Let's wait until we get a name for the story to title this|
[Most Recent Entries]
Below are the 13 most recent journal entries recorded in
One story, told by many's LiveJournal:
|Wednesday, July 28th, 2004|
Nighttime for Cecily
She woke breathless, her face sticky with dried and drying tears. The half-memory of the dream haunted her and made her tremble as she groped to light the bedside lamp. If only she could, for once, remember the dream in its entirety - half of the horror were the shreds of memory which clung to her like cobwebs, sticky and without substance.
When the brassy ring of the alarm clock sounded a moment later, ripping through the silence like an explosion, Cecily jumped in startlement and dove to turn it off. She had forgotten, in the mind-numbing sensation of the dream, what she had planned to do that night.
Letting the cool night breeze that blew in through the partially open window - whispering at the airy white shades and filling the room with a refreshing scent - calm her frazzled nerves, Cecily slid out of bed and wrapped herself in a ridiculously thin dressing-gown. It was, she thought, the epitome of her mother's style - so light and frothy that it rendered the original purpose invalid. But it was better than nothing.
|Monday, June 28th, 2004|
The waxing moon hanging over the street cast an uncomfortable amount of light on Randolph as he buttoned his coat against the midnight chill. Discreetly, trying not to attract any wandering eyes in the surrounding houses, he checked the time on his pocket watch. Eleven fifty-nine. Every instinct told him he should leave. Who knew what faces were peering between dark curtains, watching the stranger haunt an empty street at the witching hour. He willed himself stand straight, not hunched into shadows, putting on the same mask of a confidant young scholar that he had used that evening.
Twelve, twelve o one, twelve o two. At twelve o three a dark coated figure turned the corner. Randolph gave a small gesture with his hand and walked with a steady gate. Three blocks East, one block South, into an alley with walls high enough to be impermeable to both moonlight and the omnipresent gas streetlights. The figure followed until both of them were indistinguishable from the shadows.
The figure spoke first with carefully spoken words and an accent so slight that Randolph couldn't identify it. "It is done?"
"No, not done, but it's started."
"What were you able to ascertain from the family."
"Very little. They have no suspicions of anything."
"And the girl?"
Randolph grimaced, remembering his humiliation at Cecily's expense. "She gave no hints."
The figure paused, and the next words spoken were in a different tone, a tone as unidentifiable as the accent. "This is the beginning."
Randolf didn't need to answer. He just walked away into the night, tugging at his sleeves to keep out the chill.
|Saturday, May 1st, 2004|
Cecily and Gwenyn
Cecily looked at the tutor with undisguised amusement before yawning affectedly and standing up. "I'm afraid I'm quite full," she said - it sounded quite loud after the prolonged silence. "I'm going to bed."
Mother nodded impassively. "Good night."
She contained her laughter until she was well outside the heavy doors and nearly to her own bedroom. Then her mirth overwhelmed her and she smothered her giggles with her hands, tumbling into the expansive bedroom. She dressed for bed quickly, still grinning at the memory of Monsieur Randolph's face. She wound the alarm clock, setting it to wake her a few hours hence, and climbed into bed.
So immersed in her planning for later on, Cecily forgot to fear what the sleep that was claiming her would bring.
With a resigned sigh, Gwenyn crept into the darkened bedroom, shading her candle with the palm of her cupped hand. Lyssa's soft breathing came from the other side of the room and for a moment Gwenyn envied her her dreamless rest.
She set the candle carefully on the floorboard and slipped into bed before blowing the candle out. The darkness enveloped her, and she closed her eyes quickly against its onset. It was not the darkness itself that frightened her - but it held no comfort, no respite from the dark dream which she could neither escape nor remember.
"Good-night," she whispered across the room to Lyssa's sleeping form. It was less for her sister than for herself - even the quiet of her own voice broke the weighty feel of the air around her.
A few calming breaths, and she was asleep.
Cecily carefully slid the bite-size pieces of lamb across her plate, mixing them with the other “delicacies.” She had become an expert at shifting her food on her plate to make it look nearly empty.
Her eyes flickered over to Monsieur Randolph again. A strip of sweat had formed on his forehead. Cecily suddenly felt a spark of guilt as she noticed the teacher’s discomfort had not reduced the least bit. It was unfair of her, she knew. He had been nothing but pleasant, but she had needed to have her fun. She shouldn’t have invited him to dinner at all. Guests rarely attended the evening meal, which was the only meal that Cecily ate with her parents, and she had only asked him because she knew it would make him uncomfortable. And she shouldn’t have gotten him lost, although that was a traditional welcome present for every new teacher of hers. At the very least, she should have started the polite conversation that always took place at the dinner table. Yet she knew that if she didn’t talk, her parents wouldn’t force any chitchat, and she’d wanted to make Monsieur Randolph as uneasy as possible.
