Adalyn Belle sat poised at the hickory table which bared the aged chips and scars from the previous years creating the phantom of a mosaic to form across the once gleaming wood. The glossy vintage clock that hung over her workspace dripped with divine elegance that caused even the most indifferent of gazes to travel hungrily over the blazing Azul exterior. The casement windows illustrated little usefulness as the dark hour did not permit any leftover light to filter through the panes, and the young lady seated at the Bannister topped chair shivered with unusual grace as the embers swirled and glimmered before finally dying with ease within the old English fireplace.
Her thoughts began their journey first through the events of earlier that frigid December morning, and although the timid sun had beamed upon Adalyn’s face, she discovered her entire petite body chilled to the very depths of her heart during her morning walk through the once blossoming garden. Shriveled flowers begged her for mercy at the sound of her kitten heels that dully clacked along the pavement then slowly started to fade while Adalyn swept briskly past.
Suddenly the memory sifted into a later scene from that day, and she recalled the bitter taste of the tea she had shared with Jamin that afternoon shortly following her dressage lessons. She had pondered briefly whether the misty weather had caused the familiar taste of tea to warp into a sickening aftertaste, coating her throat with bile.
The recollection of his soft face yet firmly set jaw caused her mind to race with confusion and doubt while her split heart achingly throbbed with longing such as a mother dog’s heart yearns for her puppies after they are stolen from her pen and viciously sold to malicious families who grew tired of the responsibility of a breathing creature that requires attention and eventually come to the brilliant solution of abandonment.
Just as the young woman began contemplating her own mind’s sick pleasure in watching her tortured heart split, visions of milky amber eyes began jaggedly spinning before her. Jamin’s deep eyes gleamed with such an energy that most of the common ladies swooned in front of him, some even baring teeth to one another, threatening for his attention. Savage remarks amongst women followed him like a shadow of death although light surrounds his every embrace with Adalyn.
Crystalized sparks soared through her body with every utterance that floated from his soft lips, but his overpowering obsession caressed at her and tugged on the back of her night gown as though trying to make the lady topple over backwards cracking her delicate skull. Crazed love often signified within Jamin’s eyes, and that fear caused affection to drain from Adalyn’s heart at his outbursts so many times the maiden cannot even attempt to count.
A whisper of an oak tree limb grazed along the glossy windows, and her light eyes ripped from the parchment before her and stared into the night so raven black that if it were a canvas the edges would swim with a deep navy blue or perhaps purple. Glossy, she drawled internally for she knew it was due to the stern, disciplined hand that scrubbed endlessly during the day to prevent even a hint of dust or wear. Her memories shifted slyly into a recollection of an occurrence only a week prior.
Jasmine, the maid who her father had hired due to his new bride’s incompetence when dealing with the world of work in any tense, was a petite woman with a hollow face that leered a tight smile in greeting. Sharp nods, a hiss of welcome, or a raise of a brow registered a hello while also perfectly administering a hate for people. Adalyn often caught the woman watching her with a gaze of hatred…no, not that. Something else lurked within the malevolent depths of the elderly woman’s grey eyes that seemed to peer and pry into Adalyn’s mind. Perhaps lust? She envisioned talons tearing her brain into shreds while a chuckle slithered from Jasmine’s putrid lips.
A shudder trickled down her rigid back as if from above some vicious creature squeezed a sponge fat with frigid water until it hung limp in their cruel palms. Adalyn’s back shook gracefully, and her aching eyes land on the deep scratches along her pale, slender arm.
At dinner Jacqueline had beckoned her aside to speak privately to her stepdaughter while Adalyn’s only hope at a savior sat feasting still as his eyes traced the departing figure of his latest wife.
The ripping of expensive material, the very sound would have caused her birth mother to weep silently for the silk, echoed through the chamber as Jacqueline sliced open her stepdaughter’s gown with a letter opener she had snatched from a miscellaneous drawer. Tears stung her eyes like hornets from below, and Adalyn bowed her head to hide the sniffles Jacqueline had previously deemed weak during their last little encounter.
A slap followed a brief conversation filled with words such as *****, wretch, and wicked little child. Her stepmother’s excruciatingly apparent jealousy leaped out at her after every degrading remark. A step backwards sent Jackie over the absolute edge, and Adalyn was left cowering in the jagged corner of the room while her aggressor fled in the most despicable yet divine of exits. It had been her mother’s dress. Her true mother.
A soft creak that escaped the door to Adalyn’s study prowled about the quaint room, searching for a victim so consumed in her writing that not even her gaze lifted from her pen. Adalyn missed the crucial hollow thud of steps gliding toward her chair as if the stalker were from cat like descent, for no ordinary human could be capable of such stealth, such covertness. Unless, perhaps, something fueled them from within.
No shriek flew off into the blackest night the town had yet to see. No pistol shot bounced around the well-groomed walls of the well-known manor. Only the soft jolt of a pen dropping was felt by anyone except the polished floorboards soon to be soaked with the purest of ooze.
The sun crawled up into the sky that following morning with the greatest of resentment of having to appear after the following night’s events. Every creature whether air floated about its lungs or not acknowledged the importance of the death of one of their beloved. They found her body near breakfast time, and Marty, their chef, sobbed over his freshly baked muffins that would cease to be served to his favorite master, Adalyn. No evidence remained, and if footprints had been left, the blood coated every inch of the wooden floor causing one of the newly hired detectives to wretch in the corner of the room near the window which had no other choice, but to be thrusted open due to the repulsive smell of the loss of life and decaying flesh.
One detective recovered a now crimson stained pen wallowing in the bloody abyss. It had belonged to the victim, and the stepmother had sent a special request for any personal belongings found. She would preserve them, she sobbed to the authorities, to keep the memory of her precious Addie alive. No one referred to Adalyn as Addie.
The head investigator strained his hard, blue eyes to read the paper that had been exhumed from the crimson pool. A simple sentence with al the conviction in the entire world was being held in his calloused hands as his eyes squinted to make out the hurried strokes.
The parchment read:
How rare a visit from J-
Not even a hint at the rest of the name was etched onto the paper.
The detectives formed several scenarios, but none fit the oddly shaped puzzle. They were excluded from the basic information that you have been generously provided. But after this declaration, perhaps you might find this author less generous.
The murderer of Adalyn Belle was a real person indeed, so real in fact she had known them personally yet unsuspecting of their truly vile intentions lying beneath the surface.
Plagued love leads to a possessive obsession that drives a lover to extents unfathomable to those without this atrocious passion. Said love can create a person’s mind to shift, and the shifting of one’s mind can represent new hopes and desires, but this alteration, my dear reader, is synonymous to the fleeing of sanity.
A lustful and covetous person bears the mark of diligence, but this diligence, like all good things in this twisted life, can lead to tormented nights, crucifying mornings, and desperate longings like the want of a sick man to young maiden’s beds. Desire to become something else that has never been available to the wanting person eats away at a person’s mind. First with a small chew to understand the taste, but then larger chunks begin appearing within their rationality. Can such holes lead to a brain tortured endlessly by murderous visions?
Finally, the concluding resolution rises like the dawn: the hatred harbored in one’s cold heart after a deep jealousy has blossomed into something much more condemning. Detestation formed for a child in and of itself exemplifies wickedness of the most royal degree. But can this loathsome grudge conspire within one’s thoughts against an innocent child?
All three rationales fit the piece, but it is not about what I conclude from the evidence presented. I am merely the writer of this story, and you now play the intolerable role of the recently all-knowing investigator.
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