White Funeral, part six

Fiction By Hannah W. // 1/18/2010

**Part six! Enjoy.**

They say she was brave an courageous, the way a true Queen should be. For a moment I feel as though we are all suspended in time, hanging by invisible threads of eternity. My mind has a chance to take in everything in sharp detail; the brass buttons on the man’s jacket, how the hands that hold the gun are chapped and red. But in a second the thread snaps, and time rushes over us. The man takes one menacing step forward, and Bronach leaps in front of us.
“Stop!” Her voice doesn’t quiver; it commands. The man pauses as if seeing her for the first time, and then--
Crack!
The scream rips itself out of my throat before I can stop it. Bronach falls backward onto the dock, choking, fighting for breath. 
The man shoves the gun in Calixto’s face. “You next, if you don’t want the girl dead, too.” He jabs Calixto’s side and I feel him crumple in pain, but he tries not to let it show. “And I’ll make sure not to be so careless this time,” the man adds, taking Calixto’s hair in his fist and pulling his head forward.
“No!” I cry, trying to get Calixto behind me, but the man’s grip is firm.
He whirls around and slaps me across the face. “Talk back to me again, girl,” he snaps, and pulls his gun back like he is about to bring it down agaist my skull, but then his eyes widen at something behind me.
Instinctively, I turn around. Then I realize: Bronach is gone.
“Where’d she go?” The man whirls around, searching the faces of his men for an answer. They all stare at him wide-eyed, seemingly as shocked as he is.
“We… We don’t know!” one of them pipes up.
“I do.”
At the sound of this new voice we all spin around to see a woman dressed in grey, a black material hanging about her shoulders, dark curls blowing in the wind. It is Bronach… but it can’t be… It isn’t her but it looks like her and my head is swimming so much that I think I will faint. Calixto links his fingers through mine. I steel myself, determined to stay strong.
“Who are you?” the man barks at the woman, but his voice is a little weaker. I think perhaps he is afraid.
The woman smiles. “You know.”
For a moment the man is still, studying her as though he is trying to grasp at something, trying to read it on her face. She turns her head away from him, though, and looks at Calixto and me. She smiles sadly at us, and our eyes meet. And—and yes, those are Bronach’s eyes, so deep and dark, but this time there is a glistening of the unknown, like looking into a well.
Suddenly the man snaps back into action. He cocks his gun again and points it straight at the woman. “I don’t care who you are, or who you used to be, I’ll kill you right now!”
The woman looks at him. She gazes at him as if she knows everything about him, as if he is an old friend who has turned against her. “No,” she says softly. The wind begins to pick up, louder and harder than ever before. Calixto and I hold tighter to the other’s hand. “No, you won’t.”
Suddenly there is an emormous gust of wind, and the sea crashes around the docks, roaring as I have never experienced it before. The wind has built to a fever pitch, whistling and singing and howling all in one sound. It pulls at the woman’s dress and hair. It unravels the widow’s scarf that hangs around her neck. It swallows her up for a second, engulfing her in its cold embrace, but in a blink she emerges, shining. There is a string of pearls at her throat, a full-bloomed lily in her hand, and she is dressed in pure white.

