Tuesday, August 28, 2012
A House Called Harmony
Two days passed without incident, but with each day, Jaime’s suspicion of Kyle grew exponentially. There was just something not right about his being there, or his story of how he had discovered their location. Nico, as usual, was oblivious to it all. She swooned over him day and night. The night before, Jaime was sure the two of them had slept together. But whatever he was up to the fact that he was suddenly sleeping with Nico only made Jaime hate him more. He was up to something and she was going to find out what it was.
Jaime hadn’t had a lot of sleep. With Clarissa and Yasmin dead, and Nico and Kyle always trying to catch a moment alone, she was left standing watch. So she sat in her chair by the fire with her eyes glued to the one door in or out of the cabin. If they were going to get attacked inside the cabin, and not on the grounds, that was where the killer had to enter. She had her rifle focused on his or her chest, when they finally appeared. And it would happen. That much she knew. She and Nico knew too much, even if they didn’t know who the killer was. And there was proably DNA evidence or fibers left on Yasmin and Clarissa’s bodies. The sooner Jaime and Nico were free to report the murders, the more likely it was that the killer would be caught because of evidence they had sloppily left behind.
To Jaime’s surprise, it was on that second day that she heard the sound a car horn. Jumping to her feet, she shouted on Nico and Kyle, who ran through from the bedroom fixing their clothes. With a wary step, Jaime stood by the front door and looked out the side window, to see a dark figure running toward the cabin, holding a jacket over his or her head. A second later, someone banged on the door.
“Jaime! Let me in!” a voice shouted, shocking her so much that she unbolted the door as fast as she could and threw it open.
Marq was standing on the doorstep with a smile. “Hello, gorgeous,” he replied with a grin, sweeping her into his arms and twirling her around as he waalked into the cabin.
When he kissed her, Jaime let herself be swept up in the moment. Marq was there with her, she was safe, she was loved and he would protect her. “How did you know we were here?” she asked the moment he put her back down on her own feet.
“Yasmin told me before you left. She said that you might want to see me later on in the week … something about something you had to tell me,” he explained, smiling.
Jaime sank into his arms, holding on tight. “So much has happened, I don’t know where to start,” she confessed.
Two hours later, Marq heard the whole story from Jaime, took the rifle from her and scolded Kyle and Nico for thinking only of themselves. He sent Jaime to get some sleep and explained that he would find some place to hide his car, just in case the killer attempted to steal it, as well. Jaime panicked and begged him not to leave, knowing that Yasmin and Clarissa had been killed without them hearing a single sound, and Clarissa’s car had disappeared just as quietly. Anything could happen to him outside the cabin, but he was adamant that he would be fine. Jaime hadn’t slept in almost four days, so the moment Marq tucked her into bed and whispered sweet words of love and protection into her ear, she drifted off to sleep.
But Jaime woke to a loud bang and a shout from Nico. Groggy, but feeling slightly refreshed from her sleep, Jaime left the bedroom and walked into the living room to find Marq holding his hands to the side, covered in blood.
Nico was screaming somewhere outside of Jaime’s vision. “We were attacked … I don’t know by what … but it was big and black …”
Marq swore as he looked at his hand and saw a large gash.
Jaime moved to guide him into a seat and ran around gathering anything that would help. She found a first aid box in the kitchen and managed to clean, pack and bandage the wound sufficiently until they could reach a hospital. “We?” she asked. Nico was crumpled up on the floor, sobbing.
“Kyle went with me. He got the brunt of the attack and made me leave him behind,” Marq confessed with a sigh, making Jaime wonder if she had been wrong about Kyle all along, or if he had somehow fooled Marq into believing he was injured. “And my car’s gone,” he added, cursing angrily.
A tear fell from Jaime’s eye. She was beginning to think there was no hope. Everything had gone wrong; only she, Nico and Marq were still alive and others were dead. It made no sense.
“Jaime, sweetheart. Don’t be sad. It wasn’t for nothing,” he explained with a weak smile. He touched his finger to her chin, making her look at him. As soon as he had her attention, he reached into the waistband at the back of his jeans, wincing at the pain his wound gave him with the movement. “We found a gunnysack in the woods,” he continued, handing her a walkie talkie radio. Jaime smiled.
