Alpine Mystery – Part 2
‘Oh Miss De Lacey the hotel owner’s granddaughter sir. She is from London, her father is Jonathon De Lacey, Earl of Leister she is waiting for her Fiancé.’
Mark was not fazed by this information, one of the reasons he wanted to get away from England was that a married woman was having his child. A Fiancé was a challenge, this might be interesting.
After dinner he sat at the bar waiting to see the face of the young woman when she exited the dining room.
To his great amazement it was the face he had seen before in their suite, it was the maid.
She saw him with his mouth agape staring at her, she stifled a giggle. ‘Serve him right’ she thought ‘the spoilt brat’.
Mark realised his mouth was wide open and he had spilt his drink. What an awful impression he must be giving, certainly not his debonair, confident self.
Next morning on the balcony overlooking the entrance, he sat with his mother admiring the high snow covered Alps before them, what a magnificent view. Quite unlike the deep ravine at the back of the hotel, thank goodness their suite was at the front. It would be depressing having a room at the back and to have to look at that icy ravine. He wondered where the young ladies room would be, at the front of course, unless she didn’t like the Alps.
Suddenly his attention was taken by the lady herself, dressed again as a maid bringing out the tray of morning tea.
He wandered casually over to her and apologised for being rude the day before. Her eyes held his and a strange emotion overtook him, he had never felt like this before. However she had just smiled and turned away to go back through the doors of the hotel.
He ran after her and found her entering the hotel kitchen. He hadn’t been in a kitchen since a child, when the old cook had given him chocolate cookies when a boy. He looked around, she had placed the tray on the big oak table and disappeared through a door into the back hall of the hotel.
‘Where does that door lead?’ he asked the Butler who was checking the silver. ‘Oh that’s the owner’s quarters and then leads to the back of the hotel. There is a wide and dangerous ravine out there, it’s best you stay in the front area young man.
Mark realised he would have to go back to the guests quarters. At least now he knew where her room was situated, but a view of the ravine just didn’t seem to go with a suite for such a beautiful young lady.
The snow was coming down in buckets full and the wind starting to come up. Mark sat in the hotel library watching the flames from the open fire.
He stood up and moved over to the window, out on the balcony was the young lady. She shivered as she held a thin shawl around her shoulders.
‘She’ll freeze out there’, Mark thought and went through the glass doors to stand beside her. ‘Please Come inside’ he said. It is too cold to be standing out here,’ she looked at him but didn’t seem to see him. ‘Please’ he said again. At last she turned, ‘I can’t, I must be here to greet my fiancé’ she pleaded, ‘he would not want you standing out here in the cold’ Mark answered.
‘You don’t know him, he insisted that I wait out the front so he could see me as soon as he comes up the steps. He must be obeyed, he gets very angry when I don’t do as he asks.’
Mark took off his jacket and put them over Miss DeLaceys shoulders. She looked up at him with a smile. ‘I was wrong about you’ she said ‘You are really very kind, I shall return your jacket after my Fiancé arrives.’
Mark returned to the warmth of the Library but kept watch out the glass doors. Eventually the carriage coming up the steep incline, came through the tunnel and a well dressed man alighted. He walked up the steps to the patio, Miss De Lacey, Ingrid, went to meet him. He saw the mans jacket around her shoulders and went into a rage. He grabbed the jacket and threw it into the snow and hauling Ingrid by the arm dragged her into the hotel foyer.
Mark was outraged, how could he be so cruel, he decided to follow them. He stopped outside her room and heard the fiancé screaming at Ingrid, something about her being a slut having an affair with the owner of the jacket. There were several thuds and he heard her cry out. ‘No please No’
The butler appeared it seemed out of nowhere. ‘What are you doing back here sir, this area is out of bounds for guests, please return to your quarters.
There was nothing more Mark could do, he knew now that for the first time in his life he loved someone, but she belonged to that ghastly man.
At dinner that night he noticed her come in with him, she looked pale even though she wore a veil.
