...And the Angels Wept

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Religion and Spirituality  |  House: Booksie Classic

Charlotte is a young girl who has grown up in the ideal home, yet finds herself attracted to what lies outside of her perfect world in a city that all seem to warn against despite the beautiful pictures painted by those who have seen inside the walls.

Chapter 1 (v.1) - Discontent

Submitted: December 30, 2014

Reads: 160

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Submitted: December 30, 2014

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She sat on the hill, enjoying the sun on a beautiful summer day.  Not too hot, not too cool, just perfect.  She stuck her legs out before her, leaning back on her arms and wiggling her toes in the soft grass.  This was the place for her.  This was the place she loved, where she could clear her mind, where there was space to think.  The hill was situated just above the city she called home.
But was it really home?  Did Charlotte believe in her heart that this city was home?  She sat forward to ponder this question.  Home is where you go when you feel lonely.  It’s the place you wake up in, live in, laugh in, cry in, and in the end sleep in.  Not for Charlotte.  This city seemed lonely to her.  It didn’t feel right.
What was wrong with it?  Was it that everybody seemed content and she wasn’t?  Was it that you never saw the King who ruled the people?  Was it that the King only communicated to His people through letters?  How were they to know who these letters were from?  How were they to know that He even existed?  The neighboring city had governors!  You knew who they were, what they stood for, how they felt about things.
“What King rules through a pen?!” grumbled Charlotte.
She was now at the age where she was free to do as she pleased, whatever that may be.  Perhaps she could go to the City of Psevdaisthisis.  It was beautiful!  The city was even more beautiful than this city, the City of Alitheia.
Charlotte hadn’t always felt this way about her home.  She had been born and raised here.  Her parents were some of the best citizens you could find!  They had a joy about them that confused her.  Somehow, they were content with their lives.  They were content with their house, even though there were bigger and more beautiful ones in the other city!  They were content with their clothes, even though there were better and more beautiful clothes in the other city!  They were content with their food, even though there were fresher and tastier things in the other city!  But every time she brought up these thoughts, they’d look at her like she had just cursed the King!  She simply suggested moving!  Then again, they had friends here, friends they wouldn’t want to leave.  But what’s wrong with shopping there?!  None of it made any sense to Charlotte.  It all confused her.  She just wanted something different.  She wanted to experience life, and it seemed to her that life was happening in the other city, not here.  Her parents, the people, her own King were keeping her from enjoying life the way it was meant to be enjoyed!  She had heard the stories told from visiting strangers who passed through.  Stories of how the beauty of the city was bedazzling.  Stories of a lady dressed in white whose name was Happiness.  Stories of beautiful houses, beautiful clothes, beautiful food, beautiful people that filled the beautiful city.  What more could a girl want?  What more could anyone want?  Why was everyone living in Alitheia?  Why was everyone so afraid of Psevdaisthisis?
Charlotte jumped to hear the clock in the town.  The clock struck twelve.  She would be missed if she didn’t return home before long.  She quickly scooped up her sandals and ran through the forest, down a well-worn path.  Her bare feet had trod that path since she was a small child.  She raced down the hill, following the path around large trees, until it let out on the King’s Highway.  The Highway was dusty, a hump in the middle with grass and flowers sometimes.  She walked down on the right path, made by the wheels of automobiles or the wagons that came in and out of Alitheia.  The day truly was beautiful, but Charlotte found it hard to appreciate.  She took the tie out of the end of her braid, letting her hair free in the breeze that swept across the land.
She heard wheels coming down the Highway and turned to see Danny, the wagon driver.  He had driven that wagon for decades before Charlotte had been born.  He carted flowers from the planes to be bought and sold in the city.  Charlotte, since she could remember, had loved that wagon full of flowers.  They were always so bright and friendly, full of fresh beauty.  But what she loved best about that wagon wasn’t its contents.  It was its driver.  Danny was one of those people who you couldn’t help but love.  Ever since she first met him, he had treated her like a real person, valued her thoughts, always smiled, but when he needed to, he frowned.  His eyes danced with thoughts, always saying, “I love you, I love this world, I love everything and everyone so much.”
“Well, isn’t it my Little Lady Lottie!” laughed Danny.  “Want a ride back to Alitheia?”
“That would be nice, Danny, thanks,” smiled Charlotte.  It did not matter how she felt, Danny knew how to draw a smile out of his favorite people…which was everybody.
She climbed into the wagon, swinging herself into her seat beside the driver. Danny was chewing on one of the long grasses that grew on the planes. She never understood why he did only that he did.
