The Orphanage pt. 1

I’ve been working on an actual long, possible novel to go with https://phoenixrisng.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/the-beating/ this short. What I’m posting now would be the diary entries that the main character “Sam” finds from her great-great-grandmother. They provide the back story. Just thought I’d see what you all thought. Hope you enjoy.

 

October 18, 1848

We will be leaving Pennsylvania tomorrow for California. Father has dreams of gold in his eyes. He plans to take the Southern route with a group of settlers. The North route is too crowded as of late. I am excited for this adventure. Mother on the other hand does not wish to leave the city. She says she will miss her parties, and the road is no place for a young girl. But, there was no persuading Father. I look forward for what is to come.

Evelyn

November 1, 1848

I thought traveling would be exciting. It has been difficult, and there is not much to eat. We have to stay in cramped quarters and cannot get out to stretch our legs as often as I’d like. A one of the settlers has developed a cough. Mother seems content with sewing, but I know she is worried especially with winter upon us. Luckily the south is much warmer than the North.

Evelyn

November 10, 1848

I am too distressed to write. Mother has is now coughing like the settler. They think it is tuberculosis. I am petrified. I cannot bare it if something was to happen to Mother or Father.

Evelyn

 

November 21, 1848

The conditions are not improving. We camped for two days in Texas. It is a very large place. It will still take us another week to cross. Though we are south it is still very cold and Mother is so ill she cannot leave the wagon. I am no longer excited, but frightened about what is to come.

Evelyn

November 30, 1848

We have just entered a place called the New Mexico Territory. It is supposed to be safe, but there was a war here recently. So, I hope nothing terrible happens. I have to put cool rags on mother hourly to keep her fever at bay. I am still being hopeful, but it is foolish to think she will make it to California now. The settler died last week while we were in Texas. I hope he finds peace in that large piece of land.

Evelyn

December 9, 1848

I am devastated. Mother passed last night. I don’t know how we can have a happy Christmas now with her no longer here to celebrate. It’s hard to believe that Father so longingly still wants to get to the gold mines in California. We have just reached the mountains in the Arizona territory. I know that her final resting place will be a beautiful one. I cannot write anymore now.

Evelyn

December 30, 1848

It has taken us almost a month to travel through the mountains in this territory. They are treacherous in the snow. A wheel broke on the wagon and had to be fixed. Luckily, around this area with red rocks we found a small village who settled from the war. We are resting until the New Year. I cannot believe it is almost 1849. I will be twelve years old next year, and we will start the year without Mother. It is unimaginable.

Evelyn

January 2, 1849

Father left. He wrote a note that said without Mother he cannot take care of me, and the gold mines are no place for a young lady. He just left me in this village. I cannot bare it. It is too awful.

Evelyn

March 4, 1849

I have been staying with a very nice family. They have twin boys that are four years old. I know they do not have the means to keep me, but I help out the best I can. They town is building an Orphanage; they have a few other children that need a home as well. It will be finished come April. I will be glad not to burden this family any longer.

Evelyn

April 10, 1849

I have just moved into my new room at the orphanage. Red Rock Orphanage. It is comfortable, the head mistress seems nice. Her name is Miss Sullivan. The Gates said I may visit them anytime I would like. But, I know they were glad that I have a more permanent place to live now. I am excited to begin lessons again. At least I will have that. I wonder if Father ever thinks of me?

Evelyn

May 1, 1849

We are not allowed to wander into the forest that stretches behind the building. Though you cannot exactly call it a forest, it is more a dense, black, mangled corpse of dead foliage. I heard Mrs. Gates once say there had been a great fire there during the war and then nothing would grow afterward. It looks so intriguing; I find it hard not to inspect the forest. Aside from lessons and things that proper ladies ought to learn, I have nothing to do. A little adventure never hurt a young girl.

Evelyn

May 15, 1849

It was my birthday. The cook made a nice cake and the other children sang to me. It was quiet. Nothing like we used to have in Pennsylvania, when Mother was alive, but I thought it was sweet. I had not expected anything. Miss Sullivan gave me a new journal. I hugged her; it was so thoughtful.

