Quiet Country People

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  1. QCP Prologue.jpg

    To escape the pouring rain a large crow settled on the windowsill and cocked its dark head as it watched the servant inside gathering up the last of the ornate hat boxes. Her face grew even more ruddy as she huffed and puffed, cursing under her breath her employer’s love of hats as she tried to get down the narrow, sharply-cornered stairs in one trip. Another servant came up and opened the window, startling the crow and causing it to knock a small, potted fern off of the windowsill. It crashed to the ground near the feet of a lovely girl with platinum hair, scattering dirt and severed leaves on her skirt.

    “Just leave it, Leanne! For goodness sakes, there will be plenty of other plants where we’re going! Come on!” Mrs. Kingsley admonished, waving her reluctant train of children into the large carriage with her fan. Their father was already waiting for them, reading a newspaper, and their mother followed the three inside. Their former neighbors were all watching from behind the bars of their windows, twittering among themselves about the move. So the Kingsleys thought they were too good to live in Roma, did they? They’d always been queerly conceited for middle-class merchants, and with their youngest so sickly too… Oh, they might say they were going for her, but everyone knew Mrs. Violet Kingsley was a snooty so-and-so who thought because her husband was a banker she was too good for everyone. Mrs. Habersham clicked her tongue as the last servant came running out of the house, carrying a final suitcase. She was followed by a bulky figure swaddled in several layers of coats and cloaks.

    “Don’t you let Eliza get wet!” Mrs. Kingsley called from inside of the carriage, and the servant carrying the hat boxes awkwardly tried to hold one over Eliza’s head as she rushed, red faced, into the carriage.

    “Mama, you don’t-- have to do that,” she muttered, wheezing softly and yanking her scarf up over her mouth and nose. Compared to her siblings she was rather yellow, both in skin and hair, and her hazel eyes were set in delicate, lilac-colored flesh. She was also wearing at least five more layers than the rest of them, but each time she tried to shrug the great, dark green coat off, her mother pushed it back on.

    “We’re all uprooting our lives for you, Eliza, you might be more grateful,” Mr. Kingsley said, and Eliza coughed.

    “I doubt it will help. Nothing helps,” she muttered, crossing her arms. The carriage started off with a lurch and overhead rain beat in time with the swaying of the wheels. Soon Eliza had fallen asleep against the window and dreamt of large, strange birds in silver thorn cages.
    #1 Midian, Mar 19, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2014
  2. england1.jpg

    The arrival at Brighton Manor had not been exactly what the Kingsleys had been expecting. The prior tenant, the last son of a family that had apparently lived there for quite some time, had left abruptly and put the house up for sale. The entire thing was quite a scandal with whispers that he had gone mad, but the house had thus been very cheap and the Kingsleys had snapped it up. When they arrived they found the house full of leaves and acorns tucked into every nook and cranny known to man and it took the servants days to get all of the debris cleaned up. Mr. Kingsley shook his head, wondering who would pull a prank like that, while Mrs. Kingsley was thankful no one they knew could see them having to make do as the furniture they’d sent ahead was made liveable.

    Eliza had hidden out in the attic as often as she could to escape her mother and siblings, but was frequently found and scolded roundly for spending time in drafts. She longed to go to Brighton village and see what was there, but she was kept in the warm kitchen as her mother whipped all of her children into a frenzy, along with the servants, to get the house presentable in case they were invited to any parties by the other families.

    They were not. In fact, they did not see anyone aside from themselves. They knew there were other families in the area, but not a single emissary from any of them crossed their doorstep. Missing church the first week as they got settled in left them more lonely than they had ever been in the city, so by next Sunday they all loaded up in their carriage and set off for Brighton Village.

    Brighton Village was a small, sleepy town whose main features were a blacksmith, a tailor, a general store, a butcher, a livestock pen, a tavern, a church, and something sort of like a library. They drew no small amount of whispers and stares as they made their way to the church and slipped in a few minutes before the sermon started, putting Eliza on the end of the pew so she could excuse herself if a fit took her. After the end of the service Mrs. Kingsley ushered her children, daughters first, along with her to meet the pastor. He looked young, handsome, settled, and was quite possibly single. All of her daughters, even Eliza, were out, and so even though surely he had met the daughters of the village people, he had not yet met her daughters with their city education and breeding. God called for his children to be humble, but facts were facts.

    “Pastor, I’m Violet Kingsley and these are my daughters Leanne, Maria, and Eliza. We’re recently arrived from Roma and living in Brighton Manor, and we’re so very excited to get settled in here with your church and Brighton Village.”
    #2 Midian, Mar 19, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2014
  3. It was something short of a muggy day-- though it always had been muggy down there. The thermometer on the side of the wall read 21 degrees Celsius, but it was always a little off. But it certainly was humid in there. The young man sighed, and stripped off his vest. It was hardly morning and he could swear that he would be in the nude by the time that day was over. He took a small section of his lunch he prepared-- a sandwich, with freshly made bread and cheese-- and ate it. He wrinkled his features slightly. He had eaten some of the material he was working with.

    He was frankly proud of himself for this sandwich, really. It took him the entire morning just to scale the stairs, and the rest of the time to collect the food without shaking so bad he dropped his food. It took him... The teenager checked his watch. Ah! It took him nearly three and a half hours to simply make his lunch! Archibald sighed, and ran a nervous hand through his hair. He regarded the plate and few crumbs of bread with disdain. He'd have to go back up and put them away, he supposed.

    Archibald, a country famous cartographer, was busy at work with his newest project. He was to draw a large view of London, for a man his father worked with. The man was in his final hours, and his dread had always been to visit the place. But, for a man as weak as Mr. Reverent Scott Harpherll, it would be a dream he'd have to see about with The Man Upstairs. Archie, the teenager, looked over his shoulder. Ah! There the man was right now. Archibald was standing near the wall, for he had tapped the map there, for the man to see his work.

