That Day in November
Chapter 1: November 1st
"And sometimes-" she sobs a little, the back of her hand that's covered in a bright coloured glove covering her mouth, "sometimes we have snow way earlier than it's supposed to snow, like on November!"
"Like now?" He asked chuckling. "I am aware it's November 1st and quite autumn." His hand gestures to the snow falling around them. It's still quite too warm for it to stay so it melts as soon as the snowflakes reach the ground, but the view truly looks like some winter wonderland what with the gradual darkness sneaking over them and a thick layer of clouds laying above.
Short brown hair fly everywhere as she shakes her head. "Yea? It will be worse, like, there will be no snow on Christmas and New Year worse!"
"Are you trying to make me not stay?" He cocks an eyebrow at her, a small playful smile on his lips.
Brown eyes widen. "Don't you dare! You promised already!" Small arm swats his chest. "You're not going anywhere now, right?" She glares at him angrily, but inside her chest her heart is calming down, it doesn't feel like it's going to jump out from her chest anytime soon.
A big gloved hand ruffles the shoulder length hair of the girl. "No, I'm not, so you better get used to me."
She buries her head into his chest and smiles happily. "We're gonna be family again, right?"
The father kisses his daughter's head and squeezes her closer to his chest where she has been snuggled in for a while now. "Yea, I'm not going anywhere anymore, we're going to be one big family from now on."
Suzy nods happily. "Can we go home to mum now?"
The man with chestnut coloured hair releases his daughter and smiles down at her. "Most definitely, she will be waiting for us now, so let's not make her worry."
He pats her shoulder and pulls up her scarf to cover more of her face, Suzy smiles wider and looks down; she was so happy! Finally her dad was coming back! The ten year old took her father's gloved hand and dragged him out of the train station towards their home.
It was a fifteen minute walk from their small, modest, two storey house and mum let Suzy get dad from the station alone. Well, technically not alone, as she went with Ms Paul from the house next to theirs, she was also going to the train station. Differently from Suzy she didn't go to meet someone, but to go to her children's house for the weekend.
The parent and child got there in no time, especially because they spent the journey catching up on what had happened while he was away. Quite soon the two were standing in front of their light brown house, both smiling happily as they took the small track to the house.
"Do you think she's waiting for us?"
Suzy looks at her dad making sure to make the face where it makes the other person think she sees them as stupid. "Of course she is, she was just finishing baking a pie, I bet it's done by now!"
"Oh, I love mum's pies, which one was it?" He asks as he opens the nondescript door.
"The cherry one, she knows you like it the most, I tried to talk her into making apple pie instead and she said maybe she will make one while cherry one is baking!"
He's looking at his daughter's face as he steps in, taking of his shoes and slipping his hands out of the gloves. Suzy tries to run for kitchen without taking her outside clothes off, but is stopped by her dad's hand. "Now where do you think you're going, young lady?"
She smiles and starts taking off her scarf. "Fine, we can greet mum together."
Her dad laughs. "I just don't want you getting a taste of that pie before me!" He turns his head to the corridor at which end was the door tot he kitchen. "Honey, we're back!"
After taking a couple of steps towards the kitchen the smell of burning bakery reached their noses and the two rush to the kitchen.
The oven was on and the pie in it was completely burnt, Suzy quickly turned off the oven while her dad opened the two small kitchen windows looking around the kitchen while he's at it. "Linda?"
Suzy looks at her dad, he looked worried as he shouted mum's name, she was quite confused too, mum rarely forgot she was baking something, sure, sometimes she forgot she put the kettle on, but other than that not much was forgotten by her.
She frowns and enters the living room through the other kitchen door. "Muuuum!"
Room after room Suzy follows her dad through the house and gets more and more confused the longer they don't find the third member of their family.
In the end they don't search for too long, the house isn't that big, after looking through every room the two came back to the kitchen. "Do you think she went to the shop and took longer than she planned?" Suzy asks, her eyebrows are furrowed and she's frowning at the black pie on the counter in front of her.
When few seconds pass without an answer the ten year old turns to her dad confused. "Dad?"
