Part of Your World

This story is influenced by ‘The Little Mermaid.’

 

Part of Your World

 

Outside the rain was pouring hard. Florence could hear it tap-tapping on the roof as she ascended the creaky stairs, up into the dry, dark, and dusty attic. She did not know what to do on a day like today… Everything felt dull and shallow. Every time that it rained, or that she was near water, she felt a queer sense that part of her life was missing.
“Nonsense!” she muttered. She was just lonely because her father was away. He had gone off excitedly in his boat over the sea, on some ‘fishing expedition,’ as he always said.
Florence liked to go up in the attic when he wasn’t around: it was just the thing that she did. There were many things in the attic, and the rain that day made her have a strange desire to see, touch, and smell things from the past. She always told herself that it satisfied her hunger and made her life seem more whole… to help assure her that everything was there: that nothing was missing.
There were all of her toys in one box—slightly sticky and spotted brown in places from spit-up. There was a multitude of fans in one corner, a fishbowl that she had kept a little blue fish in for a while, on one shelf of a dark bookcase which towered to the attic ceiling. Her father had said the fish was not big enough to eat. Florence sighed. And that curious blue card-board box on the very top, out of her reach, with a faded ‘Fisherman’s Boots’ logo on the side she could see. There was always that. She had always been too small to reach it. She stood on the tips of her toes, as she usually did, but she had not done it recently. She was surprised when her finger-tips met its sides. She carefully slid it down and knelt with it on the floor.
She opened the lid and there were smiling faces—her face, and two others.
Florence jumped as she heard the front door screech open. Her father had come home.
Florence leapt nimbly and quietly down from stair to stair. She silently closed the door at the bottom. She pattered down the hallway in her socks, and down the stairs, to find her father at the front door, hanging up his large green water-proof coat. “No luck,” he said in his grunty voice.
“Oh,” said Florence. “Why did you never tell me that I had a mother and a sister,” she said conversationally, as if she had said, ‘You will probably have some better luck next time.’
Her father stared at her with a slightly blank look in his eyes. “Drowned in the lake,” he grunted, a little randomly, Florence thought, and stomped up the stairs in his fisherman’s boots, leaving behind him a trail of slimy black mud.
Florence’s hands shook from anger. It was zeal, rather. She felt that she had had a right to know. All of this time she had made up stories to herself of what had happened to this mother of hers. She had told them to herself so many times and sharpened the details until she believed herself. But her mother’s smiling face was a false memory. ‘And I had a sister!’ Florence thought with bitter shock, ‘my own age!’
Rapidly blinking, she tried to distract herself from the heavy feeling which crept up from her heart and into her eyes by resolutely putting on all of her water-proof things, and stomping out the front door in her red welly boots.
The rain had turned the whole front garden into muddy earth that was ankle-deep. Florence stomped on, even though she felt that the mud was trying to suck at her boots rather, so that she would trip over and fall in it. Then the heavy feeling would win and she would cry, laying there in the mud and in the depths of despair. She would not do that.
She stomped down the slight hill to the lake by her house. Its grey-brown surface was a frantic mess as it was hit with the many rain-drops which fell.
There was something quite close to the water’s edge. It was a very black round thing. Florence pulled a stick out of the mud and poked it as another distraction from the heaviness.
With a shriek, the black thing rose out of the water until it was nearly as tall as Florence. The stick slid from Florence’s hand.
A few lengths of weed dangled from its round black formless head. Florence could not tell where its mouth was when it spoke. “What is it, child,” it said in a terrible expressionless voice, like stones plonking into water. It was just a little deeper in tone than the rain hitting the water itself.
