Alice Garnet looked at her beautiful mother who placed a lace scarf around her neck and checked her elegant profile. Alice thought her mother was as elegant as she studied her classically Grecian profile and watched the hemline of her mother’s white silk dress make ripples like water washing softly on the shore. A pearl earring fell to the floor and Mrs. Garnet picked it up, gave a small gasp of surprise to see her daughter hiding under the bed, and smiled at her. “Why you little imp!” she said picking up her daughter and softly kissing her cheeks. “It is beyond bedtime and you know you are not supposed to be here at this time. Now get to bed before the nanny comes in wondering where you are’” With that Mrs. Garnet gave her eight year old daughter a slight push out of the room while laughing. Suddenly loud footsteps sounded throughout the room making the mother and daughter stop in their tracks. Mrs. Garnet’s hand slightly trembled like a baby bird’s wing as her delicate hand was on her daughter’s slight shoulder. “Mother?” whispered Alice. “Is father home?” Mrs. Garnet gave herself a slight shake before saying in hushed tones. “Dear, I want you to carefully go into my walk-in closet. Your father does make a fuss if he sees you out of bed at such a late hour.”
Alice craned her neck to see her mother’s lovely rose completion cheek go deathly pale, making her topaz eyes look bigger. Why was Mother so afraid of Father? Alice did not see some harm in coming out of bed to talk to her mother after bedtime, it was naughty, yes but Father could be so disagreeable that when he was angry, he would say in a tight voice scathing remarks to not only his daughter but also her mother. Alice hurried to the closet and closed the door. She shook slightly as she coerced in a corner and she held on to her mother’s coat that was hanging there. It was somewhat comforting to have her mother’s coat there, smelling slightly of her exotic perfume and feeling a built comforted. Alice heard the door to her mother’s room open and heard the slight footsteps of Mrs. Garnet before the loud ones of Mr. Garner.
“Why are you rushing in your room like this?”
“No reason dear” said Mrs. Garnet
“Are you expecting someone,” said her husband, his tone quiet but biting.
“I don’t know what you mean!”
“You know exactly what I mean, Laureate. The gardeners and the house servants have been telling me that you have been meeting someone in the garden. Well, who is he?”
“Have you been spying on me?”
“Answer me, Laureate!”
There was silence and the little girl tried to keep the tears from her eyes as she felt the familiar tenseness that pervaded throughout the house begin again. How could a warm memory of watching her mother fix her hair for the night turn to something so ugly?
“Fine! That man I have been talking to is my lawyer”
‘Why would he be here?”
“I am asking for a divorce from you. I cannot live far away from others anymore. I cannot live like this. You re gone all the time and I do not know where you are at. You get angry if I take my time away from you or from the house, I need to be free! I need to leave with Alice. You will be able to live with whatever woman you want. I know you have a mistress and I will no longer be the butt of jokes amongst society. “-”
There was a sound of a loud slap and a scream before the sound of a person falling on the ground/ Alice sprang up and knew instinctively that it was her mother whose face had been hit. Alice ran to the door but she did not know that Mrs. Garnet had locked the closet door. “How dare you hit me!” sounded out Mrs. Garnet. For a while, there was silence before Mr. Garnet’s stern voice sounded out in a vicious yet calm tone that was more threatening then if he had yelled. “Get up Laureate. We are going to this party.”
“No, I will not”
“You will not make a fool of me. Get up.”
There was a sound of defeat in Alice’s mother’s voice as she said “Alright.” Mrs. Garnet walked to the closet and took her coat before whispering to Alice, “Dear, I want you to stay here for a little while and then go to bed. “ She bent down to kiss Alice’s scared face. “Don’t looks so hurt dear; he didn’t hit me as hard as you think. Do not be scared. I love you” and with that Mrs. Garnet walked defeated out of the room.
Alice lay down on the carpeted floors and looked at her mother’s wide amount of shoes. She stared at a design on a slipper before feeling the slow peace of sleep cross over her. Alice closed her eyes and traveled to the milky land of sleep. It was a strange dream, she had. She dreamt that her mother was flying in the night sky! The stars were glittering and shining from her mother’s dark golden hair. Her white dress glowed in the moonlight and there was freedom in her movements. Alice was flying too! She took her mother’s hand and they flew together, dancing in the night sky and looking at the horizon. Suddenly, Mrs. Garnet let go of her daughter’s hands and floated away, waving slowly and smiling. “Come back, Mother! Come back!” screamed Alice as she tried to fly near her mother but Mrs. Garnet was unchanging, waving until Alice was alone, hanging in the stars. Suddenly there was a sound of crashing; liked eh sound of a car being ran off the road and glass breaking. AAlice’s hazel eyes opened as she heard the closet door open to reveal one of her mother’s house cleaners. ‘There she is, doctor,” said the maid. ‘She was sleeping in the closet.”
“Should she be told?”
“Mercy no, let the little girl have a full night’s sleep.” Alice felt herself being picked up and next thing she knew, she was laid in the cool sheets of her own bed.
It was almost dawn when Alice woke up. There was some kind of surrealist as the white light of the morning sky lit up her room. Alice got out of bed to look outside of the window. It was a cloudily morning and would be so chill that she would stay inside. The only color was the deep green of the grass. Alice ran to her mother’s room only to see two men dressed in black looking at the jewelry box. “Who are you?” she asked.
Only one man smiled at her, “I am Mr. Johannes, your mother’s lawyer and this is Mr. Jakes your father’s attorney. I have some bad news for you. Last night your mother and father were driving on a slick road and they must have been in an altercation because soon the car veered to the side of the road. It slowed down some but your father must have sped up at the hairpin turn because soon the car flew over the side of the road down to the cliffs. I am very sorry, but your parents are dead.”
Alice sat down on the floor and said in a very soft voice “Mother?” suddenly the sting of tears pricked her eyes. She felt her little body shake silently as a sob escaped her throat. Alice, the little girl who had no friends except her mother was now alone in the world and nothing would stop this pain she felt in her heart.
“What will happen to me now?” she asked the lawyers, tears forming in her strange colored eyes. The lawyers, despite their propriety felt sorry for the little girl. She was as slight and delicate as tears streamed from her eyes, which were a green with slight traces of gold. Her hair was a strange mix of gold and light brown and framed her angelic face. She was so delicate and fragile to be going through any child’s nightmare and Mr. Johannes said in a tender tone, “Alice that is the problem we have here. Your mother was in the process of divorcing your father and made it clear that she would have liked her aunt to take custody of you. Unfortunately this aunt is very old and so it would be her children who would care for you. However your father’s will made it very clear that he wanted his brother, a man named Rolf, someone you don’t know to care for you. We do not know what to do about the situation. We think that after the funeral we will decide who will have custody of you.”
Alice did not know who these relatives were. Her Christmases and birthdays were mostly spent with her mother and so she did not know what to do.
What will happen to Alice? Stay put for Part II
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