For the Love of Mary

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Commercial Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


This story follows Lucy, an elderly elephant who reminisces about her past and what brought her to the Sanctuary she now resides in. From the plains of Africa and the seedy underground of the
circus, to the one man, she lost her heart too.

Submitted: August 27, 2018

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Submitted: August 27, 2018

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2018:

Lucy wasn't much to look at, or so that's what she thought, nothing but an old maid. Oh sure she'd added a few more rings to her flesh, like bunched up fabric, but that's the way it always was. She gazed out at the pasture, the sun setting in the distant hills. The dirt soft beneath her feet and the air settled. Not a gust of wind, or humid breath, just stillness. That's the way Lucy liked it; her eyes scanned the scene. She had a beautiful view of some beeches and Oakwood. The field drenched in rapeseed, like a lake of gold beneath the setting sun. And the clouds burst with hues of purple and pink. Now, Lucy wasn't much to complain, she made a point never to do so, even when arthritis ravaged her joints, or her skin became so dry they feared for her health. No, you couldn't get a peep out of her. And especially when moments like these arrived could you even hear her breath on the evening air. She'd linger in her thoughts letting her memories blossom.

I can remember the very moment I was born. She thought. The first steps I took. I can remember my mother's eyes and my father's nose. But what more can you expect from an elephant? Oh did I forget to mention that Lucy was an elephant? Well, she is, and a damn good one too. She used the soft landscape to reflect her life's journey. From the warm African plain, and the seedy underworkings of the circus life, to the safety of the Sanctuary. She continued to gaze out, the sun never faltering from her migration south. Lucy stood atop the hills, her Ivey towers, away from the other elephants. She rarely bothered herself with the problems of elephant life. She really didn't even see herself as one, but rather human. So it's no surprise that she once lost her heart to one.

The year is 1922, and it's hotter this year than the one before. Lucy comes into the world with a roar and a thought, her family gathers near. The dust settled and the little babe gazed out, her eyes bouncing from face to face. Her forehead wrinkled like the ripples on a clear lake. What is one to think when they're born? Do they wonder what strange land they have come upon? With these strange creatures and strange surroundings? And what does one think of themself? Lucy felt the strong trunk of her mother as it wrapped about her squirming body. The sensation of touch immediately overwhelmed her. What is this odd feeling? She thought. The land fell from her feet as she was gently lifted up. It was love, and it surged through her soul with mighty wings.

Lucy loved reminiscing about her days in Africa. The sweltering sun beating down on the land. She ran alongside her mother kicking dust up in her walk. The Baobab trees and the Kenkiliba shrubs in the distance. They walked for miles over lengths of sand and mud. But of course this is no problem for Lucy, it's just as natural to her as breathing.

A year finally passed for Lucy and the sandy terrain she knew so well turned into vibrant green foliage. Lucy loved this more because there was so much to do for an elephant. Earlier that year the family had a run in with some angry men who chased them. Lucy never saw such hatred before, not to mention such a tiny species. Good lord, thought Lucy, what's wrong with them? She can still see their faces, wrinkled dark men and one fat white man dressed in something much too small for him. Unfortunately, Lucy would become all too familiar with men like these in her future. Strange sounds escaped their scrawny lips as they charged toward the family. Lucy's mother shoved her behind and with a loud bellow, swung toward the men. Lucy could see the fat man some distance pull a large stick from his side. He took aim and out of nowhere through a puff of smoke Lucy heard the strangest sound whizz past them. The other men stopped and turned giving the family the opportunity to run. Another sound like the crack of thunder echoed through the sky. They ran for miles, not even stopping to look back. When the sounds of blasting finally stopped and they could no longer hear the swift shuffling of feet, refuge, was the next thing on their minds. Lucy joined her mother beneath a rather large tree and they gazed about at the distant plain.

"Alright beautiful." A soft voice traveled near, shaking Lucy from her dreams. She knew that voice, it belonged to a young woman. She responded all the time to the name Charlotte so Lucy only saw her as such. Her deep red locks were pulled behind her head with a band. It resembled a trunk motioning with every movement. Human hair is such a funny thing, Lucy thought, some have too much of it, while others have too little. Charlotte's' was always the perfect amount. She walked up to Lucy placing her hand gently on the elephant's face. Charlotte had a habit of talking to Lucy about her life. "Well..." Charlotte spoke, "he said he loved me last night, Lucy." Lucy's eyes shifted toward the tiny woman. "And do you want to know what I said?" What did you say, thought the elephant. "Nothing. I just smiled." Lucy shook her head from side to side, her large ears flapping like a flag in the wind. Charlotte chuckled and scratched Lucy's face. "Ya know, sometimes it feels like you know what I'm saying." I do know Charlotte, thought Lucy, and I'm here for you. The tiny human walked with the ancient creature, like a children's fairytale book, unlikely individuals becoming the best of friends. Charlotte was nothing close to the few humans Lucy had the misfortune of meeting in the beginning. Her tiny nose scrunched up as she continued to speak, all the while guiding Lucy down the hill.

