so some info about this before I paste the two chapters: SO I wrote this like a week ago and at first I had this idea of this rich girl being saved by this strange man from her parents. That idea was changed tho when I noticed the story going in a darker direction. I like the MC but everytime I write her I can’t seem to get it right. I want her to be a bit day-dreamy but also adhering to her parents wishes of her and being the “perfect” daughter. While also discovering the darkness of her home. I’m guess I’m looking for what I did wrong here because that would help me write/rewrite her character and continue the story. I wrote an introduction that I like (I’m gonna list it somewhere else so it’s not confusing) but the two chapters I’m about to show you are when I was first writing this. I like them but they’re just missing something idk.
I’m also giving you chapters 2 and 3 only because I don’t think you’ll need context- if you’re confused tho you can ask me or something. Keep in mind that there are grammar/spelling mistakes and stuff like that but I’d like you to not look at that for now and just comment on anything else.
Chapters 2 and 3
The clock ticks, the sound going back and forth. It used to be the loudest sound in the room, until the sound of clangs and buzzes fills the whole manor.
“My, my! They’re making such a ruckus out there!” My tutor Bernaby exclaims.
I focus on the numbers on my paper. If I distract myself with the noise outside it will only detract from my studies… And if I no longer focus on my studies then I will fail. I sigh. The breath of air that comes from the open windows calms me, I don’t know why. There is peace yet carelessness in it. If strong enough it can carry all the papers out of this room and make a mess… I so like the wind.
“If this thing won’t shut-”
“What are you doing?” I turn to look at Barnaby, who is struggling with the shutters.
“Trying to close thi-” and suddenly the shutter wins, slamming him to the ground with a loud thud!
I rush to the window, the cool breeze instantly hitting my face. I catch a glimpse of the construction outside. I have never looked at it before, I was always so busy with my studies. The construction seems almost complete. It has been months since the trucks first arrived. It is looking much more like a mansion now. However, some rooms have yet to be complete. I can only wonder who will live there. It doesn’t seem to be anyone mother and father like. They haven’t spoken a word about it, it seems they know as much as I do about it.
“Melindra! Help me please!”
I close my eyes. I spent too much time here. I shut the window gently, locking the shutters in place.
“Apologies sir Barnaby.” I say with a sweet smile.
He is on the floor, stroking his precious bald head of his, “Shall we get back to studying?” I say, my hand outstretched.
He takes it and soon pulls himself up then looks towards the window.
“How’d you get it closed?!”
“Oh!” I smile, “Perhaps it required a gentle woman’s touch.”
He groans but eventually we get back to studying, the sounds of construction still bothersome to him but they have all but disappeared for me. The rest of the afternoon passes peacefully. My studies are done perfectly and there are no more complains from Barnaby about the noise… or the weather…
“Well, it is about time. Thank you sir Barnaby, I’ll see you tomorrow!”
He groans, walking away. Not a word in reply. He must have badly hit his head on the way down. I look up at the clock on my desk. Five minutes until dinner. I might have enough time. I glance at the light purple curtains as they flail in the wind, practically begging to be let open. I sigh, not fighting the urge anymore. I walk bravely up to the balcony and whisk the curtains open, stepping out to the calm but trouble some breeze. I hold tightly to the flowers kept at the top of my head. Mother loves them so, it’d be such a pain if they floated away.
I am looking across the magnificent view of the manor gardens. I occasionally take strolls around the pond and in the maze in my spare time apart from my studies. Now there seem to be a quaint little duck family nesting on the waters. I giggle and wave, yet I doubt they can see me, or care for that matter. A violent gust of wind turns my gaze towards the house still in construction. A small gasp escapes me. There are two cars at the estate, but they aren’t the usual trucks… They’re polished black cars, shining in the afternoon sunlight. Three men and an older woman exit them, the men bouncing around the mansion. They must be the family that owns that estate. They must be coming to look at it before moving in. I turn to leave, but in the corner of my eye I swear I see one of the men looking right at me. This is likely impossible, however. My balcony is small and hard to see even for those wandering around in the gardens. Even so-
I shut the balcony doors quickly before the wind can steal away anything in the room. I do leave the smallest window above my bed open, though. I doubt it’ll be discovered by even the maids.
My mother meets me in the hallways with the knights along to hear our disagreement, how embarrassing.
“What’s taking you so long? We have guests Melindra!”
“My deepest apologies Mother. I was finishing up my studies.”
She glares at me. Then her eyes go cloudy again. Her gaze stoic yet dignified as she grabs my arm, “Come with me. Lest you want to get distracted again.”
I give the Knights a sorrowful look as I am dragged down the hallway, they don’t respond. Well, they’re not real Knights anyway. But I still am sorry to them for causing such a ruckus.
