Late, late! Still dealing with the aftermath of having the house broken into. The guy didn't get much, but it's the principal of the thing. Been buttoning up the house much tighter. Anybody thinking to break in now will find it tough going, that's for sure.
Okay, back to the snippet. I'm back working on my Vagabond story. Here's a snippet from that. January 3 was my last snippet from this story. It follows fairly close in time from that snippet.
First draft. Please do not quote or repost anywhere. Thanks!
Sabri climbed the stairs to the third story. By not thinking hard about it, she found the room she was sure belonged to her. The room was large and well-lit by two floor-to-ceiling windows. A large fourposter stood between the windows. The whole room was done in serene green.
She paused in the doorway for a moment and just looked, then she hurried forward and began opening drawers and examining the contents of the room in a frenzy of activity—as if by touching everything and staring at each object she could find out who she was.
Her hand brushed against something on top of one of the tallboys that gave a chirp of noise. Sabri froze. Slowly, she moved her hand and felt something hard and circular in shape. She picked up the object and brought it down to eyelevel. The music box played a couple of notes and fell silent.
A dancing ballerina stood on one foot atop the base, her other foot resting near the knee of her leg, arms extended in front as if just beginning a pirouette. The slightest movement of Sabri’s hand caused the ballerina to tremble, as if she wanted to spin but was held back by invisible bonds. Her tutu fell in graceful rose and pink tulle folds from a black bodice. A shimmer of something that looked like real diamonds glittered on the material.
Strange emotions stirred in Sabri as she held the music box. Gently, she wound the key. The ballerina twirled as music emerged from the box. Sabri closed her eyes as the haunting melody washed over her. She found herself humming and moving her feet in a complicated rhythm.
And, for no reason at all, she started to cry.
Sabri opened her eyes as the music stopped. The ballerina trembled on her hand, eager to twirl around once more. She carefully set the music box back on the tallboy.
“You used to dance just like that every time I wound that music box.”
Sabri turned to see a tall man in his late forties standing in the doorway. He saw the tears on her cheeks, and his thick brows creased.
“Why do you cry, pet?” he asked in a gentle voice.
Sabri looked at his face with the crow’s feet around his kind brown eyes and cried harder.
He held out his arms. “Come here, my dear. Papa will hug it all away.”
Sabri flew into his arms and felt an instant comfort, as if she’d been accustomed to coming to this man with all her problems and fears. She looked up at his face and opened her mouth to tell him what was wrong, but stopped, the words unspoken. How could she tell him what was wrong when she didn’t know herself? Mother’s request that she not ask questions in front of others floated through her mind. The remembered venom in the voice of the unknown person in the hall reinforced her silence. What if he turned against her? Where would she go?
“…people that don’t work don’t eat. I can’t have no freeloaders around here. Your ma ain’t coming back. You gotta start pulling your weight…”
With a kind of fear in her voice, Sabri said, “Nothing, Papa. I’m all right. I guess I’m just tired.”
He gave her a searching look, then told her, “All right, pet. Why don’t you wash your face and come down to dinner.”
Sabri gave him a watery smile. He returned her smile and flicked her nose.
“Everything looks better on a full stomach. I promise.”
She nodded. “I’ll be down in a minute, Papa.”
When he left, Sabri scrubbed her hand across her wet cheeks and felt like a criminal.