Short Story: Gone
By I. Fischer
"As the leaves turn brown and the breeze creeps in, a young girl makes her way down-town. This girl’s name is Alice. During this time of year, the world is bathed in warm tones of orange, red and yellow. The leaves fall from the trees like snowflakes. At last, Alice feels at ease, as her favourite season welcomed her like the embrace of a loved one during Christmas.
Dusk approached, the birds journeyed from east to west. Alice let out a heavy sigh as she unlocked the cemetery's iron gate. This time of year always makes her remember. She remembers what happened to her sister, and she intends on not letting herself for-get. Not letting herself forget that it was her fault. Lost in a trance, the smell of pumpkin that floods the air lulls Alice back to reality. She looks over her shoulders and quickens her steps, as she walks past the gravestones on her way to the creaky gate. Suddenly, the breeze starts to blows stronger, causing Alice’s golden locks to move wildly like a stormy ocean. As she makes her way home she can’t help but reminisce on last week’s events. Her sister had asked. She had no choice, but now the consequences were hers to carry alone.
“Sweetie I’m just calling to check in! How is everything? You didn’t spend all day in-doors again, did you?”
“Hi mom, I’m okay. I really have to go so if you wouldn’t min-”
“It’s just since your sister, you know… I just want to make sure you are okay.”
“I’m fine mom, really I’m fine. I have to go.” Alice hung up before her mother could question her any further.
Having the police come in for questioning was more than enough, she didn’t need her mother to do the same. They’d ask her to sit at the station, then they would offer her a glass of water, to which she would quickly dismiss. They’d keep going with the same questions for hours, checking for any signs that Alice might be lying, which would only make her more jittery and anxious than she already was.
“You said the last time you saw her was before she went to Jake’s, her boyfriend’s house, is that correct?”
“That is correct, and that’s the same thing I’ve answered the last time you asked me.” Alice snarked at the police officer, her feet violently tapping the police station’s floor.
“Look, I get that this is hard for you, but we are only trying to help. All we know is that apparently she vanished into thin air, and the last person she talked to was you!” His voice rose.
“What exactly are you implying, officer?”
“Trust me, you don’t want to hear me say it.” He retorted.
* * *
Weeks dragged on, and Alice slowly adjusted to her new routine. Wake up, go to the police station. Go back home, make sure the police isn’t around. Sleep. Repeat. Her guilt was eating her up, if she didn’t confess she would soon be consumed by it. "They already suspect you anyways", she thought. It would be better to just come clean, imagine how much easier it would feel- to just admit it.
Alone was an understatement to describe Alice’s current state, so she turned to the first person she could think of. The only person who knew. Despite denying it, she knew Jake was owed an apology, or at least a chance to confront her. Without giving it much thought, Alice made her to Jake’s apartment. When she arrived she knocked. Then, she knocked again. And again.
“Jake I know you are inside!” Alice whined.
Footsteps approached the front door, which were followed by the sound of keys nervously jangling. Then, Jake finally appeared.
“You have no right to be here, not after-“
“I know…” Alice spoke gently, “I came to apologise.” she continued. “I’m the reason the police are after you. I shouldn’t have suggested that you were the last person she talked to. If they knew-“
“THAT YOU ARE THE REASON SHE WENT MISSING!” Jake screamed with furry.
“Please, let me come inside before someone hears us.” Alice asked with a tone of urgency.
“Don’t you get it? I want people to know what you did. We were engaged. Engaged, Alice!” He whimpered. “You could have told me she was feeling this way…”
“Jake, I’m- I’m sorry. I know you loved her- really loved her. She loved you too.” Alice added, which made Jake’s eyes glassy with tears. “I’m- I’m going to come clean. I’m go-ing to tell them everything.”
* * *
Deep breaths, Alice told herself. In and out. She timidly opened the door to the interrogation room.
“Officer.” She spoke, her breath shaky. “I was the last person my sister, Charlotte, spoke to. The reason she wanted to talk to me, was because she wanted my help. She wanted my help to escape, she wanted to run away from everything. It was too intense for her- getting married so young.” Alice let out a deep breath. “So, I helped her.”
* * *
As the leaves turned brown and the breeze creeped in, two sisters were walking past stores for bridal dresses. One of the sisters, the soon-to-be wife, felt trapped, like a caged bird that feels a sorrow so deep it can no longer sing.
“I can’t marry Jake, Alice. I just- can’t. He loves me far more than I could ever love him,” She paused, her eyes now clouded with despair. “but I don’t want to break his heart… If only I could run away- from everything! This city, the same people. All of it! I’m so sick of it.” Charlotte sobbed then rested her head on her sister’s shoulder.
“Then why don’t you?” Alice dared.
“Why don’t I what, Alice?”
“Alice are you crazy? That would never work! If anyone found out I-”
“You know, I meant to go on a cruise to Alaska this year… To travel the world after college, like I said I would.” Alice stated, her gaze fixed on her sister. “If you really want it, you can have the tickets. You can leave without telling anyone…”
During this time of year, the world is bathed in warm tones of orange, red and yellow. The leaves fall from the trees like snowflakes. At last, Charlotte would escape her cage.
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