A Short Story

Saturday, July 25, 2015

     Hey guys! Remember when I said I had those short stories written on another website? Well, this is one of them. This is the most recent one and, I think, the best so far. This kind of story isn't what I usually write, I just like to practice with different topics to expand my writing.  I felt kind of iffy about putting this out here because I've already had one situation where someone tried to post my stories as their own, but I figured that, if I want to be a writer, I need to put my work out there for more people to see. Hope you enjoy!
 15  September 1915
In my six years of life I have learned quite a few things:
        1. Chew with your mouth closed.
        2. Don't forget to feed the fish.
        3. 'Sorry' can't solve everything.
        4. No one loves you more than your parents.
        5. If you don't have a hand to hold, hold your own.
    Looking out the window, trees passed by in a blur of green, smoke clouding the sky in little patches. I sat in a car of the train, alone, with my bag at my side, holding the only things I could take with me; my favorite doll, a picture of my parents, and a lunch prepared by my mother. I placed my hands on the seat and pushed myself up, sitting a little taller to see more clearly out the window. It wasn't sunny. It hasn't been for quite some time. The sun was for happy days, and there hasn't been many of them either. 
    I interlaced my fingers, holding them tightly together as I examined the world outside. The grass was green, but now there were bits of garbage lying here and there. The sky was blue, but a muted, milky blue that reminded me of my old baby blanket.
    "Ashlen," said a very quiet feminine voice. I looked over to the doorway in my car, my blonde ringlets swinging around my face, and saw a clean, soft-looking woman. She smiled but I couldn't tell if she were happy or not. "It's almost time to get off, why don't you join me and the other children?"
    She held her hands together against the front of her dress that matched the color of the sky. Her brown hair was pulled up into a bun. There wasn't a ring on her finger like there was on most women. Her smile didn't show any teeth but appeared kind and gentle; fragile.
    I slid off the seat and stood, brushing my dress with my hands, making sure it was neat like mother always did. I grabbed my bag and headed over to the caretaker. She rested a hand on my shoulder, pulling me against her legs in a kind of hug as we walked.
    We passed several cars, most empty, before we reached one filled with six other children. I sat on the very end of a seat next to the woman. The other kids were quiet, unlike the ones I always played with on the playgrounds. They kept their heads down. Some girls occasionally giggled when a boy looked at them; but it was only occasional. 
     "Miss?" I asked, holding my hands together again. She smiled down at me.
     "Yes, miss Ashlen?" she asked.
     I rubbed my shoes together as I thought of my question, "What is your name?" She finally showed her teeth when she grinned. 
    "My name is Rosa; Rosa Faith," she said.
    "Miss Rosa," I said to myself, still looking in her eyes. 
    "Miss Rosa." She repeated.
    "Miss Rosa, you have very pretty eyes," I replied with a whispered giggle. 
    She giggled too, "Why thank you Miss Ashlen, you have very pretty hair." 
    I reached up and held one of my ringlets. "Thank you, my mother liked to brush it. I loved when she brushed it." 
    Miss Rosa's smile was lost briefly, her eyes filled up with sadness before she quickly smiled again. "Well hopefully she'll be able to brush it again soon."
    "I hope so too."
    Miss Rosa stepped down the stairs out of the train first, taking the bags from the other children and helping them down. I came out last with my small bag, holding it in one hand at my side like my mother always did with her purse. "Better  button up your coat Miss Ashlen, it's a cold one today," Miss Rosa said with a smile before fastening it for me. 
    "Thank you, Miss Rosa." I grabbed her hand and gracefully stepped off the stairs, making sure to be as ladylike as I possibly could. We walked hand-in-hand with the other children behind us.
    "What is your favorite color?" I questioned as we strolled down the empty streets. She pondered her answer before saying it was green. 
    "What's your favorite?" She asked back, smiling down at me.
