Within a Dream, part four

Fiction By Hannah W. // 5/22/2011


Sergio led me back to Molly's bedroom door and left me there without a word. I watched the single flame of his candle recede until I was alone again, darkness pressing in around me. Quickly, I opened the door and slipped inside.
"There you are." Molly was standing next to the bed, a bundle of blankets tucked under one arm, and a mattress at her feet. "I found us a spare mattress. We can take turns with the real bed."
"Take turns?" I asked, suddenly wary. "But I'm leaving in the morning."
Molly snorted. "That's what you think." She shook out one of the blankets, nonchalant.
"I am!" I insisted. "I swear, I'm—”
"Calm down, you're making it worse for yourself."
"I'm leaving in the morning!" I repeated.
"Just listen to me, all right?' Molly turned to face me head on, twisting the blanket's corners in her hands. "You're not leaving, Ellen."
"That's not for you to decide."
"No, but it's the truth."
"We'll see, won't we?" An idea jumped into my head. "I'll-- I'll speak to the master of the house about this!"
She laughed. Stood there, looked at me, and laughed.
"You think it's just so funny that I'm completely naive about this place," I said, my voice shaking. "But the only reason I don't know anything is because you won't tell me!"
Her laughter died. "All right then," she said. "Go on. Go find the master of the house, as you say."
I thought of the darkness, the labyrinthine halls, Sergio's eyes flickering like flames as he prowled through them. "Fine," I conceded. "You win-- for tonight."
Molly smirked and went back to shaking out blankets. "Something gave you the creeps out there?"
"Actually, yes. Your friend Sergio caught me wandering around looking for you."
"He's not my friend, you know." Molly tucked the corners of the blankets under, making the mattress up like a real bed. "Well, not anymore." She straightened, looking down at her work with approval. "What did you do to agitate him?"
"Opened a door," I said.
"My, my. Making trouble already. You've only just arrived, slow down."
"I'll do my best," I replied.

For a moment, I didn't know where I was. I stared up at the cracking paster ceiling, my breathing quiet—
Thrum, thrum, thrum.
Suddenly, I remembered it all. I sat up, the bed creaking beneath me. The spare mattress was empty, but neatly made up. Weak light streamed in through the window. Draped over the end of the bed was a crisp linen dress the colour of a fresh bruise. 
Molly must have left it there for me, I realized, turning my gaze to the little wardrobe that stood in the far corner. I hadn't really noticed it before, but now it was half open. I could see a few dark dresses hanging beside pale nightgowns, like shadows and ghosts caught up on wire hangers. 
It was kind of her to share with me, I thought. And open the curtains, and offer to take turns with the bed. But I also thought of her smirks, her knowing looks, the bitterness in her smiles and laughter. The way she wouldn't give me a direct answer.
I supposed I trusted her, even liked her. She had been kind to me.
And yet...
She was hiding something. I felt it. There had to be something that she didn't want me to know about, the reason why she wasn't telling me everything.
I flung the blanket aside and got out of bed. The wooden floor was cold under my bare feet as I changed into the dark dress. It felt good to put something fresh, but I was reluctant to leave my own dress just sitting there. It was all I had of home, the last evidence that I had been someone before here. I carefully hung it up in the wardrobe, then slipped on my shoes and turned to leave the room. Before I stepped toward the door, it opened.
Molly poked her head into the room. “Good, you’re awake,” she said. “Sleep well?”
Her question stopped me. I didn’t feel tired, and I couldn’t remember tossing or turning once during the night. But I didn’t feel as though I’d slept. More like… More like I’d disappeared for a while, ceased to exist for a few hours. It was unnerving, but all I said to Molly was, “I guess.”
“Come on, then,” she said. “I’ll show you around, so maybe you won’t get lost next time.”
I followed her out of the room, and she gestured at passages and doors as we walked, describing directions to me.
“If we were going to the kitchens, we’d go down to the right that way,” she said, pointing. “There’s a little side stairway that will have you pop down right next to the chopping table. Best to be sure no one’s working there when you come in, or you might lose an appendage.”
“So where are we going?”
“Toward the front of the house, upstairs. Got to make up the rooms for the guests. I already started the fires, but before I came to check on you before I finished up the beds and all that.”
“How many guests stay here?”
“I don’t know the exact number. A lot, obviously.”
“And the master doesn’t mind having them all here, needing food and fires and everything?”
She laughed, low in her throat. “Apparently not,” she said. “Not that I’ve ever met the master.”
“But there is one.”
She didn't answer. "Here we are," she said, stopping in front of a door. "Follow me."


A dress the color of a fresh

A dress the color of a fresh bruise? That made me smile (and then wince because I wouldn't want to wear it).

So they're not friends anymore, but they used to be. I wonder what came between them.

Also, I love the names you use.

Anna | Tue, 05/24/2011

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

Please write more! This is a

Please write more! This is a very interesting story :) I like how mysterious everything is. I like Molly. I love your writing style. Keep on :D

Laura Elizabeth | Tue, 05/24/2011

The best stories are those that are focused, unassuming, and self-confident enough to trust the reader to figure things out. --



What's funny is that for Molly's room I have the exact picture for Jane Eyre's room in Rochester's house. Except dingyer and with a different bed. This story is awesome. Everytime I feel something normal, something creepy pops up.

Bernadette | Tue, 05/24/2011


This story is soooo interesting... when I read it, I feel just as mystefied why Ellen has to stay at the mansion as she does.... keep writing, Hannah!!!!!

Elizabeth | Wed, 05/25/2011


The Holy Spirit is the quiet guest of our soul." -St. Augustine

Yes, yes, yes!

Please keep writing more! I love this story! I've tried several times to write a story that was utterly mysterious like this one is, a never-ending spell of intrigue, but it never works. How do you do it, girl?

Oh, and I love your description of the dresses and nightgowns in Molly's wardrobe "... like shadows and ghosts caught up on wire hangers." Amazing! Please post more soon!

Mary | Tue, 05/31/2011

Brother: Your character should drive a motorcycle.
Me: He can't. He's in the wilderness.
Brother: Then make it a four-wheel-drive motorcycle!


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