Skeletons in the Closet
Various threats hamper a young woman's attempted family reunion
It was a stunning ordeal for Celine Anderson; her good night's sleep was suddenly interrupted by various sounds coming from inside the house. Celine rose out of her bed to inspect, and her brief investigation resulted in the young woman being assaulted by a sinister hooded culprit. The scuffle, fortunately for Celine, didn't last long, as the culprit got away once the sound of the home's owner, Sebastian French, rushing downstairs, armed with a baseball bat.
"Are you OK, Celine?" asked Sebastian.
"I'm fine, thanks to you, Dad," replied Celine. Sebastian's emotion increased with that last word--"Dad"--because for him, it was the process of finally meeting a daughter that he didn't know he had until about a month prior. Back then, Celine contacted Sebastian and asked him if he had known her mother, Tamara Anderson, with Sebastian revealing that he and Tamara dated in high school, 22 years prior. It was followed by Celine informing Sebastian that Tamara was pregnant on graduation day that year, but before she could finish her statement, Sebastian had already figured out what she was going to say: he is Celine's biological father.
Sebastian met Celine that following day, and within seconds, he knew that Celine was his daughter. Celine voluntarily took a DNA test, despite Sebastian's insistence that there was no need for one, as seeing her was enough to convince him that she was his daughter. Sebastian quickly invited Celine to move into his house, and introduced him to his wife, Marta French, who received a big hug from Celine. It was after the embrace that Celine revealed a tragic truth: Tamara passed away a year ago, and it wasn't until her mother's sudden death that she decided to reach out to meet Sebastian for the first time, while seeing Marta as someone to fill the void left by the loss of her mother.
The morning after the attack, Sebastian, Marta, and Celine were being interviewed by Harrison Burns, a lead detective who had visited the house before.
"First thing's first," Burns said to Celine, "are you OK?"
"I'm fine, Detective," replied Celine.
"So you do you have information on this attacker who has been targeting my daughter?" asked Sebastian.
"We don't know that for sure, honey," said Marta. "After all, the test results haven't come in yet."
"She is my daughter, Marta," Sebastian said sternly. "And how can that be? It usually takes a few days for DNA test results to be unveiled."
"Dad, Marta, please," said Celine. "I just want this whole ordeal to be over. It's been a complete nightmare. Someone's been after me ever since I moved into this house. I've been stalked, harassed, I was even nearly run down by a car once. I need to know who is behind this." Celine was comforted by Marta, while Sebastian visibly shared Celine's pain, which was expressed with her statements to Burns.
"You'll be grateful to know," Burns said, "that we do have a suspect in custody." The detective presented video surveillance of a blonde woman being taken into custody, with both Marta and Sebastian being very surprised by what they were shown.
"Is that...?" began Sebastian.
"You know this woman?" asked Burns.
"That's Shayna!" said Marta. "Remember her, Sebastian? Shayna Hawes. We went to high school with her!"
"You all were friends?" asked Burns.
"Well...not exactly," answered Marta. "My husband and I went to high school with Shayna, but we never really associated ourselves with her. To tell the truth...she kinda creeped me out. She kept trying to follow us around. I guess she still is, in a way."
Celine was present with Sebastian and Marta as Burns interrogated Shayna, with the interrogation seeing Shayna face further evidence that she was Celine's stalker, which included being behind the attack towards Celine on the previous night. As Celine appeared to be relieved over receiving the answers she needed, she would hear a shocking statement from Burns during his grilling towards Shayna.
"We took a further look into the death of Celine's mother, Tamara Anderson. An autopsy revealed that she had cyanide in her system, on the day in question, and your class ring was found in the house." Celine couldn't believe her ears. She had figured that her mother's death was way too sudden, as she was in the picture of perfect health, but even so, she didn't think she would receive a confirmation of her suspicions. As for Shayna, she appeared to be stunned by everything uncovered by Burns, though the mention of her class ring drew the biggest alarm, as she had stated that it had gone missing, but had a feeling she had known who took it.
