Chapter 8

Chapter 8

A Chapter by Autumn

Adelaide discovers more about her family history.


Adelaide passed through a pair of enormous iron gates that mimicked luscious vines. The wheels of her ancient vehicle slowly rolled along the smooth pavement while she stared at the infinite green hills that was oddly healthy for freezing winter. The landscape was gorgeous even with the few bare trees scattered here and there.

As she continued to inch along the road, the stone wall began to inch into sight, revealing her new home. The entire mansion was built with various shades of dark, rectangular stone. Balconies lined of iron set in intricate patterns of spiral-patterned bars. There was even railing along the rooftop, but it seemed to have a plainer appearance. On each floor, a set French doors were periodically placed in order for there to be an entrance to the walkway other than the windows, which had black curtains shielding any nosey eyes from peering inside.

Adelaide drove around a grey fountain with crystal blue water sprouting out of an angel sculpture’s mouth. Her hands were placed together in front of her as if she were reciting a wordless prayer while her wings while her wings protected her in a close embrace. The statue’s eyes were hidden by her grey eyelids while her hair possessed the detail of each strand prominently stood out and was as straight as a sewing needle until it when below her slender shoulders where it had a bit of a wave into it.

The soon-to-be owner of this magnificent estate parked in front of the entrance, which was an enormous set of double doors made from oak and stretched from the granite steps to the perfectly white ceiling. Adelaide’s door opened with horrible, ear-grating creak before her bare feet touched the cool, black asphalt. Her grey eyes and her rosy lips gaped at the enormous household in front of her.

A shorter-than-average man rushed out of the doors in a light jog. As soon as he had reached Adelaide, he swiftly steered her toward the way he had come by the use of her elbow. “Please excuse me for the abruptness of my actions, miss, but we were expecting you to be here quite some time ago.”

“I’m sorry. It’s just that my "“

“It does not matter now,” he interrupted her. “We’ll simply have to hurry and get you ready.”

She glanced at him at they climbed the few steps. “If you don’t mind me asking, who are you?”

“I’m your butler. We met at the library.”

She nodded. “You look a little different know. It must be that you are wearing contacts.”

“Yes, very observant.” The elderly man led them though the open door into a ginormous opening.

A diamond chandelier with golden arms dangled from the wide ceiling, illuminating the room. A marble staircase with golden railings and dark, wooden bars stretching upwards lined each side of the entrance hall. They led up to an enormous balcony made from the same material as the steps. Under the upper flooring, there was a door directly in the center. Bookshelves made of mahogany were against one of the walls and were completely filled with novels. There were doorways on either side of the staircase before the steps. The walls were painted the color of a deep chestnut. The carpet was a luscious black.

Adelaide stared around the opening with her eyes the size of the moon, but her new butler dragged her away from the magnificent beauty. The man continued to hold on to her elbow as they ascended the stairwell. Her small hand glided over the shiny, golden railing while she managed to keep the hurried pace of the small man.

When the pair reached the second floor, he steered her towards the right hallway. Doors alternated which side of the hallway they were on. The crystal knobs glistened under the soft lights of the bulbs set on the upper part of the walls, near the tops of the doors. He led her toward the last entrance on the left. “This is where you’ll be getting ready for the proceedings.” He released her elbow and angled his body to face hers with his hand on the knob. “If you had arrived at the estimated time, which you had personally set, your actual dressing room would have been available.”

“Hey! I would have helped it if I could,” Adelaide snapped as her butler opened the door.

Her smoke-colored eyes laid upon a white-walled room with three connected mirrors reflecting her; one was directly facing her while the others were angled slightly towards the center. Adelaide stepped into the room and swiftly glanced around it, her gaze locking on an elegantly designed dress that was hanging on a headless mannequin. The black silk shined in the light, giving it a dark blue hue. It touched the floor, and a slit in the skirt that led up approximately half the leg. The long sleeves were sleek and smooth, and there was a heart-shaped neckline with the sleeves, giving it a boxy shape near the shoulders. She turned around only to come face-to-face with a short, rotund woman.