Her father stands in front the kitchen window he opened not too long ago, hand on it's handle, mid way to closing it, eyes glued on something outside. His expression seemed frozen and there was a faint tremor in his hands.
A cold feeling washes over Suzy as she gets over the two step distance to her dad's side and turns her head to the window and the view outside it.
The tiny back yard they owned had a small sensory lamp that was built-in above the back door that went out of the kitchen. The lamp was on and it's yellow light shone at the barely snow covered yard and the still falling snow. But that wasn't what had caught her dad's attention, it was the dark blob in the snow and the crumpled form of a person in the middle of it.
"D-dad?" Suzy's voice was shaking, she clutched a corner of her dad's sweater as tremors started shaking her body. "What's that?"
She didn't actually want an answer for that, she had a very bad feeing that she knew exactly what was that, but she didn't want to believe it, couldn't accept it as the truth, there was no way...
Meanwhile her dad opened his mouth, but no noise left it, he closed it so hard his teeth clacked. "Suzy, can you-, go to your room, please, I will come soon."
Instead of doing as her dad said the little girl runs to the back door, it was unlocked and not even fully closed, rips it open with all her strength and runs outside. A few moments later she's standing next to the body on the ground and falls on her knees next to it.
Her bare hands are shaking, she already knows it's her mum, the form had the same back of mum's green sweater and her black jeans which Suzy helped her pick, and while she couldn't fully see the colour of the hair because of the darkness the low ponytail was distinguishably the same as the one her mum tied up in the morning...
She turned over the body, tears running down her cheeks and a loud sob escapes her mouth as all her fears are confirmed. The face with the frozen expression of fear on it was most definitely her mother's. The long nose and small lips, the light brown eyes, which will never blink again.
Suddenly she's torn away from her spot by a strong set of arms, her bloodied hands slip away from her mother's shoulders and the world around blurs as tears take over her vision.
"Don't look at it Suzy, please don't look."
Words were whispered in her ears, but the girl couldn't comprehend anything even as she was pressed to the strong chest of her dad which just twenty minutes ago seemed like the happiest place in the world.
Suzy didn't listen what was said anymore as her eyes fixed over the blood on her hands and she realized it came from the dead body of her mother, from the wide gash on her throat that the ten year old didn't really comprehend when she saw the frozen face.
A loud scream went through the neighbourhood.
A year and a half before
Linda angrily stares at the dark wooden floor boards, her hands crossed across her chest as she was pressing her palms into fists. "So? You're just gonna agree to that and go to the other side of the country for a year?"
Samuel sighs. "Don't make it sound like I'm divorcing you, darling, the pay is very nice and didn't you agree that you want to move out of this tiny apartment?"
The brunet frowns and doesn't answer immediately, taking her time to try and calm down from the anger that had flooded her at hearing her husband's future business trip. "What if I don't want you to leave me for over a year? If you're truly going there to earn money for a house then you won't be coming back often, if at all, to save as much money possible."
A tie is put in it's place in the wardrobe and a jacket finds it's place on the hanger. "Yea, it's debatable if I will come back for the holidays, maybe for one or two, travelling is expensive and the only expenses my firm will cover is the original trip to there and back. And Linda, do you really want me to waste this opportunity to get a house like we always wanted to?" He asks, looking into her eyes earnestly.
"Maybe I don't want the house at the expense of not seeing you for so long and did you think of Suzy? She loves you so much! It will break her hart to know she won't be seeing you for so long!"
Samuel rolls his eyes. "Don't over do it Linda, yea, sure, Suzy and I are pretty close, but she's entering pre-teen stage, in a matter of months she will no longer want to be coddled and will say she doesn't want to see us anymore, maybe me leaving will make her behave better?" He chuckles.
"Take this seriously Samuel! How am I going to take care of her alone? I thought the purpose of marriage was to share all burdens!"
A hand lands on her shoulder and drags her in for a hug. "There's no need to shout, honey, of course it was for us to share our lives together! I love you, never doubt that, but I want us to be happier, to live in a proper house and for that I'm taking that job."
