He went off. There is no other way to say it, he lost his mind completely. He stood up from his chair, “We’re leaving, we’re leaving, come on girls we’re going.” 

“No you can’t,” she screamed. “You can’t take them.” The girls were crying now. Danny seized one of their arms, Mary pulled them back and pushed them into a family bathroom. She placed herself in front of the door and screamed, “You can’t, you just can’t take them, you don’t even have a car.” 

“Their my girls not yours, your’re just an aunt, your’re just an aunt, your’re just an aunt!” 

Danny wasn’t right in his head, Danny wasn’t there at all; The drugs took him, his ex-wife said she was okay with a visit to Burger King. 

Two hours ago, Mary sat in a gas station parking lot searching for pennies to put gas in her car. She accidentally locked her wallet and her house key in the house but not her car key or her phone. 

“It’s a sign,” she thought when she turned on the car to find her gas tank on E. Mary felt the hum of hell sting her throat, then her heart, and finally felt it fall into the pit of her stomach. Determined to ignore the feeling, she called the local gas station. Maybe apple pay worked in Rolesville, “Small towns in North Carolina might not be so far behind.”

She called the station, the woman on the phone assured her that they did indeed take apple pay at Speedway except when she got there, apple pay didn’t work, now what? 

Her nieces sat in the backseat. “Can we play police and driver?” They asked. 

Mary sighed, “Yes but I need to think, please don’t ask more questions.” 

Five more minutes passed as Mary thought about what to do next. 

Mary leaned over the drivers side of the car, “Excuse me mams, lets go penny hunting! We need to find some money for gas.”

The girls smiled, delighted. Every time there were pennies or quarters or dimes on the floor of the car, they picked them up, and then they’d sing “Money for you Mary.” 

“Can you keep a secret? Mary always asked, smirking.

With eyes rolling to the back of their heads, they happily replied, “Mary likes her pennies on the ground, pick them up it makes her frown.”  

The thump of hell rolled through Mary’s belly, something was wrong.

A text followed the thought, It was from Danny, “Can we cancel for tonight?’

Mary’s superior moral complex kicked in, “The girls are expecting to see you Danny, It isn’t right to cancel.”

 She sent it before she thought it through. 

As soon as she thought to reconsider, Danny texted back, “I’ll be there in thirty minutes” 

“Excuse me mam, I noticed you’ve been in your car for a while and I just wanted to tell you I gave ten dollars for you to get some gas.”

Like a plot in a movie where the tension continues to rise, Mary felt the humming hell undertones that things were in motion she could never undo. 

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