The weather gradually changed. It became cold and chilly. She curled under her blanket shivering. Why would God just decide to make human habitation so cold like this? She thought. She wondered how the homeless people survived this kind of weather, she imagined little children in the cold finding warmth in their mother’s bosoms. She understood the feeling because she was once homeless. If not for Easton, she would have been somewhere not conducive and freezing away. She heard a knock on the door,
“come in”, she said. She watched the door open slowly. The maid got in with a mug.
“a mug of hot chocolate ma’am”
“thank you Linda”. The maid handed her the cup and left, shutting the door gently. Crystal sipped from it slowly. She got up and moved towards her window, she stood there thinking. This was a weather when everyone walked fast, all in a hurry to get inside somewhere, escaping the cold.
She missed the sun and it’s warmth. It was going to take a while before the summer comes back. A hot bath was inevitable this morning. She sipped her hot chocolate quickly. She undressed and stepped into the bathroom. After few minutes she came out feeling refreshed. She dressed slowly into a casual outfit.
She loved Saturdays maybe because breakfast on Saturdays always had a different delicious taste. She got out of her room and headed towards the kitchen. Today she felt like helping out. As soon as she got into the kitchen the maids greeting her in Unison,
“goodmorning”. She picked up the iceberg lettuce on the kitchen sink and washed it, took out the chopping board and began to slice it. As she sliced she felt somewhat uneasy
“have you seen Easton today?”
“yes ma’am”, one of the maids answered, “but he has been in the basement for a long time now, he warned all of us not to come close to the basement”.
“hmmm, ok”, Crystal dropped what she was doing and headed towards the basement, she wondered why he just decided to be locked up in the basement. As she walked down towards the basement, she heard muffled sounds. She quickened her pace, afraid that Easton might be in some sort of trouble. She got to the door and kicked it open. What she saw stopped her in her track. Easton, Reuben and Francesca turned to look at her, the expression on their faces showed that they didn’t expect her to be there at that time.
Crystal stepped further into the room, her eyes got accustomed to the dim light, then she saw a man on a chair, he was tied and was drenched in blood. He looked as though he had been deprived of sleep for several days, she could tell by the large eye bags around his eyes. When the unknown saw her, he looked at Easton and shook his head.
“what is going on here?” Crystal asked
“Crystal you are not supposed to be here” Easton looked uneasy
“what do you mean by that Easton. Francesca and Reuben are here, what makes me different?. I demand to know what is going on, don’t leave me out”
“Fine. This man here worked for my father a long time ago, but suddenly turned his back on us. I caught him around my premises and I know he is up to something. He is working for someone else and that is what I want to find out. What he is doing around my house and who he is working for”. Francesca and Reuben seemed not to have anything to say, they just looked on with folded arms.
“but everything you just said does not warrant a torture like this”
“look Crystal you don’t know the half of that man sitting there, he is dangerous. Why is he here after a long time?, I know he is up to something and that is what I want to find out”. Easton turned to Francesca and Reuben,
“please excuse us”, they left without any complaint. Crystal turned to him,
“do what you must Easton, but don’t frighten the maids” Easton sighed
“this is enough for now, I will be back for him later, I have lots on my table” Crystal left, Easton followed. All through the day she thought about the look that the unknown man had on his face when he saw her. She remembered how he looked at her and looked at Easton and shook his head. Why would he do that? She wondered,
“it’s like he recognized me from somewhere”, she thought. She felt something wasn’t right and she wanted to know why. She paced and bit her fingers as she searched her memory for any detail of him. She wanted to talk to him herself alone. She hesitated a bit, she didn’t want to ask him questions when Easton was there. She kept pacing, then finally made up her mind regardless of the presence of Easton.
She reached the basement door and pinned her ears. She didn’t hear a sound. She summoned courage and pushed the door open. The unknown man lifted his head weakly and looked at her.
“what is your name? and why are you here?”
“go to hell”
“look mister, you are the one tied to a chair, not me. So start spilling or I do worse than what he has done to you”.
“what have they turned you into?”. She looked confused.
“what are you talking about?”. He didn’t respond, he dropped his head down and shut his eyes. She wanted to get something meaningful out of him, but with the way he was behaving, she wasn’t going to get anywhere with him. She lifted his head up.
“talk to me, what do you want?, why are you here?”. He clenched his teeth,
“I am not going to say anything, I don’t owe any explanation to you”. She took her hand away from his chin with frustration. Maybe Easton was going to force out some information out of him. She turned to go, as she reached the door, he called her back,
“Crystal”, she took her hand away from the door and turned back,
“you know my name?”,
“yes and not only that that”
“what else do you know about me?”
“I knew your father, I knew your mother and I knew the innocent you”. Her heart beat shot up, it beat so fast and loud that she could swear he could hear it. Everything came rushing back. She remembered her mother hiding her under the bed and promising to get her as soon as everything because alright. She remembered the gun shots, she remembered her father pleading with the men that came in, she remembered how scared she was, she remembered the devastation she felt when she saw the bodies of her parents, she remembered the loneliness and bitterness she felt. She remembered how she wandered on the streets afraid the men might come for her too. Her eyes became misty as she remembered all these. She got closer to him as she wiped her eyes with her left palm.