All in one night
A/N - I wrote this story randomly one day when I was just sitting in a class. The amazing thing about this story is that I actually finished it. It is also original because its the only story I have ever written that has a female for a main character. The place where the action takes place doesn't exist...it is all made up in my mind.
I don't know how to explain what when on that night. It was a night of horror that engulfed my whole family, and ultimately my whole life. I was woken up that night by noises that sounded like they came from outside the window. I got up to try and figure out what it was When I looked outside, at first I saw nothing. I went out into my balcony and looked across the town to try and see what it was. I still saw nothing, and then all of a sudden I saw a light in the distance. I realized that it was the light of a fire. The town was on fire. This could only mean one thing; the people were revolting. I quickly went into the room to wake up my husband.
"Quick, Darling, wake up!" I said shaking him.
" What, what? " he answered yawning.
"Come, look!" I replied dragging him to the window. When he saw the fire, he gasped. " Does this mean what I think it means? I asked looking into his eyes.
"Yes, I think it does" he answered softly.
"What should we do?" I asked frightfully.
"Nothing, what is there for us to do. I tried to do all I could to keep the people calm, but once they started rioting, there is nothing." Right then there was a knock on the door and my maid came running in with my two children who were half-awake behind here.
"Monsieur! Madame! The carriage is downstairs, we must go now if we want to get away before the rioters come to the house" My husband turned to me, and took my face in his hands.
"You must go without me. Take our children and get out of the city. If they find all of us gone, they will come after us, and all of your lives will be in danger. I am all they want."
"No" I whispered, I could feel the tears starting to come.
"Yes, you know it's the only way. Now go!" He kissed me one last time, and pushed me towards the door. I picked up my son, and took the hand of my daughter then looked back to my husband for one more time. I couldn't believe that he would give himself up just like that. I walked, like in a trance to the carriage. I stepped in, placing my children beside me. They were all I had left of my loving husband. It was then when my children finally realized that their father wasn't coming with us. My son started to cry, and my daughter tugged on my skirt and said,
"Mama, where are we going? Where is Papa? Isn't he coming?" I looked over at my beautiful young child.
"We are going on a little journey to your grandmothers house. Papa is staying in town to look after your puppies." I told her calmly. " Now you must try to go to sleep. When you wake up, everything will be all right." She looked up at me, then quietly placed her head on my lap and fell asleep. We drove through the town, getting out as fast as we could. Luckily we were not stopped by anyone, so that in less then an hour we were in the country.
The sun was rising by the time we reached my childhood home. My parents came running out to meet the carriage. "Emily!" My father cried out when he opened the door. "We were so worried. A messenger came and just told us what happened in the city, and we didn't know if you got out safely."
"Yes, Papa" I replied, giving him a quick welcoming kiss on the check. "The children and I got out of the city without any trouble." By this time my daughter had woken up and my son was yawning. I stepped out of the carriage carrying him with my daughter in pursuit.
"Come," My mother motioned towards the house. "The children look terrible." They walked towards the house, and we followed. After the children were in their beds, I just sat down in the chair in their room, not wanting to talk or be with anyone. I just watching my children sleep. It was amazing how much they looked like just like their father, his eyes, his hair. I don't know what I would have done if they weren't with me. It was going to be hard anyway, and they were the only ones that kept me going. Then again, if it wasn't for them I could have stayed with my husband, and we could have met our fate together. We could have died together, because I knew that is what they would have done to him when they reached our house. We had only been married for five years, since I was eighteen, but I still didn't feel whole without him. I just fell asleep, more depressed then I have ever been in my whole life.
The next couple of weeks were worse then ever. I was in too much of a desperation to do anything. I didn't eat, didn't get up, and didn't talk to anyone. My children tried to get me to do things with the, but I just told them to go away and play with their grandmother. I know that it wasn't healthy, but at that time I didn't care. I really scared my children, but what was the point. I didn't think things could get any worse, but I was wrong, very wrong.
