"My darling, I can't wait to see the house you've bought for us!" Leone Van Irtig sat in the soft carriage seats, glancing at herhusband lovingly. He grinned slyly, resting his head on his clenched fist and examining her with beautiful, green eyes, "Dearest Leone, "he mused, "I, too, can't wait for you to step foot in our new domain. Imagine! The cost was absolutely astonishing, but to show my immense love for you,I bought it." Leone blushed a bit under her white veil and shyly fixed her husbands tie, "Oh,Victor. You are such a sweet heart! But, really, I would've been fine anywhere as long as I'm withyou." Victor placed his newly wedded wives smooth hand on his cheeck and kissed it with soft lips,"I'm glad to here that, Leone. You will make the rest of my days a living bliss." The carriage suddenly halted to a stop, "Look! I believe we are already here." Leone peered her head out of the curtained windows of their ride and felt her smile suddenly tremble,"I-Its so big...and dark." A firm but gentle hand drew her back in, "Do younot like it?"Victor asked her and his face seemed somewhat sad. " I absolutely love it! I can't waitto go inside." And thebride, dressed in a splendid white gown,hastily opened thecarriage doors and rushed out, forging a smile as she touchedher home'scracking walls, "Look at the immense structures, Victor! I can't wait to enter,oh do hurry up." The groom smiledhandsomely and hurried out as well,waving thedriver away as he took his wife in his arms, "I picked out a room for us already.It has a splendid viewso you can observe the vast forest around us, my splendid child."Leone breathed heavily, and watched with strange excitement as the large doors to her new home opened, a grim being dressed in a servant's attire apeearing from the dark andbowing at the couple, "Madame andMonsieur Van Irtig. Please allow me to show you to your room."
"That won't be needed, Edna." Victor commented as he gently pushed hishesitant wife inside, "My lovely would like to take a nice tour of the house before she's shut up inour bedroom, isn't that right Leone?" The young bride nodded with a small laugh, "Y-yes,I suppose. But,may I ask where you wouldwhile I'm about?"
"Oh,here and there. Don'tworry, love. For sure we'll be dining togethertonight."Victorkissed Leonewith a smile and hurried out of the home,fixing a pair of gloveson asthe doors shut tight behind him...
Leone followed the servant Edna as the old figure walked slowly down the hallslike a walking corspe. "Edna?" The bride asked warily as the servant opened a door where a small room was lit with a candle. "Yes, Madame."
" Since you will be working here for quite a while now, I would like to know a bit about you. See, Victorhadasked me so sweetly to not go tothe village close byand I'm afraid I won't have any friends but you and whoever elseisin this house." Edna nodded slowly, closing the door and resuming past Leone without a glance at her, "I willinteract with neither you nor the Master only upon given instructions." Leone frowned slightly, patting down her white silkdress with a sigh, "Well, I suppose it is thehousehold rules. Is it not?"the somber servant didn't answer and continued thetour that had lasted overmorethan 20 minutes. Finally, she asked, "Would the Madame like toseeher room now?"
"Oh! Yes, please. I'mquite eager to get out of this dress before I ruin it."The beauitful, young bride jogged up the stairs, almostfalling as she stepped on the ends of her dress. As shecarried thedress folds in her arms,Leone asked thequick servant, "Do you know what my husband isdoing right now? He spoke something about a jobafter our wedding, but.." The servant merely nodded slightly and opened thewhite doors of a room. Hesitantly,the bride entered andgasped in suprise to see how beautiful the inside was.
A large, white bed was surroundingwith apearl colored curtain and an elaborate wardrobe along withan armchair and a tableadorned theroom. "The Master put a great importance to this room," Edna commentedand bowed, leaving Leone with a quietglance behind her. "Oh, Victor," Leone blushed, thinking of how hardher darling must have worked to make thisthe most beauitfulbedroom in the house, "I really must thank him tonight...oh!" She hurried tothe wardrobe and found a whole row of clothesjust for her, "My! How exqusiite." With a grin on her thin,pretty face, Leone reachedout for a red dress that her husband was sure tofind beautiful. Once she was finished changing and combing out herlong brownhair, the young woman hurried out of the room and jumped gleefully down the oldsteps toprepare for the feast she was to have with her darling.
