Day 9 – Object Writing – 10 minutes


Writing Better Lyrics“Pick an object at random and write about it. Dive into your sense memories and associations surrounding the object. Anything goes, as long as it is sense-bound. Write freely. No rhythm, no rhyme. No need for complete sentences. Use all seven senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch, organic, and kinesthetic. [...] Object writing works best when you do it for ten minutes, first thing in the morning. Yes, I know — I’m brain-dead then, too. [...] Guarantee yourself ten minutes and only ten minutes. Set a timer, and stop the second it goes off.” (page 4, 6 and 7) excerpt from “Writing Better Lyrics” by Pat Pattison, published 2009 by Writer’s Digest Books –  Second Edition.

Tree

Let’s stay in nature… I live in a place where there are many trees but not in such a quantity that I can say that I live in the forest. All trees are the same to me, I’ve never been able to name the different species of trees (if I can express myself like this). I could probably recognize a pine tree, and an oak, but that is indeed a big maybe. I love the smell of trees, always enchanting and somewhat pure. It feels like I am  sneaking  in into a completely new world with them. When I am lucky enough to touch their bark, sometimes rough, sometimes smooth, I cannot help feeling content. I can breathe better when I am around trees, no matter the density of their gathering, and I see more clearly too. They always protect me from the sun burning my eyes or my skin. Trees can, however, play tricks on me and become really spooky. It’s their fun… I was driving from work, quite fast I must add, not dangerously fast, but fast. Something that never happened before was that I had phantom vision in my right-side mirror. At first, I thought another car was catching up, but then I realized that each time I had passed a spot of forest, the trees were waving at me. It took me some time to realize that of course, and a few times I got my heart caught up in a race with the tempo of the music playing in my car. Well, I thought, as long as no deer is jumping in front of my car, the trees can have their fun and tease me from afar. TIME’S UP!

Senses that should be represented: Sight, Hearing, Smell, Taste, Touch, Organic and Kinesthetic.

Student’s comments (that is to say my own comments on my own work):

–> this should have been day 11… but I’ll continue count the days even though I might not write every morning but every other morning… until I get back the good  rhythm  of a daily habit. Small steps are always better than none!

No comments today… not in the mood :)

Get out of my head



This is not really what I had in mind, although I am sure of what I was thinking… all I know is that there is this nagging feeling using all my neurones abilities instead of my heart’s compassionate view on things. This is quite annoying actually.  Of course,  when I feel that way I am not sure that I am making any sense. Confusion of where and how I stand is a pretty strange spin on things. Anyhow, I don’t like it and what more,  I don’t like this… I guess I just wanted and felt like writing nonsense for a couple of minutes. Ciao!

 image

 

Day 8 – Object Writing – 10 minutes


Writing Better Lyrics“Pick an object at random and write about it. Dive into your sense memories and associations surrounding the object. Anything goes, as long as it is sense-bound. Write freely. No rhythm, no rhyme. No need for complete sentences. Use all seven senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch, organic, and kinesthetic. [...] Object writing works best when you do it for ten minutes, first thing in the morning. Yes, I know — I’m brain-dead then, too. [...] Guarantee yourself ten minutes and only ten minutes. Set a timer, and stop the second it goes off.” (page 4, 6 and 7) excerpt from “Writing Better Lyrics” by Pat Pattison, published 2009 by Writer’s Digest Books –  Second Edition.

Rain

Rain is better than snow, still it drags the greys over the blues and gets me all depressed. It does not taste anything, I’d think, but I still have to drink it to be sure. I can tell you that these days it is more than damp. My clothes are good enough to stay dry as long as I walk between the drops… how often do you think that happens anyway? The thing with rain is that it makes the Earth smell real good, fresh and pure. Of course, since I am working in the country side, it can also mean another kind of smell from the earth, and I promise you that this one is rather sickening. Anyway, the raindrops on the windowsill are like a tap dance that has been waiting for ages to perform, but the audience has never been really interested; maybe the birds, the worms, the cats and dogs… nah, I think the rain is a solo performer in a group of millions of participants, so nobody notices it for what it truly is, but I do. Depending on where it performs though, its dance changes tempo… for instance, on my car as I drive to work, it is more of a latin dancer at times. In any case, it is beautiful to see, when it is falling down from the sky, where the clouds are different shades of grey, with different forms and layers and the intensity of the rain can be felt either like needles on the skin or simply like a gentle caress from a river wanting to go home. But the rain has made me run more than once in Dublin, after a concert, looking for a cab I have never been that drenched, or maybe I have, some ten years later, back into town for a vacation; the rain almost did not stop. I felt I was crawling against walls of water, running into those giant puddles of water and after I dried myself up, I still could not get warm. TIME’S UP!

