Life Without Life

Chapter 9:

While packing the few things they own, Thomas John walks over to the chest where it stands in the corner. He fumbles with the lock for some time but cannot get it to open.

"Emmy, is there a key for this chest? I can't open it."

"Thomas, we haven't any time to waste opening up old, worthless boxes," replies John Michael as he is placing some clothes in a small suitcase.

"It is not worthless, John! That chest belonged to our mother! Aye, Thomas, there is a key," says Emily-Elizabeth fastening her suitcase with a snap.

She walks over to a shelf above the chest and picks up a small heart-shaped box. After opening it, she takes out a shiny gold key hanging on a small piece of string.

"Here, Thomas. Open the chest and see what Mother has left us," she says, passing him the key.

It rotates easily inside the keyhole and he raises the top to reveal their mother's "treasures": Four letters, each with their names printed in elegant feather and ink. Thomas John brings the letters out of the chest and holds them up for all to see.

"There is one for me and one for Kathleen! And, oh l00k, one for John and one for you Emmy!" he exclaims as he passes out the letters. With special care Emily-Elizabeth opens her letter and reads it aloud:

"To my dearest Emily,

You have grown up to be a very lovely young lady.

Stay that way always. I do not know when you will

read this or how old you will be. Just know that I love

you dearly and that I will be with you always. You have

spent many a day slaving around the house and taking

care of your brothers and sister, and for that I am truly

grateful. Hopefully, you would have been married with

your own children by the time you read this but, if not,

know this: there is always some form of peace and serenity

out there, you just have to look for it in the right places.

I love you with all my heart and soul.

Love Mother."

She cries then, not just any tears, but the tears of happiness.

"Emily-Elizabeth," bellows the Sheriff, shaking her out of her trance, "you must leave now. Your time here has run out!"

"All right. Let us go," she says solemnly staring at her sister upon the bed.

"Emmy, why must we leave Kathleen? Can't we take her with us, please?" pleads Thomas John as he grasps Emily-Elizabeth's hand.

"Nay, Thomas. I wish there was some way. . ." she trails off.

John Michael places a protective hand on his sister's shoulder, "She is gone, Emily. And we have to go, too."

The Sheriff interrupts, "You will be escorted to the East Woods where you will travel on your own. Once you have reached a green marker in the dirt road, you will no longer be on the lands of this manor."

They leave their home that they had grown up in, with the Sheriff and two guards riding on horseback, along side them. With heavy hearts about leaving their sister, they stroll through the streets of the village trying all the while to keep their heads held high.

"Emily, where are you going? Why are you leaving?" questions Timothy emerging from the Blacksmith's shop, covered in soot. "And without your sister?!"

"Timothy!" she exclaims. "I am leaving, by order of the Baron. I will not be able to see you again.

"But- -" he tries to protest.

"I must go now. Good-bye!" She hurries back to her family and walks to the edge of the East Woods, not looking back once."


chapter 10