    "Mine's green too. Daddy always says the most intelligent people like the color green." I grinned back up at her, still holding her hand. Looking around, I noticed how lonely this small town felt. The few houses on this street were made of centuries old bricks and thatched roofs; they all lined a single dirt road. Each one had its shutters pulled tightly closed and most appeared to be dark inside. Animals were the only living creatures outside besides us. A pig stood in a fence by one house, three chickens waddled around another, a dog laid patiently as if it had been waiting for its owner to play fetch for years. 
    "Miss Rosa, where are we?" A small voice called from behind. It was one of the oldest kids, she looked to be around eleven. 
    "We are in Northamptonshire, in the east midlands. It's a safe place." She smiled back at the children, then looked down, noticing the littlest boy walking dejectedly behind her. Miss Rosa reached for his hand and held it tightly, keeping her smile warm and welcoming. The boy looked up, a sad expression strewn across his tiny face; he had to be no older than three.
    "And what's your name, may I ask?" She questioned. 
    The boy lowered his head, clutching a raggedy teddy bear to his chest with his other hand. "Andrew." His voice was barely audible but Miss Rosa must have heard it. 
    "I like that name."
    We strolled across a bridge made of ancient bricks with a shallow river flowing gently beneath it. A duck with her ducklings swam peacefully along the shore. The overcast made the water appear murky and dark, hiding whatever lay in the water. A sudden thought of a scaly, slimy, monster lurking underneath us flashed in my mind. I gripped Miss Rosa's hand tighter, catching her attention.
    "There's nothing to be scared of, this is the most quiet and peaceful town. I would know," She said with a soft smirk, looking off into the distance with a longing look.
    "Miss Rosa, did you live here before the war?" I asked. She smiled wider, looking down at the cobblestone bridge.
    "Yes, I left when I was sixteen, though. I haven't been back since." Her eyes darkened. "I wish I had visited."
    "Do your parents still live here?" I asked.
    She opened her mouth but closed it again, slowly. "Yes, they do," she said after a long while. 
    "Can we visit them? I'd love to meet them if they're as lovely as you are." I doubted anyone could be as kind as Miss Rosa.
    "Maybe one day," she replied with a small smile.
    It was a while before anyone said anything else. Andrew was silent on the other side of Miss Rosa. The other children behind us seemed to be lost in thought. 
    "Here we are," Miss Rosa announced as she pulled a key out of her pocket, dropping mine and Andrew's hands. My hand felt cold in the chilly fall air without hers. A click came from the lock before it opened. Miss Rosa stepped inside and looked side to side. We followed closely behind.
    "There are four bedrooms upstairs, one downstairs. There's a bathroom upstairs and another down here. Boys and girls must room separately and I'll take the room downstairs," Miss Rosa told us before releasing us to sort out our sleeping arrangements.
    The house was old, unbelievably old. I thought of how many families must have spent their lives here. The room smelt like dust and stale air that hadn't been stirred in ages. The wooden ceilings stood low over us and appeared even lower upstairs. A small, shabby wooden staircase with creaky floorboards led upstairs and I could see a couple doors of the floor above us. Wallpaper hung chipped and peeling on the wall. 
    I strolled about the house, seeing what it had to offer. I paused in front of a door-frame that had height measurements marked on it. I stood up against it and placed my hand on top of my head, marking my height on the frame.
     "Three-foot two. The same as," I whispered to myself as I squinted trying to read the initials next to the height. "Same as R.F." I looked confusedly at the fragile wooden frame. 
    "Do you know who R.F. is?" I asked as Miss Rosa tucked me into my musky-smelling, patchwork bed upstairs in a room with one other girl. Miss Rosa pulled back in shock.
    "Where did you see R.F.?" she questioned.
     "Downstairs on the door-frame leading into the kitchen." I looked back at her, confused.
    "R.F. must have lived here a long time ago."
    "How long ago do you think?" I asked, filled with a new curiosity.
    "I would think at least twelve years ago, twice your age," she giggled at the last bit, tickling my stomach.
    I cringed and giggled, pushing her hand away. "That's a long time."

