Chapter 5: The Journey begins

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 35

It was about midday by the time the old lady and I made it back into town. The once cloud covered sky had now cleared to reveal the azure sky. For some reason or another, I felt that everyone was staring at us. Every passerby's eyes seemed transfixed upon us. Even as they fell behind, their beady eyes never seemed to peel away from us. Was there something on my face? In my hair? Did the old lady seem out of the ordinary? The answers to my questions would come in the form of missing posters plastered across every corner of every building. Pictures of my face were all over no matter where I looked, alongside that, every pair of eyes within a ten metre radius were fixed upon me. Walls which I remembered were cleaner than the old lady's bathroom earlier this morning were now covered with posters detailing my name, my affiliation to my family and most importantly, the reward for my recovery. No matter how hard I tried to hide my face within my long hair, the stares never stopped. Mirrors and cameras had completely surrounded me in the course of one morning.


It was then when I realised that my time with the kind old lady had come to an end and that it was finally time for me to continue running. When we finally made it back to the house, she had fallen silent once again. She had surely seen the posters, it was hard not to. I tried to speak up, but immediately fell silent after being interjected.


"Ah, I was hoping this day would have come later rather than sooner. Wouldn't you agree Miss Amy?"


By the time she had finished her sentence, I found my hands cupped within her own.


"You don't do a good job of hiding it my dear. The way you speak, the way you carry yourself, all qualities of a refined young lady. And that nightdress of yours too, finest silk anyone could ever buy in this country."


I found myself unable to hold back a chuckle, but the chuckle soon faded into an empty frown.


"We all have our reasons for doing things. Whether it's the thief stealing bread for his hungry family, or the mother working long hours day and night to provide for her children, or the daughter from one of the wealthiest families running away from a life of luxury. Whatever yours is, hold it close and never stop chasing after it."


She had lifted my hands and pushed them towards the chest, stopping only when the flats of my palms came to rest above my beating heart. She knew better than I that my time here was limited, yet there was nary a twinge of sadness within her smile. Seeing her like this, my body just could not help but propel itself forward into a hug, another first of many. 


"Are you sure about this?" 


The old lady enquired one final time as she ran her fingers effortlessly through my long beautiful hair. With a nod, I gave her free reign over the scissors as well as my hair. It was a practice so trivial to the common man, yet considered to be a high honour among a select trusted few outside of my family. The stylist appointed back at the prison was under strict orders to never give me a haircut any shorter than my shoulder blades, a style which apparently represented health, wealth and high social status… if we had been living in the time of the Ancient Greeks and Romans that was. As pretty as my locks were, I had always found them much more trouble than they were worth, thus leaving them with zero sentimental value to me.


Locks of hair fell clump by clump alongside the satisfyingly metallic grate of every scissor snip, gradually revealing the shape of my head that was hiding beneath it. To this day, I often wonder how Mother tyrant would have reacted to this preposterous deed back then. Her poor soul might have actually left her body right there and then, assuming she even had one to speak of that is. The old lady mumbled to herself a little song as she went about snipping my hair. It had the heartiest upbeat melody I had ever heard, but the occasional lyric or two I overheard seemed to directly contradict it with some of the most sorrowful string of words I had ever heard. To pry or not to pry, that was the spark which triggered a fierce internal war between my inner selves. It was an internal war of little consequence however, as the haircut was over long before a conclusion could even be reached.


I had to give it to her, despite her age, she was clearly knowledgeable and handy with not just the scissors, but with styling and managing my hair as well. Once a long undeviating stream of undisturbed black fibres, my hair had now turned into a short messy crisscross of rapids, all of which shared similar origins but ended in multiple destinations. The once boring reflection I had grown distasteful towards over the years had suddenly become breathtakingly unrecognisable. No matter how I looked at it, I was sure that the reflection in the mirror was someone else's. It was then when I realised that my face was not as perfect as I had been brought up to believe. With my face finally bare, the facade of moulded perfection fell away easily, revealing a face with imperfections, irregularities and asymmetry. 


Thank you.


That was all I could mutter out from my quivering parted lips.


The first string to thaw had finally snapped under the fire's touch.




I was up and about with the old lady way before the sun was to break the horizon the very next day. The big brown leather bag hanging across my body from my shoulder held nothing more other than my nightdress, a couple of sandwiches, a letter, and of course, Tsuki. I adjusted the brim of the massive sun hat perched atop my head over my face as I looked on from far. Down at the pier, the old lady was chatting it up with a man who looked just as old as her, if not slightly older. They seemed friendly, perhaps overly so. I had wagered a guess that they have had some history together. Their inaudible conversation lasted just a couple minutes, with their eyes stealing glances at me every so often. Finally, with a bow and profuse gratitude on her lips, the old lady came away from the pier and returned to me with the widest smile on her face. The first step of the plan was underway.


In life, no amount of anything is ever given for free, a lesson I finally learned as I carried heavy food supplies up from the pier and into the cramped quarters. By the time the relevant equipment and necessary supplies were loaded onto the boat, I was completely exhausted and slick head to toe with perspiration.


"You'd better get used to this. My little sister isn't as physically capable as I am nowadays."


I prayed that the old lady was joking, but her laughter had told me otherwise. 


The time I spent with her was not long by any means, but it was some of the best times I had ever had up till then. And the fact that it was practically given to me for free was something which made my heart sting a little as I looked at her.


"Don't worry about paying me back. If it really worries you that much, then come back and visit me from time to time. Maybe bring that boy too when you find him, that's all I ask."


The blood which flowed within either of us was as different from each other as each individual snowflake which falls from the sky during winter. She was not my mother, nor my grandmother, yet I felt a certain kinship with her that I had never felt with any of my family members. It is commonly said that blood is thicker than water, but what is one drop of cold blood compared to a full cup of warm water? 


I owe my everything now to her, the one who encouraged me to take on the journey to find you…




Who would have guessed that the old lady would have such a pretty name?

Submitted: October 11, 2020

© Copyright 2021 somerandompseudonym. All rights reserved.


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