Florence swallowed, and said, “Are you the one that took my mother and sister?”
The thing seemed to look at her thoughtfully, although Florence could not tell where its eyes were. “…In a way,” it said. “However, they are alive and well.”
Florence hesitated, wringing the edge of her red rain-jacket. Suddenly, the words slid out of her mouth: “Take me to them.”
The thing beckoned to her with one large blobby black finger, and Florence leant slightly nearer to it. “There is one condition: you will not be able to speak a word to anyone.”
The words slid out of her mouth: “Yes.”
Suddenly she was writhing about in cold water as the thing pulled her down, and down, and down. Her wrist was enveloped in its thick formless hand, and she could not break free. She forgot what the thing had said as panic took her over inside. All that she could think was ‘I need to breathe!’ Finally she could hold her breath no longer: she involuntarily inhaled.
She relaxed as the thing pulled her quickly along through the water. She could see their shadows below on the bottom of the lake. The water became warmer, and when the thing finally let go of her wrist, she wriggled out and let go of her red rain jacket. She calmly swam behind the long black thing in her red bathing suit, to a dense patch of weed. Florence batted her way through to a clearing. The thing was gone. There was only a girl in a green bathing-suit sitting on a rock, with dark hair floating around her head quite prettily. She looked sad and bored at once: quite how she had been feeling, Florence observed. And then the girl looked up, and Florence knew that it was her sister.
The girl seemed to know too. She smiled. “Florence!” she said delightedly as she swam over and hugged her.
“You know my name,” Florence said a little guiltily, “but I do not know yours.”
Her sister leant back and looked at her in astonishment. “Our father did not tell you anything?!” she exclaimed. “I am Nimue! We are twins, you know.”
“How do you even know these things?” Florence asked uncertainly.
“Mum told me, of course,” said Nimue.
“Our mother is alive?” Florence said in shock. But then, there was her sister, breathing in the water as she was.
“She brought you here,” tested Nimue, “did she not?” Before Florence could say that a thing had brought her here, and was that thing her mother, Nimue said “Now let us play a game which is no fun by myself. Come over to this rock and show me how to use these things.” Florence sat a little awkwardly and helped her sister to comb her hair, and they each put on water-proof lip-stick. The two girls played for hours: they played tag, they pretended to be fish, and Nimue showed Florence her precious stone collection. “They aren’t really precious,” Nimue explained, “but they are to me.”
Later when the sisters were tired, Florence decided that it was time for her to go home. Her—their—father would be wondering what had happened to her. She wanted to tell him about her sister. She had forgot what the thing had said earlier. “Goodbye,” Florence said to her troubled sister.
When Florence broke the water’s surface, she stared up at the moon and found herself gulping in nothing. She had to get back below the surface again to breathe.
Florence swam back to her sister in tears that could not be seen. Her face was simply a bit red. When she got to the clearing, the black thing was with her smiling sister. “Is that horrible thing really my mum?” Florence sobbed.
The ‘thing’ took its formless hands and vigorously swept itself all over. Bits of black mud floated up around it, and Florence could not see the thing for a while because of a cloud of dirt. When the cloud dissolved, there was a beautiful lady in the thing’s place. Like Florence’s eyes and her sister’s, her eyes were green-blue, like the sea, and her hair was the same darkness. She wore a dress made out of weed woven together, which somehow looked exquisite. “Who are you calling a horrible thing?” she demanded scornfully. “I am Aerwyna, your mother. Also, I am a sea-witch. Living in this lake is my punishment for having too many magical experiments with the fish of the sea. I just want to do be good now, child, to please the moon goddess. Bringing you to your sister is good. Now you live together in the same world,” she said, as if it were so just because she said it was.
“I want to go home,” Florence wept.

