Tree branches scratched against the window, rattling the glass in the frame, and leaving scratch marks on the surface. A howl sounded in the distance, birds fluttered in the distance; beams of moonlight escaped past the curtains, leaving a thin, delicate stream of light on the pale pink carpet. Alice sat in the darkness of the room; tears running down her already stained face, her eyes were red and puffy.
She hiccupped, her head pounded, she still couldn’t believe it. How could it happen? Alice thought numbly about her grandparents. Her grandpapa seemed so preoccupied yesterday morning and her grandmamma was too quiet. She wondered idly why the accident had happened; who caused it?
“Keith?” Alice spoke softly; almost a whisper. “Have my grandparents seemed different to you at all?” She glanced over at him; his shirt was opened, revealing thick chest hair. His hair was disheveled, his eyes down casted and his thoughts distant. “Keith?” She repeated.
“I don’t know,” he said hoarsely. Keith shrugged uncomfortably, “I didn’t spend much time with them.”
Pictures of Keith sat in her bag. The bus ride was taking forever. The vastly open fields kept rolling on and on. How long was this going to take? Alice reached into her bag and felt around for a wooden frame. Her hand skimmed across a metal frame and she grabbed it. Keith stared up at her from the glass, he grinned a devious grin and his eyes glinted a pale orange. Alice felt tears form in her eyes, she quickly wiped them away. Why had he turned out to be such a heartless bastard?
“I loved you,” she said numbly as she rubbed her finger on the glass, the face stared mockingly up at her. “You said you don’t know, why?”
Alice rubbed her eyes; the exhaustion hitting her like a ton of bricks. She looked at the carpet, her heart felt heavy and sick. “Funny,” she began without thought, “I came home to find peace to take over the pain I felt from my divorce and now I don’t know if I even want to be here. Christ,” Alice rubbed her temples, “I never asked for this.”
“Divorce?” Keith sounded surprised.
“Yeah,” she said with little emotion, “I’m glad it happened too.”
“Why?” He mocked, “Aren’t you supposed to take those vows seriously.”
“Christ Keith,” she sighed, “can’t you show some kind of kindness?”
He laughed sourly, “Sorry sugar, if you’re lookin’ for kindness and happiness from me, you’ve come to the wrong man.”
Alice shook her head slowly; she stared longingly out of the window. Somewhere out there her grandparents were lying on a metal slab being cut open and here she was sitting here arguing with the coldest and most heartless bastard in existence. Alice stood and felt her back crack. “Well, thanks.”
He shrugged and turned, he sighed. “Look, I’m, uh, I’m sorry about your grandparents. Shitty way to go.”
“Me too.” But she knew he had already left. Good riddance.
The mansion was in shadows, it seemed lifeless and dull. She was the only one breathing inside of it. Alice walked through the marble foyer, her footsteps echoing against the stone walls and bouncing back to her. She walked into the kitchen and flicked the light on. Everything was where it should have been, except a tea cup and saucer that sat on the table. Her eyes watered.
Why wasn’t the cup and saucer cleaned up by Greg, like it should have been? Alice shrugged lightly and walked over to the table and grabbed them. Underneath the saucer a note lay, “Alice” was written on it in her grandmamma’s neat handwriting. With shaky hands, Alice reached down and grasped the letter. She unfolded the peach colored paper and felt her heart turn to ice.
I’m sorry we didn’t tell you sooner. Know we both love you, your grandfather and I. I feel like we have wronged you, but we had to hide this from you because it was safest. Alaine already knows what I am about to tell you. It’s about your parents.
I can’t tell you how your mother died, if I did, it would ruin your memories of her and I would not see that done. But your father… please understand that he was violent. You often asked after him, but we had never told you about him.
We never told you because he did terrible things. He hurt your mother over and over, and I fear he may have you or Alaine, if we hadn’t intervened.
You need to leave Alice. I think he is going to try and come back for you and Alaine. I don’t care what happens to me or your grandfather, we have lived a happy life; I worry for you and Alaine.
Please my granddaughter, save yourself and flee. Your father is cruel and will stop at nothing to get you.
with love, XoXo.”
Alice couldn’t believe it. She grasped the letter until it rumpled. Closing her eyes tightly, she screamed. She screamed until her throat constricted and she could no longer breathe. Alice dropped to her knees and sobbed heavily. Her vision became blurry and her throat felt dry and sore. The letter fell to the ground and rolled away from her. With all the strength left in her body, she threw a punch into the hardwood floor and sagged on the floor.
The window rattled, breaking into her trance and sending her into a panic. Alice jumped to her feet and made a dash for her room. The marble floor seemed slippery, nearly causing her to slip and fall. The darkness in the foyer seemed darker, her senses seemed dulled and her vision blurred.
The stairs seemed too high, the steps too narrow and too dark. Once inside her room, Alice double checked to make sure the door was locked; it was. Alice nibbled on her lower lip, she tasted blood and flinched. With quick strides she walked towards the closet and stared down into the darkness.
Alice bent and reached inside her leather bag. Her hand glazed across a cold metal object and she smiled. Grabbing the handle, she pulled out an old revolver, one of the few priceless objects Brad had owned, it packed one hell of a punch and she knew it was lethal.
Alice backed away from the closet and sat down facing the door. She cocked the gun and pointed it towards the door. At least she wouldn’t be defenseless. Let him come then. Her hand shook and she sobbed heavily. Alice blinked, clearing her vision but not her head. She took a deep breath and steadied her hands; she was not going to sit around like a lifeless lamb ready to be sacrificed. She would go down a fighter, fighting for what she believed in.
“I won’t die a coward,” she whispered, “I will do what I believe. I will fight.”
Her eyes stared hard at the dark door, she neither flinched or moved. She would be hard pressed to back down.