    Mr. Harpherll was a man of age, really. Wrinkled features, sunken in eyes-- and a curious false eye, that he dreadfully wanted to ask about-- and laugh lines like no one's business. Occasionally, Mr. Reverent would cough up phlegm, parts of his lung with pieces of blood, and grunt in appreciation for the piece. When Archibald had finished the skyline, he turned fully to the dying man. He was sitting in a recliner that his father had dragged down there, just for him.

    "How do you fancy it, sir?" He asked gingerly, rubbing the charcoal from his hands.
    "I love it, I really do, son." Mr. Harpherll wheezed. Archie winced, and turned away from him.
    "What color do you suppose the night sky is, sir?" Archie asked, after an uncomfortable amount of time.
    "Mmmm..." The man started. He never finished.
    Archie was still focused on his work, but he did speak up. "Sir?" Nothing. "Sir? Mr. Harpherll?" When Archibald turned fully, he found that the man was dead as a doornail.

    The teenager sighed, placing his blue charcoal on the table. He walked near the steps, and leaned onto the side. There was a long tube, that looked like something a man would put against his ear, if the had terrible hearing damage. He spoke into it loudly and clearly. "Uh, father? It seems our guest has..." He turned to who formerly was Mr. Harpherll. "Bitten the dust, as you say it." He winced as he spoke. Oh, Archie detested the dead, especially when they died in his company. "Father, " Archie added suddenly, "I would appreciate it if you hurried along, before he, uh... empties his bowels...."


    The man was 23 in age, and seemed to be nothing more than a boy in the body of a man. The man-child heard the call that the son had given, and he squealed in delight. "Oh, doctor~" He teased his unfortunate friend, who simply sighed and turned to him. Callahan smirked a glorious smirk, and motioned down stairs. "I believe our deal needs to be filed through, you know, for you debt." Callahan smirked even more wildly, and The Doctor flushed nervously.

    "Don't you mention it around the boy," Dr. Angstrom warned, with a fatherly point. "He has been though it enough, Callaha--" Archibald Senior couldn't continue.
    "Oh! My son! My poor son Nancy!!"
    "Callahan, you very well know your place," The man was testing The Doctor's will, and it was fraying terribly. He bared his teeth, and Callahan swore he saw canines.
    "Right, right, you got me, you old dog." He rolled his eyes, running a hand through his knotty hair. "Son of a bitch still down there? What are you going to do with the rest?"
    "That 'Son Of A Bitch', as you call it, was one of my dear friends."
    "Right, poor Mr. Heartfell--" Callahan was interrupted by a very impatient doctor.
    "Mr. Harpherll. " The Doctor warned.

    The two were silent, glaring at eachother almost indefinably. Dr. Angstrom stood up, and called after his son, to alert him that he was going down to help with the death. Callahan took this as he queue to leave the house, being sure to take the back exit, and over towards The Tangle. It was time to help with Mrs. Hart. He dreaded this, sure, but it was the life for now.
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  4. The Widow Hart, a woman equal parts gaunt and sagging, was more or less where Callahan had often come to find her: standing just on the edge of the Tangle, her hand posed along the invisible boundary line as though she were reaching for someone. She didn't hear Callahan come, as usual, and didn't turn even when he approached her. Per the usual her veil covered her face and breast entirely and her breathing was labored, almost sobbing. She allowed Callahan to lead her inside, however, and sank onto a locked trunk that had become a chair, apparently.

    One hand, more like a tree root than anything, emerged from the mausoleum of her dress and nervously touched nothing. She never really seemed to see Callahan, not really, but now the veiled head turned up to him and her body trembled. Her speech was never especially clear either, more like grackled squawking and wheezing than real words, but now she seemed to be trying to take care to really be understood. Today, it seemed, she was aware.

    And frightened.
    "Hhhherre," she wheezed. "Hhhhere! Briiighhhton Church."

    Suddenly she seized his sleeve in a paroxysm of terror, shaking and wheezing like a great, fleshy bellow.
    "Go," she panted. "Go. Go. Go. Go."

    And then she slumped forward, insensible. On the table next to her door was a letter from the Kingsleys at Brighton Manor, announcing their arrival in the countryside and hoping to become good neighbors to her. It was a week old.
  5. " . . . And so it was by faith that Abraham venture to an unknown land trusting the Lord's word that he was to inherit. By faith his wife Sara conceived a child when she was far past the age of child bearing. By faith Abraham, when tried, willingly offered up Isaac as sacrifice, and by faith that Isaac, when grown, blessed Jacob, the younger son, over Esau his brother." Henry Weston recited from the pulpit the enthusiasm for his topic shining from his brown eyes, "And there are even more men, and yes women too, mentioned in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews. But rather than dwell on these remarkable accounts of faith, let us turn our eyes upon our own lives and see how we may put such a trait into practice here and now. Perhaps it is by faith that you will go and be recoiled with a neighbor with whom you have quarreled. Perhaps it is by faith that you will set aside some money to be used for the poor. Perhaps it is by faith that you will visit a family member you have not seen for some time. Dwell in his word, reflect, pray, and see what steps of faith you can take in the coming week. Now let us bow our heads and pray before we are dismissed . . ."

    When the prayer was done Henry stepped down from the pulpit and began the usual after service socialization that so many of his parishioners seemed to find enjoyable. Really one might think they never saw one another except for Sundays after service. Not that Henry was complaining. A single bachelor of his age was a regularly sought after commodity by the church wives, and it was very rare that he went without an invitation of some sort to Sunday dinner. Said invitation also usually involved listening to a spiel about how accomplished any and every daughter in the house of marriageable age was. Again, Henry didn't mind. Food was food and when one lived, as he did, on the generosity of his fellow man, once quite simply did not complain.
    No matter how much they might want to.

    Speaking of which here was another one. Uh-oh, they were the new residents of Brighton Manor. He really should have paid his respects last week when they first arrived, but a number of strange circumstances had prevented it.

    “Pastor, I’m Violet Kingsley and these are my daughters Leanna, Maria, and Eliza. We’re recently arrived from Roma and living in Brighton Manor, and we’re so very excited to get settled in here with your church and Brighton Village.”

