Friday, January 13, 2017

Whom Should She Trust? - Part 1

Good morning Faithful Friday Fiction Fans,
I'm listening to the rain on the roof now and wondering how covered in ice the trees will be by the time it is light outside. Yep, we're getting freezing rain. I'd rather have snow. What about you? Are you all having winter weather?

This week has been busy. I've been quite productive as far as emails, working on the Bike Trip book, taking care of other things and yes, even writing. I'm hoping for 6k words written this week. And they've all, at least so far, been on "Finding Joy." I think it's going to be fun to go back and reread this entire story all the way through since it's taken a while and and I've written other things in the middle of it. My goal is to have it all written by the end of this month. I don't know if I can or not as I don't know how much is left, but I'm sure going to try.

The story I'm re-posting today is one that I published in my book "The Lower Lights and Other Stories" which I'm sure most of you haven't read. It was one of my earliest short stories (3 parts) and the first one that caused others to say, "I can't believe you wrote that." If you haven't read it, I hope you enjoy it. And if you have read it, I hope you don't mind reading it again.

Whom Should She Trust?
Part 1

    The room was dim and hushed. A young girl was kneeling beside the bed, deaf to any sound save the slow breathing coming from the form lying there. A sigh brought the girl’s head up, and her eyes gazed intently at the pallid face on the pillow.
    “Papa,” she whispered, “speak to me once more. Tell me what to do, whom to trust. Oh, Papa–” she broke off abruptly as her father’s eyes opened slowly.
    “Hannah?” The name was scarcely audible even in that still room.
    “I am here, Papa. I am holding your hand.”
    “Hannah,” he said again, “be careful whom you trust. Oh, be careful . . . They want the money . . . most of them. . . . There is a right one. You must not trust the others.” His eyes closed.
    “How do I know whom to trust, Papa? How can I be sure he too doesn’t want just the money? Papa!”
    The weary eyes fluttered once more. The girl bent tenderly over him.
    “I . . . am . . . going . . . home now. Hannah, . . . come home . . . too . . .. Pray, Hannah.”
    Hannah bowed her head, but no words could she utter though she tried.
    “Father . . . keep . . . my little girl . . . safe.” A tired sigh followed the low whispered prayer, and all was still.
    The doctor laid quiet fingers on the limp wrist and then glanced at the still form of the girl beside the bed.
    “He is gone.” The words were spoken softly yet they reached the ears of the girl.
    Hannah raised her head, looked long at the face on the pillow, then rose and left the room.
    Yes, her father was dead. She was alone in the world. Alone. The word brought a shiver. Her whole life had changed so quickly. She had been sheltered and cared for; now so suddenly she must do for herself. Could she manage the large estate left her as well as the immense fortune which now belonged solely to her? What had her father meant when he told her they wanted the money? Who wanted the money? And who didn’t?
    Hannah never fully remembered the days and even weeks that immediately followed her much loved father’s death. She was conscious of only one thing; she was alone.

    One night, several months later, Hannah lay in her bed, staring out the nearby window at a brilliantly full moon.
    “Oh, Papa, if you were only here to advise me! I think my heart will break without you! Oh, why am I so alone? Who is it that truly wants me and not my money? Is it Mr. Everson or Mr. Adkins? Or someone else? Mr. Everson asked me to be his wife this evening, and Mr. Adkins asked the same thing only two days before? If only I knew whom to trust!” Hannah turned restlessly on her pillow. “And Mr. Sawyer wants to buy that piece of land. How do I know the price he offered is fair?” For some time her thoughts were in turmoil. Unable to decide what to do and whom to trust, Miss Hannah made a decision to trust no one. She would live her life out alone if she had to. She had no real friends and no relatives near. Surely she could just stay quietly in her own home with her servants. “Perhaps someday,” she thought just before falling asleep, “I will find out who I can trust. Surely someone is trustworthy.”

    And so, the days and weeks passed, turning into months and then into years. Hannah quietly dropped out of all social life, which wasn’t difficult for she had felt no interest in it since her father had died. The invitations for dinners gradually grew fewer and fewer and at last ceased all together. Former acquaintances now acknowledged her rare appearances in public places with a bow or a nod.

    It had been three years since her father’s death. They had been three of the loneliest years of Hannah’s life. There had been times when her resolve to trust no one had nearly failed, only to be strengthened by stories of dishonor and treachery. She vowed she would remain the sole mistress of The Glen. “Unless,” she always added to herself, “I can find someone that I know I can trust.” The southern mansion was as beautiful as ever it was in the days gone by, yet the the former gaiety was gone. No longer were large parties held on the grounds in the warmer months nor in the large parlor and dining room in the winter. There was no one to enjoy the extensive grounds and spacious rooms except Miss Hannah and the servants.
    “Miss Hannah, I’s sorry to bother you, but dere’s a gintleman dat insists on seein’ you.”
    Miss Hannah looked up, “Oh, Candace, why do people persist in intruding where they aren’t wanted? Do tell him I am busy, otherwise engaged, anything.”
    “So I did Miss, but he jest walked in an’ took a seat. Said he’d wait a spell. I ain’t sure what to do.”
    The sunlight streamed in the large open windows upon the beautifully decorated library, the rows and rows of beautifully bound books and the lovely form seated at a desk. A gentle spring breeze wafted the delicate fragrance of the garden flowers into the room and stirred the dress and hair of Miss Hannah.
    “Do, Candace, try once more to show him out, for I do not wish to see him.”
    “I’ll try, Miss Hannah,” and Candace departed with a shake of her head.
    A brief time elapsed ere the servant reappeared. “Tain’t no use, Miss Hannah. De gintleman say he won’t leave da place till he sees you if he has ta wait till tomorrow or de day after dat or de day after dat. An’ he didn’t give me no card an’ won’t tell me no name. I does like his looks though. I tink he is an honest man.”

How would you have known whom to trust?
Who do you think has come to see Miss Hannah?
Are you getting winter weather?


Holly C said...

Just saw the third part of this story. Looking forward to reading it from the beginning!

Rebekah said...

Thanks for coming by, Holly. I hope you enjoyed the story.