And So The Bell Tolls

Hello once again. I don’t have much to say other than I’m at least trying to get some stuff out. This, and a few more are the result of that effort. It’s something. Unfortunately haven’t gotten the time to actually work on new pieces, but for now, revel in what is essentially months of backlog. Here you go, “And So The Bell Tolls”.

The sullen family stood facing the tampered soil, with each head facing towards the tombstone. The wind blew softly, and with it came small snowflakes; falling gently onto the holy ground. The atmosphere was stagnant, not a single soul spoke a word, and the only sounds that filled the air were that of weeping, and mourning. Emily stood at the side of her father, who towered over the other attending family members. Her hand was clutching the hem of his black suit, and her eyes were filled with tears. Her bright blonde hair and her small stature trembled.

Emily’s mother had passed away, leaving Emily and her father all to themselves. Emily is still attending elementary school, a precarious child that has been nurtured by her mother. From when she was born, Emily has done nothing but dote on her loving mother, but now as she is gone, she is drenched with losing both a figure of parental care, and a companion. Surrounded by family, friends, and even strangers, Emily finds herself in a world devoid of any light. The sounds of leaves rustling in the early winter draft, and the cold air that passes through Emily are but shadows to her. When the news first came to Emily, she was absolutely obstinate. She cursed her father, her uncles, and at one point herself. She cursed her father for his lies, for the things that she could not believe, for belittling her mother. But Emily knew all along, when mother never returned home, when her relatives were comforting her, she knew all along. And she wanted to be there for her.

Throughout the process, Emily didn’t budge. She wouldn’t answer when spoken to, she wouldn’t look when called upon, nor did she walk the same. She was shrouded in her own veil, seeming to still deny everything about the world she knew. But when push came to shove, when she had to face her realities, she broke. The still face of her deceased mother, the crowd of shadows behind her, and even the darkness which draped her body all seemed so real to Emily. Perhaps the reason why her face contorted, and why tears began streaming down her face, was because they were real.

Upon laying her feet onto the soil, Emily could feel the weight of everything around her. The soil sank beneath her feet, and with each shovel full of dirt that sank into the dirt, Emily felt like screaming. She didn’t want to let go, but her father’s large hands had shadowed over her face, and her body was glued to his like a magnet. Like bees to honey, she couldn’t escape her father’s warm grasp, and cried into his suit. She cried, and cried, silently into his father’s side, until tears could no longer depart from her tiny eyes.

One by one, the people standing in prayer for the deceased began heading back. Their steps were unheard to by Emily, who still stood clutching by her father. Her eyes were empty, and her hands were frozen, her feet were stone, and her hair was glass. Emily’s father was the last adult at the venue, and the only thing he could do for Emily, was try and break her spell. Emily’s father grabbed Emily’s hand and got onto his knees, so that his view was not bird eye. With one hand on top of Emily’s head, her father spoke, “Everything will be alright. Mommy might be gone, but that just means that we have to pull through even more. That’s what she would have wanted.” Her father’s words passed through Emily like paper in a shredder; not a single piece intact.  Emily looked over, and stared blankly into her father’s eyes, but, something caught her attention. A little ways over her father’s head, was a red butterfly. It was so vibrantly red that Emily  thought it to be just fiction. But something within her sought out to follow it.

“Let’s get through this together, Em.” Her father’s words drifted in the wind as she broke from his grasp and began running after the red butterfly. Her father watched her as she chased after what seemed to be the wind itself. He called out to her, but she didn’t respond.  Emily chased after the butterfly as if it was the only thing in her world. She bumped into tombstones, tripped over rocks and dirtied her dress, but none of it mattered in front of her crimson captor. Her entire being was captivated by its bloodied wings, and amidst the darkness within her eyes, she finally saw color.

The red butterfly finally halted its flight, opting to rest upon a young man’s fedora. Without regards to the man whom the butterfly perched upon, Emily walked up and extended her hand. “Hello.” The man’s words were of little relevance as Emily continued to reach for the butterfly. Without warning, the man grabbed Emily’s arm, breaking her out of the trance, and effectively noticing the man crouched in front of her. She searched frantically, but could not see the butterfly. The man let go of his grip, and noticed the aloof look in her eyes. “Are you okay? Lost?” The man received no response, but he knew that he couldn’t just leave her alone. The man grabbed his bag and searched for his phone.

“Did your parents ever give you a slip of paper to hand to strangers if you get lost?”

“Mom–” The man heard a whisper. He gave Emily a questioning look and asked her to speak up.

“My mom–”

“Your mom? Do you mean she gave you something?” Emily didn’t respond, which further confused the man. He gave himself a minute to think about her circumstances, and figured out the general idea.

“Do you mean, your mother’s dead?” Emily nodded her head in response. Her whole being was still spellbound, but something about the man made Emily feel nostalgic. It was strange to Emily, why she felt this way towards this man. A strange feeling inside of Emily’s head radiated towards the man in front of her. It made her feel comfortable, which is what allowed Emily to speak her mind.

“Mommy can’t make it to dinner anymore. Daddy will be all alone. She can’t eat with us.” Emily’s voice was cold; devoid of any emotion. The man couldn’t look at her in the face while she talked, it was too wrenching.  “If mommy can’t make it back home, then she can’t read me bed time stories anymore. She can’t pet my head, she can’t tell me how much she loves me.” Suddenly, tears began welling up in Emily’s eyes. It seemed almost unnatural. The man couldn’t sit just listening, he rummaged in his bag, until his hands wrapped around a wooden texture.

“Your mother might not be around anymore, but you still have your father. I wonder, have you ever heard of an annulment?” Emily shook her head. The man brought out the wooden rectangular box from his bag. Upon lifting the lid, a soft tune began filling the air. It was a simple melody, designed for putting children to sleep; a lullaby. As the notes rifted in Emily’s ears, a wave of nostalgia crashed onto her. The melody was all too similar for Emily, and her eyes  widened with color. Her arms began trembling, and she dropped to her knees. The tears in her eyes fell, but the sensation was no other. To Emily, it felt as if it was her first time crying.

“This melody…A friend gave it to me a long time ago. I carry it with me as a cruel joke.”

“My mommy used to hum this when I had trouble falling asleep. It feels like she’s here with me.”

“I’m sure she is. I’m sure she’s watching over you.” The man handed Emily the music box. Her hands were still slightly shaken up, but she was still able to grasp onto the object.

“Are you sure mister? Isn’t this yours?”

“It’s not that important. Besides, I think the owner of that music box, would have liked you to have it anyway.” The man then got up and began walking in the opposite direction that Emily came from. Emily wiped her tears away, and stared at the music box; it’s melody long faded. She closed the lid of the box, and began winding it. Once open, the melody filled the air, and gave Emily the same warmth that her mother had. She remained frozen within the music’s grasp, unknowing to all around her, ignoring even her worried father’s distant calls. In the instant that the music box played it’s slow melody, Emily felt that the world she knew might be alright after all. It was a strange feeling for Emily. She couldn’t find the right word to describe the feeling inside of a person when everything in the world felt right. Though she had it now.

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