Categories > Games > Harvest Moon > Sanctuary0 Reviews
Chapter Six: Humanitas - Invidia
The chilly breeze of the afternoon hit their faces as Clair and Kai exited the mansion. Clair's collection of cars was parked outside, but she didn't seem interested in using them. She did mention the church was not far and if it was the same one Kai thought of, then it was within a short walking distance of the mansion. Even so, walking felt risky. Kai kept his hat lowered over his face and his scarf covering half of it.
The walk to the church down the street went without incident. It was too late to attend the morning activities and too early to attend the afternoon activities. As a result, the majestic building of ivory walls and colored glass windows was almost empty. Entering the church their every step echoed like the steps of a multitude, making Kai feel exposed.
Four people were present at the church, lost in the many rows of seats. Near the front there was a sad looking red haired young woman contemplating the floor with half closed eyes and a seemingly permanent frown that didn't seem to fit her face. She paid no attention to the new arrivals, not even noticing them.
Aside from Clair, Kai and the redhead, the only other person there was Father Carter, who greeted Clair with a gentle smile and a suspicious look. "It's been a long time Clair, I haven't seen you around here since your father was still among us, may he rest in peace."
"I've been... a little sidetracked, not paying attention to the days. But I will start attending again regularly as soon as I sort out a few things," Clair smiled casually.
"Perhaps being here will help you sort your thoughts," Carter suggested with that look of intelligent suspicion still present in his eyes, while his gentle smile didn't waver. "Who is this young man with you?"
"John," Clair replied without a single hint of doubt in her voice. Kai was at least glad she didn't call him Jack. He would feel odd being called that. "He's also the reason why I'm here." At such words, Kai tensed up and considered running, but stayed still as a statue as Clair continued her false explanation. "Sadly, John has suffered a terrible loss; his family is no longer among the living. They were quite strong in faith but the pain has started to make him lose his. Perhaps you could help. Why don't you two sit down and talk?"
When Clair's icy blue eyes met Kai's unsure chocolate orbs, he suddenly understood. She wanted him to distract Carter for some reason. Her story was a mere coincidence, there was no way she could know about his past that was so far away. None the less, knowing the pain of loss from experience, Kai was able to put up a convincing act that captured Carter's attention completely as they sat in a corner of the church.
Opposite to them beyond the altar, there was a door that led to the confessional. The redhead was distracted, her eyes still closed in silent prayer. Clair made her way to the confessional, in and out quickly. She watched the redhead and Carter, they didn't see her. She waited a little longer apparently praying, then pulled up her sweater's sleeve to reveal a diamond encrusted white gold watch. The people attending the church in the afternoon would be there soon, it was time to leave. "John," let us not forget our appointment, I know you don't like going to the doctor, but you must. Father Carter, I do apologize for not being able to stay."
"I understand," for several minutes carter had been distracted by Kai and his act. As soon as Clair spoke up, an analytical look once again invaded his eyes. "Perhaps you would both return tonight and listen to my sermon."
"Perhaps," Clair smiled and linked her arms with Kai's as they left the church. Once outside she let him go and started walking more swiftly. The streets would soon be full of the people attending the afternoon service at the church.
xoxox xox xoxox
Clair and Kai were a few steps away from her mansion when something unexpected happened. A woman walked past them in the opposite direction and Clair froze. "Clarisse..." She whispered in a voice that only Kai was close enough to hear, before her world stopped spinning and her awareness faded into nothingness.
"Clair!" Kai caught her before she could fall and held her on her feet, his arm around her waist as her limp form rested on him. "Clair!" He didn't know who that woman was; she didn't seem to notice them, focused on the man walking next to her instead. Kai could recognize the older man missing some hair on his head but with plenty still on his face in a bushy brown mustache under a large round nose. He was the mayor, but the woman, who seemed to be the one to make Clair faint, was unknown to Kai.
"What's wrong?" A man slightly younger than Clair and Kai approached them. He had long brown hair and curious purplish-blue eyes. "What happened to her?"
"Nothing," Kai tried to continue on his way, half-carrying Clair as naturally as possible, trying to make it look like she was simply leaning on him, rather than being dragged on her feet.
