A Day for Remembering

Submitted into Contest #101 in response to: Write a story that involves a reflection in a mirror.... view prompt


Fiction Historical Fiction


As I wrap a shawl around my shoulders, I catch my reflection in the mirror. Lines etch my face whispering of a life long-lived.

I shake my head and leave my small home. Neighbors nod to me in greeting but say nothing and that is the way I prefer it. Especially today. Today was not a day for talking but for remembering. Even if I was the only one who did.


The echo of the dropped platter rings in the hall. Everyone looks at me. I do not look at them but drop to the floor. I’m supposed to be invisible; not drawing attention to myself. I scramble to pick up the fallen fruit as the conversation in the hall grows again. I am already forgotten.

A pair of boots enters my vision, followed by knees. A hand holds out two dropped apples.

In the reflection of the polished tray, I see the blurred image of a man. I glance up at him as I grab the apples. “My apologies, my lord.” I speak quickly, hoping to avoid any scolding.

“It was an accident. No harm done.” He helps me gather the fruit. When the tray full once more, he stands, taking it with him. No knight should be helping like this.

I stand, and make to take the tray but he does not let go. “I am Sir Alfred.”

I’m not sure what he wants me to do with that information. I’m a servant; not his equal. Like everyone else in the room, he should be ignoring my existence until he was in need of something.

“This is the point where you tell me your name.” The corners of his mouth pull up into a smile.

“Sarah.” I reach for the tray again and this time he lets it go.

He inclines his head. “It’s nice to meet you Sarah.” He turns away and I’m left watching him go.


The hill is steep. It takes a long time and a great deal of energy to climb.

Time I have, but these days my energy is lacking. Each step takes more effort than the last one but I plant my walking stick and continue on.

No hill will stop me.


This hill is going to kill me.

I just hope it does before my arms fall off. Already they ache from carrying a picnic basket for the hunting party. I glance at the men struggling with carrying tables up the hill. At least I’m not one of them.

“Quickly!” Master Collins shouts. “Quickly. We need to be ready before the lords and ladies are done with their ride.”

“Maybe they should ride slower.” A servant girl beside me mutters. I press my lips together, trying not laugh. She catches my look and grins. I can’t help but smile back. “I’m Mary.”

“Sarah.” I say. “What are you carrying?”

“Blankets. The heavens help them if they feel a small chill.” She rolls her eyes and I bite back a giggle. “And what about you?”

“All the bread.” It was surprisingly heavy.

We crest the hill and we both give a sigh of relief. We look at each other and laugh.


Wind whips at my skirts, tugs at my hair, and stings my face.

Still, I press on.


Lady Carin storms through the kitchen gardens. Mary and I exchange wide-eyed looks. The lady was known for unpredictability. As changeable as the wind, I’d heard others whisper. Furious as a storm one moment and as gentle as a breeze the next.

“You two.” She points at us as if she were the queen of the country. And considering we were only servants, she might as well have been. “What are you doing?”

Mary glances at me and then answers. “Pulling the weeds, my lady.”

Lady Carin drops to her knees. I stare at her in horror. Her lady’s maid will have a field day if her dress is stained. She merely lifts an eyebrow at our stunned looks. “Which ones are the weeds?”

I silently point to one. She nods and starts pulling; acting as if this is the most natural thing in the world for her to be doing.

Mary shrugs and we both go back to work.


I crest the hill. Standing atop the hill is a tall stone. Most in the village don’t know why it’s here or what it means.

But I do.

And it means everything to me.


“Father is a fool.” Lady Carin mutters from her spot on the bench; her chin perched in her hand. The day is warm and we are all outside under the shade of a tree.

Neither Mary nor I say anything. Mary weaves flowers into a garland for the summer festival while I work on stitching a sleeve together. After the day in the kitchen garden, Lady Carin had appointed us as her personal servants, claiming we were the only two she had ever met who had taken her in stride.

There had been quite the to do though when she had announced it- everyone protesting from her mother to the chamberlain while the other servants gave both Mary and me dirty looks. Lady Carin, however, had stormed and everyone had bent to her desire.

“No comment?” She asks.

I lift an eyebrow at her. What were we to say to that?

Sir Alfred stalks over to us, his hands clenched, and his jaw tight. He’s a distant cousin of Lady Carin’s but they look like they could be brother and sister. “You father is a fool,” He announces in much the same tone as Lady Carin had.

The lady gives us a look, as if saying, “See? I’m not the only one.”

I shake my head and focus on the stitches. I have no desire to undo them later because of my lack of attention now.

Sir Alfred paces in front of us. “He is going to get us all killed.”

“Or worse. Married.” Lady Carin’s nose wrinkles in disgust.

I had seen her potential suitors and I heartily agreed with her. All of them looked at Lady Carin like she was a piece of meat they were ready to devour.

“Marriage won’t stop the coming carnage.” Sir Alfred says.

Mary’s brow furrows as she lays aside a finished garland. “What do you mean?”

“The battle lines have already been drawn. Whatever side my lord chooses, will only determine who we are fighting against.”

I glance at my lady and she nods.

“So either way, we’ve lost?” Mary asks.

Sir Alfred nods and my stomach twists. War was coming to Tingel Castle whether we wanted it or not. Now, all we could hope to do was survive.


I trace the markings on the rock. The Tingel seal and our names. The only known survivors.

It had taken Alfred days to cut deeply into the rock to ensure that the markings would not easily be worn away; that they would withstand the test of time. A testament to the ones who had survived.

Carin, Alfred, Mary, and Sarah.


We stand on the hill watching Tingel burn in the distance. We had had no warning. The castle had been set on fire. So many of the escape routes had been cut off by our enemies.

But Sir Alfred and Lady Carin had known of the castle’s secret passages and had gotten us out.

A miracle.

But now it was only the four of us.

Lady Carin, Sir Alfred, Mary, and me.


I close my eyes and off up a prayer of gratitude.

We had survived that horrendous night. We had hidden, later fought, but most of all we had lived.


It has been three nights since the attack on Tingel. Three nights since we had all lost everything save each other.

I cup water in my hands, disturbing my reflection in the stream. It’s the closest thing anyone had to a mirror these days. We all look horrible- tired, hungry, dirty, and grief-stricken.

“Do you think we’ll even make it?” Lady Carin’s voice is soft, gentler than a breeze caressing a face.

We all look at each other. It would be so easy to give up. Turn ourselves over to Tingel’s enemies and die.

“I’m not giving up.” Sir Alfred says.

“Me either.” Mary crosses her arms determinedly.

Lady Carin looks at me. I smile softly, a truth settling deep in my heart. “We’re going to live.”

July 09, 2021 21:40

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