Tuesday, 9 March 2010

92. See Emily play

Once upon a time, there was a little girl called Emily.

She was beautiful little girl. She had cheeks the colour of Damask roses, flawless skin as white as porcelain and lips as red as blood.

But she lived in an attic of a large house, where no one played with her. She spent her days in half-light and dust, away from the other children, not seen and not heard.

For although she looked like a real girl, it was an illusion. She was too fragile to play with. Her body was too brittle to embrace and her skin too cold to kiss. Only the hair on her head was real, hanging in perfect ringlets. But even that had been taken from the heads of other children.

If only the rest of her was real, then the children would play with her. She wanted to be like the other children ever so much.

Emily resolved that she would begin with her eyes. She had heard them called the windows of the soul. Emily had no soul, but she would take one of those, too.

Presently, her only companion was Thomas, a black kitten who had nearly been drowned by one of gardeners in a water butt. A stable boy had pulled the sack out just in time, but not before the cold water had taken eight of Thomas’s lives, which played around him all day long, pale reflections of his coal black self.

And so, at midnight, Emily crept down into the main house, Thomas alongside her, her knife glittering in the moonlight. She looked for Mistress Constance’s bed chamber.

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