- Chapter 1
- Chapter 2
- Chapter 3
- Chapter 4
- Chapter 5
- Chapter 6 + recap + timeline
- Chapter 7
- Chapter 8
- Chapter 9
That evening, Alice returned home from work in hysterical tears. And there Elizabeth was, awaiting her on the armchair.
“I know, Mom!” Alice screamed, “I know everything! I know all about the cult!”
“Please, let me explain…” Elizabeth remained calm.
“Where’s Dad?” Alice looked around with panic.
“He’s spending the weekend with his brother.”
“Oh, how convenient!”
“Hear me out,” Elizabeth insisted.
Alice paused, “I’m listening…”
Elizabeth went on to tell her daughter all about the evil cult she was a part of, disguised as a church. She confessed her involvement with the Master. Of course, she chose to leave out the details about their affair and her plans for sacrificing Alice. She told her how they kidnapped Quade and brainwashed him. She confessed the truth about Quade’s father, Harrington Zillow, nearly exposing them and then getting framed for insanity. And finally, she admitted to killing the Master of a broken heart.
“I don’t know what will happen when they find him dead. I don’t know if that will be the end of it or if someone else, someone even more evil will take over now,” she added. “But we need to leave.”
“You can leave. I’m staying with Dad. And I’m telling him everything.”
“Look!” Elizabeth lifted her dress, revealing black, blue, and purple bruises all over her stomach and thighs, “this is what your father does to me. We need to go.”
“I don’t trust you,” Alice shook her head, “everything you say now is meaningless.”
Elizabeth struck back, “if you care about Quade then you have to trust me, I’m the only one who can bring you two back together.”
Alice clenched, “this so you — holding me hostage, keeping me under your control,” she rolled her eyes hard, “but fine, because I don’t know what else to do! He won’t listen to me! So go ahead… but if you screw this up, that’s it. I’m finished. You’ll be dead to me.”
Elizabeth nodded with satisfaction.
There they were: Elizabeth, Alice, and Quade, the three of them sitting in Alice’s bedroom at the top of her castle home. Using stolen potions from the cult, Quade’s coffee had been laced with a tranquilizer that morning at work. Once knocked out, the two of them dragged him home. And once again, Quade was tied up in a chair. While still asleep, Elizabeth stuck a needle in his arm that would reverse the amnesia and bring his memory back by the time he woke up.
Slowly opening his eyes, Quade’s heart began to race.
“Again?!” He shouted at Elizabeth, and then nearly choked when he saw Alice standing right next to her. Widening his eyes, he screamed, “Alice?! You too?!” His face was bright red.
Trying to calm him down, Alice consulted, “I’m on your side, okay? Please, just stay calm.”
Rage pulsating throughout his body, “Alice! Your mom is–“
“I know,” Alice cut him off, “I know she’s a monster. She told me everything.”
“Oh yeah? Did she tell you about her plans to sacrifice you?”
“What?!” Alice turned to her mother in fury.
“She’s more than a monster,” he continued, “she makes the devil look like Mother Theresa.” And then he spat at Elizabeth, who jumped back.
“Quade, just shut up!” Alice snapped.
“I love you, but why do you have to do this? Don’t act like you’re not desperate. You’re literally tied to a chair and you’re still talking smack. You’re like the type of guy who would get held at gunpoint by someone and still curse them out. Haven’t you ever heard of sucking up to the enemy? Begging for your life? Are you really that prideful?”
He smirked, “you love me?”
“Ugh,” Alice turned to her mother, “go ahead, explain yourself.”
Elizabeth spoke, “Quade, you saved me. When you spoke of Alice, when you said you loved her, I saw something in your eyes that I have never seen in any man. And it woke me up, shook me like an earthquake. It broke my conditioning. The Master had me brainwashed. It doesn’t excuse anything, but it changed me. I want to right my wrongs.”
“You’re not welcome. And impossible,” he was unimpressed.
“I stole a few potions from the cult. That’s how we got you here and brought back your memory.”
“We?” He looked at Alice with disdain.
