#AtoZChallenge 2022 – With the End Comes a New Beginning


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Contain strong language, please be advised.

Abby, Beth, Charlie, Daphne, and Ethan stands just outside the mansion’s entrance, shivering from the cold. Abby feels surprising it all happened within less than 24 hours yet at the same time, it feels like she was down there for days, just dreading the inevitable.

From the corner of her right eye, she can sense the others periodically giving her subtle glances, as if they were waiting for something – a question, her going into shock, her suddenly breaking apart like a vase made from broken shards of glass. No, Abby isn’t this kind of person. She may break down later, away from anyone’s prying eyes and ears. She’s tough like that. Right now though, she’s just trying to process the whole thing while attempting to scrub the horrifying images of those poor victims in room 10 from her mind.

My god, Abby mentally gasps, those poor innocent people. They were murdered by forceful lethal injection of a substance that froze the looks on their faces during their final moments. The horror, the shock, the attempt at their final struggle to get free. She may never be able to wipe that from her mind.

Micky or rather Agent Miguel Chavez clears his throat, startling Abby out of her thoughts. “Are you alright?” Abby nods. She feels if she opens her mouth to speak now, her words will come out shaky and distorted.

“What’s going on? Where is he?” Daphne asks, for once, her confidence is gone and her voice is full of anxiety.

Miguel loosens his tie and sighs. “Unfortunately, I don’t know.” Those damn agents down there think they’re the boss, he wants to add but right now, these people need an authoritative figure, not a desk jockey pretending to be James Bond. “I do know that it’s over. Richard or as he’s known back then Manny Ashcroft will not harm anyone ever again. He’s going away for a long time.” He offers a small smile.

“So how are we supposed to get home?” Beth asks in a whimper.

“I will have agents personally escort each of you home but first…” Behind him comes shuffling footsteps as the two agents escorts Richard Hitchcock out the door.

Everyone part like the Red Sea parted for Moses. Abby looks away, not dare to look at the man who kept her strapped on a gurney and who was going to kill her if Miguel hadn’t interfered. Richard pastes a wide smile on his face as the two agents leads him to the black SUV, both supporting him like a pair of crutches.

Daphne crosses her arms, unclear whether from the cold or from disgust. To her surprise, Charlie puts an arm around her. “Are you okay?”

She nods, “Right now, I just want to go home.”

Theme: The Mystery of the Millionaire Mansion

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