A/N I think with this chapter marks the longest story I have ever written between 3 different pennames! BUHMBUHM BAAAAAHH! Oh, and in response to all the people who have been telling me "Watch your grammar! Go over your work!" Yeah sorry, I'm not really full of free time. Oh, and isn't Michael Seater weird looking in 'Conclusions'?
To Those Who Read This,
I write this letter with full knowledge that it is far too late to change anything that has happened or has yet to happen. But yet I still write for a story must be told. Should I tell it to my children and grandchildren, it will be brushed away. They will say, "Its far too late." And it is far too late to save my mistresses life or her murderers' souls. But they don't concern me any longer. Only Mistress Diane's story matters.
My name is Magdelena Bishop. I started my work for the Winningstons when I was a child, only 9 years old, as an indentured servant from England. But, the years went on and by the time I turned 18 and my service was through, I was far too much in love with the family to ever leave again. It is as if I have been a part of the family. I have shared their joy and their happiness. The weddings and the parties, births and marriages. But every family has their skeletons and secrets, and I have witnessed those too. But it is too soon to explain all of that, is it not?
In the summer of 1894, not 2 years ago, Randolph Winningston Jr. met Diane Harver. Beautiful, kind, thoughtful Diane Harver, only 2 years my senior took Randolph's heart, playboy that he was. They were married that autumn. Randolph was unready to have children, but Miss Diane was everything but unready. So she took a charge, her cousin's daughter as it were. She was nothing but trouble from the start. Her sweet façade won her many friends within the family and the staff. I was not one of them, mind you. But Katarina Helthwood was as cruel as she was beautiful and one could trust that she was here for no other reason save her own gain. You see, every Winningston child (3 in all) was entitled to a small fortune amassed by Randolph Sr., a butcher turned successful businessman. Katarina was not seeking love and affection from Diane, but riches from Randolph.
From the time we moved to this school ( the year was 1986), where I now intern this letter, to the time we left months later, I kept a small diary. How I longed to write the truth. The sadness that blanketed the whole family. Somber Marcus Winningston, who carried his baby daughter around, mourning the death of his sickly wife. Sweet Beatrice, the youngest, was happy enough, but slept with all the lights burning in her room, fearing the monsters that followed her around since childhood. And then there was Katarina and Randolph Jr., sneaking about, whispering and speaking just so in others presence. It near killed me not to speak of it, to talk, even in low voices, was poison in the Winningstons' ear. Every time I went to write in my diary, Katarina would pace back in forth quite near me, fanning herself even if there was no hear to drive away. And when I would sit next to Diane, to brush her hair or listen to her read aloud, one of Katarina's friends among the staff, an enormously vile, useless and fat nanny named Georgia would busy herself in the room until we were finished. An ear always was there to hear and an eye was always there to see. That's what Katarina wanted. And Katarina always got what she wanted. Including Randolph.
By December of that same year, Katarina and Randolph were restless. They wanted to leave and start their lives together. But Randolph knew it would break his family in two and if push came to shove, the family would support Diane, not him. Katarina saw only one solution to getting what she wanted. With no Diane there would be no wife for Randolph to leave behind. Randolph and his fortune would all be hers.
Even now my heart freezes and my face burns, that I could not stop her death. The decision took all of a week to plan. Randolph was young and stupid. Diane's murder snuck up on him. Katarina was ready, as she always had been. I don't quite know what happened that night. There were yells, Miss Diane's and Katarina's, then loud steps as if someone was running up the stairs of the library, followed by the most awful thud and a single gunshot. By this time, I had run to the library, already knowing what had happened. Randolph hadn't even known that Miss Diane was 3 months ready for their child. That was by far the darkest night we had seen during our stay at Blake Holsey, as if the Heavens themselves decided that no star should shine. It was the saddest month I have ever experienced before and the most heart breaking cry I have ever heard fall from my very own mouth.
The Winningstons decided to move after Christmas Day. Clothes were packed into trunks and delicate glasses were wrapped in cloth and placed away. Randolph Sr. and Mistress Josephine gave the Headmistress a generous donation. We spent out last night in silence, the school having emptied out for what should have been a cheerful celebration. The next day, we threw trunks and bags onto a carriage and away from Randolph, Katarina, and Miss Diane forever.
Now as I bury this letter within the walls, not three feet from where my mistress was shot dead, I leave those who find this two other gifts: 1) my diary, a full account of my days here and 2) a small porcelain box, the contents of which are a mystery to me. It was Mistress Diane's and she told me it was for her child, passed down to her from her grandmother.
And now I must go. The carriage will leave soon, and as I dot the 'i's of this, the story of a great tragedy, I hope that someone will know that tragedy. I don't ask you to take action. I ask you to remember.
A/N OMG! Conclusions! Can you even BREATHE!