Chapter 14 – Alexandra Moran
Alexandra held her daughter close as Tara whimpered into her chest. She combed her fingers through her hair, fighting the overwhelming urge to break down. She couldn’t stop the tears from falling, but she needed to hold it together for Tara.
The image of her husband being taken repeated in her mind—the black hands clawing at him, her fingers slipping from his leg as she failed to save him, the monsters dragging him across the concrete and dirt into the fog.
What was happening to him right now? Were they beating him? Were they torturing him? Did they eat their victims? Was he already dead? The notion of her Nathan—a good man—alone in the dark and afraid without his family to comfort him was enough to send her over the edge. She choked back a sob and squeezed her daughter tighter.
“Take care of Tara,” he had yelled at her. Alexandra would have said the same had it been her—God, she wished it had—but how could she? How could a mother stay strong for her daughter when her world was falling apart? How could she console her when that question that had been nagging at her since they had arrived at the Midhaven Motel wouldn’t stop?
Was this her fault?
It was Alexandra who suggested that she and Tara join Nathan on his conference trip to Denver. “We’ve never been. Why don’t we go with you?”
It was Alexandra who insisted on taking the bus. “You know I’m scared of flying, Honey.”
If she hadn’t made him change his plans, none of them would even be here. And, Nathan would still be alive.
Was this her fault?
Nathan had been taken out of a window that he wasn’t even supposed to be in front of. He was only supposed to be support, but that man had left. He had left to go help that bitch, Rachel. He had left her husband even though they were all told not to, and Nathan was alone against two of the monsters. This wasn’t Alexandra’s fault.
It was Michael’s.
Michael and his bickering with Carter. If he had just followed Carter’s orders, Nathan would still be here.
“I can’t believe he’s gone,” Tara sniveled into Alexandra’s chest.
“It’s ok, sweetie. I’ve got you.” She didn’t know what else to say. Her mind was still focused on Michael and how he had torn her family apart; how he had let a wife lose her husband and a daughter lose her father.
“I should have held on tighter,” Tara wailed. “I should have pulled harder.”
Alexandra felt her heart break. Tara was blaming herself. She was feeling guilt over the loss of her own father. Alexandra’s precious daughter was losing her innocence right in front of her, and she felt helpless to stop it. She couldn’t take it. She grasped Tara’s shoulders and pulled away so that she could look in her eyes. For a second, the sight of her daughter’s tears made her waver, but she pushed down the impulse to pull her back into her arms and stared harder.
“This is not your fault.” Alexandra cupped her hands around the young woman’s face and wiped the tears from her cheeks with her thumbs. “Don’t you ever think that. We did everything that we could.” She paused and looked down for a second before returning her gaze. “This is Michael’s fault.”
Tara’s eyebrows rose in confusion. “What do you mean? How is it Michael’s fault?”
“He’s the one who left your father to go help that woman. If he hadn’t left, your father wouldn’t have even been in front of the window.”
Tara pulled back slightly and wiped her nose and eyes with a tissue. “Mom,” she said, “if he hadn’t saved Rachel, she would’ve been taken.”
“I don’t care about her,” Alexandra spat out. “I’d rather it have been her than your father.”
“Mom,” Tara said as she grabbed Alexandra’s hands and held them in her lap, “we can’t think like that. If Michael had let Rachel go, Hadley would have no family left.”
Hadley. Alexandra had thought about that briefly when they were in the office building. She peered through the crowd at the little girl holding her aunt’s hand, staring off into space. Alexandra couldn’t put a finger on it, but there was something off about that girl. She had noticed it when Rachel had asked Tara to take her to the basement. The only reason Alexandra had agreed to it was she wanted Tara to get out of there. But, there was something definitely creepy about that child. It was as if her eyes could see straight through whatever they set on. They weren’t the eyes of an innocent little girl. What they were the eyes of, Alexandra didn’t know.
What she did know was that Tara didn’t notice those things and had probably taken a liking to Hadley. Her daughter was a trusting girl, something Alexandra had worried about sometimes. But, now was not the time to argue about any of that.
“Take care of Tara.” Nathan’s voice repeated in her head. She had to, not just as a mother, but as a wife fulfilling her husband’s last wish. Right now, Tara needed comfort, not hostility, and that was alright. She’d talk to her about it later.
“You’re right, baby.” She pulled away some of the hair that had clung to Tara’s face. “Why don’t you take a shower? I’m gonna sit here for a minute and think.”
Tara’s eyebrows rose again, but she didn’t object. She just leaned over and hugged her mother before getting up.
Alexandra watched as her only child walked into the bathroom and shut the door, knowing that she would probably cry the entire time.
“Take care of Tara.”
“Don’t worry, Nathan. I will. I’ll do whatever I have to in order to protect her.”