Friday, July 4, 2014

Mother May I? Part Two

Alice rolled out of the bathroom, wheeling herself into the living room where her family had set up to watch some Disney movies, for Nicky, and then later some action movies, for Joshua. Jess and Alice would just as always talk about art, and their father would most likely fall asleep in his recliner. Moving along in the hall, Alice looked up at the pictures of her family growing up, at least the ones that included her before her accident. Mom had never seemed as keen on taking pictures after Alice had been injured in the car accident, which was a shame. Alice would have liked some photos of her mother before she disappeared shortly thereafter.

While not an overly loving woman, Alice’s mother Carol was strong-minded and very opinionated. She had told Alice on more than one occasion that her injury could be overcome through prayer, and often took her to church in the two years following the accident and before she went missing. Robert had never been too keen on that, saying that prayers wouldn’t undo the damages that had already been done. They fought a lot after the accident, especially over the bills. It would be nice to see her mother’s chubby smiling face in a few frames where Alice was in her wheelchair.
“Oh well,” she sighed, pushing herself onward into the living room where everyone was set up. Jess and Joshua were seated on the couch with Nicky between them, the low table covered in four opened pizza boxes. Robert was leaning back in his recliner, a paper plate with a slice of sausage pizza sitting on it half eaten resting in his lap.
“Alice, there you are. We were wondering what happened to you!” Jess said, smiling at her.
“I was just looking at the photographs still up on the wall, y’know… thinking of Mom.” Alice said, folding her hands in her lap as she looked across the room at her father. “How many years has it been now Dad?”
“Nine since she vanished, this September.” He said, taking a bite of pizza.
“And they never found anything out about her?” Joshua asked, looking between the two girls. Alice merely closed her eyes while Jess cleared her throat.
“She disappeared after a fight with Dad. For a while the police thought he had something to do with it, and they questioned him a lot.” Jess replied.
“Tore up the house looking for clues as well,” her father grumbled.
“They also questioned us, but they never found anything here. Her car was left behind and her purse was gone.”
“I’d confronted her about her cheating on me that night, after she’d come home late. She of course said she wasn’t, and we got into a fight. She called someone up on the phone and stormed out of the house, stomping away from us for the last time.” Robert said, finishing off his slice of pizza. “I think she went somewhere with whoever she was seeing, somewhere far away.”
“I just find it hard to believe that Mom would cheat on you Dad,” Alice said, rolling forward and grabbing a paper plate, leaning over to grab two slices of pepperoni. “She was so… not like that.”
“Well believe it. I know what her church friends have said about me, and I know what her family has said about me, but she left that night with a man I didn’t know and hasn’t been back since.”
The room falls quiet as they all chewed on the food, mulling over the thoughts in their heads. Nicky got up and started to walk towards the hall leading towards the back of the house. Jess perked up and looked over at Josh, who cleared his throat.
“Nicky, what are you doing?” He asked, mouth half-full with food.
“Going to the bathroom,” Nicky replied nervously, looking back down the darkened hall for a moment.
“Well next time ask, alright? It’s rude to get up without asking permission, especially during a meal.” Jess gently scolded him.
“I’m sorry, I just thought that I had permission…” Nicky said before shaking his head. “No, I’m sorry.”
Alice looked at him with a raised eye, before looking back at the rest of the adults. Jess merely nodded while Josh had gone back to eating. Robert had a faraway look on his weathered face, as if he was reliving a memory he’d rather not. Alice turned in her chair before wheeling off after Nicky, to see why he was so nervous.
She wheeled slowly down the hall, her chair making nary a creak or noise as she slide her way stealthily past the open bathroom door. She heard Nicky before she saw him, heard him talking, no, arguing with someone. The other voice was raspy and old, which alarmed Alice enough to get her to wheel quickly into the old master bedroom where Nicky was standing in the dark, his back to the door.
Flipping on the light, Alice looked at Nicky. “Nicky, who were you talking to?”
Nicky turned around, revealing he was holding a large handle mirror of gold and silver. He was shaking a little as he spoke. “To the lady…”
“What lady?”
“The lady without a head,” he replied slowly, looking over Alice’s shoulder.
Alice spun her chair around, looking for anything that would be making her nephew act this way.
All she found was cold, empty air.
Spinning back, she could see that Nicky was trembling.
“Oh Nicky, come here,” Alice said, reaching her arms out. Nicky ran across the room, launching himself into his aunts arms and began sobbing. “What’s wrong?”
“She told me to keep her a secret from all of you, said that you all wouldn’t understand.” He said, head buried in her lap.
“The headless lady said we, as in your parents and I, wouldn’t understand?” Alice asked, looking around the room for any sign of the person Nicky had been speaking with. “Nicky, where is the headless lady now?”
“She disappeared when you turned on the light, but she was in the mirror.” He said, holding the mirror up.
“So you could see her?”
“And hear her.” He confirmed.
“What did she say to you that we wouldn’t understand?”
“That grandpa is an evil man,” Nicky replied. This made Alice lean back in her chair and wonder for a moment.
“Did she say why?”

“No, you interrupted her.” Nicky sobbed. “Now that I’ve told you, she’s going to hurt me!”

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