‘Who are you looking at?’ his mother inquired.
‘Someone beautiful that I am now sure I am in love with’ replied Mark. His mother was very surprised, her gallivanting son Mark in love, this was new. But she had to warn him that the man with the lady was a Duke and he had best forget her. The Duke was known for his womanising and cruelty and the young lady was his fianceé, his promised wife.
Two days past and Mark never saw Ingrid, he wondered if she was alright. On the third day when he was sitting on the balcony he felt a tap on his shoulder, it was Ingrid. ‘Please Mark take me away from here, it was then he noticed the large blue bruises on her face and arm. ‘What on earth has he done to you?’ Mark asked with concern.
She started to cry, ‘he calls me a trollop and forces himself on me.’ She didn’t get any further, Mark was furious, he strode off ‘I will kill him for hurting you’ he shouted. Ingrid frightened run after him, ‘no’ she yelled ‘I don’t want you hurt, I love you’
Mark stopped in his tracks, she loved him, but before he could reach out for her, a hand from behind hit him in the back of the neck and he went down unconscious.
His mother found him there and after several house with a doctor he was well enough to tell what had happened. Ingrid had been forced back to her room with the fiancé.
Mark tried to go to Ingrid but it was to no avail. He was told that the pair would be leaving the next morning and going to Geneva to get married.
The next morning the sky was clear, Mark decided to go very early for a ski, the chill in the air would help him make a plan to insure her escape. He would have to act quickly before anyone was aware that she had gone. He had a second pair of skis hidden underneath her window. Then he stood high up on an escarpment looking down at the hotel.
The soft morning light held him entranced at its beauty, sitting serenely on a snowy knoll the early morning sun glinting on the many windows. When suddenly there was a huge crashing sound as a great chunk of ice and snow dislodged itself from high in the mountain, then a rushing, then a roaring.
In the hotel the guests hearing the roaring sound were starting to come down the stairs, ‘It will be okay it is just an avalanche’ the hotel butler announced to the visitors in the hotel lounge room, ‘no danger this hotel has been here for a century.’ But the roaring continued and seemed to get louder.
Suddenly the two huge glass doors onto the patio crashed inwards as tons of snow and rock came hurtling through the room. Chairs and tables collapsed and were driven into the marble pillars supporting the ceiling. They fell with a loud crash pinioning anything in their way. Straight through the hotel it went on its destructive journey.
Many guests were still in their rooms and the kitchen staff were busy organising breakfast and the trays ready to go up to the rooms. Nothing stood or was left in its wake. The Butler and the two elderly women in the lounge were swept along with rocks and snow. The kitchen staff with the plates and food disappeared under the snow and ice and steam hissed as it too filled the air, as the icy cold hit the burning heat of the big iron stoves.
Mark watched, he seemed unable to move, as the second floor and the roof caved in and the avalanche kept going taking everything in its path.
‘Ingrid, Ingrid’ he screamed desperately and raced down to what was left of the once three story luxury hotel. He grabbed one of his skis and started digging with it. Then he seemed to hear a voice in his head, it whispered ‘the corner, the corner’ he moved to what would have been the corner of the building.
He dug until his hands were bleeding. Then he saw it, a small white hand wearing a diamond ring, her engagement ring. The scene that followed was horrific, when he found her, her legs and one arm were missing and a thick piece of wood had pieced her skull. Her lovely long hair was matted with ice and blood. Terror stared out of her still open eyes
Mark held her in his arms and sobbed. He gently closed her eyes. Then he took the ring from her finger and flung it into the pile of debris and taking off a small signet ring from his own little finger placed it on her wedding finger. He said quietly, ‘You are mine, my own sweet love, my Ingrid. Now you will always be mine.’
He took off his ski jacket and carefully wrapping what was left of her body, clasping it tightly close to his chest. He walked down the hill with his precious package, to the very edge of the deep icy ravine, then leapt.
Bio: AA Anderson says this is a completely fictional story about a luxury hotel in the Alps.