"Living Another Day."
Note: I couldn't resist posting the first part of my new story. It isn't like Love In Tara and is a little more "dark" since it takes place after Bonnie's death. But please tell me what you think. I'm on a roll with this story and I all ready have a few other chapters finished so you all won't have to wait too long to see what happens next.
Scarlett wanted to forget. To desperately forget that her little girl was gone. She would no longer see her tumbling black curls or hear her merry little laugh. There wouldn't be the days that she would watch Bonnie proudly sit on Mr. Butler, her blue eyes dancing like pa's with the Irish pride. Oh how she wanted to forget!
She took a sip of wine and nearly gagged. She remembered Rhett saying once long ago it wasn't good to drink alone because someone always found out and it ruined ones reputation. The sudden thought of Rhett made her hurt all the more. She downed the wine and clutched her pounding temples. If only Bonnie would run through the door and jump on her bed, she wouldn't mind now. She wished she could take away every harsh word she had said to her youngest child. Now it was too late.
Why was everything in her life always too late? She had been too late in seeing Ellen before she died, too late in telling Rhett that she had wanted the baby, too late in being a mother to Bonnie. Always the most precious people in her life were taken away and she couldn't stop it.
A loud bang pierced the stillness. Scarlett held her breath, a hand coming to her heart as if to still its mad beating. In a flash her mind wandered to a time before. The shot sounded like a gun, she thought , I remember the sound of a gun at Tara, during the war. She tried to remember where she had heard it but it hurt too much to think or feel.
She laid back down on her bed and rested her pounding head against a pillow. Oh, if only she could sleep. Just to close her eyes and not see the haunting images in her mind. The sound of the splintering wood, Bonnie falling and Rhett's hoarse cry. If only she could drown it away forever.
"Bonnie," she whispered aloud in anguish. The tears wouldn't come. And Rhett wouldn't speak to her. He had locked himself in his room with the lifeless body of their daughter. She had pounded and pounded on the door but he hadn't answered. Melanie had been the only one aloud to enter Rhett's room, but even Melanie's pleas to send for the undertaker had fallen on deaf ears. He refused to bury Bonnie.
That had been yesterday and the slow nightmare continued to come at an alarming speed. She hadn't seen Rhett since she had fainted. She could hear his savage voice behind the closed door when she knocked, telling her to go away. Mammy said Rhett had lost him mind.
Suddenly someone began pounding loudly on her door. She sat up and wondered if it was Rhett. Oh, if only it were him so they could comfort each other. To have him hold her in his arms and take away this nightmare as he had in the earlier years of their marriage. Quickly, slipping off of her bed she rushed to the door and threw it open. Mammy was there, her face working and tears streaming down her cheeks.
"Miss Scarlett, Mistah Rhett he done gone crazy. He has a gun and he ran out de door and... You must stop him Miss Scarlett. He gonna kill himself! And the children saw him... Mah lamb I ain't never seen such a look in a man's eyes black or white before."
Scarlett stood frozen. A gun? She remembered the shot just a few minutes before. Fear came upon her like she had never known before. No, not Rhett too. With a cry she pushed past Mammy and ran as fast as she could, her mourning dress catching around her legs and her corset cutting into her sides.
She saw Wade and Ella standing in the hall next the banister of the staircase. Wade had a terrified look on his face and Ella was crying brokenly, her face buried. She couldn't comfort them, she had to go to Rhett.
"Wade where's Rhett?" she demanded, grabbing his shoulders and peering into his face, her face pale and strained. Wade didn't speak and she shook him. "Where is he?"
"H-he went in the backyard w-w-with a gun." Wade's brown eyes were stricken with fear. "He came out of the room and left Bonnie," he finished as a ragged sob was torn from his throat. He held Ella tightly to him and she sobbed all the more.
Scarlett's eyes darted to the stairs and she quickly ran down. Dark memories flashed in her mind as they always did by the stairs. But she pushed them aside for Rhett was all that mattered. Please don't let him be dead, she silently prayed.
