Happy Families – Finale

I reposted a short story that I wrote a couple of years ago about the discovery of a secret from the past. 

This is the final part:

 

I flicked through that infernal diary.

No, no mention of her wedding, but I stopped at another entry.

January 7th, 1918

Edgar and Theodore have enlisted. Emma and I both cried and begged them not to go. They looked so solemn. They had to go, they said. Foolish Pride! We had had such a lovely Christmas together, just the four of us and then they had to spoil it but joining the army. The war has been going on in Europe for some time, but America only joined in last year. I never knew why they did. What do we care about Europe?

Flick, flick.

November 15th, 1918

The war has ended. Finally, we have heard that Theodore and Edgar are coming home. They were both injured in battle and have been recovering at a Hospital in London but they should be home soon. Neither of them wrote about their injuries at all.

Emma and I have been getting on fine, keeping house together. We haven’t had an argument or a fight once, who would have thought it? 

This should be the best Thanksgiving ever.

 

November 22nd, 1918

Both Edgar and Theodore are different now. The war has made them withdrawn. I can understand why Edgar might have been affected by it, he’s lost and eye. Theodore doesn’t seem much damaged, he’s walking awkwardly but I couldn’t detect any other sign of injury at all.

 

Flick

February 14th, 1919

After months of pain down below I finally went to see Doctor Chinnery. He told me what I had begun to fear. My womb is deformed and I will never be able to have children. He told me it was probably something that happened to me as a child. I suddenly remembered when Emma had pushed me out of that tree house all those years ago. It was all her fault. She told me about Theodore’s war injury the other night too. Apparently, he had been shot, in the groin. So at least Emma won’t be having any children either, I don’t think I could bear that!

 

I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I hadn’t gotten over how nasty and resentful Great Aunt Sally was coming across. She had always seemed such a sweet and dear old lady, always handing out sweets to me and my brothers. Clearly, she had been quite different on the inside. The thing that had caused me to pause and reread that particular entry was the bit about not being able to have children. If neither of them could have children then how could my Mother have been born?

I thumbed my way past pages, ever forward, hoping to find some answers. I wish I had stopped there and not read further but I did.

It seemed that they lived together, in this house and been quite happy together. Even Great Aunt Sally’s rantings seemed to die down a bit. I skimmed over snippets of parties and gatherings, Christmases and thanksgivings. Great Grandmother had moved in and eventually died. The passing of years played out in monologue until I stopped at an entry that made me shudder.

April 17th 1935

I had noticed something odd about Emma that was causing me to wonder. Since Christmas she seemed to be gaining a little weight around the middle. It was odd because we ate the same things. Neither of us had much of a sweet tooth. I noticed she had a kind of glow about her too. I challenged her about it and she admitted the truth. All those years stripped away and we were children screaming and shouting at each other, just like in that tree house. She told me she always knew I hated her and she hated me too. She admitted choosing Theodore because I had told her I loved him. Then she admitted that she and Edgar had been enjoying each other’s company. She was pregnant with Edgar’s child. I nearly killed her then. Only one thing stopped me. The thought of that little baby, that sweet innocent child. I decided that I would keep her secret for now. For the baby’s sake.

 

Then the final entry.

 

August 19th, 1935

The baby was born. A beautiful baby girl, we’ll call her Alice. Emma had managed to convince Theodore that he was the father. As if he could be capable of it with his manhood all withered, but I suppose love will make you believe anything. Edgar knew, of course, but he was keeping himself well out of it. I moved out of our double bedroom to that room at the end of the landing. I couldn’t sleep with him any longer knowing what he’d done. What Emma had made him do. Now the baby had been born safe, I didn’t wait another minute before I went and told Theodore the truth. He hadn’t wanted to believe me at first. Then he looked at me with dead eyes. How much he had changed from that handsome, blue eyed young man he’d been. The War had started it, but I had just finished it. He was dead on the inside now. Edgar was out in the barn chopping logs, making himself scarce. Theodore stood up and walked out of the house. I saw him through the window, go into the barn. I heard the gunshot too.

I went back upstairs to Emma. She was still sleeping softly. She’d had a hard time of it, but I’d helped her through. She begged me that if anything should happen to her, if she died in childbirth, that I would bring up her little girl. Of course, I would. That was all part of the plan. It was easy in the end, so easy. She always kept that gold locket around her neck. A quick pull was all it took really.

It’s the end now. All that Love and Hate, all those years. We had hated each other but now I was free. I will bury her outside under that tree that Theodore planted not long after we all moved in. Theodore will help me. We’ll bury Edgar too. I’ll lock this book up in the box that my sister loved so much and I’ll put the key in the locket around her neck and bury it with her. Nobody will know, but just for myself, I had to explain, why I killed my Sister today. I hated her, that’s why.

 

I looked down at the book. I had never felt so chilled in all my life. The Summer’s heat, it was 100 Fahrenheit in the shade, failed to dispel the sudden cold. I shivered uncontrollably.

I remember Grandfather had been a quiet man who barely spoke. He’d died when I was six or seven. My Mother had met and married my Daddy at college and he’d moved in to the family homestead and had me and my brothers. I remember it had been a happy home then, happy families. Mother and Father, Father’s brother, Uncle Peter and his wife Auntie Annie and their sons, my cousins, Bobby and Elwood. My brothers Denny and Will, and of course Great Aunt Sally. She seemed to love all the children running around. How could a woman who had shown them so much love have had such potential for hate?  They’d all gone; moved away or passed over. Looking back, that game of happy families seemed so shallow and empty now.

