It was a cold November night, snow swirled in the sky, turning the dark into a flurry of white. The moon was full and bright, so bright that the little village didn't need the harsh street lights, that in the city would have dulled the moon and stars and made the blustering snowflakes seem alight with fire, deep and orange. A lone figure staggered out of the local pub that was alive with light and music, voices blasting out into the silent air as the door swung behind the person. The man shoved his hands in his pockets and proceeded to shuffle along the narrow country road. He followed the winding path and cut through the bushes that lined the edges. He trudged along a beaten and broken path through the forests on the other side before coming to a rundown, old stone house. Ivy covered the front wall of the house, growing in between the bricks, over the cracked windows and battered door, snow coating every stem and leaf of the plant.
The man staggered towards the door, wrenching it open and nearly falling inside. He had been kicked out of the pub again, as it he had every night for the past three years. The house had once been a charming little cottage, clean and tamed. Everything inside used to be tidy and clean, every surface glistening, now it was dirty, messy and covered in dust and grime. The man ignored the foul stench of the house and clambered up the beaten stairs, clinging to the banisters, chipped and broken, fallen into disrepair along with the rest of the house. The man went into the master bedroom, walking past a nursery and a little girls bedroom, both long since empty. If he wasn't in such a drunken stupor, he would have sobbed for his lost children. Instead he barely acknowledged the abandoned rooms, staggering past them, into the master bedroom and slumping down onto the rumpled, creased side of the bed, carefully avoiding the neat side. It had been preserved as she had liked it for the past three years.
A grainy black and white picture lay on the bedside cabinet. A woman stood with her arms wrapped around the man currently lying on the bed. On the floor by their feet was two children, a little fair-haired girl in a white petticoat, a bow was nestled among her fair curls. A bright eyed baby boy was sat next to her in dark romper suit. The woman was smiling down at them, her fair hair fell into her eyes and the man was watching them with a large grin on his face. His face was clean shaven and young so much different from the face of the man on the bed. A note was written in the bottom, it read My Dearest Henry, I am ever so sorry for leaving you in such a manner. I do regret these circumstances, however I know it is unavoidable. I hope you will look after our two darling children, our beautiful Madeleine and delightful young George . I love you ever so much. Your love, Evangeline. The man, Henry, glanced over to the photo and hunched over on the bed, his grief breaking through his alcohol ridden brain. He sobbed, sobbed for his lost wife, Evangeline, and his lost children, beautiful, little Madeleine, and sweet, baby George, snatched from him during his grief. His Evangeline taken away by Consumption, his darling children taken from him and sent to the Workhouse while he grieved over his wife. Henry Byron was a broken man, a widower, and childless. For the past three years since Evangeline's death and his children's departure, Henry had drowned his sorrows in ale, trying to remove all traces of his memory and grief.
Little Madeleine, four years old at the time of her mothers death, would be seven years old and his little George, a mere one year old, would be four years old, walking, talking, independent, and hopefully still with his sister. He could only pray they were still together, no matter the harsh conditions. He remembered both his perfect children, Madeleine, white blonde curls, deep blue eyes, that glistened in the sun and brightened up his day. George, baby George, dark tufted hair, the same blue eyes as his sister. Then he saw his perfect, gorgeous wife, his daughter's blonde hair and blue eyes. Her glittering smile blinded his vision and forced him to remember the times they had spent, the smile that diminished as the illness wore on.
Henry ran his hand over his weary face, tired blue eyes and dark shaggy hair, wiping away the tears and choking back the sobs. He slumped down on the bed, without bothering to change out of his outer garments, and curled up and fell asleep. In his sleep he dreamt. He dreamt of Evangeline, her smile on a sunny day at the park as she chased Madeleine during a game of tag, as he sat watching his two favourite girls, with his baby boy bouncing on his lap, gurgling to himself. He laughed when Evangeline caught the little girl, who promptly began shrieking and giggling. Evangeline picked up Madeleine and sat down next to Henry, releasing Madeleine who jumped up again and proceeded to play with her baby brother. Evangeline lent over to Henry and whispered "I love you Henry," pushing her blonde hair from her face, eyes shining. She kissed him on the cheek and then prepared the picnic they had packed before leaving the house, blissfully happy in the sun with her family, unaware of the illness that was about to take control. Henry jolted awake, his already crumpled face now even more so. Evangeline's words ghosted around his head, echoing in his ears. He glanced once more at the picture, and read the words, he was going to get his children back, no matter what the costs.
It took a lot of research and a lot of patience but he finally tracked down the workhouse his precious children had been sent to. When he inquired about them he was told that Madeleine had passed away from a fever two winters ago, and George had been caught in one o the machines, it had killed him instantly. By the time Henry got back home, his grief had multiplied and turned to anger, the man had seemed so nonchalant about what had happened to his children, he wanted to punch him, but he restrained himself, it would not get his children back. He was angry with himself for letting them get taken away, if he had looked after them, they wouldn't have been sent to that hell hole to die. He barely made it to his front door before he slumped down, sobs consuming his entire being.
As the sobs subsided, a plan began to form. He would get his children back no matter what…He needed to reword that sentence, he would be reunited with his children no matter what, and this time he would also be reunited with Evangeline. He staggered up the stairs, and began searching blindly through his belongings. He found his pistol and loaded it. He bid a silent goodbye to his once charming old house, and looked forward to seeing his family again. His worthless existence was worth existing in, not without Evangeline, not without Madeleine and George. Henry Byron bid a silent goodbye to his life and this world, and pulled the trigger. Forever reunited with his beloved family. Out of his worthless existence and onto a new one with his family.