View Message

Subject: Hymn and Banner
Author: La Reina   (Authenticated as La Reina)
Date: August 16, 2012 at 5:56:28 AM
Reply to: Build-a-Story: Round Two! by Viola Eponine
A face flashed before my eyes. A pallid face, framed by reddish-gold hair and with blue eyes. Usually the hair would be brushed into smooth waves, and the eyes sparkling with muted delight. But as it haunted my sight, the hair was tangled, the eyes dimmed.

I remember Prudence well. Prudence Saint-Just. St John. Prudence St John, that was her name, not Saint-Just. Who was Saint-Just? I shook the thought away. Of all times? No - not now, not at this place, at this moment. I returned my mental eye to Prudence.

The scene where I saw her was one that had been seared irrevocably into my mind. Prudence St John, standing in her pale pink nightdress and crying uncontrollably. Next to her was Milly, comforting her despite her own red-rimmed eyes. Milly was the one who had found Aqila that morning, but for some reason she was the one hushing Prudence's sobs and wiping her tears, and not the other way around. Poor Milly, brave Milly! I remember Sadie, too, standing near me, staring at me with a look falling somewhere between trepidation and determination. It was a strange look. I don't think I can ever forget it.

Not that I'll have much time left to forget it.

I felt my lips pull themselves into a tight smile. I can see Aqila's jacket now: her dark blue jacket, hanging from my hands as I waved it around. Our banner. A morbid keepsake, that, but it was our banner as much as Prudence St John's poems were our hymns. A symbol, a sign of the freedom we strive towards. And I remember Madame, sneering at that jacket. It was an abomination in her eyes, a sign of disorder and ungratefulness. She announced, in her shrill glass-shattering scream (that's funny; she had a very high voice, not too different from Prudence's, actually), that she had given us a good life, that we are safe with her, that she fed us and clothed us and gave us a roof to sleep under. She demanded what more we could possibly want.

And Freya, with her quiet bluntness, said: "To be free."

Madame could not answer to that.

Colours swerved before my eyes. The blue of Aqila's jacket, the white of Prudence Saint-Just's skin, the red of my coat... My head swam. But I must not fall down. I wedge myself against the stone wall again, propping myself up. No, I must not fall down. I took a ragged, shuddering breath. Must not fall.

An omnivorous reader with a strangely retentive memory for trifles.

This message was edited by the author on August 16, 2012 at 6:34:27 AM

 Post a Response

Messages in this thread: