Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Mental Ward - Wake the House (39)


     "Alive? Yes, but maybe not for long unless you save her." Emery felt the officer's grip on her arm loosen, and she shook herself free.  "She'll die if they put her in that Box again."
     Lady Carlysle stared at Emery and tears spilled over on her cheeks.  "Alive?  My baby is alive?"
     "Lady Carlysle, if you don't mind me interrupting, this is the Clayton girl.  You remember your old gardener?  Clayton?" the gardener shook his hands by his sides, as if stirring his lady's memory.
     The butler, Antrin, shifted his weight and looked highly uncomfortable.  "Oh, yes, mmm, Clayton," he stammered.
     But Lady Carlysle didn't seem to hear.  "Where is she?" Her voice was soft, almost pleading.
     "At this moment, she lies just outside your gardens, knocked unconscious by the hands of these officers." Emery felt her voice quivering.  "She was on her way home to you, but they are taking her to lock her up again."
      The change that came over Lady Carlysle was instantaneous.  "How dare you!" she hissed, her eyes wide and angry.  The officers stumbled backwards, under her glare, suddenly fearing for their livelihoods.  "Antrin..." Lady Carlysle turned to face him, suddenly realizing he was still there.  "Where is my husband?  Why haven't you fetched him?  He will know how to deal with these barbarians!"
     "If you please, my lady, he left without saying where he was going." Antrin shifted uncomfortably, inwardly torn in his sense of duty.  "But...I believe...if I may hazard a guess...that he was on his way to the insane asylum in the city...perhaps."
      "Wake the house!" Lady Carlysle raised her voice shrilly.  "I want everyone out here.  Someone fetch my husband!  Someone get these officers' names and stations!  And someone..." She turned her eyes toward Emery and held out her hand, lowering her voice to a whimper.  "...take me to my baby Beth."

Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Mental Ward - You are Her Mother! (38)


     Voices swirled, and Emery felt herself being yanked to her feet.  Puffy grayness clouded her vision as she tried to clear her head.  "No," she murmured.  She pulled in vain against the hands the held and tried again.  "No!"
     "Good heavens, officer!" The cultured woman's voice spoke again, and, through the fog in her own mind, Emery caught sight of satins and pearls.  "Is such violence really necessary on the steps of the Carlysle Mansion?"  The woman waved her hand.  "Antrin, fetch my husband."
     "Elizabeth!" Emery shouted the word like a plea or a password.  Her vision cleared and she locked her gaze with the woman in satins just in time to see the woman turn deathly pale.  Emery lowered her voice.  "Elizabeth Carlysle.  Or Beth, as she prefers."
     The satin woman backed away, retreating into her house.  "Take her away," she said, her voice croaking.  "Antrin, close the door."
     Emery felt like a knife had been stabbed into her heart and twisted.  "How can you say that?" she burst out.  "You're her mother!"  In all the hardships Emery had faced in her life, this was one that was foreign to her.  No matter how wretched life became, she could never doubt her parents' love.  "She needs you!  And you would walk away from her?"
     The retreating figure stopped and for a moment every single person stood motionless and silent.
     Then that cultured voice spoke again -- this time with tears choking the words.
     "She is...alive?"