Matilda put her finger to her lips and motioned for Delia to follow her. The two girls tip-toed down the hallway to the room with the closed door.
“What’s in there?” Delia whispered.
“Shhhh…” Matilda slowly eased the door open.
She motioned for Delia to step inside the dark room, and then she closed the door slowly behind them.
“It’s too dark.” Delia whispered. At that moment, Matilda flipped the light switch and the room was bathed in artificial light.
Delia looked around, disappointed to see they were standing in a home office that was much like her dad’s. A roll-top desk sat under the only window in the room, a layer of dust visible across the almost bare desktop. A bookshelf stacked and overflowing stood opposite the desk, one shelf noticeably bowed under the weight of the various books.
A smaller desk caught Delia’s eye. This one had all kinds of beautiful bottles on it, but it was also covered in dust. She saw a spiderweb stretched between the bottles and the mirror that stood behind them. A small stool sat in front of the desk.
“A beauty place. My mom would come here and make herself beautiful. See?” Matilda opened a lipstick and dragged it across her lips. She swiped it across Delia’s lips and the girls looked at themselves in the dirty mirror.
“What’s that one?” Delia pointed to a compact on the vanity. Matilda opened it and they saw small squares of various colors. Delia rubbed her finger in a dark green, “Oh!. It’s eyeshadow. My mommy wears this. But she doesn’t have so many colors.” She swiped her finger across her eyelids.
Matilda did the same with a deep purple shadow. The girls admired themselves in the mirror again and then Matilda went to the bookshelf.
“These are my mom’s books.” She said self-importantly. “You must never touch the books with the black covers.”
Matilda shrugged, “That’s what she always said.” She paused, “But my mom’s not here anymore…” Suddenly, she grabbed a spiral bound book with a black cover from the shelf and sat with it in front of her on the floor. Delia knelt down beside her. Matilda reached down and opened to the first page.
This piece was written as a part of my fictional work-in-progress, Finding Agnes. You can find more from Finding Agnes here.
Red Writing Hood is a weekly writing meme from the Write on Edge community. Constructive criticism is appreciated.
This week’s Red Writing Hood prompt: You have 450 words to write a fiction or creative non-fiction piece about the forbidden or the taboo. Keep in mind that those things aren’t necessarily the same for different people in different cultures — just like the concept of freedom. Feel free to explore what’s hidden in the center of that forbidden rose…but be careful of the thorns.
Photo Courtesy of Karin Dalziel. It has a Flickr Creative Commons attribution license.