Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Before I Could Write – Part 11

Today’s instalment of ‘Before I Could Write’ comes from when I was sixteen, which was probably around the time I started writing all the time.

Oh let’s just get this over with.

Me at sixteen.


This mist swirled in ever decreasing rings, till the coachman could no longer see his fingers gripping the reins.  The coach rattled on, now relying only on the two jet horses to guide it safely.

The coach turned off the main road, disappointing many a highway robber lurking by the roadside ready to stop such grand coaches, on to a twisting mud track, not used for many a year.  The track led to an old village, shunned from the world 17 years before as a confidante to the devil, after three young girls were burnt alive for stealing.  The items were never named and proof was never given, suspicion hung over the case and the world shut its doors on Ravensnow village.

Ebony and Ivory, two girls from Ravensnow were celebrating their 17th birthdays.  This was the year when they would wed.

Ivory was born one day before the burnings, she had blonde hair, blue eyes, pale skin, a sign of the purity of Ravensnow.  Ebony was born one day after the burnings, she had black hair, brown eyes, dark skin, a sign of the wickedness the village had adopted.  So the world had labelled them.

Ebony was long suffering from being branded in such a way but never spoke of it, she was brave to face the names she didn’t deserve.  She was generous, helpful, fair and SO humble about it all.  Ivory was hardly any of those but was given the reputation of a saint and through all this she ENVIED Ebony.  Ebony deserved so much more than Ivory but it was Ivory who got it.  Ebony must have known that but she never complained.  To be so content was what Ivory envied.

There was a mysterious person at the celebration.  No one knew who he was, he had come in a coach that had just appeared from the mist and had said but three words.  “Is this Ravensnow?”

Although there was nothing to suggest it, he was a villain.  Anyone who came to Ravensnow had left something sinister behind them.  This had become the villagers’ opinion over the last 17 years.

Even in the dull night air he seemed shrouded in darkness.  The mayor reported to Ivory and Ebony, this man seemed impenetrable – almost without any feelings, but obviously wealthy.

The two girls could see he was attractive.  They knew the mayor’s opinion to be often flawed so moved to greet this stranger.  He turned and conversed with them.  He was charming.

Many a person had fooled the people in this village.  A thin layer of grace and pleasantness spread over their true character trapped the naive villagers, but Ebony and Ivory were never fooled.  Ebony’s purity didn’t allow her to be suspicious of people, but if they were good she knew and if they were bad she could tell.  Ivory could see through such pretence because she kept it up herself.  So both knew this man was simply seeking a wife and willing to give anyone a chance – even an ill omened village.

Ivory felt suddenly proud of her saintly status.  She spent the evening saying how she wished she had so many things, often getting angry and being exceedingly lazy.  Ebony was nothing but virtuous.  The gentleman chose his wife.

Three days later the mist lifted and the coach set off.

Ebony sat helping a young girl with her breakfast, pure as ever.

The coach turned off the mud track on to the main road.

Ivory was peaceful.  For the first time, she was no longer envious of Ebony.  The life in heaven Ebony had earned would be everlasting, the love Ivory had got was too.

Rain began to fall, washing away the hoof prints and wheel tracks, leaving no trace of the coach and its passenger that had passed a few minutes before.

Make me STOP.

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