Richmond Episode I - Like a Spider in a Web
Published Feb 20, 2008

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Chloe Richmond never liked her family home - old and dusty, it was tiresome and too enclosed for a free spirit like her. She never truly befriended either of her rich parents, so was not missed when she moved out of the family home at the age of 16.

Chloe Richmond never liked her family home - old and dusty, it was tiresome and too enclosed for a free spirit like her. She never truly befriended either of her rich parents, so was not missed when she moved out of the family home at the age of 16. Indeed, it was something of a relief to her parents. The lies that they had slowly woven over the years were like a large, delicate web, slowly getting too thinly strung for the fat spider that lay in wait at the centre, and they feared that all too soon the whole mess of lies would slowly come crashing down around them. But now, almost ten years to the day, she has returned... ... and the secrets were vulnerable again, as vulnerable as the damp, moth-eaten death certificate which lay crumbling in the old oak bureau whose draw lay unlocked.
The tale of Richmond now truly begins.
Hey - the name's Chloe. Chloe Emmeline Richmond to be precise, but I've tried to distance myself from the name Richmond ever since I left home. Hopefully, you'll never have to find out why. A few things about me - my favourite colour is blue, I own a little cottage by the fjord, and I love to learn. As far as I can see, knowing stuff not only makes you better in your job, but it also makes you far more interesting to talk to. That's pretty much me in a nutshell. Oh, that and my Dad's a multi-millionaire entrepeneur (of which I've never seen a penny,) my Mother is a psychotic cow and my only sister died when I was five. Ha! That's shocked you. I like to save that bit till last - all of a sudden it makes me that little bit less boring. I still can't believe I moved here - to this place. I've spent the past ten years of my life trying to avoid moving to my Dad's neighbourhood, and now here I am because it's the only place I can afford. Funny, how money seems to be the root of all the problems in my life. Well, almost all... But now I've taken up the surname of Goodwin I doubt my dear, darling, uncaring swine of a father will know who I am. My story will start on my first night here - in a quiet peaceful place. Little did I know this would be the last bit of peace I would have for quite a long while. My story starts off as bizzarely as it meant to go on... Okay, I woke up today and there's this guy standing on my lawn. First thoughts - "What the hell?" Second thoughts - "WHO the hell?" and my third thought was "WHY the hell is he wearing that ridiculous open-necked shirt?" Faced with such a bizarre occurance, I did what any brave, upstanding American should do. I tried to pretend it was perfectly normal. I shook his hand, asked him who his was, to which his reply was "Joey". 'Dear God...' I thought. So far he's fairly gormless, obviously thinks he's a lady's man with his shades and shirt, and NOW he's called Joey. What's he gonna do next, pull Rachel, Chandler and Phoebe out of his pocket? Geez... never mind that, he's telling me he saw someone move in here and wants to say hello. He could've rung the doorbell don't you think? Never mind - he actually seems fairly nice, and he smiles like an angel. Wheyy.... hang on a mo. I'm not falling for any old sop, not yet. It's time to get out Chloe's test of trivia. If he can talk to me sensibly about politics, I'll eat my hat. Well whaddaya know! He has a fair amount to say on the subject. So I think to myself, 'What the hell!' and invite him in for a spot of breakfast. This neighbouhood might turn out to be alright after all. Chloe and Joey have only been in the house for a short while. A man stands outside. He has taken off his green glasses, and lurks at the foot of the fence, listening to the happy voices within. His frown grows slightly deeper, his brow furrowing as if somebody has just given him an intricate problem to solve. The sound of happiness is not one he is accustomed to, at least not from either of his daughters. For he is Harrison Richmond, head of the Richmond estate, and his daugher Chloe is to him what chalk is to cheese - he knows nothing of her anymore, and cares even less. And now, she is happy. He never got on with her, and the less said about his other daughter the better. He has a photo of him with his wife and servant on his desk, they smile away in front of the photographers background. His face ached for days after that was taken, his mouth's untrained muscels wrenched into a false grin. He calmly saunters back down the street, crossing through the park back to his home, pausing only to chat to a local, smiling as he does so. He knows it will hurt his cheeks tomorrow, but he needs it today, to disguise the whirring of cogs and clanking of chains as his scheming brain gets to work. Maria was planning a garden party. She was horrified at what the cost would be, but now that rat Chloe was back in town she knew it would be worth it with what Harrison had planned. He had got in from the girl's house not fifteen minutes ago, and already a plan had leapt almost fully formed from his genius mind. Her long, bony fingers made a quiet 'shh' sound as she flipped over another page, before shutting the book. She left the room, making sure to practise her elegant poise for the party. Her long white hair swished gently as she entered the corridor, and her eyes narrowed as she pondered over the small complications in the plan. It should work, but what if the girl should find out? A distraction was needed... She noticed two people (Harrison had entertained yet again that lunchtime - and to think, his guests never saw past his dead eyes into his hate-filled brain!) were playing chess. Ivory pieces slid back and forth. Kings, Rooks, Queens and... ...and pawns. Suddenly, like a flash of light from the devil's own trident, an idea hit her. She rushed back into the room, pausing briefly to dab away the small spots of sweat from her pale, age-worn skin. She found herself lingering, as she alwyas did, lost in her own reflection. As her fingers traced the bony point of her nose, the sunken sockets of her bleary, reptilian eyes and her smooth high cheekbones, the man she had wanted to see walked into the room. She was overwhelmed with joy to see him.
