Long ago, when this young couple married for love, neither of them expected the hardships and difficulties that would come with the Goth fortune. Time was telling them, however, that to keep these vows would be more difficult than either of them had ever imagined….
Then there were those who, after having broken their vows, regretted making them in the first place, regretted restrictions, regretted the promises they had made to the loves of their life, regretted doing things they were so sure of once upon a time….
And then, there were the others. Those whose bitter and discontented lives forced them to make new vows, reckless vows. And these vows were those that they promised they would achieve no matter the cost. They were the oaths of revenge that they would meet on their own, no matter the cost, to those they blamed for their bereavement.
Watch as revenge is meted out, oaths are broken and new agreements forged in Sunset Valley.
Susan stared beyond the Bachelors’ backyard garden, the apples and small peaches, lusciously illuminated by the moonlight, Sunset’s buildings and turrets frozen and still as if bound by an enchantment, to the moon, framed by the hillocks beyond the Valley, glowing, almost liquidly; all-seeing. She shivered and looked away. The moon always drew her; drew her in ways she did not want to think about.
As a child, her mother had often told her stories of her home-land, Greece, and the tale of how she herself was descended, from an ancient line of Princes. Susan, as a young girl balancing on her mother’s knees on the porch of their country home would listen to story of her ancestress, the Goddess Selene, the goddess of the Full Moon, and her lover, The Greek king Endymion, from whose line they were supposedly descended. If Susan closed her eyes, she could still feel the familiar rhythm of her mother’s heart-beat and the quiet whispered stories in a voice which held a captivity of it’s own.
Her mother had once told her that the power of the moon still held sway over her family, and that bouts of weakness and strength followed them along with it’s waxing and waning. “Power is what we are heir to, my daughter,” she once whispered. ‘Power is what we possess, strange and mystical, and it exists in us, truly, it does. But only if we believe. Only if you believe, will you see true.”
Susan wanted to put these thoughts behind her. After all, the job she gave so much to on a daily basis and the theories and formulae that she knew as well as the back of her hand disproved any of these beliefs… And yet… Something about the moon seemed counseling today, almost advisory in nature. And a gut-feeling told her that something in this house, the Bachelors’ house, was greatly amiss…
Suddenly, she felt familiar warm arms around her, engulfing her, stemming the flow of her thoughts. She turned around to her husband, who kissed her without saying a word. “Come to bed, Susie. Whatever it is, let it be. There’s no use worrying about it, is there?”She sighed in reply, and gently, he guided her to their bed and sat beside her, carefully massaging her temples till she fell asleep.
Boyd had learnt long ago that when his wife woke up from bed in the middle of the night, things were not going well. He also knew that that was the time she needed her space the most. He rose from the bed and stretched, troubled. But it was all decided now; they were to stay here for a week, and nothing that happened would change his mind. “Let’s figure out if these ghost stories are for real,” he muttered to himself.
All said and done, the Bachelors seemed like good, honest people who truly believed that they had sent their newborn daughter away for their own good; they missed her and wanted her back. That much was apparent from the mute stares of yearning at the empty cradle. And he wanted to help them in whatever way he could do so. “No,” he said firmly to himself. “We’re here to stay. At least till we help figure this out.” He turned back to the bed and wrapping his arms around his sleeping wife, he went back to sleep.
Prudence was in a very foul mood. Things were not going right for her, not right indeed. Some of her stocks had taken a sudden lunge downwards and coupled with the fact that she had invested a small fortune in the particular enterprise, she was bound to be unhappy. And then, to make matters worse, the spy she had set on Victor Goth had mysteriously gone missing, along with all her accumulated documents on the Goths. She had tried contacting and locating him with all the power and influence she commanded, but to no avail: either no one had any information as to his whereabouts, or they weren’t spilling any details, even to her.
Now, as she stood rummaging among her deceased husband’s collection of books, searching for some legal documents, she wondered if her day could get any worse. At that very moment, her phone rang, the noise reverberating off the corners of the quiet library, making her jump.
