I am truly sorry about this incredibly long and embarrassing gap. I'm sure most of you have forgotten what my story's all about. Here's a NOT so brief explanation to bring you guys up to speed:
There were The Goths, a happy family of four, with Victor Goth as Lord Mayor of Sunset. He callled in Queenie Landgraab and her family to Sunset to spruce up the dying economy and city. That she did, slowly prizing it from Victor's grasp , as well as destroying all competition, including the Kennedies, a couple called in for the military defenses of Sunset, with a young daughter named Erin. Their complete humiliation and sorrow makes them take the decision to leave, but not before finding a way to destroy the untouchable Queenie.
Chester Landgraab, husband to Queenie, is caught up in a whirlwind affair with young waitress Bessie Clavell, who is married to Buster Clavell, head of the police force in Sunset Valley. The affair has gone on unnoticed.
Nancy Landgraab, Queenie's daughter, falls in love with Nick Alto, the son of The Altos, the main competitors for Landgraab Industries in Sunset Valley. Queenie is opposed to the match, and spends time and energy to drive the couple with their son out of town.
Sylvester Thompson, one of the more recent arrivals at Sunset, was an eccentric, mysterious old man who kept mostly to himself. No one was even slightly interested in the man... Till he was brutally murdered, and the culprit was never found.
Prudence Crumplebottom, a widow with two daughters is the perfect catalyst to any ongoing scene in town. Setting herself up as a close friend of Gretle Goth, she ALSO sets a tail to follow Victor Goth, simply because of her vast wealth, boredom, and a hunger for secrets and scandal. She maintained a file filled with information of his every doings.... Including the massive bribes he took.
Monica Wendyll, a stunningly beautiful young woman is well liked by all Sunset's townies. However, she herself seems to follow Victor Goth around, and she tricked Prudence and stole all her dirt on him. She is also seen blackmailing him to filter some of his money into her own pocket.
The Wainwrights are a young, newly married couple; both brilliant and famous scientists, hired by Queenie to handle the Science Labs of Sunset Valley. They encounter the Bachelors, two aspiring writers who have recently had a child of their own, but are suffering from mysterious happenings in their home. The Wainwrights, skeptic as they are, agree to live with them for a week to see if anything truly is amiss....
Frida Goth, the infant daughter of Victor and his wife Gretle Goth, is kidnapped. The entire town is now in very terror for their lives, and Sunset is known nationally as an unsafe town to be in, with one murder and one kidnap in less than a span of one year.....
THIS is the scene of Sunset Valley Today. And here's what happens next.....
The town of Sunset Valley stood as it always had; with all it’s buildings seeming to lean against the nearby hills, as if for support against the strains of everyday life. But to the people within the peace loving community, nothing would ever be the same again. To them, everything had a new sinister glint to it; the spotless windows reflecting the strewn sunlight, the warm, baked earth underneath their feet, the quiet, still air itself seemed to spell of darker things to come.
Almost a year after the gruesome murder of Sylvester Thompson, a new tragedy had rocked Sunset; something that would mar it’s history forever. The kidnapping of the young rose of the Goth household, Frida , with her delicate, baby features and the smile she had for everyone had vanished with her, and no one knew who had spirited her away.
Despair was a well known but despised companion to The Goths in those dark days when all seemed lost to them, and nothing would make Gretle, who was always as delicate as crystal glass stop weeping. In addition to the loss of her daughter was the lingering seed of doubt that had been planted by Prudence’s able hand. Watered with despair, fed with suffering, it grew and bloomed, slowly taking root within her soul. Was her husband, her loving husband who had stood by her all these years, cheating on her with a young pretty face? Would he do this to their children, who he swore he loved more than anything else in the world?
Were the Goths only coming up against the loss of their daughter, as if that were not bad enough? Was their very family disintegrating before their eyes?
Meanwhile; in the void created by the absence of The Lord Mayor, Queenie had slowly but surely taken control of the town. But there was one itch that the all powerful woman had yet to scratch; one little action that required her attention. And she was determined to secure that which she desired the most, just as easily as those always in power always do…..
