Stanley Part 6 - Dreams

1972


Elizabeth threw her navy blue beret and coat over the banister, dropped her satchel on the floor of the hall, and then kicked off her black leather shoes. Thankfully, it was POETS day and she could stay up later and not have to get up early in the morning. Her mother called from the sitting room.

“Elizabeth? Do me a favour, will you please? Just fetch me the Cellotape from the study? Thanks!”

What a pain; she had only just walked in the door! Elizabeth made her way to the study, short huffs and puffs breaking out with every other step. Reaching the door of the study, she threw it open with a tut and discovered her father standing there smiling.

“Daddy? Oh, Daddy! You’re home!” She ran into his arms and he held her tight before pushing her away gently.

“Let me take a good look at you. My, I swear you've grown while I've been away! Are you taller than your mother already?” he laughed.

“Don’t be silly! Well, I nearly am!” she grinned back.

Elizabeth studied her father for a few seconds while he rummaged in a khaki-coloured holdall resting on one of the chairs. His short black hair was sleeked back, giving even more emphasis to his high forehead and deep-set eyes. He was tanned a deep brown, but he looked tired. There was something else too. She sensed it every time he came home. Part of him had been left behind.

After a couple of minutes rooting through the holdall, he presented her with a gift wrapped in a white paper bag. "As you're getting older and no longer a baby, I thought I would give you something more fitting for a young lady. I can always take it back if you want to swap it for a doll?” he teased.

She ripped open the bag, opened the box inside, and then gasped with delight. “They’re beautiful! What are those stones, Daddy? Are they real?” Her eyes were sparkling as she pulled the earrings out of the box. “Put them on me please,” she squealed.

Henry Whyte started to chuckle. It was clear to Elizabeth that he loved these moments. They both did. They were all part of their homecoming ritual. He pulled her waist-length bunches to one side as he fed each one through her ear lobes. When he had finished, he said, “They’re pearls I think, sweetheart. And yes, they’re real as well as special! I want you to wear them -– always.”

The milky stones sparkled against the deep silver setting as Elizabeth’s head bounced with delight. Henry sat down on one of the armchairs and patted the arm for Elizabeth to join him.

“How have things been while I have been away? Has everything been OK?”

“Yes. Boring!” She declared with a sigh.

“What about with you?”

“Well, I have been having strange dreams and I saw you in them.” She averted her eyes, concentrating on the jewellery box the earrings had come in as she spoke. “You kill people, don’t you, Daddy?”

Henry stiffened for a split second and then answered, “Yes, I do, Elizabeth. But I don’t kill anyone who would not hesitate to kill me first if they could.”


Thou shall not kill


She nodded. “I know. I saw you in my dreams. Are you a bad man, Daddy?”

It wasn’t as if he hadn’t been expecting the question; he knew it would come one day. In fact, he had considered the answer to it many times when he had hours, even days on his hands with nothing else to do but think about questions and moments like this.

“It all depends...” He struggled to find words he had rehearsed in his mind a thousand times before. “The world is not black and white, Elizabeth. Nothing ever is.”

“What if someone kills you, Daddy? Will you come home? Will I be able to see you like I can the others?” She lifted her face and looked into his blue-grey eyes.

“If I have a choice. If I die and there is any way I can come back to you, then believe me, your father will do so.” He meant every word he said.

Satisfied, Elizabeth again turned her attentions to the small box her earrings had come in. “Can I show Mummy, Daddy? What did you get her?

Henry laughed and jumped up from the chair, “Come on. Let’s go and find her!”
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4 Comments:
  • At 11 June 2010 at 15:04, Anonymous @howiehippobum said…

    I found this scene extremely touching.
    Can't wait for the next installment!

     
  • At 11 June 2010 at 15:09, Blogger Charles Gramlich said…

    Poets day! A day whose time has come. I like the milky stones, remind me a bit of the toir'in-or in the Talera books.

    the scene is cool and creepy at the same time. The idea of her wanting to see her dad if he should die.

     
  • At 11 June 2010 at 23:19, Anonymous Miladysa said…

    Thank you Howie. Your comment, and others like it, are the fuel that feeds the writer in me :)


    Charles - Do you call Friday Poets Day in America?

    "I like the milky stones, remind me a bit of the toir'in-or in the Talera books."

    I like that :) The ones in this story are a hybrid of the myths surrounding holey stones,pearls and Arthurian myths. Did you use any of these sources as inspiration for the toir'in-or?

     
  • At 17 July 2010 at 16:03, Anonymous Melissa said…

    What a beautiful scene! I love the transition of the gifts being to a young woman instead of a little girl. And the questions she asks him, especially:
    There was something else too. She sensed it every time he came home. Part of him had been left behind.
    And when she asks him if he dies will she be able to see him like the others ... awesome!

     

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Whituth's living can't see the dead but psychic Elizabeth Whyte can see everyone: living humans, delayed souls, fallen angels, vampires and fae. She helps maintain the fragile peace between light and darkness in her work with RoYds, an unworldly refuge. But that peace has suddenly become fragile. Whituth's carefully maintained balance is tipping toward darkness. Now Elizabeth and her angelic allies must discover who or what is threatening both town and refuge before balance is lost forever

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