Mary Brooding
Help me?
Sat Sep 15, 2018 18:32

Despite her bleak mood, it was easy to be with Tabitha, and their wanderings were comforting. It was far too nice a time to feel grey and Mary perked up quickly, laughing and joking with her girlfriend, and keeping a running commentary on clearly inaccurate monster facts for Tabitha. Well, really for herself. Mary was highly amused by announcing that the holes in the grass were from Spiced Wingtail dragons leaving talon marks on the ground, whatever Tabitha insisted about things like 'gophers' and 'that's not even a real dragon,' and continued her quips for much of their walk as opportunities presented themselves.

Mary let her eyes wander as they walked, and she rarely wasted time peering into the darkened hedge growth around them. Tabitha was a good conversation partner whether they were talking about everything or nothing, or something in between, and Mary found that the sights in the Gardens were no longer just interesting features of the landscape. Instead, they were objects with history and meaning to discuss and debate, natural formations and vegetation with properties and characteristics to consider, and much more. Mary was at ease.

Unfortunately, as the day drew into a faint husky afternoon, the result of a sun that had not yet set but dipped below the tops of the plant life surrounding them, Mary might have done well to spend more time looking into the depths of those same plants. It was the first time Mary had been truly lost in the Gardens. She didn't doubt that she could've gotten them out after a few more unfamiliar twists or turns revealed something she knew, but didn't have the chance.

Instead, when Mary had taken several steps ahead of Tabitha to reach for a stone on the ground that would make for a decent pestle, she looked up to see another woman stepping out of the hedge in front of them. The woman was a ways off still, maybe fifteen feet, and carrying what looked at first to be a small wallet and a candle.

Mary's throat clenched as her eyes saw the familiar flicker of flame. It was a newer candle than the one she lit every year, and it was evident that this woman had recently felt the need to purchase a new one. Or make one.

She had a dark dress on that might've been red at one point but had faded into a burnt grey color, similar in style to Mary's own dress, and her eyes were covered with a short lace veil beneath the brim of a matching hat. It was her hair that made Mary's throat dry and her stomach clench. A sad braid of thick black hair tumbled past the woman's hips and onto the ground behind her. There were twigs and bits in the body of it and the bottom was trampled and broken, as if the woman no longer cared whether the people who walked behind her walked on her hair.

Mary stood up straighter, the stone on the ground long forgotten, and realized the woman was a few inches shorter. She looked up as Mary drew herself to her full, not very impressive height, and Mary found familiar eyes beneath the veil. They were sad and pulled down, wrinkles tugging the rest of the bronze face into a perpetual frown. There were laugh lines there, too, but they'd long since been obliterated by the frequency of more somber expressions.

Mary heard Tabitha's voice behind her but didn't register what the Defense professor said. She didn't want to. She had to see what was in the strange woman's other hand. As if knowing exactly that, the woman held her hand up, revealing the inside of what was not a wallet but a pocket-sized photo book with two pictures inside. She held the candle nearby to light the images of a painfully familiar family of two parents and a little boy around nine years old. In fact, he was exactly nine years old, and it was the last photo of him.

On the other side was a newer picture of a woman with grey blue eyes, red painted lips, and a mischievous smile. Mary leaned forward, captivated by this image of Tabitha, maybe five or six years older than she was now. She looked so happy but the face of the photo was well worn, as if the woman who kept it had run longing fingers across the image too many times.

Mary knew the face and she stepped back in horror as she realized that both pictures were the last ones taken of their subjects. The woman had lived on much longer, evidenced in the sagging, wrinkled skin of an elderly face that was all too familiar. She realized then that she didn't really look like her mom at all, and wouldn't even when she had outlived her mother's age by decades.

Stumbling away, Mary tripped over something, or nothing, and landed hard on the ground, catching herself only barely with her hands. She heard rather than felt the distinct crack from her left one. She was feeling too many other things to notice a broken bone.

Even the scream caught in her throat was stalled as the figure of herself, decades older and terribly alone, approached.

  • I can't help it.Tabitha Hawthorne, Wed Sep 12 14:45
    Tabitha had pulled out her wand from the inside pocket of her blazer, more out of habit rather than anything else. It had become the norm and also, a comfort, to be holding her wand when exploring.... more
    • Help me? — Mary Brooding, Sat Sep 15 18:32
      • Always.Tabitha Hawthorne, Sat Sep 15 20:05
        Tabitha had had a wonderful day with Mary, enjoying it far more than she ever would have done reading and grading essays. Her girlfriend - Tabitha was unable to keep herself from smiling every time... more
        • Thank you.Mary Brooding and Tabitha Hawthorne, Sat Sep 15 22:24
          (OOC-- Collaboratively written with Tabitha's author) Mary watched, surprised to find her own face dissolving and twisting into one that looked more like Tabitha’s. Of course, it was not Tabitha’s.... more
          • For you, I'd do anything. Tabitha Hawthorne, Sat Sep 15 22:43
            "This will hurt," Tabitha warned and her face twisted uncomfortably, not wanting to cause the wonderful woman pain but it was a necessary evil. She steeled herself, breathing in deeply as she pointed ... more
            • Like breathe?Mary Brooding, Tue Sep 25 22:39
              Mary groaned in pain when Tabitha's magic forced her broken wrist into place. She was particularly grateful for magic in these situations, although she couldn't help wondering if a slow muggle heal... more
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