The Romanov Houses This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

August 5, 2011
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The Alexander Palace.
Every building has seen its equal share of trials and triumphs, even from the dingiest hovel to the palatial mansions of the monarchies of the old world. I, the Alexander Palace, home to Russian royalty for centuries, have seen difficult things. Recently, I have witnessed the young and joyful tsarevich, Alexei, cry out in agony, pain wrinkling his brow. I have watched his mother and father quarrel over the man who has been brainwashing the empress. In equal measure I have seen the rise of the Romanov family to healthy position over all of Russia, the tsars of the years standing tall and strong. I have shared in their most uplifting joys and their deepest sorrows. My walls have been shaken by laughter and by gunfire. My beams have trembled and my floors have creaked. My windows have reflected shining day and wept for the pain inflicted within my great drawing rooms and without. For years I have stood as the home of the royal family. That is, until the year 1917, when fear and unrest consumed the hearts of rational beings and contorted them into seething, raging mobs. I watched with windows open as my inhabitants were led out into the street at gunpoint.

A simple house
I am squat and square. I am old and have seen many hard winters here. All of the people who have resided within my walls have been special but no one worth mentioning. Until the family escorted by soldiers came. The father, tall and regal, with lines etched into his brow, was forcefully prodded in through my welcoming door. Leaders of the rebellion guarded the family for months, keeping them locked inside my walls, building a looming fence around me, blocking me and my denizens from everything. My insides ache for the children—four girls named Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia and a boy who would be the tsar of Russia, Alexei. Each of them was vibrant and young and ready to live. They were so beautiful, inside and out, until that horrific night. Rebel soldiers had heard that a contingent of royal sympathizers was planning on attempting to break the Romanovs out, through my doors and through the terrible fence. The short commander with the angry face led them down into the basement and other soldiers followed him, loaded weapons in their hands. Alexei’s caretaker carried him down and set him in a chair. The four girls huddled together, attempting comfort with soft words and careful caresses. The emperor and empress held hands, giving the other strength through their joined fingers. I watch the soldiers behind the commander, fumbling for the locks on their rifles, aiming for subtlety but only causing strained curiosity. The family before has no idea. But I do. I have gleaned the menacing plan from the whispered rumors of the men who have turned my inviting walls into a locked cage. The commander beckons towards the assembled family and takes a step backwards. The close quarters are lit like daybreak with gunfire, ricocheting from the midsections of the helpless victims. Judging from the appalled and astonished looks on the soldiers’ faces, I can tell that they have no idea that hundreds, possibly thousands, of jewels have been sewn into the royal’s clothing. But they can comprehend that their bullets are not hitting their marks. The family is scattered across my floor, bleeding and in shock. I am shocked at the unspeakable violence that has erupted inside me. I cannot watch the end and so I turn silent, closing myself off to the screams of bullets in the air and victims.

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Emmyluwho said...
Aug. 12, 2011 at 11:33 am
This is so powerful and unique- I never thought what the building itself would have been feeling all this time.
MonaLisaSmile replied...
Aug. 14, 2011 at 9:54 pm
Thank you! I'm glad that you liked it. :)
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