This is the photo for last week’s Picture It and Write! hosted by Ermilia Blog! What we’re supposed to do is make up a story or a poem based on the picture that’s provided each week. It’s a pretty sweet chance to be random and let your creativity loose! I prefer to do the stories.
Hi there, I’m Jolie Nolan and if you’re up to it I’ve got a story to share. There was a myth, or what many considered a myth, in my family concerning my father’s younger sister, Eliza. Only the few that were there couldn’t deny the stark truth, save for the one that couldn’t believe it to this day. The others, what they doubted, what they thought was a God awful tale spun by our ancient looking Aunt Maude, was something I knew as a fact, something I’m tied to for as long as I live.
Being the eldest child of the eldest child (my father) I inherited Aunt Maude’s house on Shamus St. and I will tell you – the adventurous reader – the notion of baring this burden in solitude is nowhere near simple, the mere thought of it threatens to drive me insane. It’s up to you weather or not you choose to believe me.
Eliza, along with the other children, was forbidden from entering the last room on the corridor in old Aunt Maude’s pretty home whenever she was there for the holidays. No one for that matter wanted to step foot beyond that door, which was a rather peculiar sight in such a neat and proper house like this one.
Upon turning, the knob creaks with this eery metallic grind and as you can imagine, the hinges did no differently. The lilac patterned wallpaper surrounding the door’s frame were lightly charred, if you’ve ever lit the edges of a page with a lit cigarette before you might have an idea. It’s once caramel brown coat of paint must have beckoned generations of curious souls, one of which was poor Aunt Eliza, thirty five years ago, she was only ten. This was her story ….
She opened the door of her bedroom just a crack and peeked out. Eliza could hear the feint clinking of the knives against the china and champagne glasses against each other, with the voices of Auntie Maudie and mum, dad and her uncles accompanying them down in the dining room. She was supposed to be in bed, counting sheep but the sheep weren’t any good except for their wool. Behind her was the sound of the wind beating on the window she had not too long opened.
She tip toed out softly, her socked feet muffled her footsteps against the wooden floor and paused at the parlor’s entrance. Auntie Maudie had the most beautiful figurines Eliza’s ever seen, the colours were so magical. On the shelves there were so much, it all looked like a little town frozen in time, the maidens’ hands were shading their eyes from an imaginary sun, their baskets of laundry and flowers in their free arms.
Someone coughed in the dining room close by and startled her. She slipped away from the room and made her way to where everyone else were. She peeped and saw them all leaning over some think dusty volume. A tipsy Uncle Fletcher, swirling the wine in his glass, declared, “That, gentlemen … and yes of course you fine ladies … hick! Those were the days …”, and she never knew what else because he proceeded to slump into a drunken heap in his seat. No one payed him any attention, they were too engrossed with the book that sat before dad.
Eliza took a last glance at them and crossed the hall unnoticed. Where was she now, she wondered when she came to a dimly lit passage. Then she knew when she spied the ”Chamber door” of the room none of them were to enter.
“But I’ve come this far,” she whispered to the shadows, “and I reckon I won’t have another chance.”
She stood before the faded brownish door and felt the heavy aura of foreboding. She wanted to go in and see what all the fuss was all about. She wanted to go back and tell her brothers what she’d see and they will know that she wasn’t a little chicken like they say she is. Then they would treat her like a grown up like she felt she was.
Her fingertips touched the knob, and then before she knew it her hand closed over it completely and she found that she couldn’t let go! All she could do now is just to turn it and get it all over with, but Eliza wasn’t too keen on doing that with the strange tingly sensation going through her arm and her heart beating like a drum in her throat, but what else is there to be done?
So turn went the knob and creeeeek went the door. She shut her eyes and stumbled in with wobbly feet that at the moment felt like noodles. Open your eyes, Lizzy. Open them! she commanded herself. When they did flutter open what she saw was an unlikely sight in fancy Auntie Maude’s grand house and was more than a little disappointed.
