White as Snow (Part 2)

Cerpen Karangan:
Kategori: Cerpen Bahasa Inggris, Cerpen Misteri
Lolos moderasi pada: 16 January 2017

One winter day, in the café, the boy Sophia had been watching for so long got up and sat down with her.
“Good afternoon miss, would it be alright if I kept you company?” The boy asked, his voice projecting confidence.
Sophia could feel her cheeks turning red as roses, “Yes, that would be wonderful. My name is Sophia.”
The boy cocked an eyebrow up in surprise, “You wouldn’t happen to be Sophia Winters, would you?”
Sophia was taken aback by his question. Did it matter who she was? Who her family was?
The boy seemed to realize his mistake, “I’m sorry, that doesn’t matter. My name is James. James Bronde. I was just curious because I’ve heard rumors about your family, like your stepmother uses you as a maid and…”
“That’s not true,” Sophia didn’t know if she could get any redder, “I just happen to like cleaning.”
James smiled, “Well, either way, I’d still like to ask you to dinner with me tomorrow night. There’s this amazing place a few blocks over called The Woods and they serve the most amazing delicacies.”
Sophia’s heart soared, “That would be perfect. Could you pick me up at seven? I mean, you don’t have to pick me up, I just, uh, actually, my place is kind of secluded and you might not see it, maybe I should pick you up—”
“Seven would be perfect. I’m pretty sure everyone knows about the Winters residence and I’ll come by with my chauffer and pick you up whenever you’re ready. Take as long as you want, I think you’re going to be worth the wait.”
Sophia tried as hard as she could to stop the goofy smile that was taking over her face, but cheesy lines seemed to be her weakness. But then she worried about her father and stepmother, would they allow her to go? Maybe she just wouldn’t tell them, especially her stepmother. James would for sure never want to meet with her again if Evelyn decided to go for him. Yes, Sophia wouldn’t say anything about it and make up some sort of excuse.

The next night, while Sophia was getting ready in her bedroom, Evelyn decided to take a trip over to her precious mirror room.
“How are my darlings doing tonight? Have you got any news for me?” Evelyn practically glided into the room and caressed the mirror closest to where she was.
There was silence for a moment and then Evelyn slowly paced around the room in a small circle.
“Alright, I saw Sophia and that boy having lunch together a day ago, but I’m sure it won’t lead to anything. Are you sure I need to do something about this?” She stared at her own face, twisted with conflict.
“You know I can’t touch her, Kingsley would have a fit. All the money I have would be gone. No, there’s no possible way I could get away with a crime like that. Stop it. I dislike that little brat, but I’m not going to—stop it. Cut it out, you’re not the queen of me. Shut up. Shut up.” Evelyn pulled at the roots of her hair, not being able to get the little voice telling her what to do to be quiet.
She took a few deep breaths and leaned against a mirror, closing her eyes. The moment she started to feel back to normal, she felt a strange sensation behind her and she whipped around, her eyes growing wide.
There, in the mirror, was what she feared she’d see. Over time, her reflection had grown uglier and uglier, but she was the only one who could see it. It started out with her looking entirely normal, but soon her reflection seemed to become aged and disgusting. Now, she saw a dirty old hag wearing a black robe, carrying a cane to support her hunched back. She had several warts on her face and long, skinny fingers with rotten nails at the tip. It wasn’t what she looked like on the outside, but she knew what was in her heart was as rotten as the reflection staring at her with cold, dead eyes.

Evelyn hadn’t always been this way. She started life as a happy baby girl, until she turned seven and her father left her and her mother for a woman that he deemed more beautiful and taken all his riches with him. Evelyn and her mother were left to rot in the streets and this ultimately drove her mother to commit suicide, abandoning little Evelyn, or Evie as her mother used to call her. Eventually, Evelyn learned how to take care of herself and married into money several times, vowing to remain the most beautiful woman in town so all eyes would stay on her.

Evelyn had, over time, become the woman that her father left her mother for without realizing it. She took happiness away from the families she left behind, broken and shattered and never to be mended the way her mirrors would be if she ever smashed one in, but she never had because she figured as long as they remained intact, so would she.

At that moment though, the mirrors became a passage for her inner self to taunt her, trying to get her to crack and become the woman she tried so hard to conceal. She had to look fine on the surface, she had to hide everything she’d been through and everything she’d done. But you can only bottle things like this up for so long.

A tiny smile made its way onto Evelyn’s face, but it was the kind of smile a murderer would give right before driving a dagger through your heart. She calmly made her way towards the middle of the room and started talking in the most eerily cheerful voice that sounded all too sweet.

“Well Daddy, I hope you’re proud of me. I’m finally the woman that you want.” She chirped, twirling around in a little circle, pretending to dance with an invisible partner.
“Look at me, I’m rich and beautiful now,” she sighed, running a finger down the edge of one of the mirrors.
“Unfortunately, I think I have to disappoint you one more time,” she swayed around some more and laughed to herself, “my new husband has this little daughter who has caught the attention of a boy and I can’t let him choose her over me. If I’m not the most beautiful woman, everyone will leave me all over again. You don’t want that to happen to me, do you, Daddy? No, course not. So, I guess I’ll just have to, how can I put this?” The smile dropped from her face and she took a step closer to a mirror, “I’ll just have to eliminate little Sophia, don’t I? Yes, that’s what I’ll do.”

Evelyn started to make her way to the door and stopped in her tracks one last time before looking over her shoulder and saying, “This was a nice little chat we had, wasn’t it? I’m so glad we got to talk. Next time I see you, it might be someplace… hot.”
Evelyn walked out and slammed the door closed, and as she finally cracked, so did her every single one of her mirrors.

Meanwhile, Sophia was having a blast with James on the other side of town. They were chatting and laughing through the night at a corner table inside The Woods. The apple pie they had ordered was long gone as they spoke for hours.
There was nothing particularly special about either of them, no one really turned their heads when they walked into the room, but they complimented each other in certain ways. They didn’t have any special qualities aside from their looks and kindness, but they seemed quite content with each other. They were an ordinary couple doing ordinary things and nobody expected what was about to happen next.

As soon as James got up to go to the loo, Sophia let the grin take over her face. She sighed and leaned back into her seat before shivering and rubbing her hands over her arms to keep warm. It was quite a cold night and she had left her shawl inside the car James had picked her up in. She looked towards the men’s room and decided to look for the car and fetch her shawl.

When Sophia stepped onto the street outside the restaurant, she felt there was someone watching her from behind. She turned around, but there was nobody there. As she turned back around, a painful sensation hit her and she fell to the ground.
Sophia didn’t have a clue who her attacker was and she drifted in and out of consciousness as she got dragged away. She could only remember bits and pieces from that night.
The number 7D.
Something being stuffed down her throat.
Choking, gasping.
The sound of breaking glass.
Blood rushing from somewhere on her body.
The feeling of ice-cold snow on her cheeks.
And the last thing she saw before her soul left her body were two bright green eyes and a sadistic, cat-like grin.

The police had interviewed everyone there was, except Evelyn, and they couldn’t find a single lead or a trace of evidence that could point them to Sophia’s murderer.

Evelyn had somehow disappeared after Sophia was killed and the police suspected her at first, but the evidence was insufficient as there wasn’t any. Well, except for the fact that Sophia had been killed and then made to look like Evelyn in the most twisted way. Besides, even if they tried, they’d never be able to find the person who did this to Sophia Winters, because all she left behind was her room of cracked, broken mirrors.

Not so long afterwards, the police discovered another puzzling case. They had found another body nearby and could not identify it. There were no existing records of this person, no fingerprints to match, and nobody seemed to know who this body belonged to or how the life was taken from it.

The next day, this was inserted in the newspaper in hopes of someone being able to identify the woman in the description. The paper read:

WOMAN FOUND DEAD IN LACE COMB PARK, CAUSE OF DEATH UNKNOWN.
This morning, authorities discovered the body an old woman, estimated to be about eighty years old, in the middle of Lace Comb Park. If you recognize the description of this woman, please call the number below.

Description: about eighty years old, wearing black robe, long fingernails, pale, white hair, warts.
Investigators have run a simulation of what this woman could have looked like in her youth; she was thought to have a pale complexion and dark hair, which seems to correlate to the murder of Sophia Winters earlier this week where she had been found in a truly horrific state. Sophia had been found with altered features that could only be described as skin as white as snow, lips red as blood, and hair that was meant to look black as an ebony window. This is the same description for the deceased woman that was discovered in the park after being run through an age simulator, it is thought that these two deaths are related but investigators have yet to find a link.
Perhaps the most chilling thing about these deaths is the standard of beauty that’s been going around recently. Women all over the country have been finding ways to lighten their skin as that is what is currently thought to be the ideal look. Skin as white as snow is being pretty sought after, but clearly this isn’t what they meant.
Who ever thought pale skin meant becoming a corpse?

No one really knows where Evelyn had ended up. I mean, how could they unless they read this story? I guess that brings up the issue of how this story ended up getting written in the first place. I, the author, am not involved in any way, I just happen to have overheard it. From who? Well, if I were to tell…
I’m afraid the next story might be yours.

Cerpen Karangan: Sharon S. Wenas

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