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Don't Ask Me Why: Chapter 17

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It actually did snow that night, and when Marie woke up that Saturday morning, about an inch was on the ground. She wanted to go to the gym, but now it wouldn't be safe to drive there. Instead, it would be the perfect time to go walking.

Marie left her home around 10 AM and walked on the sidewalks through the neighborhood. It was a beautiful day, the sun shining brightly in the cold air, and all was quiet except for distant cars on the highways. It was here that Marie truly found relaxation and solace, a kind of therapy that a party with so many strangers wouldn't do for her.

Marie made her way to the same river as she always did, and she could see that it had begun to freeze over, some snow on top of the ice. With her phone, she took some pictures of the beautiful, snowy scene, with the sun glistening on the snow and water.

"But what's the point of taking these pictures if there's no one to share them with...?" she thought gloomily.

Marie's parents lived far away in another state. They made contact at least once a month, but they always spoke generally. She could give some of these pictures to them, but she wasn't sure they would be interested.

"Then again, there's that really nice couple at church," she wondered.

For about a year, Marie had been going to a local church in the area. She never really built any connections with those people, but one couple found her out for themselves. In many ways, they had become her mentors, even parents away from parents. They invited her to dinner a few times in the last semester, and even invited them on a day trip to a local mountain to go hiking. They enjoyed nature as much as she did. However, Marie was never open enough to share her thought life completely to them. The fact was, no one knew about her despairing interest in Alex, and confused feelings to do with Ernest. Marie felt such things weren't appropriate to talk about with them. Only Tanya had any clue, her only close friend. And yet, Marie was still alone with her thoughts.

"How much longer?" she frowned, looking at her reflection in the riverside. She then made her way back home.

Tanya and Marcus were in a bad mood for the next few days. They felt sick all Saturday, particularly Tanya, and they didn't talk to each other. Marcus stayed in his study while Tanya stayed in the bedroom, surfing the internet for the most part. Tanya would have gone outside if she didn't have a splitting headache.

"I must be dehydrated," she thought to herself. "I don't think I've drunk anything since last night. Water will help." She got herself a glass of water, only to feel more sick. Exhausted, she laid face down on her bed and passed out again.

It was late Saturday night, and Marcus had disappeared somewhere. Tanya was alone in the house, feeling a bit better than before, but still tired. However, she couldn't fall asleep, so watching TV in the living room, she fell into a dazed trance of thought.

"What to do... what to do... so bored..."

Suddenly Tanya had a fancy to go into Marcus' study. It had been a while since she went in there, she wondered if anything changed. The door was unlocked, and she stepped in.

Almost immediately an odd sensation came over her. The TV behind her seemed to fade into silence, and the pitch-black room felt cold, and unnaturally quiet.

Something about it was uncomfortable.

Tanya turned on the light above almost nervously, to strip away the dark. The room appeared ordinary, with everything in place, now that Marcus had finished his compositions. Book shelves lined the walls, ancient books and encyclopedias, and books about music. His desk was clean and tidy.

But something new was in the room, sitting on the ground in the far right corner.

A black briefcase.

Drawn to it, Tanya slowly stepped toward it and meant to take hold of it, when a sudden, unnerving feeling came over her. The air around her turned cold, and she felt a chill down her spine. Tanya froze, and found herself holding her breath.

The silence was stifling.

Then, something happened.

Tanya gasped and almost losing her balance backed out of the room, and slammed the door, forgetting to turn the light off. She returned quickly back to her couch, hearing sound again from the TV.

Marcus came home half an hour later.

"Where were you," Tanya muttered, still staring at the TV.

"An errand..." Marcus muttered back. He went over to his study and opened the door. Although, he was carrying nothing bought from a store.

"Wait," he paused for a moment and turned around, "Did you turn this light on?"

Tanya turned to him, "I guess I... forgot it on," she said quietly.

"What were you doing?" with a slight edge in his tone.

"Just looking," Tanya snapped. "Oh, but wait!" Marcus turned around.


Tanya looked him square in the face, looking for a sign or trace of something unnatural. Marcus looked perfectly normal.

Or was he?

"Never mind..." Tanya turned back to the TV.

Marcus said nothing in reply, and closed the door to his study behind him.

Tanya wondered how he could go in there with so much ease. Feeling tired, she went to her bedroom immediately. It was 2 AM now.

How strange. How unnerving. In here, Tanya felt calm, relaxed, free to breath.

Because she knew there was something wrong with Marcus' study.

Here she was alone.

There, she knew she wasn't.

End of Part I
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  1. Huilunsoittaja's Avatar
    For those who have been following, any comments, criticisms? Just a curious question, has anyone noticed a considerable shift in mood/tone in the story? I was aiming for that, it's part of the progression.... or should I say "anti-progression"? This is the end of Part I, but I'll post the rest soon enough though.
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