Senses that should be represented: Sight, Hearing, Smell, Taste, Touch, Organic and Kinesthetic.

Student’s comments (that is to say my own comments on my own work):

–> this should have been day 10… but I’ll continue count the days even though I might not write every morning but every other morning… until I get back the good  rhythm  of a daily habit. Small steps are always better than none!

–> SIGHT, TASTE, HEARING, SMELL, TOUCH, maybe ORGANIC and maybe KINESTHETIC.

–> I have evoked taste this time.

–> Association of ideas, I believe that this is what I need to work on.

A lot of room for improvement!

Day 7 – Object Writing – 10 minutes


Writing Better Lyrics“Pick an object at random and write about it. Dive into your sense memories and associations surrounding the object. Anything goes, as long as it is sense-bound. Write freely. No rhythm, no rhyme. No need for complete sentences. Use all seven senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch, organic, and kinesthetic. [...] Object writing works best when you do it for ten minutes, first thing in the morning. Yes, I know — I’m brain-dead then, too. [...] Guarantee yourself ten minutes and only ten minutes. Set a timer, and stop the second it goes off.” (page 4, 6 and 7) excerpt from “Writing Better Lyrics” by Pat Pattison, published 2009 by Writer’s Digest Books –  Second Edition.

Leaf

The trees have shed their leaves, which are now drying under the Spring sun after having spent such a long time under the coat of snow that Winter did not want to take back as it faded away. I love walking on the mat of grass covered with these leaves, it cracks under my shoes and somehow it still spread this earthy perfume, despite the dryness of the air. I love Spring but Autumn is much more reliable to my moods. It is true that they are more birds to delight my eyes and calm my anxieties at this time of year. They sing cheerfuly and I wish I could sing as good. Heavy rains are sure to come soon anyway, and the sun won’t warm my face very long if I don’t leave these pastures. It is crazy to think that the peacefulness and calm of this countryside has left so little impression, it is crazy because I would not make it one minute into the big city. Here, when it is grey it is still inviting and the smell is that of renewal and promises; there, well I don’t want to remember. The point is that nature brings joy to my sense, therefore my heart. How would I do without the leaves flying everywhere when the wind is blowing all its might? TIME’S UP!

Senses that should be represented: Sight, Hearing, Smell, Taste, Touch, Organic and Kinesthetic.

Student’s comments (that is to say my own comments on my own work):

–> this should have been day 9… consistency has faded this week… and I’ll need to get back on track soon!

–> SIGHT, HEARING, TOUCH, maybe ORGANIC and maybe KINESTHETIC.

–>  As you’ve probably noticed, I still haven’t expressed TASTE.

–> No imagination again… too much “bla-bla-bla” outside the senses. Off-topic… this is frustrating!

A lot of room for improvement!

Day 6 – Object Writing – 10 minutes


Writing Better Lyrics“Pick an object at random and write about it. Dive into your sense memories and associations surrounding the object. Anything goes, as long as it is sense-bound. Write freely. No rhythm, no rhyme. No need for complete sentences. Use all seven senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch, organic, and kinesthetic. [...] Object writing works best when you do it for ten minutes, first thing in the morning. Yes, I know — I’m brain-dead then, too. [...] Guarantee yourself ten minutes and only ten minutes. Set a timer, and stop the second it goes off.” (page 4, 6 and 7) excerpt from “Writing Better Lyrics” by Pat Pattison, published 2009 by Writer’s Digest Books –  Second Edition.

Feather

On the grass, in front of the parking lot lies a feather from I do not know what bird, but I know it was standing out from the others. It was so big you see, and red or maybe it was orange. I picked it up and I closed my eyes for a moment wondering where it was coming from. I never saw a feather like that and suddenly I felt the ground vanish from under my feet. I did not dare to open my eyes, for I am scared of height. Where was I going? I was flying for sure and at this time of year, the air up there was much cooler than on the ground. I was going with the wind and my hair was all messed up in front of my face, I probably looked like a witch. It felt wonderful, flying to new territories I hoped it would transport me to where birds of paradise live, I hoped I would see the magic of nature at work in a way I’d never witnessed before; yet again, how often does one see a person flying just by picking up a feather on the ground? I would have liked to open my eyes, but I had a feeling that I would regret it if I did, so I did not. I just felt the rush from the lack of gravity, the ligthness of my body was tremendous and my senses were sharper than ever; I wonder why that was, I was not the most special person on the planet, so why was I feeling so amazing suddenly? I could hear the flap of wings, effortless motions all around me; were these my wings? TIME’S UP!

Senses that should be represented: Sight, Hearing, Smell, Taste, Touch, Organic and Kinesthetic.

Student’s comments (that is to say my own comments on my own work):

–> this should have been day 8… consistency has faded this week… and I’ll need to get back on track soon!

