My head rested against the sill of the rental car’s window. Rainy tears streak down the glass. They run, battling its trajectory, then free fall until the brink. They gather themselves into bulbous droplets, huddled together as if they’re cold.Bored, I shift and flop over unto my other side to watch my dad. His one hand on the wheel and the other idle on his lap. His loam-grey eyes are trained ahead of him, his scythe eyebrows furrowed in intensity. So pensive.
We stand in a horizontal line in the atrium, in front of the open, elaborate double doors. The same string of maidservants stream back inside, carrying mine and my brother’s luggage. They march ahead, a straight path from the threshold to the main stairway that connects all four landings with protruding balconies all aligned with each other from top to bottom.With a choice of right or left staircase that both elegantly swivel up to the same point, the chain of maidservants trails up the left side in single file, disappearing down the west corridor. On the ground floor, beside
Fidgeting restlessly, I stalk to the standing mirror in the corner of the humongous bedroom, the same size, if not bigger, than my old house’s living room. I stare back at my reflection; I twist my torso to see as much of the back as I can before I straighten again. The tail of my braid lank to my hip.The black dress is simple, sleeves with thick straps, fitted at the waist and from the hip, it reaches over the knees, whispering to my ankles. The silky fabric on the outside is appealing with its glossy skirt. The material on the inside, however, is irritating and feels like millions of tiny
Once the fraught first supper finally culminated, full from good food that sits uneasily in my stomach. They release us from the dining hall and Hilda escorts us back to our quarters. Because honestly, on our own, I would have to put on google maps just find my way back.Eventually we arrive at our designated corridor. I enter my room and I collapse against the door, the wrought etchings poking into my back as the door glides back to a close.
“I think its late enough,” Atticus grumbles, sleep anchoring his words with the heft of exhaustion. “Any longer and I’m gonna pass out.” His eyes droop, fluttering them wide open. He sits slouched against the lime-green Victorian chair. A frail grip on his phone, the dim light of his screen reflects on his night-worn expression.The entire room bathes a ebbing metallic glow. Streams of moonlight, sieved with silver fringes, spills through the expansive window beside him, creating meres of enchanted light. Whereas he resides in the shadows, besides his face, blackness
At the cusp of dawn, my brothers and I sit seated around the breakfast table that sidles the extensive ligneous kitchen. A royal breakfast is laid out for us: both poached and scrambled eggs, grilled pork sausages, strips of bacon, accompanied with a platter of buttered toast besides a bowl of freshly harvested and washed fruits.Joshua vacuums in another weary yawn and Atticus sits with his forehead resting on his wrists. At this point, I have no concept of reality. Hilda dragged us from our beds so that we could all enjoy a first breakfast together with the Apions. But we’ve been waiting,
I step cautiously onto the earthen floor, layered with straws of hay. My gaze wanders around the interior of the enclosed stable, listening to the gentle sounds of horses whinnying. My nose slightly wrinkles at the pungent odour, but its familiarness is comforting.Years ago, in a chasm of time, a gap where our stormy lives were stilled into a short-lived silence. Atticus used to take riding lessons at Mell’s ranch. He was good too, won an accolade of medals to prove it, until his hobby became an unmanageable expense. And it became a thing of the past, along with a lot of things.
The next few days tumbled by in agonizing listlessness. Here the minutes are hours and hours are days. We requested, several times, if we could go into town, but even a mere mention, they thwart the topic.But today. Right now. Hilda is preparing us for the first party of the social season and the Apion Manor is the deluxe host, where the mayor’s campaign is held, charity galas, engagements and other business-driven soirees.