angels, boarding house, CharlotteCarrendar, collaboration, Henny Penny, Humor, Miss Childs Boarding House, pitiful voice, role play., Rosas Spinis, supernatural, the odd couple, Undoing, victorian, Witches, writing
Was the night of the ball, and as usual, the weather was abysmal. It had started to rain heavily, with the skies now clouded with the darkest of clouds that even obscured the moon’s light. The street lanterns had all been lit thankfully, but you would need to be mad to be out in this rain. Inside the Boarding house, Winnie was seated by the fire, working on her needle point, as the phonograph played the latest waltz. She had been invited to the grand ball, but something about the invitation troubled her somewhat. Perhaps it was the Count, whose family she was all too familiar with, back in Bavaria. They had such a dark history, with rumors about the sons. Course, they were just rumors, but behind them could be an inkling of truth. Winnie knew that Johnathon would not be out celebrating the night, especially after the loss of his wife, Saffron, but Winnie did worry, that Johanthon’s children may have been invited. As she thought of them, she suddenly pricked her finger, with a small spot of blood forming on the tip of her finger. Raising it up, she went to suck her finger, just as there was a knock at the door.
Veronica, the maid had gone to bed herself, due to the hour, and rather than wake her just to answer the door, Winnie placed down her needle point, and then rose from her velvet chair. As she walked to the door of the sitting room, her skirts rustled along the floor, and she cut an elegant figure, even though she herself was not going out this eve. Stepping out into the foyer, she could make out the shape of the figure of a woman, holding an umbrella. Such a strange time of night for a woman to be unescorted. Undoing the latches and locks, Winnie opened the door, only to see her dearest friend, standing on the landing.
“WINNIE!” Henny cried out, bustling in, without taking down her umbrella. She was wet, head to foot, with her skirt’s edge covered in mud. “Oh Winnie…I got thrown out of my last bedsit by some horrid woman, whose name I shall not say for fear of reprisals. ” *she paused*..”What the hell…damn Mrs Peabody. Came back in a lather from an incident, she refused to speak of, but course, when I said, that she probably got rejected by the Doctor…you know how she is about that poor man, well, she told me to pack my little bag and scoot.” Henny pouted at Winnie and said in a pitiful voice. “Can I stay….please? I promise not to hex your cat.”
Winnie was too kind hearted to turn away the sodden Henny. They had known each other for years, and used to be the best of friends, until Henny started to dabble in the dark arts. It did so bother Winnie, that she stopped going to visit, as it was not seen as pure and Godly, as Winnie had hoped Henny to be. Truth was, Henny was a witch, she always was a witch. It just took half her life to figure it out for herself. But Winnie did have a houseful of Angels, and she had to wonder how on earth, the wily witch would fit in amongst a sea of winged goodness. “You promised not to hex the cat before, and then I found him stuffed in the chimney, cost me a pound to have him extracted.” Winnie said with pursed lips. Henny suddenly remembered and started to chuckle. “Well….he chased Charles. Charles meant not harm. Heh…bet Mr Snookims name after the chimney drop was Sooty.” Henny erupted into a fit of giggles and brought down her umbrella, showering poor Winnie in water droplets. “Its so wet outside, raining cats and dogs.” Winnie wiped her face with her hand and replied. “It’s wet inside too.”
“Ahahaha..such a kidder. So, where may I take my bag up to?” Henny asked, all expectantly looking past her into the glamorous home. Winnie finally caved. “First floor, second on the right. Room is ready…and please, no sacrifices on the carpet, I don’t care who you are trying to heal.” Henny did a small salute, after placing her wet umbrella in its stand. “WONDERFUL…then I be right down after changing, and we can…gossip like old biddies in a home for the insane.” Henny chuckled and skipped off up the stairs, her muddy skirts making a mess on the floor, as Winnie sighed. Her little slice of heaven, had been invaded by a witch….with good intentions.
Evangeline had been sleeping peacefully before the rains came. The boom of thunder and crash of lightning jolted her awake and she sat up in fright, pulling the blankets to her chin. At first she didn’t recognize her surroundings. But then she recalled her unorthodox arrival and sat back with a sigh. Lightning flashed once more and she climbed from her bed, moving to the window to stare out into the dark and stormy night.
“Why have You sent me here? What is my purpose?” she whispered into the air. Thunder boomed again but no answers were forthcoming.
Hearing voices, she took up her robe, slipping it over her shoulders before easing the door open to hear better.
“…damn Mrs Peabody. Came back in a lather from an incident, she refused to speak of, but course, when I said, that she probably got rejected by the Doctor…you know how she is about that poor man, well, she told me to pack my little bag and scoot.”
She could make out Winnie’s voice but not the words before the other woman spoke again.
“Well….he chased Charles. Charles meant not harm. Heh…bet Mr Snookims name after the chimney drop was Sooty.”
Evangeline had to cover her mouth to hide the sound of her giggle. She could picture the pristine white cat covered in soot and giving everyone dirty looks. She returned her attention back to the muffled conversation below. This time she could clearly hear Winnie.
“First floor, second on the right. Room is ready…and please, no sacrifices on the carpet, I don’t care who you are trying to heal.”
Evangeline’s eyes widened in shock. “Sacrifices? What does she mean by that?” As she contemplated that turn of phrase, the other woman spoke again.
“WONDERFUL…then I be right down after changing, and we can…gossip like old biddies in a home for the insane.”