–> This is when I started writing with the computer and stopped with the traditional pencil/paper. 10 minutes is short and I can write much more with the computer in such short a time.

–> SIGHT, HEARING, TOUCH, maybe ORGANIC and maybe KINESTHETIC.

–>  As you’ve probably noticed, I still haven’t expressed TASTE.

–> Imagination made its move on me that day… maybe in a lame way… maybe for reasons beyond my understanding, but over-analysis is just not the point here!

A lot of room for improvement!

Day 5 – Object Writing – 10 minutes


Writing Better Lyrics“Pick an object at random and write about it. Dive into your sense memories and associations surrounding the object. Anything goes, as long as it is sense-bound. Write freely. No rhythm, no rhyme. No need for complete sentences. Use all seven senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch, organic, and kinesthetic. [...] Object writing works best when you do it for ten minutes, first thing in the morning. Yes, I know — I’m brain-dead then, too. [...] Guarantee yourself ten minutes and only ten minutes. Set a timer, and stop the second it goes off.” (page 4, 6 and 7) excerpt from “Writing Better Lyrics” by Pat Pattison, published 2009 by Writer’s Digest Books –  Second Edition.

Terrasse

Every morning, in the summer and no matter how early it was, the terrasse of my childhood was warm yet cool enough to offer a peaceful start to anyone who would have cared for such a thing. The best moment was when the jasmine bloomed, the dew helped the scent travel to me and made me shiver with pleasure. Added to this the cicadas starting their symphony, in a piano tempo, just to mix and accompany the birds at that time of day. Opposite the jasmine grew a crawling vine, that never looked healthy to me. The dogs must have spoiled it from the start, anyway it was not dead and usually gave enough shade in the summer for the entire family to be able to sit at the long table for hours on at lunch time. TIME’S UP!

Senses that should be represented: Sight, Hearing, Smell, Taste, Touch, Organic and Kinesthetic.

Student’s comments (that is to say my own comments on my own work):

–> SMELL, HEARING, TOUCH, maybe ORGANIC and maybe KINESTHETIC.

–>  As you can imagine, I was not satisfied with the version from yesterday, but as Pat Pattison says in the book, I should not have be loyal to that particular idea after all.

–> No imagination

A lot of room for improvement!

Day 4 – Object Writing – 10 minutes


Writing Better Lyrics“Pick an object at random and write about it. Dive into your sense memories and associations surrounding the object. Anything goes, as long as it is sense-bound. Write freely. No rhythm, no rhyme. No need for complete sentences. Use all seven senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch, organic, and kinesthetic. [...] Object writing works best when you do it for ten minutes, first thing in the morning. Yes, I know — I’m brain-dead then, too. [...] Guarantee yourself ten minutes and only ten minutes. Set a timer, and stop the second it goes off.” (page 4, 6 and 7) excerpt from “Writing Better Lyrics” by Pat Pattison, published 2009 by Writer’s Digest Books –  Second Edition.

Summer Terrasse

Every day used to be a drag as I sat outside having my breakfast. The summer mornings were warm but cool enough to enjoy what it had to offer me, peace. The constant buzzing above my head from whatever insects was stressing me and I could not wait to be on my way. The dogs playing around did make me happy, and as they plunged their heads in big buckets of water to drink, their dog’s scent, all wet and drooling on my feet made me laugh. I used to spend a lot of time using kitchen paper to dry my pajamas and parts of my body. In truth, I did not appreciate enough the surroundings of the terrasse. Imagine then how I feel when I come back to it, the serenity and the jasmine tree are so inviting that the expectation became stronger than the memories. I am invaded by images from my parents’ terrasse. It is not paradise and it depends on who is talking about it, but this is a place that has become a part of me. TIME’S UP!

Senses that should be represented: Sight, Hearing, Smell, Taste, Touch, Organic and Kinesthetic.

Student’s comments (that is to say my own comments on my own work):

–> SMELL, HEARING, TOUCH, maybe ORGANIC and maybe KINESTHETIC.

–>  “bla-bla-bla” outside the senses, consequence: a lot is off-topic. Associations of ideas… hmm, not so much

–> No imagination

A lot of room for improvement!

Day 3 – Object Writing – 10 minutes


Writing Better Lyrics“Pick an object at random and write about it. Dive into your sense memories and associations surrounding the object. Anything goes, as long as it is sense-bound. Write freely. No rhythm, no rhyme. No need for complete sentences. Use all seven senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch, organic, and kinesthetic. [...] Object writing works best when you do it for ten minutes, first thing in the morning. Yes, I know — I’m brain-dead then, too. [...] Guarantee yourself ten minutes and only ten minutes. Set a timer, and stop the second it goes off.” (page 4, 6 and 7) excerpt from “Writing Better Lyrics” by Pat Pattison, published 2009 by Writer’s Digest Books –  Second Edition.

