Monday, October 25, 2010
Ariana lay trembling, listening to the footsteps on the stairs marking her Aunt's slow ascent to her third story bedroom. Or, perhaps more precisely, her third story prison. It was just around sunset on a spring day. The date was April 15th, 1978. Ariana had last been outside of that particular room on September 24th, 1975.
She had been the picture of vitality then, at least physically. Her profound sadness at the loss of both of her parents had not been able to touch her youthful beauty, despite its depth and pervasiveness. She might not have been a happy 12 year old at that time, but she had certainly been in excellent physical condition. And, given less grisly circumstances, nearly three years removed from the accident she might have not only looked like a happy, healthy 15 year old, but she might have felt like one. As it stood, she was still profoundly sad, as well as fearful, and her physical condition was such that anyone other than her Aunt May would have been driven to tears at first sight of it.
The footsteps reached the landing, and Ariana listened as they drew nearer and stopped. There was a pause, and then the door to her room opened. Her Aunt May stood in the doorway, fixing her with a gaze that brooded with contempt. Her left hand held some object that Ariana could not quite make out in the gloom, but experience and the look in her Aunt's eyes told her that it meant trouble. A single tear traced its way down her sweat stained cheek and came to rest at the corner of her mouth. Her left arm twitched in response, but the bands around her wrist meant that she was unable to wipe it away. Her Aunt stepped into the room, and the object in her left hand became fully visible to her terrified young niece.
Outside, a sparrow resting on her windowsill took off with a start at the sound of the young girl's scream, and flew away, destined for parts unknown.