Saturday, April 28, 2018

The Place...

Her fingers slowly caressed the detail, the molding, and pondered over who used to sit here every day until their death... 

This ancient chair had withstood where so many others were lost to compost and sawdust. She glanced across the grass to what looked like it used to be a recliner... beside it, a love seat of ghastly floral fabric, looking quite newer compared to most of the others. 

She released the back of the steel chair, it's cushioning long since disintegrated, and resumed wandering through the field, pausing over whatever seat caught her eye, wondering at the past lives who sat upon them. A small high chair of sky blue brought a tear, but it was by no means the only chair here meant for a child. She paused under an old oak, a small stool top, its legs seeming to have long ago rotted away from beneath it. She bent down, brushed some decayed leaves and dust from its surface. Her fingers traced some of the faded painted lines... 

A sound.

She glanced up and, a few yards away, spotted an elderly woman tenderly resting a hand upon a dining chair of some sort. Probably lost her husband, the young girl thought. I hope someone else helped her carry the chair here... looks quite sturdy and heavy for someone of her age...

She stayed, bent over the stool top under the oak, just watching, not wanting to disturb the woman in her grief.

She wondered if the old woman had someone to watch over her... someone to carry her chair here when she passed on. This is a morbid place, isn't it? She glanced around the field, the chairs of all sizes and variety, hoping the woman had some sort of caretaker that had walked her here to remember her loved one. Ah, yes, that must be her son, she thought, spying a sturdy fellow a few more yards past the senior.

She stayed silent. To do otherwise would have seemed rude, and this long? Like spying. No, let the old woman grieve in peace, she'd be leaving before too long.

And almost as soon as the thought had crossed her mind, she did realize the late hour. A darkening of the light, a slight chill to the air. Glancing back, she realized the others were indeed gone. Did I doze off? 

Standing, brushing the leaves from her dress, careful not to disturb the stool top, wrapped her shawl a bit more tightly about herself. Mother would be wondering where I've gotten off to. She sighed, did a small turn, trying to get her bearings...

She started off, darkness seeming to fall much faster. Fog began to roll in, and she stepped a bit faster. How did it get so late? Mother will kill me! Hurrying faster now, the strange sounds of night invading. Did she pass that chair before? It didn't look familiar... Was she? Did she get turned around?


She turned quickly in the direction of the sound.

"Sophie? Is it you?"

It was the old woman from earlier! She was sure of it. Spotting a shape in the fog, she cried "It's me, yes," and started down the small hill... None of this looks familiar! "It's me, Sophie, you are?"


Further away now. She paused, confused. This dastardly fog was helping anything! Started forward again and ran straight into a chair!  "Ouch!" Oh god I hope no one saw that! She grabbed the chair to stand it back upright. 

"Oommph!" Backed right into another! Stop this, Sophie, just stop, you're frightening yourself! Stop, breathe. Focus.

She stood, re-wrapped her shawl. "Hello? Is anyone still there?" 

No response. She turned slowly in a circle. Peered through the fog. There! She saw the path! The path back home! Stepping carefully, feeling for chairs in front of her, she made her way to the edge of the Place as quickly as she dared. She could see the torches, dim, but getting brighter as she neared the path, the path that headed back up the side out of the valley. 

So foggy! was still on her mind as she finally reached the edge of the field, through the metal gates, and began following the trail up. She didn't help Mother with the younger ones, so she'll be cross about that. She wasn't there to put the chickens up either, but her brother was getting old enough to handle some things on his own. She hoped. 

She stepped quicker.

Past the Meyers... There was Squid's cabin, yes, yes... Okay, getting close... Oh dear, a chair outside of the Cranshaw's door, she'd have to inquire who passed, she couldn't remember anyone being sick... The old sawmill, okay, getting close! It couldn't be too late, the torches were still lit down in the Tomas' barn... 

Ahh, home! She raced up--why is the door latched?! She tried it a few times, wiggled. But I see light... Mother must be cross! She stopped, composed herself. Walked over the side to the window where generous amounts of light poured out--

Was that the old woman? From earlier? What was she--?

Sophie knocked on the glass, "Mother! Mother, it's me, I'm so sorry!"

She could see the old woman holding her mother's hand across the table, but neither of them looked up or acknowledged her. She tapped harder on the glass, "Mother! Mother! It's Sophie! I'm ever so sorry I'm late, please let me in, please!"

"Mother, this isn't funny, please open up, I'll catch a chill!"

Oh, she is cross! Sophie leaned against the glass with both hands, "Mother! Please!"

They glanced up and she waved at them excitedly! "I'm sorry, Mother, I'm so sorry, I... Mother?"

"I don't understand..." They were ignoring her! They just turned away, started talking again as if she weren't standing right there! 

Getting angry... 

"Mother! Let me in!"


"She's here, you say?"

"Yes, very close now... Closer than earlier."

"Is she all right?"

"Not at peace, no... no, not at--"


"That was her! At the window, just now!"

"Oh no! My poor daughter! No-no-no-no-no-no! Why? I don't understand?"

"Her chair, you know it's her chair!"

"But it's all I have of her! I can't let it go, I just... I can't..."

The old witch placed a consoling hand on the sobbing mothers head.


"Oh god, oh god, why doesn't she stop?!"

"Until you place her chair in the Place, her soul will try to come back! Always! It's why we started the Place! The souls will always come back to their chair! By keeping it here--"

"I just wanted to keep a memory..."

"I know, dear, I know..."


"The whole house! She's--"

The front door slammed open--

"Sophie! Stop this at once!"

A cold wind howled through the door, putting out the candles, pitching the house in blackness...

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