Breaking Free

By , Acworth, GA
After the door shuts and the foot steps die, the halls shudder from the sudden darkness. The wind hisses through the cracks in the ancient windows, sending the curtains in a sudden wave of sheer color. Once the curtains flow back to the embrace of cold glass, the room is still. A silent fire fades to glowing ember, until finally dropping their warm glow so they resemble the room’s gray and barren state. After only a few minutes of dead silence, a soft glow creeps from beneath the door. The molded wood groans as someone quickly walks up the grand staircase and reaches the hall adorned with photos and gold flecked frames. The door handle turns in a flash of polished silver and the wood is pushed aside by a delicate hand.
The lush gold jumps from the chandelier’s candles in the hall to the room, highlighting the colors of the antique furniture. A red velvet arm chair hunches over the dead fire place, a shelf piled with books is pushed behind a carved oak desk, and in the door way a blank silhouette leans against the door frame. The figure pushes away from the worn door way and walks over to the curtained window. Broken and thoughtless, the woman shakes her head back and forth as she stops in front of the billowing sheer. She paced, and then silently placed a hand on the sore spots of her ribs. The imprint of his foot seemed burned against her smooth skin along with the feel of his hands ripping at her smooth hair. She brushed a hand across the delicate fabric and peered down towards the yard. The purple hue of the curtain morphs everything into different shades of the midnight sky. Once green leaves, where now violet fingers stretching from the thick branches of a willow tree and the fountain nestled in a bed of vibrant roses seemed to shift under the weight of the moon it held in it’s carved hands. The flowers slumbered as loose petals fell from their colorful tops. The delicate ovals drifted on the glassy surface of a thin stream, which started from a tiny sliver in the fountains smooth stone.
The stream continued to carry the fragile petals out of the garden and over the bumpy cobble stones in the drive way. The woman moved into the light of the moon so that she could see a dim reflection of herself in the foggy window. She brought a hand up to touch the delicate ebony curls that framed her smooth face and blinked away a crystal tear that weld in the chips of amber set above her elegant cheekbones. The brown eyes glowed in the icy moonlight as she looked down to the cobble stones, and saw in her head the image of herself walking across them only a few moments ago. She pushed aside the fabric so that she was bathed in the thin light. Her hands once again brushed her face and traced the thin scars on her bare arms. She pulled at the latch until it broke away from the window frame and shuddered as the wind whipped past her through the silent room.
The wind bit into her skin as she looked up at the moon and stars melting together in a symphony of silver and cobalt. Now fully engulfed in the night air she stepped onto the windowsill and breathed in the crisp wind as if she could fly away if her lungs caged enough of the night. The front lawn of the old plantation seemed haunted as the rustling leaves of every plant stirred a soft duet with the whistling winds. She felt as if she herself were the plantation, once vibrant and thriving now the grim tobacco leaves huddled together to contain whatever hope they had left for surviving. The skirt of her dress flowed past her bony ankles, and the mud caked fabric blended in with the bricks around the Victorian window. She brushed a hand on the clay walls and felt the houses abandonment, felt all the pain that seeped into the red bricks.
A door slammed from down stairs, and the woman jumped as the harsh sound broke through the thin film of this moment. She looked down and saw a sleek carriage parked under the shadow of a tall oak tree.
The symbol on the door of the carriage stirred something from deep within, and she stepped away from the wooden sill as her mind began to blur. The face of a young girl, whose eyes mimicked the strange honey color of her own, seemed to cry out for her mother. The woman reached out as if the girl stood in front of her, as if she could comfort her and wipe away the tears. Once again a door slammed from down stairs, but this time the sound was closer to the study she was hiding in. She padded over to the open window and again took her place on the thin frame.

A voice called out her name, and she cringed as she remembered the same voice talking to her day after day in a soothing tone that was merely a disguise. The beast within broke free once the public looked away, and each syllable of that voice now seemed to cut deeper into every inch of her scars. When the white silk and baby’s breath walked across the threshold and she adopted her new name she discovered his true nature. She found the doorway that was behind the flickering shadows in his sea green eyes. Every night she would regret his arrival, as the sour smell of the pub down the street would cling to his chapped lips. Her fresh bruise on the side of her ribs throbbed as she flexed her toes on the wood. Her skirt flew in front of her on a sudden wind, forcing her to catch herself with a shaking hand. She brought a hand up to her throat where a delicate, gold locket lay against the chilled skin of her neck.
Her petal mouth opened, but closed as she could not think of any words to say that would sum up how she felt on this chilled, autumn night. She knew how she felt, but she didn’t know what would be the right thing to say. She wanted her scream to echo through the delicate night and shatter the calm pattern of the clouds, and send the lullaby of the crickets into a crescendo. Her mind was reeling as she decided what to do.
The pale, rosebud lips closed and curved at the edges to form a tiny smile that barely dimpled her creamy cheeks; her hands went in front of her and then slowly rose above her head as if she were about to pirouette across a glossy stage. Her mind whirled and she took one last breath of the crisp night, and jumped.
The wind tossed the dirt-dusted skirts around her in a thick cloud of lace and silk, as her hair fluttered around her wild eyes as if they were delicate wings. She blinked and realized it was too late to change her mind as the night swallowed her in the misty embrace. She felt the rush of the night whip past her loose limbs, the feeling of abandonment somehow, gone. The house sighed as if she took a great loss with her as she flew down the side of the house.
The delicate smile was still placed on her lips as if she knew this wasn’t the end. The one thing she seemed to let slip away from her was the fact that this was the end, the ring on her finger no longer branded her as property, the child she had seen moments before was now grown and falling through the thick winds. The man whom she had once loved could never plant the seed of a bruise on her skin with the harsh slap of a hand. Relief washed over her as she closed her eyes. The last thought that walked through her screaming mind was not regret, nor was it fear.
It was FREEDOM.





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