When reading this, if you could indulge a strange Lady and listen to this song at the same time. Of Verona – Paint the Pictures. It helps with the setting.
The absence of sound was deafening. Victoria had expected to walk in to the soothing sounds of Chopin, as was usual for her Thursday evenings. But silence is what met her at the door. The room was illuminated only by the street lights filtering through the curtains. She flicked the main switch a few times to no avail. She took a few more, what felt like, thundering steps into her apartment. The strong smell of wine and ash hung in the air. She had a fireplace but rarely used it. It was pointless in such a small area. She reached the end of the hallway and stepped into her living room. A glass of red wine was toppled over next to her settee, the wine seeping into her beige carpet. That was the first thing she saw. For someone with a mild case of OCD, it infuriated her slightly. But then she glanced at the hand dangling from the arm of the chair, blood dripping from the fingertips, mixing with the wine on the carpet. The skin was pale, like an apparition. It hardly seemed real. Was it some kind of elaborate prank? A blaze was raging in the fireplace, making the room feel smaller. Victoria took a step towards the fire, something was burning. It looked like a piece of paper. Victoria was entranced, the dripping hand all but forgotten. She bent down in front of the hearth until she could make out a few words. ‘Mother’. ‘Deceased’. ‘Burden’. ‘Divorced’. And one full sentence. ‘I just can’t bear to be here any longer’. Grief tore at her chest. What did it all mean? She watched the words turn to ash, crumpling in the heat. Standing up she saw her reflection in the mirror that stood on the mantelpiece. She looked haggard. She touched her reflection, trying to understand what she saw, and then she looked behind her reflection at the rest of the room. It was meticulously clean. More so than usual. She looked at the blood soaked carpet and then at the hand. Then she followed the arm up to the shoulder and eventually she saw the face. Somehow she wasn’t surprised. It didn’t shock her at all. After all, it was her letter in the fire.
She still remembered writing it.
“To whoever finds this first.
If there is anything I must say before I carry on, it is that I’m sorry. I’m sorry that you had to be the one to find this and I’m sorry for whatever comes next. I have been going through quite a lot these past few days. My husband of five years divorced me for my best friend of more than twelve years. His lawyers made sure I got nothing out of the ordeal… nothing but heart break. My best friend won’t even answer my phone calls.
And today I found out that my mother of fifty-five died in a car accident. My father had been behind the wheel. He’d been drunk. But fate would have it that he survived. My father, the man who abused me for all of my childhood, survived and my loving mother passed on.
This is all too much of a burden for me. I have no one left. No one but you, dear reader. So forgive me for placing this on your shoulders. Let me be weak one last time. I never get what I want, but this time I shall take it.
I just can’t bear to be here any longer.
Formerly Victoria Aspen.”
Victoria turned to face her body. Even with the blood running down from her wrists, she looked at peace. It helped that she’d poisoned the wine too. It dulled the pain and made her pass quicker. She looked at peace, and in her heart, she felt it too.
She smirked. They were all to blame, so let them take on the guilt.
Victoria walked over to her stereo and pressed play, but instead of Chopin’s spring waltz, Mozart’s bittersweet Lacrimosa danced through the air. It was poetic.
Victoria let the music soak in, closed her eyes and then… she was gone.
Lacrimosa dies illa
(Mournful that day.)
Qua resurget ex favilla
(When from the ashes shall rise)
Judicandus homo reus.
(a guilty man to be judged.)
Huic ergo parce, Deus:
(Lord, have mercy on him.)
Pie Jesu Domine,
(Gentle Lord Jesus,)
Dona eis requiem.
(grant them eternal rest.)
I apologise for any mistakes. I only wrote this last night.