“Who is this? And make it quick. I’ve got work to do,” she said snappishly. “Hello, Prudence. How are you handling your recent stock crash? Finances down? Poor you.” “Who are you and what do you want? Don’t waste my time.” “Oh, I’m sure you recognize the voice, give it a second’s thought,” said the voice from the phone succinctly.
“I don’t-. Wait. YOU. What on earth do you want from me? And how the hell did you get my number?” The voice on the phone chuckled quietly. “Come on, Prudence, everyone knows little old you by now. Haven’t you been sucking up to the rich and famous all around town enough? Poor widow, all alone in the world, struggling to raise two children on her own…But we both know there’s much, much more to you than that, isn’t there, you sneaky vixen?” “How dare you speak to me like this! You don’t even know me that well! And what do you hope to achieve, taunting me? If that’s all you called for, this ends now!”
“Fine, then, don’t play along. I called because I was wondering how you were managing without that smelly hound of yours that you set on Victor Goth. How ever will you stalk him now?” Prudence’s blood ran cold. No longer did she have any evidence as to Goth’s underground connections and activities, and if anyone came to know that she had set a tail on the highest ranking official in Sunset, she’d be in a lot of trouble herself…. “What do you want?,” she asked, wearily. She knew that she was beaten this time.
“Oh, no, Prudence, don’t give in that easily. I’m not trying to blackmail you, no, no, no, on the contrary, I wanted to see if we could work together. I would’ve been all nice if you weren’t such a willful, annoying bitch, yourself.” Prudence’s nails dug into her palms as her breathing increased in anger. No one could talk to her like that and get away with it. “There now that you’ve been knocked down a few, I wanted to ask you for a little bit of help myself.”
After the voice told her what was needed of her, Prudence took a long breath and exhaled, then smiled. Adding a little fuel to the fire, being the middle woman, the perfect catalyst, was something she excelled at. However, reigning in her emotions, she said, “And what can I expect from you in return?” The voice laughed. “You can expect me not to show proof of your doings, Crumplebottom. Don’t expect any more. And I want this done within a week. That’s all.” The phone went dead.
Prudence flung her phone away as hard as she could in disgust. She couldn’t stand being told what to do, and yet she had to, for now. There was no way out. As she stomped out of the library, however, muttering and cursing under her breath, she was too absorbed in herself to notice tiny Agnes slipping away, after hearing everything that had taken place.
Nancy walked into the living room to find her mother sitting before the T.V, all geared up for work. Thinking about it, she only remembered her mother in one of two states at home: Either preparing to jet off to work or sleeping. “Mom, where’s Dad today?,” she asked her, noticing her father’s absence for the first time. “He’s gone on a business trip to Twinbrook, I think. I wouldn’t really know why he would bother. Everything at our branch there is running just fine. I don’t see why he has to visit so often these days.”
Nancy went and sat next to her mother, wanting to watch the T.V. Without looking at her, Queenie absentmindedly said, “You don’t have any plans for today, do you? Because I’m expecting a courier at around 2, and someone needs to be at home to receive it.” “Erm, yeah mom I actually do have plans, can’t you get the maid to do it?” “She’s on vacation, and besides, it’s a sum of money that I’d prefer in your hands. Where are you going?” Her eyes narrowed as she spared a severe glance at her daughter. “Not anywhere with that Alto boy I hope? Because if you are, I expect you staying home today.”
Nancy’s temper flared up at her mother’s derogatory tone. Today was the day that Nick had decided that he would formally introduce Nancy to his folks and they were all to go out to a restaurant together. “Yes, Mom, yes I am going out with him today. And I’d think you’d be a little more respectful of my feelings for him.” “Queenie turned to glare at her daughter. “No, I wouldn’t, Nancy, and you know it. How could you even think of being seen around town with a boy of such little social standing? Forget that: Have you even considered the fact that he’s the son to our bitterest rivals?”
