Home > Midnight Rapture

Midnight Rapture
Author: Anya Summers




Freya stared at the multimillion-dollar Campbell residence with disgust clogging her throat.

Her stomach clawed against her ribcage, begging for sustenance. She’d still be short on rent even after she finished cleaning Mr. Campbell’s house. The unfairness of it, of everything she’d been forced to endure in her twenty-six years, made her want to vomit. She would too, if she’d eaten anything since yesterday.

But she couldn’t afford food—at least not for herself.

Her only job was ensuring her daughter, Maddie, had a roof over her head and food in her belly while staying one step ahead of her abusive ex.

Her daughter was the only thing that mattered in this equation.

But having her lack shoved in her face this way was like pouring bleach over an open wound. It was piled on top of sleepless nights in seedy motel rooms with drug deals and police raids happening down the hall. While she fought to protect her daughter through it all. She’d gone without so many meals over the past seventeen months since escaping her ex that her ribcage was visible, and she’d lost muscle definition.

The house looked like it should be in the English countryside and not on the outskirts of Denver, overlooking the city in the distance. The neighborhood was tree-lined with towering oaks, maples, and evergreens. And a veritable forest of those trees surrounded the house grounds, providing the illusion of seclusion. Her beat-up tan minivan, which was practically running on fumes, looked foreign in the paved circular driveway with the gray and ivory stone fountain in the center.

But she couldn’t worry about what the house looked like. She just had to clean the damn thing to earn a lousy hundred bucks that wouldn’t even scratch the surface of what she needed to survive. Whoever this guy was, he likely made that much every second of every day to afford a house like this one.

With a defeated sigh, she got to work, entering the house with the six-digit code she was provided to unlock the front door that apparently the owner changed after every house cleaning. Freya carted a slumbering Maddie into the house. Glossy, golden pinewood floors greeted her in the foyer. There was a music room off to the left in the open floor plan. Greek-styled columns framed the room in a muted eggshell. Inside the open room, a shiny black grand piano was center stage. Moving beyond the entrance, the space opened into a comfortable living room. The tan sectional sofa looked sumptuous, like a body could sink into it and take a nap.

Oh goodness, she’d give anything for a nap on something without questionable stains. She glanced at Maddie nestled against her chest. Almost anything.

Freya carted in her kid and the secondhand playpen she’d found at a local thrift shop. She laid Maddie on the couch and erected the playpen in the living room. Thankfully, her daughter was a deep sleeper.

Freya started upstairs first with the bedrooms. She left Maddie sleeping in the playpen with a baby monitor, taking the monitor remote with her upstairs while she cleaned. This way, if her little girl woke, she would hear her.

As Freya cleaned all the bathrooms on the second floor, she wondered what it would be like to have such a large disposable income to afford a house this grand. There were six bathrooms on the second floor alone. Six.

Even when it hadn’t been just her contributing, she’d never been able to afford a place with over two bathrooms. She contemplated money she could barely conceive of as she dusted the furniture and shelves. Then she cleaned the windows until they gleamed before vacuuming and mopping floors to finish the upper floor.

Maddie’s babble sounded through the monitor as Freya made her way down to the main floor. She would clean the basement next and finish with the main floor. That meant carting Maddie and her playpen down the stairs.

“Mama.” Maddie stood in her playpen, grinning.

Warmth spread over her. Love welled up until she thought she would burst from the strength of it. The love she had for her daughter eclipsed everything else in her life. It never failed to amaze her that this spunky, happy little girl had come from her. She leaned in and pressed a kiss against Maddie’s feather-soft red hair that reminded her of the sunset with its various shades of red, orange, and gold. It was still growing, but it was long enough now for barrettes and bows. “How’s my baby girl? Did you have a nice nap?”

“Uh, huh.”

Lifting her out of the playpen, she snuggled her daughter close. There wasn’t anything she wouldn’t do for her. She’d never known she could love someone this much. “Want to help mama get work done downstairs?”

“Yay!” Maddie clapped her pudgy toddler hands. At twenty months, she was starting to lose all the baby fat. Before she knew it, her little girl would be going off to college.

“And I have some Cheerios for you to munch on if you’re hungry.” She tweaked her nose when her daughter screamed in excitement.

Freya collapsed the playpen one-handed. Having Maddie made her adept at juggling more than one thing in her arms. Hefting the playpen, they made their way down the stairs, and she could only roll her eyes. Boy, did Mr. Campbell have money to burn.

There was a movie theater with black leather reclining seats and a fully stocked bar at the back of the room. A freaking movie theater! Just who was this guy?

There was a state-of-the-art gym with cardio machines, free weights, weight machines, and a door that led to a sauna. There was a game room with a pool table, foosball, arcade games, a dartboard, and even a poker table with a stocked bar beyond. And there was an additional room that was locked with a thumb print entry lock. What did a man who had all this cool stuff need with an additional secured room? What did he have stashed in there? The Ark of the Covenant?

Freya set Maddie up inside the playpen in the family room while she cleaned, monitoring her kid while she munched on Cheerios. Sometimes Maddie liked to throw her snacks out of the playpen, especially when she was being fussy or a stinker. With a toddler, one never knew what they would get at any moment. She never imagined she could ruin someone’s entire day by giving them the wrong colored sippy cup.

While she worked, she sang to Maddie. It entertained her and made her girl happy. Not to mention, it was super cute when Maddie tried singing with her. As much as she tried to keep it to songs for kids like Wheels on the Bus, she sometimes mixed in some pop numbers, purely for her enjoyment too.

By the time she finished cleaning the basement, sweat beaded her forehead and soaked the back of her shirt. She swayed on her feet, fighting against a wave of dizziness. Her blood sugar levels had tanked. This was what happened when she went over twenty-four hours without food. One would think she’d get used to being hungry all the time, except she hadn’t. She kept telling herself the sparse meals would be temporary. That somehow, someway, she would figure things out and have enough disposable income to feed Maddie and herself. It just wasn’t today.

She pushed on because she had no other choice. If she didn’t work, her kid wouldn’t eat, and she wouldn’t be able to afford diapers.

It was barely noon by the time she started on the main floor. She left Maddie in her playpen in the kitchen while she took care of the bathrooms on the first floor. Thank goodness Maddie was such a happy little girl and loved entertaining herself with her toys.

Freya listened to her babbling and munching on more snacks while she cleaned. It made her heart happy.

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