I stared at the graves of the members of my family, their names etched in the stones placed in the mounds where their bodies lay, forever silenced....I stood a small girl before the tower which was Mrs. Davis, her dark, shadowy face looking down upon me. Quietly I dawned the clothes of a servant and an apron, set to work at Moorehouse Hall. I shed tears in my sleep, waking from dreams of memories, nightmarish reality....I was taller, though I was still the smallest servant at Moorehouse. Mrs. Davis turned upon me, her brow formed into a firm frown as she told me I would look after the Master's babe, known infamously by all the servants as a demon....I found comfort in the strange child's presence as I cared for the girl named Lilith. I wished to know what wisdom was contained behind the blackness which was her eyes, the mystery....I held the child, sang lullabies to her in the night, and read any books that I laid my hands on to her....I spoke of my family as she looked up at me with those knowing, glassy eyes, as if she understood....to Lilith I completely poured my heart.
One evening I sat, rocking the babe's small form in my eyes as I gazed out onto another evening's beautiful sunset. It had such beauty, such magnificence, a serene happiness in which I longed....a tear rolled down my cheek, sadness enveloping me....I glanced down to the child, sniffling with a soft smile.....at least I had her...it felt as if she truly cared. The sunset's rays cast the orange and pink light into Lilith's black reflecting pools, tossing the light of life into her face....
A smile played at Lilith's small, pink lips....I returned the smile, but turned my gaze away, the house beginning to groan and whimper, the sound of cracking and popping drawing my attention away....in one great gust the glass of the window panes shattered, unnumbered shimmering daggers flying to me and wind throwing my hair into a wild stream....the world seemed to swirl about me in a crazed spin....
I woke abruptly from my bed, my lashes fluttering. Warm sunlight spilled onto my face. Was that a dream, or a reality? It seemed so real, the emotions still fresh and wild within me. Slowly, I stood from my plush mattress, staring about the chamber. For a moment, I wondered where I was, all of it appearing so foreign. Where was the babe, Lilith? What had happened?
A knock came upon the door, making me turn. "Yes?" I replied instinctively. The door opened, and a servant slipped inside.
"A letter for you, Miss. Bradley." the maid murmured, curstying slightly and holding out a piece of folded parchment. Miss. Bradley, was it not Burns...
'Elizabeth' was written in a scrawling, spidery hand upon the folded paper. Slowly, I broke the seal and gazed to the words inside.
A gift for you, for all that you have given me.
A life like a sunset.
I smiled, tilting my head in puzzlement. So...none of it was a dream? With the paper still in my hand, I bolted from my room, down the stairs and into the parlor, as if knowing my way as if I had lived in this strange house all my life. I gasped as I entered, my mother seated in a delicate chair with sewing in her lap, garbed in an elegant velvet gown. With her handsome face she looked up and grinned widely, "Good morning, my Sweet, have you slept well?"
Tears bloomed in my eyes, and I ran to her, throwing my arms about her form. Her familiar smell was only moderately changed, hinted with a rosy perfume. She laughed, suprised, "What-Elizabeth?"
"I love you, Mother." I cried.
She put her slender arms around me, stroking my hair. Herwarm breath brushed against my cheek as she murmured, "I love you too."