"What's wrong with Clair?" The young man asked more intensely.
"I don't know, she just fainted, I'll get her inside." Seeing that this man apparently knew Clair, Kai thought it was alright to cut the act, he would just look worse if he didn't.
Kai searched for her keys in her sky blue coat pocket and allowed Clair to rest on the other man's waiting arms while he opened the gates to the mansion. "It's the pearl," the unknown young man informed seeing Kai trying different keys, it was obvious he had been there before if he knew that much."
Without any further words being exchanged, Kai and the unknown man took Clair inside, locking the gates and door behind them.
xoxox xox xoxox
When Clair woke up, she was back on her bed in the room she was used to waking up in. She turned her head to the side to see that Kai was there without his hat and scarf. Next to him was Cliff looking shocked. "I knew there was something odd about you not taking off your hat and scarf after we came inside, but I admit I didn't expect this. Nonetheless I'll keep my promise, like I said, I won't judge you no matter what I see. Besides, if you're with Clair then even if..." Cliff trailed into silence and noticed that Clair was looking at them. "How are you feeling."
Clair sat up and shook her head, "like I saw a ghost. I must be losing it, Clarisse is dead, that couldn't have been her. So, how do you two know each other?"
"We just met," Kai replied.
"Is that so? Well you don't need to worry, Cliff here is trust worthy. He's like a little brother to me so you can relax," Clair explained as she started to get up.
"You should rest," Cliff insisted, "rest and explain what's going on while you do."
Sitting on the edge of her bed, Clair began to speak. "I didn't hire a hitman to take out Jack."
Cliff let out a breath of relief, "that's good to know, I thought I would have to help hide him and become an accomplice. But if you didn't hire him, then why is Kai here? His picture is all over the news! I came to see how you were doing, since this whole thing was my fault."
"No it wasn't," Clair scolded as if she had grown tired of reassuring Cliff of the same thing over and over. All you did was invite me to go on vacation in the countryside; all you did was introduce me to a friend. If things didn't work out between Jack and I, that's not your fault. As for Kai, he might be innocent."
"I am innocent," Kai insisted.
"That is yet to be," Clair suddenly grew silent in the middle of her sentence. She rose her hand to quiet the others as her eyes became wide with agony, then narrow with anger. She ripped something small out of her ear, previously hidden under her hair and tossed it on the floor in anger before bolting out of the room, "I'm going to kill her!"
The two men were caught completely off guard. Numb by the suddenness of all the complications, Cliff picked up the small transmitter Clair had tossed on the floor and brought it to his ear while Kai rushed after her. The transmitter carried the voice of a woman, "I'm sorry, you should be speaking to everyone who gathered here, but I waited for so long before confessing, I just sat there unsure. I'm sorry, it was all my fault, I was the one who poisoned him. I'm so sorry." With surprise invading all his features, Cliff came to a conclusion; Clair must have linked that person to the death of Jack. Who was that woman? Where was she? Probably near by. Cliff listened to the other voice; it was muffled by the woman's cries, something about sins and redemption, was it a confession at a church? Was that where the culprit was?
"Stop Clair! You can't just run out and shoot someone! What were you hearing? What was it?" Kai's voice was desperate as he tried to stop Clair from running off. Cliff ran past them and out of the mansion, he dashed to the church as fast as he could.
xoxox xox xoxox
Cliff kept the transmitter on his ear all the way to the church and heard as the girl insisted she should leave, saying she would return later. The priest tried to stop her but she left anyway. Cliff arrived just in time to see a red-haired woman in tears running out of the church, causing murmurs to erupt from all those who had gathered to hear the sermon as they theorized about her possible confession. None would guess it to be murder.
She stopped cold, seeing him there, than ran past him. She never would have guessed he heard it all. He never would have guessed she was capable of something like this, "Ann..."
xoxox xox xoxox
Cliff returned to the mansion at a broken pace. He made his way back to Clair's room noticing the sounds of muffled sobbing as he went. Kai was on his knees on the floor with Clair in his arms, clinging to him, her pink manicured nails digging into his tan skin. "Why did you leave me, Jack? I missed you so much! Don't go away again, don't betray me."
