Through the Curtain
The orphanage sat back from the main road and a dark atmosphere loomed over every nook and cranny of the estate. Tom Lopard, the middle-aged, drunk caretaker despised children after his wife passed, which meant Melissa and Olivia were in for a rough life.
Melissa and Olivia knew Tom’s wife and loved every ounce of her warm, kind heart. Melissa remembers the chilling day she was diagnosed with an incurable illness because Tom wept. However, he quickly replaced his sadness with rage. He struck fear in all the children, but especially Melissa.
She dreamt of a new home full of love. As Melissa looked out the window, her eyes glistened with hope that Olivia and she would be adopted.
Olivia, more rebellious, often snuck out to a golden wheat field. A small wooden platform with an abandoned railroad car sat on the edge of the field. Presumably used many years ago for trade, Olivia now used it as a hideaway. On a warm, sunny morning, Olivia dashed to her haven, unaware that Melissa followed her out of the house.
“Olivia!” Melissa shouted behind the tall wheat.
“Melissa?” What are you doing?”
“I followed you.”
“Yes, but why are you following me?” Olivia snapped.
“I wondered where you ran off to.”
While irritated at how reckless Melissa acted, Olivia knew she would have done the same. With the resolution that nothing more could be done, she collapsed beneath the wheat and closed her eyes.
“Listen, can you hear them?” Olivia whispered.
“Hear what?” Melissa questioned.
“This beautiful world.”
The warmth of the sun touched Olivia’s cheeks, lips, eye lids. The wind’s cool summer breeze hugged her body tightly. The cicadas’ melody echoed in between the tall stalks. The world spoke to Olivia and she listened intently.
“Do you hear them?”
“What? What am I listening for Olivia?”
“No not what, who,” Olivia corrected Melissa and sat up. “You need to listen to them.”
“I don’t…” But there it was. The rusting of dried wheat days after it had baked in the sun. However, the rustling was covering up the real sounds. Something singing in Melissa’s ears. The lullaby resonated in the field
Hours went by before they realized Tom might notice they were missing. The sun beaming down had turned their cheeks shades of pink, but they did not mind. They felt marvelous. It was much better to be out in the field, than cooped up in the orphanage.
“So, what do you do when you come out here?” asked Melissa.
“I pretend that I am a princess. That this whole field is my kingdom and I live happily ever after in my little railroad car.” Olivia calmly responded still with her eyes closed.
“A railroad car?” Melissa asked quizzically.
“Yes, just on the other side of the field is an abandoned railroad car. I think there were running trains that took wheat into town. But now it’s just an old, rickety platform, and a rusty old car. I have some blankets and trinkets in it.
“Wow,” Melissa gasped. “That sounds so cool! Wait, so who was singing before?”
“So you did hear it!” Olivia shouted excitedly, leaping to her feet. “They’re called Nymphs.”
“They are kind of like faeries,” Olivia began. “I think they guard and take care of this field. Whenever I come here, I listen to their songs.”
“Can I see your railroad car?” Melissa asked quietly.
“Let’s go!” Olivia pulled Melissa to her feet and they took off towards the car. As they neared the platform they saw something in the doorway of the railroad car. It appeared to make a curtain over the door and Olivia wondered what it could be. She had never seen anything like it before.
Melissa approached the railroad car door with caution, ignoring Olivia’s cautious warnings. With a surge of courage, she walked through the doorway into a green meadow teaming with life. Deer and doe were drinking at the pond, sunlight seeped through the canopy above, and nymphs everywhere singing.
Back on the platform, Olivia witnessed her younger sister, the only family she had, disappear through the doorway. Panic set in, as the shimmery curtain disappeared right before her eyes.
“Melissa! Olivia shouted. She ran around the platform and railroad car to try and figure out where her sister had disappeared to, but there was no where Melissa could have gone.
Melissa turned around and the passageway was gone. She did not see Olivia. She did not see the platform. Stretched to the horizon was a new meadow.
“Olivia? Olivia where did you go?”
A nymph floated up to Melissa and began speaking in a beautiful sing-song tone. “Didn’t you want a kingdom of your own? A place to call home?”
“Yes, but why can’t Olivia come too?” Melissa questioned.
“She could have come many times before, but never showed interested.” The nymph continued to sing. “The ticket sub in the railroad car grants the wishes of the one who desires them most. Olivia expressed no great desire.”
“What? I don’t understand. I never had a ticket stub!”
Olivia walked back to the door and decided to walk into the railroad car, still nothing happened. She looked around the confined space and noticed a matte ticket stub. Olivia saw the trees rustling on the once though invaluable ticket stub. She believed in the nymphs, and she believed in her sister. At that moment, the shimmery curtain appeared again and Olivia ran through.
“Olivia!” Melissa exclaimed! “You’re here! That means you expressed a great desire. Now we can stay her!
Olivia embraced Melissa in a tight hug and started to cry. “Melissa no matter where we go you’re my home.”
“Olivia, I don’t understand.”
“Mel, it’s not about how much you have or where you have it all, it’s about who you share it with. Home is where your family is.”
© 2017 Katie Pelissari All Rights Reserved. This is original content.