Front Porch

Sitting on the front porch, for all to see me, acknowledge my presence has always been  uncomfortable… or at least, it used to be. I love to sit there, in Springtime, when the sun is finally warming my skin and the birds are putting my heart at ease with their cheerful songs. I don’t deny that I would wish the playground to be deserted so that I can daydream in peace and quiet. Springtime is also the time for barbecues and the smell of inviting food. Chats and laughter on weekend’s evenings are making this neighborhood very friendly. The front porch is also the favorite place of my neighbor’s cats, waiting to welcome me when I am coming back from work, sneaking inside my apartment as soon as I open the door. The front porch is exposure, not very comfortable or friendly looking but its appeal from its happy situation, not hidden but proud. I feel like this too sometimes, at ease, proud and I could not give a damn about what people think. TIME’S UP!

Senses that should be represented: Sight, Hearing, Smell, Taste, Touch, Organic and Kinesthetic.

Student’s comments (that is to say my own comments on my own work):

–> SMELL, HEARING, maybe SIGHT, maybe ORGANIC and maybe KINESTHETIC.

–>  “bla-bla-bla” outside the senses, consequence: a lot is off-topic. Associations of ideas… hmm, not so much

–> No imagination

In other words, I can still do much better, therefore improving my English… now that is a fancy perspective!

Day 2 – Object Writing – 10 minutes


Writing Better Lyrics“Pick an object at random and write about it. Dive into your sense memories and associations surrounding the object. Anything goes, as long as it is sense-bound. Write freely. No rhythm, no rhyme. No need for complete sentences. Use all seven senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch, organic, and kinesthetic. [...] Object writing works best when you do it for ten minutes, first thing in the morning. Yes, I know — I’m brain-dead then, too. [...] Guarantee yourself ten minutes and only ten minutes. Set a timer, and stop the second it goes off.” (page 4, 6 and 7) excerpt from “Writing Better Lyrics” by Pat Pattison, published 2009 by Writer’s Digest Books –  Second Edition.

Morning Cup

Always cold when I take it from the cupboard, my morning cup is my friend, the witness to my ritual… not so kind towards my hands, ever since it lost its handle, it finds delight in small pleasures like burning my fingers when full with the delectable and indispensable beverage that my morning coffee is. It has become the chalice of my mornings since it is the only object I care about at that time of day; sacred object with the  virtue  of being associated with my senses waking up, my body straightening up – although not that fast – it is an essential tool which I have to do without now and then, then my body is not as alert… but wait, it is not true, I do without the coffee, not the cup… sometimes hot water is all I get from it, my faithful companion that sees me when the bags under my eyes are still scary and when I am slouching on my chair half asleep. TIME’S UP!

Senses that should be represented: Sight, Hearing, Smell, Taste, Touch, Organic and Kinesthetic.

Student’s comments (that is to say my own comments on my own work):

–> TOUCH, maybe ORGANIC and maybe KINESTHETIC.

–> Another too much “bla-bla-bla” outside the senses, consequence: a lot is off-topic. No associations of ideas…

–> No imagination

In other words, I can still do much better, therefore improving my English… now that is a fancy perspective!

Day 1 – Object Writing – 10 minutes


Writing Better Lyrics“Pick an object at random and write about it. Dive into your sense memories and associations surrounding the object. Anything goes, as long as it is sense-bound. Write freely. No rhythm, no rhyme. No need for complete sentences. Use all seven senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch, organic, and kinesthetic. [...] Object writing works best when you do it for ten minutes, first thing in the morning. Yes, I know — I’m brain-dead then, too. [...] Guarantee yourself ten minutes and only ten minutes. Set a timer, and stop the second it goes off.” (page 4, 6 and 7) excerpt from “Writing Better Lyrics” by Pat Pattison, published 2009 by Writer’s Digest Books –  Second Edition.

Kitchen Table

Sitting at the table, my warm palm on its smooth cold surface, I smell the coffee and feel the morning breeze coming from outside. Phantom sensation of my childhood, the coffee’s aroma is mixed with the hot chocolate waiting for me on the kitchen table, getting cold and letting the twilight through the blinds, it promises another warm day but does not deliver just yet. I am a bit dizzy as I recall my memories at the kitchen table, and as early as may be, I travel from one country to another, one city to the next with the same inviting coffee smell following my every move. Everything is still, but my families are busy and buzzing like bees getting ready for work, they ar… TIME’S UP!

Senses that should be represented: Sight, Hearing, Smell, Taste, Touch, Organic and Kinesthetic.

Student’s comments (that is to say my own comments on my own work):

–> I have not yet figured out what the last two senses (Organic & Kinesthetic) are… so far I read only SIGHT, SMELL, TOUCH.

