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Fantasy Historical Fiction Inspirational

To a child, the dark buildings of London loomed tall and gloomy and foreboding. A tiny girl,

whose mother had died of consumption just weeks before moved among the people like a

frightened little kitten, darting here and then hiding. Sometimes a piece of bread with just a bit

of mud could be found. She carefully wiped the bread off on her rag of a shirt, and though it

smelled slightly of being close to a mouth brimmed of rum, she took four quick bites and

chewed with happiness. To find an abandoned carrot was like finding a gold ring.

At night she found a hollow place under the old bridge where her sleep was interrupted often

by the heavy clopping of teams of horses and whirling of carriage wheels.

Dirty faced, ragged, and barefoot she wandered down a new street because of a wonderful

bakery smell. Bread. She looked behind as she crept close to the brick wall, fearing that she

might get lost and forget how to get back to familiar streets. And then she saw it. A half table

pressed against the front window with loaves of bread set out on a display. With her back

scraping as close as she could get along the bricks, she took quiet steps, stretching her bone thin

legs forward. The fingers on her hand did an involuntary dance in air as she reached for her

treasure and then felt the still warm loaf against the palm of her hand. With a scoop she

embraced the bread and ran past the bigpeople who gave her no mind.

A voice filled her with terror. “Stop, you bloody little thief. Come back and I’ll cut your

evil little throat!” It was a young man, the baker’s son, running with his chubby belly bouncing

along with his apron, charging after this little urchin.

A constable’s soldier appeared in Loretta’s path and his hard hands grasped her little

shoulders. In those dreadful days in old England, theft was a common problem, and the

magistrates had a simple solution. Death by hanging. In this cold godless world, many young

urchins had their careers of survival ended by a hanging rope and a pauper’s multi-filled grave

The judge had made a quick decision over the fate of the morning’s group of young thieves.

They were lead to the Gallows.

Loretta, bewildered moved with the crowd of crying children. A rough and blackened rope

was put around her tiny neck and someone pushed her off the

platform. The awful sounds and sight of twitching young bodies gave a certain satisfaction to the

merchants and adults who could think of nothing but the need to clear the streets of this

nuisance.

But Loretta just hung there, softly swinging, so frail that gravity could not do its job. Her

frightened eyes were looking here and there in a ghastly wonder. A gallows soldier went up to

the little girl and pulled with his weight holding her bound ankles until her little eyes stared

without seeing as the frowning faces faded into dark.

**********

The mist was fading to a bright sun, and the crew of diggers were just finishing the morning’s

trench, when the sound of squawking wheels was just on time. Without feeling, the men grabbed

the light bodies out of the wagon and tossed them into the trench. Only nine little bodies, thought

Charles. Yesterday they had fifteen. He and Jonathan immediately starting shoveling dirt over

the bodies. Then Claiborne walks over with a toothy smile. “Ay, I ‘eard a new ‘un lass night.

You ‘eard the tale of the Duke’s little concubine gettin’ caught runnin’ around in ‘er nickers in

the halls of...”

Charles and Jonathan were happy to lean on their shovels while the boss man told his story. He

even brought out his pint and all took a little morning nip.

**********

The dark moments changed to a lovely rainbow of light, and Loretta felt wonderful. She felt as

though she was soaring with a super freedom and had a feeling she had been here before. It felt

familiar. Then she saw her mother.

The sweetest expression and glistening eyes were what she saw first, and in their embrace they

seemed to intertwine and everything was colorful and a soft smell of blossoms was in the air. A

lovely music made itself known to Loretta, and then another presence was nearby. “Loretta, my

love, you must listen carefully...” The larger, brighter presence seemed to encompass them and a

voice without sound, yet crystal clear, filled her mind.

“Loretta, it is not your time. You have more to do and learn in human form. I am going to

send you back to this life.

Loretta was so comforted by the being who looked deep into her eyes in the most kindly way.

“We have things to do and you will help us. Fear not, for you will never be alone again, ever.

This dear person will always be with you. Gellipali, please show yourself...”

There was a shivering vibration of light, and ever so suddenly, a dark man appeared, velvet red

shirt with billowing sleeves, a large hat with jaunty feathers, dark leather trousers, and a golden,

sparkling sword at his side. His bright, friendly eyes made Loretta feel happy.

“My lovely little lady, I am forever your servant..” and he kissed her still tiny hand while she

stared with her little mouth open in total awe of this, her champion. She was filled with

excitement. “Mama, can I go?” A last, dear kiss from her mother, and her essence and

Gellipali’s became transparent, and they were gone.

