Sally peered over her shoulder and around the property. There was no one in sight. She got down from her horse and stepped slowly through the yard. All the lights were out at the Thompson home. The monster was still at church. Going home held little incentive for him since he had no one else to torment there. The front door was locked this time.
She walked to the side of the house and stood below the window of her old bedroom. She pulled herself up onto the ledge, opened it, and then swung her leg over it. She fell onto the floor, got up, and walked out of the room to Mama’s bedchamber where perfume still lingered in the air. She lit a candle and stood in the dim. There was an intoxicating energy in the room that made it feel like Mama was still alive somehow. It was slightly comforting and strange. She imagined her mother trying to hug her from a distance, watching her evil daughter as she schemed. Sitting on her mother’s neatly made bed, she tried to remember the happier times. The solitary flame made the wall come to life with dancing shadows, but the room was so cold. The source of its warmth would never return.
She buried her face in the frilly pillow, inhaling Mama’s floral aroma. She held it tight before she fell asleep. She could almost feel Mama’s life surrounding her when she awoke an hour later; it only intensified her grief. The candle still burned. Papa hadn’t come home yet. Sally sighed deeply and took a long look around the room. Mama’s soul hovered in the air in the form of fragrance, fashionable gowns, jewellery, and a sadness that would never die.
She rose from the bed and stripped out of her dress. She poured rose water from the pitcher into the wash basin and washed herself with a clean cloth. The cold water made her shiver, it felt good to be cleansed. She selected Mama’s favourite lavender dress, took it off the hanger, and put it on. It was a little too long, but it would do. She went into Mama’s jewellery drawer and took a ring, a bracelet, and a choker. She put them on in front of the mirror and brushed out her hair. She smiled at the sight of herself wearing Mama’s things.
She stepped outside of the Thompson house for the very last time, gripping her rifle with both hands. It was time to pay Pastor Scottson a visit. She rode through the darkness. When she was close to the pastor’s land, she got down from her mount and tied the lead to a tree. She strode through the long grass the rest of the way, inhaling the still summer air. A light was on in the house. He and his wife were awake. She inhaled deeply before exhaling slowly. It was time. It had to be done.
She quietly inched closer to the window. Inside, the pastor and his wife sipped tea. The scene looked so innocent, so peaceful. She had to remind herself that he would have killed her without flinching right after Michael’s murder.
Next to the window, she pressed her back into the side of the house. She had to be swift. No hesitation. He likely had a handgun on him. When a man was untrustworthy, he assumed everyone else was, too. She gripped her rifle and spun around to face the window, aiming at the pastor. Neither he nor his wife took notice of her. The outside looked pitch black from their viewpoint. She clenched her teeth, aimed, and fired.
Shattering glass together with Mrs. Scottson’s scream sang in harmony with the bullet’s bang, like a choir in Hades. The dead man’s bloodied face smacked down onto the book of life. His blood splattered all over the table and floor, soaking the Bible’s pages. Catching her breath, Sally’s gaze went to the pastor’s wife. The older woman stared at her dead husband.
Sally stepped in through the broken window and reloaded.
“I had to end him, Mrs. Scottson,” she said. “I’m sorry you had to see it.”
“Get out of here before they take you! Run!”
Sally stared at her.
“You’re helping me?”
“Go, you little fool.”
Mrs. Scottson rushed over to her and pushed her toward the window with surprising strength. Sally turned to look away from the madness in her eyes. She jumped out of the window and ran. The form of a young man carrying a lantern greeted her. James Allen.
She froze in place. So did he.
“Well, well, well. Look what Jeremy’s little minx has been up to.”
His gaze travelled to her gun and he gave her a patronizing smile. She longed to wipe it off his face.
“Jeremy is missing,” she said. “I was looking for him. I brought this gun to protect myself.”
“She’s telling the truth, James,” called Mrs. Scottson from the broken window.
Sally winced. What a stupid thing for the woman to do. At the sight of the window’s damage, James stepped toward the house.
“What happened here?” he asked.
“A fool child threw a rock through our window earlier today.”
He shook his head, glaring at each of them.
“Then why did I hear that gunshot a few minutes ago?”
Sally broke into a sprint for the field. Her legs and lungs burned as she forced herself to run faster than ever before. Half-expecting a bullet to scream into her flesh, or for James to take her down, she somehow reached her horse unscathed. She jumped into the saddle and urged the mare into a run.
She looked over her shoulder for any sign of the lantern’s light, but there was nothing. She eased up, slowing to a steady trot. That was when she heard rapid hooves digging up the ground behind her. She pulled the reins towards the forest as her throbbing eardrums drowned out every sound around her. She rode for her main refuge. The woods.
Do you want to read more? You can buy Sally on Amazon!
“Walk down that glory road;
Don’t you turn back.
All the things you’ve left behind
Are painted black.“
So good, Sara! I love this!
Thanks so much for reading. 🤩 I appreciate it. I’m glad you like it!
Very powerful & vivid excerpt that hooks the reader from the get-go. Plenty of mystery here! 🙂
Thank you so much! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. 😛 She was a thrill to write!