–> Too much “bla-bla-bla” outside the senses, consequence: a lot is off-topic. No associations of ideas…

–> No imagination

In other words, I can do much better, therefore improving my English… now that is a fancy perspective!

1.3. Goodbye Grace


It had not been two months since Lady Strandberg had left the castle, but she could not take it anymore. She had to conclude this, one way or another. Things had to change and it had to start with her sister. After all that she had done for Gladys, she would never have thought her to be so manipulative, cruel and guilty of such a hateful crime. It was not to be borne with and although she would never denounce her own flesh and blood, she could not have her by her side any longer for she would never forgive her treachery. This, she was determined to tell her sister face to face as soon as she arrived at Strandberg Park; she could not delay it anymore. As she sat in the barouche with the maid beside her – holding baby Winston, she did not notice the discomfort of Mr Benjamin Middleton, the steward. He probably would never know what was distressing his mistress in such a way that she had not been herself in weeks.

Absentmindedly, Grace was looking at the changing landscape by the window, holding on tight to her purse where lay her sister’s horrifying letter. Little did she know that soon, she would never be able to accomplish all that she had set out to do.

The barouche had been going at a good pace, for the road was quite nice in these parts of the country. The sparse trees of the forest on either side gave an impression of lightness on this fine early morning of spring. Such disposition did not warn them though when they came; cloaked and masked like road bandits used to be when attacking a carriage. Without any sound, a heavy blow to the head killed the driver while another rider took care of stopping the horses. The next one to go down was Mr Middleton who valiantly stepped out to protect the women and child. The maid ran out the barouche box, screaming and still holding a now crying baby. A kick in the head from one of the riders stayed her in her tracks; she fell face down which resulted in both being silenced. In the carriage, Lady Strandberg was petrified although one could see her sob heavily at times, but tears were absent from her cheeks.

The leader of the bandits hopped in, keeping a foot out on the last step. He took his mask and his hat of, smiled and said politely:

- “Good morning Lady.”

As she did not return the greeting, he violently hit the inside wall of the box, which startled her, and bringing his own face closer to her, he repeated almost gallantly:

- “I said, good morning Lady.”

- “Good morning sir,” she answered in a whisper.

- “Good girl!” He laughed heartily while sitting down beside her. He pulled out a hunting knife and as he was dreamily looking at the blade, said to Lady Strandberg:

- “Today is your lucky day. Do you know why?”

- “No, I cannot imagine why, sir,” her voice was even lower than that of a whisper.

- “Would you like to know?” to which she nodded still holding on tight to her purse as pure habit.

- “It is your lucky day because you will not have to pretend to care for his Lordship anymore. You are free.”

She looked horrified, as she understood his meaning; she closed her eyes and he stabbed her until she stopped moving: the deed was done. He ceased the purse and they left without a look back.

♣♣♣

It was noon already and the party should already have arrived. Gladys was in the church, praying for the safe return of her sister, when a voice started reading:

My dear Sister,

I have found no rest ever since you hid me in the church. You have been to many lengths to protect me from your husband, of whom I have always been jealous. I am not as clever with words as you are, so I will bluntly write what I must. I have not deserved any of your heartfelt attentions since our parents died.

Did you ever wonder why I reacted the way I did after their passing two years ago, while our dear sister Abigail mourned them with such dignity despite her young age? Did you ever wonder, sister?

The voice was that of Mrs Lynch; it was unmistakeable. Gladys turned around and saw Mrs Lynch who was slowly coming towards her; she was holding Grace’s purse in one hand and the letter in the other; yes, she was walking without permission, with Grace’s things wearing Grace’s gown, in HER church and reading her own PRIVATE words. Mrs. Lynch went on:

However, I am growing envious of your child and must therefore let the truth out before it is too late. I am so very fond of you my dear Grace. You have such kindness about you and so much strength at the same time that it pains me to have to hurt you so.

It was I, who killed them after your wedding to Lord Strandberg. I took their lives for their consent to your marriage deprived me of a sister. They would never have agreed to let me come and live with you and, I fear, neither would have his Lordship. I call him that, but I still despise him and believe that he does not deserve you. Nonetheless, I wanted to be with you and I knew that without our parents, you would take care of me. I am ashamed to say that I did not care much for Abigail then.

In the end, my dear sister, it does something awful to one, that of taking a human life. The secret is far too heavy to bear alone; the guilt, unfortunately, cannot be shared. You see, I am not a monster after all. Of course, you may use this letter in any way you see fit. I am only relieved that I told you because I know you understand me better than anyone does. I trust in you to do the right thing and must, therefore, leave my fate to your care once more.

Please do not hate me forever.

- “Ladida Ladida.”

“Touching, and yet, I do not know how I should act,” said finally Mrs Lynch looking amused at Gladys when she tried to take back the letter already out of reach. “You see, I had not thought of that, but now you have given me the perfect culprit.”

