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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Short Story Saturday

Stephan had hardly been able to believe his eyes when he'd seen the young woman emerge from the stables, looking very bewildered and frightened. The last time he'd seen her she'd been three years old.
Carefully, he guided her away from the staring crowd, amidst the mutters of wonder, and the search for the man he'd shot. He knew that they would have to leave, and quickly, before the rumors of witchcraft reached the ears of the Queen, and she ordered them arrested. Making their way around, the silent pair completed a large circle, and ended up back where they began, in the stables.
"Do you ride, perchance?" he asked. Mutely, she shook her head, negative. "Merde" he thought. Quickly, he had 2 of his horses saddled. His favorite roan stallion, and a hearty palfrey for her. Unceremoniously, he shoved her up into the saddle, explained how to use the reins, and jumped up on his own horse. They went out the back entrance, and rode away quickly.
After about four hours, he stopped, in a quiet grove, near a river. He helped the shaking girl off her horse, and led her over to the river. "Belinda. How on earth did you get here" he asked, staring into her brown eyes.
"I... I don't know" she stammered. "Who are you? You look like my father!"
"That is because I am your brother" answered Stephan, smiling gently. Her eyes were the same, dark brown of his own. He was surprised she hadn't noticed that.
"My brother, Tim... he's back home" she whispered, in shock. Growing woozy, she started to sway where she stood. Smothering an oath, Stephan caught her, sat her down, and shoved her head between her legs, telling her to breathe. In a moment, she could see again.
"Mom and Dad must have never told you of me, but I somehow thought you might remember me" he said, when she looked at him again. "I was Stephen. Your big brother. Do you not remember at all?"
A myriad of thought fluttered through Belinda's brain. Of ice cream, watermelons, and laughter. Holding a hand, jumping into a pool, with matching water wings on their arms. Roasting marshmallows in the red glaze of a camp fire. "Steven?" she asked, tentatively
"I once was" he answered, relieved she finally remembered him. "Until I wandered away from Mom, one spring day. We had stopped, at the Inn, because she was pregnant, and frantic to use the bathroom. You weren't with us for some reason. I was curious. The door I chose had a beautiful design, and I wanted to see what was on the other side. So I went through. And I have been here ever since.
"Mom gave birth to Tim in a mental institution" said Belinda, sadly. "When they came home, I was told to never speak of that day, or of you. I was simply told you were not coming back. Mom tries, but she has never been the same since."
Stephan lowered his head, and shed a few tears for the woman he barely remembered. He'd been five when he came over. He knew of no other life, but this one.
"We must find the way to get you back" he finally said, brown gaze meeting her gaze.
"You must come with me" she answered back. Mom will be so happy to see you!
"I cannot go back to that time" he said. "My life is here. I have a wife, and children of my own. I would not leave them."
"Why can't they come, too?" she asked, crying again.
"Because, they would never fit in, or be happy in that time. They have not seen cars, or telephones, or even Television" he answered, honestly. "They would never understand. Therefore, you must go back alone. I leave it to you whether or not you wish to tell our mother of me. Now, however, we must ride, for it is another day to my home. Can you handle it?"
"Yes" she said. "I can try".
The brother and sister rode until it was too dark to ride, anymore. Accustomed to being out of doors, Stephan quickly settled the horses, and them, for the night. Early the next morning, they arose, and rode some more. About mid day, they approached a small-ish chateau. Entering the bailey, two small children came running out the door, excitedly calling "Papa! Papa!" Belinda could only stare, because they looked so familiar to her. Following them came a blonde, beautiful woman, whom Stephan kissed, passionately. "Ma belle, this is my sister, Belinda. Belinda, this is Sophie, my wife."
"Enchante" said Sophie, hugging Belinda to her. "How did you get here?"
"All will be explained, away from listening ears" answered Stephan. "But we must find a way to get her home."
"Oui, cher" answered Sophie, eyes widening at the thought.
For weeks, they put their heads together, trying to puzzle out how to send Belinda back to the family. Belinda worried incessantly about her Mom, and how she would deal with losing another child. Each day that went by was torture.
Eventually, though, fate caught up with the brother and sister. The Queen, had indeed started proceedings against Belinda, for witchcraft, and had sent troops to pursue her. On her eleventh day "visiting" she was apprehended, and returned to the Queen's presence. Despite the pleadings of Stephan, she was sentenced to be burned.
Crying in fear, she was lead to her pyre. As they tied her to the stake, she fainted, only to be revived, to face death. Stephan stared bleakly from the crowd, unable to save his baby sister.
As the first flame licked her bare calf, Belinda screamed, and simply ceased to be. People cried out and crossed themselves after she disappeared. Stephan could not help but smile, for he knew where she went.
Years later, Belinda, a grandmother several times over, never tired of telling the tale of her lost brother, and how she got her scar....

4 comments:

holly said...

i'm loving this series, mie!!

sybil law said...

wonderful!

julie said...

Very vivid!

Daryl said...

This is sooo cool .. I think you need to put these stories together in a BOOK

:-Daryl