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Ax of Love


Brian looked up from his drawing pad as the clock struck three. Placing the pad down, he got up and out of his armchair. “Time to go get Ashley,” he said.


Trying not to knock over any of the canvases or paint cans in the crowded apartment, Brian left with his keys. As he left the apartment complex, Northern Brooks, and he jogged to his car. Smoke drafted into his nose and he squinted at the sunlight beating down on him. Brian soon reached his car as it was parked not far away. Even from a distance, Brian could see the rusted, night sky colored Impala. Bright glints came his way as the sun hit the dents in its sides. He got in and started it, which roared with delight in reply. As the car hugged the lane with smooth gliding, it veering around cars and bicyclists. He was going to pick up his daughter, Ashley.


    The street was wading out more and more of cars as he headed down a rural lane in the big city. The sound of the city quieted to a buzz, so to fill the void Brian began to play Bon Jovi on the radio’s CD set. “Tommy used to work on the dock,” he sung as the song began.


In what only felt like minutes as he sang, the car and him reached the daycare. Pulling up to the curb, he parked and stopped the car. Walking across to the building, the trimmed grass sprinkled with water and the decorative paint designs of the outside of the house caught his eye. Once inside the walls were covered in small drawings of stick figures dressed in confetti glitter and pictures of the staff. The place always smelled of cookies which gave it a cardinal feel to it. The main room contained kids doing a craft at the green and pink tables which were littered with art supplies. A flash of black hair passed by and Brian smiled as he saw Ashley building a flower with popsicle sticks. She sprinkled it with multicolored confetti glitter and held it up shaking off extra flakes of it.


“Ah! Hello, Mr. Moore's!” a voice called out.


Looking to where the voice came from, Brian saw a woman standing beside him. “Oh, hello Ms. Young,” he said.


Ms. Young smiles and calls Ashley over. Brian looked at Ms. Young again noticing that there was still a wrap bandage around her neck. Good, she's healing, Brian thinks. Blinking slowly, a flash of piercing green eyes flashed in his mind paired with a giggle of pure insanity. Snapping his eyes open, he blinks rapidly to got the thought away. Ashley then comes over with her craft. “Dada!”


“Sweetie!”


Brian holds her against his chest. Glitter flecks in her dark hair and paint streaks her shirt. “Ashley was very progressive in her crafts today as you can see. She also helped another student help up and played with Oliver today,” Ms. Young points out. “Oliver is one of the shy kids and many don't play with him, but Ashley always goes out of her way to join him whenever. They've become quite a pair.”


Ashley beamed at her teacher and father. Ms. Young laughs a little and smiles as Brian rustles Ashley's hair; glitter falls to the floor and onto his hand as he does. They both look at her and wave goodbye. “Goodbye, we'll be off now, Ms. Young,” Brian said.


She nods and waves a goodbye. “See you tomorrow then, Ashley!”


They both head out of the daycare, Brian carrying Ashley in his arms. The two get in the car and head back to their home. Brian turns on the CD set and Boston’s voice echoes through the Impala. Ashley gasps in happiness and looks at her father. “Dada! Dada! It more than a feeling is playin’!” Ashley sputters in joy.
Both of them sing the chorus to the song, goofily dancing and laughing. The call pulls into the parking space and the engine died with a soft, sad sigh. Ashley gets out and starts to dances around in the water puddles, while Brian steps out. Continuing to dance, Ashley is unaware of Brian, who swoops her up from behind. “Ahh! Dada, don't do tat!” Ashley cried in laughter.


Laughter came from Brian as he held her again with ease. While walking to the entrance of Northern Brooks, Ashley twirled long pieces of her father's midnight hair. Entering the lobby, the couple Brian saw earlier was arguing while the desk clerk stood there looking at both of them with a slight frown. The two walked by and went up to their apartment, hearing the couple bicker as they went up. Three pushes of buttons, a songful wait, and down the hallway of the complex, Ashley and Brian were home.


    The door burst open with joyful giggles following through it. Brian followed Ashley in as she skipped to the living room and went to the living room too, dropping the keys on the dining room table as he goes. Ashley was skimming through his drawing pad as in came in, “awing” and “ooh-ing” at most of his sketches.
            “Dada! Tesh me to draw wike this!” Ashley said.


            “Maybe when you're a little older, Ash,” he replied. Ashley beamed with excitement and starting to dance around the room.


“Yay! Yay! Yay!”


Watching her little dance, Brian remembered that today was an important day for Ashley and him. “Oh, Ashley,” he said.


