“The Lost Soul” By Addie Bounds

I took a step closer to the doorway but keeping enough distance too that I was sure I wouldn’t be seen.

“Thank you so much for coming” I heard my mother say to him. “I’m sorry Marian couldn’t be home to meet you, but if you’d like to court upon her again in several days I know she’ll be available.”

A low grumble followed, speaking these words, words that I knew from that moment on would be incised in my mind forever.

“I look forward to telling her the news of the engagement.” Mr. Mackle’s low voice reechoed with pride. I stumbled back into a plate knocking it to the ground. A loud crash shattered through the house.

“What on earth” my father said. “Who’s there?” I sprang up and sprinted out of the house, only turning back to see my parents running out onto the porch. I saw my mother’s mouth moving, but I heard no words.

I ran until my breath was sharp and my stomach was on fire. I fell. The grass was wet with dew and it prickled my legs and hands. The grass buried away some of the fear that was quivering inside of me. When I looked up I saw the gray sky, the clouds that would carry me up to heaven one day, and the one strand of sunlight dangling down on the world as if us humans where the idiotic cats who couldn’t figure out how to catch it. That one ray of golden light seemed to be bragging to me about how it got all of the freedom it wanted.

First I sat up from laying on my back and second I twisted over, so that I was face to face with my house. The estate that had protected me my whole life, the one where my mother and father were most likely apologizing for my absolutely mad behavior. I didn’t want to be married, but my parents didn’t care, for Mr. Makle was rich and loyal to the government. That house could not ever have looked so pale and rotten, so weather and old.  As I looked at the tattered roof and the paint-less porch I saw the memories of my childhood, the times my sisters and I shared on the swing and in the kitchen, laughing and playing. Then my thoughts were drowned an image of Mr. Makle’s sharp black eyes, his brown hair and long sideburns. I saw his plump calves and his fat head. That plump, prehistoric, pig would take me with him in a week’s time and I would have no say. When I realized that my alluring house was now a memory destroyed by this man, I couldn’t take it anymore. My arms trembled and my eyes burned. My rib cage broke and my elbows snapped. My sobs catapulted me to the ground. The grass started to itch and now in the moment of utter pain, each and every fragment of grass was a needle stabbing me till my body was numb. I sealed my eyes and prayed for a different life.

 

*****

 

As the Sun plunged into the hilltop, I started walking towards my house. I was not letting my family marry me off so that they could live in riches again. I had always been stubborn, and people always judged me because of it.  Each step I took was one closer to my freedom. Each time my shoe made an impression in the grass I was making an impression on my future.  While I walked I lost track of my thoughts. I started wondering how my life would be if I had grown up in the city, in the noise and music. Maybe I wouldn’t mind a husband if I had lived there. That’s when the ideas besieged my head. I could move to the city! My uncle lived in the city, so I could stay with him until I got on my feet in the new environment. I had to. That was the only way to prove to my parents that I could live alone and still pursue my life. When I realized that I was actually going to carry out my arrangements, I realized that conversing with my parents would be even more impossible now than before.

 

*****

 

I held my breath as I knocked on the door. All I could think of was the face my mother would have plastered on.  Knock Knock Knock.  The sound of my bones on the wood echoed in my head, then tingled all the way down to my toes and back up to my heart, sending a shiver up my spine. I was snapped back to reality by the voice of my dear father.  “I’m coming.”

“Okay I’m here.” It was my classic entrance comment

“Marian! Is that you?” from the sound of my mother’s voice I couldn’t tell if she was completely static with rage or so overwhelmed with pleasure that I had come home safely.

“Yes mother. I’m home.”

“Oh thank God I’m so glad your back. We were so perturbed when you ran out.”  My mother embraced me in a hug. So she was pleased.

“I can’t get married Mom. You know that don’t you? I’ve been telling you that for the past year.”

Next my dad walked in seeming as calm as a sweet spring afternoon, “I knew you would come back. Uou would always run away as a little girl. You would run all the way to the creek and stay there for hours on end.” After a hug from each of my parents we all went into the kitchen. “Honey I know that marriage isn’t your top choice but this is what you are going to have to do to save your family. Your sisters all made the sacrifice. I think you can too.” My mother was smiling a serene smile but I knew that she wasn’t in the mood for backtalk.

“I’ll get a job in the city. There are other solutions.” I pleaded but she simply said, “That’s not enough. We need Mr. Mackle to help us. You’re lucky we even have this opportunity after all your horseplay, running off and not showing up when he courts. You need to prioritize darling. This marriage is crucial.”

I looked her in the eye, “No.”

Twenty minutes later I was in an Attic clutching my suitcase and my clothes. “YOU BRAT!!!” my mother was not taking my decision. “All I have ever done for you is good, and now when it’s your turn to replace the favor, you run off!” Her red face and shaking hands made my close to speechless.

“Mother I am sorry. I am really very sorry. However I must leave to the city. I cannot be married to a man 30 years older than me!” With that I escaped from the shouts of thunder. My blue satin dress caught on a loose nail and I tumbled to the floor, smashing my knee on the stone staircase. As I stood back up I saw a puddle of red. Cinderella got to leave a glass slipper in her escape and I had to leave I splatter of blood.

 

 

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