    "Please, Mrs. Kingsley, Mr. Weston will do just fine," he answered with a polite bow. "Many say I am too young for this position as it is, but well, a clergyman has to start somewhere does he not?" He gave a kind laugh as he turned now to greet her girls. "Miss. Kingsley, Miss. Maria, Miss. Eliza. I hope you are settled in well? I would have payed my respect to your family sooner, Mrs. Kingsley, but I'm afraid that . . . well no excuses. I'll have to make up for it now. Is there any way I may be of service to you and your family?"
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  6. Callahan went though his usual chores when he came to visit Hart. Pulling her away from the ugly shrubs, setting her on the very uncomfortable chair, and fixing her tea as she rambled about something. It was usually 'The Blasted Hearth", or, the fireplace that was scorched so terribly, it couldn't be cleaned. He has seen her scream into it, yelling about "The Bellowing Frogs" and how "They won't get clean, no matter how hard you scrub,"

    But today, it seemed different. She would never look at him, and when she did, she only did to laugh wildly, like some mad-women. But she seemed dead serious, and more so than usual. He nearly jumped as she grabbed her hand, like a sinner in a church, and he looked at the letter. He almost felt bad for her, the poor women had been through more stuff than Callahan could even imagine.

    Callahan looked at the letter, and placed it back on the table after reading. "Shh, shh," He said to Mrs. Hart. Sure, the man was cruel, and he killed for fun, but this women fostered him when no one would. He had to pay her back, really. "Hey, they're neighbors. New people! They might even be as messed up as you are," Bad thing to say, sure, but it wasn't like she was listening.
    • Love Love x 2
  7. "You may be a young pastor, but you are a remarkable speaker and it is clear the Lord has put his hands upon you," Mrs. Kingsley said warmly, nudging Eliza to her side as she put her hands on the shoulders of Maria and Leanne.
    "We would love to have you at our table anytime you would come. Will you join us for dinner next Sunday? We will have finished settling in by then, would you believe someone came into our house and put leaves in everything? We would have come last Sunday, but we just couldn't leave all of those leaves in there, you know. Perhaps next Sunday you could include a little something about loving your neighbors?"

    She laughed and clapped Maria and Leanna on the shoulders.
    "But my daughters are industrious and such good helps. Leanne is also a brilliant singer and Maria is such a comfort, even in times of adversity. Eliza is... Well, Eliza is quite ill. I hope you will pray for her."

    Eliza wheezed like an accordion deflating and Mrs. Kingsley shooed her out to join their father, who was ambling towards the front doors.
    "I do hope you will feel welcome in our little home," Mrs. Kingsley finished, pushing on her daughters' shoulders to get them to bow before taking them with her in a whirl of skirts and bonnets. By the time the three joined Mr. Kingsley outside, they only found Mr. Kingsley.
    "I sent Eliza out with you! Where is she?" Mrs. Kingsley asked, and Mr. Kingsley shrugged.
    "I didn't see her."

    Mrs. Kingsley sighed in irritation and turned to the twins.
    "Allen, please go see if she is 'exploring' around back of the church. Leanne, why don't you go in and see if she decided to go back inside? Perhaps ask Mr. Weston if he has seen her. And please, do try to recommend yourself more to him. He's a good match for you."

    As most of the parishioners filtered out of the church, Mr. Weston caught sight of the dishwater blonde head belonging to sick Eliza go darting past out of the windows and towards the back of the church. The next moment he heard a muted crash and he and Allen found her sprawled over a broke, rotted crate mostly hidden by the foliage that was always creeping up to the church. Unaware that the two men could see her, she was staring up at the angel statue stored back there. Unlike most angels, its face was contorted in sadness, and she seemed entranced by it even though her elbow was bleeding profusely. The little gold cross she wore around her neck swung and glinted in the dim sunlight.
    "Come on," she whispered, apparently to the angel.
    The Widow Hart remained insensible to Callahan's words, just as he'd predicted, but every now and again she'd begin to twist her wedding ring. It had worn a bloody rut in her flesh and she stood suddenly, pacing to the fireplace again. With a cry she began to dig in the ashes, dashing her fingers against the stone.
    "I saw you move!" she shrieked. "I saw you! I saw you move!"

    Ultimately, Callahan had to drag her away from the hearth lest she destroy her fingers entirely. For once she put up a struggle against being moved, striking weakly at him, but finally she settled down when placed on the trunk again and lay her head on his shoulder.
    "Oh," she sobbed softly. "Oh, she'll be crying soon. He bites, he bites! Bring her away!"

    She grabbed his sleeve again.
    "Bring her here! The little one!"
    #7 Midian, Mar 19, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2014
    • Love Love x 2
  8. Callahan didn't understand a lick of what she was saying. The little one? Was she talking about the weird farm animals again? But soon, after he cleaned the soot off of her fingers, and he seated her correctly on her seat. "The little one?" He thought to himself. But soon, he pieced two and two together. He rubbed his eyes with his dirty fingers, and sighed.

    "Jeez, Hart, you have to be kidding me," He muttered a breath. "You're talking about the sick one, aren't you?" And she was. There was a gleam in her eye, telling her that he was right. "That's kidnapping. That's illegal-- and don't you start me, if you could. I know my history, and so do you, but I am NOT bringing the neighbor's girl over to this rut," If it was one thing Callahan didn't like, it was kidnapping. Sure, taking a hostage or two was alright, but kidnapping? No way!! That was sick, and it was something that would make the blood on his hands all the more filthy.

    "What bites, anyway?" He wondered outloud, thinking that he ought to wonder differently. Like, had she even read the letter? Was it more of just her ramblings? Callahan gently pulled his sleeve away, kneeling before the old women. Maybe, just maybe, she was on to something. Callahan was going to regret this, quite honestly. "Make sense, you old hag," He muttered. "Who bites what? Is the little one Eliza Kingsley? Why do you want her here so badly?"

