*I want to thank all of you who have been reading and liking this story! It means the world. I realize it’s a little haunting in parts, but it is a Gothic story at its core. I hope you enjoy this last chapter. ❤
Sunny Harbour, July 1893
I found Sarah’s grave in the middle of a field of daisies. It was agony standing over the place where her body would rest forever.
“The first day I visited this town, you were eleven years old. You were already tall with wild curly hair and your mother placed a crown of daisies over your head. You were crying about something, but those daisies made you happy. I hope you are happy now.”
I grasped her published story with both hands; it was wrapped with a blue ribbon.
“Your story, Six Spinsters, has been published with great reviews. I am proud of you, Sarah. Please forgive me for not being able to protect you.”
I set the book in front of her tombstone and remembered her last smile.
I left her to rest in peace. Walking through the wildflower garden, I held my eternally painful stomach. When Aunt Carol’s home came into view, a human figure jumped out at my peripheral vision.
His sandy hair had grown out to his shoulders and it blew wildly in the wind. I did not miss the pistol that he held loosely in his hand.
“You win,” he muttered. “You were the poetic little pansy, but you still won.”
“I have not won anything. I’ve worked hard to finish my university degree, among other things. This is not a competition, Caleb.”
“You win,” he repeated.
He brought his pistol to his head and stared hollowly into my eyes.
I slowly inched toward him. “You don’t want to do that.”
“Is this not what you have been waiting for? Why didn’t you kill me that night when you stole my knife?”
“It was not what I wanted.”
He laughed. That was never a good thing.
“What the hell is wrong with you?” he asked.
“There is a lot wrong with me, but that has nothing to do with what you do with your life. Please, put the gun down.”
“Shut up!” he shouted.
My aunt called for me at the edge of the meadow. A burst of madness hit me and I lunged for Caleb’s gun. I pulled it away from him, but his finger was still on the trigger. Red hot agony seared my stomach. The ground met my gaping mouth, nearly knocking me unconscious. I felt my aunt’s warm hands on me before the darkness pulled me away. Death surrounded me and I submitted to its merciful embrace.
Amber light appeared through the black. I was startled to see a slender form emerge from the haze. She was a beautiful spirit with grey eyes, yet I feared her.
“Tell me a sad story, Alfred,” she said.
I reached for Sarah as she stepped closer. With a smile, she pulled a daisy from her dark hair and placed it in my hand.