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!

 

magpie tales statue stamp 185

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