**********

Loretta suddenly could smell the smell of dirt and dankness. She felt as though she was waking

from a strange, unrestful nap. She brushed some dirt off and was immediately horrified by the

young corpses surrounding her. She was dizzy and felt a little faint, but then saw that one side of

the trench had a slight slope so she climbed toward the top. The loose dirt gave way and she

started to slip back when an unseen force pulled her up and over the top. She ran silently to a

heavy gravestone and hid behind it. She felt very confused. The events of the past two hours

were too much for a seven year old to totally comprehend. Was this a dream? She had dreamed

once of riding horses wearing a flowing golden scarf catching the wind as she galloped over

green hills. She stayed low and looked at the laughing men. If they see me, they will put me

back down there, she thought. When one man left and the others were busy shoveling, she ran to

the big oak tree in the middle of the graveyard. There she sat, her heart beating like a little

bird’s.

She stood on the pathway and looked around. She had never been up on this hill

before. She could see the town, at first some small buildings, then the big dark ones. Some

chimneys with smoke drifting with the breeze could be seen, and then she saw the life of

carriages passing on the cobble-stone streets and people walking. She shivered in the cold,

rubbing her elbows, and as she looked down the hill, a wooly coat with a fresh smell covered

her. Then her bare feet suddenly were encased in soft leather shoes with a modest buckle on the

sides...and stockings! She had stockings up over her little knees. She ran down the hill screaming

musically, so full of joy. It was not a dream.

She walked at a quick pace, looking for something familiar, and seemed more aware of all of

the town now. She looked at the bridge that had been her shelter recently and headed there to

rest and think. Going down the stony path, she accidentally kicked a metal object whose ring

echoed as it bounced and tumbled. It was a key. She picked it up and studied it for a few

seconds. Then, as though pulled by a magnet, her little hand holding the key was pointed through

a little fence, and

then she was pulled to a pale blue doorway, and the key made its own way into the lock. The

blue door sprang open. Inside, a pot of simmering porridge, smelling like something from

heaven welcomed her.

Loretta slept that night in a big soft chair stuffed with goose down, in front of a fire that blazed

all night. The next day was going to be very busy in this renaissance era community.

The morning sun struggled to beam through the mean winter clouds, then seemed to give up

and let the slow moving darkness pervade, and a dripping mist was over the whole town. Loretta

took warm water from a pitcher and washed her face and hands, although she was not dirty.

There was a skillet of fried eggs and bacon waiting for her, with a cool glass of cow’s milk and

she joyously enjoyed her feast. She buckled her shoes, and put on her coat, and in the coat was a

small leather purse with coins inside.

As she went outside and closed the blue door, the clouds above parted just enough to let a

beam of sunlight encompass Loretta’s smiling face. She walked over her bridge toward the

merchant’s stores in the main center of London. People smiled at this pretty, curly-headed little

girl, and ladies in fine dresses wondered why she was alone, where was her mother? She

marched on, and saw two of the Constable’s soldiers standing with a merchant. The merchant

carefully counted out some gold coins that he dropped into their hands. They nodded at each

other.

London had no true police force. All law enforcement was provided by contributions from

concerned merchants and residents of the area, whatever they could afford.

Loretta’s face darkened as she saw that one of the soldiers was the one who took her to the

judge.

She crowded past the men and stood next to the old soldier who now was one of the guards for

the merchants.. Her little finger wagged at the group ofsoldiers....

”What you are doing to the urchins of this town is not good.” Her young voice rang so

through the streets and alleys that people stopped to listen, and people up in their flats came to

the windows to see.

“These lost children need the grown-ups to help them. They are hungry. Each of these children

are valuable, and they cannot help that they live in the alleys. Ye must stop takingthem to die. Ye

must!”

“And who d’ya think yer speakin’ to in that manner, you little twirp. Begone! Where is

your mum or fauther? Could ye be one a them little urchins?”

He grabbed for Loretta’s pointing finger, but a groan emanated from his mustachioed mouth. His

left leg seemed to collapse, out of balance. He fell to his side, his helmet clanging as it fell off

his balding head. In a few

days, this leg would be gangrenous and would need to be amputated.

The other soldier, wide eyed, spit out “Witchcraft!” and ran down the street and up an alley to

escape this evil force. As he departed, he felt a twinge between his buttocks, and lived a long life

with a dreadful, hemorrhoidal condition to his end.

The words of this tiny girl were clear and honest, and for a while, the crowd seemed to ponder.

A new attitude was generating.

Loretta continued her trek, blending with the crowds, then in a determined stride, went several

blocks north, then turned and went three blocks in a westerly direction. Here was the bakery.

