The Colony Chronicles-Pt.3-Sophie
by, July 5th, 2010 at 12:00 PM (718 Views)
Sophie Anderson stared at her mother’s dead body. She opened her mouth to speak, but no words came out. Encased in a clear coffin of what looked to be glass, the only thing she could think of was Sleeping Beauty. Her mother looked like she was sleeping, waiting for her Prince Charming to sweep in and plant a kiss on her lips and wake her up. If only that were true Sophie thought bitterly. Fifteen years had passed since Kira Anderson had been brutally murdered, but she looked as young and beautiful as she had the last time Sophie had seen her alive. That fact pushed its way into the forefront of her brain as she also noticed that a second clear coffin with her grandmother’s body also occupied the room. Elise Anderson had passed away almost 20 years earlier, but she showed no signs of decomposition, just like her daughter. A thousand questions began to swirl through her mind, and she blindly turned toward the door. She needed air, and as she stumbled out the door, she felt her grandfather’s hand take her arm to steady her. Angrily, she jerked away.
Quentin followed her outside, as did Tasha and Emily. He noticed the shocked and confused looks on their faces. Emily was pale, and he suggested they go back into the kitchen. Sophie was standing apart from everyone else, and he could tell she was trying to get her self under control, so he gave her a moment to herself.
Sophie took several deep breaths and forced her whirlwind thoughts to slow down. Her mother was dead; she had watched the paramedic’s futile attempts to revive her, even though they had known she was already gone when they arrived. Sophie had insisted that they try, and with pity in their eyes, they administered CPR, which had gotten them a dressing down by the detective when he arrived at the scene. The next few hours had gone by in a blur, until her grandfather showed up and claimed the body. The police had objected, stating they needed an autopsy, but somehow he had convinced them to release her body that very night. It had seemed odd at the time, but grief stricken, she had shut down mentally. The police told her a couple of days later that they had no leads, no physical evidence and they were taking the detective off the case. Looking back now, none of it made any sense. Quentin had tried to convince her to come back to his farm with him, telling her he would take care of everything. She had refused, and moved in with Tasha. She went to the funeral, but she didn’t speak to him, and over the next 15 years she steadfastly ignored all his attempts to communicate. Now, however, she could no longer stick her head in the sand. It was time for answers to questions she should have asked long ago. She looked up and saw Alasdair watching her thoughtfully. Everyone else had gone back in the kitchen.
Sophie took in his appearance and details she hadn’t noticed the night before caught her attention. Emily’s situation had distracted her, but she had a gut feeling she really needed to start paying a lot closer attention to everything going on around her, especially the man who claimed to be an old friend of her grandfather. Alasdair didn’t look to be much older than her, and she knew Quentin was 84, although he didn’t look it.
Shoulder length light brown hair framed a handsome face. Tall and slim, he moved with grace and elegance, and his voice was cultured with no trace of an accent. He was dressed all in black, pants tucked into riding boots. Boots that seen better days, she thought as she looked closer. In fact, all his clothing looked a little shabby, even if they were well cut. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it, but something about Alasdair made him seem out of place, like he was from a different time. Or different planet?
Quentin had said that both he and Quentin were not human. Why did she automatically think alien? He certainly looked human. She had seen too many sci-fi movies.
“I know how attractive I am, but really, it is rude to stare.” Alasdair’s humor filled voice broke her reverie. “I don’t believe we have been properly introduced. I am Alasdair the Gray,” he said as he offered his hand.
“The Gray?” Sophie replied. “Like Gandalf?” She took his hand, and liked his firm grip. She had almost expected him to bow and kiss her hand in a courtly manner, but he merely smiled.
“No, Gray is a Council designation.” Alasdair answered with a laugh. “It signifies…..well, it is complicated. I think you have more pressing questions to get answers to right now. Perhaps we should go in.” Tucking her hand in his arm he led her to the kitchen door, deftly cutting off any more questions she might ask. “Tell Quentin I will join you in a moment.” He let go of her hand. “Listen to what he has to say, Sophie. Give him a chance to explain. He is the only family you have left; do not discount the value in that, no matter what your history.” His eyes and voice were filled with sadness. Sophie wanted to say something, but she wasn’t sure what, so instead she entered the house.
The kitchen was a typical farm kitchen, warm and cozy. She sat down at the table, and a memory of her grandmother rolling out pie dough on its butcher block surface made her smile. She couldn’t have been more than 2 or 3, but she remembered Grandma letting her help spread the flour on the table. Of course she got it all over herself as well, and giggling, she had reached up and planted her chubby little hands on her grandmother’s cheeks. Elise had retaliated, and soon both were covered in flour. It was one of the few memories she had of her grandmother. Soon after that, her mother had moved them into the city, and she had not seen Elise again until her funeral. The cooking gene must have skipped a generation, because Kira couldn’t boil water. Sophie couldn’t attribute it to her father’s side of the family, because, well, she didn’t know who her father was. Another question she needed an answer to.
Tasha and Emily were seated on the opposite side of the table, and she leaned over and took their hands in hers.
“I don’t want you to feel like you have to stay. I have a feeling my life is about to change drastically, and I don’t want you to get caught up in it unwillingly. So if you want to leave, I will understand. I would never ask you to put yourself in danger for me.” Sophie didn’t know why she had said that, but all morning a vague feeling of danger had been present in the back of her mind. Emily squeezed her hand and smiled.
“You’re the one who has put yourself in danger helping me. Randy wasn’t kidding when he threatened you, Sophie.” The smile died in Emily’s eyes. “You have been here for me so many times. There is no way I am leaving. Besides where would I go?” Emily laughed, but it was hollow. “And I want to know what is going on too. My ribs are sore but the bruising is almost completely gone. And look at my shoulder.” She pulled up the sleeve of the oversized shirt Quentin had given her to wear, exposing her shoulder wound. Or at least where the wound should have been. Now there was nothing more than a scar. “Your grandfather took the stitches out a few minutes ago. You can barely tell I was even hurt, much less that I had a jagged hole from a gun shot. Whatever is going on, Sophie, Quentin is right, it involves all of us. If he can explain some of the weird things that have happened over the years, then I am all ears.”
“How about you, Tasha?” Sophie asked. “Are you sure you want to stay too? Some things might come out, that might be, well, embarrassing.” She looked at Tasha and knew that her friend understood that she was referring to Quentin’s statement the night before about their friendship.
To her credit, Tasha looked her straight in the eye when she replied.
“I think its time we got a lot of things out in the open. I’m not going anywhere either.”
Sophie realized she had been holding her breathe and exhaled slowly. She wouldn’t have blamed Tasha if she had decided to leave, but she was glad she had stayed. The three of them had been through a lot over the years, and although she was usually the strong one that everyone leaned on, she knew this time she might be the one who need their strength.
“Okay. So let’s do this. Gramps, I think its time.” Sophie hoped her voice didn’t sound as nervous as she felt. Quentin nodded and joined them at the table.