Evelyn

June 3, 1849

I have to record everything. Miss Sullivan is a nice lady, but she does not believe me. She has this whole predisposition about witchcraft. I know what happened. I would not have believed it myself if it did not happen to me. It began today after church. We are allowed free time after church. The other children were playing a game of tag. I on the other hand wanted to take this time, while Miss Sullivan was having her afternoon nap, to explore the forest. I snuck away from the fray of the children and into the silent forest. The guardian trees loomed above me murky, creating shadowy figures and the appearance of night, though it was mid-afternoon. I walked further into the forest, the paths wound around each other intersecting. I could not tell where I was being led. I just kept to the one I thought I entered on. There were no flowers, bushes, or anything that breathed life. It was all dead. On the right I saw a beautiful tree; though it was no longer growing it had wonderfully twisting branches, perfect for climbing. I veered off my path and began the ascent. I had almost reached the top and could see just over the tree tops. When I heard a crack, the branch under me hurtled toward the ground. Of course it had been dead and brittle. I should have known. My heart pounded as the ground came closer and then it stopped. I stopped. I knew I was dead.

“Ooh a little girl, yes this should do nicely.”

I could hear a voice. I knew I was dead. I asked myself, how could I hear a voice? I decided to speak. “How can I hear you, am I not dead?”

“Yes, of course. This is most unusual. My victims usually do not speak after I have killed them. Interesting, very interesting.”

“Who are you? Why did you kill me?”

“I should ask you. You wondered into my forest. This is becoming tedious. I am going to rip your heart out now. I am tired of conversation.”

I had come to the assumption, that I must have been different from her other meals; therefore I could not let her rip my heart out. She had already told me that she had never spoken to her food before. I would have to negotiate.

“Can we come to an agreement?”

“What kind of agreement?”

“You tell me who you are and what you want, in return, I help you and you do not make a meal from me.” At this point, I was still having this conversation subconsciously. We seemed to be communicating without speaking out loud.

“Very well dear.” A hideous cackle escaped her lips and she said something in a language unintelligible. I was able to open my eyes and sit up. In front of me was a young woman who could not have been older than my Mother. She had dark eyes and long dark hair. “I am Kerys. I am Death.”

I scooted backwards, but remained in front of her. I could not risk upsetting her again. It was obvious she could take my life with a snap of her fingers.

“This is my domain. I reside in this forest. Of course, I cannot just be sustained from nature. I require more nutritious substance.” Her dark eyes twinkled as she looked me up and down. “Though, if you want live, I will allow that, but it will not come without consequence.”

Every year I would have to bring Kerys a child, so she could have the heart and death would remain. In return she would allow me to live and the orphanage to remain unharmed. I ran out of the forest pondering the bargain I made. When I tried to explain to Miss Sullivan about what happened she only scolded me for going into the forest and talking about witchcraft. Especially on a Sunday. There was no one in this world that would believe the truth of what happened and now I and my future family would be cursed to do the unthinkable for years to come. What had I done? I should have died.

Evelyn

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The Beating

There was nothing but the faint sound of a beating noise. She could not distinguish if it was coming from in her own head or outside. Lost. She looked around; the world was unfamiliar. Had she fell asleep here? It did not make any sense.

She pulled herself up from the ground where she lay in a mat of tangled leaves and branches. Trees loomed over her twisting their dark thorny branches in cascades of leafy fingers that formed an impenetrable fortress. If there was sun shining somewhere, she could not tell. The garment on her was torn and threadbare as if it had been worn many times. She fingered the soft cotton rolling it over her thumb. It seemed familiar. Her feet were bare. A thought popped into her head, shoes. Why would she be without shoes? The girl rubbed her temples, the beating, it was still distant but persistent.

Her body ached as she sat up. The ragged dress hardly fell to her knees. There were cuts and bruises on her legs and arms. Still, she could not remember a thing. Even her own name seemed to escape her. She decided to stand up. The only thing to do was move from wherever she was. The wretched beating, she wanted to leave it behind. It was agonizing. After much concentration, she stumbled to her feet on the gritty dirt path. The girl headed in what she thought would be the right direction.

She walked for some time. Not really knowing how much time passed and in what direction she was going. The beating remained steady. In fact, she thought it might be getting louder. The canopy of trees did not become any less dense. The underbrush increased and the girl had to start climbing over logs and bushes. The beating rang louder in her ear, she winced and covered it with one hand. What was that? A smell of rancid rot snaked her senses. The girl stepped backward her eyes watering. She pushed forward through the stench. She wanted to know if there was some clue that lay ahead.

In the darkness of the trees, she made out the outline of a small cabin ahead. She hurried onward toward it. Approaching it cautiously, she opened the door. The girl covered her ears with both hands now, while breathing through her mouth. The noise of the beating became overwhelming. She saw a pool of crimson on the floor. On her tip toes, she side stepped this and then looked up. There on the wall written in blood it said, “You are Viola”. Underneath on a wooden table was a small black velvet box. The girl opened it with a steady hand. Inside was a beating heart. She remembered everything.