Coming back suddenly to the present, I decided that it was best that this secret died. I didn’t want my brothers reading it, or their children.

I worked with a single-minded purpose that I’d always had. I didn’t have trouble finding wood to burn, or kindling. The dry summer had provided plenty. I built a huge pile of logs over that body and I didn’t let myself think about who it was anymore. I took out a match and lit the pile. It caught straight away, the fire raging through that tinder dry kindling. I then threw the leather-bound diary into the heart of the flames. It seemed to act like a solvent, making the fire explode. Sparks flew up and landed on the timber roof tiles of our family house. Within seconds the house was on fire.

For just a moment I stood there open-mouthed as the flames licked along the roof and down the clapperboard facias. I thought I caught a glimpse of an old lady at the upstairs window, peering out through the lace curtains. Could it be Great-Aunt Sally?

Then I came back to reality. My Mother was in the house. The house was on fire. Quickly I ran into the house and up the stairs. My Mother was still on her bed at the other end of the house. She coughed then and started to stir slightly as I picked her up. She was so frail that I didn’t have much difficulty in holding her up and moving her towards the stairs. The smoke was building up now. I grabbed my handkerchief and put it over my mouth and managed to half-drag my mother down the stairs and out of the front door.

We both lay on the dry grass and watched as the family house burned. I hoped to God that the past would burn with it.

The End.

 

Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 17/July/2018

Word of the Day: Potential

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/07/17/potential/

FOWC with Fandango — Present

Sunday Songs – Secrets

The Word of the Day is Secret,

It’s no secret that I love the golden oldies and the classic songs of yesteryear. The Word of the Day made me think of these songs:

  1. Do you want to know a secret? – This was originally written and performed by the Beatles, but I like this version by Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas.

 

2. Secret Love by the Wonderful Doris Day – It’s no secret to those that know me that I thought Doris was wonderful.

3. Finally, it is a bit of a secret that I love to sing, not always brilliantly, but here is a song that I sang about being stuck in Lockdown…

 

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2020/04/19/secret/

 

Happy Sunday 🙂 x

50 Word Thursday – The Lonely Spot

IMG_3477

the words:

“What had happened to him at that moment was what happens to people when they are unexpectedly caught in something very shameful.” – Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. 

 

It was a lonely spot, behind the monastery walls, no one ever came there, or so he thought and he wasn’t alone. He’d brought his lover with him. Theirs was a love that had to be kept secret as not many people would have understood or tolerated.

As they held each other closely and he gave a kiss as if this was his last meal they were caught by surprise as one of the senior monks pulled back the bushes that had hid them both.

What had happened to him at that moment was what happens to people when they are unexpectedly caught in something very shameful. He blushed bright red all over his bare upper torso.

His partner, too, blushed as his own novice robes fell to the ground.

The Senior Monk just smiled and walked away in a nimble fashion, remembering his own experiences as a young man in love. He admired the tenacity of youth, the way they spun their web of lies just for a moment of affection. He would keep their little secret, they were welcome to the spot. Funny how they had chosen the same spot that he’d enjoyed all those many years ago.

[200 Words]

This story was written for the 50 Word Thursday Challenge, Click on the link below.

https://talesfromthemindofkristian.wordpress.com/2019/08/22/50-word-thursday-34/

It is not too late to take part in this challenge, I will be posting all the results on Wednesday evening then a new challenge will begin again on Thursday. This weeks challenge will be hosted by Deb Whittam of the blog 24.

 

I have also included the following word prompts:

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2019/08/27/welcome/

FOWC with Fandango — Tenacity

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/08/27/rdp-tuesday-web/

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2019/08/27/your-daily-word-prompt-nimble-august-27-2019/

 

50 Word Thursday #4 – Her Little Secret

Debbie Whittam has set a challenge to write a poem or story in 50 words, or multiples of 50 up to a maximum of 250 words, inspired by a picture and include some particular lines. Here is the picture.

 

07-06-18

Here are the lines

“Life was a queer business, she thought. On occasions it threw people together haphazardly without regard to consequences.”
From Frederick J Thwaites No Rainbow In The Sky

Here is my attempt:

Liza-beth stepped out of the grocery store and recognised it. It was the cart from Tallow’s farm and tied to the hitching post was Winston, the carthorse. She went over and patted the horse on the nose and he whinnied at her, an old friend.

Life was a queer business, she thought. On occasions it threw people together haphazardly without regard to consequences.

She had grown up on the neighbouring farm to the Tallow’s and had been friends with them all, especially Jeb. Jeb had been her own age and they had grown up together, playing in the creeks and gullies that separated their two properties.

That had been many years ago now. Everyone had expected they would marry, but Jeb had never asked her. Instead she’d married a boy from Charlottesville and moved here.

One of the Tallow’s must have come to town for supplies.

She heard a sound behind her and turned suddenly. There stood Jeb, the same hangdog expression on his rugged face, his sandy hair flopping down over his cornflower blue eyes.

All the intervening years were stripped away.

Just then her daughter came running up. Her sandy hair and blue eyes gave away her secret.

Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 07/June/2018

See Debbie’s post here if you want to take part in this fun challenge:

https://debbiewhittam.wordpress.com/2018/06/07/50-word-thursday-4/