Both had stood up now to face each other in their temper. “Mom, you were a young girl in love once. Or, at least, I think you were, ‘cos that’s what you told me. Don’t you at least remember what it felt like? Did it matter to you, who he was from, what he did, who his parents were? Because it sure as hell doesn’t matter to me!” “Queenie jerked her head backwards as if she had been slapped. “Why are you talking as if I’m still not in love?,” she whispered to this angry young girl who no longer seemed like her own little girl.
“Oh, I don’t know, probably because you don’t have any time for Dad or me anymore? Probably because it’s all work and more work for you? Probably because you don’t care about what’s important to either of us and what we need?” At that the dark heat of her anger slowly crept up within her again. “Enough. You will not leave this house today, young lady and I mean it. I’m staying home today and you can go to your room. I don’t want to see you out here till dinner. Am I clear?” “Fine then!,” Nancy yelled as she tromped up the stairs.
She knew what she had to do. She always had a spare key with her anyway. There was the tree just outside her bedroom door that was easy enough to climb; she knew each and every gnarl and twist of it as a little girl who had climbed it almost every day in her childhood. Nothing would stop her doing what she wanted to, not even her family. ‘After all,’ she thought, smiling grimly to herself, ‘I am my mother’s daughter.’
Downstairs, the mother to this most rebellious daughter of her’s kneeled slowly where she stood, wrapped her arms around herself, and began mourning. She mourned because of the grain of truth in her daughter’s words, she mourned for her lost love, for her failed parenting, for how it all went wrong, so quickly, so easily, when it had all started out so perfectly.
Eithelia Kennedy lay spread-eagled over her bed, eyes open wide and glassy, staring into space; the epitome of loss and despair. Life had taken everything she had away from her, and her one wish: To do the best she could for Sunset Valley had all gone wrong.
After the arrest of her husband, Eithelia tried to maintain her optimism. She thought that the maximum they could hold him was for a week….. And then two weeks… And then three…And slowly, one month was up… And then the secons, and then the third…. By this point, she was slowly losing hope. She couldn’t understand how the bloody spade found it’s way to their shed, or who would have planted it there. Many sleepless nights were spent in consideration and thought. Who would hate their family so much, who would detest the new military leaders of Sunset Valley so strongly that they could plant false evidence in their backyard, thereby making them the prime suspects in a murder case?
There was only one person who would: Queenie Landgraab. But then again, Eithelia thought to herself, what purpose would it serve her? And how would she acquire planted evidence to the murder? Things just didn’t add up, unless they had a hidden enemy somewhere out there who wanted them destroyed…..
Many nights, she stayed awake. Some, she howled. Other nights, she cried because she missed her husband, her companion, more than anything else in the world. Most nights, she could not sleep; for fear that there was someone out there who held the power to murder an innocent old man, who wanted to direct the blame elsewhere and who could be a potential enemy.
She met Earnest once a week, with the ever-present grille separating them from each other. They could talk for only a limited time, and were always watched over by a policeman. Their case was held up in court, the evidence inconclusive but too direct so as to let him be released. She watched as the dark circles grew under Earnest’s eyes and his wrists became thinner, his expression more hollow. She watched, knowing full well that she was in a position to do nothing.
She managed to keep herself sane for her daughter, and for the hope that someday, Eustace would be released to them both. They had enough money to survive for awhile; he was smart enough to have kept a large emergency fund aside just in case of situations like the present, where no money came in. She avoided leaving her home; where once their family was greeted with polite curiosity and interest, they were now hated as murderers.
Even if Earnest walked out of jail, Eithelia knew that there was nothing left for them in Sunset Valley. They had to leave this place where they hoped they could create and bring about a brighter and more stable future, the city of their dreams.
Suddenly, she heard a quiet scraping sound, dragging her away from her own misery. She waited for a minute and then rolled over, thinking it was a figment of her own desolate imagination. ‘Maybe I really am going mad,’ she thought to herself. But before she could speak any further, she heard it again, this time, louder. She got up and walked out of the bedroom door, which was always left wide open in case the baby cried in the middle of the night.
