Life Without Life

Chapter 22:

During the first hours of dawn, Emily-Elizabeth slowly makes her way towards her home. Slipping past the old woman sitting in front of her house, across the road, she enters the home of her past, the home that for what seemed like years was empty and cold.

From the corner of her eye, she recognizes the chest, lying in the same place it had always been, the corner of the house, adjacent to the bed. It stares back at her, expressionless, as she steps further into the room. On the mantle above the chest, she reaches for the key.

Cautiously she opens the chest and gasps out loud while stumbling back. The chest is completely empty! Who could have stolen these things that Mother so carefully kept for us to remember? Without locking the chest, she leaves the house and stumbles onto the dirt road. The old woman still sitting across the road looks at her scornfully as Emily-Elizabeth emerges from her home.

"I told you, milady, that the house was no business of yours. You should not have gone there!"

"Who are you to tell me where I should or should not go?!" she says, unbeknownst that people are watching.

From the crowd of people gathering in the village square, she hears whispers, "It's her! It's her! She has come back from the grave to kill us all!"

"Please, milady," the old woman continues, "for your own sake as well as ours. Leave the place of your past! Leave, and never return!"

"I have done nothing wrong! I do not understand why I am being persecuted for nothing!"

"You have committed a crime worse than murder! Do you not comprehend the reason behind our suffering?! It is because of you that devastation has been brought about across our kingdom! You have caused chaos, disease, and many other evils to plague our lands! It has been a curse from the moment you laid lustful eyes upon our Lord! What, did you not think that people would take notice to your little rendezvous?! Leave us, evil one, and cast out your evilness with you!!"

All around her, Emily-Elizabeth hears the voices of the townspeople closing in on her, "Get out! Get away! Get out! Get away!"

Almost driven to the point of insanity, Emily-Elizabeth retreats from the town square, not knowing where to turn, not knowing which way to go. Trying to stay out of sight from the Baron's guards, she makes her way to the Blacksmith's shop at the end of the dirt road.

Pushing her way through the heavy iron door, she saunters into the shop, out of breath and frightened. There is silence all about her. Once again, she finds herself alone and helpless, unable to solve her problems or subside her fears. Unable to reason, she deserts the shop and proceeds towards the meadows.

When she comes to the realization that she is unapproachable by any means of danger, she relaxes herself down on the cool grass and weeps. Has she been the reason behind all of this chaos? Has the love she once had for Matthew now turned to curse the Kingdom of Nottinghamshire?


chapter 23