The Boarder House

Beyond the woods and the treacherous roads to the Capitol City, there is a house. Called the Boarder House, this house gives residents a new chance at life. People from all over the world stay within it's walls until they are ready to leave. It's a place of miracles, and turns away no one. Absolutely no one.

 On the outskirts of the city of Lockley, there is a house. The house is affectionately called ‘The Boarder House’ by locals. The owners of the Boarder House accept wandering travelers and poor beggars who have nothing in the world. In exchange for working the field and taking care of the house, the residents of the Boarder House are given three hot meals a day, and a nice warm bed to sleep in at night.

Most of the residents are permanent. They were once poor townsfolk who had lost everything, until the Boarder House took them in. Entire families stay there, working from dusk to dawn, with the prospect of working and staying alive so much better than dying cold and hungry in the streets. The residents never complained. When a city dweller came upon them in the market place or such, they could only say nice things about the family that took them in.

Sometimes, travelers seeking to make a new life for themselves, or running away from old problems, would stay at the Boarder House temporarily. They would work and be sheltered, until they were ready to go off on their own. They too had no complaints concerning the House or its occupants. They were happy and generally started good lives. It seemed that the House was a place of miracles.

As to the owners of the house, the Carlottes, they were fine people. Mr. Ewan Carlotte with his booming laugh and burly mustache. Mrs. Katrina Carlotte with her shining eyes and enthralling stories. Their only son and two daughters; James, Serenity, and Marcy, who were adored by the entire city for being so well-mannered and polite. They were the perfect family.  Envied and admired by all.

 So, by now, you’re probably wondering what’s so exciting about this family. They’re simple, kind people, right? Perhaps you think a rogue resident will come to stay at the House? Or maybe one of them will get lost in the woods and start an adventure of their own?  If you do, then dash these ideas immediately. You couldn’t be more wrong.

 No, the resident was not rogue. He was a gentleman. And no one got lost in the woods. They just didn’t want to come out.  Oh, but I’m getting ahead of myself. How about I start at the beginning, hmm? Yes, that would be better. Then, let’s start with the day Serenity Carlotte was born.

 The rain pounded the roof relentlessly.  A dark storm had settled over the land, invading the skies with crackling lightning and resonating thunder. Despite being midday, the sky was black, so much like the moonless night. Small woodland animals scurried to find shelter. Farmers hurried to protect their precious tools, while their wives fought with the wind to bring the laundry in. Inside the Boarder House, a young James Carlotte huddled in a corner, trapped between the storm and his mother’s agonizing screams.

 Katrina Carlotte had been screaming for the better part of the morning. This child was a particularly stubborn one. He or she refused to come out. Midwives surrounded her, trying to steady her breathing for both her sake and that of the baby’s.

 Ewan Carlotte anxiously waited for his child’s birth just outside the room. He could hear his wife’s scream with perfect clarity, and each new ring of pain sent a pang of guilt to his heart.

 Katrina was dying. She was quickly losing strength. The baby wasn’t faring any better. If something was not done quickly, both mother and child would lose their lives.

 In his desperation, Ewan called upon the man standing behind him. He had original refused the man’s offer, but it was becoming evident that his assistance was necessary.

 The man nodded under his cloak, then stepped into the birthing room. He ignored the painful screaming hitting his ears, or the putrid scent of blood invading his nostrils. Two lives depended on him. He would not fail them.

 Slowly, he placed his right hand on the woman’s sweat-covered brow, and his left above her quickly beating heart. He muttered soothing words, then lowered his hands to Katrina’s protruding belly, gently stroking it. Her cries faded away immediately, and were replaced by the cries of a newborn infant.

The storm stopped. The wind turned into a gentle breeze.  The smell of blood was replaced with fresh spring air. On the horizon, the sun was peeking out through the clouds, shedding its golden light upon the Boarder House. Beneath it, a shining rainbow stretched across the sky. All was quiet except for the baby’s cries. The world had fallen into a state of serenity.

“It’s a girl,” one of the midwives whispered in awe. Everyone in the room gathered round to see the tiny pink baby cradled in her arms. They sighed and whispered and went on and on about how beautiful the newborn infant was.

Katrina opened half-lidded eyes, and saw her little girl for the first time. She nearly let out a cry of joy.  Tears sprang quickly, cascading down her cheeks. The midwives looked up from the tiny baby, and quickly handed her to her mother.

It was one of the happiest moments of her life. Only her marriage to Ewan and the birth of James could compare to how she felt now. She was alive. Her baby was alive and crying. The birthing was a success.

Ewan burst through the door in an excited frenzy. He looked like a wild man, with his hair a mess and eyes blood-shot from fatigue. When he finally found his wife and daughter, Ewan’s smile lit up brighter than the sun. In Katrina’s mind, he’d never looked more handsome.

“Katrina,” he whispered, then ran over to her and kissed her with a barely contained passion. For once, he didn’t care who was watching. This was one of the happiest moments of his life. He’d been terrified that both mother and daughter would die in childbirth. They’d come so close to passing on. Ewan was eternally grateful that they had been spared.

When he finally broke away, he stared down at the bundle in Katrina’s arms. He was speechless as he watched her cry and wiggle around. Ewan had always wanted a daughter, and now he had the most beautiful little girl in the world.

Ewan and Katrina felt something shift on the bed. James’ five-year-old head peered over his father’s shoulder, trying to get a better look at the squirming baby.

“James, I’d like you to meet your new sister,” Katrina said. James’s eyes widened. He was a big brother. He had a little sister, who he could protect and teach. Even at the young age of five, James resolved to watch out for his little sister until the day he died. He wouldn’t let anything touch her.

“What will we name her?” Ewan asked. He decided that his wife should get to choose the name. She deserved that much.

Katrina thought for a second. She looked down at the baby, then out the window into the bright and sunny afternoon.  The forest in the distance was covered in tiny drops of dew, making the canopy glitter and shine. Katrina didn’t have to think too hard for the right name.

“Serenity,” she said. Serenity stopped squirming, as if she recognized the sound of her name. The entire Carlotte family smiled. Yes, Serenity was the perfect name for her. 

Unbeknownst to the Carlottes and midwives, the cloaked man slipped out of the house and started down the road. He didn’t want to interrupt on such a precious family moment. He’d seen their smiles and knew they would never forget what he did for them. He didn’t have to fear the deal being forgotten. One day, Ewan would have to keep up his end of the bargain. But for now, he would let them live in a moment of complete and utter bliss.

 

The End

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