This week’s post is the second installment of my short story, Sorrel’s Story.
If you haven’t seen the first installment, you can click on the link below.
Here’s Chapter One!
“You poor, poor girl. You are all alone in this world. You have no one but me to look after you.” An old, wrinkled lady sat on a delicate sofa, crocheting.
“Does that make me poor?” a small, sweet voice asked the lady.
“Oh, yes. You are the most unfortunate little girl in the world,” the grandmother soothed her, “and I feel so very sorry for you.”
The little girl cocked her blond head to one side and studied her grandmother. “But don’t I have you?” she asked finally.
“Oh, but dear, I am not nearly as good as a mother or father. Yes, I feel very sorry for you. Poor, poor dear.”
The lady continued to crochet, caught up in her sympathy. She didn’t notice the little face before her thinking intently. She didn’t notice the little chin jet up defiantly. She didn’t notice a little mind thinking fiercely, “I do not need parents.”
The lady and child sat in silence until the maid came to take the child away for her lessons. The girl looked back at her grandmother, as the maid gently guided her to the door. “You will always take care of me, won’t you, Grandmother?” she asked, her childish voice worried. The lady looked up, dropping a stitch.
“Oh, yes, dear,” the lady assured her, quickly.
The child nodded, her smile returning, and went willingly to the nursery. She did not see the lady’s forehead wrinkle, or her hands shakily stop crocheting.
“I have years yet,” the lady assured herself. But she sat there for a long time, knowing this wasn’t true. Then she rang her servant’s bell. A maid shortly appeared, curtsying crisply.
“Go find Joel and send him to me immediately,” the lady ordered, deep in thought. She waited until the coachman appeared in the doorway.
“How may I serve you, madame?” the man asked in his deep voice. He stood tall in the doorway, his hat in his hands.
“I want you to send for my lawyer,” the lady told him. “It’s high time I made my will.”
The man studied her, taken aback. “Are you feeling alright, madam?” he asked, watching her in concern.
“Perfectly. I’m just being practical,” she told him.
So he put his hat on his head, went out by the servant’s door, and set out.
But the lady was far from alright. She sat there, shaking, until she spilled her tea on the dark skirt she was wearing. She closed her eyes in an effort to sleep, but opened them a second later.
“What is to happen to the girl when I die?” she wondered to herself. “I shall give her money, but who is to care for her?”
She was deeply disturbed, and pondered this restlessly the remaining time of the afternoon. That evening, the lawyer arrived, with Joel following him in. The lady wasted no time.
“I want a will drawn up so my grand-daughter will be taken care of when I die,” she told her lawyer.
The man scratched his head, unused to this side of the lady. “Yes, ma’am,” he said finally, and he sat down heavily, the chair creaking under him.
“I want my grand-daughter to be taken care of until she is married. I think six or seven-hundred dollars a year should pay for the girl to be fed and clothed well. Once she is off and married, I want her to have five-hundred dollars a year to help support her family.”
The woman leaned back, her eyes closed. She obviously expected this to be a short ordeal. The man watched her for a moment before taking her pen and ink from the desk. He began writing what the lady had said.
The lady dictated, the man wrote. The little girl in the upstairs nursery knew nothing of what was going on below. That was how the lady wanted it. Years after the will was finished and locked away, the lady still did not tell her granddaughter of the money she was to inherit upon her death.
In fact, she did not speak of the will at all. Neither did she did she speak of death. She did nothing to prepare the girl for what was inevitable. Nothing at all. Perhaps this was why the girl did what she did.
What did you think of the first chapter of my book? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Chapter Two will be out next Wednesday!
That’s all for now,