Howdy, and Happy Hump Day!
I hope your week has been going well.
Here’s the tenth chapter of my short story, Sorrel’s Story.
If you haven’t seen this before and would like to read it, you can read the beginning by clicking the link below.
The very beginning, she thought. How far back that seemed!
Her parents. Her parents had died in a fire. She had been taken to live with her widowed grandmother, who had loved her.
Surely, she had loved her. As best as an old, selfish woman could. Sorrel thought of her grandmother with grief.
“Oh! She is dead. How I wish she wasn’t dead.”
Sorrel continued to think. After her grandmother had died, she, alone and afraid, had run away. But had she been alone?
Sorrel stopped walking. Afraid, yes. But alone? There were maids and servants who would have cared for her.
Maybe she would have gone to live with one of them. Or they might have sent her to live in an orphanage.
Sorrel shook her head. Maybe they wouldn’t have cared for her. Either way, she had run away before she could find out.
Sorrel began to walk again, fast and hard.
“Funny, that every time something bad happens, I go away,” she mused out loud.
But the more she thought about it, the more it was true. As a baby, she had left her home because her parents were dead. Then she had left her grandmother’s house, because she was angry and hurt that she had not kept her promise.
She had even left the boarding house, angry with Willie. Angry with the world.
It seemed that she had run away a lot. Run away from her problems.
“Isn’t that what you have to do?” Sorrel asked no one in particular. But she got the strange sense that it wasn’t. Bewildered, she turned around and hurried home, eager to ask Mrs. Hansom.
She found her sitting in the backyard, dozing. Sorrel didn’t want to wake her, but her eyes opened as Sorrel’s shadow fell over her.
“Yes, dear?” the woman murmured.
“Is running from your problems a bad thing?” Sorrel asked in a rush.
Mrs. Hansom sat up, and rubbed the sleep from her eyes.
“Well, dear, it’s generally thought to be a bad thing. Why?” She motioned to Sorrel to sit in a chair beside her, and Sorrel obeyed quickly.
“Because I was mean to someone who didn’t deserve it, but I thought they did, and so I got angry. Then, I felt sorry and ran away.”
This simple speech made Mrs. Hansom smile a sad smile.
“Avoiding your problems is a good way to let them hang over you for a long time,” the wise woman said.
“And they have been!” Sorrel exclaimed earnestly, “I don’t think they’ll forgive me. What should I do?”
Mrs. Hansom hesitated, but came out with the truth. “You should ask them to. Even if they don’t, you’ll know you did what’s right.” Sorrel shook her head.
“I can’t do that.”
She looked at Mrs. Hansom warily. “Because I’m scared.”
Mrs. Hansom took her hand. “I’m not going to tell you what to do, Sorrel. I know you’ll do what’s right,” she said, giving the hand a gentle squeeze.
Sorrel looked at her closely. “You think I should go back,” she accused.
“I do.” Sorrel sat in silence for a minute.
“I don’t want to,” she persisted. But she knew she needed to face her problems, because they weren’t going away.
“Isn’t it time for supper yet?” Sorrel asked. Perhaps she was hungry, but it was most likely a change of subject.
“So it is,” Mrs. Hansom said. She stood up slowly, her knees cracking. Sorrel followed, her face troubled.
Sorrel said goodnight to the Hansoms and went upstairs to go to bed.
Softly, she opened the door to the guest room, and thoughtfully, she slipped inside.
On the bed was the lovely pink dress she had been admiring. It was for her.
She stood there for a minute, trying to remember the last time someone had given her a gift.
She felt almost giddy. But she had her suspicions. She knew why the dress was there.
“Mrs. Hansom wants me to go back,” she said skeptically.
But she slipped into it anyway. The silky fabric felt cool on her skin. She twirled, feeling very pretty.
With a sigh, she took it off and laid it thoughtfully aside.
She pulled on the old nightdress and creeped under the covers without bothering to wash her face.
But sleep wouldn’t come. She had been away from the boarding house for months, and she felt guilty.
Guilty that she had run away. Guilty that she was too scared to go back.
She got up and paced the room, the floorboards creaking, the moonlight streaming in.
She was unsettled in her heart, and she felt weary of the feeling.
Her eyelids became leaden, but still she paced, restless and upset.
Finally, she forced herself to sleep. She woke at such an early hour that the sun had yet to assert herself.
She rose resolutely. She had to. Otherwise, there would be time for fear and doubts to change her mind.
She slid into the beautiful pink dress, and did her hair up quickly. Then she crept downstairs, once more in darkness.
She felt about until she found a pencil stub. Lighting the kerosene lamp, she hastily scribbled on the edge of a worn newspaper.
Dear Hansoms, I haven’t run away. I’ve only gone to make things right. Thank you for everything you did for me. ~ Sorrel
She ripped the note free and put it where it could be seen, setting the pencil on it to keep it down. Then she turned off the lamp and pattered lightly to the door.
She opened it gently. With one last glance behind her, she shut the door softly.
“Goodbye,” she whispered. Then she took a deep breath and stole away. Away, to where she should have gone long, long ago.
Chapter Eleven will be out next week!