Jealousy postmortem

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
i wrote this for english homework, its about a 16th century haunted manor house, and strange goings on.

Submitted: July 11, 2008

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Submitted: July 11, 2008

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The hooves of the heavy carthorses clatter and clank against the cobblestone path up to the house, every so often the carriage jolts, almost sending my French hood flying clean off my head as a grip at it, cursing myself for not using pins to attach it to my braided hair. Mrs Weaver is clutching my tightly swaddled baby daughter Maria, her downy black hair peeping out from underneath the tightly wrapped cloth and fur blanket. I always think to myself how beautiful she is, but I would rather have had a masculine child. I had been blessed with a male child 2 years ago, but he had died in infancy, and after giving birth to Maria and failing to conceive since, I wonder if at 26 years of age I have become barren. Mrs Weaver says its nonsense, and I will probably be blessed again soon.

I doubt it.

Finally we arrive at the manor, a grand building that must be at least 100 years old, and a ruined bell tower from a catholic monastery juts out of the ground among the ruins. It’s a very…rustic place, but I can’t shake the feeling of unease as my eyes stay glued to that place of heresy- the protestant religion is the only true religion, and that’s final. I clutch my little prayer book that has been hanging from my girdle by a little gold chain and smooth out my gown.

I rearrange the hood on my head, almost longing for the traditional English gable, then glance up at Mrs Weaver and realise why I am wearing the French. I gesture to the manor and say to her “is a roof not already provided?”

“Yes my Lady.”

“so why do you still insist on wearing one on your head?”

It is a rhetorical question, and she has noticed that aspect. She bows her head and apologises, and swear that she will change into a more fitting hood as soon as her luggage is unpacked from the cart.

All at random, Maria suddenly begins to scream and cry like she never has before and Mrs Weaver is quick to rock the child, although she doesn’t stop. “Poor little mite must be cold” she mutters, although I am not so sure. A cold wind appears from nowhere and envelopes around my neck for a moment, before suddenly disappearing. Maria has finally stopped crying, and I look at her. Such a tightly swaddled child, wrapped in the warmest fur blanket I own.

I don’t think she is cold.

Advancing into the manor, I throw the large doors open to be met with a serving girl holding two tankards of warm spiced wine, which we take with a smile. It is a welcome gesture. “What is your name child?” I ask. She swoops into a low curtsey, the grey of her dress sweeping across the rich carpet.

“My name is Eleanor my lady” she says gently- she is a very sweet child.

“rise child” I smile. I do feel almost bad as I eye her plain gown up and down, she looks very dull and boring, and it doesn’t math the twinkle in her blue eyes and the sheen of her blonde hair.  “Thank you my lady, I beg your but I am afraid I must dismiss myself.” She sweeps another curtsey and flutters out of the room.

After Maria is left with a wet nurse and laid to bed in her chamber, Mrs Weaver and I retire to the parlour by the fireside. “That Eleanor child, where is her mother?” I ask my companion. “She is an orphan my lady, her father caught the sweating sickness and her mother died after her baby daughter died- suicide they say...” She says very quietly. That’s awful, such a poor child with not a pretty garment to her name and no maternal figure at all. I set down my wine and think for a moment, fiddling with a ruby brooch on my bodice. “Send the child a gown and a hood, in crimson velvet and sewn with seed pearls,” I stop for a moment “and a muslin neckpiece, for we must conserve her modesty.” Mrs Weaver looks rather shocked and my generosity, and in truth so am I- I haven’t forgotten that this is a mere serving girl I am giving to.

I stand and look out of the latticed window, the moonlight bathing the heretic’s bell tower. Eventually I tear myself away from the window and carry myself to bed. Mrs Weaver helps me unlaced my gown and change into my shift. I am about to lay myself to sleep when I hear Maria screaming again, the way she did earlier, and despite the draught excluders and the warm air, that chill passes through my room again. She stops almost instantaneously, and when I believe there is no reason for alarm I drift off to sleep.

Around 2 hours later I am woken by the sound of a bell tolling 12 o’clock. It terrifies me out of my wits- the sound is coming from the heretic’s tower! I lean out of the window, and stare at the tower, when I am startled quickly by a wailing sound from along the hallway. I quickly pull on a kirtle and rush to where Maria and Mrs Weaver are.

The door is jammed.

I throw all my weight and strength against the door, crying out in fear “let me in! In Jesus name let me in!” when suddenly the door flings open and I am thrown to the floor. The flagstones leave a slight burning sensation on my bare arms, and my nose begins to spurt blood. I look up from the red stream, and Mrs Weaver is still wailing, clutching my baby daughter. I stumble blindly forward, the blood running down the back of my throat making me choke. I dare steal a look at my babies face. It is scratched and slashed with red and white as a sheet. Her once-twinkling eyes show no life.

My baby is dead.

“What happened? Where! Who is responsible?”  I wail between sobs as I grab Maria and clutch her close to me- this couldn’t be happening. There is a noise from outside, like a girl screaming. I hand the lifeless body back to Mrs Weaver and I run down the hallway to the balcony. There is…someone else standing on the balcony. I am too shocked to speak- she is too tall to be a maid. She is making sobbing noises against the wind, and a cold feeling radiates. I lunge forward to grab her shoulder- My hand begins to freeze as if she were made of ice, and I finally find my voice as a scream escapes my mouth. The bell continues to peal on, a number I have now lost count of. The woman turns around, and a crying woman stands before me, much like myself. She whispers “Maria…” before she lets go an ear-splitting cry and topples backwards from the balcony, I stretch my hand out to catch her… but it is too late- I do not see her hit the ground.

I stumble backwards onto the cold of the balcony, the wind the only noise through the silent night. The blood that had poured from my nose has congealed into a red sticky mess. I cannot stay awake, I cannot bear what I have just seen.


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