Victor Van Irtig took a sip ofhiswine, waving itever so slightlyin his hand as he smiled at his wife seated acrossfrom him. "I do hope you find the house to yourliking, my love.Did you seeour bedroom yet?" Leonedabbed her mouth politely with a handkerchief as she placed the fork in her right hand aside fora bit, "Victor, I wasabsolutely impressed with whatyou did. The house is beautiful andquite bigas well."
"But do youlike it?"
"Yes, darling. I do." The handsome man took yet another sip from his glass cup and laid it aside, watching the red liquid with a strange look."Victor? I've been wanting to ask you something."
"Yes, dear.What is it?" Leonetook asip of wine as well and glanced at herVictor lovingly," Dear heart,you remember what you told me aboutgetting a job once we settled in?"
"What of it," Theyoung man asked with thedashing smile fading from his lips. "Well, I was wondering if I may assist youin any way. Just what is it you're going to do?" Victor shifted in his seat andappeared togrow annoyed, "Here and there. Theres nothing you can help me with, though."Leone was quiet and she glanced down with a low voice toappease her husbands growing anger, "If it's not too much to ask, may I go to the village close bywhere you said you grew up in? I do want to-" She was suddenly thrown off as Victor slammed his fist on the table, loose strands of his combed backhair falling over his forehead, "NO! I SAID NO!" The bride stared with a wide-eyed look at how vicioius her husband had responded her, "V-Victor! Please do try to calm down."
"Shut up!" he roared, throwing his drink aside and bellowing with anger as it stained the white carpet, "Now look what you did! Get away from me, just get away!" Leone, with tears forming in herbrown eyes, sat up quickly and rushed out of the doors from the dining room. She sobbed heavily and, once she reached her bedroom, closed the door shut and fell to the floor, tears streaming down her smooth face. She didn't want to makethe love of her life angry andyet she had. "I'm a hopeless bride, " she sobbed and sniffed with a wipe of her eyes, "My poor Victor! He's married such a terrible wife..."
Leone had fallen fast asleep when she heard agentle tapping on her bedroom door. "Who is it?" She asked warily and sighed as a familiar voice responded her, "It's Victor, love. Please...open up."
"The key is under the vase next to you." The woman responded with a stern look and climbed off the bed with a quick brush of her hair. She then climbed on her bed again and watched with a beating heart as a familiar figureentered the room with a whole bouquet of roses at hand. "Leone? I'm terribly sorry for what Idid. I'm such a horrible man to do suchadisgusting thing to my ownwife-especially when we arebarely married. Please forgive me, my heart." For some reason his words and face moved something deep inside Leone that she couldn't help but grin and kiss her husband's lips, "I forgive you," she whispered sofltly in his earand took him in her arms.
The next morning Victor had gotten up early and ordered breakfast to be done for his wife who had gotten up late and was now hurrying to get dressed. "I'm terribly sorry!" She called to him from down below as she practically ran down the stairs in a beautiful badge dress, "Please forgive me, Victor. I'm sush a clumsy woman."
"And that's why I love you," he responded, tapping his delicate, long finger on her nose, "Now, breakfast is served and I will join you in a bit, just have to make a few calls for my job tonight."
"Tonight? Don't you have to go in the morning or afternoon?" Victor shook his head while leading his wife to the dining hall, "I can only do this at night, besides...I want to spend my mornings with you." He kissed her for a short while then broke away and stepped down another hallway with his dark suit, "Go inside, dear. This will only take a moment,"
"All right, I'll wait for you in here." The curious woman meantto go in, but curiousity got the most of her as she watched her husbandslide so slylyinto a door she had not been introduced to before in the tour Edna hadgiven her.I don't want to intrude, but...
