The smell of parsley snips and sugar sent me straight up and coughing pretty loud. The worlds spun around me as I tried to steady myself. I put the palm of my hand against my forehead and leaned foreword.
“Jack!” A girl screamed. Someone swished passed me, running. A girl came running after him. She slowed to a stop and stood only a few feet away from me. I looked up at her and was struck by her dark eyes.
“Oh, come on Mary, you’re no fun!” A boy yelled and came back around the corner. The girl, Mary, went on her knees before me and took my hand into her. She began to feel my forehead and I stared at her in confusion. She took my face into her hands and pulled my skin down so my eyes went wide. She searched my pupils like a doctor would and then let me go, putting her hands in my lap and sitting beside me. The boy came and stood before us.
“Jack,” she breathed, “she’s awake…. And how’d you get out ‘ere?” She asked me, running her hand along the side of my face in wonder. I raised a brow.
“There you are!” A woman with a shrill voice called and hurried around the corner. She was in a maid’s outfit. “She got upright in the middle of the night and ran down the hallway. When I went to go get her, she’d disappeared.” She put her hands on her hips and looked at the curtains behind us. “Must ‘ave fallen asleep on the window bench, hidden were I couldn’t see ‘ere.” She sighed, shaking her head.
“She looks all right.” Mary said. I looked at the boy, Jack. Like the rest, he was in Victorian era clothing. A vest and jacket. He was looking up at the walls, off in some dream world. He reminded me of someone, but I didn’t know who. I furrowed my brow, trying to think about where I’d come from.
“Where am I?” I asked the girl. The boy looked at me suddenly. Mary gasped.
“Such a lovely voice!” She bounced up and down, holding onto my hands. “Didn’t I tell you Ms. Willis? She’s an angle from heaven, she is!” She looked at me with childish eyes. I shook my head.
“I’m no angle.” I said, looking down at the ground.
“What’s your name, hmm?” Mary asked me. I continued to stare at the ground, scared that she would ask that question. She pulled my hands, jerking my arms. “Hey, I asked you a question!” She said, irked at my silence. I slowly looked up at her.
“I… I think it is Evalyse.” I said. “Evalyse Felicia Estrella.” It pored out of my mouth before I could even think. Her eyes got wide in wonder
“What a beautiful name…” She breathed, but then her composure broke as her face became befuddled, “You think?” I looked away, bighting my lip in worry.
“Evalyse,” She said my name as if out of breath, “Where are you from?” She asked. I opened my mouth, hoping that the answer would have came as easily as my name. Sadly, it did just the opposite. A sudden pain shot through my forehead and I keeled over.
“Evalyse!” She cried, holding onto me. I stared, wide eyed, at the floor. I shook my head slowly as Mary helped me sit back up.
“I…. don’t know.” I said, out of breathe. In fact, I couldn’t remember anything. Who I was, were I’d come from… nothing. The maid looked at me strangely and Mary rubbed my back, trying to comfort me. “How did I get here?” I asked, dazed. Mary looked at Ms. Willis as if not sure she should tell me anything in my state.
“Well,” She croaked, “we found you, in the back yard, covered in snow and near frozen to death.” She said, “Your lips were so blue. But Jack found you lying outside.” She said, looking up at Jack. His arms were crossed and he turned his head away as I looked at him. His eyes were dead locked on the window. “He brought you in, and he nursed you until Ms. Willis came back and brought you back to health. I stared at Jack, wondering what he was thinking. “Evalyse, are you sure you don’t remember a thing before you woke up?” She asked. Pain shot through my head as I tried to remember why.
“I don’t feel well.” I admitted, holding my stomach. Mary felt my forehead.
“My! You’re burning!” She jumped up and helped me to stand. “Ms. Willis, get some cold towels, please.” Mr. Willis curtsied politely and hurried off. Mary tried to help me, but I could tell she was struggling against my weight. She seemed to be about thirteen, if that. She still had some more growing to do yet. I resisted her attempts to push me foreword and slowly slid to the ground.
“Why don’t we just wait for Ms. Willis to come back? I’m fine right here anyways.” I breathed heavily, feeling suddenly very cold. Beads of sweat gathered on my forehead and the back of my neck. I closed my eyes, even though Mary continued to try to haul me up. I felt arms wrap around me and pick me up. The feeling of being carried down the hall lulled me to sleep.
- ‘ -
Something cool dabbed at my forehead. I felt sheets under my hands, and the soft plush of a cushion behind my head. I was extremely chilled, but surrounded by warm pillows. The bed tilted slightly to the side, where I felt the thigh of someone sitting next to me. When the dabbing stopped, the weight of the other person shifted and the sound of swishing water brought me back just a bit.
I opened my eyes and saw two sturdy hands wring a towel enough to where it wasn’t sopping and then it was brought back to my forehead. I looked into to brown eyes of a young lady in a maids outfit. She smiled at me and dabbed at my forehead.
“Good mornin’ miss Estrella.” She said in a sweet, soft, and kind voice. I couched lightly and turned my head to the side, looking out the window. It looked like sundown, the sky tinted with shades of pink and covered with wispy clouds, left over from a heavy snow storm. Stars began to appear across the horizon.
“What happened?” I asked, turning back as she re-wet the towel.
“The cold must have given you a fever, and a nasty one at that.” She said softly, dabbing at my neck and shoulders this time. “The master says you’re a cheater of death. First you nearly freeze to death, and now you’ve survived God’s wrath. And who knows what else you’ve been through before this.” She shook her head in wonder. I sighed and sat up a bit more. She put her hands in her lap after setting the cloth back into the bowl. She stood up from the bed and went for the door.
“I’ll go fetch little Mary for ya.” She said as she slipped out the door. I watched the door as it slowed to a stop, halfway open. The quiet took on something sinister as darkness soon bathed the house. Night was falling quickly. Squeals and laughter echoed from the hallway before Mary ran into the room, holding her skirt high. She jumped on the bed and wiggled herself towards me.
“Careful, Mary.” A deep voice said. I looked up to see a dark man come through the door. He had a clean face, and dark eyes like Mary. His hair was black.
“Hello, Mary.” I said, my voice soft from bed rest and sickness. She took my hand and played with it. She was such a child. A smile touched my lips for only a moment. I looked up at the man.
“So, this is the beautiful angel you’ve been telling me about?” He asked the girl. “And how peculiar you are.” He said under his breath, looking at me. I looked away.
“Her fever broke just this morning, sir.” The maid from before came in and lifted the bowl with her apron. So this was the master of the house. “This girl’s a fighter. Only two days in bed.” She commented. My eyes widened. Two days? My stomach growled then. I wrapped my arms around my waist and turned away as my face turned red. The man laughed; the sound deep and gravely.
“It seems it’s time for dinner.”
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