They entered the back of a rather strong and sturdy building, the metal facade only slightly rusted. Just the way I am, thought Lucy, slightly rusted but I'm strong. She chortled at this amusement in only a way an elephant would be able to. What people don't get is just how funny elephants can be. Quick-witted and sarcasm come to mind, but not in such a way that people are accustomed too.

Lucy followed beside her tiny friend, never lagging or ahead. Her stall was in the very far corner where the light bulb hung from the socket. Charlotte did that because the majestic beast preferred the darkness, not to forget the aforementioned light and its' loose wire. The lowest octave of humming started occurring some months prior. It was relentless, like a mosquito set on making a meal of one body alone. Lucy entered her cubicle of hay and blankets. While the others followed close behind. It didn't take long for the once quiet building to resound with chatter from both humans and elephants. One by one, gates were closed, even the hinges had something to say. Then as quick as it seemed the elephants were alone.

Elephants often dream in vivid colors. For Lucy it was dales full and vibrant, that dipped like ripples in the water when the wind blew. Or the deep rich sands of the African plains, the grains meeting her feet with a warm hug. That was after all her life for the first few years.

1923:

"Mom where are you?" The tiny wrinkled creature cried out. The backdrop of the desert plain responded with a long silence. "Mom?" She called once more. Her beady eyes not yet fully opened from sleep scanned all around with no sight of her mother. It seemed a thousand lifetimes before she heard any noise outside her own thoughts. The ground resounded beneath Lucy's feet a low and soft rumble until it built up into a crescendo. She watched the slow blurry creature come into focus, her mother's rough exterior softening. "Mother!" Lucy cried. Her pudgy legs pumping as fast as they could, "I was so scared. Where were you?" Lucy wailed. "It's alright little one, I was never gone far." Her mother replied. "You were sleeping and I didn't want to wake you." She lowered her trunk to the young elephant dropping at her feet a large chunk of tree bark, tufts of grass, and soil. Lucy gazed in silence feeling quite silly to think that her mother would leave her. She chuckled under her breath and poked at the assortment of food. "Sorry," she mumbled scooping up the cool blades of grass. At just a year old the young elephant felt quite mature enough to roam. But even in this old age Lucy still had moments that caught her by surprise. For example the heat and how on most days she could actually feel it stick to her flesh like tree sap. Or the tiny world that flooded parts of the ground, the strict work ethic of the ants always on the move, they tired out the elephant. The curious sounds in the distance whom mother called neighbors. She gazed out onto the vast landscape, the sand dunes and vegetation, the trees withered and ancient. Why are they that color? Thought Lucy. Why not something more bright? Her thoughts were soon placed to the side upon the sudden sounds of shuffles in the foliage. She closed her eyes as a tremor rippled across the terrain. She dug her toes into the earth as the aftershock resonated into her feet. She knew that frequency, an elephant, thought Lucy. She heard a shrill trumpeting cry, as if to announce the arrival of a queen. It was soon followed by a strong and present rumble then Lucy realized that the trees were quivering. The young elephant watched in shock as the trees bowed down. It was horrifying, the branches snapped beneath their weight and the leaves chafing were enough to make Lucy grimace. "Good evening," came that same shrill voice. Twice the size of mother and twice the ugly, thought Lucy. Her trunk had scars in every fold and where her tusks might have been was instead a shard of bone. Not to forget about her right eye or lack thereof; a long and deep scar came down over the socket. It was unlike anything Lucy ever saw. "Good evening madam," Lucy's mother replied. Towering over the small elephant the little creature gazed up in terror and awe. "Little one, won't you say hello?" Her mother softly asked. But Lucy couldn't find her voice, she felt her legs weaken and shake, at any moment going out from under her. The haggard giant glared down at Lucy in silence seemingly studying the frightened elephant. "Can you speak?" She harrumphed. Mother came up beside her baby and maneuvered herself in-between the two. A shadow casting upon Lucy as consequence, but that was perfectly okay with her. "She is just a little shy." Spoke her mother in a voice as calm as still water. The giant elephant stepped back and nodded in silence. Finally Lucy could breathe again. She turned her body toward the toppled trees and with a yank of her trunk completely stripped one side of the bark off. She then nosed through the greenery and dusted from the roots the loose topsoil. Lucy watched in despair as they were slowly dissected. You wouldn't think one was supposed to fall for their food, but she did just that. It then dawned on her that as she watched the massacre she was not alone. Further in the back of the trees stood three more elephants one that even stood at Lucy's height. They stepped forward bidding good evening to mother and then to Lucy. "This is my family." Explained the beastly elephant. "I came upon them while quenching my thirst further south. We have been together ever since." They encircled the trees, one by one standing the same length apart before tearing into the smorgasbord of food. The ancient beast signaled to mother and Lucy to come forward. "Please, enjoy the provisions." She said, her pitch only slightly higher. "Then you must think about joining us. The more the better." Lucy turned to her mother waiting for her to shoo them away but it never came. Instead Lucy found herself being led into the huddle between two larger elephants. They blocked the sunlight from warming up the babe and a darkness instead began to rise.


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