Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Memory - Flash fiction for Takhayyal




I remember.
I remember the days of love, conquests and glory; a time when all was beautiful in the world, or at least for me.
Servants busy here and there, the scent of delicious buttered-lemon chicken, tomato-and-potato soup, seasonings brought from overseas – or at least that's what the inhabitants said.
I could almost smell and taste it myself.

Candlelit dinners in the massive dining room with its many brightly-lit chandeliers; music playing from the sitting room, the garden as green and vibrant as though it had a life of its own.
I remember the girls racing and playing –

"Don't run near the stairs! You'll break your necks!" Julia shouted on an almost-daily basis. Luckily, they never fell.

But someone did fall.
It was said that Julia fell on the stairs whilst carrying a tray left by one of the servants one day. The truth is the servants never left anything behind and Julia never carried anything. The truth is, she never slipped. She was pushed.
Derek, her husband, pushed her from behind to make way for another – a Marysha, also from overseas.

After that, all was dim and black. The girls stopped playing hide and seek. They never laughed again. It was as if they feared something worse would happen if they seek.
People came and went but Julia and her daughters were history etched in my walls.

I remember when the twins were born. Julia nearly died of joy – after several failed pregnancies.
But Derek... he was always in the shadows, laying low as they say. His presence would have given me shivers, if I could shiver. He was a dark and uncomfortable presence. Always awake when everyone was asleep, always quiet, answering in 'Yes' and 'No'.
His dark eyes roam the house, servants, walls, everything. Except the garden. He rarely went out there; only when it was pitch black.
I don't know why Julia married him. I guess he was rich and had the family mansion, but she was a rich too. I will never understand.

Marysha didn't live long here. She soon left Derek for another man. Served him right. But what was done, was done.
Sweet, sociable and often-scolding Julia was gone.

She kept me company for a while until Derek died. She wanted revenge but was too kind and decided to look out for the girls instead. When they passed away, she moved on as ghosts often do.

Time passed and I remained empty.
Seasons hit me with the rain, snow and sun. Summers parched my garden.
The candles ceased to light up. The sun couldn't enter through the windows any more – too dirty. The roof and ceiling were leaking, so were the floors.

I can still hear the girls' laughter on the stairs.
"You'll break your necks, girls!"

"Oh mother. We'll be fine."