Collectively they are known as the Troubles. In the days before movies, television, computers, and phones, when the eyes' ability to see what is genuinely there had yet been dulled by screen time, the faint outlines of these creatures could be detected walking next to or following their victims. Those witnessing these bearers of ill will stalking their prey would say, "there is poor Liam. He is with Trouble." As the eyes began to be burned by screens, people changed "with Trouble" to "in trouble." Trouble stopped being a proper noun. That is when the real trouble began.
You can't get yourself out of Trouble. Trouble stays with you until either it's mission is accomplished, or it grows bored. Trouble is not to be confused with the Blues, which can be swept away. Trouble is persistent.
Mister Gulumpus Trouble moved into our friends Sabrina, Abigail Jean, Tori, and their parents Walt and Dee's house years ago. He caused Walt to have a stroke that left him incapacitated, and then Gulumpus gave Walt dementia. Mama Dee tried to take care of Walt at home, but Gulumpus continued to take away from him until Walt could not recognize anyone and looked like a thin piece of paper that would disintegrate if touched. Dee had no choice but to put Walt into a nursing home where he seems to be forever fading away. His essence has long since gone to the Bridge to await his body and the rest of his family.
A year ago, Gulumpus made Sabrina so sick she had to go to the Bridge and be reunited with her father's essence. Her mom and sisters were left behind to battle Gulumpus, who was not finished, bored, or going anywhere.
Then Gulumpus took unprecedented advantage of the situation and invited his friend Jack Skinflint, the Trouble that causes financial distress into the home. Skinflint brought with him a mound of bills, mostly having to do with Walt's care, which Mama Dee deftly handled with the help of insurance and Medicare. But Skinflint kept the bills coming. Abigail Jean and Tori were both dealing with expensive maladies ranging from lupus to kidney disease.
Both girls were sick, but they promised their broken-hearted mom they would not leave. Skinflint made the costs of their medical expenses skyrocket as Gulumpus caused their conditions to worsen. Some of their mom's "friends" suggested she send the expensive little dogs to the Bridge to save money. But, Mama Dee would never do that.
The girls were both making deals with black angels and borrowing heartbeats to stay with their mom, but they knew the situation was untenable. They could not bear what Galumpus threw at them. But if one went to the Bridge…..
There is one way to counteract the Troubles, and that is through praying to the angels. We can’t defeat them, but we can pester them until they move on. We had been buzzing around, prodding and pushing both Gulumpus and Jack Skinflint, but they wouldn't leave Mama Dee’s home. Maybe if we had another angel fighting with us, it might tip the scales in our favor.
Abigail Jean and Tori discussed what would be the most beneficial for their mom. They knew one of them would have to go to the Bridge to counter Skinflint's bills and add another angel to the group pestering the Troubles. AJ said there was a door in her mind behind which she kept all her pain. If she were to open it, even an inch, the pain would spread through her body in minutes. AJ remembered her Mom saying she would only send one of her babies to the Bridge if they were in pain. Abigail Jean decided to open the door and let the pain ravish her. Hopefully, this would make her Momma send her to the Bridge. From there, she could join the angels in their attempts to drive the Troubles away. AJ let the pain out. That left her in a terrible state for a long night. The next morning Mama Dee knew all she could do was let her baby go.
Have you ever been underwater too long, and when you finally break the surface, the first gasp of air feels like you are being filled with life itself? That is how it was with Abigail Jean. Before she went to the Bridge, the pain was strangling her. Once she arrived, she could breathe without pain and fill her lungs again.
Sadly, for every soul saved from pain, someone takes it on, and that is Abigail Jane’s mom, who did not care how many bills Jack Skinflint produced or what misery Gulumpus caused. She would have suffered all of it to be with her babies. It hurts me to see her in pain; it must be a thousand times worse for Abigail and Sabrina to witness.
Abigail Jean has always been an asset to her family. If she can help drive the Troubles from her house, she will be a true hero.
But, to her mom, she always has been.