Kai, who sported a black eye and abundant bruises and scratches thanks to Clair's outburst, tried to soothe the crying woman in his arms gently patting her back and caressing her hair, but he refused to let her give him the name of a dead man. "It's Kai, my name is Kai."
Cliff approached them and ruffled Clair's golden hair, "Clary-sweet, did you take your vitamins today?"
Clair shifted before responding, "no papa, not today, I don't want to, because you weren't there for breakfast like you promised."
"I'm sorry, please take your vitamins and I'll buy you something nice for being such a good girl. You know you can't come hunting with me if you get sick," Cliff continued the act, impersonating Clair's father.
"Yes papa, I understand, I'll go take them now." Clair parted from Kai and walked to her adjacent private bathroom like a zombie. She opened a cabinet and took a bottle of pills, retrieving one and swallowing it without water. She returned to her room walking automatically, then collapsed into her bed and closed her eyes.
"What was that?" Kai asked with urgent alarm.
"Shh," Cliff made a motion for Kai to lower his voice and follow him out of the room. Once both men were in the hallway, Cliff gently closed Clair's door. "Clair needs to take her medicine or she becomes a little unstable. She's usually responsible with these things, she says she hates losing control; she never remembers anything afterwards and is left wondering about what she could have done. All the stress in the last few days must have made her neglect her treatment."
Kai knew from the start that there had to be something wrong with Clair, but he didn't know she needed medicine to fight it off. "Will she be okay?"
"Probably... but..." Cliff removed the transmitter from his ear.
"What was that about?" Kai inquired with renewed alarm. "Did that have something to do with that woman who made her faint? With Clarisse?"
Sighing deeply, Cliff shook his head, "Clarisse is dead and it's not my place to tell you about her." Cliff paced a little in the hallway unsure. "This transmitter, the sounds it produces are from the church, aren't they?"
Kai nodded, that would explain why Clair needed him to distract Carter. She was placing a hidden sound transmission device in the confessional in case the culprit came in. Kai was invaded by shock upon the possibility, "the murderer?"
"Ann, I barely know her, I met her not too long ago, but she seemed so nice. I don't know what her connection with Jack or Clair could be, if she's even connected to Clair at all." Cliff spoke solemnly. "Clair is like a sister to me. She always took care of me like an older sibling would protect the younger. I'm grateful to her and I'm probably one of the few people left in the world who doesn't hate her, uncle Gotz and I... I'll back her up on anything but I don't think I can help her with this. I can't help her kill Ann. I'll still tell her though, I would feel like a traitor if I don't tell her the truth and let her decide her actions."
"Ann," Kai repeated the name looking for a connection but he found none. "Who is she?"
"She runs the gourmet dessert shop that just opened, I thought she was nice," cliff frowned in deep sadness. "I guess I was wrong, but I can't help kill her, I can't kill anything." Cliff grimaced.
"That's not a bad thing," Kai insisted, "you should worry if you're able to take a life without remorse, especially a human one." Then the theory about the parfait was right. Ann must have snuck the poison into the chocolate parfait, Jack's favorite flavor. "Why did she do it?"
"I don't know, I only heard a confession, I heard her say she killed Jack Harvest, that she poisoned him. I have no idea why she did it." It didn't make any sense to Cliff. "No matter how hard I try, I can't think of a single motivation."
"She's holds the answer; Ann must know why she did what she did." Kai wasn't sure of what to do next. Should he involve the police? Would Carter be willing to testify? Probably not, that would go against his believes and secrecy.
The door to Clair's room was suddenly opened by the hostess herself, her expression was serious. "I'm going to have a word with Ann."
"Clair, wait," Kai began to speak, but Clair raised her hand to silence him.
"I'm alright, I don't do well if I forget my medicine, but I'm fine now, it's just stress. If I did anything... unusual," she looked at Kai's beaten state as she spoke, "then I apologize." She didn't remember it, but she knew she was responsible for his black eye, scratches and bruises. "Kai, you'd best stay here. Don't worry; I won't do anything rash until I'm sure. I'll get a confession out of her for you."