 

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Train of Thought

This lyric poem is about the sequence of events and thoughts which are the train of life.

 

Train of Thought

I am a train

My life rushes past on either side

Through sun or rain

I must ride

The conductor—that is I

But however hard I try and try

I cannot stop this train

To have a rest

To stay still and calm forever

I peer out of the windows

There is only fog ahead

I lean out the side

The wind making my eyes watery

And I see what is past

And ever more distant memories

If I could stop

I would never get there

But I wonder where?

 

 

 

 

 

The Candle Flame

–For everyone who has lost someone in their life that they love.

 

The Candle Flame

 

I awoke and they said that you have gone

I tried to believe; it was like thinking that to blink takes long

Something has taken you away

A fog rested in my mind, and down every thought it weigh

 

Candle flame, you glowed and with light and love, my eyes shone—glossed

I cannot believe that you are lost

A light in my life extinguished

With anguish and dread, I think of the memory of you, diminished

 

A flicker—“I am here,” you say

You flutter, laughing, “Nothing has taken me away”

I look deep inside to the light and smile

And speak with you for a while

 

“I miss you,” I cry, “Please come back”

“Without you, it can never be the same—” my thoughts become without light: black

Now everything has changed, darkened, faded

“How could this have happened? Could it not have been evaded?”

 

A flicker—“I am here,” you say

You flutter, laughing, “Nothing has taken me away

And with a cold ending breath, blew

Trust, take my light far: I am alive inside of you”

 

~In memory of Mrs. Tivis, an English teacher who taught me to write.

 

 

This poem is about the loss of a loved person. But, because the person gave love, it stays in the receiver’s heart forever. The world may seem cold without them—yet another flame extinguished—but they left the fire within the person. This light will lead the way of understanding, and burn away bad thoughts.

Thanks to my uncle, who made it possible for me to go to my first The Cure concert, I remembered their unreleased song ‘It Can Never be the Same,’ with a flickering candle flame as the scenery behind Robert on the stage, when I wrote this. I cried at the concert when he played that song, that I had never heard before. The song remained in me, with the image of a flickering candle flame. It played comfortingly in my head, warming my heart, when I was becoming cold with grief.

A dear cat named Bubba passed away. I am reminded of all of the grief that I have ever experienced in life; I am reminded of the poem that I am posting today.

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In the Autumn Goodbye

I feel the Autumn creeping–coming, in the crispness of the wind. It makes me shiver, chilled with excitement. I feel that I must do everything now. I must run about under the trees, say goodbye to the green. And I always keep this poem in my mind.

 

In the Autumn Goodbye

Alone in a wide dark blue field
I stand openly, yet concealed
In the lingering Autumn
With fear of everything being forgotten

I do not know what I must do to find
I do not know what I left behind
When winter comes riding its grey cloud
I know my every wish will be enshroud’

I could not fly beyond the sky to Neverland
And now here I for ever stand
I must say goodbye
I mustn’t think or wonder why

What was ever there?
Why do I at the deceptive night sky stupidly stare?
There was nothing but the fancies and dreams of Summer
I could never have been changed to become her

The wind takes away the leaves of the trees
Like how of you time takes away my memories
I must say goodbye
I mustn’t stop and cry

So I say goodbye to you, beyond the sky
Though I know the thought of you ever being there is a lie
And the winter comes to devour
Round me every dwindling bright moonlit flower

 

 

 

The Girl in the Pond

This story is the first ‘real’ story that I ever wrote. This is a genuine story, because it came out of my head. Sometimes at brick and mortar school, teachers would try to put their things in my head–to make me write things that I did not want to as stories. They made me feign what they thought that a story should be. Once I became a young adult, and had left those bossy teachers behind, I wrote my first real story, and I have been dedicated to writing whatever my imagination conjures in my head ever since.

 

The Girl in the Pond

Wendy quietly watched her small pond. “How interesting and lovely you are,” she whispered to it. She bent down and carefully placed a curved emerald green leaf on its surface. The pond sparkled cheerfully in the sunshine, whispering in the slight breeze. It was one of those spring days that was simply alive.

Her pond was so calm and still that it was blue, with a small lonely looking cloud a little farther off than the middle of it. Wendy’s gentle dark blue eyes flickered and sparkled mysteriously. A tall tree stood nearby, covering her in a coolness from its shadow that caused Wendy to shiver with delight.

