Changing Faces - Part Three


Colette sat down upon her bed. It was a beautiful, dark-wood frame; Paul had given it to her as a surprise one anniversery. A patchwork quilt covered it, a lovely, brightly colored thing she had sewn while she was carrying Annette. She remembered how this bed used to make her feel; all safe and cozy inside. She would think back sometimes, to the early mornings when she'd wake up, and Paul would still be asleep. She used to cuddle up right next to him, wrap the quilt around herself like a caterpiller in its cocoon, and listen to his light breathing for hours.

She never feels like that anymore. Nowadays, this bed feels far too big and empty; the sheets and quilt are cold. And now, everynight when she goes to bed, she blows out her candle and can nearly _see_ the darkness moving towards her, trying to engulf her.

She doesn't sleep well anymore.

Straighting the quilt, she reaches down and picks up her diary from where she dropped it last night. Its a well-worn book, with the page corners crinkled from the many times she's gripped them to turn the pages.

Opening it, her glance falls upon the first entry.

Dear Diary, God, this feels foolish. Keeping a diary, me! I haven't written in a diary since I was sixteen and pouring out my heart onto the paper about how beautiful my sister's beau was. Speaking of Anthony, he's gotten very fat last time I saw him at the family luncheoun- But this diary isn't about my brother-in-law. It is about me. My daughter. Both my daughters-

Here the ink was smeared from where her tear had fallen upon it.

-Oh, Raven's healthy enough. Eating like an ox. She's growing more than Annette did at that age. Place her on the floor, and she scoots her legs and feet under her as if she intends to stand up and walk. Silly thing, she's only three months old. Annette doesn't want much to do with her. Can't say as I blame her. The first time she saw her--sister--she screamed and fled from the house. I've been contemplating placing her in a private academy when she grows old enough for school. The other children around here treat her as an outcast, ever since they heard of her 'demon sister'. Stupid children. The other women don't talk much to me, either. I went walking the other day, and Eliza Kinross saw me and crossed the street to get away. Foolish old biddy, does she think I carry the plague?!-

Here Colette stopped reading. Turning over some pages, she came to a blank page.

Dear Diary, she wrote.

Dear Diary,

Strange to think; I used to feel the greatest gift Paul ever gave me was Annette; if that's the case, then why was the last one Raven? Oh, she still healthy; gets bigger every day. Toddling about, now.

Today she called me Mama. I do not know why. I certainly never encouraged the use of that word. I always have Eloise call me Ms.Darkholme around Raven. Perhaps she heard Annette call me that word. Next week, Annette leaves for Ms.Chexue's Academy in France. She sees it as a wonderful thing. She said to me, "Mama, there no one will know about us; about Raven. I can make friends and play games and never hear the words 'hellespawn'. Won't it be glorious, Mama?"

Of course it's glorious, I told her, giving her a kiss. Glorious for you, my child. But what about me? I'm going to be here all alone when she leaves; all alone except for Raven. Eloise is no longer a true friend, she stays around for the money and the chance to gossip to her friends about the crazy woman with the disfigured daughter. No one else comes near here anymore. And when Annette's gone, what will be left? Just this big, empty house, this cold, empty bed to lay in, and downstairs, a dark, not-at-all empty room with a blue skinned child in it.

I'm so lonely Diary. Please Paul, I can not do this anymore. Take me home with you; take me to the place you went to, the place that is so much better than this place, the place with Mere and Pere and Cecile, and where there are no indigo-blue children.

Please Paul, come and get me.


Colette finished writing, then tucked her diary into a satchel hanging by the door.

Yes, today, she was very tired.

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