Ring Of Writers
Alice's Past: part 4.

by: Kate Hauber
	   "Alice?" her aunt called.  "I heard a cry in there.  Are you okay?"
           Monsieur Allen lifted his head with a gasp, tightening his hold on Alice's
           "Say everything is fine, Alice," he ordered.  "Say it!"
           Alice hesitated for a split second, thoughts of her escape from his grasp
           thundering through her head.  "I can't give in to him," she thought desperately,
           the tears stinging her eyes and leaving a salty trail down her pale cheeks.  "I
           can't give in to him.  I can't give in to him."
           But his grip tightened more, cutting off the circulation in her arms, making
           them go nearly numb.  Defeated, she replied, "Auntie, don't worry.  We're fine
           in here.  Just catching up on old times."
           Alice felt her heart sink and her stomach knot up as she heard her Aunt Beth's
           footsteps descend down the corridor.
           "Alice, you silly little girl, you forget I can read your thoughts.  I own your
           thoughts.  You cannot possibly believe that you can escape me.  Now, to the
           business at hand."
           Monsieur Allen brought her arms down to her sides, then roughly around her back,
           pressing himself against her so she could not squirm.  He had longed for this
           moment for a year.  He could still taste her sweetness.  He nudged her head to
           the right, exposing her delicious china-doll neck once again.  His pulse drummed
           loudly in his ears as he threw his head back, then plunged deep into her flesh,
           sucking the life out of her.  He felt her go limp in his arms.
           "That's it, Alice.  That's it my sweet princess.  Give yourself to me.  Come
           back to me," he cooed.
           A sudden calm flooded over Alice.  The alarm she had felt, the extreme desire to
           run had vanished.  As she gazed alertly around the room, the colors looked
           brighter, more vivid and crisp than she had remembered.  Her eyes fell upon the
           blazing fire, the light burning her eyes and making them shut.  When she opened
           them, a bright burst and flash brought her to the floor.
            She was dashing away from the burning castle, weeping uncontrollably to the
           sounds of the screaming people, the maidservants and children, stuck inside. 
           She tripped over a branch and hit the ground with a thud.  Muddy and bleeding,
           she rocked back and forth with the knowledge that she had ended all the
           suffering.  She tilted her head back in an almost insane laughing fit because
           she was finally free of him.  He couldn't hurt her anymore.  But as quickly as
           the laughter came, the realization set in that she was also to blame for Jo's
           death.  She screamed a primal scream that sent the birds in the tree above her
           fluttering.  She brought herself to her knees, hugging herself tight, then got
           up awkwardly, and stumbled toward the highway. 
           "Mommy?" Alice heard faintly.  "Mommy?"
           When she awoke, she found herself in a large bed surrounded by filmy white
           curtains.  The shredded nightgown had been removed and replaced with a shear,
           antique white one with beautiful beads along the scoop neck.  She placed her
           hand on her pounding head and slowly sat up, looking at her surroundings
           curiously, knowing she was no longer in Boston.
           "It was only a dream," she told herself convincingly of her meeting with Allen. 
           "It was only a dream.  Allen is dead.  My baby boy is dead."
           "Mommy? Are you okay?"
           Alice whipped around to face a little blonde-haired boy.  He had the face of an
           angel.  His steel blue eyes were as wide as saucers and his bee-stung lips were
           twisted in concern.
           "It can't be," she thought frantically.  "It can't.  The fire at Ironwood
           The boy giggled, then vanished.  Alice kicked off the covers and jumped to the
           other side of the bed, lifting up the blankets to peer under.  Frustrated, she
           sat back up.  A giggle echoed in the hallway.
           "Jo!" she called, a hint of desperation in her voice, as she launched across the
           room and out the door.  "Jo, come back to Mama!"
           Panting heavily, she followed the footsteps through the maze-like hallways,
           until she reached heavy, gothic double doors.  It took all her energy to pull
           the door open enough to slide into the room.
           "Alice!" a voice boomed.  "So good of you to join us!"
           As her eyes adjusted to the dimly lit room, she recognized immediately where she
           was.  But how could this be?  Everything had been destroyed.  She was the only
           one to escape.  Her eyes filled with terror as she stumbled back toward the
           "This can't be happening again!" she screamed frantically.  "Not again!  I don't
           understand!  Where is my aunt?  Where are my cousins?"
           "Were you not reunited with young Jo?" Monsieur Allen asked quizzically,
           ignoring her questions, as he emerged from the shadows.  "I sent him to awake
           "It wasn't real," Alice cried.  "None of this is real."
           "Oh, but it is," he said.  "It's so very real."
           "Where is he?  Where is Jo?"
           Monsieur Allen gave her that smirk she so wanted to slap off of his horrid face,
           his yellow eyes boring into her as they had at Auntie's house.  In one fluid
           movement he whipped open his long black cape to reveal the young blonde boy.
           "Ta da!" he exclaimed.
           Alice sucked in her breath, feeling as though she had had the wind knocked out
           of her.  Jo, her Jo, stood before her, grinning sheepishly.
           "Mommy!" he cried, pulling away from Monsieur Allen and dashing into Alice's
           open arms.
           "Jo!  Jo!  How can this be?" she wept as she buried her head in his mop of
           blonde curls.
           "Alice, you left too quickly that night," said Allen.  "You thought we were all
           dead.  And you were right, in part.  Most of the children perished.  However, Jo
           and I escaped unharmed.  We've been awaiting your return for a year."
           Alice wept as she rocked Jo back and forth.  She felt overjoyed that her son was
           alive, but she noticed the same secret, moist smell she had smelled on Monsieur
           Allen earlier.
           "What did you do to him?" she asked pointedly, fearful of the response.
           "He was very badly burned, Alice.  He would have died had I not made him one of
           us.  No one could have survived the burns little Jo suffered."
           Alice peered wide-eyed down at her son.  Jo stared up at her with yellow eyes.
           "My God, Allen!  No!  Not Jo!" she screamed.
           "Would you rather him dead, Alice?" he retorted calmly.  "Now you can spend
           eternity together, never to be torn apart again.  We all can, like a happy
           "Of course I wouldn't want him dead," she seethed.  "But this is not alive
           either.  He will stay a little boy forever, Allen."  Alice hugged Jo close.
           Allen studied her for a moment.
           "Jo, why don't you run and see if James has your lunch ready.  I'd like a moment
           with your mother, please."
           Jo sprinted across the room and out the door as Allen slowly circled Alice like
           a vulture going in for the kill.  He gazed hungrily at her lithe frame under her
           shear nightgown.  Burning desire shot through him.  After several moments, he
           took her gingerly by the hand and led her to the opposite side of the room to a
           large velvet couch.  Alice felt a sense of urgency as his gaze scorched her.  He
           urged her down onto the couch and began to nibble on her ear.  As she closed her
           eyes, wanting desperately to fight him off but knowing she was powerless now to
           his advances, he whispered, "Now that I've given you something you so strongly
           desired, there's something I need you to do for me."      

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