Yet she had invited him, and she had gotten him lost on purpose, and she had stayed silent, forcing him to squirm.
Her tutor cleared his throat awkwardly, and another smile tugged at her lips. The flash of guilt she had been feeling disappeared. She realized that it was a wicked streak in her, but she loved observing other people, and making them uncomfortable was a bonus. It would undoubtedly get her into trouble eventually, when she played a trick on the wrong fellow, but until that day Cecily vowed to continue to provoke and manipulate people whenever she had the chance.
A young servant approached her and asked for her permission to take away her plate. She smiled and nodded, and another dish appeared in front of her. A ring of caramel syrup encircled a slice of lemon quiche with a dollop of whisked cherry-flavored cream on top. Still Cecily refused to eat. She had plans later that night, as she did often, and eating now would ruin them. So she took just a few bites and pushed the remaining pastry around on her plate.
When she looked up, Monsieur Randolph was looking at her, studying her, observing her, much in the same way that she had studied him throughout the beginning of the meal. His eyes narrowed, and Cecily narrowed her own in return. Her tutor’s look of discomfort and awkwardness had suddenly disappeared, replaced by puzzlement, curiosity and suspicion. Okay, so this story is still not caught up to the other one, but at least shes almost through dinner
|Thursday, April 15th, 2004|
He was sure she had planned this succession of difficulties single-handedly. Why else would he be asked to undergo this torture, if not to be some kind of entertainment for a difficult teenager? And what kind of family never conversed during dinner? The adults seemed frozen; not cruel, but not kind either. As if they could not see, or did not desire to see, what was around them. Or perhaps, if they did see, not caring. Did they see the way he swallowed in his nervousness, as if he were trying to eat stones? Did they notice, as he had, the dark circles under their daughter’s eyes, as if her quick speech and straight back belied some silent conflict within? He doubted that Sophia even saw her daughter. She seemed far too interested in the delicacies on her plate. Cecily, in sharp contrast, seemed to see and take note of everything. She had said she took interest in people; she watched them all intently, as if the other diners made up a sort of moving work of art.
He recalled the dinner table he was most accustomed to—the one at home, not at university, where the food had been second rate and the company not much better. He had had a few friends there, but mostly he had avoided people. University was a place of appearances, and he did not wish to be seen beyond a passing glance if he could help it. If no one noticed him, no one would know where he came from or how little money he had. University was important to his education, and whether he desired to be there or not, it was the best way for him to get somewhere in the future.
Dinners at home had been wonderful. They had been full of life, quite unlike this dead atmosphere. His parents and his younger siblings had chattered merrily and the house, although small, was warm. He realized now, surrounded by the austerity of a small, wealthy family, in a house that almost seemed to echo with emptiness (it would have if not for the expansive wait staff) that he missed home terribly. What must it be like, he wondered, to grow up without that warm cocoon he thought was possessed by all families? And yet, Cecily, for all her observant and impish ways, was much like one of his sisters. So much for plot advancement.
|Thursday, April 8th, 2004|
Gwenyn stayed in the kitchen as long as she could. The sun had set several hours before, and all that was visible outside the rippled glass of the windows was inky black night. The fireplace gave out the palest glow from faint embers as she scrubbed at the dark iron stew pot. Lyssa had gone to bed much earlier, and it wouldn't be long until Gwenyn was sent to join her.
Her arms still deep inside the pot, Gwenyn lost herself for a moment in memories. It wasn't that many years ago that the sisters had giggled as they curled together in bed, sharing stories they made up late into the night. Of course, late into the night had meant to them only an hour or so after supper. Now Gwenyn truly knew what late at night was, and she dreaded it's coming.
She set the iron pot on the table, reluctantly leaving to prepare for sleep that she wished would never come.
Rand walked nervously down the lushly carpeted halls, trying (and failing) to look self-assured and as if he knew where he was going. Was it one flight of steps, or two? Did he take the first door on the right or the second? Cecily Bourke had instructed him more-or-less on how to find the family dining room this morning, but her directions had been so haphazard that he was not entirely sure he was on the right track.
"Monsieur Randolph, are you lost?" He started in surprise as a pale head appeared around the corner, eyes dancing merrily and mockingly.
