Mark of the Shadow Part 5: A New Home
Miss the beginning? Start with part 1.
When I woke I felt the comforts of a nice bed, sheets and a decent enough pillow under my head. Despite my confusion I laid in bed an hour or so, not asleep, just to enjoy the sensation once again. I’d been in my own bed less than a week ago. Why did it feel like so much longer?
The room I was in looked new. It was a small room, with wooden walls and not much else. Nice and plain. If I turned my head a bit, I could see that the on the right side of the bed there stood a small table, about bed height. It held a extinguished candle, still smoking. There were no windows in the room, giving me no indication if it was night or day.
Just bout the time I’d decided to give in, and get out of bed, a man walked in. He was stocky, had a receding hairline and dressed like everyone else on the frontier: rough. In his hands he carried a wooden tray, upon which stood a cup of tea, a slab of cheese and a quarter loaf of bread. Looked to be just out of the oven from the steam steadily rising from it.
The man had a warm smile, and his eyes reminded me of someone, though I couldn’t quite place it. He allowed me to squirm my way upright then placed the tray on my lap.
He stood over me uneasy like as he talked, “Miss Louise, I’m your Uncle Carlson. A man dropped you off here a few days ago, saying you were sick. I felt obliged to believe him since you looked like you’d been round to see the devil,” he checked my face once over with his eyes before returning them to his hands. I began eating, for the sight of food had raised in me an insatiable hunger. The cheese was soft, and delicious, the bread warm and hearty.
“But you slept through the last few days and here you are…” he looked up again worriedly. “New as the sun in the morning.”
I looked up at my Uncle, he looked frightened. Rolph probably told him naught but lies. “Did the man that brought me here say anything else?” I asked though I knew chances were slim.
“Just to keep a close watch on ya. Tell me Anne, how’d you get mixed up with a ruffian like him?”
“I don’t know Uncle. Truly I don’t.”
My uncle told me he was going in to town, and insisted on my staying back at his place. I didn’t want to be left alone, but he wouldn’t have me. Said I was still regaining his strength, but if I knew any better I’d say there was some other reason he didn’t want me comin with. I decided to take the opportunity to look around his place. What I was looking for, who could say.
His house was small. He had a kitchen, two rooms including the one I’d slept in, and a storage room outside the house bout a skip and a jump away. Looks like I’d been sleepin in his only bed. Hadn’t he been expectin me? Maybe he just couldn’t afford two. The other room served as a sort of mishmash room of tools, a few books, a pile of blankets where he slept and a writing desk. I wondered how Uncle had learned to write, daddy said neither of um went to school.
In the kitchen I found the rest of the loaf of bread I’d been eating, which I finished off, and a crude stove. Nothing like we had back east.
He had a porch too. Sat slightly above the ground, and lead its way down to the fields of wheat that was growing all through my uncle’s land. I cut through the crop, and made my way to the shed.
Inside the shed it was dark, with the only light coming from the door behind me. Tools hung from the low, maybe 5 foot ceiling. The shed was long, maybe 40 feet. I found bags, and bags of wheat from previous harvests. Empty bags, full bags. Rat infested bags. I also found a gun, mounted on the wall in the back. A large rifle. Looked old, like one of them ones that had to be reloaded after each shot with a stick. Same kind Daddy had back home. Not that he ever used it. Daddy’d said he never wanted to use it… now he’s in the war. He don’t have to use it, for the guns he’ll be using are much more terrible.
It was dark at the end of the shed. My vision flickered and contorted. I stumbled trying to regain my balance. What light I could still see magnified, and it burned me. I could feel my face burning like the night the shadows came, but this was different.
It was me.
I could feel it, something inside of me screamed to get out. And I wanted to help it get there. Trouble was I didn’t know how. The world seemed to get brighter and brighter, everything moved at a faster pace. I heard a pop, something was coming out. Bursting its way through my face, and thats when I knew it wasn’t trying to get out. It wanted to stay in. It was trying to push me out. I crawled on my hands and knees towards the opening of the shed. The light became almost unbearable. Closing my eyes, I could still see, nothing stopped it. Flesh, burning away. Why was I always alone. Where was Daddy when I needed him most.
Not here, I thought as I dragged myself into the sun’s light outside. I’d succeeded. I’d beat the darkness inside of me this time. I could feel it receding, it couldn’t finish me out here. But I wasn’t so sure I could fight it again. I had wanted it to win, even if just for a moment. And that scared me.