It was almost a month later when the people's revolution finally reached my parent's town. I was wrong in thinking coming here would be safe. I should have just taken my children and left the country or something. It was night, just like the last time the revolt started. I was woken by the cries of my children. My son was wailing from his crib and my daughter was huddled in her sheets crying for her papa. Even though he had been gone for a month, she was still convinced that he was going to return. At least he kept up hope. When I heard her crying I automatically jumped up to try to comfort her. She buried her face in my skirt, saying something illegible.
"What is it darling?" I asked her. She looked up at me.
"The fire, the fire " she whispered. I looked over at the windows to see what she was talking about, and there was that exact sight I have seen that dreadful night a month ago. I had to go warn my parents, I told myself.
"It's OK," I told my child trying to act calm. "Mama needs to go check on something." Right then I heard some noise in the hall, and I knew it wasn't safe to leave them alone in the room. I motioned for my daughter to quickly get into my closet, then picked up my son and placed him on her lap. "Be as quit as possible, and I'll be right back" I closed the door and went into the hall to find someone to get help. I walked around and could not find a soul. When was everyone? Then all of a sudden a panicked thought ran through my head. NO, not again! Please, not again. I ran as fast as I could to my parent's room. When I got there I realized that my worse fears had come true. They looked all right, but felt something was wrong, horrible, horrible wrong. They were lying in bed, and from far away they looked ok, but looks can be deceiving. I called out to then, trying to get them to wake up. When I got no response I walked forward. When I got to the bedside I noticed that the carpet felt a little wet to my bare feet. What the. ? I bent down to check what it was. As I picked up my hand and brought it toward me I noticed that it wasn't clear like I expected, but red and sticky. Blood! Oh my god, it cannot be. I looked closer at my parents and could see the red spot that had formed on their pillow. I started to choke. Without looking back I ran as fast as I could out of the room, and quickly ran to the part of the house where my children were. As I was turned the corner to where my room was, I saw my door open, and I quickly ducked behind the wall before they saw me. I heard some voices, then footsteps going the other way. When they were gone I ran as fast as I could to my room. Inside was in shambles, but luckily the closet door was still closed. I went to open the door, and prayed that they were still in there. I opened the closet door, and panicked when I couldn't see them. "Anna" I called out.
"Mama" I heard her voice from inside some of the clothes. Then I saw the coat part and she ran straight into my arms."Mama, I was so scared they would find us," She said crying.
"It's going to be all right now. Now can you do me another favor and get some clothes together. We need to get out of here."
"Mama, don't leave me again." She sobbed, not letting go of my skirt.
"Don't worry Anna, I won't leave the room. Ok "
"Ok" she said, finally letting go of me. She went to get some clothes, while I picked up little Charlie, who thank god was still asleep. Then grabbing the bag that Anna had packed and ran with both of them out of the house as fast as I could. The only thing on my mind was getting my children and myself out of this house alive. I didn't stop till I was in the woods behind our gardens. I turned around just as the house burst into flames. I couldn't believe it. If my daughter had not woken me up I would have been in there. Now my children were really all I had. I had no money, no family, no clothes, no house, nothing. All we had were what was in the bag, a blanket around Charlie, and Anna's teddy bear. That certainly wasn't going to last us very long. The only thing we had that was worth any money was my wedding ring, and I wasn't about to give that up.
The next morning, with my children in tow I wandered back to where the house used to sit. I found nothing except for some coins, which I put in my pocket. Everything else was charred to a crisp. One day everything was almost perfect, and then the next, POOF everything was gone. All my history was gone with the wind. The only thing left was to leave, but where could I go? I could go to my hometown, which was the closest city, but I didn't want to go there. Too many memories, and too many connections to the past. It was better to wipe the slate clean, especially in the situation I was in. The next choice was the capital city. It was only two days walk, and I had enough money to get food till we were there. When I got there I might be able to find a job. I had some sewing skills that might be able to help me.
I was wrong and it took us about three days to get into the city. It was a very difficult journey, traveling with two children, one of them who could barley walk, and the other who got tired really quickly. When I got to the city it was night, and we had no where to go. The riot in the capital city was basically over, so we had no problem getting in. Thank god, considering we had no papers. When we arrived I used some of what little money we had to get a room at a local inn. It wasn't a very nice inn, but it was cheep and we were tired. The next day I left the children in the room and went out to look for some work. I walked around all day looking for some place that would hire me for work. It was hard enough in these times for a man to find employment, but it was even harder for a singe mother with no skills to also.
