May 17, 2007

The forbidden hallway



In case you have fallen behind (and who could blame you):

Part 1 (includes explanation for horrified/confused readers)
Part 2

Elfreda woke suddenly. For a moment, she was completely mystified, and then the haze of sleep slowly drifted away, and she remembered where she was. Remembering didn't lessen her amazement, however, at her surroudnings. She'd hardly had time or attention to notice them as she drifted off to sleep, but she turned her full attention to them now. She was lying in a cloud of silk, or so it seemed; the linens were delicious, and as she sat up, she realized that she was resting on a cusion of water. A waterbed. A magnificent one, at that, with mahogany posters carved with alligators chasing delicately-carved cupids. Similarly, there was a fresco on the canopy-- two little chubby angels, embracing each other. It reminded Elfreda of a painting she had seen once. She looked around the room and took in the lavishly-carved wardrobe, the windowseat and long, western-facing windows veiled with gold velvet swaths. Everywhere she looked she saw plush furniture infested with plump, overstuffed pillows of glowing, jewel-like shades. The crowning glory was a white marble statue in the center of the room-- Venus de Milo. Someone had thoughtfully painted a bathing suit on her, which Elfreda was grateful for. Obviously, whomever decorated this room has good taste, she thought to herself, lightly touching Venus's marble elbow on the way to the vanity, festooned with candy-pink ruffles and covered with an assortment of glamorous-looking bottles.


As she sat down at it, she started in surprise-- right over the vanity hung a grim picture of a man with grizzled, sandy-colored hair and a day's growth of beard. He stared so, it gave Elfreda the nerves. Bobbert, she thought to herself crossly. Of course he wants to remind me whom I am making myself presentable for.

With this thought, the tears came in earnest. Davian.

Their parting had been terrible. Davian had been relatively calm and unemotional-- putting on a brave face, Elfreda thought fondly. He had, however, taken her hand and smoothed it with his fine fingertips, sending shivers racing up her arm, and told her that he would try to find a way. A way to make sure they could be together. His dark eyes had been pools of molten chocolate as he stared at her, the fervor in his face making its boyish features more grim than usual.

Elfreda sighed and blew her nose. It is no use, she thought. He can do nothing for me. My mother must have her operation, and I must marry Bobbert. That's the end of it. She looked at herself in the mirror, resolution lending an extra jut to her chin and an extra gleam to her eye. She looked well, she knew. Her tangerine-colored sundress was bright and cheery, and brought out the pleasant carrot aspect of her hair. But she must change to something more presentable if she were to meet the master of Grimschanks Manor for an evening together. Our first evening, she thought. He'll have to behave himself; he's too proud to forego etiquette.

She went to her closet, which had been loaded up with the gowns and dresses and wraps and hats and shoes and slacks and blouses and scarves from all of her bags, and selected an amber gown with crystal bangles runnning along the hem and bodice. It became her nicely-- made her appear more sophisticated. Elfreda nodded at herself in the mirror, assuming an expression of cool decorum. She slid her tiny feet into gilt-edged slippers and walked down the hall, careful to keep her head high, her spine straight. She had a little difficulty remembering how to get back to the main salon, and found that she had taken a wrong turn. She ended up in a rather dank, decaying hallway, with worm-eated doorframes and half-crumbled statuary. It was a little eerie, this place-- she couldn't remember it at all from when she and Bobbert had played as children. She jumped as she heard a sublte footfall behind her.

She turned, and sighed with relief, but Bobbert's face was ablaze with fury. "What are you doing here?" He hissed.

"I-I'm sorry," Elfreda stuttered. "I lost my way."

"Well, let me guide you then." His tones were clipped, and there was an ironic gleam in his pale eyes. He placed a firm hand in the small of her back, hurrying her to the point of her tripping on her little shoes. He looked down at them with distaste.

"Here we are," he said shortly, depositing her into the main salon.

"Aren't you coming?" Elfreda asked.

"No." He replied, and turned back the way he came.

Elfreda gazed after him, wondering. A slight chill ran over her as she though of his face when he had discovered her in that decaying hallway.

What is he hiding?
She rubbed her arms, and gazed in surprise down at them-- she was all over gooseflesh.

2 comments:

Margaret said...

Yeah, it's a good thing someone painted over Venus. That really does wonders for a statue. ;)

I'm just confused because sometimes you call her Gayle? or am I misunderstanding something...?

NoSurfGirl said...

Shoot!

I'm writing another novel about a girl named Gayle (a real one). I'm sorry. Geesh louish.

I'll watch that in future, but by my own rules I can't touch the previous posts, so hopefully people will just chalk it up to the nature of a farcequin (I have read more than one harlequin where names got messed up.)

:)