Sandy was back with a brand new face.
It looked very much like her old one, bar the few raw stitches that had been expertly hidden behind her ears.
She was certainly in a good mood. She sashayed in to the dining room for her lunch and took her usual seat at the head of the table next to the large mirror, stealing glances at her new chin and smiling. Until April slid in place beside her.
“April.” Her tone was curt but polite.
Despite it being a Saturday, Travis was at work. The butler had barely served up lunch before Sandy sent him out on a crucial errand. She was out of Glimmerbrook spring water and she couldn’t possibly drink any other kind.
It was rare that Sandy and April were ever home alone. But even rarer that Sandy hadn’t said anything to her. April tried again.
“You’re looking nice mother. Your chin looks good.”
“No thanks to you.”
April looked at her lap. Perhaps her mother wasn’t in such a good mood after all. April could feel the tension building as they each ignored their food in silence.
“Oasis Springs, April.”
April dared herself to look up, confused. “Sorry Mother?”
“Yes, you should be. Three hours it took to travel there. All because of you and your silly little crush on Dr. Vatore.”
April’s fork clattered to the table at the mention of the name. Her mother went on. “Now he’s probably told all his clients about his disastrous evening at the Moss residence. How will I ever show my face in this town again?” She looked at April who said nothing. “Don’t you go denying it. Trying to get a glimpse of him through the sitting room door and then all your attention-grabbing behaviour at dinner. Oh and don’t even get me started on how you followed him to the bathroom of all places! Then to top it all off, you swooned so hard listening to him take a leak that you knocked yourself unconscious.”
“You don’t know anything!” April brought her fists down so hard on the table that the chandelier shook. She pushed her chair back and stormed off across the hallway. She heard her mother’s chair scoot back also, and the click of her heels as she followed.
April burst in to the music room, anger roaring inside her. Sandy stepped in front of her daughter, her face twisted as much as possible with rage.
“How dare you talk to me like that. I’m your mother! I raised you. I have given you everything and this is how you repay me? By trying to ruin my image and my reputation – the very things that put food on your table! You’re an ungrateful brat, April. You’re just a spoiled, stupid little girl. You’re just as pathetic as your father. Living in my shadow, leeching off my success.”
April stood dumb. A deer in headlights. She knew this dance.
Sandy’s tone had that knife-blade edge. “You’d be nothing without me. You’d be dining in the gutter with those stinking, flea-infested mongrels you call friends.” She lowered her voice to a hiss, the sure sign that April had gone too far. “I will teach you not to answer back to me, you little witch.”
Sandy walked towards her daughter, her hand raised to strike.
April used to scream but no one ever stepped in, even when they were home. Instead, she threw her hands up in front of her face, an attempt to deflect the physical side of her mother’s control.
Sandy stopped in her tracks. Her arms dropped to her sides, her mouth hung open around an insult, her body still.
April looked at her trembling hands and back at her mother’s face. Have I done this?
She could feel something radiating through her arms, her fingertips. She pulled her hands slightly towards her face and then pushed them away from her watching Sandy sway with the same motion, like a puppet on a thousand invisible strings.
April was just as mesmerised as Sandy. She couldn’t remember a time she had been this close to her mother. She could smell her shampoo and see the creases in her make-up.
Oh boy, she would be in so much trouble when this was over.
She’d enjoy the control while it lasted. As she manipulated Sandy gently side-to-side, to and fro, April’s mind drifted.
Her mother had given her everything and yet nothing at all.
April subconsciously drew her mother closer until she could almost feel the pulse racing in Sandy’s neck. Her mind was flashing with memory after memory. Every insult, every hit, they all now collided in her mind and fuelled the fire she had kept dampened for so many years.
She thought back over all the times her mother had stopped her from seeing her friends, from having her own life. She’d controlled April down to the minute details: stopped her from thinking, stopped her from talking, stopped her from eating.
The thought hit April like a train.
She can’t stop me now.
April didn’t even try to be delicate. As her fangs slashed open her mother’s neck and the blood poured forth, she drank deeply. Sandy gargled to her daughter; a plea or an insult? April didn’t hear. It was lost to the echoes of everything else Sandy had ever said to her.
April felt her mother falling heavy into her arms. She pulled back, allowing the older woman’s body to fall ungraciously to the floor. The Great Sandy Moss, a heap on the carpet.
April watched her mother for a few moments as the room came back into focus. She had no idea how she was going to explain all this when she came round.
But maybe she wouldn’t have to. April’s body became even colder as it dawned on her that her mother did not appear to be breathing.
The power was replaced by panic. April reached for her phone. She had to do something, she had to call someone. In the sudden silence she heard a key in the front door, footsteps in the hall.
So April did the only thing she could think of, the only thing that had ever helped her. She ran.