“Hello,” Wendy smiled crookedly. Her smile always looked rather naughty, but the girl in the pond who smiled back seemed to have a full beautiful smile. She rippled slightly. “I was wondering… What is it like down there with those fish swimming around in that sky?” They must be like birds, swimming around in the open, perching on things, and sleeping in trees, Wendy thought. She didn’t see any now, but she leaned forward and peered in eagerly.

The girl seemed to think. Her eyes lit up suddenly.

“They must be your friends, of course…” Wendy mused. It must be awfully nice to have fish as friends, she thought.

The girl smiled again and gave a friendly nod.

“Wendy Eigaine!” Her mother Mrs. Eigaine called, closing the white gate to the back door behind her. She held a baby in one arm, and waved with the other. “There you are! Don’t lean in too far!”

Wendy did not like to worry her mother, especially now. Wendy was born in the year 1933; a March baby. And now, it seemed, to be born in this time was quite a mistake. Everyone talked fearfully of the Nazis. With a quick wave to the girl in the pond, she turned around.

“Father will be coming home from leave soon,” a small half smile lit up one side of Mrs. Eigaine’s face, the same crooked smile as Wendy’s. “I know that he will.” She sat down on the wooden bench next to the back door gate with hearts carved into it. The radio’s fuzzy voices drifted out through the open doorway behind.

Wendy turned slowly back to her pond. The girl was still there, smiling slightly as little shards of white sparkled about her. Wendy stopped breathing. She saw a fish, but not a fish at all. It was moving about in the water, almost in a slithery way. It was soot black, and quite small and sharp looking. Wendy heard a buzzing noise. She looked at the girl in the pond. Her face was pale. Her eyes were round and horrified. She had seen it. A frog came up to the surface out of her face, which made Wendy jump back.

Wendy looked up at the sky to the black airplane circling above.

“Mum,” Wendy murmured, “there’s an aeroplane.”

“What?” she called, rearranging the blanket around Wendy’s baby sister.

“Mum, look, it’s an aeroplane!” Wendy screamed, staring at the sky.

Mrs. Eigaine gasped and looked up, “Not Colchester,” she whispered, “Please, no…” Her hand was over her mouth.

The plane looked evil and filled Wendy with black hopeless dread. Wendy looked back at her pond. The girl had turned herself, too, to stare as it circled. The sun went out, because the lonely cloud had finally found it. The dull sound of the alarms shrieked off, but it was too late. The earth shook, and Wendy found herself hot and limp on the ground at her last moment of consciousness.

She was hugging her mother and her little baby sister. She was crying, and her mother was smoothing her hair and saying soothing words like a soft lullaby.

“I know you will grow up to be a beautiful intelligent young woman. I will be proud of you no matter what happens to you, or where you are, or where you’re going. Wendy, I’m with you right now, and I’m never leaving you for a moment.”

Wendy just cried, with no sound coming out. She cried and cried, until her mother kissed her forehead and faded into the air in golden white light.

Wendy breathed in raspily. It was the sun that had woken her up. She sat up, slowly. She was beside her pond. The grass was green, the sun was shining, and the water was blue, but something was wrong. There were flecks of black in her pond. She would have noticed those before. Also, there were no birds chirping. Wendy turned around. Her house was a soot black skeleton, with fire still dancing and eating the little that was left of it. Her mother and her baby sister were gone, probably the heap of ashes somewhere over there. Wendy just stood there, frozen in shock. She didn’t know for how long. It felt like how time passes in a dream.

“Little girl!” A man in a British uniform ran to her and held her shoulders, “Are you hurt young lady?”

Her lips just quivered, and no sound came out. Her hand was clutching something, she realized. She had absent-mindedly clutched it. It was the silver locket with her parent’s pictures kept safe inside.

“I’m with you right now, and I’m never leaving you for a moment,” Wendy thought.