 
They say she was a mystery, the way a true Queen would be. “This can’t be,” the man whispers. The wind has disappeared as suddenly as it rose up, and I can hear the breathy disbelief in his voice.
“The—the Queen?” My voice quivers as I say it, the words seeming far away and foreign. I realize that tears are gathering in my eyes.
“Yes.” There is no mistaking the smile on her face, the joy and life that plays in her expression.
There is a quick snap as the man cocks his gun. “I’ll see about that.” There is hatred in his voice, yes, but I can sense his fear as well.
The Queen’s smile fades, but never quite leaves her face. It still hangs at the corners of her mouth, shines in her eyes as she looks at him. “Let me prove it to you, a better way.” Then, very slowly, she walks toward him until she is perhaps a foot away. He still holds the gun pointed straight at her, finger on the trigger, but something is stopping him. Something holds him back from letting that bullet loose against her.
Very gently, the Queen pries one of his hands off the gun and places in it the white lily. Then she stands back.
We wait. Neither Calixto or I breathe.
The man stares at the lily in his hand, and the gun in the other. I can see him weighing both in his mind, trying to decide which he will choose, which is real. Then something comes over his face, almost like the shadow of a hawk passing overhead. He throws them both as hard as he can into the sea, and then he turns and runs as fast as he can down the docks. He makes a mad dash to his horse, jumps on, and rides it hard in the opposite direction, away from the Capitol and the hills and the sea. His men hesitate only a second before following, running crazily after him.
I stand frozen as the Queen turns to us, Calixto and me. I realize that through all of this Calixto has been a statue, not speaking or moving at all. The Queen steps toward us, reaches out a hand to his face. He flinches away.
“Calixto…” Her voice is sad.
“Elsa, it’s not her,” he says to me, holding tighter to my hand. “It’s the not Queen. She’s not there… Elsa, listen to me.”
“Oh, my nephew,” the Queen murmurs, and turns her gaze from him to me. She reaches out her hand and I don’t know if I want to flee or grasp it as hard as I can. Calixto shakes his head and lays a hand on my arm, but I’ve already decided. I reach out to her and my hand meets against hers, as solid and real as my own, but warm as if she feels no cold.
“Elsa,” she says. Her breath makes a cloud on the winter air.
“I…”
She squeezes my hand. “But you have to finish this. You will finish it.”
“Yes,” I say, looking back at Calixto. “Yes.”
“Good,” she says, and lets go. She points a slender finger toward the Capitol. “There is a doctor. Eleventh Street. Go.”
“Yes,” I say, and take Calixto. “Thank you,” I add, locking eyes with her one last time.
Calixto and I slowly make our way to the doctor, finally staggering onto Eleventh Street and then the doctor’s doorstep. I knock, so weary and cold that I am surprised I find the strength to lift my hand, but the door flies open and the doctor immediately takes us in. He and his two younger apprentices carry Calixto off, but when I try to follow the doctor’s wife appears and practically drags me into a dim room, lit only by a warm fire. I collapse into a chair and don’t move as she piles blankets on top of me. She is talking to me, saying something, but suddenly I feel as though I’m being swept beneath the waves of the sea, and in a moment it becomes a blur and then there is only warmth and darkness.
I awake to the sound of people talking, of movement. I open my eyes and find that the fire is only a few glowing embers now, leaving the room completely dark. I jump out of the chair and remember where I am, and then I am hurrying down the hall with a blanket wrapped around my shoulders, quietly calling Calixto’s name.
The doctor stops me outside a closed door. “He’s in there,” he says, adjusting his glasses. “He’s going to be all right. Just go rest yourself, and you can see him in the morning.”
“But… can’t I sit here outside the door for a while? I- I’m not that tired,” I add.
“Oh, dear girl… You need to rest. You’ve had a tough day, with that injury and all.”
“I was fine, I just had to help him walk—”
“Not his injury,” the doctor says, gesturing toward the door. “Yours!” He chuckles.
“Wh-what? I’m not injured,” I say, but then I realize that there is something on my head. I reach up and feel that they’ve wrapped a bandage around it like a cloth halo, and then I also see that there are ragged scratches on my hands, still glistening with some kind of ointment.
“Oh, I thought you might not remember it well,” the doctor says. “Head injury. Calixto came stumbling into the Capitol saying something about the docks. Old man Ebber gathered up a bunch of guys and they all found you lying unconscious on the docks. They brought you back here to me, and while I fixed up Calixto my wife nursed you back to heath.” He pauses. “Well, not completely. You’ve still got plenty of healing left to do, but I think you’re both going to be just fine now.” He smiles kindly at me. “Now go on, get back to sleep.”
I am too shocked and confused to argue, so I do as I am told. I walk slowly back to the room I awoke in and sit at the edge of the hearth, blanket wrapped around me, for a long time. Again and again my mind grasps at straws, trying to sort out how much of my experience was real, how much was a dream while I lay unconscious on the docks. I think of Bronach and her boat. If I was on the docks, does that mean that she was real? Was her being shot real? Is she dead?
Then I think of the Queen.
Surely, I think, she was not real. It was all a dream, a wild dream. I climb back onto the cushioned couch and lie down. At least, I think, we are safe now.
But as I drift into sleep, I know that I will never be able to let this go until I am sure what was real and what wasn’t. Who can tell me? Then I remember. Ebber. I resolve to find him as soon as I am well, and speak to him about this. Perhaps then I will find some hint of an answer.

Comments

!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hannah, all I can say is that this is AMAZING! I am enoying every word of this story!!!

Elizabeth | Mon, 01/18/2010

************

The Holy Spirit is the quiet guest of our soul." -St. Augustine

write more!

please write more! I can't handle waiting anymore! I love it!!!!!!!

Bernadette | Mon, 01/18/2010

WOW!!!!!!!!!! I think that

WOW!!!!!!!!!!

I think that this is one of the most amazing stories ever! How do you make the plot twist and turn like it does? You truly have a wonderful grasp of suspense--and you know how to make your readers crazy! I love how I think I have it figured out, then you turn me on my head. Well done Hannah!

To echo Anna's comment on White Funeral Part 5, please don't every give up writing! You have a lot of talent, and it's very obvious you're passionate about your work. Keep t up!

 

Heather | Tue, 01/19/2010

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"

Maybe Bronach is/was some

Maybe Bronach is/was some sort of shape-shifter. We will find out, I suppose.

I saw the words "doctor" and "eleventh" next to each other. For reasons no one here is likely to understand, I had trouble focusing after that. Still, I managed tolerably well. Well enough to be impatient for more!

Anna | Tue, 01/19/2010

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

My thoughts are Anna's from

My thoughts are Anna's from Chapter Five exactly. Please don't ever stop writing stories! :)

Maethorwen (not verified) | Tue, 01/19/2010

gapes....gasps in

gapes....gasps in astonishment...eyes widen... "How did you do that, Hannah? I'm amazed! It's a wonderful story! Please, please don't run out of ideas for this!"

Laura Elizabeth | Wed, 01/20/2010

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The best stories are those that are focused, unassuming, and self-confident enough to trust the reader to figure things out. --

http://lauraeandrews.blogspot.com/2014/05/dont-tell-me-hes-smart.html

Hee-hee, I was right. This is

Hee-hee, I was right. This is amazing, Hannah!!!

Erin | Wed, 01/20/2010

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

Amazing! I am confused,

Amazing! I am confused, wondering and waiting for more!!

KatieSara | Wed, 01/20/2010

Katie:-)

"Are all humans like this? So much bigger on the inside?"
-Idris/TARDIS

Good golly, don't keep us all

Good golly, don't keep us all hanging!  Post more soon!!

Clare Marie | Sun, 01/24/2010

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve." -Bilbo Baggins [The Lord of the Rings]

plizz rit moore!!!

plizz rit moore!!!

Tayme | Thu, 01/28/2010

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