Four hours after putting the call through on the walkie talkie, Jaime relaxed in Marq’s arms to the sound of police sirens. Nico picked herself up off the floor, where she had cried herself to sleep and threw the front door wide open. Two police officers ran into the cabin and were bombarded with Nico’s fresh tears and rushed explanation.
As Jaime helped Marq to his feet, all she could think of was that they were saved. “Did you bring an ambulance? My fiance’s been injured,” she explained shortly, as the two officers conferred with one another.
With one look at Marq, the tallest officer spoke into his radio, explaining that there was a casualty. “The ambulance is waiting at the end of the road. Can you make it that far?” he asked. Marq nodded like the brave hero he was. Jaime refused to let him go. But with his assurance that he could make it to the ambulance and wouldn’t leave without her, she remained behind to give her statement to the police officer.
Jaime was sure that if it wasn’t for Nico’s hysterics and the fact that Marq and Kyle had moved Clarissa and Yasmin’s bodies closer to the cabin, the police would have thought them insane or nuisance pranksters. Both girls were given police jackets to keep them warm and both of the dead girls were bagged and transported to a second ambulance that left the moment they were inside. Jaime gave Marq’s story of his attack to the officer, who led her to the ambulance where Marq was being treated. She was shocked to find Kyle sitting in a police car.
Inside the ambulance with Marq, she held onto his hand tightly and smiled in relief of their escape. “Could you have your father condemn the cabin?” Jamie asked, knowing that his father had government connections and could do it. Marq smiled weakly and nodded his agreement as the ambulance drove off.
“I heard one of the officers saying that they found Kyle wandering through the woods. He’s uninjured but delusional. He claims some big, black bear attacked him, but he doesn’t have any proof. They think he killed your friends, thinking that you would fall into his arms the moment he showed up to rescue you,” Marq explained, to Jaime’s surprise.
“But he was sleeping with Nico,” she reminded him.
“They found a note in his pocket, organizing who he would kill first, and talking about how jealous you would be if you found him seducing another girl. He sounds deranged, but at least I know you’re safe now,” Marq assured her with a gentle squeeze of her hand.
“Thank you for coming to get me. I feel so stupid for arguing before … do you think we could skip the big wedding and get married tonight?” she asked, relieved when he kissed her and agreed that they would be married the instant he was released from the hospital.
As the ambulance trundled along the country road back into civilization, Marq smiled to himself despite the pain. It had all been worth it. He finally got rid of the nosey Clarissa who kept him from Jaime, from Margery and Celia who told him he wasn’t good enough for the girl he loved, and the interfering Yasmin who couldn’t make up her mind what she wanted. They had all tried to keep him from Jaime, but they just didn’t understand that they belonged together. Killing Kyle would have been a bonus. His incessant flirting and lying had ruined a perfect relationship. Now Kyle was ruined.
The bear costume had been easy to come by, and storing it in his car trunk was far too convenient. But Kyle going completely crazy after the hour of torment he had suffered made Marq smile the most. He wouldn’t be seducing anyone else’s fiancé again, that was for sure. He had to give it to himself: a car crash, two murders and an accident. The fact that Kyle had survived only made his revenge sweeter. Now he would be blamed for the murders and Marq would be free of suspicion. The cars were easy to get rid of with his stamina and muscle. He hadn’t been stupid enough to start the engines, and dropping Kyle off and swearing him to secrecy was just delicious. The cops would always wonder how he had reached the cabin without a car or public transport. He would keep looking guilty as long as Marq kept his mouth shut. But what really made his heart sing was the way Jaime looked at him. She was the most beautiful, perfect girl he had ever known and she was his. He had saved her from friends who didn’t care about her happiness, the pain in the ass jock who couldn’t take no for an answer and now she was more in love with him than ever … he was her hero.
This is the final part of the short story A House Called Harmony, written by Elaine White. Elaine’s book Runaway Girl is the first book in her The Secrets of Avelia Chronicles to be published soon by Write More Publications.