Kai knew that he couldn't stop Clair once her mind was made up. "Be careful," he glanced at Cliff who nodded, he would go with her just in case.
xoxox xox xoxox
Clair and Cliff swiftly made their way to the new gourmet dessert shop in town. It was the first place where they would look for Ann in case she took refuge there. If she just confessed, then maybe that meant she didn't have the will to run away. The shop was closed, its glass doors locked and it was dark inside, a variety of sweets on display. Clair pounded on the door harshly. "Ann, I know you're there and I know what you did!"
Believing she was somehow truly seen, Ann emerged from behind the counter at the base of which she had been sitting hidden from view. She walked over to the glass door and stopped mid way there with a frightened expression.
Clair aimed her silver gun shielding it from the view of any possible passer-bys with her body. Cliff stood silently beside her, tensing up. "I know this isn't bulletproof glass," she growled threateningly.
Gathering all her courage, Ann unlocked the front door, there was no way to avoid her inevitable fate, but she didn't care, she was consumed by guilt. She stepped aside, allowing Clair and Cliff to enter.
Kai arrived covered by the hat and scarf from before, much to the surprise of Clair and Cliff. "I'm sorry, I just had to, this is my business too."
Allowing Kai passage, Cliff locked the front door and Clair made Ann walk to the back room away from the view of the glass displays in the front of the shop. Once out of sight from the street, she ordered, "confess."
Ann took an excruciating breath, "I did it, I poisoned Jack Harvest."
Clair's finger trembled on her gun's trigger. Cliff moved towards her to caution her, but Clair glanced in his direction and her angry blue eyes froze him in place. "Why?"
"Revenge... on you," Ann admitted. "My father was your family's loyal chef for years but you always treated us like trash. That's why I would rather live with my aunt and not go to that mansion, even if it meant missing my father. He wanted to retire, he deserved to retire, but he couldn't, because he couldn't afford his heart medications without work. I didn't have the means to help him... When Mr. Moon found out the truth about my father's illness, he offered to pay for the surgery, but Mr. Moon was older and quite fragile himself, he passed away and you cancelled the plans. All you could think of was your own loss and because of that, I suffered a loss, I too lost my father."
"You seem to be doing well now, thanks to the recipes," Clair spoke coldly.
"Dad was grateful to Mr. Moon and didn't abandon him, but he should have, he should have been the one to start this business long ago. Then when I was old enough I could start managing it and he could rest and recover. He would still be with me today if things had been that way. You shut everyone out thinking you were the only one in pain, or at least that's what I thought at first when I tried not to hate you thinking that I knew your pain because I suffered the same loss. Yet you were so nonchalant when I saw you. I wanted to make you understand the pain of a loss so I poisoned him. I smashed up some peanuts and put them in the chocolate parfait knowing from my short conversation with Sasha that it would go to Jack. I wanted you to worry seeing his pain, but I was stupid. I should have hurt you, not those around you. I didn't mean to kill him. I just wanted to ruin your approaching honey moon."
"What?" The atmosphere stood perfectly still as Clair lowered her gun and laughed bitterly. "You were misinformed. The Miss Moon that everyone was talking about getting married was not me."
Ann's face was invaded by shock, "then who?" She realized who else it could be, "Karen?"
"Yes, Karen and Jack were married and just so you know, the one highly allergic to peanuts was my ex-butler. The rumor mill is very unreliable these days. Is that the whole of your confession?" Clair inquired, her temper slowly subsiding.
"Yes," Ann stammered out in shock. "Then I didn't kill him? It wasn't me? I only heard he was poisoned so I thought..."
"It wasn't you, but know this, Ann, if you choose to pick a fight with me, you will suffered the terrible consequences." With those final words that left Ann quaking in fear, Clair put away her silver gun and left the shop with Kai and Cliff following her.
xoxox xox xoxox
Clair, Cliff and Kai were almost back at the mansion when the same lady from before walked by. She was focused on her talk with the mayor, discussing what they would do next and describing what she wanted for dinner. Clair stopped cold once more, but she remained in her senses that time. "Clarisse," she whispered before gathering air into her lungs and calling out, "Clarisse!"
