Tristesse – Magpie Tales

museum

“So, Celine, the day has finally come. Are you ready?”

My heart is racing, I feel light-headed. I know it is just nerves, but I am scared.

‘Don’t be silly,’ I cajole myself sharply. ‘You don’t know what real fear is, remember that!’

Dennis puts an arm lightly around my waist, his hand resting comfortably just above my hip. My best friend, my closest confidante, it is as if he can feel my inner turmoil

“The reviews from the historical societies, the Egyptologists, the international museum curators have been unanimous, my dear. It will all be just perfect. Ah, look, the big hand is on the twelve – opening time here we come!”

The museum clock strikes sonorously above our heads, 10 deep rings of the bell. Mr Adams, the doorman, pulls open the vast mahogany doors and a sigh rushes from my lips. The crowd outside the Nile Rooms is beyond my imaginings. My first solo curating experience, my first international collaboration – what a relief that the public also wants to know about the artefacts sourced from the depths of the Hidden Pyramids. I stare at the Boy King’s statue, glowing gold in its central spotlight. I hope I look as serene as he does.

The day passes in a whirl, the museum rings with the echo of constant footfall and awed whispers. It is just as I had hoped.

I am taking a rest, leaning against a wall behind one of the vast doors separating one exhibition room from another, when it happens.

A tall, elegant man, probably in his mid sixties, strides towards me, a look of shock, surprise and disbelief mingled on his striking features. He reaches out, takes my hand and bows. “F-fraulein?” Miss Sarah Masters? Mademoiselle Elodie DuPont?”

I stare. I haven’t heard these names for so long, not since my father had decided to confess to killing my mother all those years ago. I feel weak, oh, I need to sit down, I sag against the wall.

“No,” I whisper, looking around desperately for Dennis. Where is he? “She was my mother, Sarah Masters. Who are you?”

“Was? She is.. ah, tot? Dead?”

And I realise that it’s now my turn to be the bearer of bad news. Herr Gunther Weiss needs to understand his part in my mother’s murder.

 

——

Here’s my latest entry to Magpie Tales. It’s a continuation of  what was going to be a trilogy, then seemed to expand and take on a life of its own! Here are the four previous instalments in orderr: Croix de Guerre, Collborateur, Oubliette and Verité.

I hope you enjoy this week’s entry- and please do visit Magpie Tales for amazing poetry and prose!

 

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The Interpreter – Five Sentence Fiction

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Photo source

“So, where were you when this photo was taken, Granny?”

Marilyn wrestles with her conscience, but only for a moment – wrestling is so unfeminine after all.

“I was behind the camera!” she claims breezily, waving her perfectly painted nails in the air above the black and white photo.

Marilyn glances down at her granddaughter’s questioning face, but all she sees is the French maid outfit, the black satin sheets, the red silk scarf draped artfully over the bedside lampshade and the captain’s uniform lying at the foot of the bed.

“Oh, I was definitely in uniform too, darling girl, without a doubt!”

Verite – Magpie Tales

grocery

“Why are we here, Papa? It’s so very quiet, like it’s Sunday or something.”

The man stares at his teenage daughter, his heart aching to see the ghost of Sarah lingering in her quizzical expression.   He fingers the scar running along his jaw, a nervous habit he knows only too well.

“Did you and Mama work here, during the war?”

Bless her, she is as sharp as her mother, he thinks, his heart breaking slowly. He can’t believe it makes no noise in doing so, is incredulous that there is no pool of blood dripping onto the cobbles at his feet in witness to what is about to happen.

It has been ten years, since Sarah died here, in the road, outside this small magasin.

‘Not died,’ he thinks, correcting the lie he had been telling himself for a decade. ‘Killed. By me.’

He hopes his daughter is as strong as his mother had been. She will need to be, once she knows the truth.

——

Here’s my latest entry to Magpie Tales. I couldn’t quite leave my trilogy behind, so thought I would write a kind of post-script. You can read the other stories in order here, here, and here, if you like!

I hope you enjoy it – and please do visit Magpie Tales for more poetry and prose!

 

magpie tales statue stamp 185