The woman’s face was completely covered in cosmetics. Her face was covered with a fine, white powder while an illuminous blue stretched from the base of her eyelids to the bottom of her eyebrows which closely represented caterpillars. Her lips were covered with a sickly red that also lathered her front teeth. The colorless hair was styled into a topknot on the crown of her head. The dress that the woman was wearing skimmed across her ankles, revealing coffee-colored shoes with a half inch heel.

Meanwhile, Adelaide swallowed an impending scream, a reaction to the immediate shock to the woman’s horribly painted face. She nervously swallowed before waving her hand in greeting.

“Gertrude, this is Adelaide. She is the heir to Miss Barnhardt’s estate,” the butler explained.

“Oh, she’s lovely.” The large but stout lady waddled toward Adelaide with arms wide open.

The petite but terrified blonde stood as stiff as a pole while the painted woman wrapped her jiggling arms around her body before placing a sloppy kiss on each of Adelaide’s cheeks. She tried to hide the disgust in her face from the feeling of the slug composed of spit inching down her skin. Someone help me, she silently prayed.

“My name is Gertrude, and I will be the one to prepare you and your appearance for this afternoon and any events in the future. I am also here to answer any questions that you might have to the best of my ability,” the fairly large lady informed after releasing her.

“Thank you,” Adelaide replied while forcing a smile.

Gertrude maneuvered the short female to a cream leather chair that sat in front of a matching vanity. The furniture piece had two drawers with black, circular knobs in the center of each one. Underneath it, there was a cabinet set to the side that had the same style except the knob was placed in the upper right corner. A single mirror in the shape of a square reflected both of the women’s movements.

“Let’s see what I’m working with hair-wise,” the stout woman absentmindedly said before gently unweaving the braid.

Adelaide leaned into the back of the plush leather chair, relaxing a little bit. Wow, she’s surprisingly careful and tender, she thought as she closed her eyes.

“Oh wow! Your hair is extremely long. When was the last time it had been cut?”

The young female shrugged. “A couple of years ago, I guess.”

Gertrude continued to run her long, plum-painted nails through the heir’s messy hair. “What have you been doing?” she wondered aloud while holding up a leaf.

The blood rushed into the apples of her cheeks. “I, uh, kinda rolled down a hill,” she muttered.

The stout lady placed the piece of nature on a small table before resuming her work. “Seems like it was exciting.”

When Gertrude began to brush the golden strands, Adelaide questioned, “Do you know anything about another letter that I’m supposed to read from my deceased great aunt?”

“Yes I do. I have it right here along with the eulogy that Miss Barnhardt composed for you.” The beautician walked to a large cabinet that was a bit taller than her and also matched the rest of the style of the furniture in the small room. She opened it and pulled out two white envelopes. They were handed to Adelaide after the woman returned to her position, standing behind the occupied chair with a brush in hand.

Adelaide thanked her before ripping the letter open. She took it out and quickly undid the trifold. The now familiar handwriting was immaculately scrawled across the page with the loops perfectly circular. She began to read the new information.

Dear Adelaide,

I am so glad that you have accepted my offer, which is the only reason as to why you would be reading these words. This information that you are about to read is a little unsettling at best, but I solemnly swear that all of it is true.

The first truth is that there is a heaven and hell no matter what you believe. You absolutely have to accept and understand this before any of the nest words make any bit of sense. From what I am able to interpret from the years of watching you from a great distance, you are an open-minded young woman, and for that, I have faith that you will react to this in a neutral manner. I can’t be there to answer your questions, but I am trying to think of the major ones in order to answer them on this paper.

I am estimating that you are wondering as to how I know this. I have seen a demonic creature with my own two eyes when I was just a little girl, well realized actually. When I was growing up, I always sensed that my father was different from nearly everyone I knew. He was a cold, calculating man who rarely ever displayed any kind of affection to anyone except for my mother and occasionally me. When she died during my teenage years, my father became more irritable than ever before. At times, I was so terrified of him that I avoided him at all costs. One day, I accidentally dropped my mother’s picture while looking at it. This act shattered the glass, but the picture was thankfully unscathed. As my maid and I were scrambling to clean up the mess, he walked in and saw what I had done. His eyes transformed into pits of darkness, every bit of white vanished! It was then afterwards that my father told me of what his world consisted of: demons, angels, rivalry, and banishment. His story was unique, but that is for another time when you find my many journals I have kept over the years.