After searching and searching for days and days till my small fortune was almost gone, I finally found a wealthy family that would hire me as their servant. They told me that their last one ran off with her husband during the revolution. It was hard being a servant, after having some, but I got used to it. I was glad to have some income to feed my family, but the horrific part was that I knew of this family. Her husband and my husband were good friends in college. Of course, out of all the people in the city I would have gotten hired by, it had to be them. Maybe he actually knew who I was, or maybe it was just coincidence. Listening to their conversations I found out that I wasn't the only family that tragedy struck, but unlike us most of them got out early, or got killed. At least I was lucky to be alive. It seemed like in some of the city's got out of control, like mine, but others were quieted before they did any damage, like the capital. This family was one of the fortunate ones, in the way that they were not targeted by the mob like mine was.
It was five long years later and we were struggling to survive. The revolution had finally ended and there was peace within our country between the government and the people. Charlie was now six and Anna was twelve. I had never gotten remarried because I didn't want to suffer like that again. I knew, in my heart, I could never love another man no matter how I tried. After losing my husband so suddenly, I could never give myself to another man. I still had my job as a servant, and now Anna helped out. I made enough to provide for my children, and that all I needed to do. It was that winter when things started to look really bad. At that time I was barely making enough to put food on the table because of rising prices, and then with the cold winter approaching we had to get coal for the stove, and also Anna was growing so fast that it was practically impossible to keep her dressed properly. It was like all the horrible things that could happen did, and all at once. I needed a miracle, and I needed it fast. Luckily I got one, but it certainly wasn't in the form that I expected.
It was snowing outside I was coming back from the market, and I was in a hurry to return to serve dinner to the people who I work for. The slush was really deep, and my boots had holes in them. I had only a thin coat on, and I was freezing cold because of the wind. I wasn't paying attention, trying to keep warm by thinking about that winter six years ago we spent in our mountain cottage. Our whole family huddled around the fire, falling asleep together. I wasn't watching were I was going, and all of a sudden I ran right into a man who was getting out of a carriage that had stopped at the side of the road. I slipped and fell; spilling my packages and getting soaking wet.
"Oh, I'm sorry!" he cried, leaning down to help me.
"It's all right, I should have been watching were I was going." I mumbled, picking up the rest of my packages. He stood up and it was then our eyes met. I dropped all my packages again in shock. I knew those eyes; I recognized them from somewhere. Maybe, just maybe, no it can't be. I was sure my husband was killed those six years ago. He can't be alive, can he? Anyway, this man didn't look anything like him. My husband was tall, and his face had always been smooth and beautiful. This man was bent over and had a cane. He also had a beard that covered most of his face. The only thing you could see was his eyes oh his eyes. I tried to push the idea out of my head, but it kept returning. It was crazy, impossible, right? Could he really still be alive? When our eyes met, he looked at me the same way. I had to get out of there before I did anything stupid. I picked up my packages as fast as I could, said a quick thank you, and turned and ran. I hurried back to my employer's house. I was as late as it was, and I didn't want to think about what I just saw. I didn't even notice that he was following me. I ran into the kitchen, then after getting a lecture from the cook for being late, hurried into the dinning room to serve them dinner. I walked into the room and sitting there with them was the same man who I had met on the street. I almost dropped the tray I was holding, but caught it right in time.
"Emily, are you ok?" The countess asked me.
"I'm fine ma'am. I didn't know we had visitors. I'll get another plate from the kitchen." I placed the tray down and rushed out of the room before anyone could say anything. I stopped at the first chair I saw, sat down, and put my head between my legs. Ok, I told myself. I have to get control of myself. For all I knew this was just some random friend of theirs. I just had to act like nothing was wrong. I pulled myself together and went and told the cook that there was another visitor for dinner. She wasn't too happy, but got a plate together for me. I brought it out and placed in front of the visitor then hurried out. I knew that if I stayed in that room any longer I would do something stupid, and I couldn't afford that. After the dinner was over I went back into the dining room to clean up. They were already gone except for the visitor when I came in.
