The Prequel, Chapter Twenty-Four

Five Years Later

Alexander was woken by the sunlight that drifted across his face. Curses! What time was it? Probably too late already. He'd told the others that he'd be at the regular meetingplace at eleven in the morning, and he still had a great lot of preparing to do.

Sitting up, Alexander glanced over to where Amara lay sleeping beside him. Sighing, he shook his head. He might as well leave without telling Amara goodbye. They weren't really in love, anyways. She was just another name on the long list of women Alexander had "loved" in the past few years. 

Quickly changing into a suitable outfit to do his "work," Alexander glanced in the mirror. His hair was tousled and unkempt, despite the fact that he'd washed it the day before. No matter. It was ten-thirty in the morning right now, and he had more important things to do.

Shoving a change of clothes, a bundle of paper, a pen, a bottle of ink, a small bag of money, and a gun into his satchel, Alexander scanned the room.

Ah. There they were. Two bottles of liquor that represented Alexander's moral decline.

Alexander quickly stuffed the bottles into his satchel, as well.

Almost five years ago, Alexander had "up and left," as his mother would have said. He'd gotten restless in his small hometown and had packed his bags. Eventually, he'd settled in this small but bustling town of Hendrick, Missouri, leaving Miriam behind. 

But the reason Alexander had run from home hadn't been because he was tired of living where he'd been living. No, the reason was so shameful and horrible that Alexander's guilt could only be drowned in the strongest of alcohol.

Miriam. Alexander had finally accepted her love for him. And in the process, he'd wound up hurting Miriam in ways that brought only condemnation down upon them. But this time, it was different. It was Miriam. Gentle, faithful Miriam, who had done everything she could to aid Alexander in his reckless quest for satisfaction.

Heart shattering once more from remorse, Alexander stopped in his tracks. His last memory of Miriam flooded his mind. Miriam had been asleep, her face so sweet and angelic that Alexander had almost stayed back for her sake. But then, he'd reminded himself that staying would only bring Miriam more harm, so he'd left her lying there. Just as he was about to do to Amara now.

Shrugging into his coat, Alexander swung the satchel over his shoulder and left the room without another glance back.

The End

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