I listened hard. He was watching me and knew that I knew. Worst of all he was enjoying it, he was enjoying my pain, the man who once told me that my smile lit up his life was revelling in my pain and growing apathy. I gazed across the floor at the stairs, I had dropped the gun on my painful decent. I slowly tiptoed towards it, keeping my awareness peaked and picked it up. I stared up the stair case and remembered.
I was so happy once on these stairs. It was twelve years ago, Christmas. I had just turned eight and Pasha nine. My mother and stepfather, Pasha’s father, through balls every Christmas.
‘Sasha my dear! Come down and show us how you look in your new ball gown!’
‘Alexandra, we know how she looks, she is your daughter, she will be a vision, isn’t that right Pasha?’
I appeared at the top of the staircase in my new white ball gown. It was silk and embroidered with crystals. I was wearing my mother’s diamond necklace and earrings and my grandmothers sapphire ring and my hair was put up.
‘Oh Sasha, you look-’ my mother began.
‘Beautiful.’ Pasha finished.
‘Thank you Pasha, you are so kind, I am happy that you are my new brother.’ my mothers eyes watered. We proceeded to the ball room where there were upwards of thirty guests. Some looked at me and whispered things like;
‘Is that Sasha? Oh she is so beautiful.’
‘Look at her so grown up, she would be the perfect match for our Henryk.’
‘What a beautiful young lady, time goes by too fast.’
‘Didn’t that vixen kill her father?’
I was so happy and thought it would last forever. The waltz began to play and everyone paired off, I stoop in the middle of the floor alone.
‘Would you do me the honour?’
I turned to she Pasha slightly bowed with his hand extended.
‘It would be my pleasure.’ we danced for a few moments in silence until-
‘I think you and I are a match just as fitting as our parents.’ he said gazing at my steel blue eyes.
‘I have enjoyed your company as of late.’ I said blushing.
‘And I yours. As much as a tragedy your father’s death was, it has had a silver lining.’
‘Yes, this is the happiest I have been since he died, if not ever.’
‘I don’t believe them you know.’
‘The rumours, that you, well, you must have heard something. Anyway I know you didn’t. You are too beautiful to take a life.’ I was quiet for a few moments, my head down. Then I looked at him and smiled.
‘Pasha, I, we,’ I sighed ‘let us be loyal to each other forever and never separate.’
‘Of course. And I will do anything for you.’ he said. I smiled at him and blushed again.
‘Your smile is like an angel’s, it lights up the sky, this room, my life and my heart.’ he whispered. I slowly rested my head on his shoulder and we danced. I wanted to die there, I would have died happy and accomplished.
Without anymore hesitation I through my hair back and briskly cantered to the door. Looking back I saw the room light up and music began to play, the Russian waltz.
‘Bastard!’ I muttered, knowing he heard. I ran out into the snow towards the stables keeping my gun and crucifix necklace gripped in either hand. The stables weren’t that far from the main house but fatigue, sorrow and pain made the journey drone. I reached the door with great relief and I sighed, half of the battle was won. Or so I thought.
When opening the door the horses remained silent. I was shocked. Usually Valia whinnied at anyone’s arrival into her abode. In a frantic worry I flung the door open to have my fears realized. All three of my once beautiful horses had had their throats slit ear to ear. I didn’t have time to mourn them. I swiftly made my exit and ran to forest. There was an orchard near hear. I was sure they would have horses I could take one of theirs, or would they have been slaughtered too? Pasha could move much quicker than me, he knows me so well. He will always be two steps ahead of me.
I stopped dead. I had ran deep into the forest. No creature could be heard, all I could hear was the soft fall of the snow. I stared into the dark. Something was staring back. Was it Pasha? Or something else?
‘Anastasia!’ I screamed, ‘You spiteful whore! I vow on my life I will have your head!’
‘Pardon?’ a young girls voice answered, ‘I’m sorry ma’am I am not Anastasia.’ she had a country accent.