Pork was standing at the bottom of the stairs and quickly walked towards her, stopping her pursuit towards the door. "Miss Scarlett!" he cried. His face was scared and his body trembled as he blocked her way. "Don't go out der, Mistha Rhett he..."
She pushed him roughly away. "Let me pass!"
She stumbled towards the doors leading out to the verandah. The doors were wide open and the sheer white curtains blew with the heavy wind in a frenzy. The pouring rain hit her face and the wind was fierce, pushing against her where her black skirts tangled around her legs. She could barley walk or see as her eyes frantically scanned the yard and then she saw him.
Rhett was kneeled on the ground, Mr. Butler lying on his side before him, unmoving. Rhett's white shirt clung to him and was half open, showing his chest which was rising and falling heavily. He clutched the gun in his strong hands and seemed to caress it.
She cautiously walked down the stairs leading to the yard from the verandah. His face didn't even lift up to look at her. It was all a nightmare, a slow sickening nightmare that couldn't be true. But it was true. She couldn't quit staring at the pony which lay dead with a shot in its side, red blood seeping from the wound. Bonnie's beloved pony was dead and a sob welled in her throat. She covered her mouth to keep the scream from escaping.
"Ah, Mrs. Butler," he suddenly said, looking up at her with a strange smile. "So you decided to join me after all? How gracious of you to care."
She couldn't drag her eyes from his. His eyes were blood shot and his face haggard no longer the Rhett Butler she had known. She had seen that look before. Pa, she thought, oh pa. And Rhett still held the gun and she wondered would he shoot himself? An icy fear clutched her.
"Rhett, please let's go inside," she softly begged over ther wind, no longer caring if he laughed at her. She'd rather have him laugh at her if it would take that look out of his eyes. She walked forward, her palms upward in a gesture of appeal. She reached for him but the look he gave her made her shrink back in fear.
He rose to his feet, looming darkly over her, the gun still in his hand. "You'd like that wouldn't you, darling?" he hissed. "But don't you think death would be far more pleasant? No? Well I do." He raised the gun to his chest, the barrel pressed hard against it. "Just one pull and I'd be done with, in hell's fire. But of course it would be your face I'd see and not my Bonnie's. You'd be laughing at me, your green eyes mocking, while the fires of hell licked my feet. Wouldn't you?"
She couldn't answer him. She stood paralyzed, staring at the dark faced stranger before her. He had become mad. This man that she was married to, who she used to run to and who used to tenderly hold Bonnie and laugh with her. He was laughing but this time it didn't reach his eyes. The gun was still pointed at his heart.
Suddenly his large hands closed over her shoulders, part of the gun crushed against her arm in a deafening grip and she cried out in fear. She struggled against him instinctively, to save herself from the biting pain of his fingers over her shoulders. But he held her even more tightly.
"Wouldn't you, Scarlett? If I were dead, your torturous heart wouldn't mourn. No, you'd laugh and put your greedy hands on my money. I bet you wouldn't shed a tear. Well, I can be dead in just one second." He released her and pushed her backwards, she stumbled.
"Shut up damn you!" he roughly yelled, his eyes glittering dangerously. He gave her a smile. He wasn't teasing her as he so often did, he was utterly serious.
"I'll just point the gun just so at my heart and I'll shoot-"
"No!" she cried springing forward without thought of her well-being. She grabbed at the gun. "Damn you Rhett Butler!" she screamed, not able to see anything but fighting blindly with him, trying to pull the gun from his grasp. "N-no! Rhett stop! Please stop."
She had the gun, she could feel it in her hands as she fell backwards to the ground, landing roughly on her side. She lay there looking up at him through the pounding rain. She was shaking, her whole body shaking. And Rhett's big body was trembling, she could see his face work for an instant.
She rose to her shaking legs with difficulty and left the gun on the ground. He was staring at her, his dark eyes strange and turbulent. His face wasn't clean shaven but dark and foreboding. She had to make him understand. She had to get his mind back to sanity.