 

To be continued…

Unfairy Tale

It has been awhile since I have written anything. For this, I am sorry. I have been in a foul mood as of late. And thus, begins my decent into a spiral of loathsome and dark tales. The following is an excerpt (really its the beginning) of a short fairy tale I am working on. I hope you enjoy. ~ dreamersrapture

Once upon a time, there was an enchanted land disconnected from our own world. It had the ordinary things one might expect of an enchanted land, magical creatures, talking trees, sorcerers and elves. But, these were of a fearsome sort. Different from the lands of the bedtime fairy tale, this was a world of dark enchantments. It was called Darkarrow.

The beasts that roamed Darkarrow were evil in nature. Faeries would flit from forest to sea spreading misery on everything they happened by. Centuars would roam somber through the Forest of Stench, miserable, and fight anything that crossed their path. The Goblins were perhaps some of the worst and trickiest creatures. If one stumbled into their traps they would rot there, or if one was lucky enough to be found, they would be cooked for dinner. (This was better than starving to death and then rotting.) The other beasts were more foul and horrid, therefore, shall not be mentioned.

The Last Tiger

We had been dying a long time.

Then when all was to be lost it became everybody’s plight–it no longer singularly belonged to my species. Yet, there was nothing left of us to be scared for, to tremble in fear at the loss of, save myself and a few others who still roamed the jungles of India. What was left of them anyway.

I often wondered, “Was I already dying when I arrived as a cub on this earth, or did I begin dying when I became fully grown and was now just living until I ceased?”

There was mass panic among the humans when the ball of fire began destroying their habitats. I who had been encroached upon my entire existence by these selfish creatures couldn’t understand. They had never helped another creature, not even their own kind. Destruction was their nature, would they not be used to this?

I cleaned my fur, polishing the orange, black and white–my stripes were looking fine as ever. I wanted to look my best for the end. Slowly the water came further inland and although it was usually warm in the jungle, rain stopped. The lush greens dried. Until, they were overwhelmed by the ocean waters. In which case they drowned.

I had always love to climb, so for the moment I took refuge in a tree. It was easy hunting as many others had seen fit to hide up here as well. Then, I became increasingly thirsty. The ocean water was too salty and the heat became intolerable. My fur was matted and sopping with sweat. No matter how much I panted, I couldn’t keep myself cool.

The fire from the sky had been long since extinguished but the continuing effect were devastating. Many of the trees and plants began drooping and sagging. They could no longer hold themselves proud. From my perch, I saw animal casualties littering the jungle floor or float by in the flooded river. Many belonged to the once selfish human race.

I knew my time was at hand, but I had been dying for a long time. Now it was time to let go. Body draped across the branch, head resting on my paws, eyes fluttered closed–sleep finally came.

Sunset

I held out the flower, petals glowing like warm, melted butterscotch in the sunset-a brown chocolate center. She took it in her hand looking back at me the rose and violet from the clouds, swimming in her pale sky eyes. “Sunflowers are for girls.” She dropped it on the ground, crushed the flower with her shoe and ran off toward the darkening street. I was in love at eight years old.

 

It had come slowly to begin with. Crept in the crevices and hid where no one could see. Marie never knew what was waiting to attack her own body so deviously.  Disease is like that, it is calculating, cold, it shows no mercy, until the day it makes its presence known. Marie clutched her side, doubling over; having been in perfect health she had no thought as to what could be wrong. She lay in the hospital bed awaiting her test results, her husband at her side. Next to him stood her daughter and grandson (named for his grandfather).  By the time the doctor had returned with the results, Marie was disappearing. Cancer.

                By high school she had come into her own, although, there was still a bit of that wild girl I had met in the second grade. I still loved her. Unruly copper curls hung down past her shoulders, she stood in the hall, whispering with a girlfriend; I stared, not too discretely.

“Just ask her, man.” My long-time pal Charlie, he was encouraging me to ask her to the winter formal. I was trying to muster the courage. I searched for my eight-year-old self once again. Where had he gone? Probably playing cops and robbers somewhere, laughing at the fact that my seventeen-year-old self had become so self-conscious.  I dragged my feet forward; they suddenly felt like two ten pound weights at the bottom of my body holding me down. Her friend looked up and saw me; she whispered something, they both giggled. My stomach flipped.