Gladys was taken aback for the first time in her life. She looked puzzled and stopped moving.

- “Did you not hear the ‘sad’ news?” laughed Mrs Lynch. “Poor little Miss Gladys has not been informed… oh, but wait, this is only because nobody knows that she is here. Should we tell his Lordship?”

- “No!” cried Gladys, not understanding what was implied in Mrs Lynch’s mockery. “Please do not tell,” she begged.

- “Very well, but you must do something for me, in exchange for my silence – although, he’ll know either way.”

- “Anything! Please do not tell him that she hid me,” implored Gladys, still not fathoming the truth behind the clues given to her.

- “He’ll know you were here.”

- “Tell him I escaped, but do not betray her actions or he will kill her! Please.”

- “You will go back to your sister’s room and take back the letter you left for her. The one in which you are telling about me. I do not want Lord Strandberg to find it and I see no occasion for me to go into that room, now that the Lady of the castle is dead.” She looked so vicious as she uttered these last words that Gladys thought she would lose her mind.

- “No! You are lying,” she finally cried out. “She cannot be; she has to come back, she must,” she fell to her knees on the cold stone floor of the Church. “She has not forgiven me yet,” she said, heartbroken.

Enjoying every second of the torture she was inflicting, Mrs Lynch finished with:

- “Take the letter, burn it and leave. I will know if you did not, so do as I say.”

She looked at Gladys haughtily and as she was heading back, Gladys asked with great restraint:

- “Why?” To which she did not receive any answer.

She took a few deep breaths and as she stood up, all traces of humanity had left Gladys’ face. Her eyes looked as evil as Mrs Lynch was; her past wilderness had been nothing compared to the savagery growing now in her heart. For the last time, she went to Grace’s chambers through secret passages known only to her and her big sister; she did as instructed and took back the letter, but she did not burn it.

An hour or so later, the letter safely hidden in the chest pocket of her dark green petticoat, she walked away in her muddy shoes. She did not look where she was going, because she did not need to; she had gone this path so many times that she knew the place of each grain of dirt, stone and root. She tightened her grip around her chest as a coach passed her without slowing down, but she did not look up; she just went on; smiling almost malevolently, she stared down in a scary and threatening manner. She crossed the path of villagers, but nobody knew who she was; she resembled a wild beast trying to hide a freshly caught prey; she walked fast through the village, crossed the stone bridge and into the forest – or what was left of it. She suddenly saw it: the wall she had built for her sister’s birthday the year of her arrival at Strandberg Park. She took the letter out and, staring at it with the same insane and malevolent intensity she had, she hunkered down and began digging at the foot of the wall with her bare hands. She dug up an old metal box, opened it and -without any other sentiment, added the letter to the content, closed the box and buried it again. She stood up, looked at the burial site in a somewhat softened way and said:

- “Goodbye Grace… for now.”

♣ ♣ ♣

[To be continued]

1.2. Mrs Lynch


Mrs. Lynch was looking dreamily at Lord Strandberg who was walking away, the tenant by his side. She was resolved to keep him from ever turning his back on her again. The sun was rising and even the darkened fields looked magical in the morning light. It seemed as if nothing could alter the beauty of the place.

- “Not even a fire”, she thought in a most satisfactory way.

- “Tell me my dear, how long before Lady Strandberg returns?” asked Mrs. Lynch to the housekeeper.

- “My mistress is due to return next week Ma’am,” she answered. “This way, if you please.”

- “Next week…” thought Mrs. Lynch; “this will give me plenty of time to secure him.”

Both women went up the marble stairs, into a large and long corridor that displayed beautiful portraits of the family, hanging as equals among the ones of the King and the Queen of Lost England. This, however, did not surprise Mrs. Lynch in the least, for she knew how well connected the Strandbergs were. As she scrutinised the paintings, she looked delighted and mischievous. No one saw her though or else, one would have guessed that she had a frightful plan up her sleeve, which had already been put into action.

They passed many closed a door but for one, which was enough ajar for Mrs. Lynch to see a shadow sneaking around. It looked like a woman.

- “What is she doing?” thought Mrs. Lynch as she stopped to watch.

The shadow put a letter on the bed table; looked in the direction of the door and caught Mrs. Lynch spying. In a wild burst of fury, she launched at the door and slammed it. The housekeeper, far ahead, did not notice anything; Mrs. Lynch, who was not at all alarmed by what had just happened, quickly rejoined her.

