Chapter 1:

The Quilted Blanket

Private Property

It was a lazy Sunday for Inez Olmos. She had already cleaned the house the day before and she hadn’t planned on doing so. It was something she did when she was stressed about something - her ex-husband demanded money from her again. He always did every time he went to Las Vegas with her sons. She worked as a housekeeper at an office building; she never was clear on what they actually do on a daily basis - she just knew that they always had a lot of papers to clean and constant messes.

Usually, Sundays was her day to go to church and to clean but because she had cleaned the day before, she didn’t really have anything else to do. She had meant to read from a tablet one of her sons had gotten for her on her birthday but she didn’t know when she fell asleep. Her cat, Niko, napped on top of her as she laid on her bed. She could feel his warmth and soft purrs emit from him which comforted her even more. She didn’t remember the book she read but it probably wasn’t very memorable.

However, as she napped, she felt a familiar presence. She could feel a bit annoyed because she never appeared when she was awake.

“Mama? Did you fall asleep again?” Her voice was clear as a bell. She laughed playfully. She could feel the girl pet the cat on top. The cat never moved but didn’t seem to mind the extra pets on his body.

“Mija…” Inez mumbled. She wanted to say more to her but couldn’t find the energy. She had became even more sleepy. “Why don’t you come over when I’m awake?” Somehow, she managed to mumble it out before she shifted over in a new position. She could hear Niko’s cry as she moved.

She then felt really cold. Did she leave on the fan again?

Another laugh echoed in her ear, clearly. She didn’t answer but Inez knew exactly why. However, sleep overwhelmed her and she fully fell asleep. She fell into a dreamless state when she couldn’t feel herself crying.

It was times like this where Inez missed the family together - before her ex-husband became her ex. She remembered the loving aura of family they all had together and even though there were some sad times, at least the family had each other.

Inez had grew up in a home where her mother rejected her and her father was apathetic to everything around them. The only thing that mattered to him was the vile treatment her mother did to him. Perhaps that would be fair if they didn’t involve Inez into their squabbles.

It took a lot of praying and hard work for Inez to eventually leave her home. She had eventually attained her own home - the home she slept in currently was under her name and her name only. She had recently paid off her loans so she currently owned her house - not her ex-husband as much as he claimed it’s his. Granted, he also put in his share of money but ultimately, at their divorce, they had decided to keep the house under her name.

The memories that resided along with Inez were hers and hers alone.

Along with her daughter Yulia, the girl who had visited her earlier, she had four more sons with her ex-husband - Alberto, Manuel, Ramon, and George. She and her ex-husband, Tommy, had earned enough money to ensure the children to go to college to at least consider their careers and, as a result, Alberto became a chef at a popular restaurant. Manuel became a teacher for children at the local elementary school - often, he would stop by to check on Inez and stay for the summer months to help around the house. Ramon worked as a doctor, well, really a nurse but Inez was always proud of him either way. And George,even though he had a bit of trouble, eventually he became a small time lawyer.

Inez had met Tommy in college while he studied business while she studied to become a teacher as well. The boys always teased Manuel for following in Inez’s footsteps but it always seemed to be light-hearted enough. After Inez retired, especially in the midst of her divorce, she became a housekeeper.

Being around children made it really hard for Inez.

Yulia always had an interest in politics and wanted to become a senator - the first member in their little big family to make such a big decision. She also had an interest in music as well. Anytime she was at home, Inez could hear the soft music that she would keep on as she read. She did everything with music, Inez remembered. Sometimes, even now in her empty nest, she would still hear Yulia’s music playing from her empty room.

She kept everyone’s rooms intact. Manuel always visited whenever he was able but generally, the boys had their own lives and she would always ask - or ‘nag’ them as they would put it - them to come over. And they would, usually during major holidays - Easter, Christmas, birthdays, and anniversaries. Well, at least while she and Tommy were still together but on that particular day, they would still come over and visit.

Even though Tommy had an executive position at his company, whatever that was anymore since it always changed ownership hands, he was very loose with money, especially as of late. Inez still had a lot of love for the man and she always helped him out - but something about his attitude seemed odd. She couldn’t exactly put her finger on it but she knew then she had to put her foot down. Tommy had grown angry and promised he was going to stop by with the boys.

She always found it annoying that Tommy used the boys against her. He would only do that as the last resort to get money out of her. She didn’t believe him this time though. She was tired and she wanted to save money instead.

From what Ramon told her, he had recently met a beautiful woman and he dated her. She wanted to meet her to see what she was like but Ramon hesitated. He seemed he shouldn’t have said what he did; however, he proceeded to tell Inez that he wanted to take her on a trip and he needed her help.

“Rent is extra high this month,” he admitted. “Some idiot flooded the room so now we all have to pay extra for repairs. I’m sorry, Mom… Normally, I wouldn’t ask this of you.”

She would smile patted him on his tall shoulder. Even though her boys had grown so much taller, they would always be her little boys.

Inez eventually woke up in the late afternoon. She felt a bit groggy and was disappointed again that Yulia had left. She grew annoyed and found herself hungry. It was then she noticed the blanket on top of her body - her favorite blanket. It was a quilt her late grandmother had made for her before she had passed away herself.

Inez had never told anyone how much it comforted her - she could always feel her grandmother’s warmth from the blanket even though her grandmother passed away when she was only a child. Her family always asked her why that was her favorite blanket but the only thing she would tell them was the simple truth - her grandmother made it for her.

She was grateful though. Yulia must’ve placed it on her when she visited again. She clung to the blanket and exhaled. She missed her dearly. The memories of their time together far and few in between but she could feel the love that kept the blanket warm.

Eventually, she yawned, stretched, and got herself some dinner. She had a quiet dinner with herself and had the TV on with whatever soap opera that was on. She had missed her usual soap and was annoyed with herself.

Not only did she miss that week’s episode, but she knew she probably wouldn't be able to sleep that night. Thankfully, she didn’t need to go to work the next day but she was still annoyed nevertheless.

Niko meowed and begged for dinner and Inez muttered as she got the cat’s food into its bowl.

The placement of the bowl was right next to the door which led to the garage. As the sun took its rest for the night, the usual fear for the garage grew along with it. She stared at the door as though whatever it was that was behind the door - watched her just as closely.

Was it an evil presence behind that door? Why wouldn’t those awful memories leave this home alone?

Inez would try her best to avoid the garage at night. During the day was fine though; she opened the garage door to let the stuffiness out or whenever Tommy still needed to use it for whatever reason. However, Inez did everything she could to avoid going to the garage. It was unfortunate that the washer and dryer were in the garage so Inez was forced to do it during the daytime.

She quickly poured the food into the cat’s bowl even though some of the pellets fell out. The hungry cat didn’t seem to mind his scared owner - at least he got more food for the night.

Inez hated it she was always so scared of the garage. She felt like a little girl again - always in fear of the Cucuy. She even tried to put that same fear into her children and, at the time, it seemed to work.

Now it seemed she was still gripped by that fear. She laughed at herself as she cleaned her dishes for the night. She shook her head. Her hair was thick as it was curly. She smiled and muttered to herself, a terrible habit she formed since she lived alone. She shook her head.

She turned off the light and headed back to her room. She made sure the doors were locked before she saw bright headlights outside her door.

She heard her sons’ usual laughter and voices as they came closer to the house. This perked Inez’s energy up and waited until one of the boys knocked on the door.

“Mom! It’s us!” George had said. “Let us in! Dad got you a gift!”

The Only One
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