Leone, with a look around, followed after her husband andbent down on allfours,placing an ear on a slight crack from thedoor.At first, she heard nothing, but then a low rattling sound echoed in her ears as well as a low voice, "Dear? Yes, my beautiful how areyou?....Iplan to come tonight to your place and discussthe matter at hand...oh, no! I'lljust run over there and bring a few things with me.Is that allright? Yes...Yes, I will...ok, now. Bye." He hung up and Leone quickly scrambled backto her feet, running to thedining room where she was supposed to be eating. As she shut the doortight behind her, she hopped into her seat and quicklystuffed themeal in her mouth.
A door opened behind her and Victor entered, smiling that dashing grinof his, "Are you enjoying thebreakfast, Leone? You are? I'm glad to here that." The woman swallowed with a pained look and shyly glanced into her husband's eyes, "Wh-who did you calldarling?"
"Oh, a close friend of mine who wishes to have something remodeled," he froze a bit, "Dear me,I didn't want to tell you my job..."
"But darling, it's fine! You shouldn't be embarrased about what youdo." Victor was silent and helooked down at the white carpet, "I'm not embarrased, just-"The suddenknocking of a door caused them both to look up and stare at the servant Edna as she walked in with a bow, "Master,here isthe mail you had asked me to bring for today."
"Ah, thank you. Nowgo on and continue your cleaning." Edna bowed and solemly walked out, leaving the couple alone without another word.Victor looked at the paper he was handed with a sudden paralyzed look and shook his head in disbelief, "How terrible..."
"What is it?" Leone askedand watched with wide eyes as her husband handed her the paper, pointing to bold letters that said'BUTCHERCLAIMS ANOTHER WOMAN VICTIM-34 YEAR OLD SUSANAH BURY'The wife swallowed with atight knot in her throat, "I-it can't be close to hereis it?"
"I hope not, but I'll check." The man scanned the paper thoroughly and with true earnestness in hiseyes, "No, thank the- Hold on." he bit his lip nervously and swallowed hard, "It says that the victims are all in the village close to here....dear heavens, Leone, please don't go in their no matter what!"
"I w-wasn't planning to, butnow I know a good reason to not be around there thanks to this paper."Victor kissed his wife's cheeck eagerly, "That's a good girl. I promise that if you stayin here where I can protect you, no harm will come to youand I swear it."
"You're such a good husband, darling. So kind and caring." Smooth lips kissed her own a cold hand caressed her jaw, "Doas I say and no harm will come to you. That is my promise."
Two days had now passed and Victor had done his job's well, though everytime he came back he seemed to always hurt himself for their would be drops of blood on his suits and the smell of iron would fill the air. "Are you hurt? Would you like me to bathe your wound?" Leone wouldask eagerly and her husband would shake his head slightly with a pained look, "No. I'm ashamed to say this, but I'm not experienced at all. I always end up hurting myself when fixing my client's rooftop or fixing acar. I'm just not put up for it."
"I believe in you and no matter what, I know you can do it." Those words seemed to bring light to Victor's paleface and he grinned in response, "Thank you dear. I'll put that to mind when I do my next job."
Another night passed and Leone would read more papers of this "Butcher" killer slaying more woman in an even more horrifying manner than the victim before. "How terrifying...what if Victor get's hurt out there?" The sudden thought sent an alarm down her spine, "What if Victor does get hurt out there?!" She jumped out of bed and grabbed her robe, thinking of how angry Victor would be when he found out she had gone to the village, but she would say it was to make sure he was safe. "Then maybe he won't be as mad," Leone told herself as she slipped on some slippers and quietly headed outside her bedroom.
The hall was dark and she was sure theservantsin the house -including Edna-were alseep at that time of night. Like a cat, she quielty slid down the stairs and tip-toed to the front door, slowly opening itas it creaked slighlty. Without another look back, she closed thedoors tight and jumped in joy at how beautiful it was to smell theearth and the wind again after being shut in the house for a while now. "Ijust hope my darling Victor won't get mad at me," she whimpered and hurried down the grassy floor.
