Friday, May 10, 2019
Flash Fiction Friday, Week 19 - Patience
For the prompt this week, we were given five settings. We were to choose one at random, and create our story. The one I got was “It’s mid-afternoon. There’s light snow falling. You’re in the grounds of a country estate. There’s a lonely feel to the place.” It was the part about the ‘lonely feel to the place’ that grabbed my attention, and my main character took shape. Sometimes, people can be lonely even with others around…
Outside, the world was quiet. Even though it was only 3:00 in the afternoon, the sky was full of clouds that refused to let any sunlight peek through. A light snow had begun falling at sunrise, and was forecast to continue for the next several days. The estate, with its main house and guest house alongside, were well maintained, and there was a large greenhouse behind the main house that, even in the middle of winter, was filled with colorful blooms. The main house had two levels, with eight bedrooms and four full baths on the top level, and a living room, den, dining hall, and kitchen on the ground level. The guest house, where the housekeeper resided, had a large bedroom, one full bath, a living room, and a kitchen. The guest house too had a garden around it; however, all its flowers were asleep under the ground until spring.
Inside, all was quiet too. The occupants of the main house, Henry and Anna Willis, were out of the country, spending a week at their European villa, accompanied by their housekeeper, Cassie Jenson. She had helped raise the couple’s six children to adulthood, and was a companion to the couple now that all their children had gone off to make their own way. The main house was empty, except for the young woman asleep on the couch in the living room. She awoke with a start.
“Where am I? What hap…”
When she looked around, she realized she was in her childhood home. Alyssa had grown up in this house, and lived in it until she married Roger, and they had moved to the city. Roger. The husband. The provider. The abuser. Alyssa had stayed with her husband hoping he would change. Their marriage had lasted almost five years, and as far as Alyssa was concerned, that was as long as it was going to last. She decided their most recent argument was their last.
She had gone to lunch with her friend Marie, and after dropping Marie off at home, Alyssa decided to go to the park and take a walk. It was beautiful after a snowfall, and she walked the path that led to the lake. She sat on a bench, and wondered how she would tell Roger she was leaving. He would be angry – no question about it, but hopefully, he would let her go without making too much of a scene. Knowing the man as she did though, and how possessive he was of her, she wondered if she should tell him at all. Perhaps it was better, she thought, to go home, pack a few things, wait for him to go out, then make her escape. Yes, that’s what she would do. Time to end this nightmare of a marriage. Time to move on.
When she got home, Roger was already there. He had closed on a deal and decided to take the rest of the week off. She was afraid, but decided it was now or never. She told him she wanted a divorce and that she was leaving. He grabbed the ashtray from the coffee table, and hit her head so hard, she blacked out. When she awoke on the couch in her parent’s house, she was confused, and had no memory beyond their confrontation. How did she get there? She looked outside at the driveway, but her car wasn’t there. Did she take a taxi? She smiled. I must have walked around like a zombie. She looked around and couldn’t find her handbag. How did I pay the driver? I must have left my purse in the cab. She heard the front door open and voices. Mom, Dad, and Cassie, she thought, thank goodness. Anna was visibly upset.
“This shouldn’t have happened, Henry. What are we going to do?”
“There’s nothing we can do now.” Tears were streaming down Henry’s face.
Alyssa ran to them.
“Mom, Dad, I’m glad you came home early. Cassie, how I’ve missed you. I know I look a mess, but you’ll be happy to know that…”
“Bastard kills her and disappears. The police will find him, won’t they?”
“Police? Who was killed?” Alyssa was alarmed.
“They’ll get him, and then I just need five minutes alone with him. There won’t be any need for a trial.”
“Henry, please don’t get all worked up. You know how you get if your blood pressure goes too high. I can’t lose you too. Henry, my baby.”
“Mom, what’s going on? Who’s…”
“I’m going to ask Gerald to make the arrangements, Anna. I cannot arrange a funeral for my daughter. I can’t.”
“Funeral? Your daughter? Dad, I’m your only daughter. I’m…”
“Our attorney? Yes, call him. The police won’t release Alyssa’s remains for…Henry, we had to identify…she was lying on a…”
“Ms. Anna, let’s go upstairs so you can lie down. Mr. Henry, you need to rest too. Today was more nightmare than anyone can take.”
“My rem…what…I don’t under…wait. Mom? Dad? Cass? Can any of you hear me? Do you even see me?”
Henry put his arms around Anna, and Cassie put her arms around them both and led them upstairs.
They don’t see or hear me, Alyssa thought, and I now know why. Roger hit me in the head with that ashtray, but there’s no mark or bump, my head doesn’t hurt, oh no…
“You lie down, and I’ll call Gerald. He’ll take care of everything.”
“Henry, tell him I want her here so she can rest out back under that tree she loved. Heaven knows, while she was married to that crazy man, she was never able to rest. If only she had come home after the first time he… I hope she can finally find some peace.”
I hope so too, Mom. At least I'm home. Maybe when he's caught...