“You will leave Sunset, and you will never return. You will not turn back, you will not ever set foot in this town again,” said Queenie into the phone; just as calmly as if she was describing the weather. “What?! Who is this?!,” exclaimed a stunned Newton Alto, though he already knew the answer. “Landgraab here, Alto,” she replied impatiently, as easily and dismissively as if she were not breaking another family, destroying another set of lives, “Do I have to repeat myself?”
“Queenie, what’s all this about? Who the hell do you think you are?,” said Newton angrily. “I think I’m the Deputy of The Mayor himself, as well as Co-owner of the Leading Business in Sunset Valley, that’s who,” she replied with satisfaction. “I didn’t hear God among those titles,” he said drily. “What gives you the right to decide who’ll stay here and who won’t?” Queenie sighed, making the line crackle with static.
“Newton, I tried making this easy for you, I really did,” she said. “But you Altos just don’t give up! Alright then, but remember, you’ve forced me to this.” There was a slight pause on the line, as if Queenie was thinking. Then, “Alto, where were you on the night of the murder of Sylvester Thompson?” “Wait; WHAT?” he replied, completely shocked by the sudden change of topic. Queenie smiled craftily; she knew she had caught him unawares. “I asked you where you were on the night Sylvester, poor old Sylvester was murdered,” she demurred silkily.
“I- I was at home, just like I told the cops,” he said quickly, too quickly. “At home, with Leshandra and Nick...” “Lies,” she cut across him smoothly. “All lies, Newton. I know where you were. And I have pictures to prove it. You were at Sylvester’s house, weren’t you? You killed that poor old man with your own hands, though for what gain I can’t say. Didn’t you, you murderer?” “I didn’t do it, Queenie, I swear it,” he said, his voice quavering and weak. “So what the hell were you doing, the night before the murder at the victim’s house? Playing poker? You’re guilty of hiding information from the police, at the very least.”
“I visited him because I knew things about him,” he rumbled carefully. “No one knew but me, I found out who he was and where he came from. I offered him a business proposition, which he turned down, and then I left. The next morning, I come to know he was murdered. It’s as simple as that, Queenie.” “And you hid all this because…?” “Because I was afraid. Of being convicted for a crime I didn’t do.” “Be that as it may,” Queenie said with relish, “You were there. You lied to the police, which can get you sentenced alone. Plus, who’s to say you didn’t do it? Who wouldn’t accuse you?” Softly, she dealt the death blow. “And who would take your word… Against mine?”
Newton felt a slow sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. It was then that he realized he was beaten, and no one could stand against the Landgraabs. The silence made Queenie continue. “You’ll do as I say, Newton. For fear of a life sentence and for fear of leaving your family starving.” Such was her power that she deign to wait for his reply andmerely continued talking. “Now, listen to my instructions carefully.” “You can’t do this, Langraab,” he said weakly. “This is blackmail you’re using.” “Oh but I can, Newton,” she said succinctly. “I can, I am, and I will. And no one, and I mean no one will stop me.”
“Pajama party,” thought Boyd to himself wryly as he looked around at Susan, Milton, Enriqueta and himself, all in their sleep wear, around the Bachelors’ living room at 11 P.M in the night. Over the four days that they had been here so far, there had been absolutely nothing out of the ordinary that had happened in the quaint nest that the Bachelors had made for themselves in Sunset. The pair insisted that this was odd for the house, and Milton joked nervously that it didn’t feel like ‘home’ since nothing weird seemed to be happening. Enriqueta smiled and said that any day now, something out of the ordinary would happen, and they just had to wait.
Meanwhile, Boyd saw the signs of his wife’s unease in the house. She was impatient, edgy and cranky, and something told him that it wasn’t just the lack of any odd signs that was getting to her. Something wasn’t going right for her, but he knew that he’d have to wait patiently till she confided in him to know what it was.
As they sat around the living room in quiet silence, with the lull in conversation slowly growing in length until they were each lost in their own thoughts, something seemed to happen in the air a little way away from the sofas. Boyd noticed it first, and gasped as a shimmering seam seemed to split the air before him, and when the others, following his gaze looked at the point he was staring at with mouths agape, he knew he had not imagined it. Slowly, the shimmering seemed to take shape and form, and he could see what seemed like a torso, arms and then a head…..
