So, this morning when I came into my office to work on a blog, the ending for a short story I’d been working on popped into my head. I opened the story, thinking to just add some notes, but the narrative, and dialogue, was flowing, so I went with the flow. Almost two hours later, here I am doing the blog post.
Still, I love when those creative surges happen. Have not had many of those in the past year and a half.
Sharing cookies this morning. These are chocolate, gingerbread. Yum!
Continuing the story of Evelyn Evolving from where I left off a couple of weeks ago, we have left Regina’s point of view and are now back with Evelyn. This is two years after she and her sister were left at the orphanage.
Sister Honora made Evelyn tremble. She always made Evelyn tremble. Sometimes, when looking into the stern face pinched tight by the wimple, Evelyn was afraid her bladder would let go and she would be punished twice. Once for not scrubbing the floor fast enough and again for soiling herself. That’s what the sisters said about pee and poop. “Soiling oneself.” As if she had rolled in the dirt outside. If she was not locked in such terror of the nun before her, Evelyn would find that thought amusing.
Two years had passed here at St. Aemilian’s Orphan Asylum, and Evelyn still didn’t understand why they had to stay. Couldn’t Miz Regina or Miz Beatrice not come and take them away from this horrible place? Everything was all so confusing, and Evelyn kept hoping that someday someone would love them enough to come back and get them. Sometimes in her dreams, she lived with both women. Miz Beatrice not sick anymore and Miz Regina happy to have her girls back. Viola said it was silly to wish. Pointless to dream. Nothing was going to change.
“Child. Are you listening?”
The harsh words tugged at Evelyn. She nodded, unable to push words past the lump in her throat.
“Why have you not finished this floor?” The nun gestured down the hall with her walking stick. “You are as slow as molasses in winter. What good are you?”
“I don’t know, Sister.” A soft whisper.
That was met with a sharp crack along Evelyn’s backside. “Don’t talk out of turn.”
Another smack. “I said no talking.”
This time when the walking stick landed, Evelyn’s bladder did let go.
“Now look what you have done. You dirty, nasty little child. Take those panties off. Right now.”
Evelyn did as she was told, holding the wet garment gingerly between thumb and forefinger. Sister Honora took the panties on the end of her walking stick, then draped them over the child’s head. “You will wear these to supper.”
“No! Please, Sister. No!”
Standing in the middle of the dining hall, the rotten stench of old urine swirling around her while the other children pointed and laughed, was the most humiliating experience of Evelyn’s young life. She swallowed hard and held back the bile that rose in her throat. She couldn’t vomit. She wouldn’t vomit. If she didn’t want more humiliation she didn’t dare vomit.
She looked past the rows of tables and the laughing children, focusing on the picture of the Virgin Mary at the back of the large room. Mary, Mother of God, was supposed to be their mother, too. Their friend, but she didn’t feel like a friend or a mother to Evelyn. She was just this lady in blue in a picture.
As the serving carts were brought out and the children lined up with their metal bowls to get their supper, the aroma of meat and gravy momentarily blocked the acrid smell of dried urine. Evelyn’s mouth watered. She glanced at the carts. Dinner that evening was roast with potatoes and carrots and onions. A favorite of Evelyn’s that she would not be allowed to eat. Children who broke the rules had no dinner, but not everyone was forced to stand in such embarrassment. This was reserved for the worst transgressions.
Viola walked past with her bowl to take a seat at a nearby table. She stared straight ahead, not even glancing at Evelyn. Maria, a girl of eight who had been friendly to Evelyn, gave her a quick look, then averted her eyes, taking a seat next to Viola.
That disregard, as if Evelyn was a stranger they had never seen before, cut deeper than the sneers from the others. Why couldn’t Viola even look at her?
As always, comments about the story are welcome. Hope you have a wonderful weekend, and do come back on Sunday when I will have a review of a neat cozy mystery, Murder on the Mullet Express.