For a few seconds, Ashley stopped to dance around and looked at Brian. “Yes, Dada?” she asked.


“Can you guess where we are going to go and stay for two weeks?”


Ashley tilted her head down, thinking for an answer as her eyebrows knitted together. Finally, she looked back up with confusion glazed over her expression. “No, can you tell me?” she answered.


“Of course, we shall be going to Pines Lake for summer vacation and stay in a cabin there that I rented.”
Hearing the word “summer”, Ashley started to parade around the whole apartment, dancing and singing. After her parade of dancing, Ashley fell asleep, exhausted, on the divan. Brian slipped a blanket over her and ninja like went to his room to begin packing. Tee-shirts, jeans, undergarments, swim trunks, socks, toothpaste & a toothbrush, hairbrush, toilet paper, shampoo & bodywash, his drawing pad, pencils, erasers, a pair of sandals & converse and a towel all went flying into Brian’s suitcase as he packed. Zipped shut and laid on the bed, he then went to pack Ashley’s suitcase as well. Hers did not take as long to pack either. Pants, shirts, undergarments, socks, flip flops, a pair of fuzzy boots, her tiger stuffed animal, coloring book, crayons, toothpaste & a toothbrush, shampoo & bodywash, and most importantly, her purple dragon hoodie. All of these items were packed into her dragon egg shaped suitcase and laid on her bed once done. Looking at the digital clock in the hallway, Brian saw that it was now 6:39. “Better get started on dinner,” he said.


To the kitchen he went and began to make grilled cheeses with tomatoes in a flash. He finished and carried the food out on a tray with two plates for them, stacked with the food. Sitting on the divan, he shook Ashley.
“Ashley, wake up. I have food,”
Right as the words left his mouth, Ashley sat straight up and her appearance changed from tired to happy in seconds. “Yay! Food good!” She exclaimed.


She grabbed one of the plates off the tray and took a big whiff of the grilled cheeses. “Mmm! Let eat, Dada!”
“Sounds good with me,”


He takes the other plate off the tray, setting it on the coffee table in front of the divan. They begin to gobble down the grilled cheeses, Ashley viciously eating hers with passion. A cumb mess covers Ashley’s face and hands once she finishes and is giggling because of it. Brian laughs when he looks over at her and stands with the plates to the kitchen. He heads back to the living room with a wet rag to clean Ashley up. When trying to clean her up, Ashley squirms around a tad as Brian wipes away the bread crumbs. “There we go,” he says once done.


“Ok, Dada. I goin’ to bebe now,” Ashley yawns, rubbing her eyes with the palm of her hands.


“Did you only have enough energy to eat your food?”


She nods, slumping her shoulders forward and yawning again. Brian picks up the tired lump and carries her to her room. He removes the suitcase off her bed once in the room and gently lays her down. Ashley shivers in her sleep and pulls the covers over her body. Giving her a kiss on the forehead and whispering a small “Goodnight,” Brian leaves her room and walks to his own. Changing into sweats and a tee, he climbs into the king size bed. A sigh leaves his mouth as he turns onto his back and looks up at the ceiling. The warmth of another was so familiar by his side, but when he looked over no one was there. His ring finger then began to burn at the thought. No you need to move on, it was for the best, Brian thinks as the darkness of sleep takes over.


It only felt like a few minutes after, but Brian awoke to the sound of cars honking and morning light pouring through his bedroom windows. He crawls out of the bed, more zombie like than human, and opens the windows. A cool breeze meets his face and the smell of coffee slips into the room. Brian then began to remember the dream he had as images of it ran through his mind. It felt like a movie had played into his mind of things he wanted to forget. Yawning, he walks out with his suitcase and heads to the living room, enjoying the cold wood floor hitting his feet.


Ashley was still laying in bed, asleep, as he passed by. He grabbed her suitcase as well and set them by the coffee table as he went into the kitchen. The stove began to warm as he prepared to make cinnamon rolls. Once it was ready he slid the cinnamon rolls in and set the time. He waited for them to bake as he drank black coffee. The scent the cinnamon filled the kitchen and into the other rooms as well. Sounds of running feet came into the kitchen, revealing Ashley and her hungry stomach. “Mornin’ brewkfast!” Ashley squeals out in joy.


The timer buzzes and Brian takes the dish out, placing it on a hot pad. He then spreads the glaze over the rolls and gets one for both Ashley and him. Ashley already has a plate in hand, as she holds it out, bouncing on the tips of her toes in anticipation. “Foo, foo, foo, foo..” she repeats over and over as she waits.