    He never thought he'd be helping. Nor, did he think that he would play the good guy.
    • Love Love x 3
  9. Maria couldn't help it - she mourned the moment they had to leave their beloved home in the city. Granted, she was glad that Eliza would fair better, and it wasn't that she simply hated the countryside. Quite the opposite, the area was gorgeous. Maria could actually hear birds singing, and the sun shone brightly above, while lovely greenery cast cool shadows upon them. Quite different than life in the city, with its bustling populous, and dreary exterior. Brighton Village was certainly much better for Eliza's health. However, there was a strong lack of - and she meant it in the most kind and modest way - good breeding within the town. Oh yes, Maria was sure they were good, god-fairing folk, same as the best of them. But simple townsfolk weren't going to help her family, or Eliza, with the thing that was most important in this industrial world - money.

    But she was a lady, first and foremost, and so of course Maria was polite on their excursion to the local church. She even smiled sweetly for the pastor, but as handsome and kind-hearted as he seemed, Maria knew better. He lived a life of meager means, and wouldn't at all be able to provide for the future Maria intended. As much as her dearest mother tried to sell Maria and Leanne to him upon this first meeting - Eliza only somewhat, the poor thing, she could really use a kind spirit like the pastor - Maria knew she wouldn't be marrying the man. Not in this lifetime, heavens no.

    She became distracted when Mrs. Kingsley shooed Eliza outside to wait with their father, and Maria bit her lip nervously. Eliza was quite...antsy, as of late. Maria understood entirely, of course, the poor dear was kept indoors so often. It was only natural, Maria supposed. But god help her, she just KNEW she should have gone out with her. It wasn't as though Maria had any further business with the pastor, but with her mother's hand wrapped so tightly around her shoulder, it was difficult to find a polite way to leave.

    So when they found Mr. Kingsley standing alone, Maria couldn't help but curse her mother, her normally serene blue eyes turning harsh and cold. Maria wasn't one to snap at her mother, but she wasn't ready to stay complacent. Damn the woman, why couldn't she be bothered to pay more attention to little Eliza? Who knew what could happen to her while they were fussing about here! While Leanne wandered back in to the church at their mother's command, Maria was already setting out to find her sister. Worry and fear plagued her mind, making her heart race as all sort of images sprang to her imagination. To most, they might say she was overreacting, but to Maria, they were real fears. What if Eliza was in trouble? In pain? God, just the thought made Maria tremble.

    The sound of the crash startled Maria. She was a ways away from where Eliza was, but it didn't stop Maria from rushing out in the direction of the sound, panic alighting in her heart.

    "Eliza! Eliza, where are you?" she called out. "Eliza! Answer me!"
    • Love Love x 2
  10. Brighton Manor was just the right environment for Allen and he strongly believed it was best for his precious sisters, specially Leanne. They had practically no visitors in their new home which was a nice change from having to drive away Leanne's potential husbands and having to do things society demands of them all the time. This was the peace and quiet he wanted, needed. And he knew it'll be good for his sisters. Probably not for Maria who preferred a different company. He was worried about the younger girl, she seems fixated on marriage. In this new neighborhood however, he needn't worry too much anymore.

    But obviously, their mother couldn't live as quietly as he'd hoped. He didn't want to bother with church because it means leaving for the village. Not that he hated the village, or the church for that matter, he just knew that his mother will try to marry off his sisters on the spot if she could and that may or may not be an exaggeration.

    He was tense, but an expert at looking calm. Any moment after the service, his mother is sure to practically sell his sisters. Probably not poor, sweet Eliza, though. All the time outside the Manor, as much as possible, Allen would hold Leanne's hand as if afraid she'll drift off if he let go, ushered away by their mother. He wouldn't let that happen. Ever.

    Sure enough, he was rendered invisible by his mother's attempts to get the Pastor interested in his sisters. His face stayed on its bored semblance even if he was thinking and planning every possible way of ridding Leanne of the Pastor should he show interest. He was a nice man; polite and well meaning. But Allen was not about to surrender Leanne. Fortunately, he didn't seem interested. Mrs. Kingsley let Eliza go to their father. He scanned the Pastor's eyes, then looked at his three sisters.

    Except the other was missing. One moment she was there the next moment-

    Allen's grip on Leanne's hand tightened as their mother gave the two instructions that went opposite directions. He glared at his mother, looked apologetically at Leanne and let go.

    He rushed off, looking for his youngest sister. She's prone to accidents because of her curiosity-much like him and Leanne when Maria was still a toddler. Which worried him even more. He would get in a lot of trouble back then, but he didn't wear heavy skirts and wasn't ill; and he always had close supervision on Leanne. Eliza's sure to get into an accident.

    And he was right. There was a mess but he finally found her, reaching out to an angel statue. He felt a sigh of relief but did not have time to even let it out. "Eliza! Stop!" He called out.

    Abandoning his father, he ran for the girl, immediately noticing her bleeding elbow. He clambered on something-he didn't care to look- and took Eliza away from the statue, easily lifting her into his arms because of her lightness and his own unused strength.

    He put her down and without further consideration, he hurriedly untangled his scarf from his neck and carefully patted clean the blood on Eliza's elbow. "Eliza," he said sternly, "Please don't run off like that." He checked the wound, it needed to be washed but it wasn't very deep. He wrapped the elbow in the scarf and fastened it. "Keep your elbow up, it'll stop the bleeding." He said, his voice softened with concern. "Here," He let Eliza hang her hand on his shoulder so the arm is elevated.

    He passed by his father without a word, said nothing to his mother, patted Maria's arm consolingly, telling her quietly, "She's alright." And he automatically linked his hand right back to Leanne, still with Eliza's hand on his shoulder. It was definitely no direct fault of theirs but he was very, very irritated at his parents. He just needed his twin.
    • Love Love x 2
  11. Leanne Aemilia merely gave a demure smile when she heard that they were leaving Roma for the countryside. Though inwardly she rejoiced. She had shared an unnoticed relieved smile with her brother then. It was great that their parents have finally decided to take Eliza's health much more seriously but being able to escape her suitors was another secret benefit. Though she knew of Maria's strange woes of not finding any rich gentlemen within the area. She never really understood her sister's strange want to marry higher in society, into money, but she wasn't to begrudge her sister her wants.

    She was, after all, a good Mother.

    It had taken her and Allen a lot of their combined wit, skill and manipulation to get her suitors to not pursue her. But she should have known her mother would be stubborn. (She idly thinks that this is where their stubbornness comes from, though it poured more into Allen than her, but still.)

