A Cradle of Wolves

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IX

Chapter Nine: Survival of the Fittest.

It had been a terribly long day for Constance, especially with Theo’s appearance. She arrived home at around 6pm after running some errands, expecting her husband to be home as well. He was neither in their bedroom nor his study. He was nowhere to be found in the mansion. Jennifer was at a friend’s house and Booker was dining out with his wife. Constance’s last resort was to text Julian to see if he was available but when he didn’t reply she felt incredibly lonely. The feeling wasn’t alien, however. She had always felt lonely at the end of the day no matter how good a day had been. She assumed that her sense of solitude, which was relentless, was the price she had to pay due to all the evil she had done in her life.

To her victims her actions were obviously foul, but Constance saw it differently. She believed that she was doing nothing wrong and was only bettering herself. She had always said, “survival of the fittest, my dear,” and she lived by that creed of hers.

There was one person left that she could find solace in. Her youngest son Richard Jr. was just as treasured as anyone else. She loved him so much that she would do anything to protect her son. She had always done so and would always will. With him in mind she ran out of her room and towards his. When she arrived at his door, which sported a huge sticker of a marijuana leaf on the front of the door, she knocked frantically. As she knocked, she got a whiff of a very familiar smell. Immediately she got out the estate master-key to unlock the door and opened it with a slam, startling the rebellious teen on the bed.

“Mom,” chuckled Richard. His golden earphones drooped over his head as he gazed at his mom utterly dazed. His mouth had opened while a fragrant cloud appeared between Constance and her son.

Constance heatedly waved the cloud away before she snatched his bong from his hands. “I see you’re smoking out of a bong, which I did not authorize to let you buy. Are you not happy with your life? Why do you need to make yourself feel nothing by inhaling drugs?”

“It’s not like that, mom,” he swung his arm over the bong to retrieve it, but his mom recoiled back and shot him a glare. She normally annoyed him with her over-protective measures, but she had definitely crossed him this time. It was worse enough that she didn’t let him go out, keeping him cooped up in his room. “Plus, we’re not in 2015 when only a few states had it legalized. And so, what if I get high for the fuck of it? My life is great, and I just want to make it even better than it is and that’s exactly what I’m doing.”

“You’re doing it wrongly!” she exclaimed as she threw his bong out of the window behind her. It landed outside with a loud crash of breaking glass. Richard Jr. sadly gazed at the small bits of his herbal inhalant which he loved so dearly. It was taken away by the nightly breeze, never to be smoked by him.

There was a knock at his door. “Not now!” shouted Constance behind her back to whoever was knocking.

“I thought you wanted to talk to me.”

She recognized the voice as Julian’s. “Come in.”

Julian stepped into the boy’s room. He inhaled loudly and exhaled with a smile. “My senses are telling me that you had some good stuff today.”

“Well his $200 is gone with the wind now,” scoffed Constance as she wrathfully gazed at her son with her arms crossed.

“You should have saved it for me,” Julian teased jokingly.

Constance thrust an index finger at Richard Jr. “You’re grounded and your dad will definitely hear about this!” She turned her back on her son and followed Julian out the door. “I wanted to talk to you.”

Julian smirked attractively. “And I wanted to talk to you just as much.”

“I spoke with that lawyer we contracted. There has been a change in who the sole inheritor is. Marie Edmunds had filled a line on the will that was once empty. None of our names or that of Mr. Clearwater’s was on that line. The name Theo von Draken appeared on that line on August 14th of this year. She anticipated the scoundrel’s reemergence,” she spoke in a harsh and quick whisper that was fueled by malice. When her brother had made no sound to her words she continued, “The lawyer made a copy of that will and with this new copy it now says that I’m the sole inheritor instead of Theo.” She smiled triumphantly as the prospect of victory flashed before her ambitious eyes.

Julian flared his nostrils, inhaling the triumphant air that surrounded his sister. He too was excited about this turn of events. “All we have to do is kill the old bitch that is our mother.”

