Monday, July 23, 2007

Short Story

I've been working on a short story. I could put everything I've written so far here at once, but I'm going to give them to you section by section over the next couple of weeks... you know, just for fun. Enjoy! (or don't... but then you kind of stink.) ;^)


She crossed the threshold with a mixture of relief and trepidation. Outside the wind brushed stiffened leaves across blades of withering grass crisp with frozen dew. A shiver ran up her spine causing her to quiver involuntarily. It was colder than she remembered. Drawing her coat even closer to her body, she hugged herself tightly, arms wrapped around her body, hands moving up and down her arms. And yet, she couldn't seem to get warm. Perhaps the chill wasn't an effect of the weather.

She shook her bangs out of her eyes so they could slowly roam around the entryway. The fan overhead took turns obstructing and permitting streams of light from the lantern above it. The effect was something of strobe, causing objects to flicker here and there along the walls.

"How odd," she thought, "to have a fan running in such dreadful weather." Yet, the thought fled from her as quickly as it had entered, as quickly as the rotating slats sliced through each luminous ray. Somewhere in the distance she heard the distinct rattle and click of a doorknob turning, the almost inaudible creak of an old door sliding on a well-oiled hinge. Soon, she knew, the professorial click and clack of heel and toe against meticulous hardwoods would follow.

She jumped as something brushed against her ankles. Looking down her eyes met the golden-hazel of a lean, but well-fed calico. It wended its way in a few, determined figure eights between and around her legs, frozen in place by fear of the impending meeting. Then, quite unexpectedly, it looked her straight in the face and gave one quick lash of the tail, as if to say 'shame on you for coming'.

A bit unnerved at feeling chastised by a mere house cat, she watched it slink across the foyer only to be met with another surprise. There, just feet away, the feline met a new set of feet around which to entangle itself. They were not, however, clad in angular, well-polished loafers, as she had expected, but slim, overly-worn ballet slippers. This, she quickly realized was why she hadn't heard anyone approach.

"The mistress is not yet ready for you," explained the young maid whom she noticed, though seemly draped in the wearing rags of servitude both physically and emotionally, was not without charm. "She's asked for you to sit in the parlor while you wait."

Without another word her guide turned on her heels and padded swiftly and quietly down the corridor, opening a door just beyond the stairwell, but on the opposite side of the hall. There the maid waited until her charge passed beneath the ornate frame and found a seat in the interior of the museum-like parlor. Once she sat down, however, the maid, suddenly remembering her training, asked to take the guest's coat, offering refreshments of some sort while she waited.

"No thank you," she replied gratefully, "I'm still a bit chilled from the walk over. I think I'll keep my coat for the time being." Slightly abashed, the maid took the dismissal with a small curtsy and an even smaller sigh of relief. Truth be told, she would have liked a hot cup of tea, the chill was lingering in her bones longer than she had expected. But she could tell the young maid was uncomfortable and eager to part her company.

Now that she was once again alone, the chill seemed to set in even more. She hadn't expected to have to wait to see the mistress of the house. In fact, she had hoped the meeting, as much as she dreaded it, would be quick and concise, sending her back into the blustery day whose presence felt more welcoming than these foreboding walls. But, here she was, waiting once again in uncomfortable silence with nothing left to distract her but her over-active, over-curious imagination.