The Black Rose

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
Eliza lives in her perfect home with her perfect family. Then tonight the candles come out.



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Submitted: October 22, 2014

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Submitted: October 22, 2014

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The Black Rose

 

One

The Not So Distant Past

 

I fumble forwards, the grass is cold on my feet, the evening breeze passes through my long dark brown hair like fingers running gently through it when I feel Sebastian's hands easing me to a stop. The blindfold loosens and is taken off my face, as my eyes adjust I see Richard, barefooted, wearing black trousers, a white shirt, a waistcoat and a black tailcoat, he is holding out two lit candles that light up his brown hair and face,

“16 years Eliza, I can't believe I'm trusting you with something so dangerous”

“Oh brother dear, 18's such a responsible age I'm wondering how you're going to cope?”

“I was more worried about you” I watched him smile as he held a candle out to me

“You underestimate me brother” I reply smiling as I take the candle from him, we kept eye contact for a moment then I looked down at the flame wavering slightly in the wind and as I watched the flame turn into Sebastian holding his own miniature candle as he shut the curtains in my bedroom, I watched him come over to my bed and put the candle down beside me,

“Bright light” I saw my 6 years old self say looking up at Sebastian

“Yes my lady, tis bright indeed”

“I like it” The 6 year old was happy and loved Sebastian dearly

“Goodnight Eliza” Sebastian replied in his soft voice as he kissed me on the forehead, he blew out the candle. I was standing on the balcony watching my 7 year old self looking down into the ballroom, at the annual ball that mother and father arrange to celebrate their wedding anniversary,

“I can't wait to be 16 and learn to ballroom dance” I hear Richard whisper to me

“I know those dresses are beautiful!” I whisper back and I watched Richard give me a glance as if to say really?

“I still dream about those dresses” I say looking at myself and my brother watching the ball with their gleaming eyes,

“At least I think I do” I spin round startled to see the sun beating down on me as I call out to Richard in the maze “or I did”

“Then where are you?” As I hear the reply, I am aware that I am running after 9 year old Eliza who's unaware herself that she's leading us in the completely wrong direction from the exit but still we run on,

“Come on, I haven't got all day!” We keep running as Richard calls out and soon we reach a dead end,

“I told you so!” I call out to Eliza aged 9 watching her turn and run back past me, I turn to follow but my cry is cut short by the hooves shooting past me,

“Watch out!” Comes a cry and I turn to see father running, he runs past me and I follow him “for goodness sake Eliza!”

“I know” Eliza replies aged 11 “It just startled me a bit that's all”

“That was part of the point” Richard said looking down at me from the saddle

“Yes Richard but not that much!”

“Come on you two, Richard off give Eliza a go it is her birthday” Richard dismounts and father fronts Richard

“It's also my birthday father!”

“It's not the point and you know it's not” I watch as I get onto the horse and as Richard backs away from father

“Fire!” I whipped round scared to see Richard hit the centre and myself hitting the edge of the target “Great Richard but Eliza try a bit harder”

“I'm only 13! And it wasn't that bad a shot”

“Maby we should have a rest then” I watched father take the bow off the 13 year old only for her to take it back.

“One last try” She drew her bow and shot

“That's it you've got the hang of it now” It was father's voice but it came from behind me, I turn to see myself from earlier this evening getting the hang of ballroom dancing with father,

By George I think you have it” Mothers voice is loud and excited, which is rare, then she added “so now it's time for a better partner”

“A better partner?!” Father was disgusted but only until we turned to see Richard standing tall against the wall, he took a rose from it's container and put it into his mouth. He strode towards me, I bowed, well both Eliza's did, then Richard took the young Eliza's hand and they danced waltzing to start, 1.2.3.1.2.3.1.2.3 and twirl and twist and turn and double barrel and swing and duck and 1.2.3 and 1.2.3 and 1.2.3 and apart and in and apart and round and on and on it went with clapped from the now me, father and mother until Richard swung me down, took the rose out of his mouth and,

“Hang on” Richard said as he placed the rose into my hair “there, you don't look so ugly now sister” we all laughed and I felt the rose still sat in my hair and I smiled.

Black. I blinked. I thought I'd heard something go out, like a tiny gust of wind then it dawned on me. The candle. The candle had gone out and Richard had gone but then a noise came that startled me,

“My Lady Richmond” I jumped but it was only Sebastian “Lord Richmond has gone inside would you like to follow?”