"No--of course not. Well--yes," he admitted. Cecily grinned.
"I thought so," she said in satisfaction. "In that case, you'd better follow me." Still grinning broadly, she led him at a fast pace up three
flights of stairs and then through the fourth
door on the right. Rand hid a rueful smile, wondering briefly if she had confused him on purpose.
She stopped him aburptly at a heavy, ornately carved wooden door. "Wait a few minutes before coming in," she instructed. Without further explanation, she slipped through the door and let it shut quietly behind her.
Much puzzled but willing to be directed, Rand waited for several moments before cautiously opening the door and entering himself.
The dining room was furnished as ornately as was its door carved. A long table of dark mahogany, polished until he could see his reflection clearly in its depths, was the centerpiece of the room. About it the Bourke family. Sophia Bourke looked stately enough to sit at the head of the table instead of at her husband's right hand. Cecily sat across from her mother.
"Good evening, Monsieur Randolph," Mistress Bourke said formally. "Please, take a seat." She gestured grandly to a seat a few feet removed from Cecily. Rand obligingly sat.
Then proceeded a silence so complete that Rand nearly squirmed in his chair. Mistress Bourke looked idly about the room while Mister Bourke fiddled with the silver and Cecily studied her hands with great interest. After what seemed hours servants filed quietly in, placing steaming dishes on the table. Then the silence was broken only by the chinking of forks, which wasn't much better than nothing at all.
Rand cleared his throat awkwardly. "Er - have you seen what the weather has been doing today?" His voice sounded even more idiotic and unnaturally high than he had expected, and the dignified silence was shattered.
Sophia Bourke glanced languidly at the enormous window and then back at Rand. "Yes." She returned to her meal. Cecily hid her face behind her napkin - he was sure he heard her suppressing a laugh.
Rand fought the urge to thwack himself on the forehead.
|Sunday, April 4th, 2004|
( About MeCollapse )
Cecily answered Monsieur Truist's curious look with a wry smile, "I am, as a rule, more interested in people than languages. And it's only fitting that a slight acquaintance be made between teacher and student. How would you feel, prattling on to a stranger, saying something you don't understand? Foolish, precisely; and I do not intend to feel foolish. So, if you please, I would much rather prattle on saying something I don't understand to someone I am acquainted with. I do it often enough in English, French cannot feel much different."
Randolph had listened silently with some bafflement, but here was a statement that needed immediate correction. "No no, mlle, French is much different from English. Much more pleasant, and there is one word for everything. None of your endless English synonyms in the French language, thank you."
"Well of course you defend your native tongue, I wouldn't expect otherwise. But talking is talking, whatever the language, and talking is something I enjoy. Just not learning to talk, that's a bore."
Randolph cast aside her last comment, "French is not exactly my native tongue. I am English born...to French parents. I learned French from birth, but I learned and spoke English from an early age as well."
"Oh, naturally bilingual then. How very convenient, and perfect for becoming a tutor. Is that why you became a tutor? To share the wealth of language proficiency you held so easily in your grasp? How long have you taught, anyway?"
Randolph looked at her patiently, "You are my first pupil."
"A green tutor! Mother must be getting desperate. You're my eighth French tutor - all the other ones were so stuffy, or stupid, or something equally intolerable. So I made their lives miserable until they went away and took all their awful French books with them. You'd be surprised how irksome a nearly-fifteen-year-old can be. You though, I believe you'll stay. For all your French pride, you've let me talk on as I pleased without mentioning actually learning anything, so you're either patient and long-suffering or friendly and conversational.
"Mind you though, just because I'll let you stay doesn't mean teaching me will be easy. I'm smart enough, once you put something in my head it'll stay. The trouble is putting it in to begin with. But don't be stuffy or stupid or the like and I'll get you a hammer and let you see what you can do for cramming all your French verb conjugations and endless nouns into this brain of mine." She sighed and laid her hands demurely in her lap, becoming the girl she was as she curtsied and called him Monsieur. "You may begin your lesson," she said in a quiet, obedient tone.
The change was so complete and it seemed so thoroughly unnatural for this imp to simply sit and listen that Randolph laughed out loud.
Cecily's face split into a wide grin, "There, you see! You're friendly and conversational. If you had been patient and long-suffering you would have only smiled and began teaching as best you could and I would have had to just sit here, bored to tears but trying to learn as best I could. Yes, I like you, I think you'll stay quite some time. But come now, let's do get something done. Mother is bound to invite you to dinner and then ask what we were working on, and I don't like to lie to her. It's too much trouble remembering what exactly you said the lie was. So, what was it you called me? Meli? Meal?"