"Rhett, please listen to me. You're scaring the children. Let me send them away then we'll have Bonnie's funeral..."
"You heartless bitch!" he hissed. "Do you think I'd put my daughter in the dark and out in the cold? She isn't leaving my side."
She sucked in a deep breath. Did Rhett hate her so much? Couldn't he see she too loved Bonnie and the thought of burying her brave little girl tore at her? Oh, if only she could make him understand!
"Rhett, do you think I want Bonnie buried? But she's dead and she- she."
He wasn't listening to her. He was staring past her at the pony with a grim smile on his face. She felt sickened to her stomach and wanted to retch. Oh anything to get that look off of his face.
"Listen to me damn you!" she cried and raising her hand she slapped him across the face hard. His eyes glittered and that strange look left his face. She continued rapidly, "Bonnie is dead! Dead you hear me?" She advanced on him and pushed at his chest, her eyes glittering. "Dead! B-Bonnie is..."
He roughly grabbed her shoulders and began to shake her as a sob escaped from her throat and her voice trailed off. Tears filled her eyes. She looked up at Rhett with a pleading look. The angry look disappeared from his eyes and they darkened with pain. Suddenly, a hoarse cry erupted from his throat as his big body went down roughly to his knees. He buried his face in his large hands. His shoulders were shaking, and only then did she realize he was crying. Rhett Butler, who she had never seen cry a day in her life, who was always so mocking and brave was crying.
Her eyes widened and she felt helpless. She wanted to throw her arms around him and comfort him. For the first time she felt compassion towards him without contempt. Perhaps it was the first time in her life she felt compassion for anyone without a motive.
"Oh Rhett!" she whispered and slowly reached a tentative hand towards his bowed head. He raised his head and their eyes met. His searching and his tears mingled with the rain.
"Don't touch me," he raggedly said. "I'm a murderer after all. Isn't that what you called me yesterday?" He rose to his feet unsteadily. "Ah, yes you said that I murdered Bonnie."
Scarlett let out a gasp and she paled. Now she remembered yelling that through the door at him. She had been so full of grief and angry that he wouldn't let her in the room to see Bonnie. She hadn't been in her right mind as words of blame had rolled off of her tongue. She had said it because she had wanted to hurt him for he had hurt her. She bowed her head in shame.
"What," he asked, "no remarks or defenses? You disappoint me."
She finally met his eyes.
"Rhett, please believe me I didn't mean those things that I said. I-"
He chuckled bitterly. "Don't lie to me, Scarlett. You meant every word you said. And you know what? I am a murderer. Oh, yes I see that look in your eyes, you can't bear the sight of me can you?"
"Rhett, please don't," she begged faintly. She felt like she was going to faint. Why wouldn't he stop laughing in that hollow way and stop throwing barbs at her? Why wouldn't he take her in his arms and tell her everything would be all right? But he was laughing once again.
"No, my dear I don't please anymore." He walked over to her and thrust his hands in her face. She stared at his hands, so large that had caressed her and that had soothed her. But they were also capable of violence. She tried not to cringe at the thought he had shot that innocent pony.
"Look at my hands," he continued in a low voice. "They have blood on them. I murdered a black man for being uppity, I shot that stupid girl's brother in Charleston, I shot that pony and yes I murdered my own daughter. Four marks against my black soul but do I give a damn? No. I know I'm going to hell but as for you my dear... you'll suffer here on earth for this is where hell really is."
His hands had moved away from her and back to his sides. She didn't understand what he was saying. She only knew she preferred going to hell then to living another day in this torment. Each word he said was only a knell striking against her heart.
"And these hands will do likewise to you if you touch Bonnie," he threatened. "If you go near her, Scarlett, so help me God, you'll have the same fate as that pony over there."
Without another word he was walking towards the steps and into the house. Scarlett let out a ragged sob and huddled on the ground, welcoming the rain. She stared at the pony a few feet away from her. Numbly, her mind registered what Rhett had said. Burying her face in her hands she cried for the loss of her beautiful little girl and the loss of Rhett.