My mother sits me down in a chair next to Steve. He continues to look at his phone. His father, Mr Lenveno sits next to him, while my mother and father sit next to each other with my father at the head of the table. The food is exquisite, no wonder mother rushed me in here. Empty plates and water… simply divine. She continues to stare angrily about me at her place near the head of the table but I don’t return her gaze. It wouldn’t be very lady-like, the gaze I would have.
How is the weather today? Isn’t it divine? Even the king would say so! The poor seem to be divine today as well. Not so much rioting today. Pay them no mind, those filthy rats! And oh we are now laughing with our wines! Cheers! Your manor is simply divine, but not divine as ours! No, our manor is more divine! Well ours is more exquisite! We have mazes that you get lost in, ponds in which you drown in and knights which kill you upon sight! Isn’t it quite unique? That’s more or less their conversation, except, in my version, Mr and Mrs Leveno look simply horrified by the end of it.
“What on earth are you doing?” Steve asks.
I look down at my plate… I’ve poured out my water glass onto it and my spoon is drowning in the water, the fork in the now empty glass.
“I must’ve had a spill.”
He eyes me with suspicion, but the adults are too busy in their divine conversation.
“Well you better clean that up, we wouldn’t want another spill.”
I smile in response, slowly pouring the water back into the glass… not a drop is spilled. I would have liked to keep the water on the plate, dinner as usual seems dreadfully boring. Maybe I could have stuffed a whole meal’s worth in that glass and sipped the water with the spoon from the plate. I look up from my play of plates and see Steve on his phone again. At this point I wonder what he’s looking at. His fingers aren’t moving, so he can’t be texting anyone. Ah… I must put it to rest. I shouldn’t suspect Steve of an affair just yet, however, that would make this meal that much better. Maybe it would distract them enough for me to go find that man outside.
Dinner ends as usual, and we say goodbye to our guests. My parents will be hosting a ball tomorrow… Inviting all my friends, their friends, and anyone influential… really. It truly is exciting. As I fall asleep I swear I can hear laughter outside. Usually I just hear the wind as it rustles against the trees in the forest outside the manor. Or the cricket’s quiet little tune.
As Melindra’s eyelids close, the wind rustles against the leaves. She smiles at the thought of a ball. How grand her parents must be to host such a ball! She wonders about the people she might meet there. All the old friends she’ll see once more. She is curious to try on the ball gowns in her closet again. And to see the lovely men and women… The only thing she dreads is the dancing. She knows how to dance, but she just doesn’t like it.
Everyone is so busy preparing for the ball. The maids are running around frantically. My lessons have been cancelled for today. I’m not quite sure what to do with myself with all that spare time. I’ve already taken my bath. I’ll need to set aside some time to get dressed for the ball later. But for the time being, it seems I can run around too!
I fling open the back doors to the yard, the fresh sunlight hitting my face. The yard has always been in perfect shape, so it needs no maintaining for the ball. I walk around the beautiful pond with it’s glistening clear blue water. It hasn’t changed, even after all these years. The house hasn’t- either. Some houses seem to age with you, yet, I only feel that with this one in particular it will stay exactly the way it should be for generations to come.
There are a few ducks in the pond, they are certainly entertaining to watch. They don’t seem to mind me. There are two adult ducks with four baby ducklings. A few years ago I watched as another duck family grew up. Only one baby duckling died that year. It was a sad loss. The groundskeeper said that something was wrong with it. It kept straying away from the mother, despite the mother’s best efforts to call to it. Eventually it got lost in the darker parts of the pond. Where the water was deeper and grass higher. It is a beautiful part of the pond, with flowers blooming and plentiful lily pads, yet, that beauty was what led to the little one’s death. The rest of the ducks grew up fine. It was interesting watching them. My sister and I watched as they took flying lessons from their mother, and one by one we watched them flying away. My sister didn’t like the ducks as much as I did. She was a lady, all in all.
But she wasn’t like that baby duckling. She was strong, not weak. She was ladylike, genuinely. She was highly dignified and classy. Her beauty ranged far beyond her looks but into her soul as well… If something can happen to her, I wonder, then what really can save us all from that certain doom if the best of us is led astray? Before I can stop it, hot tears escape my eyes and into the pond. Rain clouds cloud the sun. I hear my name being called, then I rush inside before the rain hits. Mother scolds me for wasting her precious time by retrieving me… It’s not like she even worked to retrieve me, she didn’t bother to step foot outside. I’m the one that came in on my own.
My room is dark when I sulk into it, planting myself onto my bed.
“Stay in there, don’t cause any trouble!” She says, slamming the door shut.