Finally, they arrived at the governess’ quarters. The room was large and looked cosy; Mrs. Lynch believed it to be meant for guests of the family. In front of the fireplace and on each side of a dark brown coffee table – on which, one had placed wild flowers in a crystal vase – stood two comfortable armchairs; the four-poster bed could have been that of a queen’s, with all its cushions of different sizes, shapes, colours and which fabrics seemed excessively soft and expensive. The dressing table and its mirror were very elegant and everything in the room was arranged for the sole comfort of its occupant. Mrs. Lynch was pleased, although would have liked better to settle in someone else’s chambers.

- “This is where you will reside during your employment for the family. This is the best room a servant can get, except for the one of the steward who is with Lady Strandberg at the present,” said proudly the housekeeper. She was an old tiny little woman who had been in the service of the family since she was fourteen years of age. Extremely fond of her master, she could not have been more delighted in his choice of wife.

- “My dear silly woman, I am no servant but this will do for now. Leave!” her countenance had at last vanished and for a split second, the housekeeper saw Mrs. Lynch for what she really was; that was enough. She left in a hurry.

An hour had passed and the housekeeper was back to guide Mrs. Lynch to Lord Strandberg’s office. They did not utter a word to one another, but fear was starting to settle in the heart of the old housekeeper as she knocked on the door of her master’s study.

- “Enter!” said Lord Strandberg.

She opened the door, announced Mrs. Lynch and curtsied while the visitor was entering; she closed the door behind her without daring to look at the scene. Had she done so, she would have seen the softened faces of the two persons she had just left. She would have seen that already an attachment was forming, although none had yet spoken; she would have seen a sailor succumbing to the song of a siren.

- “Please, do sit down Mrs. Lynch.”

- “Thank you my Lord.”

- “I am afraid your belongings will not arrive before a day or two. I will have the maid prepare some of my wife’s gowns for you, hoping they will please you,” he said awkwardly.

- “Your lordship is very kind. I do not wish to trouble you more than necessary and pray that my own gowns will be promptly delivered,” she answered, soothing him the best way she knew.

Lord Strandberg adjusted his chair while straightening up; he cleared his throat as if trying to escape the grip of his visitor’s charms. He finally spoke:

- “As for your employment, needless to say that it would already be secured, had it only been up to me. However, we need the decisive approval of Lady Strandberg; as I am sure, you well-understand my dear madam. My good words about you will assure the durability of your position.”

- “I thank you kindly my Lord. On the subject of my employment, how old will be my charge?”

- “My son, Winston, is still a baby of a few months,” he answered and then continued without looking at Mrs. Lynch – probably afraid of becoming even more bewitched. “Lady Strandberg fell ill after the birth and we had to go away for a little while. We were recommended a nanny who, unfortunately, could not leave her home, due to the illness of her own mother. We therefore travelled there to give Lady Strandberg the help she needed to recover.”

- “Has Lady Strandberg recovered enough to be allowed to travel back so soon?” she enquired far too hastily.

- “I am afraid not, but she has expressed the wish to come back and I will have no peace until I grant her what she wants,” he answered without noticing that Mrs. Lynch knew more about the situation than he had himself told her. She felt relieved and smiled.

- “I see. You are a very good husband to her Ladyship and I am looking forward to making her acquaintance as well as Master Winston’s,” replied Mrs. Lynch.

- “Thank you. That is most generous of you to say.”

They had not talked once as employer to employee; they had talked as equals from the start and Lord Strandberg would not realize what was happening until many years later.

Her first night in the castle was busier than the previous one she had had in its vicinity. Indeed, she had decided to find out what the letter from the shadow woman, was about. She did not have any difficulties finding the room again and entered as quietly as possible, but it was futile since no one was there. She went straight to the bed table and as she expected, the letter had been removed. She searched the bedroom and finally found it, in a jewellery box. She left for the kitchen where she opened the letter like a very well trained thief; she read it and felt so much satisfaction that she laughed. She closed the letter again, went back to the room – which she understood was Lady Strandberg’s – and put back the letter from where she had taken it. She had now all that she needed to execute the rest of her plan.

♣ ♣ ♣

[To be continued]

1.1. Strandberg Park


Strandberg Park used to be one of these estates that provoked the admiration of anyone sensible enough to recognize both its grandeur and nobility above all other estates in Lost England. It was more than just a house or a manor; it was a castle built during the first half of the 17th century and given as a reward to Lord Strandberg’s ancestors for rendered services to the King. Far up in the land, it stood proud and facing the even older church. Depending on where one came from, one could not say which one overlooked the other. Strandberg castle was very elegant with its white walls and its black tiles. Set on a large squared base with a dome tower in each corner, the castle’s architecture reflected perfectly the Baroque culture of its creators. The church had also its own elegance and even so, considering that it was the last remains of a monastery tore down during the civil war. Made of red stones, it often shone like gold in the late summer’s sunlight.

