A Candle in the Darkness
"Oh, Ray, I almost forgot. . ." Ray turned back to the gray haired man, who was holding another letter. "Here's a letter to Livy Dunne."
Ray's lips curved into a smile. "No, Matt, that's Singleton - Livy Singleton." He couldn't hide the edge of pride from his voice when he thought of her.
"No, no, I seen it myself. It's addressed to a Livy Dunne."
Ray felt his heart hammer to a stop when a dreaded thought entered his mind. No, it couldn't be. He slowly took the letter from Matthew and read over Livy's maiden name, then the return address. "No," he breathed, seeing the name; 'Lt. Edward Brown'.
"Are you okay Mr. Singleton? You've gone all white."
Ray looked to Matt, forced a smile, and nodded. "Y-yes, I'm fine. Thanks. . . thanks for the letters." Matthew eyed him suspiciously, but asked no more questions, much to Ray's thankfulness. Tipping his hat, Ray quickly left the mail office, eager to get out of the stuffy area.
Opening his eyes, Ray looked around to the small patches of snow that lay on the sidewalks and the road, then above him to where soft snowflakes were falling from the sky. He guessed a storm was moving in and it would no doubt be snowing heavily by the time he got home. Ray quickly walked to his truck, keeping his eyes away from any of the small town's people. He wanted to get home immediately.
In one moment, all of his hopes, dreams, and desires had come crashing into a pile of rubble. Just when he thought he had broken down Livy's last wall, he found himself faced with another - the biggest, and worst one yet. The thought that pierced his tender heart the most was that Livy had most likely been sending Edward letters throughout their marriage. She was probably praying that she would get a letter from him soon so she could leave.
The confusion in his heart and mind seemed to grow deeper with each mile that separated himself from the town and brought him closer to his house. He had never dreaded coming home this much.
Just as he had assumed, snow now lined the road, making it slightly more difficult to drive back to the house than it had been to leave earlier in the day. As Ray steered "The Beet-box" up the driveway, he glanced to the front window of his two-story home.
After parking the truck in the designated spot, he pushed the door open and stepped out. A strange sensation that may have been qualified as a warning shot through him. Where was Franklin? Why hadn't he come to greet him as he always did? He looked around from the house to the barn, scanning both the objects and everything in between.
Shrugging it off as the simple fact that Franklin had most likely gone for a walk, Ray grabbed only one letter from the passenger seat of the truck, along with his Bible, which he had left from the day before. Sliding the envelope, and it's contents, into the blackk covered book, he closed the door and walked towards the porch. Pulling his coat tighter to him, he tried to ward off the chill that was beginning to press into him. The snow was falling with much more vengeance than before.
Walking up the icy steps, he glanced behind him. He could have sworn he heard Franklin's bark, but as he strained to hear it again, nothing came. He stood for a moment longer, than turned and finished the trek from the steps to the front door. Unexpected tears burned his eyes at the thought of Livy leaving, which would be almost inevitable after she read the letter that had been safely tucked away in his Bible.
He whispered a silent prayer before pulling the screen door open, then proceeded to push the second door to a large enough entry way for him to get through. Immediately upon entering the farmhouse, he realized how cold it was. A shiver coursed through his body as he quickly walked to the small living room. The fire that looked as though it could use a lot of stoking sat idle, the small flames dieing away quickly. Turning to the kitchen, the same was true for the fireplace opposite the first. Something was not right. Glancing to the table, Ray was stunned to see two plates filled with food and candles lining the table - candles that had been used to the bottom of the wax and were now burnt out.
The familiar warning sensation moved through him again, and this time, he payed more heed to it. Quickly walking to the fire in the kitchen, Ray picked up the fire stoker and hit the burnt logs gently, trying to coax more heat from them. "Livy?" He finally asked after the warmth that came from the fire was enough to temporarily warm his body. He turned to the hallway and slowly walked up the stairs, calling her name every few steps.
When no response came, he entered all the bedrooms, knocking quietly before doing so, only to find that his wife was not in them. "Livy?" He called louder, desperation lacing his tone. "Where are you?"
After pushing the bathroom door open and not finding her, Ray jogged back down the stairs, threw a jacket over his arm for Livy, just in case she had gone outside and didn't have one, then hurried outside, pulling the front door tightly closed behind him. He stared out at the area surrounding his farm and wondered where he would look first. Deciding to check everywhere close by first, he walked to his truck, trying to see through the whirling snow that seemed to be coming from heaven and earth.
Then, if it were possible, the snow began to fall harder, blinding him completely. He pulled the other jacket over his hat, attempting to shield his face from the whipping snowfall. "Livy!" He tried again, pushing through the snow to where he thought the truck was. But when something came into view, it wasn't the truck.
Moaning in desperation, he felt his way along the outer wall, trying to find the latch that signified the door. After a moment, he found it. Pushing it to the side, the door swung open and he stepped inside.