Author: nerdify PM
A busy street, a speeding car, an elderly lady trying to cross, an angel, a young girl with a lollipop, and a young business woman. How do they all fit in?Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Sci-Fi/Supernatural - Words: 1,073 - Reviews: 1 - Published: 12-01-10 - Status: Complete - id: 2869487
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
AN: Another story for class.
Challenge #4: A busy street—a speeding car—an elderly lady trying to cross—an angel—a young girl with a lollipop—a young business woman
It was in the long, winding street of Port Hambley Road that strange things often took place. People that lived in the said street mostly kept to themselves, barely acknowledging each other, and giving out only low greetings of hellos and good mornings, if any greeting at all. The citizens worked independently, and regarded it a felony to ask help from one another should the time come that they needed it.
It therefore came as a surprise when one rainy night, a knock was heard over the pounding of rain, and Matilda Graunt opened the door to reveal a poor, middle-aged woman in wet, tattered clothes, standing there with a bundle of blankets in her frail-looking arms.
"Please…" she whispered pleadingly. "Take the child, I beg of you. I care not about my own health. Throw me out and leave me in the storm, I care not, I care not!—but you must take the child, please…"
Matilda eyed the woman warily and her eyes drifted down to the blankets in her arms and saw that it was indeed, moving rhythmically as though breathing. She leaned closer and saw the peaceful face of a sleeping baby.
Perhaps out of sympathy and pity at the wretched state of the woman before her, she held out her arms and as soon as the blankets touched her skin, the baby began to stir and was soon crooning and bawling as though it knew it were being given away.
Matilda lifted her eyes from the child and opened her mouth to tell the woman that she, too, would be welcome to stay at least until the storm passes, but was met instead by an empty street.
Seven years passed and the woman had not returned. Matilda, together with her grandmother with whom she'd lived, were obligated to raise the little girl, calling her Demelza and giving her proper care and education.
On one fine Saturday morning, Demelza strolled around Port Hambley Road, sucking happily on a pink bubblegum lollipop, looking at the windows of the small shops that lined the streets, and gazing wonderingly at the people who bustled about, each trying to maintain their punctuality at their respective work places.
Halfway through crossing the street, something to her left caught her eye that made her stop and cause the lollipop to fall through her fingers. Through the glass windows of a shabby pub called Donny's Diner, a woman sat in one of the booths, staring straight at her. But as soon as their gazes locked, the woman looked away.
Demelza shrugged and as soon as she bent down to pick up her fallen lollipop, about a hundred things seemed to happen at once. There was a loud honk, the sound of a speeding car's tires skidding along the road as it swerved, a scream, and there was silence.
When she was brought home later that afternoon, physically unscathed but emotionally thus, it was to hear news from her surrogate sister, Matilda, that said their grandmother had been killed by a speeding car as she tried to cross the road. Demelza, horrified, already knew about this, of course. She had been there when it happened. In fact, she might have had been the reason why it happened. If she hadn't been so distracted, if she'd only stayed off the middle of the road, maybe then the car would not have had to lose control trying to avoid her and ending up hitting their grandmother instead.
Needless to say, the guilt was unbearable.
Several years passed and Demelza had long graduated high school, took a degree in Business in college, got her own car, ended up adopting a little girl—she and Matilda agreed to name her Giselle—that someone had left to their care, and was able to replace Matilda as the matron in the house, as Matilda was already in her old age now.
It was a Saturday, Demelza had woken up late and was rushing to work, shoving papers and folders haphazardly into her bag and throwing herself into her car before zooming down the road, a piece of toast still dangling from her mouth.
And then it happened. Right in front of her—in her car that was going about a hundred miles per hour—a child bent down to pick something up, and, panicking, she turned the steering wheel as sharply as she could, and she found her path blocked by an elderly woman. But it was too late. Before she had the time to think, she crashed.
She did not know who it was that she had hit, she could only hope that whoever it was was all right. But things took a depressing turn as the hospital told her of another crash, this time with Matilda as the victim. Matilda was too old to survive, and had therefore died as soon as she was hit. As soon as the doctors gave her permission to go, she rushed home, taking the bus—her car had been totaled in the crash.
She told Giselle what had happened the minute she entered the house, and thought Giselle looked more disturbed than she had expected her to. But she didn't ask further and instead sent her to bed.
Several more years later found Demelza old, weak, and frail, emerging from the Port Hambley Road grocery store, a bag of shopping in one hand and a crate of eggs in the other. But before she could even set one foot across the road, she felt the bag and eggs fly out of her arms, and everything went black.
Somewhere, she did not know where, perhaps in her dreams, or somewhere deep—very deep—in her mind, she saw the familiar face of the woman who stared at her all those years ago through the glass windows of Donny's Diner, and the same face who brought her the child Giselle that one rainy night—the face of an angel. The woman smiled, and in a soft, tender voice, said,
"Tears in life, curiosity in youth, peace in death; you, the witness, the cause, and the victim—my timekeeper."