Chapter 1 – PARRICIDE

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PARRICIDE – To Be Released April 1, 2014 on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Stanley

April 9, 1904

“No! Please don’t shoot!” Her voice wavered slightly though she tried her hardest to remain firm and unfazed. Had it not been for the tremor in her tone and the unmistakable trembling of her shoulders, the intruder might have bought her act of valor.

The terrified cries of my wife echoed against the bare wooden walls causing me to run in a panic. I flew down a flight of stairs towards the parlor area and noticed the dim flicker of a single candle illuminating the room. It added an eerie ambiance to what was to be the most horrifying moment of my life.

“Gandy! What do you think you’re doing?! Get your hands off my wife!” I shouted with pure ferocity. I wouldn’t be surprised if the blood vessels in my eyes had burst open given the tint of red that shadowed my vision.

“Well, well, lookit ‘ere who it is,” Gandy slurred drunkenly as he gripped my wife’s strawberry blond hair between his fingers. “It’s Stanley Heckley! Or might I say, the Great Stanley Heckley.” He cackled and peered down at my wife.

My eyes fell instantly onto Christiana’s tear stained face. I made an attempt to rush forward, however, she shook her head slightly and mouthed, “Go! Save Katie.”

My stomach wrenched as I pictured our three-month-old daughter hidden under the floorboards in the main room upstairs. She was safe – for now.

I cleared my throat and stood up straighter. Holding my hands out as a final plea, I said as calmly, but with as much authority as I could muster, “Gandy, please put down the gun. You had a little too much to drink tonight and I promise that if you walk out of here this instant, I will not tell the authorities of this little incident.”

I braced myself for his reaction and was surprised to hear a hearty chuckle in response. Christiana winced as he continued his belly laugh and pulled tightly against her head. Her beautiful braid was now a rat’s nest and I was surprised not to find clumps of her pinkish locks strewn along the floor.

“Do you think you have the right to tell me what to do?” Gandy laughed hysterically. With his gun toting hand he reached up and wiped tears from the corners of his eyes.

“I beg your pardon but I don’t see the humor in this situation,” I growled.

“You want to know what’s funny?” Gandy snapped. “The fact that Christiana here picked you over me. What does she see in you anyway? Nothing but a stack of cash that your daddy gave you.”

I glanced around the room frantically, looking for any escape route. My eyes focused on the window and my mind methodically went over any possible option I had to get my family out of this situation. It was as if everything was running in slow motion, from the flow of my blood through my veins to the harsh beating of my pained heart.

“Are you listening to me?!” Gandy’s hazy voice interrupted my frantic thoughts.

I gulped. “Yes, Gandy.”

His eyes widened as he pointed the barrel toward me. Christiana gasped and began pleading frantically, begging for him to drop the gun. Ignoring her cries, he lifted an eyebrow as he looked me dead in the eye. “It’s yes, sir,” he corrected.

I nodded my head. “Yes, sir,” I replied through gritted teeth.

His lips curled up into a sinister grin and he began pacing the room dragging Christiana along with him. She grabbed at his hand, trying to pry his fingers from her scalp, but was unsuccessful. The gray skirt of her dress, a birthday present from me, dragged behind her, becoming soiled with the dust from the floor.

“Now, I don’t know why you’re stupid enough to come back to town,” he said through gritted teeth. “The folks here were finally steer clear of the Heckleys, yet here you are infesting our town again with your filthy riches. You think your family’s better than all of us here, don’t you? Just because of your blue blood ways.”

“Gandy,” I said in an even tone. It pained me to even speak, my throat dry and parched from fear. “Please leave my property. We’ll deal with this when you’re sober in the morning.”

“This ain’t about being sober! This is about the abomination that your family has bestowed upon the less privileged. That’s why you came back to town now, isn’t it? To take over all the businesses that your greedy father wasn’t able to get his cold, vile hands on! You should have stayed in God knows where you were!”

“It was a mistake to come back,” I agreed as I nodded my head; and good God did I agree. “We only came back to tie up ends concerning my father’s estate. Nothing more.”

“Ah, yes,” he grinned. “That’s right! Your old man croaked a month ago, didn’t he?”

My blood began boiling and instinctively my fists clenched together. “Yes,” I said in a raspy tone. The pain of having lost my father still burned freshly in my heart. Hearing Gandy speak so nonchalantly about his passing made me want to gouge his eyes out. That would have to wait. For now I needed to focus on helping my sweet wife.

I cleared my throat and continued, “We’ll tie up loose ends and leave town immediately.” I gestured towards the room. “We’ll leave this house and never return to it again.” My eyes widened as realization came over me. “Is this what you want? Do you want my property? It’s yours! Take it! Take everything in here!”

Gandy snickered. “I don’t want your house,” he snapped. He glanced down at Christiana and brushed the gun across her face. She and I stiffened simultaneously, our breaths caught in our throats. “What I do want is your wife,” he continued.