What lay before her was a rough brick wall, that had the colour of long dried mud. There was nothing in here except for a window to her left where somehow daylight was seeping in when it was clearly night just moments before. A spotless ornate bronze mirror that stood against the wall was the most interesting sight in the spartan room.
She stepped in front of it and saw a little girl of ten. Ash blond, shoulder length hair framed her rosy face her clear blue eyes were currently wide as saucers. Then Eliza realized it was her own reflection! She didn’t know she was so pretty, maybe it was a magic mirror. She twirled around and around her light cream cotton night dress rippled as she went, she didn’t feel the least tired. But it wasn’t long before she found that she couldn’t stop dancing and spinning!
This was a bad idea after all. Oh, how dreadful! She began to cry softly, tears cold against her pallid cheeks. Then she really began screaming.
“Mum! Mummy! Help me!”
Maybe they couldn’t hear her cries, the she was doomed!
“Oh, someone help me, please!” she wailed, utterly spent.
Eliza regretted ever coming down here, she shouldn’t have gotten out of bed at all. Her brothers’ taunts were not worth being stuck here, helpless. Indeed, they definitely weren’t …
What happened was when my grandmother, Eliza’s mum, had gone to check on her, she was missing but it was Aunt Maude that realized what had happened after a thorough search of the house was carried out, except for that cursed room. She, grand mum and gran dad found her there spinning endlessly before the enchanted mirror. They all stood there frozen stock still and gazed upon Aunt Eliza’s terrorized form. No matter what they’d tried she couldn’t be moved, nor stopped. Aunt Maude told me this a while before she passed away a few years ago.
Grand mum couldn’t believe her eyes till today, she insisted she must have ran away seeing that the window in Eliza’s room was open. If that belief was what kept her from losing her sanity they let her alone. Gran dad knew of the curse long before, though why and how Aunt Maude came into possession of the mirror still remained a mystery. What he did know was that only children for some reason were affected.
This story never fails to give the shivers whenever I hear it being talked about. Unfortunately, that wasn’t as worse as it could get. Do you not wonder how is it that I knew what Eliza’s most intimate thoughts from all those years ago? How she wounded herself into that disastrous fate? Well, you’ve read so far so you might as well know the entire thing.
Aunt Eliza told me herself. She’s still there in that very room spinning away, dancing, though thirty five years have elapsed. I really have seen her for myself and talked with her. Eliza doesn’t eat nor drink or got to do the things young girls eventually find themselves doing. She was still ten years old – or should I say is – physically, though but mentally she’s grown up as much as one could be being confined between four walls and eternal daylight, that window wasn’t ordinary either for it never saw the dusk.
Though I must admit sometimes it seem as if Eliza hadn’t changed at all, she told me how my father used to swing her on the old tire that still hung on the tree in the back yard of their home. Her other brother Dil used to steal her dolls and tied them to their dog to drag around in the mud, she’d cry as she had when it had happened but then she’d stop, she never cried for too long. She told me she’d used up most her tears that night, and that nothing mattered anymore. Then I ended shedding tears of my own because she was right.
You might find it rather funny in a sick sort of sense that when I’m in her presence she doesn’t bother me much. What had happened to her didn’t faze me then because my mind accepts the truth as truth twirls before me then but when I’m away from that room, from that dark wing of the house I’ve been destined to guard, as my eldest child and his after him, it’s much more difficult to believe though I know it’s true.
But such is my life, dear reader, I read her books when she feels bored, or when I do, she’s always good company believe it or not but I’m stuck with her and I’ll make what I can of the whole situation. I’ve come to lover her, she’s got no one else now and I’ll give her as much as I can, the poor soul. But not for one second could I forget that it could have been my father in her place. For all we know, it could have been you.
That was probably the spookiest story I’ve ever written, probably the most serious one too (it was more so than the one I’d written about the enchanted pie). I swear on all seven of my Harry Potter books that I didn’t rip this off from anyone, that’s not who I am.
So what are your thoughts on this piece? I’d love to hear them.