Title: The Truth
Fandom: Prodigal Son
Character: Ainsley Whitly
Word Count: 300
Summary: The incident that started Ainsley on her career in reporting
Ainsley remembered the first time she’d heard the news. She was eight years old. Her mother and Malcolm were in the other room.
“Malcolm, no, I forbid it,” her mother had said.
Ainsley strained to hear Malcolm’s response but either she was too far away or he was too quiet. It sounded like he was in big trouble though, and she was a little happy about that. Her mother had doted on her brother and everything that had gone wrong was somehow Ainsley’s fault. She caught the trailing edge of Malcolm’s whine, “But mom…”
“Your father is a murderer!” her mother yelled. Ainsley gasped, then slapped a hand over her mouth in hopes that nobody had heard her.
All her life she’d been told that her father was away, that he wasn’t coming back. She’d never known him and any photographs of him that had been in the house were either carefully tucked away or destroyed. Occasionally, she’d dream about a man with a soothing voice. She’d felt safe in those dreams, so she assumed they must have been about her father.
Now, she knew that her father wasn’t safe at all. She crept into her room, booted up her computer, and typed “Martin Whitly” into a search engine. Headline after headline showed up and she read accounts of her father’s crimes and watched videos of news stories about the murders, the arrest, and the trial. Over time, she began to appreciate the way the story spun out through the lips of the journalists, like a thrilling ghost story told around the campfire.
She would do that, she thought. When she got old enough, she would be the one in front of the camera telling those stories. Maybe one day another little girl would learn the truth. Thanks to her.