The sound was coming from the front door. Fear gripped her heart. Who could it be, this late at night? And what would they want? Slowly, she gripped the steel bar she always kept hidden in the closet under the stairs for protection and opened the door.
“Earnest!,” she screamed with a mixture of joy, relief and pleasure, as she threw herself upon her husband. She burst into tears as she held him, feeling the contours of his almost forgotten shape and body after more than seven months of separation. Slowly, almost unrecognizably, he wrapped his arms around his wife.
She pulled back from him and looked into his familiar hazel eyes, the same shade of her daughter’s liquid ones. She knew then that before her stood a changed man from the one she married; there was a distance in them, a coldness that seemed rooted and long-lasting. He would bear the scars of prison for the rest of his life, and she felt a deep hatred for those who had broken her husband and in the way that they had.
“How did you get here? How did they let you go? Oh Earnest…” She put her head to his chest to feel for sure that he was in front of her, safe and sound. Slowly, he guided them both into their home and to the living room. “I don’t exactly understand what happened myself,” he muttered with his deep, gravelly voice. “They just opened my cell-door an hour ago, asked me to sign some papers, and then told me I was free to go.” “Thank goodness. Thank God it’s over and you’re back home safe and sound to us… But how would they just let you go?” “The evidence wasn’t enough to convict me; the fingerprints on the spade weren’t your’s or mine.”
“So no one knows who the killer is? Even now?” “No. But what matters is that whoever did it hasn’t done it again and they let me go, and I’m free of all charges.” “But what does this mean for us?,” she asked him urgently. “It means that officially, we’re no longer suspects. But since no one else was caught, in the eyes of Sunset Valley, we remain criminals. And we will never be accepted here again.”
“We have to leave, Eustace.” “I know. I know. But not yet. Not for some time more.” “What? What are you talking about? What’s gotten into you? I was just going to wake Erin. We should leave now, while it’s still dark.” “No, Eithelia,” he replied firmly. “We need to stay a little while longer. We still have work to do here. “What are you talking about? Both of us are unemployed now; you know I quit ages ago….” “I don’t mean that kind of work. I couldn’t tell you this because I was afraid we’d be overheard, but love, I wasn’t just left rotting in prison for no reason…”
“I don’t know how that thing entered our shed. But I do know who made sure that I was left for as long as possible, with my case delayed. I heard two guards pass my cell late at night and both were dead-drunk. They were talking about me. You know I’m the first and only prisoner in jail; they’d have nothing and no one else to talk about. The first one said that I’d probably be released any day now and that it would be back to donuts and T.V for them. The second one laughed and said, “Not while Queenie Landgraab has a say in it. She’s the reason he’s still here; he was supposed to leave months ago.”
Eithelia chocked back a gasp of outrage. This is what people of power could do; the smallest of their enemies could be swatted aside like flies with just the right exchange of coin and honeyed words. The Kennedies had been destroyed simply because they were a threat to her control and popularity. And she had brought them crashing down for it.
“Now do you know why we’re staying, Eithelia? Not because I want to. But because this is a blood debt that has to be paid. She’s torn apart our hopes and our life here. And it’s barely made any difference to her. We’re not staying here anymore because we want to; we’re staying here because of just one thing. And we aren’t leaving till we get it. We need revenge.”
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Darkwytche: Thanks so much for the read and I'm glad you liked it! And yes, they are ALL connected in some small way or the other. That's the entire point of it I'm glad you noticed!
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Be true to yourself, only your opinion of yourself truly counts.
There was a lull in the air and young couples in the park, the soothing voices and the familiar scents of another summer coming around filled everything and everyone, encompassing them all in it’s happy embrace.
But what Sunset had forgotten and would soon be reminded about was one of the most common things about the summer: Flash storms. Dangerous, powerful and deadly, these storms swept through the coast every year, causing widespread harm and disruption. However, this year, Sunset was to receive a different sort of storm; something previously unseen or unheard of in these parts. A storm that would shake the very foundations that the town was built on, tearing lives apart, throwing all plans asunder. And it had already set it’s eyes on Sunset Valley….
