I’m here with a bonus chapter this weekend!
This is the second-to-last chapter of my short story, Sorrel’s Story.
If you’re left asking “what short story?” you should probably click the link below.
First she walked. She walked for almost an hour, along the dusty road. She watched the sunrise to her right, and nodded to people passing.
She wished someone would give her a ride. She was hot and tired, and wanted to see Mrs. O’Keily before all of the boarders came down. But she was too proud to ask, and no one offered. So she walked on, her head held high.
Her dress became dusty, and her face drawn. But she walked on. On until the boarding house came into view.
Then Sorrel’s mouth went dry, and her eyes shut tight. She forced them opened and pressed herself to keep walking.
Down the sidewalk. Past the bushes. Up the old stairs. She put her arm up to knock on the front door, wishing that Willie would burst out, and they could all start over.
He didn’t. Instead, she tried the knob. It was unlocked.
Heart thudding, she opened the door and stepped inside. It still looked the same as when she left.
It was still dark. It was still old. But somehow, she had the feeling that she had missed it.
She walked hesitantly down the hall and into the big kitchen. Mrs. O’Keily was wiping down the counters to prepare breakfast.
She heard a noise, and turned. Her face went pale, her hand flew to her heart, and she gasped. All was silent. Silent and still. Until Sorrel could no longer take it.
She burst out. “I’m sorry! I was uncivil. And I shouldn’t have left without telling you. That was thoughtless. I was running, see. From my problems. Because I was angry. I’m sorry. Please, if you can some day, forgive me.”
This little speech brought tears to the woman’s eyes, and tears were already streaming down poor Sorrel’s exhausted face. Mrs. O’Keily held out her arms, and Sorrel ran into them. They stood there for a long while.
“All is well, child.” Mrs. O’Keily answered in a low voice. “I am thankful you are back. Safe.”
Sorrel felt so much relief wash over her that she was dizzy. “You are?” she asked. Mrs. O’Keily laughed.
“Of course. I’m right fond of you, Sorrel, and I was anxious when you never came back.” Sorrel hung her head.
“I’m sorry,” she said again.
“I’m glad you’re back,” Mrs. O’Keily repeated.
“And, Mrs. O’Keily?” Sorrel asked timidly. “Is Mrs. Wakefield… alright?” Mrs. O’Keily’s eyebrows went up.
“Why, of course. Why wouldn’t she be?” she answered, surprised. Sorrel sighed with relief.
“I just thought…,” she trailed off, shaking her head.
“Her illness? Heavens, child, she’s ill every time you turn around.” Mrs. O’Keily chuckled and finished wiping the table.
Sorrel whispered a silent “Thank You,” and set about making breakfast.
One by one, boarders appeared. First Miss March, with a sparkling engagement ring on her finger. Then Hank, his face shaven and eyes shining.
They were both a bit startled when they saw Sorrel bustling around as if she had never left.
They recovered, with many welcomes, and told her they were pleased to have her back. Sorrel colored, but felt so relieved she thought her heart might burst.
So she had been wanted. All along she had been wanted. She hummed a little tune to herself, and tingled with happiness. She glowed until her wrongs again sought her out. Then her happiness was shadowed.
She still had Willie to ask, she reminded herself, darkness moving in again. And Willie was the one she had hurt the most.
Her head ached, and her happiness drained. Again she felt despairing.
She desperately hoped Willie would forgive her. But Willie didn’t come to breakfast.
After eight o’clock, Sorrel was so tied up in knots that she risked asking Mrs. O’Keily. “Where is Willie?” she ventured. Mrs. O’Keily turned to her.
“About a week after you left, he started working twelve hour days. From five in the morning to five at night.” Mrs. O’Keily shook her head. “He’s a hard working boy, that one. Going to work himself to death, I’m afraid.”
Sorrel felt ill. She would have to wait long hours until the suspense ended.
“Well,” she said after a moment, “I suppose I’d better start cleaning.” And she marched briskly to the cleaning closet, forcefully holding back tears, her chin high. Mrs. O’Keily smiled at what she thought was enthusiasm.
“I suppose you’d better,” she agreed. The morning had crawled by at a torturously slow rate.
Sorrel felt sick with anxiety. She wanted so badly to be forgiven. “Oh, please, let him forgive me,” she begged God in her mind.
She dusted vigorously, swept vehemently, and mopped forcefully.
Finally, it was almost twelve. She threw the cleaning things in the closet with a clatter, and went to find Mrs. O’Keily.
“I’ll be back in time to help with supper,” she promised, flying out of the room. Mrs. O’Keily watched her go, a look of pain on her face.
“I believe you, Sorrel,” she whispered. Then, to herself, she added, “I have to.”
Sorrel tore down the front walk and bolted past the side shops without a second glance. She crossed the street without looking where she was going.
Blindly, she followed the path as well as she could. She was intent upon one thing. One thing only.
The big brick factory came into view, and Sorrel slowed down involuntarily. It was startlingly huge, with Willie inside.
The same Willie she was looking for. The Willie she wanted to forgive her.
Her heart was in her throat, but she advanced, ever slowly. The bell would ring any minute, and then what? Sorrel began to rehearse what she was going to say.
Then it rang.
Loud and long and shrill.
As if to seal her fate.
What do you think of this chapter’s ending?
What’s going to happen next?
You’ll just have to wait until next week for the final chapter!
Have a lovely weekend,