 

 

The Lightning Man

While listening to The Cure’s song ‘Hot Hot Hot!!!’ I found my imagination was at work. I was trying to write a comedy play at the time (this is the play transformed into a short story). This song always makes me smile, because I imagine Robert Smith, The Cure’s singer, being very excited by lightning, as I am myself. My writer’s brain wondered why he described in the lyrics that he liked the lightning to come, but left as soon as it came. I began to imagine a man who ran around the world, feverishly chasing The Lightning in a dark storming sky, always in search of something important to himself that he could never quite capture.

As dark clouds keep looming hesitantly this Friday evening, I have decided to encourage them by choosing the story ‘The Lightning Man’ as the story this week. I hope that you enjoy this!

 

The Lightning Man

 ‘Another time, another day, that is the reason why we stay; to find—‘ The pen was laid down on the desk with a sharp ‘thwack!’ I stared dubiously down at the man in a grey fedora and long black raincoat. He looked about himself, as if searching for his shadow or some other thing that is rather significant to a human being. His excited mutters echoed up to me: “This is here. I must be here. The day is grey and dark, summoning me.” He paced in a complete circle, whilst turning his head to frantically search from side to side, and came back under my window to tilt his head up, put a careful hand on his fedora, and attempt to stare through at me. I snatched the white curtain beside me and hid behind it, veiling all of myself up to my nose.

Delirious with his excitement, what did the man do next, but crawl about in my lovely garden, among my dark bluebells and other strange plants. ‘How dare he touch it!’ my thoughts seethed in my brain with the writhing man. I hoped that my thorn bushes were stabbing this uninvited guest to death. The snake soon slithered out, holding something in his hand which looked suspiciously like a rock. He stood and drew back his hand with the thing in it, studied the location of my window very carefully, and threw the thing precisely in the middle of the pane, emitting a sharp bang.

“Excuse me!” he exclaimed to my window. He waited a brief moment; he launched the stone again. This time my garden claimed the stone back. “Excuse me, I am the lightning man!” he announced. “I am here on my urgent business. Hurry up, will you?! This is now, and I must be in it!”

At this outburst, I threw the window up. “What is your name, sir?” I enquired in a hot and cold tone: I hoped that the combination of these extremities of vehemence and indifference would cause his brain to melt from embarrassment, and then freeze in horror.

“Ah finally,” I heard the man mutter, unaffected by my hot and coldness. “I must enter your residence on my dire business!” he said gravely.

I pretended to consider his predicament rather carefully; instead I rather carefully considered dropping my pysanki egg on his head. The little monster sat right next to me, on my desk. It was swampy in colour, and the designs had not shown, so I was not fond of it, and I knew that if broken, it was capable of smelling of an extremely putrid rotting egg at this point in time. The only reason that it was there was because ever since I made it, I had a feeling that it ought to be there. My fingers crept across my desk to it longingly and hovered over it, as I said, “It is true, oh nameless one: time waits for no man, and it seems, especially you. But it is I who must take this moment to write an important story, of greater significance than I deem either you or the idea that you suggest.” I suddenly thought that I wouldn’t do it after all, and instead closed the window forcefully and forbiddingly.

“It is not time that cannot wait for Jasvinder Sparkjum!” the man cried, hurling the stone back at my window.

I was the firebird in the heart of a volcano, and he had disturbed me. I opened the window and dropped the egg precisely on Jasvinder Sparkjum’s head in eruption. Jasvinder Sparkjum felt the stuff on his head seemingly in shock, lifting the yolk away as the white clung to his hat.

I cackled down at him, and declared, “I am Lucy, the supplier of what is deserved!”

I heard Jasvinder Sparkjum mutter, “What an unpleasant lady.” I realised it too late: his thoughts were in reality shifting like a mechanism of the insides of a machine, and he bolted to the front door while I stood foolishly cackling. He twisted the door handle with ease, and entered my house, for I had forgot to lock the door.

I stood in indignant shock; the only thing that I did at that moment was widen my eyes. Then I darted away from the window to see what Jasvinder Sparkjum was doing inside of my house. I halted on the stairs as he charged down the hall.