Brian places a cinnamon roll on Ashley’s plate, and lets out a small laugh. Angels’ chorus plays as she holds her food up in awe and looks at it in amazement. Dashing to the living, she plops down and starts to engulf the roll second by second. Brian follows after her taking his cinnamon roll with him and holding two glasses of grape juice. He sits next to her on the divan and places the glasses on the coffee table. Setting his plate on his knee, he grabs his drawing pad, that he took out of his suitcase, and begins to sketch as they eat.


Little pieces of cinnamon roll fly and glaze of it covers Ashley’s face as she continues to devour her breakfast. Her father however draws while taking small bites of his own, glancing at Ashley every few seconds. Ashley looks at her dad after she's done, but quickly grabs the glass of juice and drinks. “Alwost coked,” she says with a little sigh.


She puts her attention back at her dad and leans over to him to see what it is that he is drawing.
“Dada, shaw me the drawin’!” Ashley asked, excited.


“It's not finished yet; I can't,” Brian replied.


“Buw, Dada! Pleawse!” Ashley replied, pouting and showing the “Puppy Dog” face.


“I'll show you once our vacation is done,” Brian answered.


“Fine! Le go now then!” Ashley exclaimed.


Brian nodded in agreement and sets both of their plates of the table. “Fine, fine. We'll leave after we've cleaned up,” Brian said.


When he said this Ashley took the plates to the kitchen, went and changes, brushed her hair and teeth, and came back with her shoes dangling in her hands from their shoe laces. She sat on the armchair and Brian put the shoes on her tiny feet, lacing them up and then going to get ready himself. As he changed in thought it smelled of his ex-wife's perfume: a soft scent of vanilla and cinnamon. Shaking his head, the thought left his mind. Got to move on, Brian thought as he headed back to the living room, ready to go.


Grabbing his drawing pad and keys before they leave, Ashley and him exit the apartment, walking down and out of the complex. The outside seemed to be more busy and damp than it did the over day but that did not turn the twos mood blue. Soon they were driving down the highway, to the camping grounds outside of the big city. Through their ride, they sung to Bruno Mars and Katy Perry as Ashley enjoyed the newer pop artists along with rock stars.


The view of the city grew smaller as they travelled out into the quiet countryside. Sounds of busy cars lessened and the smell that drifted through the window seal changed from coffee to mint. The drive passed on and soon they arrived at a lake surrounded by pines, oaks and cabins. Cruising through the grove of trees, Brian pulled into the driveway of a log cabin lined with dark shaded bushes. Pines and oaks lined the background of it and behind them you could she the shore of the lake with white painted dock.


“Finally here!” Brian exclaimed.


Ashley gasped in awe and ran out of the car. She then started to play and jump around in the tall grass of the front yard. Brian followed out, grabbing the suitcases out of the trunk and walking into the cabin. Mildew and Dust overwhelmed his nose, coughing, he set the cases down and went to open the curtains. Light poured in and onto the hardwood flooring, creating a dim milky brightness that shone through the whole cabin.
“Might as well clean up a bit,”


Setting to work Brian dusted, set the beds, washed counters and tables, vacuumed and lit a few candles leaving the place spotless and new. Satisfied with his work, Brian headed outside to find Ashley making a bouquet of flowers and wild grasses. Ashley looked up at him and rushed over with the bouquet. “Here, Dada! These for yo!” Ashley sang.


Taking the flowers from her, he leaned down and kissed her forehead in gratitude. “Thank you, Sweetie,” he said, his voice telling that he was smiling.


She smiled and ran inside, trying to scourge up something to play with. A box withholding a puzzle caught her eye and she grabbed it, taking it to the main table in the house. She than poured its contents onto it and began the puzzle, knitting her eyebrows together now and then. While she was doing that, Brian set the vase of flowers he just filled onto the side table by the sofa. He sat on it, having already took his drawing pad out of his suitcase and began sketching. Getting sick of the quiet trance, he flicked the TV on to at least have something to listen to. Continuing to sketch, something then passed on the news that caught Brian’s attention.
“Hello, I my news reporter, Rose Castle, telling you a emergency lookout. Six escapees are out in the world from Cross Mental Asylum. This escapees go by the names of Georgina Hicks, Lila Cotton, Jennifer Waters, Skye Hunt, Faren Black, and Stephanie Louis…” the reporter says. Right as the name, Stephanie Louis, is spoken Brian freezes and his eyes widen. No way, he thinks. His whole world seems to lock and freeze, stuck in this one moment. “That can't be possible,” he mumbles. “why now?”


Images and clips of memories start to roam his mind as his thoughts panic.