    She raised her chin a bit tad higher as she heard her mother's orders. She pushed a stray lock of hair away from her face and gave the woman a very dark look. She was not stupid. Oh no! Leanne was far from stupid. She was probably smarter than her mother. Casting her icy silver-blue eyes back to the building, she gave a pleading look at her twin as he held her hand tighter before letting go.

    Her eyes widened slightly as he did so running off to search for their beloved Eliza. Leanne clenched her hand to her chest and entered the building once more. Eliza, she needed to do this for Eliza. Upon entering, she scanned the room for the man her mother desperately wanted her to "recommend" herself to.

    "Mr. Weston?" she called out softly, half hoping he wouldn't hear, half hoping he did. Eliza. She needed to look for Eliza. Curious little thing, much like she and Allen were when they were children, but Eliza didn't have their blessing of good health. "Mr. Weston?" she tried once more.

    Leanne walked in, leaving the door open in some sort weird mentality that if the door was shut, her connection to her brother would be too. Or something of that sort. As she opened her mouth to call out the Parson's name once again, a loud sounding crash made her head turn immediately to that location and without seeing if the parson noticed her, she gave a gasp.

    "Eliza!" she cried, more to herself than anything. She was out the door as soon as the name left her mouth. She walked more towards the direction of the crash.

    Leanne gave a bright smile as Allen appeared with their dear, oh so dear, Eliza. She unconsciously raised her left hand towards her brother, not so high, unnoticed by the rest. And Allen took it instantly. He held it tight, as if promising he was never letting her go. That was more than fine by her.

    Sweet relief filled her entire form and the painful hold on her heart diminished when their hands were together. She gave a bright smile instantly. But that smile turned into a small frown looking at Eliza.

    "Are you very much hurt, Eliza?" she asked, moving closer. Her hand still connected to her brothers. With her free hand, she brushed away the twigs and leaves and dirt of the other's dress. "Do be more careful, love." she reminded her sister with a small sad smile. "You must be more careful."

    She turned to her parents and kept her face blank and her silver-blue eyes darkened at the sight of them. Her parent's were always so foolish! Honestly!
    • Love Love x 3
  12. Maria felt she would faint, the moment she saw the blood on her darling sister. It had certainly been enough to make her heart jump straight in to her throat, that was for sure. But before she could act to help Eliza herself, Allen had swooped in, plucking their sister out of the mess as easily as a flower from the ground, and carrying her to a safer location. Maria followed after them, fretting like a mother hen over her chick, but Allen seemed oblivious to Maria, as he checked over Eliza's wound, and bandaged it with his scarf. Maria was relieved that no further damage had been done, but they needed to leave immediately if they were going to get it clean. At least, that was what Maria believed.

    Allen attempted to soothe Maria's worries, but it did nothing to console her. Perhaps, when they were children, his simple words would have done well to ease her. Back then, she could trust her older siblings. But as much as she loved them - and goodness, did she love Leanne and Allen dearly - she simply couldn't trust their judgement anymore. No, not in the least. Not with Leanne holding off on marriage, and Allen scaring off all suitors at any chance. Leanne was older than Maria, for heaven's sake! She should have been married some time ago, and had plenty of wonderful offers, in Maria's opinion. Sure, Maria could understand a girl being nervous about marriage. It was normal, it was natural. Even Maria got a fluttery heart when thinking about the day she'd have to leave Eliza to tend to a new husband. But it was specifically BECAUSE of Eliza that Maria and Leanne had to go through with this. After all, in this world, a woman's strongest lot in life was to marry, and to marry well, and Maria believed the Kingsley daughters had a stronger reason to do so than any other family.

    So when the twins linked arms, guiding Eliza away, Maria followed behind with a strong level of disdain in her eyes. No, they couldn't be trusted, her mind whispered, can't be trusted to do what was best for Eliza. As she thought this, she sidled up closer to her younger sister, smiling down at her sweetly, while stroking her hair with delicate fingers.

    "You scared me terribly, Eliza," Maria scolded gently, shaking her head. "I thought the worst had happened. Now, you know I don't mind you exploring, but at least do so when we can be there to watch over you." Or at least, when SHE was there to watch her. Mr. Kingsley would just lose Eliza again, and Mrs. Kingsley couldn't be trusted with a damn thing. Leanne and Allen...well, they could be trusted to watch her, at the very least. But part of her wondered if their famed recklessness as children had somehow transferred over to Eliza, and Maria couldn't be sure if they would remain a positive influence on her. "But, what's done is done, and you're alright. We just need to get you cleaned up, and you'll be right as rain, I'm sure."
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  13. Henry couldn’t help but let his eyes drift to the youngest Miss. Kingsley as her mother nudged her gently to the side so she could put the two older girls forward. He was not surprised to learn she was ill, only felt a bit saddened that her illness seemed to keep her from the same social interaction her sisters would no doubt enjoy. The older two girls were, he had to admit, very pretty. But both seemed quite disinterested in him despite their mother’s urging, and Henry couldn’t exactly say he blamed them. If they were from Roma then they were probably used to far more sophisticated company than a simple clergyman could offer, though Henry had traveled in that circle one and still knew how to assume the manners. Neither could he miss the obviously bored, but somewhat calculating glance he was receiving from the brother.

    “ . . .but we just couldn't leave all of those leaves in there . . .”

    Henry opened his mouth to inform the woman that it was probably not an actual person responsible for that mishap, all the houses in the area had the same trouble, but he was given no chance as she began to sing her daughters’ praises. Still he was grateful for the dinner invitation and was able to inform her of his acceptance of her invitation before she began to herd her family out. At the very least it would provide a change in routine from the families he was usually hosted by. Speaking of which, here was Mrs. Fairfax come to insure that he would be at her house for the meal in question.
    Once he assured Mrs. Fairfax that he had, in fact, remembered her invitation, Henry turned to greet another member of the congregation, seeing a head dart past the window. Now that was odd. He thought he heard someone call his name but he was already headed for the back door when he heard the crash.

