The Chapter 1 has been posted already some time go (see one of the links above or here). I have made several editorials and added a new chapter.
Note: the first paragraph in chapter 1 is coming from the bestselling novel by Menna van Praag “The House at the End of Hope Street”.
The house has stood at the end of Hope Street for nearly two hundred years. It’s larger than all the others, with turrets and chimneys rising high into the sky. The front garden grows wild, the long grasses scattered with cowslips, reaching toward the long-hanging leaves of the willow trees. At night the house looks like a Victorian orphanage housing a hundred despairing souls, but when the clouds part and it is lit by moonlight, the house appears enchanted. As if Rapunzel lives in the tower and a hundred Sleeping Beauties lie in the beds.
Elizabeth’s hands dropped to her sides and her mouth opened.
Was this really the house she searched for? The house she came to, to find the answers. It looked nothing like the tall Gothic clog of the house with rain stains below its spiky turrets rising up in a war declaration.
Nothing like the house she remembered from her childhood. The childhood she’d tried to forget, but didn’t manage.
Except one single gap. Something so immense that it erased itself from Elizabeth’s memory.
Something that made her the person she was today. Sad, pale, with lips pressed into a flat circle of a cold copper coin.
She came in the middle of the night, because she couldn’t face the house in the daylight after so many years. And now she was glad she did so. If this house glowed now, in the moonlight, how would it look like during the day?
Elizabeth drew a deep breath and kept the aroma, coming from the wild roses that framed the door, inside her for as long as she could.
As she let the air out a sudden fear wrapped her into its icy arms. She came to find answers. At least she planned to do so tomorrow during the day. But this house, this fairy tale house surely couldn’t reveal anything. Someone new and good lived here. They were probably unaware of the torture and agony whirling inside this house when her family lived in it.
Elizabeth pointed her intent look at the door both hoping and fearing someone to come out.
And then she suddenly relaxed. Whether it was another gulp of rosy air, or the peacefulness of the street around her, or both, it made Elizabeth lower herself onto the fence base and lean on the metal vine branches behind her. She looked at the house.
Something must have happened here. Was this during this gap she was so keen to close? Maybe, whoever lived here knew what happened?
It must have been something big and terrible, she thought. Like a hurricane.
Only a hurricane had the ability to remove everything and leave an empty space for something new to grow.
Was she and her father part of this hurricane? Elizabeth realized that she both hoped and dreaded this.
“Hallo?! Miss. Are you all right?”
Elizabeth opened her eyes and squinted at the light shocking her with its brightness.
Where was she?
A sharp pain in her neck made her cringe as she tried to support herself on her hands stretching her arms into vertical pillars. She was surprised to find herself sitting.
“Oh, you’re waking up. That’s good. Are you OK?”
Elizabeth raised her head and saw a young man, maybe her age, maybe a bit younger, bowing slightly over her.
Who was he? And why did he wake her up? “Who are you?”
The man took a step back and frowned.
“Well, I live here.”
“Here.” The man gestured behind him. “In this house. The question is what are you doing here?”
“I …” House? Elizabeth tilted her head and looked behind the man.
Oh no! Was she here all night?
“I …”, she said again. Say something, say something. I might as well tell the truth.
She drew a deep breath and ventured. “I was looking for the house from my childhood … and it is … it is this house. I hoped I could find out what—”
“What?” Elizabeth focused at the man in front of her.
His concerned look evaporated and gave place to a gaze of steel. Somehow the house seemed to become a bit darker now, even in the bright sunshine. “You are mistaken. This is not the house you are looking for.”
What? “But how can you know?”
“Because this house have been my family’s property for centuries. And I surely don’t know you.”
“But I am convinced that I got the correct address. At least from my memory.” I shouldn’t have said that.
Elizabeth sat a bit straighter on the fence behind her. How did she sleep here all night?!
She drew a deep breath and said, “I found the house immediately, even in the dark and I remember it well.”
“I said no. Please leave this property. Now.”
The man took a step closer to her. Now he looked older than she was. And stronger. Much stronger. Elizabeth felt goose bumps all over her body and shivered.
She stood up. She thought of another attempt, but the look in the man’s eyes made her change her mind. There wasn’t a gate on the intricate fence. Elizabeth could bet that the man would slam it shut otherwise.
She needed to think of another plan to find out what she was looking for.
Chapter 3 will follow in a later post
P.S. You can find the whole story at this page.
Picture: Roses in my grandparents’-in-law garden.
Everything except one paragraph (1st paragraph in Chapter 1) of “Nothing is As it Seems” is under copyright © 2015-2016 by Victoria Ichizli-Bartels