Linda didn't hug her husband back, but closed her eyes and started cursing him in her mind. He was always like this, never really listening to what she said or wanted, saying that he understood her, but never really listening when she said something.
She let out a long sigh, a dark something landing at the pit of her stomach as she decided not to say anything else on the subject. Linda followed her husband out of their small bedroom, not looking at his back as she walked to the kitchen. She was so deep in thought she didn't notice Suzy sitting in the kitchen until she spoke.
"Are you okay?" The girl's voice was shaky and uncertain, like she was afraid to ask the question, guilt washed over Linda as she looked at her daughter. While she probably didn't hear the words she shouted she did hear that they had been arguing, Linda probably should have been more subtle about the matter, not shouted at Samuel for it. She always did have problems with keeping her temperament in check.
She tuned out what her husband said to calm their daughter, but did vaguely understand he explained that he will have to leave for his job for vaguely a year in a few weeks time. Their little girl didn't take the news positively. She started crying, hugging Samuel, small fists grabbing lapels of his shirt as she sobbed.
Linda ignored Suzy's hysteria as she started on the dinner. She knew some would consider her insensitive for doing so, but she did trust her husband to act correctly with Suzy's reaction and carried on with making their meal.
Sometimes Linda wondered if she made the right decision by marrying Samuel, this thought constantly wandered into her head at times like this, when they got into some sort of an argument or if for a while their interactions were distant and conversations short. Thankfully those sort of thoughts didn't linger and she would soon remember why she decided to settle down and create a family with Samuel.
Her husband was an ordinary looking man with dark brown eyes and peanut coloured hair, the exact same shade that Suzy's hair tended to be, his eyes were a bit small , but his sharp nose and oval face did them good and didn't make his face resemble a pig's as Linda has seen some men look. His built was lean, height average and character quite optimistic.
That was one of the main reasons she had started dating him. Linda knew she was quite cynical and knew she needed an optimistic life partner to help her of the ground and see the world in brighter colours. Of course, because of that there were times in which she wanted to strangle the father of her child, but luckily those were short and far in between.
About half a year before Samuel returns from his trip, the beginning of summer
Suzy's eyes are wide, she's looking at her with wonder and adoration, smile stretched on her lips. "We're moving to a house?"
It were those words that made Linda loose all resignation she still had about having a house and the details leading up to it, she couldn't deny it, she was still quite salty about her husband's decisions. But now, seeing the joyous expression on her daughter's face filled her up with motherly satisfaction of doing her child the right thing.
"Yea we are, daddy and me had been looking into them for a while now and we finally found one, we will move in two weeks, so we should start packing little by little."
"I can't wait! What will we pack first?!"
Linda chuckled and ruffled her daughter's short hair. "Let's start from the winter and summer clothes as we won't be wearing either in the next two weeks."
Suzy's eyes dart around the room, it was big and served both as a living room and her bedroom, the corners were filled with her toys, but she couldn't pick the colour schemes of anything or put any paintings or posters in the walls. "Will I have my own room?" She asks looking up at her mom's cinnamon coloured eyes.
The tender smile she gets gives her hope like one she never felt before. "Of course."
The ten year old girl couldn't say she had an unhappy life or if there were any shortages she experienced, but she never had friends over because she was embarrassed by her home. She had visited some of her classmates' houses and was always fascinated by their homes and how much more space there were in them, how many new toys.
Suzy wasn't really bothered by the toys, she never was the kind of child that wanted everything she saw, so she saw no use in owning something she would never play with, but the lack of her own room did bother her. Only after seeing how most of her classmates lived did she realize she had no space of her own, no corner she could call her own and manage by herself.
The next few weeks were both hectic and exciting for the two women of the Dirvach family. Little by little all unused things ended up in boxes upon boxes, bigger problems arose closer to the moving date when they needed to start packing stuff they used.
They planned out the outfits for the last couple of days and finished packing all the clothes, all but the very bare necessities needed in the kitchen also ended up safely wrapped for when the moving truck came.
The house they moved to wasn't completely new and unused, it was a house with a bit of history, but it wasn't old per se, although there were marks of being lived in. The couple that lived in it before decided to move to another state and thus decided to sell their house.