    A moment later he was outside, and realizing immediately what must have happened moved to lift the debris of the crate aside as Miss. Eliza’s brother lifted her from the scene of the fiasco.

    “If she is in need of medical attention, Dr. Angstrom lives just over . . .” but the young man was so absorbed in tending his sister that Henry was unsure if his words had even been heard.

    Henry sighed as they walked away, releaved that the young Miss. Kingsley did seem to be in one piece, and looked up at the angel. “It’s ok,” he told the statue that leaned against the back of the church atop its block. “She probably only wanted a better look at you and stood on the crate to get it. At least that’s what it looks like to me. The fault is not yours . . .” with a grin at his foolishness Henry shook his head and returned to the church via the rear door. It seemed he never could pass that statue without trying to offer it some words of comfort. Perhaps because the pain he could, on occasion, see in its face so often mirrored his own.
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  14. Eliza had barely tolerated being picked up by Allen and having her arm wrapped up, but as he put her arm on his shoulder and as Maria combed through her hair, Eliza began to grow redder and redder and seemed to physically swell with anger. Anyone looking at Eliza might have feared her popping like overripe fruit and her siblings could hear her teeth beginning to grind. She was working herself up into a fit, but it was too late to stop it. Out came the first great wheeze, a priming of the pump that was her anger, and soon she snatched herself from Allen and Maria's reaches with a muffled whine of rage.
    "I don't need-- to be-- coddled like a-- baby! I'm FINE. Just-- just a scrape-- Not dying--But--"

    And here she had to pause, letting out a few, smaller heeeee's before she could continue.
    "Might as well-- be--dead-- for all you-- let me do! Don't--treat me like a pet you can just fawn over! I didn't ask any of you-- to get so worried!"

    As she tried to pick up her pace and leave them all behind her her skirt snagged on a bramble bush and she impatiently snatched it forward, leaving a sizable piece of the dull ecru fabric stuck on the dark brambles. Eliza tried to compose herself as they came into view of the other churchgoers, but her rage was barely hidden and she trembled with it. Anyone looking at her might have thought it was her illness and a few murmured sympathies to each other. By the time all of them arrived at the carriage Eliza was wheezing quietly into her scarf and pointedly ignoring all of her siblings and mother's scolding, very much resembling a cat that, as it is being held and can't fight back, resents its life. They soon found, however, that Mrs. Kingsley had not made it into the cart and was fussing around the back wheels.

    Upon inspection, the wheels were tangled with fresh, whippy vines that prevented the horses from pulling the carriage forward. Several people shook their heads sympathetically, but made no move to help. These city people would adjust soon enough, and learn to bring a hatchet with them when they went places. Mrs. Kingsley, however, quickly appealed to Mr. Weston for a knife or an axe to free their carriage. Once he hadd managed to get the carriage wheels free, Mrs. Kingsley pressed his hands and invited him to ride with them to the Angstrom's and to have dinner with them, such as they could manage so fresh after a move anyway, and he found himself seated across from Maria in the small carriage. From the corner of his vision he could see Eliza watching him, but only for a few moments before she looked out of the window again.

    There was probably no use in talking to him about it, even if he was the pastor. In fact, it probably had not been real at all, but rather the product of her illness or imagination, or both. But Eliza could have sworn she'd seen the angel's head bow during the final prayer when she'd been looking around at the congregation. When she thought it was safe to escape she'd easily evaded her father and gone around back, climbing onto the crate to get a better look at the angel's face. Maybe it had just been the lighting, but it appeared as though the statue's facial expression had changed to one of fear. However, the crate had broken and she'd found herself smothered under the feathered bottoms of her copious mother hens in attendance.

    No one told her they were going to the Wywolfe Estate for that very reason, and she looked ready to sass her mother when Mrs. Kingsley pulled her out and told her, in no uncertain terms, that Dr. Angstrom was going to look her over and unlike those other mothers, all of her children were going to live. Mrs. Kingsley rapped on the doors with politely-concealed authority, and then rapped again a moment later.
    #14 Midian, Mar 20, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2014
  15. It was Doctor Angstrom was there to answer the door-- but not quite yet. You see, when the Kingsley family came, he was dealing with two problems. Well, it was soon to be three. The Doctor was downstairs, not quite presently, trying to coax his son into helping him, despite his knowledge in his fears. This had been going on for almost twenty minuets, just two gentlemen going back and forth, talking about how the body was to be removed. This was going to be tricky.

    Eventually, Dr. Angstrom coaxed his son into helping, with a set of new brushes and supplies. It was good news for the Doctor, sure, but bad news for Archibald the First. As of presently, Archie was on the second step, holding the man uncomfortably by the britches. It didn't help that he was hyperventilating, too, because something wreaked, and it surely wasn't the occasional door mouse. They were on the steps, Archie on the third and his father on the sixth.

    That is when the door was battered upon. Both of their eyes grew as wide as dinner plates. They stood still, before Archie panicked.
    "Excuse me-- But father-- To hell with this!" He was breathing heavy, and not in the right sorts.
    "Don't you cuss at me, young man," Dr. Angstrom hushed.
    "Who might-- Who in the right mind-- It's the Sabbath--!!"
    "It's the Sabbath, and people like us work--" Archibald Senior was cut off by more door pounding. He looked at his son, and smiled. "Hey, Archie?"
    "Father--what are you--"
    "Archibald, I love you very much, please know that." Dr. Angstrom batted his eyes.
    "Father-- What do you--"
    "This is for the good of both of us, Archie."
    But, it was too late. Dr. Angstrom hushed him, while stepping forwards. Towards his son, he moved, and Archie tried to move, but his dad moved faster. Soon, Archie was supporting the weight of the dead body on his own, and his father raced up the steps like a hell hound. Archie was going to yell, but the door that led to the basement closed.

    It took him ten minuets to sort himself, and twenty more to simply leave the third step. His arms were killing him, but he had to make use of the dead body. He spent most of his time dividing a plan, and talking to himself. "Okay," He started, looking at the dead body. "What do I have here." He sighed. This was going to be fun.