"I'm sorry sir, I didn't know you were still in here. I'll come back later." I said when I saw him in there.
"No, no, that's really ok, I was about to leave anyway." He started to get up. Right as he stood up our eyes met again. "No, I can't be. Do I know you from somewhere?"
"No, I don't believe so." I started to pick up the plates as fast as I could without looking at him.
"Here, let me help you" he started to place the wineglasses on a tray. "I could have swore you were someone I knew," he said as he worked. "You look exactly like my wife, but I haven't seen her in six years." I didn't know what to say. "Actually that is why I am here now, to see if anyone knows where she is? I don't even know if she is still alive." He kept on working and didn't even notice that I had stopped and was staring at him. He finally stopped talking.
"Oh my God Charles" I whispered emotionally.
"What, how did you know my name?" He turned and looked at me.
"I've got to go" I turned and went straight for the door. I was halfway to the door when I heard my name being called. I stopped dead in my tracks and turned around. The visitor was calling my name.
"Emily, wait, don't go" He whispered, "Emily, is it you? Is it really you?"
"Charles?" I whispered, to make sure.
"Emily, Oh Emily!" he grabbed me in my arms. "I thought you and the children had disappeared"
"Oh my God, Oh my God!" I cried over and over. "I thought you had been killed." I couldn't believe it was actually him. Of all the people I ran into that day, the last person I would ever thought would have been him. He finally put me down.
"Come, I'll take you back to my hotel."
" I can't, I have to finish up here first."
" Forget here, now that we are together, you'll never have to work again. I'll go tell them I am stealing their servant and we will be off. Come, let's go." He grabbed my hand and pulled me with him to the other room.
"Ahh Lord Charles, how nice of you to join us." The countess said when we entered. "Emily," she said when she saw me, "What are you doing here, have you finished with the dinner room yet."
"That Elaine is what I have been wanting to talk to you about." Charles said. " I have come to take your lovely servant Emily away from you."
"What, Emily. Is this true? Are you planing to leave us after all we have done for you."
"Madame, you don't understand." I started to say.
"What do want Emily, a raise" Count Peter said. "So Charles, what are you giving her that we can't"
"Marriage," Charles responded. They both looked over in complete shock.
"What? Are you saying that you are going to marry her?" The Countess said in shock.
"No, Elaine, of course not. Do you think that I would just go up and marry one of your random servants when I am already married. I'm saying that we are already married." Both of them almost fell down in sock again.
"WHAT? Are you saying that you are married to our servant?" Both of said at the same time.
"Charles, you must be mistaken. Prison must have effected you more then you think." The count replied to that statement. "There is no way that this servant could be your wife. I've seen your wife."
"Peter, you saw my wife at our wedding. That was over ten years ago. I think I would know my own wife even if we were separated for twenty years." He took my hand and pulled me close.
"Emily" The countess turned to me, "I knew you were naive, but has he really pulled you into all this too. I thought you told me that your husband was innocently killed in the revolution. That was why I let the children live with you." At the mention of the children I saw my husbands face light up.
"Anna and Little Charlie, they are still alive?" He whispered to me. At the mention of their names all doubt in my mind that he was not my real Charles vanished. It felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders and all my troubles had floated away. It was the happiest moment of my life, almost surpassing my wedding day. The joy of my wedding was that unlike some of the others of my acquaintances, in which their parents prearranged them. I got to marry the man that I actually loved. My parents approved, and we were happily and joyfully in love with each other. Everything was soI couldn't take it all anymore and all of a sudden things started to spin and I fainted. The last thing I remembered was someone calling out my name.
I didn't know how long I was out, but when I woke up I was in my room in the servants quarters. The first thing I thought was that it was only a dream, nothing but a dream. I opened my eyes to see Anna looking over me.
"Mama," she said as she saw me opening my eyes. "You are awake!" you could hear some excitement in her voice.
"What happened?" I asked, starting to sit up. I almost made it, but had to lay back down because my head hurt something awful.
