Down In Flames

____________________________________________Down In Flames___________________
_________________________________________A Ghost Of Thornton Hall AE__________
By Sassysleuth (this AE can also be found on the HeR Interactive message boards)

__________Nancy Drew__________

I looked inside the safe, wondering what I would find.
“Whatever it is must be pretty important”, I said to myself.
I searched through the contents.
“An old glass…a dead rose…a photo…and a letter.”
The letter was yellowed and worn. I opened it and began to read.

Dear Reader.
I am pleased that someone has discovered this letter…I figured someone ought to know Why I have been so distraught lately.
If I am still alive, consider me a friend, and know that this is my way of confiding in you. If I am dead, know that I would’ve loved to meet you.
My life was perfect. Clara and I were friends and Harper and I could go through life without worrying over what the future held. Despite our crazy family and unnerving past, we felt safe.
That was years ago. Now is different.
Everyone who lives around here has heard of the Thornton company, and it’s been around for years.
It hurts me to think about the endless nights our employees spend there. Working in the cold, sleeping on the hard floor…and sometimes even padlocked – as Wade would say it – “in plain view of the world.”
No one cared.
But I did. I care because I never want anyone to be forgotten. I’ve learned that feelings like that aren’t universal. They don’t run in the family.
I was friends with a young man named Jackson, who worked at the company. Somedays I would see him walking to work. I could tell by the tired expression on his face that he wasn’t getting much sleep.
Whenever I’d talk to him, he’d smile that same eye-catching smile and his “tired” expression would disapear. I think it’s because he knew he could be himself around me, a Thornton. He could trust me.
No one knew about Jackson – not Harper, not Clara not even my very best friends. Only those who are resting peacefully in the cemetary have ever heard me rambling on about such things as Jackson, the company, and my struggle to hide my feelings about them both.
It pains me to write what follows.
Jackson died a month ago in the factory.
I remember the moment I heard about his death. I had rushed up the stairs and into my room.
I cried.
That night I thought about the company. I thought about my share in it. I decided that – although it is like choosing to have poverty over wealth – I want no part in it.
I end this letter with a heavy heart, and unknowing of what the future holds.
Charlotte Thornton
P.S. As for my part in all of this, visit Jackson and remind him of me by sharing my song with him. As for the lyrics, you may need to refresh his memory.

I folded the letter and put it in my pocket.
I couldn’t believe what I had just read. I was still staring into space when, suddenly, I heard a ringing sound.

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