White Lillies

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
A very short story

Submitted: August 20, 2008

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Submitted: August 20, 2008

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White Lillies.
 
There on the gravel that scrunches and crunches as they walk and run. I can see them from the window.
 
Only last week I was playing hide and seek amongst the shrubs and chased Red Admirals, Purple Emperor, Cabbage White and Gypsy moths around the flowerbeds r sat on the grassy river bank and cooled my bare feet in the transparent water. Now I’m staying in this room forever it seems. Why?
 
What did I do that was so wrong? To be punished in this way. Was I too cheerful, too willing to laugh and shout for joy at life? That can’t be the reason, can it? No, for if it were then why oh why was I allowed to do it for so long, before being punished, and what a harsh punishment, alone and unable to leave this chamber, yet able to see and hear the comings and goings of the household.
 
Wait! I hear footfalls in the passage outside my door, will they stop? No not this time. Back to the window then. They are looking up now I wave. ‘Hello. Hello.’ Oh my heart feels as thought it will break, for they turn away without a smile even. It’s as if I don’t exist to them.
 
What crime can carry this sentence? I know at times I can be frivolous, not taking my elders and betters seriously and neglecting my studies, but life is too sweet to be spent endlessly in the schoolroom, listening to the scrapping of the chalk on slate board and repeating endlessly my vowels.
 
If this was my crime then I am truly repentant and will sit with my quill and ink until doomsday comes, if only I may leave this room and breath the fresh air once more. I turn as I hear more footsteps approaching the door. Is it for luncheon I wonder? Although I am not as hungry as I would have thought for I cannot remember breakfast, not today at least. Yesterday it was taken with the whole family at the table in the huge dinning room. Mother and Father at the head, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters and cousins. A special day it was yesterday, only on high days and holidays are we allowed to join the adults for meals. The sideboard groaned under the weight of kidneys, eggs, bacon, smoked fish, kedgeree and much more. Their pleasantly pungent aroma combined with that of fresh baked bread straight form the kitchen made for a heady cocktail almost to much to bear.
 
Nothing to match that today however, and no walk in the gardens, no adventure in the grounds as yesterday, we were in our Sunday best with bonnets and all, even Grandmamma, who can only go out in clement weather, what a wonderful day. We wandered here and there through flowerbeds lovingly tended by the grounds men, who raised their caps to us as we passed.
 
 Mother and Father strolled arm in arm smiling at there brood. Small but willing hands pushed Grandmamma under her parasol, and knee rug in her great wicker chair on wheels although the gravel made it hard work at times and adults were called upon to assist.
 
Down to the cool riverbank we strolled where we caught sight of the stately swans gliding sedately through the bright reflective waters, while their young disappeared into the sedge grasses and reeds shy of the sudden human attention. To our great surprise and delight we found laid on the ground a picnic luncheon, what an exceptional treat we children were having. Later it had been announced at breakfast, if we were deemed to behave well enough, we were to be invited into the music room for an hour between supper and bed. We were all in a state of excitement and exhilaration at the thought, for we had only ever glimpsed the polished piano, graceful harp and deep sumptuous cushions on the plush settees, through the doorway as we passed on our way to the nursery or schoolroom.
 
What happened I wonder between that idyllic scene by the meandering waters of the river this blighted, contemptible morning.
 
The sun had gone. Now only mist and greyness surrounded our usually happy and carefree home, a cloud of gloom has come to rest over us this day. But why?
 
Although I can see them all on the drive, there is no exuberance amongst them as yesterday. Silent and sullen they see, but waiting and watching for something, for what I cannot imagine.
 
The footsteps stop outside my door oh dear lord please let them come in. Talk to me, lecture me, admonish me, and reprimand me, anything but this silent avoidance. I feel so frustrated and heartsick.
 
Noise now below my window, I have been so concerned with the door I have missed the arrival of the three impressive carriages, one is already too far below the sill I can only see the doors as they open. Who can they be visiting? Surely to have such a cortege it must be royalty. Then why the sad faces, the dark veils, the black horses? What is happening that no one will involve me? Black Horses! No! Dear God No, Mother, I can’t see Mother. Someone has heard me, at last my prayers are answered the door open, ‘what has happened? Where’s Mother? Please tell me.’ Subdued voices come into the room but I get no answer. What’s this? Strangers advancing towards me, their hands on me now, I cannot fight or struggle I have no strength.
 
They are carrying me down the wide sweeping staircase and into the hallway. The family are all here, Mother, Father, all here and looking at me, all reaching to touch me with gentle hands, ‘I’m forgiven then, but why the tears? My darling mother, what can have sent you into despair? Father weeping, no that cannot be Father.
 
Now I see the carriages through the open door laden with flowers, so beautiful.
White lilies for the dead. But who? 


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