"You blacked out Emily, darling." I heard a male voice say from the other side of me say. "You hit your head on the table." I was confused for a second, but then I turned my head to the side and saw my husband sitting beside me.
"So it wasn't a dream after all."
"Why would think it was a dream, did you doubt that I would come back to you?"
"I had thought you had died."
"You think I would have let them kill me, not when you were still out there." He kissed me on my forehead. I turned to Anna,
"Anna, darling. Where is your brother?"
"I don't know, Mama. I think he is in the kitchen."
"Can you go and find him?"
"Yes, Mama." She jumped up and hurried out the door. We were alone.
"How do you feel?" he asked kissing me again.
"I feel a lot better now."
"I've talked to Elaine and Peter and they have agreed to let me have you as soon as you feel up to moving."
"But Charles, where shall we go? What shall we do?"
"Where shall we go, back to my hotel. As soon as the children get back, we shall go back to my hotel and then go on from there. I sent a letter to my sister telling her as soon as I found you I was coming back to her home."
"But what about money, our house was destroyed?"
"You leave that to me, I have everything under control." He said, giving me another kiss on the forehead. "Come lets get you packed." I started to stand up, but he motioned for me to stay on the bed, and he started opening up my closet and putting the little clothes I had for the children and myself in a bag. As he was packing he told me his story. Instead of killing them like the rioted wanted, our gardener Niles convinced them to spare his life. Instead he was held prisoner for the last five years in the tower at the capital city. I had passed right by him every morning and I didn't even know. It was only when our country got a new government was he finally released, two days ago. If we had not run into each other then I probably would have never know he was still alive. By the time he was finished packing, he was finished with his story and by this time I had gotten settled and was able to stand up off the bed. Right then I heard a quick knock on the door and both Anna and little Charlie came into the room. As soon as my son saw a strange man in the room, he quickly hid behind Anna's legs.
"Charlie, come here" I said, bending down to his level. He quickly came running over to me and I picked him up, even though he was a little too old for this type of thing. What could I say to him, here is your father, the one that I told you was dead. He kept on looking over at Charles, then hiding his face back in my shirt.
"So this is little Charlie, wow he sure has grown." Charles said, breaking the silence. Charlie looked up at me confused, and just hung unto me even tighter.
"Charlie" I said, "This is your father."
"But you said he was dead?" he whispered to me.
"I know, but I was mistaken. It doesn't matter anymore."
"It doesn't" my husband continued. "And now that we are together, nothing matters anymore. The carriage is waiting. What do you children want to eat for dinner." At the mention of food both Anna and Charlie's eyes lit up. Because of all the trouble this year we had never had enough food. The last meal we had was yesterday dinner. Anna can remember what it was like before, but Charlie was so young he never knew what it was like to not be hungry. "Come, let's go." He picked up our bag and I took Anna's hand and followed him out of that god-awful room. We walked through the servants quarters and out to the front hallway of the house. The count and countess were standing at the open door and I could see a carriage waiting out front. The countess spoke as we came up to the door.
"Emily" she said, "Are you sure you are doing the right thing. After all we have done for you."
"I appreciate all that you have done for me countess, and I do hope that you understand."
"Charles, I can't believe you are taking our best Servant away from us?" Count Peter said.
"Peter, do you not understand." Charles responded, talking my free hand in his and taking Anna's hand in his other. "This isn't just some servant, this is my family. I do thank you for the lovely dinner, and so we best be going."
"Yes, I understand. Now Charles, next time you are in the capital, you must come and visit us again. We so do adore your company."
"If I am in the Capital again Elaine, I will do so. But I somehow feel that won't be for a very long time." He turned to me. "Come my lady, our carriage awaits. " I stepped out the door and into the carriage, followed by my whole entire family, leaving this part of my life forever hopefully never to return.
I never did return to that place. After we had gotten suitable attire for my children and myself we took a carriage out of the country, never planning to return. We went to Charles sister's home in the country over, and stayed there till he could get all our affairs in order. Charles had been smart, and right before the riot had occurred he sent all our money and valuables to a bank in the city where his sister lived, so it had been safe. I have never been this happy in all my life