However, before all of this, there was The Calm. It is the same calm that grips the prosecuted minutes before the death sentence is delivered after many sleepless nights, the same calm that grips the fatally wounded before final closure, the same calm that grips those who suffer loss and who have much to do in the face of it. It was The Calm Before The Storm….But how long does it last before it all falls apart?
Queenie was, to put it mildly, furious. Not for the first time did she find that her daughter, wanting to stay in her room, apparently unwell, had used the window to leave the house secretly to meet the Altos. Her People had recently told her that they had seen Nancy with the entire family (and not just that hook nosed boy of theirs), more and more frequently. It was obvious to her that he had introduced Nancy to her parents too, and that didn’t make Queenie happy.
“It’s time I take matters into my own hands,”she muttered to herself under her breath. “These Altos were tolerable as a business threat, a flourishing one even, but now, they’ve crossed the line. I won’t have my family fortune bestowed upon a lucky boy just because of his sweet tongue and dark eyes. "There must be a way to get rid of them. Think, Queenie, think. You’ve never been beaten so far.”
She had already done as much research as possible on them, but they seemed to be saints of a new order; they didn’t even have a parking ticket or against their names in their past history. She realized that she had to capitalize on some occurrence within Sunset, something that they had done that wasn’t well known… Some act with even the slightest whiff of scandal behind it.
She pieced together every single little detail, everything they had ever done, from her own experience and from what she had heard around town. Suddenly, a large grin broke out across her face as she struck gold. “The Altos should begin packing their bags. No one stands in my way and gets away with it.” And with that, Queenie Landgraab walked out of her daughter’s deserted bedroom, under the impression that she would, in time, win another victory over one of her biggest competitors till date. Little did she know that soon, she would be knocked down so hard and in such a way that it would take a miracle to ever rise up from it again.
Prudence got down at the sprawling Goth estate in the early hours of the morning for what seemed like the hundredth time this month. Since the moment she had extended the hand of friendship to Gretle, she was always there; laughing at her pathetic jokes, complimenting her poisonous cooking and gossiping with her about events that had happened months ago. She tolerated all this because she was biding her time, waiting for her chance to strike, grasping and holding onto as much information on The Goths as possible till one day, she could bring them down.
Today, after all these days of quiet constancy was the day she had been waiting for. Today, she would play her part in tearing down the best reputed and wealthy family in Sunset, the very family on whose roots the town was built on. The Goths had finally met their match. They had grown soft and easy-going with their success. And now, they would crumble. And when they did, she would make sure she was the first person standing at the door in sympathy and affection, and when it was that they had lost all, she would suggest that they sell their ancestral home to provide for themselves… And then it would be she herself who would snap it up when no one else would take the house in which an entire generation met their ruin.
She walked quickly to the gate, its carefully greased hinges making no sound in the still morning air. She hurried past the extravagant courtyard and outdoor decorations, not noticing them and envying all within sight for once; mind focused intently on the task at hand. Upon reaching the door, she knocked and then stood, carefully composing her features before the door opened.
Gretle Goth opening the front door, wondering if Victor who had left just moments ago had, as usual, left something behind and had come to get it, was instead surprised to find Prudence standing at her front door at 6:30 in the morning with unshed tears in her eyes. “Prudence! What on earth’s the matter? What’s wrong? When Prudence said nothing, mutely shaking her head in reply, she ushered her inside, closing the door quickly behind her.
“What’s happened? Are your girls alright? Speak to me, Prudence!,” shouted Gretle, shaking her in frustration. “No,” she gasped with apparent difficulty, “No, all of them are fine. It’s… I saw something terrible…. And I didn’t know if I should tell you or not…” “It’s alright. Calm down, darling. Tell me what’s wrong.” Prudence looked at her; a quick calculating glance. She wondered if she was playing her role just as she had to; a lot depended on her skills now, as it almost always did. She gathered her resolve. She knew that this, this moment, this defining moment and the way she performed it would make or break lives.