“Exactly and I’ve got the right thing thought out.” She walked down the corridor with one arm locked around her brother’s; her lips were near his ear as she whispered.

“But you only signed your name and not mine. I told you that you should exactly sign both of our names so we can both get the will when the time comes.” Julian had remembered with utter clarity the pact he and his sister had made before making it their mission to commit matricide. They promised one another that they would both be rewarded equally for their deed.

“The lawyer said that there was room for one but,” she added with absolute deceitfulness, “But he did add a sort of loophole that would allow you to receive the will as long as we must always live together.” The lawyer actually never did that and therefore Constance was lying to Julian. It was a lie she told in complete perfection to a man who always caught the lies.

Julian disconnected from her arm and blinked once. He was not entirely sure of what Constance had just said to him. He was about to protest but his phone vibrated within his pocket, stopping him short of his objection. A smile appeared on his lips when he saw who it was that texted him. With one distraction he thought the current matter as nothing but business to take care of later.

“How old is she? I’ve noticed you love those college freshmen or young Christian newlyweds that cannot stand their groom or bride after the first day.” She glanced at his phone with a devious smile.

“She’s about nineteen. I couldn’t resist her any longer. Plus, one year above the legal age of eighteen is not considered a crime,” Julian replied slyly.

Constance proceeded with her curious questioning. “Is she married?”

“No, she’s completely mine for the taking.” Was his reply a lie? Only he really knew. He wasn’t willing in disclosing all the details yet.

Constance wasn’t quite convinced by his vague answer. She departed from her brother and went downstairs, leaving him alone in the hallway as he looked at his phone with vivacious contentment. She walked into the kitchen and looked about. Berth had already set most of the ingredients that she used for tonight’s dinner away. Amy was at the other side of the counter-top, hastily preparing a cup of tea.

“Tea before dinner? No one asked for such a thing,” said Constance with annoyed contempt.

Amy snapped her neck up in a frightened jump when she heard Constance’s spiteful yet elegant voice. “Your mother requested for it.”

Oh, my mother. She had thought about everyone she loved except for her mother, even though she had been drowning in a desperate sea of solitude that begged for any kind of companionship. “You should set the table and leave me finish my mother’s tea. She’s probably feeling a bit under the weather and I know exactly how she likes it when she’s like that. You’ve never really had a knack for satisfying her anyways.” She shooed the servant away from her sight. Constance saw her reflection on the surface of the tea in Marie Edmund’s favorite porcelain cup and smiled at the precipice of her mother’s death. She pulled out a small vial of clear liquid, uncorking it before spilling all the contents of the poison into the tea. She spun a teaspoon in the tea, watching the poison dissolve in her mother’s drink before her own eyes in a cool, composed manner.

Orlando gasped when he entered the kitchen. He had never seen his employers preparing anything in the kitchen so seeing Constance there was nightmarish; it meant that neither he or his co-workers were doing their job properly. “Mrs. Clearwater! That is why we have Amy employed so she can do her job! Where is that insufferable girl?”

“Orlando don’t worry about this,” Constance spoke with a placate tone. A daughter ought to make her mother’s tea here and then, or so I was raised. As for Amy I sent her to go set the table since her grandmother is doing lord knows what in the pantry room. I’ll be ready for my dinner in a few minutes so do set the table, please.”

Orlando didn’t question Constance any further. He curtly exited the kitchen just as quickly as he had entered it. After hoping for no more hindrances, she exited the kitchen and called out after Amy. The girl quickly appeared before Constance and was handed the silver tray with the porcelain teacup atop of its matching plate. “Take this to my mother,” commanded the fiendish woman.

With that command, Amy hastily did as she was told. Afterwards, Constance walked up the steps to the second floor as Amy walked downstairs after delivering the matriarch her tea. Constance passed her mother’s room but as she was about to embark on her second step, she was interrupted by a loud thud that had erupted from that very room she was about to pass. Then without a second’s hesitation she passed the room imperturbably.

Goodbye mother, Constance thought with a jubilant smile.

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