“What do you ponder, Lottie?” asked Danny, looking at her face with an expectant look upon his own.
“Nothing, Danny. Nothing at all,” answered Charlotte with a half-smile. She swiveled around to look into the back of the wagon. It was full to the brim with beautiful faces. “Hello, my dears,” she whispered as she scooped up a bunch of lilac. She buried her face in their scent.
“Do you know how long I’ve known you?” asked Danny pleasantly.
“How long?” smiled Charlotte, her face still hidden.
“Since you were knee-high to a grasshopper, that’s how long. Do you think I wouldn’t know every little feature of that little face?”
Charlotte stopped. “What are you trying to say, Danny?”
“I’m saying that I’ve known you long enough to know when something is bothering you.” He looked at her sternly, making it perfectly clear he wasn’t playing around. “What troubles you?”
Charlotte sighed and replaced the lilacs in the back of the wagon. She began re-braiding her hair as she asked, “Do you like Alitheia?”
“I certainly do, Lottie, I certainly do. I love it with a passion that no other can understand,” he said with a contented smile.
“Why?” Charlotte eagerly asked.
Danny stopped the wagon and turned toward her, adjusting the grass in his mouth. “Why do the flowers love the plane? Why do they lift their faces to the sky? Why do they give off that heavenly smell that you find joy in?”
Charlotte frowned. She hated counter questions. “I don’t quite understand.”
“Content! Don’t you love the sound of that word? Content! They find their satisfaction in the planes, their roots digging deeper in the earth, their faces lifting higher to the sky. Their joy is made complete, their life is fulfilling its purpose, and their world is perfect and beautiful.”
“Danny,” pleaded Charlotte. “How has that got anything to do with you and Alitheia?”
“I am a flower. Alitheia is my plane. That is where I find satisfaction, that is where I find my nourishment, that is where I lift my face to the sun, and,” he looked at her intently. “That is where I find contentment.”
Charlotte frowned. She didn’t know how she ought to respond. Clearly he wouldn’t understand her concerns, her fears. She sat there in silence for quite a while.
“What troubles you, Lottie?” asked Danny, kindly.
“Nothing,” she said, turning her face away.
“Let’s not go there again,” Danny chuckled.
“How can you be content in there?!” she cried. “How can you be happy with life as it is: dull and boring? How can you be okay with having a King who only speaks to you with pen and ink? There is so much more to the world than Alitheia! Why is everybody so attached to that place?!”
She sat back in her seat and crossed her arms. Charlotte had no intentions of blowing off like that, but Danny’s cheery demeanor frustrated her and sent her over the edge.
Danny looked down at his worn hands, wondering how he ought to respond to Charlotte’s outburst. “You don’t like Alitheia?” he asked, tentatively.
“No.”
“But why not, Little Lottie?”
“There’s nothing there. Just a bunch of people who think they’ve got everything and are all happy and content with the little they own, obliging an invisible and maybe even non-existent King.”
“Where would you go, if you had the choice,” he asked, trembling a little.
Charlotte’s face lit up at this question. Most often when people would hear her complain, even in the slightest bit, they’d shut her down and tell her she was evil to say such things. Never had she been asked about what she wanted. Now was her chance. She paused then looked Danny in the face: “I want to go to Psevdaisthisis. I want to see all that I’m missing, all that I’ve heard about. I want to know what all of these things are.”
Danny’s face became pale. He clenched his jaw and looked straight ahead. Charlotte was confused by his response. Usually if she said something wrong, he’d gently but strongly put her back to rights. This time, he was silent. They rode the rest of the way in that dead silence. It was uncomfortable. Finally, they reached Alitheia. The King’s Highway stretched through the heart of the city. Lining that road were all the shops and townhouses. Streets and avenues branched off of the Highway, but the main center of life resided on that main street. This was where Danny stopped the horses and tied them up outside a flower shop.
“You’d best be running along, Little Lady Lottie. I have work to do,” Danny tried to smile. He quickly busied himself about pulling the baskets of flowers out of the wagon.
“Let me help you, Danny,” Charlotte said, hoping to make amends for anything that she might have said wrong.
“No, no,” Danny said setting two baskets just inside the door. “I don’t need your help, and besides, you need to get home. Your sweet mother will be missing you.”
“A little longer won’t hurt anybody,” she said, grabbing the last basket and walking into the flower shop before Danny could grab it from her.
“Go home, Lottie, really, sweetheart. I have so much to get done and I can’t have you lazing around.”
“But-”
“NO! Go HOME, Lottie, I don’t need you around!” he said furiously.
He quickly pushed her out the door and closed it behind her, drawing the curtain over the window and locking the door with a decided click. Charlotte stared at the door wondering what had just happened. What had she said wrong? Why was he so upset with her? And why did he insist on her going home? It wasn’t that late, there was nothing wrong with what she said. She trudged on the sidewalk toward her home, barefoot.
“It’s his fault, anyways,” she mumbled. “He asked.”


© Copyright 2019 Le Petit Conteur. All rights reserved.

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