    Dr. Angstrom was fortunate enough to make it to the door. He looked slightly disheveled, sure, but didn't every doctor on this side of the damned country. He ran a hand through his hair, and scratched behind his ear. Oh, that felt good. He then opened the door, and smiled greatly. Maybe a little too greatly, because he did seem to scare the new neighbors. He cleared his throat, and looked over them, before he saw one odd ball that stuck out from the family. "Oh," He chuckled. "You must be the Kingsley family. Welcome, welcome," He opened the door for the entire load, and welcomed them in.

    The house was much larger on the inside, with red wooded floors and walls covered with diagrams and paintings and, of coarse, maps. There were bookshelves wherever you turned, and the entire placed was warm with the warmth of the hearth. The tables were stacked with books and papers and notes a-plenty. He never really got around to cleaning after his dear friend passed earlier that day. But, other than the books and so forth, there was something off. Near the corner, was just a cracked stairway, with cobwebs and bugs crawling all around. It was as if no one had been on the upper level in quite a long time. And no one has. Dr. Angstrom talked, walking into the living room. "Make yourself at home," He said. "Coffee? Tea? Water? I do apologize for the mess,"


    It took a while, but he managed with what he could do. Archie was proud of himself. He managed to hide the dead man in his bathroom, which was mighty disturbing, mind you. Archie positioned him so that he might be sitting on the toilet, so if anyone was to walk in, they would close it quickly. Well, seeing that it was occupied. He was brilliant. The chair was still oddly there, so he simply pushed it towards the wall, like it was and had been there the entire time. This was great! He clapped himself on the back, and went towards the night view he was working on. He decided to finish it, for Reverent's sake.

    Archibald faintly thought that people died around him often.
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  16. "I hope we are not troubling you, Doctor. My name is Violet Kingsley and these are my daughters Leanne, Maria, and Eliza. Ah, and this is my son, Allen."

    She took Dr. Angstrom's hand warmly as her husband cleared his throat.
    "Oh! Right, thank you dear. My son is studying to be a doctor and my youngest is often ill, as I'm sure you can see, so I thought it would be advantageous for all of us if we became acquainted. I understand you have a son as well, and my daughters could use the company of other young m-- folk. If it isn't any trouble, I could take a bit of tea. Your house is quite lovely..."

    As they headed into the siting room Mr. Kingsley introduced himself to Dr. Angstrom and Mrs. Kingsley was sure she'd forgotten something else that she couldn't remember just that moment. Eliza drifted to the back, smiling shyly at Mr. Weston and rubbing her injured arm before they passed a vent and she froze. Eliza leaned her ear to it and frowned, biting her lower lip. She could hear sounds coming from the basement through it and hurried to catch up with the group.
    "Dr. Angstrom, where might your, um, your facilities be?" she asked shyly, and when he gave her directions she scurried off.

    Out of sight, she quickly began trying to find her way into the basement to see what the noise was. After seeing the angel move, she couldn't resist trying to see what other, strange things might be going on. It wasn't as though she was really welcome in the alliance-making of the tea room anyway, and she was desperate to get away from her siblings after the church debacle. As she moved further and further into the house she began to find acorns on the floor, and she heard the next one drop seconds before she rounded a corner. Eliza found herself at the end of a hallway and stuck her head into the only door there. It led to a bathroom where a man was slumped on the toilet.

    Eliza would have ducked back out, except he didn't respond to the door opening except for a few large, dark brown acorns to spill from his pants leg. There were leaves spilling from his mouth in bright autumn hues as well and his wrinkled skin looked more like bark than skin. Eliza wondered why anyone would prop such a queer scarecrow up in a bathroom, of all places, but she heard something skittering out in the hall and ran out of the bathroom, leaving the door wide open. Now there were leaves leading down the hall and she followed them to the basement door. Surely whoever was playing games with her must have retreated into the basement! She listened at the door and, sure enough, she could hear someone down there.

    The door seemed to be unlocked, a few leaves sticking out of the keyhole, and she let herself into the basement.
    "Hello, why are you hiding?" she asked the young, blonde man.
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  17. Dr. Angstrom smiled happily at the sound of the family. He hated the part of the child being ill, though. No child should ever happen upon an illness quite like that, but he didn't pay no mind to it physically. " Oh, absolutely," He smiled. He stood up accordingly, and ventured a short vetnure into the kitchen's thresh. He was still partly in the living room, but he was just delivering some tea he made earlier that day. Before he did, the child whom was named Eliza asked about the loo. He gave directions, collected some tea for the women, and coffee for the man, and went back into his living room.

    "I'm sorry I didn't respond quite so quickly to the door. My son and I, Archibald, were doing some...." He paused, placing down the cups to the respected persons. "Folk dancing." Folk dancing? Honestly, doctor. He shook his head, and turned his attention towards the male-- the male teen, that was. "So! I see you're interested in the medical studies?" He smiled. "I always wanted my son to follow along with me. He is named after me, after all. But, he is going to be a lovely explorer when he grows up." He motioned to a very beautiful map on the wall. It was large, with very wispy lettering. "He made this when he was only fourteen. He'll do alright,"


    Archibald, while the other managed to sneak into the basement, had been busy occupying himself. He had created an invention, to try and help with his fathers strange behavior on every queer night in every month. It had a wheel, and it rolled out through the courtyard and through the entirety of the entire countryside, and near The Tangle. It never got past, though, but he was sure he would find it this time. His back was turned towards the entirety of his room, and his attention was focused outside. The invention was much like a telescope, but it took snapshots in time! It was very amazing, indeed. He used it often to turn the snaps into works of mapping art!

    While he tried to locate his invention, he tugged on a trusty cord he wrapped around the invention, but when he pulled the entire way, the rope seemed frayed, as if an animal had bitten through it. He frowned, and went away from the window, and back towards his space. He popped the lid of a curious box, and pulled out a record that one of his customers payed him in. It was a small one, called La Vie En Rose. It was French, but it was also one of the only records he enjoyed playing. He memorized the entire song! Archie was about to play it, (albeit softly, his father hated interruptions) when he heard a voice.

