A/N: The awaited sequel to Her Name In Blood! The genre will remain at its abnormal horror/suspense/romance/humour/mystery, etc etc. I can't guarantee this installment will live up to the last one, but hopefully you'll like it. I'll get around to recapping sooner or later, but if you wanna know what's going on... well, just read it, lol. There is a new set of main characters, but this is just the introduction.
Cold As Snow
It was a snowy day in Forget-Me-Not Valley. The ground was as white as the clouds, and fluffy as a sheep's wool. Winter's flaky perspiration splayed out among the hills of the valley, rolling where the land rolled and sloping where the land sloped. It mounted off each and every branch of each and every tree, deciduous or coniferous or bare. The snow fell from head to toe of the town and froze every excess puddle of autumn.
But somewhere in the distance, far, far into the distance, the snow stopped. At the edge of a blue, pristine, unfrozen shoreline, a girl stood, her mascara streaming as quickly as the flurries above her. She brushed at her tears with one soap-coloured sleeve, but they continued to rain down quickly. The long, blonde tresses atop her head ran down her back, ruffled and unkempt for the first time. And once chivalrous green eyes dribbled into a chokehold of depression.
Muffy cried into her open, arctic palms, letting the snow dance from all around her. Hard shudders leaked her broken body and soft moans escaped when she just couldn't hole them in. The coil in her chest ached and throbbed until it felt ready to destruct. She couldn't take it anymore; she buckled to her knees and stayed there.
She would've cried out; she would've exploded into the sky; she would've screamed her lungs sore if she could grasp anything more than the emptiness of her voice. The tears spoke for her, sliding down from her pale cheeks and delivering her eyes' bitterness to her tongue as they slipped unvoluntarily into her mouth.
"It wasn't supposed to happen," she managed to wheeze, in a voice so breathless it made her throat tingle. Her chin pulled downwards where her body remained limply. She blinked to reduce her tears, and it worked by a fraction. Then she leaned over and stared into her reflection from the flickering waves now beneath her. What mannered the reflection was a girl; heartbroken but beautiful all the same, even despite the layers of makeup that were quick washing away.
But Muffy saw none of that. Her green eyes downcast, all she saw was a doll; seamless and ripped apart terribly…
Marlin was supposed to love her. They'd been dating for nearly four seasons— that was a long time for a relationship in a place as primeval and undeveloped as the Valley. They'd been together for practically four, whole seasons. They'd kissed, they'd cuddled, and she'd been happy for almost a year.
She loved him. She was almost completely sure.
But that was just the thing.
He was supposed to love me too, damn it!
She brought her slender fingers to her face and parted the hair that had fallen before her eyes. On total instinct, she craned and looked at her reflection once, and the ocean seemed to have stilled for her. But once she peered into the waves, she saw not only herself— but Marlin, standing right behind her, a look of twisted angst unfurled against his face.
Muffy screamed and pulled away from nothingness, gathering herself before he could even touch her. "Get away! Get away!" she screeched, not caring her hair was a mess and her face was bleeding with eyeliner.
She turned around to deliver a meticulous slap to his face, but her extended palm folded at the sight deepening into her.
And that sight… was nothing.
No one was there.
She hauled back into her position and fell, her cheeks flat against the sands of the beach as she continued to cry.
He was supposed to love her. He was supposed to love her…
She brought a balled fist and slammed it aimlessly to her side, eliciting a pained cry when her ring finger was met with a sharp rock. She rolled over to her side and scanned her bloody hand, and then her ring finger soon after.
Something was wrong… something that caught her eye more quickly than the rushing blood.
Her ring finger was ringless.
"He didn't love me," she whispered.
And she put her head back down, all thoughts ceasing.
Because he really didn't.
And after nearly hours of lamented deliberation, Muffy stood up. She didn't bother to compose herself as she trudged back to her workplace and home, the Blue Bar, her shoulders sagging and her feet sweeping. Pangs sounded every time something chipped against her high heels, and a torrent of wind screamed into her ear as it barrelled past, but she didn't care. She fixated her eyes to the blanketed cobblestone and walked, oblivious to the earth itself.
She staggered up to the door and shoved it open, not bothering to slink in and slip away to avoid from having her nightmare-portrait seen. Unsurprisingly, all laughter, beer-bottle-clinking, and chatter ceased when eyes directed to the dishevelled beauty. Not one voice was audible, save the blues from a droning radio, which had now somehow switched stations. Out-of-place, upbeat folk music jigged to and fro the bar as Muffy lumbered to the backroom, not sparing even a "hello."
"What's her problem?" one of the older men, Patrick, scoffed. In the corner of her eye, she also saw his brother Kassey staring cryptically into the corner, his gaze averted from her; avoiding her. All other eyes remained on her, however, but to her relief no one attempted to stop her.
She swung the door open and then shut it hard, not hesitating as she made her way for her room upstairs. She set one high heeled-foot onto the ladder staircase, but footsteps approached and caused her to halt.
The door flew open once more. "Muffy? Muffy, are you okay?" the familiar voice of his boss, an older man named Griffin, asked. A concerned tone sparked his voice, and Muffy barely spoke a word.
"No," she answered shortly, and climbed the rest of the way to her room, despite Griffin's incessant calls. She climbed up the trapdoor of the attic and closed it briefly behind her. She ignored the full-length mirror that glared back at her ugly, daunting reflection. She hurried past it, feeling unclean and disgusting.
Not wanting to tarnish her bed, or anything else in the room, she sat down on the wooden floorboards and stared ahead, her eyes unfocused. She didn't want to think. She didn't want to cry. She just wanted it all… to stop.
Her heart sang with the word: stop. If only her heart could suddenly stop beating, and she could die at the foot of her bed, left with nothing but a beautiful body and a broken heart…
Wouldn't that be sweet…?
She cradled her head in her arms, which were red and stinging from the outer cold. Immune to nature's fury, she desultorily glanced around at her room The haphazard gesture earned a jolt from her as her eyes fell upon a single, framed photo slanted bleakly on her nightstand.
She leapt to the nightstand and almost ripped the photo off, and all suddenly went numb as she held it with trembling hands, just staring into the centre of the photo with wide eyes.
She was standing there beside Marlin. She looked gorgeous; he looked hot. She looked exuberant; he looked angry…
She hurled the photo at the wall, nearly cringing when the frame exploded and shards flew everywhere. Her chest rose and fell for a few moments, as if unable to depict the photo's existence.
Finally she jerked her head away with such force her forehead nearly hit the wall. Her slender body rolled into a fetal position and she found herself sobbing like a child on her sides, only, softly.
It was her fault in the end, though, wasn't it? She really was such a child… such a hopeless, naïve child. She had the ability to stop doing all the wrong things she did… but she always believed there was one more chance. If she got one more shot, one more throw; she'd get it in. If she went one more round, she'd score the jackpot. If she just had another chance, she'd able to win all the things she'd lost, back…
She believed that every time… yet it never happened.
A wistful moan escaped her and she found herself falling into a dreaming, haunting slumber, the nightmare of illusion being Marlin's lips on someone else's. She envisioned herself back where she stood, and in a second's time she felt she was back in her shoes. She felt herself whirl around. She felt herself run. But most painstakingly of all, she felt herself cry.