It was Monday morning, cleaning day, a day for dusting flea market figurines, Victorian flower bowls, Tiffany lily vases and vacuuming her antique Persian rugs upstairs and down. Clarissa enjoyed cleaning her house and took great care, the way one would when bathing an infant. Each object in her house had a place in her heart and was never discarded. That's why Clarissa bought everything she owned carefully, giving thought to its final location. Vases on the fireplace mantel, figurines on end tables shinned and polished with the best paste wax. Some priceless dishes and bowls were kept behind glass in an old vintage walnut cupboard in her pantry and displayed only at holiday parties.
At the end of the day Clarissa would sit with a glass of the finest French red wine and admire the comfort and simple beauty of her home. She enjoyed the quiet of sunset, a time when nothing had to be done or even thought about. It was so peaceful to let her eyes rest on the mixed rose hedge that neighbors continually admired, running lazily beyond her parlor windows all the way to the road. Sunset was a time to think about what was ahead of her instead of what was behind her, if she was going to think at all. But life wasn't always that uncomplicated, some days peaceful repose was impossible and she certainly wasn't calm enough for peaceful repose after her run in with the girl on the bike in Hollow Creek. She was so jittery she almost broke her majolica fruit bowl as it fell to the floor earlier that day, saved only by the thickness of the rug. She had been distracted by that girl, and the dream she hadn't had in years, the one that always woke her up in a sweat.
Clarissa hadn't been able to get the girl out of her mind. It had to mean something to run into her like that. It had to mean something that the girl resembled Chloe down to her nose and her eyes and the color of her hair. But Clarissa wasn't having any visions, or at least not any new visions. She'd only had the dream, the one in which the baby was covered in her mother's blood and Chloe was screaming for help. She couldn't trust that dream. It had started right after Chloe was murdered. Clarissa had always assumed that Chloe's baby might have been covered in her mother's blood, of course, but according to the police, it was most likely her own. Horrid thought. It was too painful to think about. She shut it out, slammed a door on her mind so fiercely that the images shattered and fell back.
But the girl's resemblance to Chloe was a shock to her spirit, memories she couldn't bear to think about were resurfacing. That's why she'd had the dream again, she imagined. Hopefully it would vanish and she wouldn't have to obsess about what had happened to Chloe or to Chloe's baby.
Tuesdays were the days Clarissa walked to Edgefield. Each day had order and purpose and she rarely varied her schedule. She was afraid of becoming purposeless. She would only sit idly at sunset, it was a gift, sunset was, something she deserved after fulfilling so many ambitious goals during daylight hours. Purpose and fulfillment made her happy. Wednesdays were for her flowers and rose hedges and sometimes a run over to Home Depot. Thursdays she was back walking to Edgefield and stopping along the way to browse at flea markets. She knew people who would invite her for coffee and she would return the favor on Saturdays, a social day for Clarissa, a day for having friends in for lunch so they could admire her home. Fridays Clarissa had her yoga class in Edgefield and spent the rest of the day reading newspapers and novels. On Sundays she volunteered at the church to teach people English. When life took pause she filled it with more walks, more books, more yoga and more clips to her hedges.
Life was full. She'd never had children, which she only regretted at holidays, and she was only married once, to Dennis, who had spent a good deal of time over the years trying to convince her to take him back, that Savannah was a she devil that could charm Satan into a Bible class and he shouldn't be held accountable for her seduction, her attraction to him, and besides, it was so many years ago, like that excused it.
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