The Taverner Chronicles: Prolouge, Four

Fiction By Marlene E. Schuler // 1/24/2012

 

'How can this be?'

 

Millie turned an ashy white and sat down heavily on a nearby chair. Gianna placed a hand on her sister's shoulder and tried to look brave, though she was shaking and tears were still falling down her cheeks.

 

'Edward... what you are about to hear, you must not utter to a single soul.' Millie said, after an agonizing silence, 'It has been a long guarded secret of our family.'

 

I sat down next to her and looked earnestly at her.

 

'I promise you that I won't speak a word to anyone...'

 

'Can you? I don't think you'll even understand!' Gianna cried. Millie looked at her somewhat sharply, but she continued, 'No one outside of our family has ever known!'

 

Millie suddenly looked uncomfortable, and it seemed to me that she had to muster the courage to speak.

 

'No one, that is, besides Dr. Rawlings. He knows.'

 

I looked at both of them, pining for an explanation, but I realized I would have none, for both looked at each other steadily. The silence in the air was so thick that it rang in my ears, making everything deathly still.

 

'He had to know, Gianna. And now his son does too.'

 

This Millie said with a determined voice. Gianna backed away from her sister, then Millie turned to me.

 

'Edward, what I am going to tell you will take much longer than one afternoon to tell.'

 

I set my teeth, bracing myself for the worst.

 

'Then we should begin now, right?'

 

Millie rose and started for the door, calling to me over her shoulder as she went, 'I cannot begin in here; let us go to where it all started.'

 

I followed her up the grand staircase and down long halls. Gianna did not join us, but remained in the parlor to ruminate over what had transpired. As I walked down a dusty corridor, I noticed that the house was unbearably cold. It seemed to me that all the rooms were closed and sealed off, leaving the halls dark and shut up. I remembered that something had happened with the Taverner's money after the Great War, but exactly what had never been disclosed to me. It suddenly occurred to me that this generation of the family had been forced to live in poverty, living in the shadow of wealth that their fathers once possessed.

Millie finally led me into a long, empty room. It was filled with light, thanks to the long windows that lined the outside wall. The ball room. I'll never forget the first time that I laid eyes on it, that memory will ever be fixed in my mind. As I walked in, Millie cautioned me, pointing to a loose board in the floor. I had nearly put my foot on it.

 

'Oh- sorry.' I said, rather sheepishly. I had almost cracked a joke about it before the gravity of the situation returned to my mind.

 

Millie walked to the center of the room, and turned to me. My heart stopped when I saw that her eyes were about to give way to tears. I bit my lip and hoped that she wouldn't start to cry. But instead, she spoke in a clear, strong voice.

 

'We Taverner's have been given an extraordinary gift- to travel to the past and see those of our family who have passed before us.'

 

I had an inkling before she told me that something of the kind was occuring, and though I heard the words and comprehended them, I did not believe them. She saw the look of disbelief on my face, and continued.

 

'Edward, just because you believe something to be impossible doesn't make it false.'

 

'But returning to the past? How is it possible?' I replied, and I was surprised at how distressed my own voice sounded.

 

She took a step towards me, then looked around at the room with a knowing look on her face.

 

'This room... no one has been able to fully explain it yet, but my great-grandfather believed that it was because of the alignment of the stars directly above this room. Who knows? All I know is that if we were to but put on clothing from the past... we would be in the past.'

 

She took me to a little room that adjoined the room at the far end of it. She drew back the curtain that closed it off, and I saw that there was a great wooden trunk inside. Going to it, she opened the lid and revealed that it was full of clothing. I was no historian or was not renown for my delight in researching clothes, but I guessed that they were at least thirty or forty years old. However, instead of taking any of them out, Millie closed the lid again and rejoined me in the ball room.

 

I looked around the room. Was it possible? How could it be? But... it all made sense, in a strange, ironic way. All the pieces in the puzzle began to fit together as the strange events and unspoken words of the past week finally had explanations. Questions filled my confused mind, but I realized that to understand everything fully, I would have to hear everything... from the beginning.

 

I turned to Millie.

 

'Your secret is safe with me. But...'

 

'… you want to know the whole story, don't you?' she finished.

 

I nodded, glad that she was able to read my thoughts.

 

'As I said, it's not something that I can tell in a few short hours. But, I will do my best, and start where I came into the story.'

 

 

 

That night I came home late. My mum was, of course, concerned, but all the explanation I gave her for my absence was that I was at the Taverner's. She looked at me strangely, but let me eat my supper in peace. When I was safe in my own room, I knew that it was going to take me hours to get to sleep. Sleep? Not with all that I had been told whirling around in my mind.

 

And yet, somehow I believed it all. But I knew that the story was far from over... no... it had hardly begun. And in the back of my mind, I had a strange feeling that I would somehow become a part of it before it was over.

 

Let it begin then, begin where it started nearly ten months ago in February. Heed not the passing of time, for what is time if it can be stopped and forced to give up visions of long before to those of the present? Is it but standing, and we who feel its passing are not aware that all those of the past breathe the same air we do? Go then, read this strange chronicle, and see time for what it truly is.

Comments

Intriguing

I just discovered this series you're writing...  It's amazing.  I'm looking forward to the next installment!

James | Wed, 01/25/2012

<><~~~~~~~~~~~~><>
"The idea that we should approach science without a philosophy is itself a philosophy... and a bad one, because it is self-refuting." -- Dr. Jason Lisle

 Yes, yes! I want to read the

 Yes, yes! I want to read the story! I want to know everything! *scoots forward in seat* :D

Anna | Thu, 01/26/2012

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

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