The village was a bit faroff and it took Leone a while to get to there. Fortunately, she made it and was even more fortunate to find people still roaming around with lighted lamps around the small stores.As she passed by individuals, they stared at her sort of oddly and she began to wonder what was wrong with her when a young man of about 19 years old blocked her way, " Excuse me, mam. May I ask what is your intention of being here?" Leone was quite perturbed by this and respondedinhaughty tone, "I'm looking formy husband."
"Husband?I've seen no one cross my path for a long while now."
"B-But, I'm Mrs. Van Irtig. My husband is working for some people here andhe was even born here himself."
"Heh, right. Where do you live,mam?"
"My how rude! But, if you care to know, I live in a big house not so far from here." The boy rolled hiseyes and scoffed with a grin, "That house has been empty for years and no one isevenallowed to live there."
"My husband just bought that house for our wedding! Now, get out of my way!!" The boy blocked herwayand tried not to be rough, "Easy now, mam. I'll believe you when I see your name on the town's occupant list.If your husband reallydid grow up here, he'll know that that house you supposedlylive in is property ofthis town and willknow hehas to sign his name on our list." The young woman straightened her back, "Allright, then. I'm sure Victor did sign our names and I'll prove you wrong."
"We'll see about that." Theboy led her down the dusty path and into an old building overhead.When they enetred, a man behind the counter nodded to the boy who said, "I need to see thelist for a bit, thank you." The man reached down below him and pulled out a heavy load of papers,a whole list of names written out in black ink. "What's your last name again,mam?"The boy asked with a snear and she respondedwith a hesitant look to her face, " It's Van Irtig." The boy flipped through pages and followed down a list of names with his finger. Leone breathed heavily, the sweat to her brow forming in large drops. "All right, mam."
"See, I told you-"
"It's not here." The woman pushed the boy aside and scanned the page with a bewildered look to her eyes, "Why....why isn't it here? He said he bought it and grew up in this town..." She looked up at the old man behind the counter with a scared look in her eye, " My husband's name is 'Victor Van Irtig'! He said he grew up here. There must be a mistake!"
"Sorry, lady," the boy pushed her out of the building, "If you're nto registered here, we won't let you walk our town. For all we know, you might be the Butcher, or maybe even your husband!"
"STOP!" Leone yelled with tears in her eyes and rushed back to where she came from, her slippers falling off and scratches forming on her legs, "It's a mistake!" She yelled to no one in particular and sobbed her way back home.
The dark house appeared before her and with it, a light growing intensely from inside. "....Can Victor be inside already?"She tried tocontrol the strange fear growing in her heart as she tooksmall steps torwards her fate. As she entered the room, a light flew on and there stood Victor with a strange smile on his face. "Darling?" he askedand streched out his bloody handstowards her, "Come here, my love."Leone screamed and rushed past him, flying up the stairs that led to her room, "Victor!!!" she sobbed heavily in horror, "How could you?!?!" With all her strength,she locked thedoor tight behind her and fell back, crawling on her knees to hide in a corner. "Leone!" An angry voice belonging to her husband echoed in her eyes, "OPEN THE DOOR!" he pounded heavily with his foot and suddenly took out a knife he had gottenfrom the atticwhere all the other weapons he usedfor his victimsrested."OPEN! THE! DOOR!" Victor thrust his knife into thedoor, tearing chunks off from it. At one point, he called Edna to go to the village andmake up a story of why Leone had gone there.
The poor bride shook interror as another chunk flew off the wall, "PLEASE VICTOR!!!! PLEASE!!"
"I'm sorry, darling, "a somewhat calm voice answered as a red hand reached outthrough the hole in thedoor and opened it from the inside. It opened slowly and Leone cried out in horror asher husband waked towards her with a knife in his hand, "Really, I am darling! But it's not my fault that you've fallen for a Butcher!"
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