September 4

The Quiet Farm (Part 8)

 

[…continued from September 3 entry…]

 

When Lara next woke, she couldn’t be certain what time it was.  She was still dressed in her daytime clothes, but the room was dark.

Had she fallen asleep again, and actually slept through until night?

She noticed something strange about the room.  Lara always left the blinds up, the curtains partly parted.  She wanted natural light during the day, and liked to wake to sunlight each morning.

Someone had closed the blinds and tied the curtains together.

Corrinne.  She had come into Lara’s room and made it dark.  To help her sleep, perhaps?

Then Lara got the unsettling feeling that she wasn’t in her bedroom at all.  She’d ended up in the room where her father died, had climbed into the bed she’d made available to her guest.

She realized Corrinne might be in bed beside her.  The girl was always so quiet, barely making noise as she breathed.  Lara listened in the dark room, tensed for the sensation of faint movement in the mattress.

The room.  Her eyes slowly began to adjust, and she began to recognize features of her own bedroom.  Lara reached out and patted the mattress on either side.  Corrinne wasn’t in her bed.

Because she was standing right in front of the darkened window.  Her ragged clothing hung down from her neck, blending with the shadows — her flowing hair and flushed face seemed to float above the fabric, her lower body obscured just as it had been hidden by blankets each day.

Once again, Lara found herself unable to move.  Perhaps she was still asleep.  She felt tension in her jaw, and she fought to form questions.

“Don’t bother speaking,” Corrinne said.  “You don’t understand what needs to be said.”

The head floated closer.  A pale, luminous arm extended from the sleeve of Corrinne’s robe-like garment.  She held a small square of paper in her hand.

“Take it,” Corrinne said, and suddenly Lara could move.  She grasped the paper, and brought it closer to her face.

Impossible.  Not that she could see the image perfectly, that it glowed with its own light in the dark bedroom.  No, the image itself was impossible.

For it was a photograph.  A baby she instantly recognized as herself, cradled in an older woman’s arms.  The woman sits in a rocking chair beside baby Lara’s crib…even though, in other pictures, the chair is always empty.

Her mother.

“I can make that happen,” Corrinne said.  “And more.”

The picture fluttered in her hand, as if it wanted to shake itself out of her grip.  When Lara looked again, she saw the picture her father took on her eighteenth birthday.  Instead of her forced, closed-mouth smile, teenage Lara smiles with bright teeth.  Her mother stands next to her, a loving arm around her daughter’s shoulder.

 

[…continued tomorrow…]