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August 20, 2017

Fiction: Bent

I just found this new writing exercise called 15 minute ficlets hosted by Amber at The Literary Phoenix in which a word is given and you have to write something for 15 minutes. I'm combinating last week's word "Bestial" and this week's "Unexpected." Visit Amber here.

15 minute ficlets

Fiction: Bent

The beast opened its mouth and came toward me. I stood unable to move a muscle. But the beast merely stopped at my feet and sat down. It whined like a child needing a pat on its head. I wanted to laugh for scaring myself. I lifted my hand and was about to pat the dog when a light caught my eye.

Someone appeared with a lantern held low to the ground and keeping their face in the shadows. The lantern's light lit the uneven, stone paved pathway that led to the gate where I was standing. I should not have stepped inside the gates but I didn't want to wait. The cold breeze lingered around me.

The man seemed almost shy as he stood in front of me with his head bowed a little. He held the lantern high showing his face lined with many wrinkles and scars. "This here is Lionel." The man said and then he added, "My name is Ralf. I am the housekeeper. You must be Mistress Sarah Bright." His voice was light and worn as if he was tired of talking just after a few words. Ralf said no more after that. I nodded. "I am." I bended down and pat Lionel. His hair was a soft as feathers.

I was here as the new mistress of Hallow Manor though it was only in title as I was merely a caretaker for the place. Its rightful master was my father Count Blule but he was too busy counting his money and his many sons. I was his only daughter but I was not special. Not in his eyes, nor my stepmothers. To say how many stepmothers I have is to say how many people ruled me. At times I struggled to refuse their commands as I had never thought myself their daughter or servant. Father had his own money but my stepmothers' riches kept him in a healthy state living among the rich folks. Father said I must obeyed my stepmothers or else I would be turn out to the streets. Father did not care for me as parents should and that was why I sometimes loathed him.

It was only after I turned nine, I began to see why my family shunned me. I was a strange one. I was too bold, too inquisitive, too talkative, too unladylike. I was not born a beauty and I walked with a limp after being bitten by a neighbor's dog at three. Now at twenty-two, I was not married nor do I have any marriage prospects and in this sense, there were no other choices for me other than to work for my family. But I was happy for I had never thought a woman needed a husband to be happy. I was not educated like my brothers. They went to school while I sat at home learning to be a lady though I succeeded at none of the skills I was supposed to learn but I got to read a lot of books. I taught myself the things I needed to learn and yet, I had not learned the art of deceit or even lying.

My only talent or thereof considered as talent by others if they knew, was that, I could bend an animal or a beast's will to mine. This strange power came just after I turned eighteen. One of the house visitors brought a dog. His name was Walter. Walter was an odd looking creature with oodles of white curls. Walter did not behave well. But when Walter came upon me, he became docile. When I told him to sit, he sat. When I told him to run away from his owner, he did. That was not a very nice thing to do but his owner was such a haughty lady and she treated him very badly. Walter was found three days later in the cellar of one of our neighbors who had been feeding him. 

I tried to ask Father about this new ability of mine but he dismissed it as nonsense and told me I should use my imagination less. When I tried again to talk to him, he would not see me.

Sometimes when I was to keep in my room when visitors came, three bluebirds appeared at my window. When I ask them to bring me an apple just to see what happens, they brought me an apple. They carried the apple between the three of them with a torn cloth holding the apple. But that was all the fun I had with my power. Over the years, I came into very little contacts with animals and people as I was kept indoors. I guess Father didn't like rumors that was going around about his strange daughter. I mostly kept it to myself.

Lionel sat there still like a child. While Ralf too seemed like he would sat down and wait for my command. Hence, I said, "Please, show me my rooms."

Ralf nodded while looking down at the ground. He picked up my one suitcase and then held out the lantern for me. I grabbed the handle and walked with Lionel at my feet down the stone path leading to the front door to Hallow Manor. I heard Ralf closed the gate behind me but I didn't turn. The manor was as Father described - decrepit and unused. At my left, the south wing was missing a wall with a piece of bed sheet filling in and blowing in the breeze. I sighed. This was my home for the rest of my life. I wasn't sure I like being here alone even with Ralf and Lionel. I wondered if there will be people coming. Father had said visitors sometimes come to the manor looking for Father as he was a doctor and perhaps they did not know he does not reside at Hallow anymore. Apparently, my job will consisted mostly of telling visitors Father's new residence.

Now I suppose you might wonder why I was here in the first place. I wanted to come. I wanted to get away from my family. When the eldest and the second wife of Father, Elsa, told me about her plans to send me here to revive the place, I thought it was my chance to be on my own. But now that I was here, I had different thoughts but it was too late to turn back.

Ralf opened the tall white front door. Inside, the manor was dark with a lit candle on a large table. The rest of the room was shrouded in darkness. But I was too tired to care. To my left was a long staircase leaning against the wall that Ralf started to climb. I followed without a word. My rooms were on the second floor - a sitting room with a few chairs and a table and a bed chamber with a four poster bed and a fireplace which was already lit. Ralf placed my suitcase beside the bed and bid me goodnight. Lionel seemed not to want to leave me. Ralf dragged him away. Ralf left me a candle but the moonlight through the windows was bright and it filled the room.

I fell onto the bed and closed my eyes. But then I heard a creaking sound. I opened my eyes and Ieaped off the bed just as the top part of it fell. The dust smothered the air for a moment. I ran to open the windows but it wouldn't budge. I tried the other one but it was the same. I used more force and the shutter slammed against the outer wall. I leaned out the window and took in the cool air. It was only my first day and already, I was sure I wouldn't like it here.

Note: This is obiviously a work-in-progress just like other many stories I had posted here.  I will probably write more if something comes.
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