Shayna was officially arrested, though her bail--$1 million--was officially paid as soon as it was set, which surprised Shayna, and left Celine flabbergasted, though Sebastian comforted his daughter, who was in tears after everything she had been going through. As Shayna left the courtroom, she received a text on her phone, which uttered the following:
"You're welcome, by the way, for the bail out. Now I want answers from you."
A meeting was arranged for that evening, and it saw Shayna arrive at a familiar place: the home of Tamara Anderson, which was also the site of Tamara's murder. Once Shayna walked around, she quickly heard a familiar voice from behind her:
"You know, you've been doing a lot of talking."
Shayna quickly knew who it was, and she was right, as the voice belonged to none than her former schoolmate, Marta. "You bailed me out?" asked Shayna. "Why? So you can order me to carry out your dirty work?!"
"I have no idea what you're talking about, Shay," Marta replied coyly. "After all, it was you who killed Tamara."
"You and I both know that's not true!" Shayna said angrily. "I know what happened to my ring! You took it! And all of a sudden it's found here, with Tamara's body?!"
"You're just full of theories, aren't you?" asked Marta.
"And then what?" asked Shayna. "You paint me out as being obsessed with you and Sebastian? All to cover your tracks?!"
"To be fair, that is true," said Marta. "I mean, that's all you did in high school: follow us around. Well, actually, you only followed me around. No need to have Sebastian know about the crush you have on me."
"All I did was track Tamara because you told me to!" exclaimed Tamara. "I can't believe I took your story about wanting to reminisce with her so seriously. And you even promised that we'd be together!"
"Keep your voice down!" said Marta. "Look, I'll make it up to you, I have something for you on the living room table. Trust me, you'll love it." Shayna walked towards the table and saw an envelope with her name on it, with a heart next to the signature. She smiled as she opened it, but what she saw took that smile right off her face. It was a note...a suicide note, and at that moment, Marta came from behind and plunged a syringe into Shayna's neck, leaving the now-empty syringe next to the fallen Shayna before sneaking out the back door.
News about Shayna Hawes' "suicide" hit the airwaves by the following day, with Celine hearing the news on a TV set that was playing at her workplace, a coffee shop. After her workday was over, Celine saw that Sebastian was calling her, but just as she was about to answer, she saw Marta drive up towards her.
"Hey, Celine!" greeted Marta.
"Marta," said Celine, "what are you doing here?"
"I'm here to pick you up from work, of course," Marta said before opening the passenger door and inviting Celine inside. Celine had never been picked up by Marta since they started living together; it had always been Sebastian. Despite this, Celine entered Marta's car, and they drove off together.
"Surprised to see me?" asked Marta.
"Well...," began Celine.
"Look, I know I haven't been close with you since you entered our lives," said Marta, "but after some careful...thought and consideration...I think it's time we start building something, you know?"
"I appreciate that," said Celine. "I'm still waiting for the DNA test. I can't believe it's taking so long."
"I wouldn't worry about that," said Marta. "It's no doubt that you're Sebastian's daughter. You do look like him."
"That's a switch," said Celine. "I mean, you had been pretty vocal about your doubts, and you kept telling Dad not to get his hopes up."
Celine's words were met with a bit of a nervous chuckle from Marta. "I don't know," said Marta. "I guess I was just trying to convince myself."
"Convince yourself of what?" asked Celine.
"Nothing," Marta replied succinctly. "It's nothing." As Marta did her best to try to keep her composure, Celine suddenly noticed that Marta was suddenly driving in a different direction away from their house.
"Ummm, Marta?" asked Celine. "Where are we going?" Marta didn't answer Celine; she remained focused on her destination, which started to become more and more familiar to Celine: it was her old neighborhood.
"Marta?!" Celine shouted. "Stop the car!" Celine's demand went ignored, prompting her to take out her cellphone, and that action led to Marta stopping and pulling over.
"What are you doing?!" shouted Marta.
"I'm calling Dad!" answered Celine, but right after she dialed Sebastian's number, she ended up incapacitated by Marta, who used a small syringe to inject a drug in Celine's arm.
"Celine?" Sebastian answered.
"Honey," Marta said with facetious geniality, "do me a favor. Go to my dresser drawer, there's a little surprise for you inside. Bring it with you to your ex-sweetie's house. Come alone."
