She wept. The tears rolled down her face and fell to the marble floor. The home was quiet enough for the sound of the tears to be as thunder on a rainy day and the close confines of the room only served to echo the sound into reverberating screams of despair and hopelessness.
The little girl wept. The wet sound of her sniffling only compounded the emotion of her longing; the long gasps of air being inhaled through her moist lips as she tried to keep from wailing aloud was heart wrenching.
Slowly she stepped through the darkened hall, each step hidden by the echo of the last. The tears came freely from her swollen eyes, but she did not seem to notice. The little girl’s name was Ellie and she was seven, but that did not matter any longer.
What was a name when there was no longer anyone to remember it? What was an age when only emptiness and solitude celebrated the passing of the remembrance of her birth? Her nightgown shifted like mist in the breeze that swirled in from an open window some thirty feet away and was almost ghostly in the way it flowed around her.
Ellie was afraid; but more than that, she was lonely. The smooth paneled walls, rich with murals and elaborate pictures of gardens, landscapes and family supported a ceiling, textured with ancient oak and gold leaf.
Ellie walked slowly through the shadows, past darkened rooms that were once alive with activity and laughter but now were empty and dust filled. She neither looked right or left but moved straight ahead toward the open window. The curtains were blowing inward in the stiff breeze, stretching toward the girl like spirited hands seeking the souls of the lost.
Ellie walked between them and looked out upon an ancient courtyard where the fountains that once flowed with rippling water now sat dry and empty, leaves possessing the fountain’s depths, moist with rain.
The darkness of the night along with the damp breeze that drafted in and around her added to Ellie’s disquiet and caused her to tremble, but she stood there looking outward watching and listening for someone, anyone to come and bring her hope again.
Looking up she saw the low clouds only slightly, but she could tell they were swirling and gray, full of sadness and weeping their grief upon the forgotten mansion.
The wind shifted and caused the rain to drift into the home and collect upon Ellie’s face and mix with her hot tears. Ellie’s gown became wet and heavy and rainwater collected around her feet, but still she stood there unmoving, weeping and remembering.
‘Ellie, come away from the window and warm yourself by the fire. You will catch a chill standing there.’ her mother said in a soothing voice. Ellie turned and walked through the family room, and approached the fireplace. The orange flames danced and swirled while the embers cracked and popped. The heat of the blaze warmed her flesh and soothed the chillness from her joints.
Ellie smiled. Her mother sat upon her chair rocking gently back and forth while her dad played an instrument and sang a quiet tune that set Ellie’s heart to stirring emotion. In the corner her brother played with his toys and in the kitchen the staff was preparing supper.
Outside the birds were singing and the sound of workmen attending to their tasks could be heard. Ellie began to sing with her father while her mother sewed a rip in some clothing her brother had worn.
The setting sun brought color to the walls and danced off of the crystal goblets and dishes set upon the table. Company would be here soon and supper would be served. There was to be a calibration, excitement was in the air. Ellie was turning seven today, the party would be fun.
Winter winds blew the window open and the curtains began to dance with the breeze. Ellie wrapped her arms around herself, but the cold had become too much for her, she shivered and her teeth chattered in response.
Her father set the instrument down and walked over to the window, but he did not close it, instead he turned to see the front door opening and everything went black.
Ellie opened her eyes and blinked away her tears, but still she did not move away from the window. She stood there watching the lightning flashing all around while she watched the grounds for any signs of life.
Ellie’s bare feet shifted in the cold rainwater and she wiggled her toes in the small pool forming around them. The window stood wide open like her eyes, unable or unwilling to close. From deep within, the agony of loneliness began to rise and Ellie began to tremble from the pain and no longer from the cold.
Struggling to keep quiet she bit her lips. Her teeth tore into them and she could feel the discomfort, but still she refrained from letting the grief spill out. Memories of distant things flooded her mind as she struggled with her hurt.
Sunlight bit into her flesh on the hot summer day. It burnt slightly but the breeze soothed the heat as she laughed and played with her little brother in the front yard. The fountain jutted forth great streams of water from the mouths of cherubs and crashed down into the pool below.
Ellie and her brother laughed and played in the cool water until the voice of her mother broke through the moment, ‘Children, come inside. It’s getting dark and soon the cold will set in. You will catch a chill if you don’t hurry.’
The children continued to laugh and play as they made their way inside the mansion. There their mother waited for them with towels in hand and a smile on her face. The smell of her mother’s perfume caught in the air and Ellie took it in. Her mother was beautiful and she loved her so.
The darkness came and with it the cool winds began to blow, but the heat from the fireplace ebbed into the living room and warmed their bodies and took the chill from the air. Their mother began to sing a lullaby as she put the children to bed; her voice soothing and full of comforting life.
Ellie closed her eyes and everything went black.
In the darkness Ellie stood alone waiting for someone to come. She did not know how long it had been, but it seemed to her young mind that a long time had passed since she had last seen her little brother or father or heard the softness of her mother’s voice.
The storm clouds seemed to only grow darker and the rains fall harder, as Ellie stood in between the flowing curtains, watching and waiting for something she did not seem to remember anymore.
How long had it been since last she had seen the light of day. The night had been long and the sun refused to shine. Ellie was tired but she did not know why. She was crying but she could not remember what had caused her pain.
The rains fell in watery sheets and slammed against the side of the mansion’s walls. Ellie closed her eyes as the rain continued to fall upon her face. Something pulled at her will, gently stirring some long forgotten memory.
‘Mommy?’ she called. The mansion was dark and she was alone, but she could hear her now. She followed the sound of the voice through the darkened halls, water dripping from her hair and cloths.
She looked back to the open window where only moments ago the storm was raging, but now the sun was shining and the sounds of workmen could be heard. The chirping and singing of birds brought joy to Ellie’s heart and she wanted to go back, but the sound of her mother’s voice was calling.
Ellie turned from the window and looked into the darkness of the regal hall. It was dusty and lifeless and lonely, but from somewhere in its soulless depths the voice she had almost forgotten beckoned her on.
Step by fearful step she pushed on into the darkness until finally she came to a solitary room. Memories flashed through Ellie’s mind as she walked to the bed that had once been hers. Along the wall were the dolls that she used to play with, but they were old now, covered in filth and wasted almost too much for her to recognize.
From the shadows her mother called, but she no longer sounded the same. She sounded old and tired and as lonely as Ellie had been. In a rocking chair the old woman sat. She held something in her hands and sang a lullaby. Ellie moved close to her old mother, shocked at what had become of her.
Ellie was crying again as she listened to her mother’s voice. The words that were coming from her shattered soul were tormented and wracked with pain. Grief flowed from her lips as she gripped the image tightly in her gnarled, wrinkled hands.
Ellie looked down into her mother’s hands and saw her own face held there, smiling with light in her eyes.
‘Mommy?’ Ellie whispered. Ellie closed her eyes and everything went black.
A good reputation take a long time to build, but only a moment to destroy. Wow, that's deep!
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Other stories from Adrian.
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