Chapter 8 : Disturbing Revelations
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Brian stared helplessly at the map he held in front of his face. He swore he had known where to go when they had set out from the hotel that morning, but now it seemed the trail they were on had disappeared from the map. He was quite certain it was where the crease was now, its zigzagging line wiped out from much folding and unfolding. He turned away from his wife, who sat on a flat rock as he tried to figure out where they were. Her legs dangled limply over the edge as she rested her upper body on the picnic basket next to her. He loved, adored her and worshipped his wife--he just didn't want her to know that he was utterly and completely lost...in the woods. Though the look in her eyes indicated that she already knew.
Brian knit his brow in frustration as he stared out into the dense woods. He listened for the sound of running water. Wasn't that the trick? Find running water and follow it...somewhere. No such luck; he heard nothing but the distant call of birds, the soft but irksome hum of insects, and the small thuds coming from his wife when she swung her legs out and back against the rock.
"Maybe we can just eat here?" She suggested lightly. She didn't want to embarrass her husband by letting him know that she knew they were lost. She didn't want to be that cliché, but when he didn't respond right away, she sighed heavily.
Even from a distance, she could hear Brian's stomach growl. Yet, he persisted in staring at that bloody map.
"No," he finally responded vaguely, adding, "there is a magical, floating waterfall somewhere around here. Don't you want to see it?"
"Yes, but we could always find it after lunch," she replied.
Brian's shoulders sagged a little as he turned to walk back to where she sat. "But, it would be romantic, don't you think?" He look defeated as he placed a hand timidly on her knee, a sure sign that he thought he had failed.
"Oh," she grinned suggestively, "we don't need a waterfall to be romantic..." She coyly adjusted the collar of his shirt under the light jumper he wore. He smiled and leaned into his wife for a kiss, which he received with enthusiasm. He returned in kind.
"You know," Chrys said when they broke apart momentarily to breathe, "all this wedding talk has certainly put you in a mood."
"Has it?" He was far too distracted with leaving a trail of light kisses down her neck to spend much time thinking about what inspired his sense of romance.
She closed her eyes to enjoy the familiar sensation when a twig snapped nearby. Opening her eyes quickly, Chrys looked around warily. "Did you hear that?"
"Hear what?" Brian looked up at Chrys.
" A sound, a cracked twig or something..." She said, trailing off and gasping a little when Brian went back to his kisses. "Nine years, and we still have it, don't we?"
She said it aloud, but the expression of her voice couldn't begin to describe how she marveled inwardly at the fact. Brian was the only man--boy, really when they had started dating--she'd ever been with and she still loved the way his hands felt. He was never rough and unkind; a far nicer person than she was, he treated her like she was his goddess. Chrys didn't care one wit that there were smarter and better-looking men in the world, but adored his good-heart and level head. She wondered how she had ever gotten so lucky. She hoped that soon her wonderful husband would make a wonderful father.
As if he could read her mind, Brian stepped up his ministrations and gently pressed Chrys down against the rock. The two of them were well on their way at taking another stab at being parents when an outburst of giggling interrupted them.
“Whose there?” Brian demanded as he abruptly pulled away from his wife.
More shrill, high-pitched girl giggles erupted from the woods nearby. Hugo appeared out from behind a tree walking towards them, as he bit back his laughter. Lily followed in his wake, holding a hand over her mouth and shaking furiously.
Chrys and Brian stared in mortification at the two cousins who approached them.
“Stop, stop,” Hugo chuckled, as he continually made the time-out signal with his hands, “I’m so sorry. This is getting too absurd.”
Lily laughed harder.
“What are doing here?” Chrys whipped angrily.
“The trail that we were on to the waterfall leads right past here. We stopped when we, er…saw you.”
“Honest, we weren’t trying to look,” Lily snorted into her hand, “but we couldn’t find a way to cross the clearing without you seeing.”
Chrys glared at them. Brian put his face in his hands and shook his head.
Embarrassed themselves, Hugo and Lily glanced at each other. “Um, we’ll just be going then.” Lily supplicated. The two of them began their retreat.
Chrys dropped her glare to look at her husband, who had suffered two failed attempts at romancing her that day. Feeling bad, she called out after them. “Did you say you were going to a waterfall?”
Lily and Hugo stopped and turned. Brian gaped at his wife.
“Yeah, want to come along?” Hugo inquired, despite looking as though he rather they didn’t.
Chrys hopped off the rock. “Yeah, we do,” she called, grabbing the picnic basket.
