Chapter 2

The house was quiet. More quiet than it had been for days. Robert and Joanna Holmes had left for a brief vacation in the countryside and had been unable to persuade their 18-year-old daughter to accompany them. So she sat alone, in her big, empty house. She sat in the dark, because the honesty of the light was too painful to bear. Despite her reluctance however, the moon beckoned her outside, and she found herself making her way slowly towards the window of her bedroom. Though out of the shadows, her face was a shadow itself, haggard with sorrow and regret.

She glared at the all-knowing moon defiantly, as if daring it to speak. But it did not condemn her.

It didn't comfort her either.

A fresh wave of grief washed over her, threatening her iron control. She shut her eyes tightly against it, but it broke through in a torrent, and she collapsed against the window frame in sheer agony. Her tears flowed relentlessly for no one to see, and her sobs filled the house for no one to hear. Her pain was so great she thought she'd suffocate from it.

Eventually, through no choice of hers, the tears stopped. She turned her tired eyes to the moon and at the myriads of stars scattered across the night sky. As before, they continued to watch her. Not speaking; just watching. Then, her eyes hardened with determination. She was still a Holmes, if nothing else, and she forced herself upright.

Rejecting every instinct in her body, all her case files, detective equipment and mementos of past cases were gathered together and set aside. At last, even her well-worn journal disappeared along with them. They were locked away in an old chest that only she was able to open.

And she buried the key deep inside her heart.

A/N: Hey, I can see all you little 'hitters'! Nice to know someone's reading:o)