|Forum Home > Fiction > The House of Thibideaux, pt 5|
Slowly, he lifted from his pocket a small and shiny mirror and set it on the ground. ``I found it just this morning; I had not seen it in years. I thought you had taken it with.'' He nodded, but it seemed mostly for his own good, not mine. ``But no ... I know that was not true. Not now. It was your mothers. She had kept it when mine had gone. And placed it for me, just this morn.''
I was stunned. Held back even, shaking my head away. ``You are mistaken Matthew, you are. No way could she have done it, I can show you where she lies and I was not even here to dig it.''
``No, no.'' Back and forth, side to side, never did he cease, almost in a circle, rocking himself to and fro. ``I buried her myself, I ought to have, you know.'' He settled then, just then, I could hear it in his voice- for it quieted, and his rocking had nearly ceased.
``I know not what destroys you- within, nor do I know what calms you. It appears like here lately that one has taken over where you find your peace but I pray that it leaves you soon.''
Like a child again, I sat rocked with him in my arms. My mother, ours I meant in fact, had once done the same to the both of us, now I did it for him. Like her to us, I did unto him, not always knowing our woes nor worries, nor the trials that led us to her. At last I managed to pry him from the ground, leading him through and around, taking a trail through the trees and out into the fields.
``You need not lead me as if I do not know, Antony. I know what they did; I am the one who told them to do it. Something very wrong indeed with it.''
I was surprised, I had been warned of strange happenings, but this is not one I expected, I gave him a wearied eye.
``Aye, I did.'' He nodded. ``I told them to take down the tree, indeed. Whatever it was that shot, it did it from the tree, it is connected to the waters, and the forest that it dwells in.'' His eyes were bewildered, but they held some truth beneath. I had seen something myself from it in the night, but did not tell him so. His own grief was burden enough.
I sat us in the dining hall, for I did not want to see the carnage through the kitchen windows. The only one I cared for was gone and buried there, and it was still too much to bear- much less see the damage done. While Matthew sat and dozed, I found another bite to eat- yet brought it all for him. My stomach could not take it.
``Tell me Matthew, why?''
His eyes flashed for just a moment, and held insanity I could not dare to pin. ``What, brother?''
``Enough of that already, if you have something to tell- then tell it, not just as brother for even they will lie to one another. You had to have brought me here to figure things out. I saw the girl, I did. Upstairs, where we sat the night before.''
Again he flashed, not in mind this time, but body. His face showed sadness, almost like in the woods before. ``Whatever do you mean? Of course she is here, though not entirely so. Other than the one night, she had said she would not return, `cept when the time was right. She said that you would know.''
My rage had finally out grown me and I flung the table to its side. I knew not where it came from but it lasted long enough. I grabbed him and pulled him along behind me. Behind me even, when he did not walk himself. I could not control it, even if I could, I was not sure I wanted too just then.
``Matthew, you called me here to help you in your troubles, which I do not mind. Nor trying to ease your worries, but this ...,'' I pulled him up the stairs, struggle he did not. My rage was stronger than his fear, not for all would it be such, ``this has got to stop. Now, look. Look!'' I pushed the doors wide open, whatever did I see. My heart was giddy, and went a quick bump bump, again and again; all things were not the same.
Matthew giggled, a childlike giggle, then fell upon his knees in the doorway. ``You saw her too, didn't you?'' His smile quivered, his body became weak. So weak, indeed I was. ``Which one of them was it? The younger or elder? For I had seen the elder, she said she would return, younger and younger each time ..., your mother she was the first.''
That was the last I heard before my head and heart throbbed, and I fell out to the floor. Matthew crept over to me, I know not what else. The room disappeared, I dreamed quite a bit. It had been the first time I remember it, unless it was not dream at all- looking back though, it had to have been.
In the dream I woke, clean and free, but with anger in my heart. Anger I had not felt in years. I remember it more in my heart than in mind now, but it came to me then- oh!, so clear!
My mother was there, before she was ours. So was he, as well, and we had grown. We were grown. We had never spent a day apart. I followed his mother though, seeing as a child, walking as a man. Going through the hall, then into the kitchen.
A smile, a nod, she shooed the woman before her out into the yard. I knew her, she reminded me of the slave girl, only she should have aged by now. A ruffled rug, unhitch the floor, and down the hidden stairwell we had built. Somewhere nearer to life- I sensed that someone watched me over me now, but I could not tell who. Too hard to pull away, the dream staggered with me, and lingered in my soul.
I followed both of them, but how I do not know. My mind had followed the mother, but also had I been with the girl. She waddled into the waters, far out into the woods; there I saw her bathe, naked as could be. Once, just once, I saw her glance to me. She saw me, yes! Yet I know I was not there. It was then that I faded, and must have returned to reality.
No longer was I in the study, I felt a weight had lifted, yet it lingered some and told me where to go. Night had fallen deeply again, I knew it all too well, my feet were tired and my head felt loosely bound. This room had not a window and the door was heavy stuck.