“Aren’t you a bit confrontational, forcing your way into peoples’ houses who you have never met or seen before in your life?” I demanded quietly, with a dark and contemptuous tone.

Jasvinder Sparkjum rushed to the kitchen and came back, while saying matter-of-factly, “Oh yes, we have met before—or rather, my eyes met you because you were there three storms ago.” He added distractedly, “No good, no good, no rubber.” He stood and looked about the living room in distress.

“What?” I said in a small voice of bewilderment, for that was all that I could manage.

“Do you have a loo?” asked Jasvinder Sparkjum in abrupt further excitement.

“Yes, over there,” I said, pointing behind him down the hall. “Do you need it?”

“Indeed, it will be of very good use to me if it is a true loo! I used a tea pot the last time because it did not like it, but it broke with all of the running about that I do. I must taunt it with dark sarcasm of how it cannot catch me as I am completely attached to the ground,” Jasvinder Sparkjum said. He rushed into the loo, and charged out again and out the front door, brandishing a toilet plunger high and gallantly in the air.

I wandered out after him. I looked up at the dark clouds above. I heard the deep bellowing sound of thunder, and smelt the faint whiff of petrichor as a few rain-drops pattered on the ground.

Jasvinder Sparkjum jumped and shivered with excitement, as a wide grin spread across his face. He began to thrust the toilet plunger about at the sky with sword-like movements. He declared to it, “Flee, you fiend, for I know you are a coward! Dare you come, it is not I who shall be struck down!” He began to run up and down the lane, howling challenges and waving the sword-plunger threateningly. When he ran out of insults, he merely repeated, “I am the lightning man! I am the lightning man!”

Suddenly he stopped, and stared and searched the twisting black clouds. “You will not even show yourself? What is evident is your true power! You cannot even tickle one silly man with your long and quickly twisting fingers!” he bellowed. He turned around as lightning raced across the sky over us. I stepped closer to him as he stared ahead of himself. I could see something bright fading out of his eyes. Everything that was Jasvinder Sparkjum seemed to be going with that light. He seemed to be muttering something, so I leant closer to him and heard, faintly, “I have tired of electrocuting you. It is against my nature to follow a man when I should obey the laws of Fate and Physics and grasp whatever is closest to my reach. Now I am gone. Wait!” Jasvinder Sparkjum screamed abruptly in response to this.

In disbelief, Jasvinder Sparkjum pranced to the puddle by my cottage, and said, “Here is a conductive body of water.” He strenuously and energetically plungered it, becoming increasingly more distressed. I knew that it was because The Lighting had refused to strike him.

I walked over to stand beside Jasvinder Sparkjum. He whippped around with the toilet plunger and I dodge out of its way.

You!” he choked. “Your toilet plunger is faulty. It would have been better if you had had a teapot,” he said, his voice heavy. He seemed to be disguising his misery arousing inside of himself with making his words forceful. He dropped the toilet plunger there, by the puddle, and walked over to the middle of the road, where he sat, and slumped over.

I sat down beside Jasvinder Sparkjum in the middle of the road, and placed my hand gently on his shoulder. “You run from the lightning because you need a purpose for your life,” I said softly, letting my writer’s voice pour out of me. “The lightning represents the power of your shocking ignorance, and you are haunted by it.” I smiled. “But I will give you a new purpose.” I took Jasvinder Sparkjum’s hand, and looked at the palm like fortune tellers do, as I began to remember how I had met Jasvinder Sparkjum. “I will write you into a story named ‘The Lightning Man.’ You must stay at my place for a bit so that I may observe your character and mannerisms. You will catch the lightning in the end, and it will become forever a part of you,” I said.

Jasvinder Sparkjum silently smiled at me as the sky above grew light, the dark clouds running away. And now, Jasvinder Sparkjum, you see that the lighting is there inside of you, for you have captured it by being your very self: The Lightning Man.

A Romeo and Juliet Dream

My English class in PA Cyber studied and performed the play ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ by William Shakespeare. One night, while we were studying this play, I had a Romeo and Juliet themed dream.