“I think I saw…. I don’t know. I’m not sure. I don’t know anything for sure, Gretle, I don’t know what happened….” Gretle inhaled sharply, her heart racing with every word. “Prudence. Just let it out. Finish it.” “Well…. I thought I saw… your husband. It was late at night, Gretle, I couldn’t be sure of anything, but that jet black tweed jacket was so familiar… I thought I saw him kissing… Kissing Monica Wendyll.”
For a minute, Gretle’s body stiffened as her heart plummeted. She felt her world swim before her as she struggled against the sudden dizziness. She could hear Prudence calling her name from some faraway place, but nothing seemed to make sense any more. Slowly, the world slid back into focus and she could once again see Prudence’s face before her. “Gretle? Are you alright? Speak to me!” “I’m…fine. I thought I heard you say…” Prudence gulped, and cast her head down; as if she couldn’t bear to carry the news she had brought to the Goths’ doorstep. “You didn’t hear me wrong, my dear. I am so, so sorry for you.”
Gretle couldn’t believe her ears. After all these years of love and close friendship that they had shared, she couldn’t understand what was happening. Could it be true? Was it possible that Victor would do this to her, to their two children? And for what? What wasn’t she giving him? What wasn’t she doing right? Slowly, she walked over to the expensive couch in their living room and collapsed into it in a heap. “I need to find out if this is true,” she whispered, more to herself than to Prudence. “I need to know…. I can’t believe he would do it.”
Her head slowly sunk into her lap as Prudence sat beside her, patting her head, shushing and petting her. “There, there, dear. There now. Shhh.” Slowly, a crooked smile played on her lips as she commended herself for a job well done. The tears might have been a bit extreme, but then again, she thought to herself, ‘There indeed. Now let’s wait and watch and see them tear themselves and this town apart.’
The mild afternoon found Monica taking a little time off for herself, weeding her garden with quiet exuberance. The sound that her plants made against each other when a quiet wind whispered through her little herb garden always soothed her easily frayed nerves.
Today, she was tensed and tired, but satisfied with her work so far. Almost all that she had come here to do was completed; just the final push was required to finish the last of it, and then she could leave Sunset for good. So far, all she had asked of Victor was to fill up her bank accounts with generous sums of money that would probably provide her with a moderate enough lifestyle for two lifetimes, but now, she kenw that it was time to finish off what she truly came here to begin. But suddenly, she felt the need for something more…
There was something she knew she could never have… Something she was never destined to have of her own and she knew this… But she had never accepted it. Monica knew that if she truly wanted something, she would always get it; such was her very nature. And now, if she couldn’t create what she desired herself, she knew that she would have to take it from someone else. ‘It doesn’t really matter, does it?,’ she muttered to herself. ‘Especially if they don’t deserve what they have and I….. I really do.’ Somewhere deep down, she knew that she could never judge who deserved what; it was not her right, but then she put that logical part of her aside.
She stood up, dusting her pants as she did. She knew that she would not be at peace till she got what she wanted. Now, it was time to make plans to achieve it… No matter the cost. Monica smiled to herself. It was time to make one last stop before everything fell into place and she skipped Sunset for good.
Night was falling across Sunset Valley, and with the Sun’s slow descent, people and families headed home after a long, rough day. However, two people of the quaint little town knew that as the town slept, they could do things they normally would not dare to do in public, out in the open….
“I can’t stay for long,” Chester whispered to Bessie as they stood close, constantly looking around for fear that someone was watching them. “I just couldn’t get by without seeing you… It’s been so long, Bess, I’ve been so busy…” “Chester, please…,” said the young woman, embarrassed. “Let’s not complicate this….” He smiled his usual sarcastic smile in response. “If you didn’t want to, why did you agree to meet me here?” He looked around sarcastically to prove his point. “I don’t see any beds around. You knew I wasn’t calling you here for sex, honey. So, why did you turn up?”