“But Honey Boo-Boo, I am doing this because I love you,” Stephanie says innocently. “she'll only get in the way of our life together, Bri-Bear.”


She hand arm forearm pressed against Ms. Young’s back neck and a cleaver at the nape of her neck. Blood trickled down Ms. Young's neck leaving it trickle down on her pale skin. Gasping in pain, Ms. Young’s fear shone in her eyes. “Stephanie! Quit it! This isn't like you!” Brian yelled.


His heart, too, was also racing in fear. The room they were in seemed to only grow colder and all the objects in it looked blurred together. Like water color paintings. Brian’s line of sight was focused on Stephanie and Ms. Young’s neck. All of a sudden though, a Cheshire cat like smile crept onto Stephanie’s face. Her eyes were covered by the shadow of her hair, but the glint of her emerald eyes seemed to be everywhere. “Oh, it is like me Bri-Bear,” she whispered. “it's exactly like me.


You never knew it was me, but I could always sense that you knew. Knew that it was watching you. Stalking you. Before all this, I still watched you. Your hair was the familiar scent to vanilla. Watching what you ate. You drank. When you slept. How you slept. The way you brushed your teeth. Also being there with you when I wasn't. I took pictures of you, Honey Boo-Boo. Thousands. Millions. I loved them all. That's why I was so happy when you asked if we could friends in high school. My heart burst at the moment from pure ecstasy. After that I became your girlfriend, and later became your wife. Now we have a child. I wanted to have a child ever since I laid my eyes on you, Bri-Bear.”


Her smile was like a gateway to her inner wickedness and as she raised her head where you could spot her eyes. The other doorway to her psychopathic and insane soul.. A giggle escaped her mouth as the cleaver pushed more into Ms. Young's throat. The cleaver blade embedded itself in her skin, sucking onto the blade like a sponge when the blood flowed out more. Brian couldn't move. His body felt like concrete after what he heard. Sweat lingered on his skin and petrified eyes stared at her. “But you know what made me mad, Honey Boo-Boo?” Stephanie growled. “It was when you started to talk to this.” The blade inches more and more into her making a stream of blood.


“Every since you met this piece of trash, I've been more and more lonely, Bri-Bear,” she whines. “please stay with me forever,” she steps closer, “and ever,” her grip tightens on the hilt, “and ever,” she tilts her head to the side and goes to decapitate Ms. Young's head from her neck.
But as she does, a hole appears in her hand. Shock fills her eyes as blood gushes out of the bullet wound. She screams in pain, dropping the cleaver and stepping back, grasping her hand. Brian turns behind him, and sees two policemen at the doorway. One has a gun the other a syringe and needle filled with a purple substance. “We were called, because there was a disturbance noted. Ma’am I am  going to say this easy and simple, back away from the lady and man, okay?” The policeman holding the gun says.
“No way! Honey Boo-Boo is mine! MINE! You are NOT taking me away from me!” She screams.
Her hair is plastered to her face and her body is slumped down. Blood covers both of her hands from the wounded one to the one that's holding it. The Cheshire smile still lays across her face and the glint of her eyes cascade green onto her cheeks. The policeman holding the gun nods at the other and he moves towards Stephanie. “No! NO! GET AWAY FROM ME! YOU WILL NOT SEPARATE BRI-BEAR AND I!” She screams once more.


She goes for the cleaver with incredible speed and picks it up. Slicing and jerking the cleaver at the policeman, she tries to kill him. The policeman however out movers her and injects the syringe into a vein on her neck. All around Stephanie, it looked as if the world was being swallowed up by midnight. Turning her head slightly, the piercing emerald eyes land on Brian. “Please.. Honey Boo-Boo.. don't let these people take me away..” Stephanie pleads.


She pleads more, but Brian stands there petrified in horror, looking at her in disgust. Tears come the edges of her eyes and one finally tear falls as she says her last plead before losing consciousness. Her limp body falls into the arms of the policemen. And that was the last time Brian saw those eyes in reality.