    "Hello, why are you hiding?"

    Archie jumped fifty feet into the air, and backed himself into a wall. He looked at the girl, and was in a mix between shocked and terrified. How did she get down there? How did she
    KNOW he was down there? Archie reached for something-- ANYTHING to protect himself. He has seen plenty of weird stuff, and he wasn't ready for his unalerted encounter to end up a bad one. He grabbed a large pole he used to roll up completed maps with. It was new, and had nothing on it. He swung it infront of himself, holding it with two hands. He was blocking her from himself, so she may not attack the parts he really needed.

    "Who--What are--Where did--HOW did--" He was talking a mile a minuet, and he really had no intent to stop. "You--Who are you?? Why are you here--How did you get in here? Did I possibly-- Oh, bugger. Stupid, stupid-- What gives you the right to just-- Oh, bloody! Stupid, stupid, stupid!" The stupid part was mostly for him. He was the stupid one. Stupid, nervous little boy. "No!" He shook himself out of it. "I'M not hiding! This is MY space--Out, out with you, now!" He was scared. Petrified, really. He motioned towards the door with his stick.
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  18. She had wiped the dust off of all of the bookshelves. She had put her clothing back in the closet and she had put the books that her younger siblings had pulled out, back on the shelf.

    Now, maybe she would be able to have a bit of fun. Or at least a dash of fun before the dreaded elder siblings popped out from the wood works. Pippa's older siblings were always hindering her. And fussing and reprimanding and scolding! 'Pippa, no! Pippa, don't!' "All they ever do is whine and complain..." The young girl grumbled as she slipped out the back door. She would have gone through the front, but her brothers were playing there and they would surely holler just to spite her. "The treacherous brats." She hissed under her breath as she removed her shoes and scrambled through the hedges that would eventually lead her to the road. She had decided just the other day that she would travel to Brighton Village to see the newest additions to the land. She had heard that they were from Roma and that they had children. Maybe she would be able to find someone to accompany her on her adventures! Or at least someone to play tricks on.

    It was only when she had walked for about ten minutes that she realized that without a carriage or at least hitching a ride on someone's wagon, she would never reach the village until it was dark. Well...If she swam she might be able to get to town in a reasonable time! She could let the current pull her down stream! It would certainly take a lot less time then walking. But if she came home with sopping wet clothing, her siblings would surely shout at her.
    But it would have been worth it!

    And with that, Pippa Stonewall, waded into the river and began to swim.
    #18 Cosmic Penguin, Mar 20, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2014
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  19. At the Widow Hart's house, Hart suddenly became agitated again as a small blue butterflies battered itself against the window. Although she had good and bad days, today was the worst Callahan had ever seen her. Abruptly she rose from the trunk again, grabbing up the multitudes of junk that lay around her house and violently putting them back down.
    "Everything's going to come undone! You didn't go! You didn't go!" she cursed, rounding on him. Widow Hart seized the first thing she could get her hand on, a half-rotten canteloupe she'd been hoarding since the last time he saw her, and threw it at him.
    "Go! Go! Go! There are fish to catch!" she screamed at him, nearly rending her veil in agitation. The butterfly battered itself to death againsts the cracked glass.

    Meanwhile, the current washed Pippa along, getting stronger and stronger as blue butterflies lit along the banks, seeming to wave their little antennae 'goodbye' at her as she was carried downstream. The river was so strong it felt as though hands were actually pulling her down, and when Pippa went under, the theory was confirmed. A girl, about her age veined with roots and whose hair looked like lank seaweed, was holding her under. The girl's opaque eyes were unblinking, but ripples from the surface seemed to scare her off and she let go of Pippa's ankle quickly. The butterflies on the surface scattered.

    Several of them lit on the windows of the nearby Wywolfe Estate, only unnoticed by the Kingsley adults and Dr. Angstrom. An electric and haunting blue, they would have been the prize of any collection. As Henry was sitting there, on the other end of the couch from Mrs. Kingsley, he saw an acorn roll across the doorway and down the hall. It fell into the vent and clanked all the way down to the basement where Archie held Eliza at bay with the flagpole.
    "Are you quite mad? You lured me down here with those leaves and acorns! Why would you try to frighten me with that awful scarecrow in the bathroom and then lead me down here if you weren't hiding? And why aren't you upstairs with everyone else? It's very rude, you know," she said, putting her hands on her hips.
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  20. As Henry fetched a spare hatchet from the church and Helped Mr. Kingsley free their carriage wheels, he explained to the man that this sort of behavior of nature was normal all over the country. Especially as one got nearer the Tangle. He actually had a good bit of advice to offer the man, things he had been left to learn himself more or less, and he was about to ask if there was a good day of the week where he might stop by so they could talk when Mrs. Kingsley invited him to dinner.

    He tried to explain to her that he already had made arrangements but that he would be more than happy to keep their engagement for the following Sunday, but he never-the-less found himself in the carriage with them as they made their way to the Wywolfe Estate and introduced themselves to Dr. Angstrom. He had plenty of time, so he wasn't terribly worried about being late, but he was beginning to think that Mrs. Kingsley could give any farm wife in the country a run for their money when it came to parading her daughters about. He felt guilty afterwards. It was an unkind thought.

    When Dr. Angstrom passed out the tea and coffee Henry very polity refused, seeing this as a very good opportunity to escape, leave. Making his apologies and stating only that he really did have pressing business elsewhere and he was very sorry, but he could not accept the kind invitation to dinner today, Henry finally managed to slip out of the room. But as he stood to leave his eyes caught sight of a blue butterfly on the windowsill and his smile slipped. It had taken him a while to learn why the previous Parson had declared the place "demon infested", and now that he knew . . .
    As he left the room he saw an acorn roll across the floor and drop into the vent. It was then he realized that he hadn't yet seen the youngest Miss. Kingsley return. Remembering her earlier curiosity he ventured to the vent and was rewarded with the sound of voices coming through.

    With a sigh he then made his way to the basement door and rapped loudly on the frame.
    "Archie?" he called in a clear but friendly voice. "Are you up for a visit today? It's Henry Weston, may I come down?"
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