 

 

 

A Romeo and Juliet Dream

 

Now old desire doth in his deathbed lie,

And young affection gapes to be his heir.

That fair for which love groaned for and would die

With tender Juliet matched, is now not fair.

Now Romeo is beloved and loves again,

Alike bewitchèd by the charm of looks,

But to his foe supposed he must complain,

And she steal love’s sweet bait from fearful hooks.

Being held a foe, he may not have access

To breathe such vows as lovers use to swear.

And she as much in love, her means much less

To meet her new beloved anywhere.

But passion lends them power, time means, to meet,

Tempering extremities with extreme sweet.

 

Everything was unseen—obscured in darkness. Except for a dim window which blue tinted light made glow, and which instantly became the object of Juliet’s searching eyes. The friendly damp smell of earth drifted up her nose; she felt soft moss and dirt beneath her hands and knees as she crept. Juliet suddenly could move no further, for she sensed a person in the dark a few inches from her. She could nearly hear them breathing.

Still tensed, she wondered, ‘Who are you?’ but could not speak the words.

“I know not how to tell thee who I am,” the unseen person said in a low familiar voice; there was always a hint of laughter behind the words of that voice. And Juliet abruptly knew them, as if a part of her had awakened.

“How did we get here?” Juliet asked ecstatically, for she was with the familiar person. (She no longer cared where she was, or if the pretty glowing window disappeared and left her in the damp dark place forever.)

The person must have tilted their head to one side: faint moonlight glinted off familiar brown eyes. “We are here because it is supposed to be,” they reassured.

“I must say,” Juliet complied, “I am so happy to see you.” As she said the words, she began to see the familiar person more vividly. Even though they were a shadow in the dark, she began to see their silhouette, and their face lit dimly.

Then Juliet looked past them to the window and realised that an old woman was causing the window to let more of the bluish glow into the earthen room with sorcery: her arms were reaching over it and her fingers were twitching.

The old woman quickly noticed Juliet looking, and with a satisfied wink, swiftly hunched down to perch on a step below, so that half of her head had the window for a background; half of her face was illuminated in blue light.

“I must tell the tale of how I came to be as I am,” she warned in a creaky voice. She fluttered her hand over her clothes, which were soiled and torn brown rags. She went on, rather uncertainly, “Now, my young things…I was a young thing once, myself.” Juliet did not believe the old woman, as the old woman did not seem to believe herself. The old woman stared as she realised her own disbelief, and a tear sparkled down her crinkled face. “I must tell you—I must tell you…” she muttered, “If they do see thee, they will murder thee.”

Juliet felt a tremor of shock the instant the apparition of the old woman appeared in the dark blue window. The apparition of the old woman was wailing with a horrible grimace on her face.

The real old woman took her hand away from the window, and cackled bitterly.

The person beside Juliet was holding her hand, and as she smiled at how she was startled, he said, “She cannot help it.”

“They are the ones who hate!” the old woman muttered fiercely on. “They are the ones who murder love! They are the ones who make old, hungry and abandoned. They are the ones who make beautiful and alive dead. One does not have to ponder too deeply to suppose that my grandmother was in the same state as me, as the causer of my affliction!” the old woman wailed. She continued to rant in mutters of what her grandmother did to her, and Juliet turned to look at him to see what he thought. Juliet whispered, “I think that we must leave.”

“We must both leave together, so that we do not leave the other behind,” Romeo agreed.

“And now look at that.” The old woman waved a hand frustratedly across the window to make her apparition come back. “Part of me…trapped inside of a window. Do not make this your tomb as I have, to be preserved in eternal oppression. Leave this place at once!” The old woman vanished as her severe voice echoed through the stone room, though Juliet thought that she could have only turned invisible, and was still perched on the step, waiting expectantly for them to leave.

Romeo said, “For stony layers cannot hold love out,” took Juliet’s hand, and they flew out the window and into the blue of night.