I haven’t caused trouble have I?
I hear the key turning in the lock… she’s locked it. No one can come in here, and no one can come out.
Melindra is a perfect young woman. She excels in her studies, is very kind, very beautiful, and very ladylike. She is deeply in love with her boyfriend Steve. She plans to study medicine when she gets to college, with dreams of becoming a nurse… But ultimately she’ll end up marrying Steve and harboring children to which she will all love with all her heart. I’m not her, but I don’t know what else I am so I must be her. But being her is a bit boring.
I’m afraid I’ve been lying to myself. I’ve been locked in here before. Several times on occasion. But every time it happens and I go out again it slips my memory. It’s like holding water. When you make a move, it spills. I also have been lying about something else… too. This isn’t my room. It’s my sister’s. She insisted on having the balcony so she could spy on everyone… but didn’t realize that nobody tended to go into the yard except for the groundskeeper. And that’s all the balcony looked over. Despite wanting to have it all to herself, she eventually let me in and we would sit on the balcony together. I’d look out over the railing, reaching my arms out to feel the air and she’d look after me to make sure I wouldn’t fall. I don’t know why my parents put me in here. I’ve never wanted it, especially after she died.
Because darkness seeps in through the walls when you aren’t looking. Rats climb the beautiful curtains and spiders make their webs in the window above my bed. In this blood red bed, I have only gained nightmares. I look up at the canopy and I only see skulls and daggers and blood etched into the wood that my sister so loved. But it’s only when I’m locked in here do I really notice this. My sister’s things are gone from this room. Isabel’s piano, song book, her study books… all gone. I have nothing left of her to hold onto except for this room.
She left me alone when she promised she’d never leave… when she promised she’d protect me. Protect an innocence that overwhelmed me. Protect the fun and light left inside my aching eyes. Protect the genuine smile that came across my lips at the sight of a butterfly or duckling. That smile that cannot easily be created now without creating creases and aches. I guess the other thing I was lying to myself about, was the smiles that I kept. In truth, I have not smiled in years.
Malindra would never lie, so I guess that settles it. I am not her, after all.
When the door opens, she smiles. The maids smile sweetly back. But behind them, there may be worry, there may be fear, there may be confusion, or there could be evil. They did not know what she was doing in here all by herself in the dark, but they knew the door was locked and they knew how much time went by. They aren’t maids either then, because maids aren’t liars. And most importantly, maids don’t harbour dark secrets left to be kept in dark cellars or dark attics, or even dark graves at the bottom of dark ponds. Maids don’t carry secrets, and maids don’t lie. Maids don’t cry either, and most importantly, maids won’t die.
Her dress is a beautiful lilac. It has a bow in the back and is fitted with many ruffles. Flowers pattern the dress beautifully, and there are flowers placed delicately in her hair, which the maids have chosen to let down for the evening. It is not entirely wild, though. It is loosely braided with flowers clinging for dear life.
“What do you think?” Melindra says, smiling sweetly.
“It is beautiful, my lady.” Says the maids.
I skip down the halls. The guests have not started arriving yet, but the orchestra is here already. They carry their violins, cellos, and violas in big cases. A butler is instructing them to the ballroom where they can set up and do something called tuning before they begin. They look like penguins, they’re all dressed in black tuxedos, even the women. How strange. They must come from a world where men and women all wear the same thing.
The guests arrive in white frilly dresses, talking with pink lips and grand smiles. T hey seem to think I’m wearning the same thing, while I’m thinking that they woul dlike to wear tuxedos and be penguins for a day. It is all just pretending anyway.
Dinner starts first, then the wine. Then the dancing. The guests, the ones in white dresses, stare at their wine as if they’ve never seen it before. Describing its color, taste and flavor. I look at my own glace and only see a red face looking back at me. I don’t know what’s so interesting about that strange liquid that makes them giddy and unafraid.
The dancing starts and I’m the only one with flowers. I’m supposed to pass them out but I don’t know how. Mother says they want my flowers but I don’t think they do. They have no flowers of their own, afterall. The friends don’t want to stain their white dresses and the men would only give the flowers to them, it really isn’t a good system. The men should know that the friends are allergic to the flowers which must be why they refuse any. I can’t imagine flowers leaving a stain… however wine sure does.
At the end of the night the girls come up to my room. They are red faced from dancing. We sit on my bed and are the best of friends. They quiz me on simple dinner conversation and I pretend I already took the test. They talk of gushy things and red flowers. Of spills and messes, swearing to eachother that their secrets will stay secrets- locked up in ponds… in a barrell, at the bottom.
But I find that foolish because they seem to keep their secrets in a chest on top of their hearts… It is locked but anyone can pick it.