In saying this, demon blood is running through your veins, not a lot but there is still some. My prediction is that it affects your temper the most. You are possibly quick to anger but are also passionate about your beliefs. It shouldn’t affect you too much like it had me. I never had children nor a husband for this reason. My younger sister did, resulting in your mother. It appeared that the tainted blood had little to no effect on her but it truly did. She simply fought it every day.

While I was reviewing over your life in order to finalize your eligibility for being my heir, I went across your family tree on your father’s side. I had forgotten that I did this when your mother and father first began dating…

            “Excuse me, miss,” Gertrude interrupted. “I’ve washed your hair, and I was curious as to if you would be agreeable to the idea of me cutting it a couple inches or at least until the split ends are gone.”

            Adelaide glanced up at the large woman’s face. “Yeah, if it helps you out,” she muttered before returning her attention to the piece of paper.

There was a blank in one of the ancestor’s names, his grandfather’s. I have acquaintances in very low places who informed me of an angelic infidelity with a human around the year your great grandfather was born. I searched further into this bit of informed to obtain confirmation, which I did. Your great-great grandfather on your father’s side is in fact an angel. I think that is what drew Eliana to your father all those years ago. Scientists do say opposites attract. The demon blood. I am unsure of what the combination is doing to your body both physically and more importantly emotionally.

I have said all that I can say on this matter. Hopefully this information is a bit of enlightenment in your life and possibly help you someday, somehow. You are an extremely unique, young woman, and I wish you the best of luck with your new responsibilities.


                Irma Adeline Barnhardt

            Adelaide leaned back into the soft cushion of the white, leather chair, mentally spent, as she exhaled loudly.

            The beautician pinned the last strand of ringlets in place before questioning, “You okay? It appears that there was a lot of information in just those pieces of paper. Is it of any help to you?”

            Adelaide nodded. “I just discovered some family history that I never knew before,” she replied.

            “That is almost always shocking,” Gertrude absentmindedly commented. “How do you like this hairstyle?”

            Adelaide peered into her reflection. Her hair was curled into tiny ringlets which appeared to have been wrested into an elegant bun on the crown of her head, but it appeared extremely loose, as if she would shake her head, all of it would come tumbling down. The highlights of her hair were more prominent than ever. Little diamonds twinkled from throughout the nest of her hair, only seen with the light catching it. One strand was resting on Adelaide’s forehead, slightly shaping her face. “Oh my! It’s gorgeous!” She turned to glance up at the lady. “Thank you.”

The woman flashed her lipstick-stained teeth. “I really outdone myself, and it complements you perfectly.” She turned Adelaide’s chair to face her directly. She cradled the round face in her large but slender hands. “Now, let’s see what I can do with this pretty face,” she said as she pinched the skin between her fingertips.

Adelaide slightly flinched but remained still. After the beautician releaser her pinchers, the blonde saw her pick up a makeup brush. Oh no, please tell me that she’s not doing my makeup, she thought while slightly panicked.

Gertrude picked up a white tube and a fluffy horsehair brush with a wooden handle before strolling over to the heavily breathing girl. “Now I think I’m going to do a simple look for you. Some foundation, eyeliner, mascara, a touch of blush, and eye shadow will have you looking prettier than ever in the time of grief.”

“Oh, you have done more than enough,” Adelaide said as she suddenly stood up. She quickly stepped in front of her seat, purposely putting it between herself and the lady. “I can manage the makeup on my own, especially since you have already done so perfect with my hair.”

“Nonsense! It is my duty to shape your hair and adorn your face to fit whatever occasion necessary, my dear. Are you simply going to tell me that I am not capable of doing the job that you are now paying me for?” Gertrude not-so-kindly snapped.

“No, no. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that.” She sighed but her fingers dug into the smooth leather. “It is only because I’m more comfortable with it. I’m not used to this at all. Doing things myself is the only way I have accomplished anything. I guess this transformation is a little more difficult than I originally thought.”

“It’s okay. I understand. You have to let me do my job though. If today wasn’t so important, I would allow you to do it yourself, but I cannot, at least for today that is.”