"Mlle. It's Miss."
"Oh heavens, don't call me that or I will have to pester you into leaving. My name is Cecily, not Miss, or Miss Bourke, and not even Miss Cecily. The servants call me Miss Cecily, but I don't like it, and you're not a servant. So, what will I call you?"
|Friday, April 2nd, 2004|
This is a continuation of my thread. It's purposefully very different from the other one.
The forest was old. That was the one thing that the otherwise quarrelsome villagers never disputed, for its age was evident in every tree it held. It was neither a beautiful forest, nor an ugly one; instead it was merely mysterious. Its very air seemed to exude mystery - whenever the breeze blew westward, out of the forest, the villagers all felt rather nervous.
As a child, Gwenyn had been intrigued by the forest. The tall, foreboding, close-knit trees did not inspire the same fear in her as it did in most of the village, her family included; instead, she found its shade a pleasant relief from the relentless sun. When she grew older the curiosity developed into love of the strange wilderness, and when she was fourteen she first walked into the dark line of trees a few hundred yards from the serviceable stone cottage which was her home.
Since that time, two years ago, she had ventured several times into the forest. It was cool and dim inside, and the leaves overhead let in a lacy pattern of light that was wildly beautiful. She did not think that her family knew of her excursions - at least, she hoped that they did not. She knew that while her father might not object on principle, Mumma and Lyssa both held the forest in greatest dread and the knowledge that she went into it - often
went into it - would most likely create quite an uproar.
She was in the forest now, perched unsteadily on a generously low-hung, gnarled branch a few feet in from the forest edge. A book was in her lap but she did not read. Instead she watched the woods around her and wondered, for what seemed the thousandth time, why it was so still.
There were no animals in the forest, and there had not been on any of her walks inside. Though birds often sang in the early hours of morning near the cottage, they would not enter the forest any more than Gwenyn's family, and neither would any of the creatures that frequented the village. The forest was always completely still - almost muffled - Gwenyn had the idea that if she were to make a sound, it would be heard only a few feet away. The forest would snuff it out before it could travel farther.
There were stories about this forest, about why no animal would be seen in it or even too close to its borders. Gwenyn had heard the stories, as had every village child since they were tots. But no - she would not allow herself to think of the stories. Not inside the forest, where it all seemed so near. Outside, perhaps. But not in here.
With one last glimpse around the dimness of the forest's interior, she slipped off of her branch-seat and out of the trees as quietly as she could. To her relief there was no one in sight. Her luck held as she crept into the cottage and deposited the book beneath the coverlet of her bed before slipping into the kitchen. Mumma would expect her there.
Rand knocked on the door of the large house. A family of money, of high standing, he thought, surveying the shining windows and glancing back at the sweeping grounds. He took off his hat, fiddled with it anxiously, put it back on again, took it back off, brushed a strand of hair out of his face, fanned himself, bit his lower lip and clutched the brim of the hat in his left hand as if it were his only possession in the world. That wasn’t too far off. He glanced nervously at the ancient suitcase on the ground next to him, knowing it contained less than its bulky appearance betrayed. That would change, once he had held this job for awhile. The family had a daughter who was to learn French. He had been hired as her tutor. He knocked again. Finally, he heard the tapping of shoes on the stone floor within, and the door opened. It was a maid, who eyed him curiously and then called, to someone inside, “He has arrived, ma’am.”
“Send him in,” came a voice—a woman’s, high and musical. Rand stepped inside, carrying his suitcase. For the first time, he began to wonder about this place. Why would such a well-to-do family hire the likes of him? He was young; this was his first position. Perhaps the family felt this a form of charity: providing poor young men with employment? The girl probably knew French already. He didn’t even know how old she was.
The woman who belonged to the voice entered the hall. She was in her early forties, perhaps, but still slender; her golden hair was just slightly shot through with gray. “Monsieur Truist?” she addressed him. Something within him tightened. He was not monsieur anything
“Randolph, if you please,” he said.
“As you please, Monsieur Randolph,” she replied. He felt himself wince again. This it was even worse than when she had used his surname. “Follow me,” she continued. You will be working with my daughter, Cecily.” As he followed her, down a long hall and up a stair he listened as she explained a few things. “My name is Sophia Bourke. My daughter, Cecily, is well old enough to learn another language. You will teach her well, or you shall be replaced. This is your room.” She paused, allowing him to look around the room was small and clean. He left his suitcase but continued to clutch his hat as she led her past several more rooms and down a completely different staircase. This house was huge
“Now you may meet my daughter,” she said, as she entered a long parlor with a table nearer the opposite wall. Rand saw a girl seated in a high-backed chair, facing away from him. Her hair was fairer than her mother’s, and from this angle he could not be completely sure of her age. She could be as young as ten, or as old as fifteen or sixteen.