Or so he thought. Standing, he took his pad outside with him and sat of the pouch steps. He continued to try and draw, but his fingers make on shaking and making the pencil trail off. A sigh was let out and he looked up from his pad. Out of the corner of his eye he saw something. A figure. It's black swirl outline fitted into the trees. It's most noticeable characteristic was its psycho crazy smile. The white smile popped from the dark and was the only other shade on it. Maybe his mind was playing tricks on him, but he thought it looked like.. “Stephanie?” He murmurs.
Taking his drawing pad with him, Brian follows the figure through the trees. The figure beckons at him to follow and giggles from time to time. Under tree limbs and behind bushes, Brian follows, almost as if he was in a trance. But as he follows it, it disappears and more show up just like it. Behind the trees. In bushes. Up in the limbs. Laying in the grass. Standing there; all giggling. Brian clutches his head as a sharp pain runs through it and grimaces. He squeezes his eyes shut and repeats the same words over and over again as he holds himself. “Can't be real, can't be real,” A chill ran through the area and fog drifts through the tree roots and across the wild grass. Weaving its way through all nature to where Brian is.


Eyelids shoot open and the landscape is clear as it was when they got here. He stands, trembling a bit and takes a deep breath. Brushing off his clothes and feeling the warm temperature tickle his skin, worry washes away. “It was just a hallucination,” he ensures himself. “just a hallucination.”


The night sky dims a bit as Brian heads back to the cabin. It's features looks more grim and silent. His footsteps, breathes and movements sound throughout the silent cabin. “How odd,” he whispers. “Ashley? Ashley?” Brian's calls out for her but no sign is seen of her as he walks through the living/dining room and kitchen. He walks into a dark room by the kitchen and switches the light on. As he does a armchair is revealed with two people sitting in it. A lady whose figure is pitch black and Ashley, confusion running in her eyes. “Well, hello, Bri-Bear,” the figure says. “I think we have some catching up to do.”


She clutches the ax in her hand and smirks. “S-Stephanie.. what?” Brien mumbles.


Stephanie giggles and smooths Ashley's hair with her free hand. Her hair had grown more wild since the last time Brian saw her, blonde hair stuck up random places. She was wearing a white two piece outfit that hung loose on her frame as well. “Miss me, Bri-Bear?” Stephanie sings. “You probably don't, but I did, I thought of you everyday.”


Her green eyes pierce into Brian's skin and a tingling sensation goes up his spine. Unlike Ashley's, hers were rustic and emerald mixed with her emotions of insanity. “You rose our daughter up beautifully,” Stephanie says. “it's a shame that I wasn't there to experience it with her.”


The ax she's holding moves up in the air as she places the blade at the top of Ashley’s head. Laughter spreads all out through the room. Brian tries to move but it feels as if someone turned him to stone. Ashley looks at Brian to Stephanie and stares at the woman who's holding her. “Dada, who 'tis?” Ashley questions.


Stephanie's gaze goes to Ashley and innocence washes over her expression. “I am your mother, Sweetie,” she says. “you and I are going to be together forever, but first Dada and I need to talk, okay?”
Ashley nods slowly. Stephanie then gets up and sets Ashley back down on the armchair as she does. She smiles at her and turns her gaze back to Brian. “Now, Honey Boo-Boo,” she sings. “I'll give you ten seconds to run.”


At that, he dashes out of the room and to the door. “One,”
He fumbles opening the door to the outside and stops for a second. Ashley! I can't leave her, but I can't go back, he thinks. “Two,”
Finally, he opens the door and rushes out. “Three,”
Running out and down the steps, Brian looks around to go somewhere. “Four,”
Fear ran across Brian’s mind, slowing his movements and making him worry in his chooses. “Five,”
He then dashes into the woods. Dark figures with wicked grins start to appear in his vision once more. “Go left. Turn right,” they coed.


“Six,”
Tree limbs scratch his face and arms. Tall grass rub against his legs. Brian reaches the shore of the lake and stumbles along of the sandy surface. “Seven,”
Brian looks behind him, and all alround. His skin turned pale and is laced over with sweat. His breathe is uneven and eyes darting every into the woods. The dark figures still stand in the shadows, smiling and giggling. “Eight,”
Along the shoreline he walks and steps onto the dock. His hand is clutching the drawing pad that he accidentally brought with. “Nine,”
Holding his head with his other hand, a sharp pain goes through it. Through his head down to the base of his neck. “Ten,”
Stephanie walks forward, her appearance darkening and the grip on the ax relaxing. Her smile grows. “Bye, bye, Bri-Bear,” She sings.


Brian looks back at the woods, as he hears footsteps walking in his direction. Stephanie appears from the thick of the woods, ax in hand and going towards Brian. “I know you loved me Bri-Bear,” she says. “but you let them take me. So I'll take something from you. Your life.” All of a sudden, Brian’s vision goes black. The drawing pad falls to the ground, opening to Brian’s recent sketch. A picture of Ashley laughing and surrounded in flowers. Blood spatters onto the drawing. “Now, it's just Ashley and I,” Stephanie sings.






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