She went up to the counter inside, and the chubby baker’s son leaned next to a glass window

smoking a long stemmed pipe. A smiling lady was at the counter. Loretta immediately liked the

lady, then said,

“Yesterday. I had not been on this street before and I smelled the wonderful smell of your baked

breads and cakes. I’m very sorry, but I tried to take one to eat, as I was so hungry. I

would like to pay the pence for my thievery.” She laid a coin on the counter. “Now I would like

to ask you to take the left-over breads, the ones that you cannot sell, and place them back of

your alley for the hungry children of London?” Her sincere, loving face and clear eyes were

irresistible.

“I ..we shall! I’ll tell m’ ‘usband that we will from now on do that, my little sweetie.”

“What..!..What are you saying mums?“ With an angry face, the son walked to the counter.

“We’ll ‘ave those little buggers all around and under foot if ye do that crap...oww.”

The young man grabbed his legs, as an arthritic condition took over both of them. “Ahh, what’s

this?” he sat

down rubbing his knees. From that day, Chester the baker’s son walked in pain, through a long

life, every step he took. He could never run again, ever. The baker’s wife, a charming neighbor,

convinced other merchants to leave their useful surplus for the poor.

Loretta could well remember her feelings of dread when she was here before. Now, the

confusion was gone. She felt a complete power as she approached the gloomy building that was

the court house. She knew that the silent Gellipali was also nearby. She stood before the great

building with its columns that went to the sky, and its broad stairwell that went to the entrance,

and people in a long line going inside.

A cart full of dirty faced, raggety children pulled up and were forced up the stairs. No mortal

could see Gellipali as he held his sword toward the children and made a slow circle in the air.

The long thick rope that connected each child to the one behind seemed to softly dissolve. At

the same moment, the surprised trio of soldiers all grabbed at their helmets, as a ringing that no

one else could hear permeated through their brains.

The urchins, at first looking at their unbound hands, finally realized they could make an

escape, and did.

Loretta went with determined energy up the steps and walked past the jury and spectator seats

to the imposing bench of the judge. He had been looking at official certificates and talking to

counselors at the side of his bench, and his heavy brows were each set, shaped liked thick

opposing S’es ,always in a scowl. He heard Loretta’s child like voice

“Master Judge...I would speak, please” .. He looked by lifting forward over the front of his

huge dark enclosed podium. When she saw his face with the bulging spheres of eyes looking

down at her, she stated in a loud, clear voice as the murmur among the people in the boxes went

suddenly quiet. “What you are doing to the helpless, hungry orphans of this town is evil, and

must be stopped. Your law needs to change. You are a heartless killer of children!”

A simultaneous gasp could be heard, and fifty or so people in the room looked with mouths

agape, though in stunned silence. The judge’s face went toward a dark red, and he motioned for

soldiers to come forward and apprehend this tiny girl with the big voice.

“Do you have any thought of who you are addressing?”

The judge spit out the words carefully, one by one.

“Do you have any concept of what is now going to happen to you?”

The judge then seemed to wince as though in pain. An ache seemed to be coursing from

his neck down his shoulders and his hands curled as through trying to grasp something.

“YOU will regre..ggg ooo uddah proommm..” and he noticed that his dark chamber was filling

with a white fog, as his sight was fading away. In a moment, he was curled into a ball on the

floor behind his bench, unable to see and gurgling gibberish. This man lived for years after this

day, but as a helpless, blind beggar on the dark moist streets of the town.

The stories of these events traveled rapidly through the town. It was an era filled with

superstitions and vulnerability to the often ignorant will of misinterpreted religions. It was a time

where even what you wore was restricted, dependent upon your class in society. Orphans were

most often the results of illegitimate sexual activity, and were signs of sin and unholy

encounters.

*******************

As the town glowed in the sunset, and lamps and candles were lit in the homes and merchant

shops, Loretta felt very tired and walked quietly over the bridge to her little home. A wagon with

lamps lit wobbled by, and a couple with a child, softly talking, passed behind her. Stopping to

enjoy the reflection of the orange sky in the river below, she thought about her day, and felt

good..

She had been determined and confident today, as she had the realization that powers greater than

any human’s coursed through her small being. The physical castigation that had been meted to

the cruel people in her encounters were eventually dismissed by the townspeople as natural

coincidences.

Legends, of course, were told and exaggerated for many, many years. We are the only ones who

know that their manifestation were the duty of Gellipali, her silent and unseen companion.

Loretta felt the warmth inside the little cottage with the blue door, and went to rest in her down

filled chair. The fire crackled with energy. As the fire turned to embers, the room darkened, and

Loretta again left this life to be with her mother, her mission complete.. On this trip through the

valley of death was Gellipali, serenely contented.

October 23, 2020 21:54

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1 comment

A. Nelson
23:23 Nov 04, 2020

🖤🧸

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