“Please, just this once,” Adelaide begged. She clasped her hands together, intertwining her fingers before leaning her forearm on the leather. I cannot let this woman do my makeup. She can barely do her own, Adelaide thought, mentally cringing.

The lady adamantly shook her head as she approached the heiress. “As I said a few moments ago, not today. It is the very first day that the town is going to see you, and you have to make a lasting impression while so subtly forcing them to see you as a powerful, yet gorgeous leader.”

“Wait, why leader? Aren’t I only in charge of the estate, not the town? I’m not being magically voted in as a supreme ruler of this place, right?”

Gertrude gently maneuvered the chair to where it was now facing Adelaide. She turned the young lady so her back was to her before tenderly pushing her down into the leather. The chair was rotated so both of the females were facing each other. The older woman swiftly rolled a small, black table along with a matching vinyl chair. The lady opened one of the many glass containers and dipped a brown-haired brush with a white handle into it.

Meanwhile, Adelaide sighed heavily as her mind was rapidly swarming with thoughts and worries, giving up on fighting the woman.

“It’s never been said out loud,” Gertrude began to explain while lightly smearing the brush across Adelaide’s pale skin, “but whoever owns/controls the Barnhardt property and all of the associated assets essentially has ‘influential’ control over at leave two-thirds of the town due to rental properties and the ‘family relations’ with the mayor.” She curled her first two fingers of both hands in air quotes, passing the movement of the brush.

“What do you mean?” Adelaide questioned, barely moving her mouth.

“Your great aunt, actually now you, owns over half of the rental properties along with a few commercial buildings that are also rented out. Miss Barnhardt made little, I guess, deals with the occupants whenever they either failed to pay their rent or were in need of something. The one constant of these deals were that if she fulfilled her side of the bargain, the beggar, for the lack of better words, would owe her a favor and under no conditions could they be allowed back out.” Gertrude set down the large brush before picking up another one that was quite smaller than the previous. She lightly slid the fine hairs though a dark purple powder.

“My great aunt seemed like she was a good person, well kinda,” Adelaide commented.

“I can’t say anything different,” the heavy-set lady replied. “Close your eyes please.”

Adelaide complied, leaning forward unconsciously. Her elbows were now resting on her knees with her fist supporting her chin. “Do I have to do business that way too?” she inquired, feeling the bristles slide across her outer eyelids.

“I guess it is up to you, honey.” Gertrude answered as she switched brushes and dipped it into a silver powder. “We have to speed this up though. Don’t want you to be late to the funeral.”

Adelaide nodded, allowing the woman work.

After a few moments of unbroken silence, Gertrude lifted Adelaide’s free hand. “You’re finished, but I want you to get the complete look all at once with the exception of the hairdo. So after you are in that dress, I’ll put you in front of those trifold mirrors, and you can tell me what you think. How does that sound?”

“That sounds okay to me.”

“Great, I’m going to step outside while you change. There are button on the back which you are definitely going to need help fastening,” Gertrude informed.

“Thanks.” Adelaide walked over to the dress as the elderly woman opened the door and stepped into the dimly lit hallways, pulling the door closed.

As the short blonde began to unfasten the black pearls that ran down the spine of the gorgeous piece of clothing, she thought, How my face looks right now is the least of my problems, especially since I’m now going to be practically running the entire town of Nighting Gale despite the fact that I am barely an adult. She rubbed her tiny hands down her thighs before sliding the dress off of mannequin’s shoulders, feeling the smooth silk. Soon, it became a puddle of inky water at the feet of the plastic person.

Adelaide sighed to herself while stripping the borrowed clothes off. She found that there was even underwear laid out on a white, cream-colored table next to inanimate model. The matching set appeared to be the same color as the expensive dress. The panties had the shape of a bikini except that the back of it had a higher rise in the curves. Meanwhile, the bra was also of the same color with black lace framing the edges while also covering the cup. She quickly picked up the bottom wear and stepped into it. The underwear slid up against her legs through the use of her hands before the top of it stopped, hugging her hips. Adelaide grabbed the bra, slipped her arm through the straps, and hooked the back of it together with the clasps. She then lifted the dress off the floor. Her knees lifter her feet upwards one by one in order to step into the inky black pool. I really don’t want to do this.