No! My heart began to pound! I was not bound by the door- but stuck indeed it was. My breathing began to harden. I knew the other side to hold the hall that lead into the kitchen. Just the nights before I had been on the other side.
I pushed! I pounded! I even shoved and heaved. The door gave no sign of squeak nor budge. Soon, too soon in fact, I had worn myself down and started to weep. I cried for all that had been said and done, and all that had not. Not for just me, but others as well. All that had been done, gone undone, everything that was not right, and everything that was put off as correct and just- when in fat it was not. I do not know exactly why, but I knew I held a lot of it in me, and it needed out.
Not until I woke against the door did I know I had cried myself into slumber. I moved much slower than I ever had before. Sleep had taken over- even when I woke, the body strived for more. Now so overcome- I did not fully understand as I had before. I had managed to pull myself to some sense on the way down here, by now I had forgotten it.
Blurry eyed, I wandered round the room; round and round, and roundabout; I walked the room entire. Perhaps I had walked it more than once, I really did not know. If only I had thought it before I would have placed a marker, or counted corners as I went. Big, or small, or in between, it's size I could not tell. All I could say- the room was squared and the door was in the corner.
Finally, I sat upon my bottom, and started scooting forward. I did not know if I was centered, but gave my thoughts a go. I had made only a few good scoots before I hit a proper landing; a wedge in fat- and it wobbled to too and fro. Indeed!, for it leaned side to side, and left to right, going wherever you wanted it to go. Rather than a stair, it held a rod in place, a sort of lift that when it went down a door would fully open. I had seen them before, quite often were they trapped to another trap. I could not tell too much, but it had to work something in the room.
Alas! Something popped and it snapped right into place to pretend it was a beam. A door, and not just the one, but another one as well- each on far sides of the room from another. Ha! Light flew in through the unknown way and a light switched on above me. I had not even walked half the room, my senses had taken over, and they were much clearer. I saw the bed set in the corner, and a drawer set beside it. Some bottles even scatted about. It was what I had smelled when scootching too and fro, the aged whisky was hard to miss.
A calmness took ahold me, it reached into my darkness. Like something I had known forever, but never understood it. If my own curiosity had taken the better as well, I might have searched some more, but an escape I now had- not one, but two!- they had been lodged together by the plank and I opened them, indeed! Alas, now I knew how to open the basement hall if I got stuck the other side and could still enter here if I found the traps elsewhere.
My temptation took ahold, I took my fate, and chanced the other way out. In all my days as slave, I had never seen this way. Had my mother ever known it- she never told me so! Perhaps for my own good, yet now she could not keep it from me.
Sturdy indeed were the walls, simply held by bars, and planks as walls for strength, yet it did not smell like earth though that was what it was. For sure it went farther out than the house, I had wandered several minutes now, and the house was not nearly that big. Once it curved, just slightly, left and never again. And that was when I saw it ahead, the doorway to my freedom.
The light, at least one would think, did not creep in much at all, yet it had been a steady flow. The light I continued forward for, I knew it was a way directly out of the house, my freedom it was indeed. The darkness inside that tomb had gone quite well with my own darkness, a slavery I put upon my own self. I thought back to the bed and table as I made my way to the doorway, I had known it long before. I had seen it, in youth at least. Perhaps indeed my mother had shown me the room, but not the compartments to go with it.
The door now sat above my head, with a ladder leading out. How easy did it open and I was stunned at where I landed- the tree where I had found him, yes- Matthew!, only now it was daylight again. How long had I been down there? My head began to pound. I was free, but trapped with my insanity. I wondered why he brought me here, for sure to turn insane- for other than the puzzles in and around the house, I had not seen a thing to give me clues.
What I did know, and felt inside myself as well, was a rising that would end the house of Thibideaux. The slaves- they said too little, during the broad of day, even in the middle of the night. The night! I laughed, I smirked, thinking of them in the middle of the night. Wandering round and roundabout. When I was young, we gathered and sung our songs, and danced out little dance, and they never did a thing. Another hour, `nother day, turned to years gone by- and few things still remained the same, same place, different faces, but their wanderings were new to me.
I secured the door to keep it open so I might know where to find it again- I knew I would not if I let it close behind me. My mother, indeed, showed herself in this contraption, hidden and beautiful, completely unseen. I knew, I understood. Created by the slaves, it wasn't entirely a new invention- but a mark of freedom and light in the darkness of slavery. I had heard of a woman, her ways were being whispered in darkness, and praise when put in light. One day my kind would rise.
I searched the ground, the trees, the breeze, and even the greens that surrounded me, but like the tricks my mind was playing- nature did the same. It said things were as they should be, but I know it was not truth. After all, I had not seen the door before, was else was hidden to me as well? I had made it to the field- where tree line met it so- not a soul did move about. What would they ever do- where were they now mid-day?