    Miss Rosa knelt down before Andrew, buttoning his coat up to his neck to protect him from the bitter cold outside. The other kids fastened their own around us, also putting on hats and mittens. Miss Rosa turned her attention to me when she finished Andrew's coat, flashing a brilliant white smile.
    "How are you today, Miss Rosa?" I asked merrily.
    "Quite alright, how are you Miss Ashlen?" she replied as she did up the buttons on my jacket.
    "I'm fine, thank you," I answered with a posh accent. She chuckled as she stood.
    "Is everyone ready?" She looked around at her small crowd, receiving various smiles and nods.
    We stepped out the door into the frozen wind. The overcast made no path for the sun, making it another gloomy day. The dirt road under our feet crunched as we walked toward the empty playground down the street. Few worn, brick houses lined the road, their dark, wood shutters remained closed for the colder months and their chimneys puffed smoke into the pale sky.
    "How much longer d'you reckon the war'll last?" questioned an older boy behind me.
    "Dunno, I heard it's a nasty one. My brother was drafted at the beginning and from what my parents have said, I don't think he'll be coming home," the second boy answered, his tone dark and saddened.
    "Father says there's Zeppelin raids in the town surrounding mine," the first boy whispered.
    "Yeah, my father says that too, says the Germans aren't 'playing by the rules,'" the second boy replied in a hushed voice.
    I waddled up to Miss Rosa and grasped her hand tightly. "Miss Rosa?" I asked.
   She looked down at me with her gentle smile, encouraging me to continue.
    "What are zeppelins?" 
    She was taken aback, her smile fading. "Where did the sudden interest come from?" she asked in a concerned tone.
    "I heard the boys talking about them, they say the Germans aren't playing fair," I said. "Sounds like they could use a time out."
    Her expression loosened as she let out a soft breath and a laugh. "Yeah, they could really use one of them."
    We stopped at the park, allowing the other kids to play on the rickety playground. The wooden swings held joyful girls, swinging and gossiping. Boys ran around, chasing each other with their hands held out like miniature guns, creating their own war. Andrew sat by himself on a bench watching the others.
    "Why's Andrew so quiet?" I asked, still examining him.
    "His parents were killed in a raid by the Germans," she whispered sadly, now watching him, too.
    I didn't respond; I had no idea what to say. I couldn't imagine, in all my years, not having my mother and father. I only saw them days ago and I already missed them dreadfully.
    Miss Rosa got up and started walking deeper into the park and onto a cobbled path. I followed behind her, casting one last glance at Andrew.
    We walked under tall, ancient trees and into a cemetery filled with faded headstones. Miss Rosa didn't speak the whole journey. I looked back at the kids on the playground, still in view. Andrew hadn't moved from his lonely spot on the bench.
    Miss Rosa stopped in front of two head stones, side by side. Both were chipped and faded with dead flowers lying in front of them. They looked as if they hadn't been visited in a very long time. I heard a soft sniffling noise.
    I looked around for the source and noticed Miss Rosa had sat on her knees, her dress lying in a circle around her. Her shoulders shook, her hair cascaded on either side of her face, shielding her from the world. I knelt down beside her and attempted to read the headstone.
    "Evelyn Faith," I read aloud the one to my left. I looked over to the one on my right, reading, "Nathan Faith." I gasped silently and glanced over at Miss Rosa, recognition at the name Faith flashing through my mind.
    "My mother taught me this when I was little, Miss Rosa," I started. She looked up at me with reddened eyes, although she still looked beautiful. Tears stained her cheeks.
    "What's that?" she whispered gently. 
    "If you fold your hands together," I paused to demonstrate, interlacing my fingers, "when you have no ones hand to hold, you can hold your own."
    She tilted her head slightly, a hint of a smile growing on her lips as another tear slid down her cheek. She held up her interlaced hands to show me.
    "Then you won't feel so alone," I whispered, afraid to speak too loudly in such a peaceful place.
    "Thank you Miss Ashlen," she whispered in response, still holding her own hands.

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  1. Taylor this is beautifully written! I loved every second of it and wish there was more. I think you have a real knack for setting scenes, especially historical ones! Thank you for sharing this I loved it.

  2. Thank you so much! That really means a lot to me :) I'm so glad you liked it!