Bessie looked away and didn’t reply. In truth, she knew he had a point. Somehow though, she felt safe and protected whenever she was around him, and when he was away, she longed for it. It wasn’t love; it was the sense of safety, an aura that Buster, with his extremes and temperament always failed to exude.
“You came here,” he said huskily, pressing her closer to him, “For me. Because you feel the same way. Don’t deny it, baby, who are you kidding? This means as much to you as it does to me. We’re in this together now, there’s no turning back.” She sighed in reply. “Chester, I have to go, I-,” “Shhhh,” he whispered, putting his finger on her lips, and then, putting his own lips in their place.
“Finally,” said Eustace, a fiendish grin twisted the corners of his mouth as he stood watching the couple embracing, hidden by the shadows of the night. “Revenge is ours.”
Victor Goth was in his office, working in late as usual, checking on Sunset’s government audit for the month. The reason he held personal interest in the funds of the government was that he was attempting to ensure that the other officials did not channel the city’s funds into their own personal bank accounts. However, the purpose was twofold; he truly did not want any corruption in Sunset- apart from what he practiced himself. Therefore, to ensure that no one noticed the occasional sums of money that were diverted to him alone, he had to…. ‘Re-audit’ the audit before it was submitted.
No one would ever doubt Lord Mayor, Victor Goth; after all, he came from a very good background; the best, in fact, that Sunset had to offer. His grandparents founded the town; he owned almost half of it by name, if he couldn’t be trusted, said the people to themselves as they sat comfy in their armchairs, who could?
As he sat editing the written amount of a large sum of money that Sunset had earned through a recent bake-a-thon to ensure that part of the proceeds were never traced back to him, his cell phone rang. Annoyed at being interrupted, he flipped it open to see his wife’s name on the caller ID. His frown deepened. She knew he was busy, working late tonight, why would she call to interrupt him now, of all times?
“Yes, darling, what is it? I told you I was busy working on the audit tonight,: he said, his voice strained and tired. “Victor! Oh Victor. I don’t know what happened, I went out for just a minute to throw out the trash and I met Mr. Darling and I swear I didn’t mean to leave her alone, I didn’t, I didn’t, the backdoor was locked, there was no way…” His wife’s voice broke off into hysterical sobs while he tried to understand the meaning behind her quick, garbled speech.
“Gretle! Gretle, what the hell happened?!?! Calm down and tell me right now!” He heard her gasping, struggling to contain her emotions and to be coherent. “Victor… It’s Frida… Our daughter’s been kidnapped.”
Note to my readers: Guys, I'm really sorry this update took so long to post up. I fell sick in the middle, plus I've been really caught up with some R.L issues. Writer's block just added to the entire problem. I personally feel like this chapter wasn't as good as the others; rate and comment to let me know your thoughts! Oh, and there's been a messup on my part; some places it's Eustace Kennedy, others it's Earnest. Sorry guys, my bad. I meant 'Eustace,' and I'l lstick to that from now on Sorry for the confusion again!
This is just to let you know that moving house, writer's block and exams all came to my door one after the other. I have by no means quit on you all or this story! Expect the next update within a week! Thanks,
The Observant Lefty.
Originally Posted by Misanthrope
Yay! You're back! I thought you were dead or something
Not at all. I've been following your story carefully and now I see that you've begun another! You are amazing. Dark Heresy is gonig delightfully well and I must be one of your biggest fans, though the entire Severin- Aaliyah thing is a bit too typical...apart form that awesomeness. DYING for the next update Haven't read the other new thing that you posted though wil lget right down to it Take care Misanthrope, do NOT stop writing. YO uare for sure the best writer here
The Observant Lefty.
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.
Anyway, argh that cliffhanger (again)! I wonder which family Nestor belongs to, and I *cough* actually ran a search for a "Nestor Sim", but I don't think it's the same Nestor. :x Can't wait to find out what happens next! (:
I think I've delayed the murder thing a BIT too long though. :/. Do you think? Hope you've not lost interest!
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