In the end I guess I had to fall
"Dear Diary," Annabelle began the first sentence in her diary. She had felt so compelled to write when she had awakened that it did not matter how much Clara, the servant, shouted at her that breakfast was served; she could not help herself prying open the loose floorboard in her room. It was there that she kept her diary, her most precious secret. If Rebecca would find out that she still kept a diary, she would tease Annabelle for all eternity, and she could not tell Simone either, because even though she was Annabelle’s best friend, Annabelle could never trust her fully. She had learned that the only person she really could have her faith in was herself. It was a long story, and she did not want to think about it any longer.
"You have no idea what I’m going through." She sighed as the sound of Clara’s loud voice echoed through the walls. “I am coming!” She shouted as loud as she could, and then continued to write.
”Father still has not returned home, nor have Dean and Sam." She felt her heart ache when she wrote those words, and furrowed her eyebrows. She did not like to be controlled by her feelings, especially if the feelings made her weak. ”I am beginning to think that I will never see any of them again."
The girl bit her lip hard to chase away the tears. She had often thought of those words but never written them down, because it would be like accepting the truth, and she was not ready for it yet. She still hoped for some kind of sign that would tell her that they were still alive. A letter; anything.
Annabelle reluctantly shook her head, as if to get rid of all those stupid thoughts that were bothering her. She did not need that now, when she had so many other things to deal with.
”Life can be so unpredictable," she wrote. ”Just like a really, really difficult puzzle. Some never find the solution, while others find it immediately." When she heard the harsh, hasty steps coming up the stairs, she hurried to hide the diary, and just when she put back the loose plank in the floor, her door swung open.
“Miss Johnson. What do you do that takes such long time? The breakfast is served, I say!” Clara’s tough, but friendly voice had no particular effect on Annabelle, for she had grown up with it and become resistant.
“I have told you that I am coming,” Annabelle said softly, but with a sharp undertone, and gave the woman a look that meant more than a hundred angry words. “And I mean it. Let me get dressed now, go!” She commanded, and gave Clara a triumphant smile before she closed the door. Quickly, and with her heart pounding in the chest, she brought up the diary again, just to write the last words.
”I understand how good I have it, I really do," she wrote, ”but I can never stop thinking about what it would be like, if the war never broke out. I know it sounds selfish, but... I just want my family back. I do not care about what I have to do. I would do anything. It does not matter who dies, who gets hurt. The only thing that matters is that my family lives." She sighed, but nevertheless forced herself to continue writing. ”If it is required that I sacrifice everything... So be it."
“Annabelle, what are your plans for the day?” Charlotte smiled a motherly, well-meaning smile, but Annabelle had over the years learned to look past her mother’s false facade, one very similar to her own. Annabelle looked quickly at Simone and Alice, both of whom sat on either side of her by the breakfast table, which now echoed emptier than ever.
“I do not know,” she replied a little dreamily, as if the words were floating on clouds, but it only took one glance out the window to know that she at least would not go out. The storm had turned their estate into a dark, ugly place. An oak tree had been struck by lightning and split in two, and now lay divided, broken, in the corner of the large field. Everything looked terrible. It was not raining anymore, but the gray clouds still hung over their lands, and Annabelle could not really be sure whether the storm had stopped, or only taken a short break.
“What will the rest of you do, then?” Charlotte continued to ask the others around the table, but Annabelle did not hear their responses. But then, all of a sudden, Alice’s sweet, proud voice rang through the room.
“I am going to see Mr. John O’Malley,” she said, eyes glittering like those of a child. As soon as his name was mentioned, Annabelle turned her head towards Alice and stared at the girl, like a shark staring at a fish right before it devours it. All eyes turned to Annabelle.
“What did you say?” She hissed, angry, for she had completely forgotten her acting towards the girl. Alice, who was shocked by Annabelle’s sudden outburst, just opened her mouth and closed it, for she did not know what to say or how to react.
“Annabelle Evelyn Johnson.” Charlotte’s voice was cold, and Annabelle felt the menacing tone vibrate along the walls of the room. She knew exactly what her mother meant by saying her name, but she completely ignored it.
“I asked who, Alice. Who.” She continued to look into Alice’s green eyes, which now had begun to flicker nervously.
“John O’Malley,” she whispered gently, and bit her lip. “He came by yesterday and asked to see you, when you were out looking for Simone, but... I did not know eaxctly where you were, so I said... I said... Well, he asked me if I wanted to play croquet with him today, and I said yes.” The girl spoke with a trembling voice, shy and cautious. Annabelle fought hard against the instinct to get up, take a hold of the girl and shake her until she stopped being so pathetic.
But instead Annabelle lowered her head, took a few deep, calming breaths, and then stood up, leaving the table without a word. She felt eyes stabbing holes in her back, but kept going.
“Belle?” She heard Katherine’s soft, surprised voice calling for her, and her already broken heart was crushed when she forced herself not to run back and embrace the child. It was still silent in the house when Annabelle went upstairs with her steps echoing loudly.
“Alice must get out of here,” she whispered grimly to herself between each step. “Alice will get out of here.” She hated herself for being so childish, but there was no longer anything she could do about it. It was too late. Suddenly, she saw herself like the others had seen her, selfish and violent, and understood what they had to think about her.
I am falling, she thought silently in the darkness, and soon I have fallen too deep.