Brian still looked hesitant so she turned to him and said, “You wanted to see this waterfall, let’s go see it.”
He searched his wife’s face, saw her determination, and conceded, “Ok.”
“Oh my gosh! Could you look more bored!” Dominique exclaimed with a disgusted look in Dexter’s direction.
“What,” he said, covering how startled he felt well, “I’m not bored.”
“Yes, you were. You were completely zoned out!” She paced in front of him with her hands on her hips. They had been sitting in her room while she told Dexter about her continuing history with Lysander. Why she thought he’d actually care was beyond her. She reasoned that he probably went a long with it to get into her bedroom.
“No, I wasn’t…you were talking about how after Molly disappeared, you and him—he said the word as if it were particularly vulgar—fell apart, and that sometimes, usually under the influence, you still feel drawn to him.”
Dominique stopped her pacing and stared at him, calculating. “You weren’t really listening, were you? You just inferred that?”
“Dom,” he protested, reaching forward and grabbing both of her hands, “I don’t do bored.”
“You were bored.”
“No, I wasn’t. I told you,” he said in a charmingly beseeching voice he had been perfecting for over a decade. Angry girlfriends suspicious of his behavior would instantly melt into giggling and smiles at this tone. Dominique seemed no different as he pulled her into his lap and whispered his last words into her ear, “I don’t do bored.”
Dominique closed her eyes and sighed at the absurdity of the entire situation as Dexter mistakenly continued to revel in what he considered his victory. When his stubble tickled her collarbone, Dominique laughed and said, “Dex, cut it out; I’ve told you that I don’t do your type.”
“Harsh, princess, harsh” he breathed against her neck, but didn’t stop kissing her.
“I said stop,” she commanded again, pushing him away. Her eyes flew open in her fury and caught on something far more disturbing than any of Dexter’s advances.
Wrestling herself from Dex’s grip, Dominique flew to the mantle above the fireplace.
Her hand clutched the beaded bracelet that lay there and stared at it in utter disbelief. It was a simple bracelet, ludicrously strung with pink and purple beads, only three of which had words: “best” “friends” and “D&M”.
Dexter had never seen Dominique that pale before, shock, fright, and anger flitting over her features in quick succession. Anger apparently won out, because in the next moment she spun on him, shaking the bracelet in front of her.
“WHAT THE HELL IS THIS DOING HERE?” She shouted at him. Dexter was so surprised, that he actually pushed his chair back away from her. “IS THIS SOME KIND OF SICK JOKE?”
“W-What the hell are you talking about?” He stammered.
“THIS!” She pushed the bracelet under his nose, and then retracted it a moment later, her features softening a little as she reconsidered.
Dexter couldn’t have possibly put the bracelet in her room. Dexter couldn’t have possibly known where to get the bracelet. It shouldn’t even be possible for the bracelet to be here at all, because the bracelet should have been with Molly.
Before the thought could fully formulate itself in her mind a terrified scream sounded from downstairs.
The waterfall really was something to see. The water seemed to pour down from nowhere, as though it materialized from the air and dumped its splendor into the riverbed of its own accord. So Incredible, impossible, and stunningly beautiful that even being magical, Hugo couldn’t believe what he was seeing and wondered if someone had made the stones that it poured over invisible. He walked around the riverbank, peering curiously in the bushes and trees for any sign of magical tampering. That’s when something white caught his eye.
Hugo moved closer to inspect. However, when he got about a foot away, he yelled out and stumbled backwards into Lily.
“What?” She asked. Hugo, pale and shaking, pointed at a high-heeled foot that stuck out from underneath a nearby bush.
Her jaw fell open. “That can’t possibly be…” She trailed off, stunned by the very thought.
“I-I d-don’t know.”
“What’s up?” Brian called from where he and Chrys were relaxing by the riverbank.
Lily looked back over her shoulder to see the couple peering curiously in their direction. She exchanged a long look of trepidation with her cousin. “Hugo found something!”
Hugo grimaced and gripped his wand tightly. With a practiced wave of his wand, the bushes flew up and released their discovery. From behind them, Chrys screamed and buried her head in Brian’s shoulder, who couldn’t tear his eyes away from the grotesque sight that met him.
With horrified shouts, Hugo and Lily ran backwards into the river as the body of Jillian Masters rolled down the bank towards them.
A/N: Did you guys even remember Jillian was a character? What'd you think? Things are really going to start picking up now, so...be prepared...muhahahahaa. Please review!
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