Monday, March 28, 2011
The Shadow Princess- Part 2
A month elapsed, then a second, since Miss Matilda was laid to rest amongst her kin with only the priest and gravedigger to mourn her. The house in the forest remained shuttered, forgotten along with its last inhabitant, destined to be the domain of animals and specters until it was reclaimed by the earth. So the townspeople thought until the night of the storm. Wind howled through the sleepy village, icy rain pelting the windows like pebbles. No one saw the shadowy figure huddled against the onslaught of elements, although years later Mr. Chambers in the house nearest the forest would insist he managed a glimpse through a veil of water outside his window as he investigated what had his trusty hunting hound barking. The next morning, as the obligated locals cleared away the debris from the forest road, a pale light shimmering the door of the old house set tongues a wagging. "Must be the nephew, come to collect his inheritance," the town lawyer announced, eager to relate the contents of Miss Matilda's will which he struggled for two months to keep secret out of professional decorum. Everywhere from the diner to the bank to the Laundromat, the topic of the nephew was under constant discussion. Some of the old-timers swore they remembered seeing a young boy many years ago playing behind the house. Others insisted that it was not a nephew at all, but Miss Matilda's own son conceived in wedlock and given up in a hushed adoption. And there were those who wondered if the house's current resident wasn't more supernatural than human. After all, not a living soul emerged from the decrepit abode since the night of the storm. Not hide or hair of a human being had they seen. It was Miss Genevieve, the practical librarian who broke the uncomfortable stalemate between the townspeople and the mysterious stranger. The town watched in wonder and awe as she loaded up a basket of food and made her way down the long dirt road. The front door opened almost immediately in answer to her knock, although the few brave children who followed her on her pilgrimage couldn't see who was on the other side. The creaky door closed behind the stoic librarian as if the house swallowed her whole, leaving the children to speculate on whether they would ever see Miss Genevieve again.