One for Sorrow


Megan Makowski, Writer

One for Sorrow
She sighed as she stared out the window. A little magpie perched on the tree branch just out of her reach. She sighed again. If only she could fly away like the birdie. Suddenly, her bedroom door burst open. “Emily!” a shrill sounded from the figure standing in the doorway. Emily jerked away from the open window in shock. “What in the name of Christ are you doing?” It was her mother, someone never to be reckoned with.
“I was only lookin’ at the pretty birdie, Mama,” she whispered, curling in on herself. Her mother stormed across the room and slammed the window shut with a loud bang!
“I don’t care! Goodness, my child, you’re sick! Having the window open will only make it worse.”
“But Mama-”
“No buts.” She hastily picked Emily up and flopped her onto her bed.
“But Mama I feel fine!” Emily protested, sitting with her arms crossed over her chest.
“Emily Rose Mallory, get under the covers and rest. I will not tolerate backtalk in this house, am I understood? Does Papa need to get the belt?” Emily’s eyes widened at the mention of her father’s belt. She rarely ever interacted with her father, but when she did, he was whacking her behind with his leather belt until she bled.
“No Mama.” she trembled, pulling the duvet over her feet and crawling under. Her mother smiled and tucked the covers under her chin.
“Good girl.” she praised before leaving the room. Emily sighed once more. It seemed that was all she ever did lately. She was ten years old and never did anything fun. Her mother had her locked in her room all day, always telling her she couldn’t leave because she was sick. Her father only interacted with her to beat her with his belt. Any other time, he ignored her. She really wished she were a bird. They never had a parent to tell them they were sick and couldn’t leave their room. They never had a parent beat them so hard with a belt their behind bled. Emily really wished she could be a bird.

Two for Mirth
The sun shone brightly into Emily’s room as she skipped around her room gleefully. “It’s my birthday.” she sang, twirling her nightgown. “It’s my birthday, it’s my birthday.” She giggled as she fell back onto her bed. Outside, faint chirping floated through the closed window. Emily bolted upright before clambering off her bed. She ran the short distance from her bed to the window and threw it open. On the tree outside, two magpies sat perched on the branches, singing to each other. She smiled and rested her head on the window sill, listening to their heavenly song. Emily was going to turn twelve today. She was becoming such a big girl. “Maybe Mama will let me go outside today.” she sighed. Emily had to wait for her mother to come into her room with her birthday breakfast though. It was something she and her mother did every year for Emily’s birthday.
When Emily woke up, there was a sharp chill in the room. It was twilight outside, the grass-covered in a white frost. Emily’s stomach growled. “Where’s Mama?” she wondered aloud. She hadn’t eaten anything all day, but she would be foolish to leave her room and go to the kitchen. Her father would whip out the belt in a heartbeat. She closed the window quietly and crept across the room. Slowly, she opened the door, the heavy wood creaking as the hinges swung open. “Mama?” she whispered. Nothing. The house was quiet but for the soft whistling of the wind outside. “Mama?” she dared call out a little louder. Still no response. Panic began to set in. She had never been alone in the house before. “Mama?!” she cried, her eyes welling with hot tears. Still no response. Emily threw her door open and began to search throughout the house. Every room was dark with no signs of life anywhere. The tears began to stream down her rosy cheeks as she entered the kitchen. She grabbed an apple from a bowl of fruit and began to devour it. Since she didn’t’ know how to cook, the apple would have to tide her over until tomorrow. She slowly climbed her way up the stairs and back to her room. Emily plopped herself back on her bed and sobbed. She wished she was a bird. They never got sad when their parents left them. She really wished she could be a bird.

Three for a Funeral
Emily paced around her room, her nightgown swishing every time she turned to face the other way. It was noontime and her mother was supposed to be bringing her lunch. Emily was fourteen now, a young woman, yet she was still locked away in her confining bedroom. She had never even taken one step outside of this God-forsaken house. She was tired of it all. She was going to stand up to her mother today and tell her she wasn’t sick, that she could go outside if she wanted to. The door swung open behind her, and Emily whipped around. Her father stood, looming in the dark doorway. Emily gasped softly.
“P-Papa,” she murmured, giving him an awkward curtsey. He glared at her before entering the brightly lit room, his heavy work boots pounding against the hardwood floor. “Where’s Mama?” Emily asked him, her voice meek.
“She’s in town,” his gruff voice spat out. “She wanted me to give you this.” He pulled a small cloth bag out from behind his back and threw it at her. Emily squeaked as it impacted her body, barely catching it. She opened it up and inside was half an eaten sandwich, a rotting apple, and a slice of stale cake. She hesitated before speaking.
“Papa,” she whispered, lowering her head. Emily knew her mother hadn’t prepared this meal for her. She assumed her mother had to leave for town suddenly, and asked her father to give Emily something to eat. This was probably leftovers from the servants’ kitchen.
“What was that?” he snapped, crossing his arms across his chest. Emily looked up at him, a sudden wave of bravery washing over her. Before she could think about her actions, she threw the food at her father.
“You eat this disgusting food!” she shouted at him. Rage flooded his eyes and his nostrils flared. He took two, gigantic steps until he was standing over her. He lifted his hand and smacked her hard, knocking her to the floor.
“Eat your fucking lunch, you whore.” he hissed, before leaving her room. He slammed her door shut, causing her to jump, before locking it from the outside. Emily’s cheek throbbed as she slowly crawled over to her window. Outside, perched on the branches, sat three magpies singing a happy tune. She sat there sobbing until the sun had started to set below the horizon.
“Oh, how I wish I could be as happy as you.” she finally croaked out. “How I wish I could be like you.” She opened her window and sat on the window sill. “How I wish I could fly away from here. How I wish I could get away from my parents. How I wish I could be as happy as you. How I wish…” She choked on a sob and buried her face in her hands.
“But you can be as happy as us.” a voice whispered to her.
“But you can get away from your parents.” another chimed in.
“But you can fly away from here.” another cooed. Emily looked up at the magpies, who were looking back at her.
“Come with us.” three voices chanted. “Come with us. Come with us. Come with us. Come with us. Come with us.” Emily gave them a puzzled look.
“But how?” she asked.
“You know how. Come with us. Come with us. Come with us.” Emily smiled as the tears continued to stream down her face. She climbed onto the window sill, took a deep breath, and stepped forward to follow them.
Three for a Funeral…