“I think that would be wise as it is dark and getting rather chilly” Sebastian took my hand, his other he put behind his back like he was taught to do. Sebastian was not very much taller than myself, he was old and had a wrinkled face but his smile never faded. He was always polite and knew his place as our butler yet he had a connection with all of us that was like none I've found any where else. He lead me through the gardens and up the cold stone stairs leading to our home as we came to the door and Sebastian went to open it but it swung open before us and there stood mother,

“Eliza dear, Richard has gone to bed and Hazel is waiting for you if you wish to retire” Mother's face was calm and relaxed “Sebastian thank you for keeping an eye on them but it's time for you to get back to your evening duties”

“Yes Lady Richmond” Sebastian bowed and we both stepped inside but mother paused and turned again to Sebastian

“How many times, you may call me Elizabeth, come along Eliza” Sebastian hurried off and mother lead me to the stairs, as I opened the door and mother left. Hazel was standing there, her brown hair was tied back in a straight single plat, her clothes were worn yet tidy and clean.

“If you would Hazel it has been a most distressing day” Hazel scuttled behind me and started to undo my dress, as it slid off my body she untied my corset then turned away while I put on my night gown, “I have to say you are very mature Miss Woods for at 13 I was learning archery and spent hours listening to mother playing her violin, I was not the thoughtful and responsible girl that you are

I am a maid my Lady andI have my duties as I was not born into the rich society of those such as yourself she turned and put the candle down beside my bed, I then handed her the rose from my hair and she placed it in water in a glass jug beside the candle

Goodnight dear Hazel She gave a weak smile then blew out the candle.

 

Two

The Candle That Stayed Out

 

My room was dim as I slowly awoke looking at the morning light coming in through the window. I saw the rose still a deep red in colour in the glass jug on my bedside table, I reached out to touch it but then came a heart stabbing scream. I flew across my room towards the door and out into the corridor, the sounds around me of running footsteps was far and faded. As I ran into the room I saw him, his eyes were closed and his skin pale,

“Richard?” I learned over him, my voice was far away and shaky, I reached my hand out to touch him but as I did I knew life had already left him, the footsteps reached the door and my tears were dropping onto the bed sheets, “Richard please...” I whispered again as I ran my fingers through his hair, I lowered my head onto the bed and a hand touched my back “Father help him” I didn't move, my words were choked with tears then father spoke slowly and calmly

“Take Hazel and your mother outside they don't have to see this”

I put an arm round Hazel, who was icy cold and lead her out then I reached for mother at the door, who had her eyes shut and we slowly made our way out. In his room father and Sebastian leaned over my brother's cold and motionless corpse.

 

Over the next two years everything felt cold, like a light had gone out. Mother played her violin more often and more quietly, father spent most of his time on work and became more detached then ever from us, Hazel hid in the shadows staying as quiet as she could as she felt she had some responsibility for Richard’s death, Sebastian took each day as it went and I walked round our gardens more often and spent hours watching candle's, the memory of the Rose Dance on my 16th birthday appeared in the flame countless times.

 

Today was like any other, I awoke and got dressed. Hazel said nothing, she never did these days, I went down for breakfast where I sat next to Richard’s seat. None looked at it, none dared to but today, for the strangest reason, I did. My eyes flickered towards it and I went, flying like a sparrow up the stairs and into the room where I sat and cried. Hours I must have cried for when I opened my sore eyes there was an orange glow behind me, it was becoming evening. Only in my room the evening light can from the window not from the door, I rose and went over, outside was bright as then I guessed it was midday not evening. I turned. Heat came from the door and slowly warmed my face, I edged round the room, fire.

I ran towards and out the door, flames whipped round me in a frenzy, I saw a figure ahead and I ran faster to catch up but the fire engulfed them out of my sights. My breathing was heavy and chocked then I gasped on the smoke-free air as I ran out into the sunlight, I put up a hand to shield my eyes from the bright sunlight. My breathing became deeper and I moved my hand away from my eyes and there stood Sebastian, Hazel, mother and father, the other staff and the cooks must have gone out the back. I turned and blinked. Then blinked again, the house was engulfed in flames only the flames weren't yellow as they were like the candles I held many times nor were they orange or red, they were grey. The sunlight was white and everything was a colour between white and black. Then something blocked the sunlight, a rose was falling from above, as I watched it drop onto the ground a tear rolled down my face. It wasn't red or white. It was a black rose.


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