"Harrison!" she cried with glee, "I have done it! The chess board is the answer!"
"My dear," drawled Harrison in a smooth voice, smoother than one would have imagined possible from such an old man, "tell me all!"
And she did, with great rapture, delighting in her own fierce cleverness. The ivory tapping against the board outside was like a dead man's fingernails sending a message in morse code, and the whisper of breeze in the trees came through the windows like the earth itself was whispering their secret. She delighted at how, like in the game of chess, she and her husband would become the King and Queen of their daring, criminal act... ... and they both howled with elderly, unearthly laughter as she revealed who was to be the dreadful, ill-fated pawn. Well... breakfast soon turned into lunchtime. And who can blame me! We've talked for hours, we like the same movies, the same music... we even have the same lampshade! And do you know, he's given me more than just a friend this morning, he's given me courage. I've been so wrapped up in my family troubles for so long, I never stopped to realise the facts. I've done without money or love from them for ten years, they have no power over me. I am my own person, and there ain't no stopping me now, baby! He says he has to go, and we part in much the same way we've been for the past few hours - in hysterics. Try to imagine somebody making a grilled cheese sandwich the funniest thing since Graham Norton's tie rack - well, that's what Joey can do. I'm going for a walk before walk, and I'm going to to Richmond. It's amazing how a place can bring back such memories - they come at me like a flood, a tidal wave made up of all the proverbial seas I have travelled, and the oceans of choices that I could have made. A glimpse over the garden hedge shows me almost nothing has changed - the old willow still stands poised at the edge of the lake, and they still haven't given a new coat of paint to the gazebo. I soak it up, wondering if I will ever dare venture through the ominous black gate again. Esther too was looking at the garden, only from the inside. From in here, the water looked so appealing, the unpainted gazebo was a magical palace. From inside a prison, everything looks so fine. Esther hasn't left the house for over five years. A sudden movement near the hedge startles her, and - careful not to disturb Madame Maria whose at work in her study ('what can she possibly be doing in there still?' she wonders) - tiptoes down the stairs to get a better look from her bedroom window. Her face falls as she sees a person standing there - she knows that wavy cascade of blond hair anywhere. So it's true - her sister Chloe has returned. She feels her glasses slide off her nose as tears fall gently from her clear eyes - not a word from her sister in twenty years, and now here she is. Esther looked away, hoping to ignore the past, because the past hurt. It still came to her though, memories of playing together with her twin Chloe in the park, memories of Chloe helping her back to the hosue after Esther grazed her knee falling out of the old Willow. Surely Chloe must remeber too? She turns back to the window, hoping she has not gone. "Chloe!" she shouts, waving frantically. Chloe! It's me!" the tears were streaming in full force now, and she could hear the thud of stairs rising from the study. She would be beaten for this. "Chloe!" she screamed still, even louder, the screams only dying in her throat as her father's hand closed around her windpipe. The movement caught Chloe's eye, and she turned to see a woman waving to her. Confused, she waved back, wondering who the serving girl reminded her of. The curtains of the room were hastily drawn, and she set off home with a slight shudder in her step. Who was the girl, who looked so like her twin sister Esther? It frightened her, seeing a face so similar after twenty years... She studied her face in the mirror when she got home, almost exactly the same face she had seen from the window. Who was the girl, who looked so like her twin sister Esther? It frightened her, seeing a face so similar after twenty years... for you see, she just KNEW it couldn't be Esther herself, for her father had told her, twenty years before, that her sister Esther was dead. Richmond will continue in Episode two, where the date of the garden party will be drawing closer, Esther will concoct her own plan for the event, and Joey is let in on a surprising secret.
Stay tuned for episode two!

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11 Comment(s) so far

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#2thekewlestnerdFeb 21, 2008

Great story! \:D

#3aaaaaaacFeb 22, 2008

\:rah\: GREAT STORY!!!!!!

#4spicyloveFeb 22, 2008

\:rah\: nice story

#5seelindarunFeb 22, 2008

Hey, great story. The pic with the two women playing chess was confusing, probably because it doesn't look like the rest of the house... Anyway, really good chapter. \:D I'm so glad I got to read it! \:rah\:

#6Universal GirlFeb 23, 2008

Hmmma good story based on facts of life.This is pretty well done.Move along with the following episodes,this is a very interesting story.Even though it's something we can see in life a bit often,i'm still looking forward of what's gonna happen.Keep up The Good Work\:D

#7primavera77Mar 10, 2008


#8donaldchMar 18, 2008


#9civetinjaMar 28, 2008

Good story ! Thanks for sharing !\:\)

#10arc1801Jun 14, 2008

\:P \;\) \:D

#11charrayOct 23, 2008

Very good story \:rah\: \:rah\:

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