Every year in the hot season, almost as if it was a traditional way to celebrate its beauty, Strandberg Park received the visit of numerous envious and rather curious families whom, guided by the housekeeper, would roam the halls and rooms of the castle while the masters were away. Once one had seen all that could be under the roof, one could walk about the grounds and become impressed by the beautiful gardens entwined with the wilderness: silent and ever watchful guardian against intruders. Strandberg church, however, remained out of bound.

Indeed, Lady Strandberg forbade anyone to set foot in it unless she was present. She was without a doubt hiding something, either scandalous or precious.

At eighteen years of age, her arrange marriage to Lord Haaron Strandberg was not deprived of love and at six and twenty, his lordship had grown very fond of her despite their age difference; a few days after the wedding, Lady Grace Strandberg had to bury her parents who had been poisoned by an intruder. The culprit was never found. As a result, she had to care for both her younger sisters Gladys and Abigail Hamilton.

While Abigail was a sweet girl, easy to content and devoted to her sisters, Gladys grew wild and asocial. She hid from all company but Grace’s. Ultimately, Lord Strandberg requested her institutionalization to which Lady Strandberg pretended to agree; in secret, however, and with the help of her faithful steward – Benjamin Middleton – she hid away her sister and saw to it that no one would disturb her in her sanctuary.

In order to please the hysteria of his young wife, demanding her own private church, Lord Strandberg had to have another church built outside the main estate for the parishioners. Such extravagance was of course very controversial at a time when, in a neighboring country, a people’s uprising had become inevitable; yet, the matter was tolerated and generally accepted by the parish because Lady Strandberg was of good breed and very well liked by all.

Be that as it may, all started – and ultimately would end – here, since it was during such a visit of the castle, that Lord Strandberg – two years into his marriage – made the unfortunate, yet unavoidable mistake of coming home alone. It happened in such a manner that nobody could ever have predicted the events of the following days.

Lord Strandberg received a telegram by express in which his tenant explained how a large parcel of the year’s crop had burnt during the night. Everybody was at a loss to what had caused the fire and Lord Strandberg was urged to come directly.

As he rode towards the castle, his Lordship looked horrified at the sight of the blackened field; he had not thought it to be that bad and was sure that the fields were safe. He, however, misjudged the gravity of the situation and felt a hole widening in his heart; had he not been a man of honor and great restraint, he would surely have wept.

At the main entrance, on top of the stairs in front of the ebony doors stood the tenant, the housekeeper and a woman whom he did not recognize. They all curtsied as he approached them, unaware that from the shadowy walls of the church, a tiny woman cloaked in a dark green petticoat was spying on them. Indeed, had they looked in her direction, they would have only seen her dark brown eyes: reddened by anger and filled with savage rage. None of them would have known her but for Lord Strandberg, for her name was Gladys: one of Lady Strandberg’s sisters.

- “Welcome my Lord!” said the tenant.” I hope your lordship had a safe and pleasant journey under the circumstances.”

- “I am here, am I not; but I confess I had no idea the damages were that severe, tenant”, answered Lord Strandberg without looking at his man. “Has anyone been apprehended yet?”

- “I am afraid not, my Lord,” replied the tenant, who was anxious for the conversation to end.

- “Has any constable come yet to enquire about the damages?” asked Lord Strandberg letting his irritation flow.

- “Nobody has come, my Lord.”

Lord Strandberg had grown to the limit of his restraint and turned on the spot restlessly looking furiously around until his eyes rested upon the slightly oval face of the unknown – assumed – Lady. She had a thin mouth of a light pink shade and her countenance was inviting. She smiled at him, but did not speak. He took a few steps towards her but changed his mind and turning to the housekeeper:

- “Who is she?” he asked pointing at the Lady with an obvious annoyed look for no one had bothered introducing the newcomer to him.

From her hiding place, Gladys was staring intensely at the woman and mumbled for herself:

- “Murderer! Your filthy flames killed my friend.” Indeed, Gladys had found her little yellow dog dead in the fields early in the morning, charred like the crops.

- “I beg your pardon, my Lord,” said the housekeeper; “This is Mrs Lynch, my Lord. She has come to visit Strandberg Park as it traditionally occurs every summer. She expressed the wish to meet with your Lordship to recommend herself about the position of governess.”

- “How does she know of our need?” he asked without looking at Mrs Lynch.

- “Mrs Lynch has overheard a conversation I had with the maid, my Lord.”

- “So, you are here to look after my son,” he finally said haughtily turning to her.

- “I am, if it pleases you my Lord,” said Mrs Lynch as she curtsied again; staring at her feet she secretly smiled.

- “Very well! Come to my study in about an hour, I shall explain the details of your employment then. In the meantime, Mrs Tenant, you will show Mrs Lynch to her quarters.” The housekeeper acknowledged her task with bow.

- “Tenant! Show me the crops we have left!”

♣ ♣ ♣

[To be continued]