by John Holmes
Long ago, a shocked father confronts his daughter about her affections
|A dark corridor. The sun had set only an hour ago but one could already hear the sounds of the night through the dirty, old windows. Until now the house had been silent, it had been a quiet day so far but as it happens so often it should not end this way. Oh no.
The head of the house now walked down the black corridor. The wooden ground cricked under his silent but harsh steps. The middle-aged man, but not yet fifty years behind him, held a candle in his right hand. Its flame moved gently and filled the darkened hallway with colour and warmth. Different than the man it was of quiet nature, made no sound, had not one evil thing on its mind. In the left hand the man held something else. The paper seemed stiff and unnatural compared with the orange little light which did not keep anything of sinful course. The eyes of the man were not moving, not even the warm colour of the candle was reflected in this dark green that was framed by an empty white. It was almost like the man was blind and was used to not having to look around. Blind... Yes, maybe he was sightless in this very moment but not for the scene which surrounded him. And still one could call him blind.
The long and strong legs had found their way through the nighted house to the door that pointed east. His hand rose quickly and touched the door handle that had been golden many decades ago. But for the fraction of a second the man did wait, for the fraction of a second he questioned what was just happening. For this short moment the whole night could have ended another way. But only the fraction of a second it was. He had decided and knew that he had to do what had to be done.
Perhaps a bit harder than he had intended to he pushed the door open. His look immediately fell on the table that stood opposite the door between two large windows. The light of the moon flew through them, framed the figure of a young woman who sat in front of the table facing the wall, not noticing that he had entered the room. For a few moments he stared at the silhouette, maybe expecting that she would say something first. But she did not speak and would not until she knew what his intentions were. The man moved now slowly forward but stopped after a few steps, then eventually he held up the paper in his left hand.
"I have found this in a kitchen drawer."
His voice was quiet and had not yet decided whether to speak with anger or depression. The girl was silent.
"Did you really believe you could so easily hide something like this?" Now the anger spoke. "Have you any idea what this says about you?"
"Yes." The female voice sounded neither offended nor guilty.
"Why did you not talk to me?" Now he sounded depressed, tried to keep his anger and affects down. She chose not to answer.
"Why did- I cannot- What-"
He stopped, took a deep breath. This was not easily done.
"Eighteen months." The young woman's voice now spoke again.
"Why not?" She asked naturally, chose the words which were grounded in her heart.
"Why not?!" he said, the anger rising again. "You cannot truly believe that this is a work of the Lord and his wonderful world we live in!"
"What makes you believe that you know what the Lord plans for his earth and its souls?" the girl responded coldly.
He wanted to answer but knew that he would not find a suitable answer. Outside the shriek of an owl echoed through the night and filled the moment of silence.
"You deny the laws of nature, how can-"
"Nature does not follow laws." she interrupted.
He chose to continue: "How can you call this honesty?"
"How can you not?" Her voice slowly grew louder with every answer she gave.
With a sound of disbelief he held the paper up into the flickering light of the candle which did not follow with its dance the words the two humans spoke to each other.
"I wish I could see your beautiful face every night before I fall asleep so that our love will lead my dreams. Be not afraid my dearest Jane, we will be together. Yours sincerely, the watcher of your dreams, Annabelle."
He swore quietly as he threw the letter to the ground. She had not moved a muscle while he had read and now waited again.
"My own daughter- Why did you not-!?"
He did not know what to say but she did:
"I wanted to. But I thought it was the best that you find it out for yourself."
Almost no emotion sounded in her voice.
"You should never have started something I could find out one day!" he responded loudly. "You will be cursed your whole life wherever you go! You act against the love the Lord has given us!"
"The love of the Lord does not know walls so why should ours?" his daughter answered naturally.
He watched her with an opened mouth.
"You, my own daughter, a sinner, a plague for human nature-!" he said quietly, then his voice broke through the night: "Why are you doing this to me?! How can you dare to spill filth over our family?! You are not a true human being anymore!"
"I thought you would maybe understand..." she said with a low voice.
Outside the owl shrieked again.
The moonlight framed figure fell not instantly to the ground. Only after the sound of the shot had faded away she slipped of the chair, left the picture of the moonshine and fell into the darkness.
He breathed heavily, how long he did not move he did not notice. Shattering the gun fell to the ground. Slowly he began walking, passed the mirror on the left side of the room and the bed on the right side. With a shaking hand he reached out towards the dark figure on the ground. It felt hard and strangely rough so very much unlike human skin. Where he had shot through the linen something thin and light-coloured had fallen out.
"Straw...?!" he said with a flat voice while he sank to the ground as he realised that this was not his daughter but a dummy. He was no longer able to move.
The cold end of a gun and her soft voice were the last things he felt: