“What kind of welcome is that?” the man asked. “Didn’t you miss me, my darling?” He stepped across the threshold and into the room. He was tall, taller than Richard and his shoulders were broader too. His hair was curly and he was wearing glasses. He walked up to the dresser and took the chair, placed it near Madeleine’s head and took a seat.
This is the second ten days of writing. I’m training to write a story in twenty days. You can read part one here first!
Joyce, Richard and Madeleine were flabbergasted about the way he acted. But Madeleine recovered first. “Why have you come here, Scott? I told you not to get near me anymore.”
“Well, I saw these two put you in a car and drive away. I thought I’d follow you to see where they were taking you. I lost them somewhere along the way, but when I found you again, I saw him carrying you inside. Your foot was bleeding. I decided to break in and I listened at the door. What’s this rubbish about you being his mother?” Scott folded his arms and looked at Madeleine. Madeleine knew that look. She knew it well. It was the look he had always directed at her when they were still together. The look that said: What are you doing sweetie?
Madeleine wanted to reply, but at that moment Richard moaned. He leaned forward, clutching his stomach. Joyce got off the bed and walked around to him. “What’s happening?”
Richard couldn’t reply. A searing pain shot through him from the pit of his stomach, right up through his chest and into his throat. His voice was constricted so he couldn’t swallow or speak. His chest felt like it was too small for his lungs and his heart pounded against his ribcage for some extra space. Richard doubled over. He had folded his arms across his ribs. But both his arms had gone from his body it seemed. While Scott was talking, time had moved on and Richard’s other arm was transparent. “You gotta hurry!” he said panting. “I haven’t got that long anymore!”
“What’s going…” Scott started. Madeleine and Joyce looked at him and said in unison: “Shut up!” Joyce added: “Do something useful and help me carry him to the other bedroom.” Scott got up from his chair and lifted Richard from the bed. In four big steps he was at the door, Joyce following in his wake. Madeleine assumed there were more bedrooms in this house and that they were taking Richard to another one.
Five minutes later, Scott was back in her room. “Joyce is staying with him,” he said, pointing at the door. “Now, sweetheart, tell me what’s going on here.”
Madeleine told him everything that had happened so far and left nothing out. She knew Scott. He wanted to know every detail and if she left anything out, he would question her until he was satisfied. This was the quicker way. When she finished telling him everything she asked: “Will you go now?”
“No, I think I will stay. If you have a son, I want to know who the father is.”
“That’s actually none of your business, Scott.”
“I think it is.”
“It’s not, but I cannot get rid of you it seems. Just don’t get in our way.”
The door opened again. “I want to talk to Madeleine, Scott,” Joyce said. “Can you make tea or something downstairs?” It wasn’t a question, Madeleine observed. Scott took the hint. When Scott had left, Joyce sat down at the bed again. “Who’s Scott?”
“Nobody,” Madeleine answered lamely. Joyce raised one eyebrow. “Okay, he’s an ex-boyfriend turned stalker.” Joyce raised her other eyebrow. “You don’t have to have to be so pushy,” Madeleine tried to make a joke, but Joyce’s eyebrows disappeared under her hair. Madeleine admitted to herself that she had to tell the truth about Scott.
“Scott was my boyfriend until two months ago. We got into a huge fight and I hit him.”
“What was the fight about?”
“Nothing. Everything.” Madeleine raised her hands in desperation. “What do you fight about when you are in a relationship?”
Joyce put her hand on her mother-in-law’s hand. “Don’t worry about it. Why did you hit him?”
“He accused me of something I didn’t do.”
“That I didn’t separate the garbage. He’s really strict about that.” Madeleine hung her head. “It was just the last straw.” Madeleine sighed. It was such a theatrical sigh that Joyce started to laugh. And she was still laughing when Scott came back in.
The two women looked at him. Joyce doubled over again and Madeleine started to giggle too. Scott walked over to the other side of the bed and sat down at the end. The red evening sun shone through the window. Madeleine saw little dust particles swarming around in the beams of light. The setting sun reminded her that time was running out. She stopped giggling and said: “Richard needs my help.” Joyce looked up. She had stopped laughing too: “So you finally believe us?”
“Yes, I do.”
“So you know who his father is?”
“Well, if everything Richard just told me is true, it hasn’t happened yet, so Madeleine cannot know who the father is.” Scott looked at Madeleine. “You cannot stay here, my darling, we need to get you to a hospital to take a look at that foot. It might get infected.”
“Not tonight,” Joyce said, yawning. “We all need to get something to eat and then get some sleep.” Madeleine agreed, she only just now realized how empty her stomach was. It was growling at her. And if she was to get pregnant between now and very soon, she’d better start taking better care of herself. She started to get out of bed to help in the kitchen, but Scott gently pushed her back in the pillows. “No, sweetheart, you stay here. I will make some dinner for everyone here.”
Joyce looked at Madeleine. “I think he still loves you, you know.” Madeleine picked up a pillow and threw it at Joyce: “Shut up!” she said. Joyce left the room just in time. The pillow hit the door and fell on the floor.
Thirty minutes later a delicious smell wafted into the room where Madeleine lay in bed. She was thinking about what she could do to get pregnant with Richard. All kinds of possibilities came to mind – find a donor, pick up someone in a bar, get back together with Scott. “No way!”
At that moment Scott came in with some soup. “No way?” he asked, raising his eyebrow in that characteristic way of his. “Don’t you want this delicious chicken soup?”
Madeleine rolled her eyes: “Of course! I’m starving!”
For ten minutes, there was only the sound of spoons clattering against the bowl of soup and a bit of slurping at the end when the spoons weren’t sufficient anymore. When the soup was finished, they looked at each other. “Now what?” They had said it at the same time. Madeleine looked at the window again. She felt that Scott was still looking at her.
– This was becoming a very bad romance novel. The writer had to intervene right now. It should not go there. Besides, the writer thought the story was becoming a little too predictable anyway. So it was time to put a stop to this bad writing. The writer knew there were a lot of things to make it better. This story was about to take another drastic turn. –
The sun was setting and night was about to fall. In the other room Richard was still fading away.
“What did you say?” Madeleine turned to Scott. Scott shook his head and shrugged.
“Go! Leave! Get out of here!”
Madeleine looked around. There was no one else in the room. Madeleine got out of bed and walked over to the window. She stared into the rapidly darkening forest. Suddenly she saw a small purple light coming towards her. It bobbed from left to right, coming closer every minute. And again she heard the voice: “You’re in terrible danger! Get out of the house!”
Madeleine didn’t know what to do. Where was that voice coming from. Then the light was right in front of the window. Madeleine blinked and blinked again. It was a small fairy. Madeleine shook her head. “But fairies don’t exist,” Madeleine thought.
“Every time you think that, a fairy dies.” The voice sounded in her head. “But I wasn’t kidding, you’ve got to go now!”
Madeleine wasn’t sure if she believed this little Tinkerbell wannabe, but it would be easier if she could talk to the fairy without people listening. As casually as she could, the young woman walked towards the door opened it and said to Scott: “Bathroom.” She walked down the stairs, went outside – the door wasn’t locked anymore – and walked towards the fairy in the garden.
“What’s going on?” Madeleine asked the fairy. The fairy didn’t answer and flew away. Madeleine went after her. “Hey wait!” she shouted, but the fairy didn’t listen. She was only a small speck of light and finally it disappeared. Madeleine didn’t understand. Her bandaged foot was hurting and because it felt warm, she thought it might have started to bleed again. She was confused. Why was she in danger? Madeleine suspected she would only get some answers if she followed the fairy. She knew it was weird, but it was the only thing she could do.
Night had fallen completely now. It wasn’t completely dark, the full moon lighted her way. In the distance she thought she saw the little purple speck again. Madeleine started to walk faster. She needed answers.
When she finally had caught up with the fairy, Madeleine asked her question again. The fairy looked at her and pointed first in the direction where she had come from, then at Madeleine’s stomach and then the tiny creature shook her head. “You mean, I should not get pregnant?” This time the fairy nodded. “Why not?”
Now the fairy put her hands around her own tiny throat, made a strangling sound and then made a big circle with her hands. “Richard is going to kill all the fairies?” The creature nodded again. “Wait, why are we playing charades? It was your voice in my head!”
“I wanted to have some fun.” The voice came in her head again. “So what will you do? Get pregnant and let us die out or save us all?”
Madeleine walked back to the cabin. She was full of doubts. The fairy had been very convincing. Suddenly she stopped walking. What was she thinking! A fairy? Come on, that wasn’t real, was it? And also, someone fading away because she wasn’t pregnant yet. That sounded ridiculous too. But she had seen it. Both of Richard’s arms were gone… This really wasn’t making sense. Madeleine was a grown woman. How could she believe that any of this was remotely real?
Madeleine sat down against a tree stomp, which was conveniently placed there. Her foot was throbbing and she couldn’t walk anymore. The young woman was so confused and so tired. She leaned back her head for just a moment. Her eyelids fluttered and then she fell asleep.
The next morning, Scott found her there. He and Joyce had been besides themselves with worry. They had been looking for her all night. Gently he lifted her from the forest floor and carried her back to the cabin. It took him half an hour to get there, but it was worth it, because he got to keep Madeleine close to his chest. In her sleep she had nestled her head against his shoulder, as she had done when they were still together. It felt so familiar.
“Get a grip,” he scolded himself. “She needs to pay.”
When he got back to the cabin, he put her down on the bed and walked back to the kitchen where Joyce was making breakfast. “I found her,” he told her. “She was asleep against a tree.”
“What was she doing there?”
“Don’t know, probably due to the drugs that you put in her soup yesterday.”
“It had to be that much. She needs more every time to keep believing the things we tell her.”
“I know,” Scott said. “We need to keep a better watch on her.”
Scott went into the living room, where Richard was reading a newspaper. He looked up from the paper he held with both his arms and looked at Scott. Scott nodded. Richard looked relieved. “Good,” he said.
“Don’t let it happen again.”
“I won’t,” Richard looked appropriately ashamed of himself.
Joyce came into the room now. “What do we do now?” she wondered.
“Stick to the plan. She has to pay for what she did to me. Nobody hits me like that and gets away with it.”
“Is it just because of your ego that you thought of such an elaborate plan? Or is there something else you’re not telling us, Scott?”
“Joyce, just stick to what you do best and keep her drugged. This is my business.”
Joyce went quietly out of the room. Scott was a real jerk and Joyce was sick of it. She didn’t want to play anymore. “Men,” she grumbled to herself. She looked for her purse, walked up the stairs and went to Madeleine’s room. “Come on now, you have to wake up,” she whispered to the sleeping woman. She shook her arms, took her by the shoulders and shook her a bit harder. “Maddy, wake up!” her voice was a bit louder now. “We’ve got to go! Come on!” Madeleine murmured a bit in her sleep. Joyce shook her again. “Come on, Maddy!” she said with some desperation.
Then, finally, she opened her eyes. Madeleine looked at Joyce: “Whasgoingon?” she asked groggily. “We need to go, you’re in serious danger!” This jerked Madeleine completely awake. She sat up straight and Joyce saw there was fear in her eyes. Joyce was looking for her jeans and shirt. “Get dressed and come with me.” Madeleine was glad to get into her jeans again. “Weren’t those…”
“We lied,” Joyce said hastily, “I’ll explain later.”
Madeleine tossed the dress in a corner and put on her own clothes. Her injured foot didn’t fit in the shoe, because it was swollen. Joyce took the lead. The women sneaked down the stairs, tiptoed to the front door and when they were outside, Joyce whispered: “Stay here for a bit and stay off your foot.” She sprinted towards the shed that was next to the cabin. She took a key from her purse and opened the door to the shed, went inside and looked around quickly.
Joyce was a bit nervous. Scott wasn’t someone to make a fool of and that was exactly what she was doing by running away with Madeleine. But she had to do it. She had started to like Madeleine and didn’t want anything bad to happen to her. Joyce herself had had a falling out with Richard about this plan. She didn’t want to cooperate in the first place, but he had made her.
Joyce had found the key in the glove compartment and started the car. Because it was electric, it hardly made any noise. She drove out of the shed, in front of the door where Madeleine was still waiting for her. “Get in!” she said. Madeleine had hardly fastened her seatbelt when Joyce pushed down the gas. She had only driven for about 50 yards when the car died down. Joyce and Madeleine looked back: Scott and Richard were on the front porch. They were smiling. Scott was holding something in his hands. Madeleine looked back over her shoulder. She thought it was some kind of button.
The doors clicked shut and there was some kind of hissing noise coming from the AC. The women looked at each other. This wasn’t good. Joyce started kicking at the window and door on her side, Madeleine did the same. After a couple of minutes their pounding became less intense. Madeleine’s bloody fist stuck to the window and Joyce’s lips had turned blue. All the oxygen had gone out of the car. Finally both women gasped two more times and slumped in their seats. They looked a bit like a goldfish on dry land, Richard thought. And then, there was no more sound. No breath escaped their lungs. It was over.
“Told you they would try to run,” Scott said.
“Women can’t be trusted,” Richard grumbled.
Then, both men went inside and grabbed a beer from the fridge. Completely content with their world.