Clarissa Johal: #Paranormal Wednesday-Cottage of Butterfly Wings

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

#Paranormal Wednesday-Cottage of Butterfly Wings

Continuing with my flash fiction month... The photos this week are my own--I had the stories in my head when I took them. I took this particular photo in a cottage we stayed at in Cumbria, England. The cottage had been built in 1693 and I fell in love with it. As to the photo--I found the butterfly in a closed-up larder. Initially, I thought the butterfly was dead. My daughter poked at it and the poor thing flopped this way and that, seemingly lifeless. But for some reason (I'm actually afraid of butterflies) I felt compelled to keep checking on it. By the next day, it started to move and I opened the window and let it out. A strange miracle, I guess.

Cottage of Butterfly Wings

The butterfly lay dead on the window sill. The room had been closed up for some time. It had taken all her effort to open the door, and she was greeted with a small, empty space made of stone. A single, closed window overlooked the garden. The stone was cold under her hands and the dead butterfly lay upon it.

She had listened to the desperation in the woman's voice for the past hour. Forgotten but still present, the voice echoed throughout the cottage, sticking in the corners like residue. Flashes of the woman's life had come to her: once in the garden (it was bitterly cold that winter) once in the bedroom (her domain, choose the other room to sleep in) and the strongest one at the back door (Mary? Where are you, child? Mary!).  The strongest one bothered her the most.

The woman's ghostly presence had been persistent. It had lingered alongside of her as she moved from room to room. Do not disturb my things. This is my house, not yours. Once she reached the back door, the screaming would start again. Mary? Where are you, child? Mary!  The woman would forget her altogether, caught up in her own desperation.

The butterfly remained lifeless and she halfheartedly poked at it. She suspected the child had drowned, though there were no ponds or streams around that she knew of. The child had long, blonde hair. She liked to run and play in the sunshine. She was always laughing and getting into things. She wore a long, white dress and leather shoes. These thoughts came to her like heartbeats.

The space around her became silent. The woman wanted her to remember. Remember the child I lost.

She blew on the butterfly's wings and the insect began to stir.

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