting one with Melissa.
"Of course you may. Dana, are you feeling okay? My little girl's been pretty quiet."
"I'm fine." This got a snicker from Bill. His youngest sister cracked him up. She could be so serious, and he wasn't always sure what to make of her. Not like Melissa, who he got along with pretty well, except for when she was having none of him, like now when Chatty Cathy was her preferred companion.
"Okay, here we are." Maggie said this as she pulled off the highway and onto the road that would take them into Democrat Hot Springs. She was surprised that there wasn't more traffic. This town, if she remembered right, was supposed to be some sort of a resort area. Five more minutes, and they were in the parking lot looking up at the familiar sight of the neon arches, and that's all that mattered. Bill and Melissa were out of the car in a jiffy, but Dana remained sitting next to her window. Maggie turned around.
"Honey, are you sure you're okay? I know it's been a long day, and you've been a very good girl."
"Mommy, I'm 'fraid."
"Afraid? Of what?"
"I don't know."
"Did Bill tell you a scary story again?" Maggie hadn't heard her son do this, but maybe she'd missed something. Scary stories were off limits for Dana.
"Honey, there's nothing to be afraid of here. You'll have your milkshake, and we'll be back on the road to grandma and grandpa's in no time at all. Why don't you scoot over and get out? I think I'll have a milkshake, too. I want strawberry. How about you?"
"Chocolate." Maybe her mom was right. Maybe there was nothing to be afraid of here. Maybe.
She got out of the car.
~ End ~
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This story is (c) Copyright 2003 by Christine Leigh. "The X-Files" and its characters are the property of the Fox Network and Ten-Thirteen Productions and are borrowed here without profit or intent for profit.