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Sunset to Moonlight
Born to a mother who rarely, almost never saw her brilliance; she grew to be a quiet and obedient girl. Named Rosalie by her late father, she was left with only her mother to look after her. Rosalie was a girl who loved spend her time surrounded by nature. From the second she finished with her school work and her chores, Rosalie could be found in the woods behind her home. There was nothing she had come to love more than nature; with this she would return home every evening consequentially with a dirty skirt, earning more nagging and yelling from her mother. Nevertheless, Rosalie saw everyday as another day to find something beautiful, something new, something amazing. No matter how hard her mother tried to keep her at her desk while doing her school work, her mind was always occupied with curiosity for the woods behind her home.
By the age of fifteen, Rosalie’s mother came to her in an effort to bring up the conversation that had started the horrendous screaming match the mere night before; the boy which her mother had chosen for her to be married asked to propose to the young Rosalie. That night the only sound from the house that could be heard was the screaming of Rosalie’s voice.
“I won’t be married!” Rosalie screeches to her mother with sore lungs and tears streaming down her cheeks. “Marrying would mean letting that man own me! I will do nothing of the sort. I am your daughter. Your daughter, for heaven’s sake! The reason you are not already remarried is because Father was the only man in this town who could reason with a woman with such a thick skull and the stubbornness of a mule.” With her arms crossed over her chest, Rosalie shakes her head in frustration when met with her mother’s face of pure outrage. She had never talked back to her mother, but now that she had there was nothing but the feeling of fear left in her chest.
“That is enough, Rosalie Jane!” Her mother yelled in absolute outrage. “You have never been a proper young lady, even after all my efforts. All the money wasted on beautiful dresses, only to be covered in dirt and filth; every chance to teach you how to cook dinner a mess, every day spent keeping you in this home, showing you what it means to be a woman, every attempt I made. Wasted! Each and every last effort to simply help you become a proper lady, so help me this time you will listen! You are to marry this boy and there will be no but’s about it,” she exclaimed to Rosalie bitterly, taking her arm and pulling her to the door of her room. “You will sit in this room until you come to your senses. I will not fail as a mother! I will not!” She roared, pushing Rosalie into her room roughly. Landing on the rough wooden floor with a thud, she sat astonished at her mother’s anger, looking up to see she was still standing in the doorway staring her down with the evilest of eyes. With one last huff, she closed the large, heavy door and locked it shut.
Rosalie shook her head in shock of her mother’s actions. As a child she had always done exactly what she had been told, learning from an early age it would only result in a harsh and quite cruel punishment for even the smallest of things. After the shock of the events had passed, Rosalie knew that her mother would never let her out in less than a day, and from what her mother had said, she knew that her room had become a temporary prison for quite a bit of time.
She had not inherited her mother’s temper, but like her mother as well as her mother’s mother, a woman of action was to be expected. With a quick plan, several quilts, and her hair pins, Rosalie knew that she would be imprisoned no more by this woman of evil. Hairpins in hand, she began to work the lock her mother had so lovingly placed upon the windowsill. With a soft click, the lock came undone. Smiling at her success, she walked over to her cot and carefully tied each quilt to the next with a strong knot. Opening the window with care, as to not alert her mother, she tied the end of her rope of quilts to the small armchair that backed against the wall to the window. Letting out a small huff of fear, Rosalie delicately began her descent down the rope of quilts. When she had met the bottom, she did her best to leave no trace of her departure for her mother to find, and slipped into the woods. The feeling of serenity spread over her as the warmth of the sun met her face, accompanied by the fresh autumn air. At a loss of where she was headed, Rosalie was left roaming the forest. An hour thereafter, the trees opened to a small hill. Resting at the very top stood a darkly painted, eerie little mansion. At the front of the home stood two large pillars wrapped with long vines as if in attempt to swallow them. Along the frames of the mansion’s windows was moss, and other small plants growing from the cracks along the brick exterior. Finding Rosalie’s curiosity getting the best of her, she climbed the hill, and approached the home’s front door. Stepping upon the first step, she let out a small squeal of fear when her foot fell through the rotten wood. With a small huff of frustration, Rosalie pulled her foot out of the rotting wood and climbed the rest of the small set of stairs. The porch of the house was large, wrapping around the front of the house, with several pots of dead and wilted flowers next to large eloquent seats with their backs against the front to look out over the hill.
After overlooking the house’s exterior, she turned her attention towards the front door. A large ornate knocker was placed upon the door in the shape of an upside-down bat, as if it were sleeping. It looked to be so delicate; yet the second Rosalie took it in her hand to knock upon the door, the weight of the delicate creature was much more than she expected. With the knocker in her hand, she let the bat hit against the door twice. She hesitated to knock again when she was met with only silence, and the whispers of the wind blowing through the trees. With one more knock, Rosalie waited. When met with no answer once again, she took a small step towards the large and dark wooden door, and turned the door knob. With an ear-splitting crack, the door opened to reveal the inside of the beautiful little mansion.
