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Once Upon a Halloween...Chapter 5

posted 10/31/2012 6:28:48 PM |
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Chapter 5

Bella left after breakfast to do some birthday shopping with her gift money. There was the usual whispering and giggling from those who use to be her friends. But it was the adults, the older people’s behavior that disturbed her. Usually, they at least smiled and nodded in her direction but today they cast their eyes downwards, avoiding her. They ducked in doorways or crossed the street. Those who did glance at her had fear in their eyes.

Clutching her bags, she hurried past them all, deciding she’d drop in on her Grandfather. He always had a birthday gift for her and since she had come of age now, she expected it would be something special.

She pushed open the heavy door to his office, expecting to see his receptionist but her chair was empty. Knocking on Grandfather’s door, she heard him call, “You may enter.” She found him standing at a window, staring off into the distance. Following his gaze, she could see the forest in the distance.

Turning around, he smiled at her and said, “I’ve been expecting you Bella…happy birthday young lady.”

“Thanks Poppy.” She answered.

“Come, sit and talk with me.” Poppy said.

Bella pulled out a heavy chair…everything about Poppy’s office was heavy. The wood paneling and doors were ancient and massive. His desk was as big as a full bed and his chairs were so big they always made her feel like she was still a child as her feet dangled, just missing touching the floor.

Poppy sat behind his desk and leaned his elbows on it and studied her. “Well, Bella,” he began, “Today you are a young lady, old enough to marry. Is there anyone special for you?”

Bella thought of the voice in the forest but she just shook her head. “No, Poppy. Surely you know how the young people of Devonshire feel about me.” She’d never, ever broached that subject before and she didn’t know why it slipped out now. Maybe it was the way Poppy looked at her, as if she was finally a grownup and that warranted a grownup conversation.
With a long, heavy sigh, Poppy leaned back in his chair and a look of resignation crossed his face as though he’d instantly made a decision that disagreed with him.

Again he leaned forward and said, “Yes my dear, I have heard the rumors and murmurings.”

“But,” he continued, “I have also watched you grow up with a knowledge beyond your years. You have a gift, my dear…a gift that frightens people who doesn’t understand.” Here he paused.

“I don’t understand either, Poppy.” Bella felt tears sting her eyes and as she blinked, they trickled down her cheeks.

Her grandfather quickly left his chair and went to Bella, pulling her to her feet and hugging her. Shushing her sobs, he said, “Don’t question it my dear; someday you’ll understand it all and that will be soon enough.

Now Bella was gulping with sobs as she whispered to her grandfather; “I hear voices, Poppy…voices in the forest. I’ve heard them since I was a little girl and I have visited the forest many nights since I was a child.”

She felt her grandfather stiffen, then he pulled away from her. His eyes, as they met hers, were filled with something she couldn’t read…fear? Now he released her abruptly, cleared his voice and changed the subject. “My dear, have you considered college in the city? Maybe you need to get away from Devonshire, meet new people, pursue a career. Have you given that some thought?”

Bella felt she’d said too much and reluctantly she followed Poppy’s lead. “I have thought about it Poppy but what would I do? What could I be? Life outside of Devonshire scares me. But life here scares me, too.”

“Why does life here scare you, child?” Poppy inquired as he reverted to addressing her as he’d always done.

Bella walked to the window. Gazing across an expanse of houses and shops to the forest beyond, she said quietly, “I think I belong to the forest, Poppy. Did you hear the howling last night, Poppy? They call….”

She stopped abruptly and turned to face her grandfather. His face had gone ashen. He reached to a chair to steady himself and she knew at that moment that he knew…he had probably known all along…


To be continued…

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Nov 1 @ 11:20AM  
Ya know...I'm hopelessly hooked again on another one of your stories.

Thank you for taking the time to write it and post it here.

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Once Upon a Halloween...Chapter 5