Adelaide arm’s glided through silk sleeves, and she pulled up the top of them into their rightful place, teetering on the edge of her shoulders. The bottom of the exquisite piece of clothing pooled around her unpainted toes. “You can come in!” called out Adelaide.

The heavy-set woman entered the room before turning and shutting the door. “Oh, you look absolutely stunning!” she yelled, clasping her hands together in front of her abundant chest.

A rosy hue appeared on the balls of her cheeks, making the pink blush seem even darker than before. “Well, um, thanks.”

“How about we do something else with the jewelry situation?” Gertrude flashed her palm at the young’s woman face.

Adelaide’s freshly shaped eyebrows furrowed close together while her mouth dropped open slightly. “Excuse me?” she snapped a little.

“Oh no, it just does not go with the ensemble, sweetie,” the older woman replied with wide eyes.

Yeah right, Adelaide sarcastically thought to herself but dejectedly said, “Okay, fine.”

Gertrude strolled over to a table lined with drawers and pulled the top one out completely. She carried it in her arms like some kind of huge trophy. Finally, as the curiosity became too much, she stood in front of Adelaide. The wooden drawer was filled with expensive jewelry. Every single piece was glittering in the light, twinkling in Adelaide’s eyes.

“They’re gorgeous,” the blonde woman commented, slightly breathless. Adelaide grazed her fingertips along the dark, colorless gems.

“These are for you to wear. You can choose whatever you want from this box, but there are requirements.”

“As always,” she mumbled to herself. “What are they?”

“You have to wear a pair of earring and a necklace.”

“Is there any nose jewelry for my piercing?” Adelaide asked, tapping the tiny gem.

“Yes,” Gertrude shifted the drawer so it could balance on one arm. She pointed to four different jewels: gold, black, purple, and black.

“Thanks,” Adelaide said before switching out the fake emerald in her nose for a purple jewel. She then picked up a black diamond that was in the shape of a teardrop with a fine, metallic chain which would allow her to hang it around her slender neck. The matching earrings were chosen. They had the same appearance as the necklace. The dark jewels dangled from thin silver chains which originated from an identical jewel that would rest at the earlobe.

“That is a beautiful collection.”

Adelaide nodded as she placed the jewelry in their rightful positions on her body after taking all of the previous ones off.

As Gertrude was about to put the drawer of jewels away, the heiress gently laid a hand in the crook of the older woman’s elbow. “Hold on,” Adelaide gently lifted an ankle bracelet from the velvet holder. It was an inky pearl with a tiny silver swirl in the middle of one side. There was also a metallic bar diagonally stabbed through the very center of it, and a gold chain seemingly also going through the center. Adelaide felt drawn to the pearl, like it was calling out for her.

Meanwhile, the elderly woman furrowed her eyebrows close together while they inched up her forehead. Her smeared red lips dropped open into a shape of a zero before saying, “Good choice, but I don’t think it would go well with the outfit.”

The young woman ignored the advice as she clasped the two ends together around her ankle. “I think this dress is a little too long for me,” she informed while gesturing to the small pool of fabric around her feet.

“That is to cover the heels that you’ll be wearing.” They lady put the drawer of jewelry into its rightful place before picking up a pair of black leather shoes which had a very high heel.

Adelaide’s eyeballs leaped from her head. “How do you expect me to walk in those at least in a halfway decent manner?” “I’m sure I can manage…”

“Just hold on a second,” Adelaide interrupted as her brows became one. “I literally cannot walk in heels over three inches tall. Trust me, I tried multiple times on various occasions. I know you are simply trying to do your job, but one thing I hate more than anything is someone telling me what I can and can’t do.”

Gertrude stared down at her shoes and gnawed on her lip. “I apologize, but this is what Miss Barndhardt chose for you to wear.”

Adelaide stared into the white abyss of the ceiling while she thought, Is this woman going to somehow control every aspect of my life from beyond the grave as she rots in the ground? The blonde beauty sighed heavily. Her voice lacked any emotion as she said, “Fine, I’ll wear them I guess.” She held her hand out expectantly, awaiting the shoes, yet the older female bent over to set the shoes in front of her feet. “Thank you.” She gathered up the extra silk fabric in her small hands before stepping into the foot-shaped leather.