“Marie?” I said barely above a whisper. I looked up at her, catching her eyes still the color of the sky, they hooked me in like a fish on a pole, and I was stuck.

“Elliot?” She looked at me.

“Will you go to the formal with me?” It came out like river rapids, way too fast and all over the place. I was sure I would be misunderstood.

A small smile crept across her face, “Alright.”

 

Marie disappeared. Way to quick some would say. But then, cancer is a monster. A beautiful, silent, killer. The perfect disease. They buried her. The cemetery was small, quiet, a private place where they could have their moment as a family. Little Eli ran around the grass in his bare feet letting the earth hold his heavy heart. He knelt down and put his head to the ground listening, “Grandma? Are you in there? Can you hear me?” His mother scooped him up. His grandfather took them both in his arms tears welling in eyes.

 

“Marry me?” It was sunset again. I liked that time of day; it felt like mine, mine and Marie’s. We had been out of high school for four years now, and I had just been accepted to law school. Waves plunged onto the shore and then said farewell. It was a sad affair, but part of the cycle of things. We sat half buried in the sand on an empty beach. It had been a nice holiday weekend, though I was keen to return and start the necessary arrangements for my law work. I looked over to her; she was still quiet.

Finally, she looked at me and said, “Why?”

I thought to myself for a moment, before speaking, “Because, with you, I am the best version of me. I don’t want to be anyone but you and me, forever. I love you.” I watched her watch the waves and the vibrant violet, goldenrod sunset.

She looked over, kissed me on the nose and said, “Yes,” a smile spreading across her face. I smiled too.

 

Kidney stones. Heart Attack. Pneumonia. (The doctors tried to label it.) There was really only label to give. Love sick. Elliot may not recover. How do you recover from losing the love of your life? He looked so small lying there in bed, shriveled. She would have been able to go on. She had been the strong one; the flower crusher. But, from the beginning, he had been the love sick puppy. Elliot knew he had been here to do one thing, take care of Marie. His job was done. His will was failing. Eli looked at him, eyes wide, as he sat next to his grandfather. Elliot took Eli’s hand, “Love someone Eli, love them with your whole being, and don’t be afraid to make yourself the fool.”

 

Jaqueline Marie. Marie gave me the second love of my life. That day in the hospital, I was a nervous wreck, bumbling around, practically stumbling over anyone and everything. When the nurse came out holding Jackie, my breath stopped, the world ceased for a moment. It was just us, and I held her. A little pink bundle of uncertainty, of possibilities. I wanted everything for her, but most of all I wanted her to have a sunset with us. When Marie was well enough we took Jackie out into the evening air and watch the earth paint the sky on fire.

“See the red, orange and pink,” I whispered to Jackie, though she couldn’t understand just yet. I held Marie close, and I knew that our daughter would come to love the beauty of the world as much as we did.

 

Elliot Cooper

Husband, Father, Grandfather

Sunset Lover – Marie’s other half

Fire and Rain

He stared at the bed, unblinking, with sweaty palms. The sound of the machines were waning. His heart beating rapidly. Hers seemed to be slowing, steady, her breathing easing. He paced back and forth next to her bed. watching the muscles in her face relax. She was gone two days ago. “Hospice,” whispered the doctors. She wasn’t going to make it out of this hospital. He turned and did something he had not done since he was six years old.

He took his father’s hand. They clung to each other, steady. Their clammy palms interlocking. All of the things left unsaid, and now it seems forgotten. Her eyes flutter, not really opening, but as if she is dreaming off into the other world. His body tensed, and he squeezed his father’s hand. Reminiscent of the doctor’s office, a large, sharp needle heading into his shoulder. He held his dad’s hand so tight, if it hadn’t been his tiny, six year old hand, he might have broken it with that grip.

But, now he was seventeen. Old enough to do some damage. Yet, he squeezed it gingerly. He did not want to hurt his father more. They watched on the monitor, the lines became smaller. Yet, his heartline seemed to become increasing larger, when did breathing become so difficult? When did it matter so much? All of a sudden it took so much concentration. Then, in one large exhale, he had control again, and her line was flat. They looked at her. Her chest was no longer moving.

Dropping his father’s hand, he turned and left. How could he watch her leave, no longer exist? He ran down the hall, out the double doors, he ran until he saw the exit sign. He burst into the courtyard. His whole body shaking, doubled over, breathing in the fresh air. He still could.

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“I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain. I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end. I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend. But, I always thought that I’d see you again.” – James Taylor

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