“I’m sorry, but I can’t do that,” I replied angrily.

“Why? She’s already mine!” He shouted. “Do you really think your sweet Christiana was a virgin when she met you? When she wed you? Her naked body was under mine before you even had a chance to look her in the eye!”

Though I tried to remain calm and composed, I couldn’t help but glance desperately at my wife. Her eyes were clamped shut and she began to sob, proof that what Gandy had said was true.

“It was a long time ago!” Christiana screamed. “Before I met you!”

“Shut up, whore!” Gandy growled.

I gulped. “I don’t care,” I said sternly. “She is my wife and anything she may have done before me is of no consequence. I took a vow.” Christiana’s eyelids flew open in relief. Her gaze fell upon mine and we held each other’s eyes as if saying silent I love you’s though it felt more like goodbyes.

Gandy stiffened and gripped her hair tighter. Losing composure he stammered, “Well, did she tell you we made love a quarter’s night ago?”

Christiana had been with me, caring for our infant daughter. Gandy was full of fucking shit. Though I felt like rolling my eyes, I knew better. “Gandy,” I said instead. “It is late and I demand you to leave my property.”

Gandy’s hands began to grow limp and for a moment I thought that we would be able to put this whole unfortunate situation behind us. My family and I would leave town immediately, never glancing back. Father’s estate would just have to take care of itself and it could stay rotting. It could be food for the termites and worms for all I cared. Unfortunately, that is not how it happened.

Katie’s cry rang through the household, a cry for food, for love, for attention? A cry that still rings through my head every day.

“What is that?” Gandy cried out in a horrified tone. “Another Heckley?!” He looked down at Christiana’s face in shock and anger. “How dare you breed another member of this foul family?” Gandy released her hair, throwing Christiana to the ground. He quickly turned on his heel making his way through my house. His gangly body made odd shadows on the wall as his loose, wavy, blond hair flew in wisps behind him.

“No!” Christiana shouted. She ran after him, pushing him away as she followed Katie’s cries. She ran quickly up the stairs, frantically searching for our daughter. Though I had hidden our infant under a loose floorboard, the emptiness of the house made it difficult to mask her cries. The acoustics amplified her wails easily marking her hiding place.

Gandy  steadied  himself,  having  never  let  go  of  the  gun,  and  began  sprinting  after Christiana. He raced up the grand staircase, two steps at a time, and was quickly gaining ground. I desperately followed after him and flew up the staircase as rapidly as I could. A surge of adrenaline rushed through me and I quickly caught up with him in the upstairs hallway, tackling him to the ground. I grabbed at his hand and began beating it against the wooden stair rail, trying to dislodge the gun. Briefly looking up, I noticed Christiana through the open door of the master bedroom retrieving Katie, carefully swaddling her in her arms.

“Run!” I shouted as I successfully knocked the gun out of Gandy’s thin hand. He growled in pain as I pushed his palm into the ground.

Christiana nodded and looked around for an exit. Remembering the ancient Servants’ passageway, she turned and headed for the door, trying to make a sudden right into the adjacent hallway. Simultaneously, Gandy managed to knee me in the groin and bit my hand, knocking the breath out of me. I fell backwards for a moment, looking up in time to see him grab his gun. Regaining my balance, I lunged forward in an attempt to tackle him. Unfortunately, it was too late. As if in slow motion I saw him cock his gun and aim toward my wife and daughter. With a deafening bang, Gandy pulled the trigger, the gun recoiling against him. Christiana’s eyes went wide as the bullet flew towards her, penetrating my baby girl and in turn traveling through my wife’s body.

“NO!” I screamed.

My throat went hoarse and tears burned my eyes as I watched my family fall to the ground. Blood trickled from Christiana’s mouth and her eyes rolled back, lifeless and vacant. Red stains smeared Katie’s crocheted blanket, turning pink towards the white edges.

Panting heavily, I looked down at Gandy who appeared surprised himself; disbelieving of his own atrocious act. I yelled out inaudibly and kicked out my black leather boot, hitting him square across his face. He fell backward, loosening his grip on the gun, and his nose quickly began spouting out spurts of blood. Quickly grabbing for the gun, I reveled in the cold steel against my palm. Aiming it straight for Gandy’s head, I pulled the hammer back and placed my finger on the trigger.

“Do it!” Gandy demanded. “Do it! I just killed my one and only love!” He began sobbing, the effects of alcohol wearing off his body.

“She never loved you,” I hissed. My hand began trembling, my grip on the gun growing weaker with each passing second. “So what if she slept with you? It was a long time ago and you were just a warm body who never had a hold of her heart.”

He growled at me with narrowed eyes, but soon started laughing as he focused in on the shaking gun. “You can’t do it, can you? You can’t pull that trigger! You may be a useless fuck getting all you want with daddy’s money, but you don’t have the ballocks to kill a man – even when he just shot the fuck out of your family!”

Trembling with rage I applied pressure to the trigger.

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