“But I have another potion,” Elizabeth continued, “this will kill me instantly, not only that, but dissolve my body so you won’t be prosecuted. The both of you — give it to me — get your revenge. “
“You don’t deserve to die, you deserve to suffer,” Quade declared.
“Okay, do whatever you need to do with me. But the two of you — please, save yourselves. I know you want to save humanity, but you can’t, you just can’t. The cult is far too powerful. People have to save themselves. So just run. If you leave them alone, they’ll leave you alone.”
Just then, the doorbell rang. Alice peaked out the window to see several cop cars in their driveway.
“Oh my God!” Alice panicked as she swiftly untied Quade.
Suddenly, the door slammed open and a cop announced, “Elizabeth Dolly, you’re under arrest for the murder of Dexter Freestone.”
Alice and Quade stood in total awe as they watched Elizabeth being dragged away by the police.
Ten years later…
Following Elizabeth’s arrest, Alice and Quade immediately packed their bags and ran away together, fearing they would be unfairly framed.
They moved to a small town known as Scarletsville, where they resided in a small cottage. They found a local bookshop around the corner where they worked and eventually took over as co-owners. Quade took care of the construction (it was a very old building) and Alice handled all the paperwork.
After much discussion, and out of fear that they would lose each other again, they decided that Elizabeth was actually right about running away and staying quiet. However, they did not give up the fight — they changed their strategy. Just like the cult, they would work from the inside out. They realized it would be impossible to convince others of what was going on, and knew it was a horrid truth that people would have to find out for themselves. So instead, they solely focused on love, hoping others would follow their lead. Love was the only thing that could save the world.
Elizabeth Dolly, possibly the most evil human being to ever exist… In her final moments of freedom, she actually did something right. It was Quade’s love for her daughter that broke her conditioning against the Master, and her urge to bring them back together and assure they could live happily ever after. These actions went completely against Elizabeth’s character all along. But that’s what happened when she felt the all-consuming energy of true love.
Knowing what a sickening place the world actually was, the lovers chose to keep themselves secluded in safety. They stopped reading the news, they had no internet or phone service, no TV, hardly any media except for some books. They couldn’t trust anyone. Even their costumers, they kept at distance with their guards up.
They never left town, except for occasional visits to see family. Alice stayed in touch with her father sparingly. She was never sure of her father’s abusive tendencies, but whenever she saw him she always brought Quade along with her just in case. Having already lost her mother who she refused to speak with ever again, she chose to see the best in her father, but of course it would never be the same. And every night, she prayed to find forgiveness not for her mother’s sake, but for her own peace of mind.
They had three children, two boys and a girl, and Alice was now pregnant with their fourth. They decided their kids would be homeschooled, taking online courses using the bookstore’s computers. They would be protected from the world, but still encouraged to live their own lives and make their own choices. They wouldn’t stop them from making new friends, but always cautioned them about how much danger is out there. They could never directly tell their children the truth, but tried their best to point them in the right direction and hope they could eventually figure it out for themselves.
During their days, Alice and Quade simply focused on survival. Money was of little importance to them and they simply only needed it to pay the bills. And every night, they celebrated their love, making each long and hard day worthwhile.
Focusing on love and blocking everything else out — money, fame, status, career, travel, politics, new products, etc. — seemed to indeed have an impact. Every costumer left their shop a little happier and a little lighter than before. For they knew that if everyone made love a priority and forgot about everything else, the red ones would have no negative energy left to feed on and eventually die out.
Alice began writing a book about everything she had gone through, labelling it “fiction” as she changed the character names and several minor details. Worried that the red ones would attack her for it, she chose not to publish it online for the whole world to see. Instead, she used a typewriter and only sold her book at the bookshop, just for locals to read. And to her surprise, many enjoyed it. She hoped it would trigger their memories somehow.
Many would ask, “why does this story sound so familiar?” In which Alice would reply, “imagination is a crazy thing!”
There is an ancient Buddha quote that goes something like this…
“Three things cannot be hidden for long: the sun, the moon, and the truth.”
It’s inevitable for the truth to come out at some point.
Love always, xoxo.