Before them stood the figure of a man, waxy in the light shed from the room, pale white and almost translucent in nature, the colour of shimmering fabric. He looked old, very old in fact, with a deep stoop to his back. And when Boyd looked down, he noticed a pair of sneakers, which… did they hover? Yes, hovered above the ground. The figure stood, suspended that way, and then, looking around at them all, he broke into a gradual, crooked smile.
Enriqueta was the first to. Seeing a new person among them, she did what seemed the most normal and natural thing to do; mutely, she stepped forward and stuck out a hand to the glowing white spirit. Still smiling, the man turned to her and reached forward to shake her hand. Contrary to Boyd’s thinking, (which seemed to have stopped functioning since the moment he saw living proof of all that he battled and tried to disprove every moment of his life,) their hands clasped each other firmly, though Enriqueta shuddered at the touch.
“Wh-what are you?,” said Susan, terrified of what she saw before her eyes. “Where’d you come from?” The figure still smiling patiently turned to her instead. “I am one of the undead,” he said calmly. His voice echoed slightly, as if he was standing at the end of a long, empty corridor. “My name was Nestor when I was in this realm.” “I don’t understand,” babbled Susan quickly, “You can’t be here, you don’t exist you’re unreal, this is a joke-“ “Quiet, Susan,” said Boyd quietly. He looked at his wife and saw her eyes as wide and bright as gold coins and her mouth hanging agape in shock. “Calm down, just listen.”
Nestor, if that was what he was to be called, nodded his smoky head in agreement. “Yes. Listen, Susan Wainwright. There isn’t much time for me here. I cannot stay for long.” The figure took a deep, shuddering breath before continuing, as if the mere effort of speaking was draining the life…or death out of him. “First of all, I must apologize to you both, Milton and Enriqueta. The disquiet of my spirit has caused you to send your son away. I will explain why I have done this. But for now, know that it was never my intention to hurt you both, or your child.” The couple smiled tentatively in reply.
“The reason why I did not reveal myself to you both alone is due to authenticity; I am sorry to say that the person to whom I want to contact would never believe you if you approached him yourselves. However, the two most prominent scientists in the region might be able to make progress with him.” “But I don’t understand; why can’t you contact him yourself?,” queried Milton practically. “Because he refused to see me in real life,” said the ghost mournfully. “When we last parted, it was not on good terms. Due to rules that I cannot explain to you, in death we aren’t allowed to contact those who never desired our presence in life.”
He turned to the Wainwrights before continuing, “The person I want you, Susan and Boyd Wainwright, to contact is my own son. At this moment, he has lost all that was ever of any value to him, but he needs to be warned, for I fear he still has not learned his lesson. Greed is the great curse of our family, and I come to warn him of it. Though he did not hear me in life, I pray that in death, he will listen to what I have to say.” His expression was pained, as if he suffered some inexplicably great loss. “Do this for me, I ask it of you both. Nothing can bind you to it, and from tonight, none of you will ever see me again, that I promise you all. I will cease to haunt the Bachelors. If my son listens to these words of mine now, he will save not just himself, but the next generation as well.”
Moved by pity, Boyd walked to the man and clasped him on the back. Though his hand connected with solid flesh, the body was as cold as a grave and he had to fight back a shudder. “We’ll do it, Sir. Don’t doubt us. If it means so much to you, it will be done. But you must tell me; what comes after this? What have you seen?” The spirit smiled sadly in reply, though he already seemed to be fading away at the edges of his frame.
“Thank you. And as to your question, I cannot answer that. You will learn it yourself, when you move on to life’s next great adventure on your own.” Slowly, Boyd saw that Nestor was disappearing. “No, wait! You haven’t told us who your son even is!” The figure turned to him at that, and suddenly, his features seemed recognizable and more familiar than Boyd had first noticed. He smiled again. “You already know. Take this. It will prove to him that it was truly me.” At his fading feet, a thump was heard as an old fashioned gold pocket watch fell to the floor. With that, the man completely disappeared.
This is part 1 of Chapter 10; Broken Hearts. Stay tuned for the next installment within a week!
The Observant Lefty.