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August 15, 1996
Harmony had eaten very little in the past couple of days and sleep gave way to nightmares so she tried not to do that either. The Harrisons had brought her home with them but avoided her questions about Grandma Pat and when they could visit her. Mrs. Harrison had not left the house or Harmony since bringing here. At some point Mr. Harrison must have gone to Pat’s house and gathered some of Harmony’s clothes and toys. The items had just appeared in the room beside the bed she was sleeping in with no explanation.
Harmony showered, dressed and went to bed when the Harrison’s told her too because she was afraid not doing so would cause something bad to happen to them. She couldn’t let something bad happen to the Harrison’s. They had been kind to her and to Grandma Pat and she needed to stay with them until Pat was better and out of the hospital.
Harmony sat alone on the bed looking at the used clothes and second hand toys Pat had bought for her and immediately felt the headache she hadn’t been able to get rid of for several days. Whether it was from lack of eating or lack of sleep or just the physical manifestation of the pain she felt in her heart Harmony wasn’t sure but, she couldn’t get over the feeling that she deserved the pain so she said nothing about it to anyone.
The sun had barely risen outside and the sky still held onto the midnight violet hue rather than the light blues it would give way to as time passed. Harmony could smell coffee coming from the kitchen and knew the Harrisons were already awake and moving around. She would have stayed in the bed, but the hope of this being the day she was allowed to see Grandma Pat made her get up. Harmony quietly opened the bedroom door that the Harrison’s closed each morning in an attempt to not wake the child they hoped had finally gotten a good night’s sleep. She stood in the doorway and hesitated a moment before walking over to a shelf and picking up a baby doll the Harrisons had given her the day before. Harmony knew it made them happy to see her with playing with toys and even though she had no desire to play there was no harm in carrying a doll around the house.
Quietly, Harmony walked down the hall toward the hushed voices she could hear coming from the dining nook in the Harrison‘s great room. The Harrison’s were sitting at the table and each had a cup of coffee. They didn’t see or hear Harmony as she entered the room so they saw no reason to stop their conversation.
“How can it be true? How could we have known her for so long and never had any idea?”
“We didn’t know because she didn’t want us to know. She had lived the lie for so long I’m not sure she even remembered it was a lie herself.” Gene Harrison tried to reason.
“But the things the police said she did? I just don’t understand.” Harmony quietly moved closer as Mary Harrison sipped from her coffee cup.
“It all happened so long ago…a lifetime ago…she was probably a different person then.”
“Do you really believe people can change that much? When I think of how long that little girl was in the house with her…the times we were in the house with her…” Mary had to stop talking when the words were blocked by sobs.
Gene extended his arm and placed his hand over his wife’s hand. “I don’t believe we were ever in danger and Harmony wasn’t either. She came here to start another life. She found God and the church. She wasn’t behind bars, but in her own way she was doing time. I mean can you imagine what it must have been like for her all those years. Worrying someone might recognize you. Scared the police might show up on your doorstep at any time.”
Mary moved her hand out from under her husbands and reached up to touch his face. “If anything ever happened to you…”
“Nothing is going to happen to me.” Gene cut her off before she could finish the sentence and grabbed hold of her hand again.
“Those poor people. How could she have done those things. The police believe she killed that whole family...”
The sound of something hitting the floor startled the Harrison’s. Mary spilled her coffee as her husband jumped up to protect her from the unseen danger. Both froze suddenly once they saw the source of the noise. Harmony had dropped a baby doll onto the floor and was standing there with a look of sheer terror on her face.
“Harmony, honey are you alright. Are you sick.” Gene Harrison said he tried to walk toward her.
“I heard you!” The frightened and now angry child yelled. “You said mean things about my Grandma Pat! I heard you!”
“I hate you! I hate you!” Harmony screamed before running back to the bedroom the Harrisons had said was hers and slamming the door.