Aeterna,  The Crown

Summer Diamond – Part One

Summer Diamond, a beautiful soul who took Aeterna by storm with her gripping roles in The Accountant franchise, was found dead in her Summer Thorn home this afternoon. The 25-year-old actress was nude, facedown on her bedroom floor in a pool of blood when found by her security. We are awaiting further details, but friends report the actress may have been three months pregnant…

Dead. Facedown. Blood. Three months pregnant.

Resolut didn’t forget the news alert. He couldn’t allow himself to as he stands in the stirrups, leaning forward slightly. His chest still stings from stab wounds inflicted by Summer’s father and brother, but he pushes himself and his horse faster anyway. His eyes are wide, watering in furious sadness as an unfamiliar existence passes by at a full gallop. I’m nothing without her. Nothing matters.

In flight, bracing against the wind, Resolut feels the horse’s hooves strike the land beneath, reminiscent of the jabs he wanted to make through the throat of anyone responsible for Summer’s demise. No, I can’t think that way. She’s not dead. She’s not. Fears, memories, and shattered dreams flood Resolut’s mind approaching Summer’s oceanfront home. He tugs at the reins. More guards fall in beside him, also on horseback. They get to work fast clearing the small crowd of onlookers and set up barricades to prevent unwanted entry.

And dressed down in sneakers, joggers, a hoodie, and face hidden under a baseball cap, no one recognizes Resolut as he dismounts and runs inside.

Dead. Facedown. Blood. Three months pregnant.

Sweet scents hit him hard in the kitchen. Resolut looks at the counter where a mound of chocolate chip baked kindness sits on the white marble countertop and the note beside, labeled at the top with a simple ‘R’ in Summer’s fancy cursive. He couldn’t read the rest. Not now. It could be evidence. He slams his eyes shut and turns away.

Sarush Zubin, Resolut’s trusted guard, roams around dressed like a shadow speaking to his wrist. “They said she was in the bedroom,” Sarush said, escorting Resolut. He didn’t need to be shown the way and moves ahead of him. Peering into the bedroom from the hallway is Summer’s wide-eyed security crew of three men and two women. They part as Resolut breezes past.

“WHERE IS SHE?” he roared, glaring at rich crimson splattered on the white carpet—minus a body. No one speaks a word. Blood. Three months pregnant. Resolut wishes he can see her face. I can still smell her perfume; she was just here. What happened to you? He squeezes the bridge of his nose. “I will execute the first individual I make eye contact with if I don’t get a fucking answer.”

Sarush stops in his tracks. The hired security talks at once, a convoluted shuffle of voices and mis-matched tales. “Your Grace, she vanished!” A sharp female voice surges above the rest. Resolut turns around, stone-faced. Being told what he already knew enraged him. “Ben told us.” She continued—a round-faced, thick bodied female in black cargo pants and plain white t-shirt. “Ben found her.”

“Who the fuck is Ben?” Resolut growled. From the group, they shove a gangly man out. He tumbles forward and collapses to a respectable knee.

“Your Grace, I am Benjamin Kelleher.”

Resolut kneels beside the blood, careful not to tread too close. He thinks it looks like gallons of ruby paint spilled. “Tell me everything.” Resolut rises, as does Ben. He’s wearing the same black cargo pants and white t-shirt as the female guard.

“Um. Well, Miss Diamond’s driver flagged me down. Apparently, he was waiting outside for a while. Summer wasn’t answering her phone, and he wanted to know if she still needed a ride to the studio, for—to shoot her movie, you know? So, I went inside and knocked on her door. No answer. The door was locked, too. I, uh, got the spare, yeah. I opened her door, that’s when I—I found her, right here, face down in this… blood!” Ben blurts. His nervous green eyes swirl around the room.

“Keep going,” Resolut said.

Ben sighs, silently staring at his black combat boots for a moment. “Well, um, I looked up seconds later, and a person was outside her window watching.” He points at the bench seat window for two. “Just right there. I looked up and saw the flash.”

Resolut remembers the lurking photographer last time he was here, and the way the camera bounced against his chest when he chased him away. Could a photographer have done this? But why? What the fuck even happened? “What did he look like?”

“I’m sorry, Your Grace. I froze. I don’t know; Summer wasn’t getting up… I—I wasn’t expecting this. It’s my first day!”

Resolut holds his finger up, silencing Ben, and looks at Sarush. “Get the last forty-eight hours of security footage up. I need to review it.” He looks at Ben. “Go on.”

“I checked for a pulse; she was breathing! I ran back to the pool house to tell everybody what happened. We got back. She wasn’t here. We called the authorities and saw her body on the news minutes after! The photos! But it just explains what I saw!” his arm flails about, pointing at the floor. “Her body was here!”

“I need those photographs, and we need to lower the volume.” He pauses, staring at the blood. “Sarush, have someone contact Winter Velia and have her people do whatever they can to quiet the news. We’ll need an explanation for the bells, too. We don’t need everyone in Aeterna frightened.”

Sarush mutters to his wrist. “Done.”

“No one came in. How did she vanish?” Ben stares around the room with wide, panicky eyes. “The blood looks undisturbed. I don’t understand. Where could she have gone?”

Resolut ignored that and rises. “Thank you, Ben.” He looks at Sarush. “Have Mr. Kelleher and the rest of Summer’s security staff escorted back to the pool house and guarded. This is a crime scene.” Sarush nods and steps aside.

“Your Grace!” Ben exclaims. “Are we under arrest?”

“Why? Does being arrested concern you? Do you have something troubling you, Kelleher?” The room is silent. Ben’s open mouth trembles. “If you did not commit a fault, there’s no reason for fear.” Another guard looms over Ben, waiting to take him away. “Get them out of here.” Resolut fumes.

Sarush leans into his ear. “Security footage is ready. You need to see this,” he whispers. “It’s not good.” Resolut takes another look at the blood. He slams his eyes tight and walks off.

Blood. Three months pregnant...

Fiction writer. 🌱 Nature lover. Heavy Thinker.

9 Comments

  • Mike U.

    So intense! Brilliantly suspenseful. I love Aeterna! How long must we wait for Part 2? You’re really good at this story-telling gig, Kirsten! 🙂

    • Kirsten Curcio

      Haha awesome, love that excitement. Thank you Mike! 🙂 I’m shooting for January 11th or sooner for the next. I wrote an outline with three different endings already (one of them I’m contemplating saving for a future book) but just need to get my thoughts in good order – I can get super scatterbrained easily.

      • Mike U.

        ” I can get super scatterbrained easily…” You’re preaching to the choir. I know the feeling all too well. 😀 Looking forward to the next installment for sure. Oddly, whenever I try to plan ahead with an outline and/or notes, it only serves to erect an impenetrable wall I can’t get past. So frustrating when that happens. I usually can only finish something if I have no plans of how it will turn out, which is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, when I’m just along for the ride, it’s so much more exciting because I don’t really have a good idea of where the story will take me. On the other hand, it’s too easy to run off into the ditch without a roadmap. Too many unfinished stories reside in my old Writing Box as testament to this. Anyway, it’s always a delight to experience your stories. 🙂

      • Kirsten Curcio

        That’s awesome you can still create without having specific direction. The wall happens to me too sometimes even with a direction on how I want it to go- it’s the pits! And you’re not alone with your writing box. There’s some in mine I re-read and I’m just like… what the hell is this? But, that’s the beauty of writing. We can use our magic and make it shine. We’re like real magicians. 🙂

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