“Cecily, come here and meet Monsieur Truist,” said Mistress Bourke. The girl rose and walked over. She was tiny, although he could still not discern her age. She was no beauty; her skin was pale, almost translucent, her hair was very light blond, but was dull. Her eyes were not so much beautiful as they were ageless. They seemed almost as if all the color had spilled out of them, leaving them a pale blue-gray. She was intelligent; he could see so by looking at those eyes.
“Monsieur Truist,” she said quietly, curtseying. Her accent was perfect; he was sure she was already familiar with the language.
“I will leave the two of you to your studies,” Mistress Bourke said, and left the parlor. Cecily sank back into the chair, and Rand took a seat beside her.
“If you please,” said Cecily, “I would rather not study French today.”Note: this is a continuation of Lizzie’s side of the story.
|Tuesday, March 30th, 2004|
She poured the water, and held her lamp, but something still felt eerie. She had the fearful feeling that people have when they have woken up in a cold sweat after tossing and turning and having a nightmare. The water was not helping her cool, so she sat against the stone inner walls that make up her castle. It isn't really a castle, because those just aren't in that region, but it is a huge house that is really old with beautiful masonry. So, nonetheless, she sat down, in her thing, light pink night gown, the one with the little frillyness on it, that she doesn't really like, on the stone floor. Looking through one of the windows, that apparently the first owners used for shooting their arrows out of, she watched the forest.
The forest was an inviting space, that was very thick. Due to the mixed climate, there were evergreens and deciduous types. The deciduous ones were beautiful in the fall, when they lost their cholorphyll and changed colors, and subsequently falling from the canopy of the forest to the ground. They would then decompose into the floor of the forest underneath the snow. The evergreen provided the winter beauty that houses like this were just expected to contain. She really liked the forest, and the only tutor that she has that she isn't the least bit unruly for is her biology teacher, for, if she were to be unruly, there would be no more learning.
Nonetheless, on this evening, she looked out into the forest, and just watched it. This is what has always calmed her, since she was a baby, holding onto her mother's chest. Her breathing began to relax, and she was in sync with the sound of the tree leaves rubbing each other in the wind. Quickly, she was asleep.
Her dream, the nightmarish one, did not come.
|Monday, March 29th, 2004|
I'll go next...
She didn't put out the candle as she climbed back into the bed; rather, she set it beside the bed and let its light flicker comfortingly over the walls. She was confident that the candle-flame wouldn't wake Lyssa. Lyssa slept soundly through everything, and never dreamed.
The crisp spring-night breeze wafted into the room from the window, where the glass had been improperly fitted into the frame, chilling her newly-washed face and sending a shiver down her spine. Soon it would be warmer, but for now the chill breeze infused the room with cold. She pulled the blankets more firmly around her arms and shoulders and closed her eyes tightly. The candlelight flickered against her cold eyelids, reminding her that she was not asleep and why
she was not asleep. Yet to blow it out would be worse still.
She took a deep breath, calming the trembling and tenseness in her. Soon, she knew, she would be asleep again. She both longed for it and dreaded it: if she did not sleep soon, she would spend the entire day only half-awake, but if she slept she might dream, which would be worse.
The candle guttered and brought her back to full consciousness. Slowly leaning over, she blew it out and shut her eyes quickly. Something in the dying glow of a candle always gave her a queer sensation in her stomach, half-familiar and unexplainably frightening. She lay back down with a sigh, and before long was sleeping once more.Tag! Someone else is it!
Shall I begin?
I think there are enough people for me to begin. Whoever wants to (Lizzie, Emma or Jenn) can follow.
She could never remember the dream, though it troubled her night after night. It flickered at the corner of her mind; at times she thought she almost had an idea or a form, but as soon as she began to think on it, nothing was there.
This morning she awoke again from the dream. The feeling was the same every time. She was shaking, sweating, even in the cold night air. Her face was wet with tears and stiff with those that had already dried. She felt a dull ache in her heart and in her head.
She got out of bed, hearing the clock chime the three o'clock hour, lit a candle, and went to wash the tears from her face. Her body would calm soon enough. If she was lucky, she wouldn't have the dream again before dawn.