I wrote this short story a few weeks ago and thought I should share it with all of you. It’s basically a beginning to a longer story, and I may eventually turn it into a book. I hope you enjoy it!
The carriage came to a stop, the wheels creaking. Claire gazed out the window and saw that the carriage had halted in front of a tall iron gate. Claire had finally reached her destination, but she was anything but excited. In fact, she was gloomy and depressed. She looked around at her surroundings, frowning.
From the inside of the gate, a long sidewalk led up to a massive house. The windows were tall, and the roof was high. Claire thought it looked more like a mansion; the large size of it made her feel cold and empty, but she couldn’t deny the beauty. The house was surrounded by a courtyard with a fountain, many plants, and the most beautiful flowers Claire had ever seen. The flowers came in many colors: blue, pink, yellow, and white. Bees buzzed around them, attracted by the sweet aroma that was so strong Claire could smell it from the carriage window. She held her breath, in awe of the beauty that lie before her very eyes, but her heart was still filled with sadness.
The carriage driver jumped from the open seat at the front of the carriage, wearing a black suit and top hat. He pulled a pocket watch out of his suit pocket. “Right on time,” he said, smiling to himself. He walked to the door of the carriage and opened it to a nervous Claire.
Claire picked up her trunk off the seat next to her. The driver held his hand out to her for balance as she stepped down onto the pavement.
“Thank you, Jack,” Claire said as the driver closed the door behind her.
Jack nodded kindly, “No problem, Miss Smith. I hope your stay is fruitful.”
“As do I,” Claire said, smiling at Jack as he took his place on the driver’s seat.
“Good day, Miss Smith,” Jack snapped the reins and clicked his tongue. The two chestnut horses started off in a trot.
“Good bye!” Claire waved to the carriage as it turned the corner of the bumpy road. The road was dirt, yet attractive, lined with trees that were beginning to bloom with the coming of spring.
Claire took a deep breath and turned towards the tall iron gate. She stared up at it, slightly shaking. She tried to smooth the wrinkles out of her ragged dress, wanting to make a good impression.
“You will make for yourself a happy life there and will eventually learn to love your new life,” Ms. Walker had said two weeks before.
“But this orphanage is all I know. It’s my home,” Claire had pleaded.
“You will go, and you will serve Ms. Hannah as she has requested.”
The scene from two weeks before played in Claire’s head, and she began to feel homesick. When Ms. Hannah Wood had requested an orphan come stay with her and work as a maid, Ms. Walker chose Claire, being one of the oldest children at the orphanage- she was now thirteen. The journey had taken two long weeks, but she had finally reached the home of Ms. Hannah Wood.
Claire took another deep breath and pushed the gate forward. It creaked open, calling for her to enter, but she was hesitant. She bit her lip, worries seeping into her mind. She pushed them away and stepped through the gate. It slammed shut behind her, making her jump. That dreadful wind! she thought, starting up the sidewalk. Every step gave her more courage, and she admired the courtyard as she walked. She had never seen anything so splendid in all her life.
Reaching the bubbling fountain, she paused to look at the water spraying out the top and then flowing down into the bottom. The water was clear and pure, and Claire could almost make out her reflection in the water’s surface.
She turned back towards the sidewalk and continued her walk to the front steps of the house, her heart beginning to pound. She stepped timidly up the stone steps and up to the front door. She turned to look back at the road, part of her wishing that Jack would turn the corner to pick her up. But no, he was gone, probably hurrying to stay on time.
Claire sighed and turned to the door. It was a big brown door with a nice brass doorknob. She lifted her hand up to the door. Here it goes, she thought. She knocked three times and could hear the sound of the knock echoing through the inside of the house. In no time at all, she heard someone’s steps on the other side of the door. The doorknob began to turn. And then the door began to creek open.
Her new life had just begun.