Chapter Three

 

            When Alice awoke in the morning her eyes were still sore and damp. Her strangely colored eyes were now a brilliant shade of red. She felt weak as she crawled out of bed. Standing in the mirror brushing her dark gold streaked hair was an arduous chore.

Minus the ticking of the clock all was silent in the Ember household. Walking down the hall Alice saw her mother’s door was closed. She fought the temptation to knock on the door; her wounded pride and her hurt conspired to hold her back. Whenever she blinked the scene of the night before remained fresh in her memory. Thinking about it only made her want to cry anew.

She made her way down the stairs where her thoughts switched to the oncoming comet. Briefly thinking about it brought a smile to her face. She’d seen a meteor shower, an eclipse, but never a comet. It was then that despite being grounded, despite her mother’s feelings, she’d go to the cliffs to see the Voldo Comet. If thinking about it made her smile, seeing it would only prove more positive…at least until her mother found out.

Her mismatched eyes, first orange then blue, caught a glimpse of the clock. In a few minutes she’d have to leave in order to make it to school on time. A proper breakfast had to wait.

She scrambled back upstairs; fussed with her hair in the mirror before coming to the conclusion she had done all she could. Before she went back downstairs she stopped in front of her mother’s door. Her hand lingered over the knob. Over the thundering of her own wounded heart Alice heard her mother. What was said was muffled and muted behind the closed wood. Alice wrestled with the thought of opening the door or leaving without a word. Curiosity sank its talons into her, and before she knew what she was doing her hand turned the knob. The door crept open without a sound.

Diana’s voice was rich with tears and frustration. Her breathing was labored as if she were having an asthma attack. Through the slim crack Alice saw her mother was in the prayer position at her bedside.

“Please,” she cried with her head craned to the ceiling. “Heaven knows I’m not the best mother but I do the best I can. Oh God, please don’t do this to me. You can’t take my little girl away from me. Not again. Our life hasn’t been easy. Let us have each other. Let me keep my little girl.”

With that final word said Diana’s head fell against the disheveled sheets on the bed. From there muffled cries rang in the morning. It hurt Alice to watch her mother in such a state. Still she remained vigilant to go out that night and see the comet.

Quietly she closed the door, heading back downstairs with the grace of a ninja. Backpack on her shoulders she stepped outside to be greeted by the crisp autumn air. All the way to school Alice’s mind was a cacophony of noise and questions with no answers. Alice wanted to know what her mother meant. But something told her she may not want to know the answer if it was offered.

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