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L'Etranger: Chapter Twelve
L'Etranger: Chapter Twelve

L'Etranger: Chapter Twelve

Mitzi1776Mitzi Danielson-Kaslik

Day turned to night and night turned back to day again and the hours slipped away from me. In once familiar settings of grand high castles, I felt shadows everywhere even still. They danced by darkness. They were the ones that came before. And I knew that Emilie was among them in her white dress, Saint Agnes at her side. I felt that she danced along, waltzing to an unheard music played by grand piano and trumpets from the land of beyond.

The morning moved dimly. Inside the château lingered mist, which could not be swept out by the breeze from the open French windows, nor by the ceaseless cleaning of young enslaved women. It was a mist I was half familiar with; it was the mist that shrouded secrets. And already my life here in Saint Domingue did not seem quite so far away from my life in Paris as a girl. While I was older now, I was still sitting aimlessly by a window waiting for a man to collect me and bring me back to faith, whatever that meant. I read now as I did then. I gazed indiscriminately over the land below the windowpane and yet sensed I saw nothing.

Down in the valleys of the living – those with an important part to play in the future – they move dimly even still. I watch from above, blindly, in the high castle, trying to see what I thought was there, and yet never what is. That is the human curse, then, I suppose; to look and yet never seen anything but your own perception. All the world, then, is just a mirror for the beholder, and no two people can truly connect but for fleeting moments of flesh like you can read in the great libertine works of old.

The day moved on much like this; me, sitting alone and pondering things I cannot quite express. I did, at least, ponder the future of the colony. I was here to keep the colony in line; that was not something I was intending to do. Nor was I willing to incite revolt, for I had seen for myself the righteous path of no return that leads down. So I would help Reget to meet with the enslaved people and those black people who had been freed. And Blanchelande? What of him? I would do all I could to allow Blanchelande to be at peace here in these white halls of ghosts.

Night rolled in over the hills that surrounded the jungle with a fog that did not seem to clear. It brought with it the scent of the indigo that grew in the rolling fields and whispers of deep voices echoing from the caves that lined the shore and concealed secret meetings. Seven o’clock rolled around, marked in by the heavy tick of the old Parisian grandfather clock in the entranceway. I heard the distinct sound of light feet whistling away down the corridor past my chambers, stealing down the carpeted stairs and through the marble hallway and out of the double doors. I knew it was Reget, for I had found a little note propped up by my gilt mirror that morning.

Dearest E.,

Tonight at seven. Stay away from me today so we do not arouse the suspicions of B. If he finds out, go to the roof and light his candelabra, this will tell all of everyone that it has begun.

Yours

R.

The sound of the door shutting behind him made me smile a little, for I knew freedom was coming to these people. With Reget disappearing into the concealing twilight, I knew my job had begun too, for with Reget at a revolt meeting, it was now my chance to impact existence by ensuring Blanchelande did not leave the château this night, and equally did not notice Reget return. Once again, I had found myself in my inescapable role of a person whose life mattered.

And once again, my wisdom – my intellect schooled by this evil world of pain and torment – tells me I am nothing and yet love tells me I am everything. To be a man’s dearest, now that makes me feel more instrumental than a thousand revolutions I entangle myself with. The reality of my tortured existence, in truth, probably runs in the middle: it runs as an unstoppable river between wisdom and love, and it tells me that I am but a golden cog in huge system of cogs, which moves when clicked into motion and ceases when it is smelted down one day into a little golden plaque with dates and names upon it.

The thought of the little golden plaques returned me to my present, a corridor in need of me with a girl hanging holding some great secret – the key to a magnificent man blinded by hate. Quickly, I left my chamber in which I had concealed myself for far too long, and found myself in the corridor: Emilie staring with her big blue eyes up at me. I stared back and smiled.

“Elodie!” Blanchelande exclaimed. To my surprise, he was standing just out of my eye line to the side of Emilie’s portrait.

“Blanchelande.” I smiled back.

“This is Emilie, the sister I told you about.”

“Yes.” I smiled. “She’s beautiful.”

“She was even more beautiful in life,” he said, gazing forward once more as if he had retreated again into his wistful fairy tale.

“I bet she was. Blanchelande.” I paused, thinking very carefully. “It’s a lovely evening, could we go out of the French doors?”

“Certainly,” he gestured broadly towards the double French doors in perfect white at the end of the corridor.

“Thank you.” I smiled, for I knew that the large terrace they led out onto faced down the hill and towards the sea. From here, so long as we stayed on this side of the château, Blanchelande would not hear or see Reget return.

“I shall fetch your parasol.” Blanchelande nodded his head, moving towards the pink parasol that remained in situ under the little sideboard where I had thrown it yesterday.

“No need,” I smiled, “it is quite dark.”

“Yes.” Blanchelande looked away, offering his arm to escort me to the balcony.

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About The Author
Mitzi1776
Mitzi Danielson-Kaslik
About This Story
Audience
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Posted
27 Dec, 2023
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1,046
Read Time
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