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There Was Once Happily Ever (P.2)

by - Friday, February 24, 2017


Hello everyone! So as promised, here is Part 2 of my short story "There Was Once Happily Ever After". 


Will Cindy welcome her new family or will she ignore them? 
And can the writer and her small family get a chance to be a normal family again?

It gets more interesting in this chapter! 

If you're new to this story, click on here to read Part 1.


DISCLAIMER


No part of this story can be copied, re-edited or used for personal needs or other. Please contact me for proper consent first.

PART II

The first few weeks living with our new family, it felt extremely awkward, at least for me. I was accustomed to having just the three of us together that having two additional members roaming inside the house felt foreign. However, it did not last long as Stephan truly outdone himself in ensuring we were happy. He never failed to love us equally and affectionately as if we were his own flesh and blood. Things would have been wonderful if it not were for the disturbing shadow spearing our backs with nothing but hostility and malice.

Cindy made it clear she hated us the moment Mother and Stephan joined in matrimony, and made living in our new home like the very trenches of hell. I understand how she must have felt; her father marrying a stranger and having us intruding the sanctuary she shared with him for many years. She only hissed with hate when I tried to console her. I gave up and so did everybody else. It seemed like only time could cool the inferno burning her heart inside and accept us. It didn’t much to everyone’s exasperation.

‘Darling, won’t you ever try to love them? Haven’t I not given you a loving mother and beautiful sisters to play with?’ came Stephan’s gentle voice one night.

‘Never!’

I stopped my hands in reaching for the study’s door’s bolt. Angry hushed voices muffled through the thick wooden door. Curious, I knelt down and silently peeked through the small keyhole. Stephan was sitting behind his desk, his face gloomy whilst with her back to me was Cindy. The air suddenly felt cold and suffocating.

‘I hate them all! Oh, Papa, can you not see that they are taking you from me? Were Mamma and I not enough for you?’ Cried Cindy through clenched pale hands covering her face. She sobbed loudly as Stephan advanced towards her and tried to embrace her. She tore herself away from him as if he was dirt but he held on.

‘I love you all very much and you know that I will never betray my love to your mamma,’ he swore through gritted teeth and placed a hand over his heart. ‘However, you don’t understand how lonely I have been without a companion, someone to confide in with, Cindy. Your new mother makes me feel like myself again. Couldn’t you at least feel happy for me?’

‘You’re nothing but a traitor!’ Cindy shrieked hysterically. ‘You never loved Mamma! You don’t love us enough!’

'And what about you, Cindy? Look at what you have become, a strange, soulless and quiet girl who wishes to not associate with anyone. You sit at home and do nothing for hours on end!’ He shouted back. Then in a whisper, so soft I had to inch closer to the door to catch the words, ‘I’m losing you, Cindy.’

Silence filled the room except for their irregular breath fogging the air under the luminous glow of the moon outside the French windows. A chair screeched as it was pushed back and both Stephan and Cindy were standing, shoulders hunched as the tension between them builds up. Cindy turned on her heel and faced the door. Her face hidden in the shadows. I took a tentative step back, keeping my eyes to the keyhole in case the door is opened.

‘I don’t think I’ll ever understand you. I… hate you,’ she said steadily, her words dripping with venom.

Stephen’s face became ashen. He threw his glassy gaze outside to the moon which was basking them in the rays of her lonely brilliance. I almost gasped out loud when I thought I saw Cindy’s wild stony eyes slid down slowly to the keyhole as if she could sense I was there, listening. Before I knew it, I had scurried away for the safety of my room while Cindy’s shrill cries echoed through the corridors.

After that incident, terrifying things started to truly shatter the strained peace we tried to hold.

A loose board groaned from outside and I almost lost my grip on the pen as I swiveled my head to the door. A silhouette slowed down in front of the rented room I’ve been hiding in for the past few days. Is it her? Seconds ticked by but I felt as if I was the hostage of time, my heart accelerating in fear and ready to flee from behind my rib cage. But a momentary relieved sigh released from my lips as it continued to walk away. A windy chill nipped at my limbs and I pulled the cardigan I have around me. I sat down on the chair and write again:

The first of the misfortunes to befall over our home had almost torn us apart. One morning, the peace inside the house was broken by Mother’s screams. It brought me and Hazel scrambling to Mother and Stephan’s shared bedroom. 

Apparently, somebody had reached her before we did.

Cindy, still garbed in her white dressing gown pulled Mother firmly up on her feet and away from the dishevelled layers of blankets on the bed. I went to the both of them with Hazel following closely behind, not quite understanding the situation. I took Mother in my arms and as she sobbed heavily into my chest. I looked up at Cindy to demand what had transpired but she was already gone from Mother’s side. Across the room, Cindy stood looking down at the other side of the bed where Stephan’s form was. She wore the most serene face I’ve ever seen on a child and it irked me when the situation was so heavily scented with danger.

‘Cindy, what happened?’ I asked. Mother’s crying intensified and I shushed her softly.

‘Elizabeth, he looks so beautiful, doesn’t he? Sleep tight, Papa,’ she whispered, barely entertaining my question. Puzzled, I felt Mother tightening her grasp on my arm as we all watched Cindy lifting his pale arm and kissed his palm. She rose up on her feet and walked to the door.

‘I will call for the doctor,’ she said and disappeared out of our sight.

‘Lizzy, there is something wrong with Stephan,’ came the sniffled voice of Hazel, lying on the bed and peeking at him. I edged myself to where Hazel sat and almost cried out in horror at the sight before me.

Although his face was derived of blood or any signs of struggle, but my god his face! I was looking at the face of a monster. His whole head was bloated and as black as coal. Those familiar red cheery cheeks were gone and his opened eyes were both voided of life. His mouth was a nest of yellow pus dribbling from cracked black lips, and his bleeding tongue hung out. I snatched Hazel away from him and covered her eyes as hot tears trickled down our faces with the horrifying image of the poor man burned into our memories. Only Mother’s cries filled the deadly silent room.

The doctors had not found any likely cause to his death. They concluded it was a sudden death that took Stephan from us.

I didn’t believe a word of it because I knew better. Stephan would never inflict self-harm when he was so happy with us. Moreover, I have never seen the condition of the dead like how Stephan was. There was something very wrong with the situation.
After the modest funeral, we were once again alone in the thick fog of sadness. I couldn’t do anything as Mother was left as a widow and heartbroken once again. However, she was stronger after all what we had went through and she tried toughening herself up to care for all three of us. Although the fact that neither of us could fully recover over the death of Stephan, I swear on my own life we tried hard to. Life needs to move on. I’m sure he wanted us to if we could see him.

Strangely, Cindy was not at all affected over the death of her own father. In fact, she seemed quite at peace about it although her heart still seemed somewhat dark and full of hatred toward the rest of us. Sometimes, when I was playing with Hazel, I can feel Cindy’s glare burning on my back. During meal times, she refused to eat with us and prefer them taken to her room.

They were miserable times but nothing could be worse than what was about to happen. 



To be continued


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