Gertrude kept both of her arms slightly outstretched, one further than the other, in order to catch the heiress in case she lost her balance. “I wish we had more time to give you at least a manicure. Your nail beds are treacherous.”

“Sorry, the weather did not permit me to get here any earlier.” Adelaide wobbled as she towered over the elderly woman. “Woah, this is a bit scary.”

“You’ll do fine,” the beautician retorted as she lightly grasped the young woman’s elbow, her other hand placed in the small of her back.

Adelaide cautiously stepped forward with her dress barely kissing the wood flooring. Her balance wavered, yet her body remained erect due to the assistance from the lady.

“You’re doing well. All you need is practice.” Gertrude gently led the youthful heiress to the mirrors.

Adelaide gasped when she could finally see her own reflection. The dress accented each of her curves. Her figure appeared thinner while her chest did not seem overabundant as it would in her usual clothing. They were there, slightly shown off, but not looking like they belong to a prostitute. Her short legs were elongated, giving them the appearance of a supermodel’s. Her arms were slender in their sheath of fabric.

Meanwhile, the outcome of allowing the elderly cosmetologist to paint her face with powder was fantastic! It did not resemble the older woman’s pattern of makeup at all. Her almond eye shape was perfectly accented with the thin winged eyeliner hanging off the outer corner. The mascara volumized her eyelashes, exquisitely portraying her emotion. They look fake, Adelaide thought to herself despite her knowing that it was not true. What was the most outstanding thing was the way the plum powder made the unique color of her eyes stand out against most of her entire outfit. They shone like two little moons in the dead of night. The lipstick was a light pink that created an air of innocence around her along with the matching blush.

“How do you like it?” Gertrude softly asked.

Adelaide slowly turned around to face the artist. “It’s " just " wow,” she stuttered. She laughed. “It’s perfect and completely the opposite of what I thought it would be.” She twisted the upper half to catch a glimpse of herself once again. “Thank you so much, Gertrude! This is amazing!” She saw a peek of her skin through the slit in the dress. “I barely even recognized myself!”

Suddenly, a knock came from the other side of the door. The older woman hurried over, peeking her head around it after opening it. With an emotionless expression, the butler walked through the doorway. “It will be in less than fifteen minutes before guests begin arriving so she better be ready.”

“Excuse me?” Adelaide snapped as Gertrude simultaneously answered, “Yes sir, but she’s having trouble walking in the heels.”

“Then show me,” he commanded.

Adelaide defiantly stood with her arms crossed over her chest. “You can’t be so demanding to people. It is limitlessly rude along with being a bit degrading.”

The small butler pinched the bridge of his nose between his fingers and released a sigh. “Sorry, but just please do it. We don’t have time for your principles right now. Irma’s funeral beings in less than a half an hour and the entire town will be here in even less than that! If you want to make an utter fool of yourself, be my guest, but you will not embarrass yourself in front of everyone while representing this family’s name that I have dedicated my total being to for many more years than you have been alive!” his voiced lace with malice.

“Fine, don’t worry about it then. I’m leaving.” The young woman began to take out the earrings.

“You can’t leave,” Gertrude said with wide eyes.

Adelaide shook her head, setting the jewelry down on the vanity. “I don’t give a damn about these terms for this inheritance that I don’t even truly want. I only came here to discover more about my mother and maybe have a little adventure. Despite trying to comply as best as I morally can, it isn’t good enough for you, Mister Creepy, plus my family is full of crazies.

While she was preparing to take off the heels, Gertrude bargained, “What if he holds his tongue and behaves for twenty-four hours? Will you at least reconsider?”

The butler narrowed his eyes at the negotiator, yet she simply raised her eyebrows at him, the pair were silently communicating, before returning  their attention to the teenage heiress.

Adelaide felt something compelling her to stay and disregard the malicious events this far. Her breath escaped from her lungs as her mind thought, What am I getting myself into?

© 2018 Autumn

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Added on January 4, 2018
Last Updated on January 4, 2018
Tags: funeral, beautician, supernatural, sadness, sad, death, family