Adele: Summoned

I sat by the dirty window of the small house my mother and sisters lived in, looking out at the streets of Paris.  Before the revolution we had been well off, not part of the aristocracy that the revolutionaries were so determined to bring down, but of enough significance to be in danger.  My father had moved us out of our old home and into hiding in a dark corner of Paris where we would go unnoticed.

At least that was the idea.  What my father hadn't told us was his involvement in a secret resistance movement called the Blanche.  My brothers were also members and slowly they began to disappear.  My father eventually told me about the movement on the night that he died, only three months ago.  It turned out that my brothers had been involved in a dangerous part of the movement, a part which killed them.

'Stop staring into space and give me a hand Adele.'  My mother held out a basket, looking at me expectantly.  'I need someone to go and get food and I can't send Mathilda out, it's too dangerous out there.'

'I'll go.'  I stood up, rearranging my dress before taking the basket and heading towards the door.  Pulling my cloak on to guard against the cold I headed out onto the streets of Paris.

'Hang on Adele.'  My mother ran out after me.  'A letter came for you.'  She held out the small square of paper, my name written in scrawly handwriting across the front.

'Thank you.'  I took it and walked off.  I didn't recognise the handwriting but I had a good idea who had sent the letter.  I ripped it open and looked at the mass of words before me.  It was signed Guillame.  I hurriedly hid the letter in my dress, knowing I couldn't let anyone see it.

The Blanche hadn't waited long after my father's death before they recruited me.  Guillame himself had found me and asked if I wanted to join the resistance movement and I had agreed.  I felt it was my duty to continue the work the men in my family had started.

'Good day Citizeness.'  The man at a fruit stall greeted me as every good French citizen should.

'Bonjour Citizen.'  I nodded and stopped to look at the fruit he was selling.  There wasn't much food around at the moment, with the country tearing itself apart people hadn't thought much about growing food or raising animals to be slaughtered.

As I studied the contents of the stall I felt a hand on the small of my back.  'Don't turn.'  The voice sent shivers up my spine and I could feel the fear setting in.  'You needn't be scared of me, I come from Guillame.'  I wasn't sure if this should make me feel safer or not.  In the middle of a marketplace anyone could hear us.  'Did you receive the letter?'

'Yes,' I breathed, very aware of the people around me.

'Good because we need you.  There is a meeting at the address given in the letter and you must be there.'

'My mother doesn't know anything about what I am doing.  How do you expect me to drop everything and come running when you tell me to?'

'That's your problem.  It was you decision to join us, we didn't make you.  Your father and brothers managed to keep the secret, I don't see why you shouldn't be able to do the same.' 

Slightly wounded by his arrogant tone I retaliated.  'Who are you anyway?  And how do I know I can trust you?'

'My name is Nathaniel and I am a close advisor of Guillame, I can't give you more than that here.  Now will you be at the meeting?'  His voice was insistant, demanding an answer.

'Fine, I will be there.'

'Good.  I hope to speak to you under better circumstances very soon Adele.  Good day.'  Before I could turn to look at where he was going, he had vanished into the crowd.

'Citizeness?  Can I help you?'  I was pulled back to the real world by the stall holder, who was looking at me in a slightly concerned manner.  I put on a smile and shook my head.

'I'm fine, thank you.'  Trying to stop my head from spinning I walked away wondering what on earth I had got myself into.

The End

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