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An Unsettled Estate: Part Four

Chris has written more than 300 flash fiction/short stories. Working Vacation was 21st out of 6,700 in the 2016 Writer's Digest competition.


I hear Philip’s cry of pain and his shouts as he chases me through the forest. I feel for my car keys in my pants pocket. If I can just get to the car before Philip catches me. I head for the sculpture garden. There is no other route that I know of.

When we reach the garden, Philip is right behind me. I can hear his breathing, almost sense his hand reaching for me. We both stop short at the sight before us. Sebastien has Keera by the throat and is holding her head under the water in the pool.


My anger takes over and I turn back to Philip. “Of all the scenes from their lives together which you could reconstruct, you choose this? The moment he kills Keera?” I look around and see that the gardener has left some of his tools behind. I grab a spade shovel and walk to where Sebastien is bending over the stone side of the pool. His face is twisted into an ugly grimace. Keera looks up from beneath the water, eyes wide in fear.

I swing the shovel and hear Philip shout my name. Steel strikes stone, scattering sparks that land in the water. Sebastien’s head splits into two pieces. Half lands at his feet. The other half falls into the pool where it stares at his lover, the mother of his child.

Philip grabs me from behind and spins me around.

“Sebastien and I offered you everything a woman could want or deserve. But you have rejected our plan.”

He has me by the throat, choking me, forcing me backward toward the pool. My legs catch on the stone sides, and I fall. Philip is on top of me, holding me under. I can see his face above me, distorted by the water. I turn my head and see Keera not far away. She is looking at me.

I reach out and grasp the piece of Sebastien’s broken head and thrust it out of the water, straight into Philip’s face. His grip weakens, and I squirm out from under him. I cough up water and spit it out. Philip is shaken, but not down, so I pick up the same stone and hit him again.

I run for my car, but turn back. The headless Sebastien still holds Keera’s head beneath the water. I make sure Philip is unconscious and approach the statue. I place both hands against his side and push. He is so heavy, I’m afraid I can’t do it. But he moves a little. I dig deep and push harder until he tips and crashes to the ground. It was only a symbolic gesture. None of this was real. But it was worth the effort.

I slide into my car and speed away as I dial 911 on my cell phone. The drive through the estate property twists and turns so that by the time I reach the main highway, a patrol car is just arriving. The officers tell me that other policemen and an ambulance are on the way, but that we need to head back to the mansion immediately.

Did I kill him? Is Philip dead? What else could I do? He was trying to kill me. There we were, side by side with Sebastien and Keera, two men murdering their lovers, history repeating itself.

The two officers leave me in the patrol car and enter the sculpture garden. A while later, more cars arrive along with an ambulance. People are going in and out of the garden. Some seem confused, shaking their heads. I need to see if Philip survived. I need to be part of the ending of this whole ordeal.


I get out of the patrol car and wait for an opportunity to slip unnoticed into the garden. I take my chance, put my head down and go for it.

The sculpture of the frontiersman stands as he has for two centuries. The Frenchman is still shading his eyes, peering out across the hills and valleys of St. Pierre. The rest of the scene shows me how very wrong I have been.

The body is draped over the side of the pool with its head submerged, just like I had been only moments before. Keera, whom I had just freed from the murderous hands of Sebastian, stands over Philip with an arm outstretched into the pool. Her stone fingers a vice around his throat.


It’s been a month since that terrible day. I’ve driven back to St. Pierre and have been walking on the abandoned grounds for an hour trying to muster the courage to enter the sculpture garden. I finally walk beneath the flowering trees and approach the fountain. There is no sign around the pool that anything unusual happened here. I finally turn and look at the place where I first saw them.

Sebastien stands where he always stood, headless from my blow with the shovel and arm-less from his fall when I pushed him over. Keera stands proud before him. One arm has been broken off at the elbow, the arm she used to hold Philip underwater in the pool. I approach and look into her eyes. The tear is gone, and I mimic the smile of triumph I see on her face.

  • An Unsettled Estate: Part One-Things are looking up for Nola when she suddenly gets a dream job and falls for a man who seems to be everything she has always wanted. But on the St. Pierre Estate, nothing is as it seems.
  • An Unsettled Estate: Part two-Nola sits in the sculpture garden, excited about her growing relationship with philip, but then she notices the sculptures of Keera and Sebastien. Their facial expressions have changed.
  • An Unsettled Estate: Part Three-Philip has caught Nola in the forest at night. They argue about whether the statues of Sebastien and Keera are alive and about Philip's plan to keep Nola as his secret mistress on St. Pierre estate.


Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on January 10, 2020:

I'm glad you enjoyed it, Dezirya. Thank you for your comments.

Dezirya on January 10, 2020:

I loved it!

Ann Carr from SW England on June 19, 2016:

You're welcome, Chris. I know well that the author's perspective is often clouded by lots of former ideas or phrases crowding in to confuse our subjective view.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on June 19, 2016:

Ann, Thank you for reading this story. I mean that too. It means a lot to me when you take time to tell me what you think of a story. I've mentioned in some other responses to comments that I have some reservations about this one. But maybe those things only stand out to me as the author. Thanks again for taking the time today.

Ann Carr from SW England on June 19, 2016:

Well, well; good for Keera. I like the revenge and the action mirrored in the statues is such a great idea. You've crafted this story well, Chris. It has pace, suspense, depth, emotion and satisfaction. Perfect.


Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on May 29, 2016:

Thank you, Larry.

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on May 28, 2016:

Great read.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on May 21, 2016:

Thank you Deb. Good feed back all the way through. I am looking for a storyline for a novel. I have one, but am not convinced it is what I should be spending my time on. This story does have it's strengths, but also some weaknesses in plot and motivations. I'm open to the possibility though.

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on May 21, 2016:

Cut, copy and print. I think this can be used as an outline for a wonderful period book.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on May 20, 2016:

Shauna, I appreciate you reading all the way through and for interacting in such a helpful manner. This story would definitely need some attention if I turned it into a novel. Motives and plot are two of the main problem areas, but they are most definitely fixable. I appreciate your enthusiasm and support.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on May 20, 2016:

Wow, what an ending! Keera was not the victim in the end, nor was Nora.

Chris, you could put so much filler into this and turn it into a suspense/supernatural novel. I would definitely buy it, but you'd have to start all over again. I'm not one to read the last paragraph of a book. I like to frantically turn the pages until I reach the end.

You've got it going on, my friend. Please, give those of us who love to read real-live-hold-in-your-hands books something to cling to. You have the makings of the next Dean Koontz, who happens to be my favorite author.

Cheers to you, man!

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on May 08, 2016:


When a story 'grabs you' like this one dies you don't notice the 'word count'. This was a great story.


Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on May 08, 2016:

Lawrence, I appreciate you and everyone who read through the whole story. Four thousand words on HP is a lot of reading, so I don't take this for granted. Thank you for your kind comments.

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on May 08, 2016:

Thoroughly enjoyable story.


Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on April 27, 2016:

Gypsy Rose Lee, I am so glad you were able to read all four parts. I know it's a lot to ask of readers, and I appreciate all who have read it so far. Thanks for the bravo.

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on April 27, 2016:

What can I say? Bravo!

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on April 24, 2016:

Catherine, Thank you for reading the complete story and for your feedback on how the story was built. I believe this is the most complex short story I've written. Probably a lot of what I put in it is lost to the reader, but hopefully it adds depth even if not fully seen.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on April 24, 2016:

btrbell, I'm glad the story came together in a satisfying way. Thanks for taking time to read through to the end.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on April 24, 2016:

Venkatachari M, Thank you for reading this whole story, and thanks for those kind words about my writing.

Catherine Tally from Los Angeles on April 24, 2016:

Hi Chris! This is a very intriguing story, and I read all four parts at one sitting. You've done a really nice job adding another element in each segment and bringing them all together for a suspenseful finish. I loved her wry smile at the end:)

Randi Benlulu from Mesa, AZ on April 24, 2016:

An appropriate, satisfying end to an intriguing tale! Thank you, Chris forfor an enjoyable read.

Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on April 23, 2016:

An excellent ending to the story. All the four parts have been so much thrilling and exciting. I enjoyed a lot and appreciate your talents in story-writing.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on April 23, 2016:

Thank you, Eric. I've been anticipating posting it here on HubPages and I am so glad you enjoyed it.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on April 23, 2016:

Becky, That comment means a lot to me. Thank you.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on April 23, 2016:

Stella Kaye, Thank you for taking this time out of your day for my story. Your excitement and feed back is very satisfying.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on April 23, 2016:

What a great addition to my weekend. Spellbinding. Thank you.

Becky Katz from Hereford, AZ on April 23, 2016:

Wonderful story. I loved it when she was rescued. You are expanding as an author. I still remember the first story you wrote on here.

Stella Kaye from UK on April 23, 2016:

Excellent story... just read all four parts... I love stories like this where inanimate objects and people interact in some sort of way. Well done.

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