From deep within the house the voices finally faded and as the sun rose as all became quiet again, all became still. Even her own untrusting heart became silent within itself. Without so much as a yawn the sun’s eyes popped open to reveal a new dawn filled with mournful lives. The front door creaked open and the five guests left as quietly as they came, leaving but one wondering. The door did not burst open, voices were not raised, and no footsteps were heard... only the lonely echo of a burning flame.
As the sun rose Sidney waited, as the sun set she listened and as the owls hooted from a nearby tree, she watched. Fear growing inside her, curling around her heart seeking out the warmth of her love and chilling her to the core. Leaving her with an empty, desolate heart... fear roaming the barrenness of its land.
As he stood indecisively outside her door he waited to be stopped, needed to be led away, away from her and this life. A few feet away on a couch Jay lay sleeping seemingly unaware of that which was happening around him. Turning the doorknob Leo gave one finale pleading look towards his sleeping friend before entering. Refusing to look up or turn around at his approach Sidney stared out the window at the sparkling stars in the darkest veil of her life. “I am going to die aren’t I?” Placing his hand on her shoulder he steadied himself before he spoke. “Look at me.” Gently he tried to force her attention to him. Defiantly she turned her shoulder against his grip turning free of his hold.
“Look at me will you!” His voice rose and he shrunk away from his temper, before adding “Just, please look at me.” Slowly she turned, her eyes dry, smile unnerving. “I already know I will never see them again. If I hadn’t argued with my father that day perhaps I would not be in this mess now.”
“Keep quiet and listen.” Her smile faded as she saw his dead, emotion deprived, eyes looking back at her. “I won’t hurt you as long as you follow me and be quiet.” Reluctant at first she surrendered her hand to him as he took it from her side. Leading her out he took care not to wake Jay as they slipped from the house. Into the nearby surrounding forest, over the hills and through the trees they ran, breath rushing in the cool morning air. Nearing the road Leo stopped and looked at his watch before turning to her again. “A bus will be coming by any minute now. Take a seat on it and go anywhere you want, just not directly home.” Placing some money in her hand he turned to leave. “Thank you.” He answered her without ever looking back. A yearning burned deep within her as she called out to him. “Wait!” Running to him she enfolded him in her hug. “Thank you.” She whispered in his ear. “I owe you my life.”
“You owe me nothing.” Starring into her eyes under the moon’s fading light he thought he saw a sparkle returning to them as she smiled. One step close, she stood fast, he reached to touch her face, she closed her eyes, closer and closer still until his lips touched hers. Reluctantly at first she kissed him back. Sealing their fates with his kiss.
He suddenly pulled back releasing her at once as he stepped back to rearrange the thoughts whirling around in his head. “I can’t do this. This’ll just get us killed.”
“No it won’t you and me together, what can he think?”
“Anything he likes!”
“He’ll never know.” Her smile made him want to melt as she gently took her hands in his, softly kissed him on the cheek as he warmed to the idea of her being so close to him. He only gave one hurried look down the road for the approaching bus before he pulled her back from the side of the road. Kissing her intently he let go of all that was bothering him before. She giggled as he smoothed back her hair and stared into her eyes. Words formed inside his mind yet he couldn’t let them pass over his lips. Drawing her closer to him he felt how her nearness changed him, a realisation growing within his mind as she played her fingers through his hair. He could never return to a life without her.
His thoughts were interrupted as a vehicle approached and reality came to a standstill. “You have to go.”
“But I want to be with you.”
“You can’t stay, you have to go now.”
“But where am I supposed to go? My family is all I have.”
“I don’t know and I don’t want to know. It’s better that way.” Her face remained a portrait of understanding though her eyes revealed how utterly lost she felt as she stood on the bus watching him through the window. “Some day I’ll come and find you. I promise, when all this blows over I will come for you.”
He was left standing in a cloud of dust as the bus departed. Slowly he turned back to the house, making his way across the open grass. Approaching the house he saw what he dreaded since they left the apartment. There in front of the house stood another vehicle, Lucinda was there. Taking a deep breath he entered the house as if nothing had happened. “Hey I see we have a visitor.” From nowhere Lucinda came into sight. “Long time no see.”
“I could say the same, where’ve you been al this time?”
“Waiting for you.” Her smile slipped from her lips, her eyes burning. “Sit down Leo, we need to talk.”
His heart raced as he took a seat opposite the table from her.
“Where is the girl, Leo?”
“How should I know?”
“Jay already told me that you took her to her room last night and she was there all night up until the time he passed out.”
“Have you looked in her room then?”
“Listen here wise guy. I know she isn’t here and I know you weren’t here so I am asking you one more time...where is she?”
“I DON’T KNOW!”
“Then you better find out.” As Lucinda left the kitchen Leo spotted Jay lurking nearby in the shadows. “You’re dead! You hear me? Dead!”
“Down boy.” A knowing smile played on his face as his presence challenged Leo.
“You made her think that I’m to blame!”
“Nope, just told her what I knew to be true. You did the rest.”
“Well thanks to you she now thinks I have something to do with her disappearance. Some friend you are!” Like an obedient child Jay took his seat next to Leo at the mere sound of her voice from the hallway. His triumphant smile still there. Without thinking, for the first time in his life, Leo tackled Jay, ridding himself of a lifetime of frustrations. In an attempt to wait out Leo’s anger Lucinda restrained him after pulling the two of them apart.
Her patience running thin her voice threatened him with more drastic measures.
“Then do it. Because I don’t know where she is!” In a blur of movement her hand swept over his back leaving a bloody mark behind. His blood left warm and sticky trails on his back as it oozed forth from his open gash.
“Where is she?”
“I don’t know. How many times do I have tell you that?”
“Then tell me what you did with her.” Pulling his head backwards she placed the knife against his throat the blood still dripping from its blade. He tensed hoping for a clean cut as he felt the blade cut into his flesh again... before the knife was lifted again in reply to Jay’s words.
“He must have placed her on the bus that goes past here.”
“What makes you say that?”
“What else could he have done with her?” A sinister smile spread across her face as she turned and left the room. Her last words a reassuring; I’ll take care of this, as she left the room with a satisfied smile spread across her deadly face.
“Well, well, well old friend. Guess you weren’t such a softy after all. Look at you taking this like a man, how charming.” His laughter mocked him as he followed her departure.