Hello, fellows! XD Another quick writing post today. For this story I combined both the AAWC prompt “Smile,” and the CWWC prompts. (Click here to see them.) Misty, I used the word prompt and included “Swan” in my story. Loren, I used all three prompts from this round.
Beyond the Looking Glass, Part 3
How did you come to live in the dark old house, you wonder?
When your mother could travel no longer, she fell to the ground in exhaustion, hugging you in her arms. That is how the Ferrymen found you. They carried you both down to the land beyond the mirrors.
Aha! So that’s why I know what the Ferrymen are called!
You recovered, but that long journey had sucked everything from your mother. While you played happily with baby Ferrymen, your mother lay still and pale, unmoving and unseeing. Weeks passed, and the Ferrymen shook their heads over her in despair. But… she lived! Three weeks after the Ferrymen had found her, your mother opened her eyes and asked feebly where her daughter was.
I exhale slowly in relief. My mother lived! But what was her name and where is she now? Is she still living? The blackboard seems to read my mind.
Your mother’s name was Susan Gray.
I rifle again through my memory files. Nope. “Susan Gray” doesn’t bring up any results.
As for your other questions…
Your mother is living but not full of life,
Near and yet impossible to reach.
She is beside you every day,
But never knows you.
You know her best,
And yet you know her not.
The Ferrymen will help you solve the riddle. When you have solved it, come back for the rest of your lesson.
With that, I find myself back at the land beyond the mirror, back with the swans and birds and Ferrymen. The Ferryman who had given me the box is still sitting on the tree branch, but at my return he spreads his great wings and soared to the ground. I step up to the dragon-bird boldly. “I need to solve this riddle.” The Ferryman listens thoughtfully to the riddle, then nods his head. He flaps over to hollow log near a swan nest and pulls out something. The swan parents nearly go mad with protectiveness, and have to smile as the big, lumbering Ferryman flees back to me, two swans flapping furiously after him. He calms down, and shoves a piece of paper into my hand with his scaly claws. It is an old photograph. At the top is a beautiful signature: “Susan Gray” A picture of my mother! I study it carefully.
Long tangles of wavy, red-brown hair.
Chocolate brown eyes with flecks of gold.
But not me:
Wide, ruddy, smiling face,
Long nose, full lips, dimpled chin, green dress.
Of course I am grateful to the Ferryman for this precious gift, but I don’t see how it can help me solve the riddle. But then I notice that something about the photo seems vaguely familiar. Can it be that I remember her after all? I pull out the memory files of my brain and look through them yet again.
Aha! I have found a match! Wait, what? And a most bewildering match it is.
Now I know who the picture reminds me of: Mademoiselle Trumente. How can this be?
Suddenly I am back in the schoolroom again. Writing appears almost immediately on the blackboard.
You have solved the riddle. Good. Yes, Mademoiselle is your mother. This is why:
Although your mother recovered partially after the earthquake, her hearing and part of her mind was damaged by the deafening sounds and terrible trials she had endured on the journey. Her body was not as young or as easily healed as yours was. Gradually her hearing worsened and it became painful to her to hear any little sound. Even the small noise of rain pattering on the roof was ear-splitting. That is why Mademoiselle insists that her house be quiet.
When your mother finally took you to where you live now, she could not remember her name, so she invented one herself. She taught you to call her “Mademoiselle Trumente” not because she loved to hear you say it. You always said “Mad-Michele” instead of “Mademoiselle.” How she laughed over that! Eventually the nickname stuck. By that time your mother’s hearing was far-gone and she could not tell you anything without great pain to herself. Her hearing has gradually worsened over the years until now. Now you must help your mother, if indeed you are willing. If you don’t help her now, her memory and hearing will be lost forever. You must wait until exactly the right moment.
“Oh yes! I am willing to do whatever it takes to get my mother back. Mother, Mother, I am so sorry. I will come back to you and help you. Please forgive me, Mother.” I called out her name as if that could make her hear me, as if that could make her care for me and love again like her own daughter.
Very well. Go to the fairies. They will know what you need.
The schoolroom vanished once again in the blink of an eye, and I found myself on a damp woodland path. Moss dripped from ancient trees and magical, glowing blue butterflies fluttered around me. I stopped at a wooden sign nailed to a tree. “Fairies Be Here.” I scanned the ground, but all I could see were toadstools and logs and tree roots. Just then I saw a tiny movement near one of the toadstools. A miniscule winged creature had just fluttered out of a little door in the toadstool.
I hope you guys liked that! I know, I know. This is getting really long, but I couldn’t finish the story and use all of the prompts without making it REALLY long, so I had to stop there.
P. S. If you haven’t checked out Hayley’s ATC Trade yet, you totally should! You only have until May 13th to submit your ATCs for the trade!
P. P. S. I’m so glad that lots of you wanted to see my “Birthday Post.” I’ll definitely do that! But… I don’t know when because I have lots of other posts that I’m definitely going to do too. XD