A wicked laugh came from the maid’s mouth, causing a shiver to wriggle up Alexis’s back. Her face contorted and bubbled with green liquid. With rough bark-like boney callused fingers, she reached for Alexis. The monstrous thing stood, and approached Alexis, who stepped back again, closer to the stairs. It matched her step back with a step forward, closer to her, then another as Alexis took one more step toward the edge of the stairway.
The fear consuming Alexis erupted into a scream that echoed throughout the halls of Parsons Manor as the groan had done during the storm before her arrival. She became lightheaded, and her thoughts turned soft as she teetered on the edge of the stairs. Her body collapsed to the floor, landing heavily on the maroon carpet. Time passed slowly while she floated through the mist. In the distance, a bright light broke through the gloom, and murmuring voices drifted to her ears. Someone faraway called her name. A cool, terrycloth towel dabbed her forehead. Her heart began racing again, and she tried to sit up. The distant voice told her to calm herself as her eyes fluttered open. Her eyes found Gabe squatting next to her.
“There you are, sweetheart,” he said.
“Where is she?” Alexis demanded.
Tricia’s smirking face came into view near Gabe’s. After Alexis explained what had happened, she looked from face to face hoping they believed her, but saw they did not. Deciding it best that she not push further, she forced a smile, and said, “I’m more tired than I thought. I’m imagining things.”
“It’s understandable,” Margot said. Alexis turned toward her, seeing her for the first time. “I cannot imagine how you do it. What with everything you’ve been through. Poor thing.” As she listened to her ramble while they walked down the hall with Gabe in tow, Alexis wished Margot was her maid.
Flynn stared at Tricia without saying a word. A white cloth draped over his outstretched hand received the wad of puce gum she spat. She glared into his eyes, licking her lips, then turned flippantly from him, and skipped down the hall to join the others. At the door to Alexis’s suite, Tricia turned back to him, and blew a kiss. He retreated down the stairs before the airborne caress could find his skin.
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