Celine woke up tied to a chair in the home she shared with her mother, and the first thing she saw was Marta, who was staring down at Celine, while showing a look of sadistic pleasure on her face. "About time you woke up, dear girl." said Marta.
"W-Where am I?" asked Celine.
"Silly girl," said Marta. "You're home, of course! Your actual home. The one you shared with your slut of a mother. About her, you know, I can't believe how easily you were knocked out. I used a stronger drug on your mother."
"Oh my God!" exclaimed Celine. "You killed my mom?!"
Both Celine and Marta heard the voice of Sebastian, who entered the house with an envelope in hand. "Marta?" said Sebastian. "What's the meaning of this?! You hid this from me?! And you killed Tamara?" Sebastian angrily put down the envelope, which revealed the DNA test results that confirmed the truth: Celine is Sebastian's biological daughter.
"That's right!" Marta said as she pulled out a gun, "You didn't think I noticed that baby bump when we all graduated. I knew you got with her while were broken up! I made sure Tamara never saw you again, telling her that we were getting back together, but I find out from Shayna that she returned to town."
"So, what, you had Shayna stalk her?" asked Celine.
"That's how I found out about you!" said Marta. "And if Sebastian found out about you, he would leave me, I'd know it. So I had Shayna give me Tamara's address, and I handled the rest."
"You killed her!" said Sebastian.
"For us!" exclaimed Marta. "Not like you care anyway. Not like you were ever interested in starting a family with me, not like with her! She's always taken everything of mine; my husband, my desire for motherhood...my whole life! So I took hers...and it was so...liberating."
"You're sick," said Celine. "You need help."
"Oh, don't worry," smirked Marta. "My mind will be free once I get rid of you, and then, it'll be just myself and your father, unless he fails to keep his mouth shut, just like Shayna." Just as Marta raised her pistol, she heard police sirens from outside, and as they were getting louder and louder, the deranged woman gave an angry glare at her husband.
"You son of a bitch!"
"It's over, Marta," said Sebastian.
While Sebastian freed Celine from her capture, Marta was arrested by Burns, and during her interrogation, Marta confessed to everything: enlisting Shayna to stalk Tamara and Celine, murdering Tamara, attempting to run down Celine, enlisting Shayna to attack Celine, killing Shayna after stealing $1 million of Sebastian's money to bail her out, and abducting Celine with intent on killing her. Marta maintained her statement that she committed her evil actions to keep Sebastian to herself, though as Sebastian and Celine realized during their ordeal, Marta had harbored over two decades of jealousy towards Tamara, and a side motive was to make sure that she would be the only one to have any rights to Sebastian's finances.
As for Sebastian and Celine, they know that they could never get those years back that they lost because Marta kept them apart. However, the ordeal has brought them closer together, as Celine finally had a father in her life, while Sebastian now had a daughter who he treasured immensely. Both of them are focused on one thing: enjoying their life together, not just for themselves, but for Tamara as well.
* * *
Thank you so much for reading this story all the way through! If you liked this story, click the heart and the "subscribe" button; and feel free to comment below! Tips and pledges would be immensely appreciated, as they help support my writing, but no pressure!
About the Creator
Clyde E. Dawkins
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!
Compelling and original writing
Creative use of language & vocab
Original narrative & well developed characters
This was a captivating and thought-provoking read! Your writing style effortlessly drew me into the narrative, and I found myself engrossed in the characters' lives. The way you explored the theme of redemption with such depth and sensitivity was truly commendable. Your storytelling skills have left me eager to discover more of your work. Thank you for sharing this wonderful piece! Keep up the fantastic writing!
This is a great plot! I loved the twists. Congratulations on Top Story, Clyde!
Intriguing tale. Well done. Congratulations sir 🥇
This is fantastic, and I really enjoyed the plot. A well-deserved top story!
This took a lot of turns but I loved it. Well done and congrats on the top story.
Congratulations on your Top Story 👍
This was one heck of a roller coaster ride Great story!
Wow, there were a lot of twists and turns to that thrill ride! Great work!
Spectacular story from beginning to end!!! Loving it!!! 💖💖💕
I knew it! I knew it was Marta, the evil witch! Well done. :)