The Keeper (Part 9)

There was a sort of tapping coming from somewhere amongst the piles of books Mona had gathered on a library table where she’d spent most her days this past week. Or at least that’s where she thought the noise sounded from when she woke from a slumber atop a thick volume on supernatural beliefs from around the world.

It was a dark and murky morning, and she had a slight cramp on her neck from the hard pillow the book had been during the night. She’d done it again, gotten so bored and lonely that she had spent another night in amongst the book in the library.

Mona wondered what she should do today. She couldn’t read another word. What else was she good at besides reading? Well lots of things. Back home, she was the one that cleaned and cooked in her house, even though she was the youngest, none of her three older siblings cared to give her a hand. Her two sisters were always too busy with their frocks, makeup, hairdos and gossip, and her brother, too absorbed in his desire to splurge what little their father had on women who cared very little for him. Mona would also keep a garden, front yard for gorgeous blooms, and backyard for veggies patch. Besides, they couldn’t afford to buy so much food, and it was much easier to grow own when you have six mouths to feed and only two holding down jobs of little significance. Their father had been a great merchant once, and luxury was something the kids were used to. That was until Mona’s mother had passed away suddenly when she was 10. Since then, their father, depressed and mourning for his wife, invested in business that went belly up. Their family home was seized, their money dwindled, and the only property left to her father’s name was a small suburban home on the very outskirts of the city. The three bedroom home was small, so small in fact that Mona had the garage for her bedroom. That was after her sisters taking the master room together, her brother taking the second largest room, and her father in the smallest room.

Mona sighed. What they were and what they are now. Not that she cared for luxury. She’s always liked doing things with her hand and making her own stuff. Most of the time, she’d even make her own clothes. She would sow her dresses from the scarps left over after her siblings were done having theirs tailor made. She couldn’t help but wonder what was happening back in her home. How her father was doing now that his Belle wasn’t there anymore.

Mona looked down at herself, at the elegant aubergine gown she had on. She missed her humble clothes. She missed her life. For some reason the house only ever have her gowns upon elegant gowns to choose from each day, and each day she’d go for what looked the simplest if simple was ever possible in that house. She rose from the seat and made herself way towards the restroom.

‘Give me something to do at least,’ she mumbled, snaking her way through aisles. ‘I can’t even clean my own mess here!’ She said this, and turned to spy the table she’d been sitting at. Those piles of books were already gone, as if invisible folks had only waited till Mona turned her back so they could put the books back in their homes.

‘Let me sow a garden, or clean the palace. Let me cook and clean! Give me some cutting so I can make my own clothes. Something!’ She begged the house like she’d done so many times but to no avail. Resigned, she walked through the hallways, aimlessly. It wasn’t till the afternoon, and she was completely exhausted that Mona slipped into her own room and went to sleep. Time had no meaning in that place. No meaning at all.

When Mona woke, she found her room to be larger than before. Much much larger than before, and tucked in the corner next to the fireplace, a sewing corner fully equipped. There was even a door next to it where the wardrobe appeared most days. Curiously, Mona slipped off the bed and approached the door with new found curiosity. As she passed the sewing machine, she couldn’t help but stop, shocked in front of it. It couldn’t be, could it? She walked closer to it, only to reconfirm her initial doubt. It was indeed her own sewing machine. The machine that had once belonged to her mother, the machine no one else wanted and Mona couldn’t wait to take it under her wing. She brushed her fingers along the engraving on it that her mother had had made. ‘To my beautiful Belle.’ It had made her sisters so angry when her mother had gifted Mona the machine on her 10th birthday, days before she passed away. Her mum was the only one who ever called Mona by her middle name, Belle. She had loved it so.

She couldn’t help the tears as they rushed down her cheeks. It had been couple of weeks since she’d been home. She had missed it so much. Being home, being amongst her mother’s things in her room. ‘Thank you,’ she whispered to the room, unsure how to express the overwhelming feeling of being home.

‘Thank you!’ She couldn’t help but wonder if Lucifer had anything to do with it. Perhaps yes. Perhaps no. Either way, for a few minutes, she was home.

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