While the house wasn't exactly big it was much more than they had before.
The first floor contained a kitchen, living room and the bathroom while the second held two bedrooms and a small windowless room for storage. None of the rooms were huge, but they were enough, especially for people who were used to small and crowded spaces, they didn't even own enough to cover all the empty surfaces they now had.
It was fun, it was different, Suzy had to transfer schools, but that was a small loss, she didn't have close friends in her old school and maybe a new place will give her a chance to make new ones. Linda stayed at her job in an accountant firm as the commute time didn't change, everything seemed to be in place, except...
They were missing someone very important, they were missing the male component of their little family. Samuel still had a little less than half a year to finish his work half way across the country, but now, more than ever before mother and daughter felt the emptiness of someone missing from their lives.
In no time at all summer vacation started for Suzy and she was finally able to explore her neighbourhood fully. Technically she couldn't really wander alone like that, but the neighbourhood was safe, so she wandering around the streets not too far from her house, every time daring to go further and further.
During her explorations she found a park three blocks away from her house, a couple of small knick-knack shops hidden around the neighbourhood and the tiny library that had a nice selection of children's books.
It was fun, life was good and for little Suzy it seemed like it just could get better...
Sometime during September
A call came from upstairs as Linda entered the house late on Saturday evening. She didn't answer her daughter's call and just slumped for a moment by the wall and sighed tiredly. Work was exhausting and the overtime hours she had to work to keep her job were thinning her out.
She got paid for them of course, but she had no choice if she wanted to work them or not, they said it to her clearly – she either works them and gets paid for them like in any serious firm, or she didn't and they'd fine a reason to fire her and find someone who wouldn't mind working overtime.
The woman slid out of her high heels, quickly got rid of pantihose and relished at how good her feet felt at that. Her soles were aching and her head felt like it would split any second. All Linda wanted was to eat, lay down, and not wake up for the next three days.
Steps could be heard on stairs and soon she saw Suzy standing on the bottom stair smiling and looking at her with her oh, so similar shade of brown eyes looking at her hopefully. Linda's stomach churned and she remembered all her responsibilities as a mother who had to take her of her ten year old daughter. She felt like she was about to cry from frustration.
"You're finally back! What are you making for dinner? I did some craft works today at summer school, will you want to see them?"
Small hand reached out for he lapel and without even thinking about it Linda jumped away from it. "Don't touch me!"
She immediately winced at her tone, but the damage was done, the small hand dropped downwards and the happy expression disappeared from Suzy's face. "I'm sorry, I will go to my room then." Was all that she whispered before running upstairs and a silent sound of door clicking was all that could be heard.
Linda felt guilty for ruining her child's mood like that, but at the same time she couldn't quite bring herself to care enough, she was allowed to be a bit selfish from time to time and at the moment she had no energy to be useful for much else.
Bare feet tapped through the floor as they found their route to the kitchen. In a quick hand movement long thin strand of her were released from the low ponytail and the tired woman looked over the kitchen thinking of what she could prepare for dinner. In the end, she couldn't muster enough energy for anything more complicated than sandwiches.
The food was eaten before Linda could even notice and for the life of her she couldn't remember what it tasted like, she left some left overs for her daughter and after a quick trip to the bathroom she slunk herself to bedroom and collapsed onto the bed without even fully taking off her clothes.
Meanwhile Suzy was in her room, curled up in a ball on top of her bed, eyes full of tears that were threatening to escape down her cheeks.
The girl clutched a necklace with a fairy in her hand and thought about her dad; if dad was there everything would have went differently. He would know why mum was upset and have a solution on how to make her feel better, so she wouldn't be angry...
If dad was there he would pick her up, say she was getting way too big for that and bring her to the kitchen were they would make something delicious and fix whatever that made mum angry...
Fingers traced through soft linen of the bed covers as a sigh escaped her lips. "Soon, daddy will come back soon..."
The beginning of October
Suzy's smiling widely, hand extended for the phone mum is about to give her. She grabs it excitedly and puts it to her ear without a second thought. "Hey daddy!"