Footsteps on the stairs and a shadow on the wall alerted Evangeline to the fact that she had been eavesdropping on a private conversation and her cheeks heated. She backed quickly into her room, peaking through the crack in the door. The woman who appeared was cloaked in the shadows of the hall. She could only make out the red of her hair. She quietly closed her door, lest she got caught listening in.
As she climbed back into her bed, she did begin to wonder who the mystery red-head was.
Julia was sitting at her dresser, brushing her hair through with a comb. She was doing this subconsciously as she thought about why she was brought here. What was her purpose? Was it a mistake?…
At that thought a crash of thunder shook the room. No of course it’s not a mistake, God doesn’t make mistakes. She sighed, still none the wiser of her purpose after countless thoughts and running scenarios in her head.
It was then she heard noises of people talking, one she knew was Miss.Childs but the other, the other was new. Shaking her head she sat on the bed, she would not eavesdrop nor ask questions just yet, who knows what they might be talking about.
Playing with a curl in her hair her mind wandered again. Was she to be friendless forever? Why was she so socially awkward? She shook her head again with a slight frown. Miss.Childs was a friend and so was Mr.Snookims, that was enough…wasn’t it?
She sighed heavily when she heard footsteps on the stairs, knowing their conversation was finished, she stood up and walked across to the door. Opening it slightly she could see that the coast was clear before stepping out into the hallway and heading down the stairs quietly. She noticed the mud on the steps, which she avoided carefully, before coming across Miss.Childs herself.
Smiling a little she spoke calmly “Miss.Childs…I noticed the mud on the stairs…Do you want me to clean it up? I wouldn’t want to wake the maid at this hour and it would get trodden in if it isn’t cleaned….but it’s your choice of course ma’am” She bowed her head a little to her out of respect, hoping she hadn’t intruded on anything.
There truly was no other place like Miss Winnie’s boarding house. Henny had spent so much time here before, before she found out her true nature and abilities. The wedge that had fell between Winnie and Henny was one that Henny had hoped desperately to take down. For all her trickery and naughty ways, she still adored the every Godly Winnie. Fortune in her eyes had cast their gaze at Henny to be thrown out of that terrible bedsit of Mrs Peabody’s and allowed her the chance to effectively come home in a sense. Taking off her wet hat, she placed it gently upon the hat stand, while at the window, there was a light tapping. A raven was pacing the window ledge, back and forth, every so often tapping the glass to let her know he was there. Henny gasped and skipped over to undo the latch and open the window, to let Charles in. The bird hopped across the ledge then onto a dresser and started to shake off its wet feathers.
“We’re home.” Henny squealed, still excited to be there. Twirling around she finally decided to take off her wet and mud stained clothes, so she might venture down and have a late night tea with her dear Winnie. Henny placed the wet dress on a hanger, and put it up on the back of the door, before searching the closet for something of size to wear. Much of the clothes in the room, were for students and others that had fallen on hard times, and weren’t exactly Henny’s style, but she found one that was vibrant jade in colour. This matched her eyes and set off her long red locks perfectly. With her personal brush, comb and mirror laid out on the dresser, she smiled softly, whilst collecting up her brush to run through her hair, as Charles hopped about pecking at linen doilies that her bone handled brushes rested on. Henny chirped at Charles; “No making a mess…and no teasing Mr Snookims. As fun as that is. I made a promise for no funny business.” Henny said, wiggling her finger at her Raven. Whether the bird took note or not was another thing. Pleased with her appearance now, she set down her brush, and decided to go join Winnie.
Sitting Room – Ground floor
Hearing Julia’s question about the mud, Winnie sung out. “Its fine, dear. I shall get Veronica to clean that up momentarily. Do come down and join me, if you wish.” Winnie had set aside her needle point and took up the bell, to call for Veronica, to arrange tea, and to clean up the muddy marks. At this time Henny finally came down the stairs, and game-fully avoided the mud, by lifting her skirts and watching her step.
“Oh dear, that was me. So sorry for that. It’s truly frightful outside.” Entering the sitting room she spied the young Julia and clasped her hands together. Beaming, she said to Winnie, “You didn’t tell me you had such fair ladies staying, dear Winnie.” Directing her attention toward Julia, she continued; “I’m Henrietta…or you can call me Henny Penny. A childhood name that stuck to me like glue. Such a pleasure.”
Winnie gestured for both ladies to take a seat, as Veronica came in in her nightie and overcoat, her hair tied with small strips of white fabric.
“Tea is served, Miss Winnie.” Veronica was not entirely fussed with working so late, but seeing the odd couple of Winnie and Henny together again, was worth it. Settling herself down, Henny tilted her head and then asked of Julia;
“Forgive me, but you seem so familiar. Ever been to Brighton?” It was a good question, since Henny had been to many boarding houses in her time, and wondered if the young girl had frequented one in the Summer in Brighton. “If not, it is lovely to meet you. I am sure Winnie has been taking good care of you. She always did with me, even though I am trying on her patience.”
At this Winnie laughed softly. “Trying is a word.”
Henny laughed at Winnie;s reaction, and took up her cup of tea in her right hand. The rain was getting heavier, and it pitter pattered against the window pane, a flash of lightning seen illuminating the street outside. Winnie and Henny suddenly shared a look, that was strange. It was like both knew something was afoot in London that eve, and Winnie asked Henny; ” Did you get an invitation?” to which Henny sat still for a moment, and then nodded slowly. “I dare not accept….you know who it was from.” Almost like sisters, but of different natures, they were intune with the forces around them.
“He is a beast. Isn’t he?” Henny said softly.