Upon entering the house through the old, antique doorway, she could feel the air changing around her. The house was filled with elegant, beautiful furniture, although it was covered with a thin layer of dust. The setting sun shone through the windows, some broken, some fogged with wear and erosion. She walked along the creaking wooden floors, her shoes leaving prints behind in the dust. Touching the old oak banister, she marveled at how richly red the wood was underneath the dust. She decided to go upstairs, and climbed the spiraling staircase slowly. She was sure that nobody lived here, so her confidence grew with each step. When she reached the top, she looked down at the scene beneath her. She could imagine the way it used to look, a beautiful mansion fit for a royal family. She envisioned a girl similar to herself, floating downstairs in an elegant, fleeting evening gown. She longed to be a daughter of the past, in beautiful, wealthy dresses. The thought made her happy. Along the walls were aged photographs in golden, intricate frames, and she studied them silently, one by one. There was a single family: a mother with flowing brown hair, a father fitted proudly with an emerald-colored suit. In the family portrait, there stood a boy and a girl, seemingly twins. The boy looked very much like his father, but the girl had shocking blonde hair. She wondered how this girl was treated, if she felt as oppressed by her own mother as Rosalie had. She pried herself away from the framed photographs, afraid she would stand there forever, and continued down a long hallway, where doors surrounded her.
At the end of the hall, the setting sun shone through a large stained glass window, spreading color upon every surface of the hallway. Unknowing of which door to choose, she walked through the first one to her left, and entered what was assumingly the parents’ large bedroom. A circular bed sat in the middle, with satin sheets. A white vanity sat in the corner, overflowing with antique beauty products that Rosalie had never seen before. There were even more photos lining the walls of the same family, a gratified mother and father of two. Rosalie decided the room made her feel wearisome, and without wanting to invade the privacy of the adults, she left. Continuing down the hallway, most doors had been left wide open, revealing a bathroom and other abandoned bedrooms.
One room appeared to be a nursery, complete with a crib, a rocking chair, and toys strewn about, including a fading blue rocking-horse. She thought this to be strange, as both children in the photographs seemed older. Perhaps the parents were expecting. Everything in every room was covered in a fine layer of dust, the same as downstairs. Rosalie continued walking towards the stained glass window, colors widening across her face, and came to a stop at the last door on the right. The door was closed, but Rosalie hesitated when she heard a soft sound. Pressing her ear against the wood, she could not believe what she had heard: It was the sound of classical music, flowing from a crackly radio. Piano keys hummed through the wall between Rosalie and the room. Apart from the music, there was movement accompanying the soft beat of the song. From the wood, she felt the thumping of feet, back and forth across the floor.
Someone was dancing to the tune of the Moonlight Sonata.
A cold fear washed through Rosalie’s body, and she ripped her hand from the doorknob, fleeing down the stained glass hallway and away from the room, but as she ran farther and farther, the music seemed to grow louder and louder, intensifying with every footstep. The sun was setting, casting strange shadows throughout the abandoned, musty mansion. As she flew down the stairs, the framed family inside the photographs seemed to stare at her, watching her. Their eyes only persuaded Rosalie to run faster, and her feet barely touched the dusted staircase on her way down. When she reached the old entrance that she walked through not long ago, the music was blasting, surrounding and suffocating her.
She flung the door open wide, and upon it’s slamming against the doorjamb, as if on cue... the music silenced. In the fleeting second it took for Rosalie to run, she heard the sound of a door cracking open, and footsteps creaking down the hallway, descending the stairs…
Rosalie flew from the house and through the darkening woods, almost running into trees on the way. The woods had become menacing, filled with the dark figures of tall trees, with branches that seemed to reach for her, grabbing her. Tripping over sticks and brambles, Rosalie was a bloody, torn mess by the time she reached her home. Her quilt rope was billowing in the wind, but Rosalie had made it long enough to where she could grasp it with ease, and began her climb up the wall of her home and into her open window. She landed with a thud onto her wooden floor. Huffing and puffing, she used up her last burst of energy to pull the quilt rope through the window, then slam the frame closed, locking it tight. She rested for a second, catching her breath. Checking her bedroom door, she wiggled the knob to find that it was still locked, and Rosalie was still a prisoner. However, upon hearing her mother’s familiar footsteps, she quickly shoved her makeshift rope under her bed. Climbing under her covers to hide her cuts and wild hair, Rosalie tried to slow her breathing before her mother opened the door. She heard the bolt unlock, and light spilled onto her wall as her mother came through the doorway.
“I hope you’ve come to your senses about this, Rosalie Jane,” her mother spoke quietly but forcefully.
“I never will,” Rosalie spoke in a small voice. Defeated, her mother didn’t say another word before leaving Rosalie’s room.
The light left her wall as the door closed, and Rosalie was left in darkness. Sighing a breath of relief, she changed out of her filthy clothing, and settled back into bed. Fatigue overcame her, and Rosalie drifted in and out of consciousness, but something kept her awake. It was slow at first, and she swore she was dreaming, until it got louder, and louder, and louder. It was the radio, the same crackly one she had heard behind the closed door. The same one that thumping feet danced to.
It was playing the Moonlight Sonata.