"Hi darling, how's my little angel doing?"
"Well, today at school we learned about narwhals, do you know what a narwhal is, daddy? It's a sea unicorn and it's so cool! But they live in cold part of the ocean and there's not many of them, so I'm probably never gonna see any."
Her dad chuckles at the other end of the line. "Does that mean rhinos are unicorns too?"
"Don't be silly," Suzy chastens her father, "their horn is all wrong!"
"Oh, so it all depends on the horn then?"
Suzy sighs like he said the biggest nonsense ever. "Unicorns are unicorns daddy, narwhals just happen to be like unicorns, but underwater!"
"Uhu, so what else did you learn besides underwater unicorns?"
Suzy rolled her eyes as she leaned towards the wall her bed was pushed towards. "Nothing new in maths, we're still learning to properly divide numbers with a comma and in English class we read a short story about a legend native Americans told about a lake, whose name I don't remember."
Her daddy laughed. "So I gather the legend wasn't that interesting?"
"It's very much like the ones we read before! That was nothing new or unheard of!"
"Not like narwhals, right?"
"Yap! Do you think there's a zoo that you could see a real narwhal at?"
The voice at the other end of the call hummed. "I don't think so, they don't seem like animals that zoos could own and if they're so small in numbers I doubt they could have one even if they tried."
"Aww, and I hoped I would able to see one some day..."
"Well, you would most definitely see one if you became marine biologist, a sailor or some sotehr sort of person who travels in boats."
Suzy frowns. "That sounds complicated."
"Well, that's probably because it is, but can you imagine? You would be able to see dolphins, whales, seals, narwhals and many other creatures of the sea you often seem to be interested in."
"That... maybe that does sound awesome..."
"Okay, what if I bring you back a book about ocean creatures as I come back? Would you like that?"
Suzy's eyes widen and she grins widely. "Yes please! Do you already know the date you're coming back on?"
"Why yes, yes I do, November 1st is when my plain lands in our state and then I will take train to the station that's not too far from the new house."
"That's in three weeks though!"
"Only three weeks, sweetheart," Suzy's dad says, "now tell me what did you, Angie and Kim did today."
November 1st, Sunday
The sound of police sirens still rang in her ears, even though the officers were now shuffling through Suzy's back yard. Everything was wrong, so wrong, how dare those people come into the backyard! The backyard she never got to play with her dad in before these strangers came...
Brown eyes shot from one person to another and if it wasn't for dad's strong arm on her shoulder she was sure she long since been hidden under her bed, trying to forget how wrong everything was.
Samuel nodded at the approaching officer clutching his daughter's shoulder and bringing her closer to his chest, like he was trying to hide her from the police officer. "Yes, that's me."
"We need to take your testimony." Then he glances down at the child and add as an after thought. "Your daughter's too."
Suzy looks up and watches as her dad nods his head in agreement, she can't help but want to run away, away and away from this place, away from her mother's dead body that's now, after some officers looked at it from close, is covered with a sheet.
A hand steered her toward the back door and through the kitchen and back outside, to the front yard of their house. The house, that dad never got to see, Suzy thinks sadly, the house that is now polluted by those people, with their ugly and probably really dirty boots and hands that went through their stuff. Went through it because they were looking for the murder weapon her mind silently whispers.
Dad's hand slips from her shoulder as dad walks to the police car were a police officer is waiting for him.
Suzy looks around.
Nobody is watching her.
She turns around and runs.
A.N. Hey, I hope the first chapter interested you, this story is finished and will be around 10 chapters long, I will update it weekly, hopefully every Sunday.
All mistakes are mine and if you fins any I am sorry in advance.
Warning: This story does not focus on romance, but it does have several scenes of it which aren't completely plot relevant, but do help for the sub-plot, if you wish to skip them you're welcome to do so.
Disclaimer: The plot and characters belong to the author. This is a work of fiction and all events, people and situations are made up. While the setting of the story is real, I have never actually been to the place so it's inaccurate. Any law, medical or social facts in this story aren't completely accurate and may have been changed to suit the purpose of this story. Do note this work is under fantasy tag as well as mystery.