The woman instinctively turned her head towards the source of the sound, her painted face making her look younger, despite being old enough to be Clair's mother. "Catherine, my name is Catherine..." she stammered as if confessing something terrible. Her hands trembled and the mayor gave her a worried look. "Please go ahead without me."
The mayor looked at Clair, a woman known for her nasty temper and violent ways. She was in the company of Cliff, a young man known as a polite kind gentleman who wouldn't hurt anyone, but somehow ended up as Clair's best and some would say only friend. As for the other man who was with Clair, his face was concealed, giving him a suspicious atmosphere. "Are you sure?"
"Please," Catherine implored, "there is something I must discuss with this young lady."
Seeing her urgency, the mayor knew he couldn't argue. "Very well, I will see you later then." He continued on his way, stopping every few feet to greet someone on the street.
Catherine took a deep breath and followed Clair, Cliff and Kai inside the mansion. The doors were once again locked and Catherine looked like she was awaiting her own death as she was led to the room of emptiness that once held wilted roses.
Everyone was taken by surprise when Clair motioned for them to sit while she paced around the room and uttered a simple unexpected question. "Who are you?" She stopped mid stride and looked at Catherine's downcast face, her icy blue eyes trying to see into the older woman's well hidden secrets.
Catherine breathed again, releasing the accumulated oxygen of her lungs slowly as if pained. "I am her sister; our resemblance has always been undeniable. I thought you wouldn't be here anymore, yet I wondered what I would do if you were. The mayor and I used to date when we were young, of course, he wasn't the mayor then. All of that ended with my secret indiscretion. I left him without an explanation and went far away to have the child of another man, he never knew."
Cliff and Kai sat in silence as Catherine spoke and Clair paced some more, until she paused to look at Catherine again. "You're Clarisse's sister," Clair tried to internalize the information, "you're my aunt."
Catherine shook her head. "It has always haunted me and it always will. We were twins you see, so easy to confuse. I am... your mother."
Gasp of surprise escaped Cliff, Kai and Clair. This was a major revelation that left Clair in shock as many scenes replayed in her mind. "Why?"
"I was jealous of her, of my sister." Abundant tears ran down Catherine's face. "It was all my fault, I tricked her fiance and had a child that should have been hers. I didn't know what to do with the baby; it didn't make him come to me. He begged for Clarisse's forgiveness and married her. I was left forgotten with the child. In my anger I told him I would kill the child if he didn't come to me, he came, but only to take the baby, then he went away and I never saw him again."
"Don't do this, please stop... Don't hurt me.... please don't hurt me anymore... mother..." Clair repeated as if in a trance. "She never forgave his betrayal," she spoke in realization, her eyes full of tears. "No, what she couldn't forgive was the memory, me. I was a symbol of that betrayal and instead of keeping me away, of helping the pain heal, he took me in and expected her to raise me as her own. It's no wonder Clarisse hated me. It's no wonder she tried to get us both killed by crashing her car. But I lived, I lived and for the longest time I pretended that she was never mean to me, that I didn't remember her final words before she crashed the car. 'I want to die because I'm hurt and I want to kill you because I hate you.' It's because of you that Clarisse hated me; it's because of you that she tried to kill us both. It's your fault!"
Clair's silver gun was aimed at Catherine. Cliff and Kai stood, but Catherine rose to her feet as well and waved them off. "Gentlemen, what happens in this room, shall remain in the sanctuary of secrecy forever. That is my final wish." With those words, that surrender, Cliff and Kai were left immobile.
Clair's finger trembled over her gun's trigger, she glared at Catherine fiercely. Her teeth wee gritted, her heart was pounding, she felt nothing but grief and anger. Then she slowly lowered her gun. "Live with the shame, live with the pain." Catherine gasped, unable to move for several seconds until Clair yelled, "get out of my sight!" with the most hateful tone those present have ever heard.
Pale as a sheet, with a tear stained face, Catherine hurried out. Cliff let her out with an upset look on his face that didn't seem to fit his usual gentle nature. With a hasty goodbye to the mayor, she left town and no one ever knew why, no one dared to ask, not if Clair was involved. They never saw Catherine again.
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Harvest Moon.