Beautiful Baby Girl

Submitted into Contest #57 in response to: Write a story about someone breaking a long family tradition.... view prompt

77 comments

Drama Historical Fiction Thriller

“Darling, must we walk all this way? I am going to be late for my travels and have no time for your antics.” Rafael moaned, not even minutes after he complained of sore feet.


“This will take no more than a moment of your life,” Eliza responded while leading her husband down the paths she knew by heart. The soil felt like silk along her feet as she hummed the tune the wind was carrying.


“Are you sure you should be walking so far? You shouldn’t be moving so much while the baby is close.” Rafael poked while looking back at the town, which was nothing more than a speck from the hill they were climbing.


“This is far too important to worry about such things,” Eliza spoke, more focused on the destination than the nagging in her ear. The moonlight was dim in the early morning sky, but Eliza needed no light to find her way. On top of the hill and beyond the gate was a place she loved more than anywhere else.


“A graveyard? Why waste the morning air coming to a graveyard?”

“This land is a gift more than it is a waste,” Eliza kneeled down to pick a bouquet of lilies from a garden she tended to herself, the petals shining bright without the morning sun’s help. “It may be small, but it holds more meaning than you could ever comprehend.”


It was true; the grounds only held six headstones. They stood tall in a perfect line, laced with flowers and jewels worthy of a queen.


“You still haven’t answered my question,” Rafael gruffled. Eliza rolled her eyes before leading him to the first gravestone, its actual age shining through the cracks and ivory that adorned it. Eliza kneeled down and placed a single lily on top, easing into the cold stone feeling on her fingertips.


“My mother died young, but not before she could take me here and show me the horrors of our families’ past. Our names may be different, but our stories are all the same.” Eliza rose up to stand next to her husband, her stone-cold hands pressing into his own.

“Magda? The woman who drowned in the well is from your bloodline?” Rafael squinted to read the engravings Magda Vallon, ‘1625-1649’. “I thought she was nothing more than a myth the town elders told children?”


“She was as real as you are, and her tale was nothing of the joke as the elders tell it.” Eliza stopped to take a deep breath to fight the tears. The memory of her mother’s voice rings throughout her ears.


“Magda was born with a body that couldn’t bear a child, a shame that she carried into her marriage with a suitor picked for her. Once her husband discovered the truth, he beat her until she fled into the forest. Her cries attracted the attention of a witch who took pity on her. She cast a spell so that she bare a child. She gave birth to a beautiful girl, but that was not enough to ease her husband’s temper. Years after when his rage became to much, he took both Magda and their daughter and threw them down the well before leaving the town. Magda drowned, holding her daughter up, waiting for the townsfolk to hear her daughter scream.”


“Her husband killed her? The elders said she threw herself and the child down at her own will?” Rafael mumbled, peering at the grave of the woman he never knew. “Why do you dare to lie to me about such a tale?” He shook an accusing finger at his wife, who ignored him as she moved to the next grave that belonged to Alvera Gorgen, ‘1644-1668’.


“Alvera was left as an orphan to be raised by the town nuns. She was married to a merchant who promised her a life riches and happiness, a life she had dreamed of since the day she lost her mother. She gave birth to a beautiful baby girl to which she raised herself as her husband travelled the lands. One unfortunate day he fell in love with a younger, more beautiful woman and decided to pursue a life with her instead. When he arrived home, he set his house aflame before disappearing with his new bride. Alvera died protecting her daughter from the flames.”


Rafael’s face steamed up in anger as his wife continued to ignore his claims of lies; instead, she placed another lilly before moving to the next grave that belonged to Bella Fianna, ‘1664-1688’.


“Bella stayed an orphan raised by her mother’s friend until she was married to the town blacksmith. She gave birth to a beautiful girl, and they were cherished as the sweetest family of the town that had nothing more than happy thoughts to share. His anger was never seen until a tool broke while the daughter was within reach. He went forward to punish her with his furnace until Bella pleaded for her safety. The husband then threw Bella into the furnace before throwing himself in after realizing what he had done.”


Rafael had quieted his voice, now more focused on the stories than his own infuriating voice. Eliza went forward and placed a lily on the gravestone that belonged to Sabrina Hohsin, ‘1682-1706’.


“Sabrina lived with the town priest until she married a handsome newcomer who was said to have ambitions to live a great life. Sabrina and her husband had a beautiful baby girl, to which she raised while her husband worked in the mines. He made a great sum of money but wasted his fortune drinking away at the town saloon. One day he came home without a single thought in his mind. He went forward to attack his own daughter before Sabrina stood forward to protect her. That was the night she died, bludgeoned to death from the very bottle he was drinking. He was executed by the townsfolk, ashamed of the crime he brought upon the town.”


It was silent for a long while. Rafael unable to come up with anything to say as Eliza stood in front of her mother’s grave. Willow Kolla, ‘1701-1725’. Eliza placed a lily on the gravestone before holding the side as if she were to hold her mother’s hand.


“Willow lived with the family that owned the saloon, over time falling in love with the young son of the saloon owner. They lived a joyous life, running the saloon while raising a beautiful baby girl. It was said that nothing possibly could go wrong until a young merchant came into town and stayed in one of the saloon rooms. Rumour went around that the merchant pursued Willow, and her husband was overcome with rage. He took his revolver and hunted the child they had created together, but didn’t take the shot until Willow went forward to shield her daughter. He couldn’t handle the aftermath of his crying child and dead wife, so he shot himself, leaving the young girl to be an orphan.”


Eliza ended her tale with a river of tears, leaning forward to embrace her mother’s symbol that was above ground. Rafael wanted to go on to comfort his wife, but his curiosity overtook that desire. There was one last grave, and he wished to see what name embezzled this grave.


The ground was open, fresh dirt surrounded the grave that was yet to be filled. A shovel laid to the side, the blade looking heavy. The headstone was smudged with dirt, covering the words that were carved. Rafael leaned forward and rubbed the dirt off, surprised to see a name that was all too familiar.


Rafael Dittmer, ‘1722-1747’.


“What is the meaning of this!” Rafael turned around to see Eliza there, now gripping the shovel with tears still in her eyes.


“Being without my mother was a poison that never stopped its sting.” She took a step forward, forcing Rafael to stumble back, closer to the grave she had dug. “It is my job as a mother to protect my child, and that is what I intend to do.” 


Rafael pleaded for his life, but that meant nothing to the shovel blade that struck him. Little by little, she filled the grave to cover up the deed that had to be done. The sun was peering over the hills by the time she finished flattening the land. She placed the last lily on top of the soil before returning to her home.


Days went by before she cried that her husband was missing. The townsfolk worried about Rafael after he failed to return from his hunting trip, search groups coming back with no news that caused his wife to tear up more. They pitied for the pregnant widow, bringing her gifts and giving her work to feed herself and her future child. They would hold their hands over their hearts when Eliza wept at the church, praying for the best for her.


Eliza wasn’t alone on that fateful day, The neighbours and the doctor ran over when her screams filled the street. Eliza was told to keep pushing, so that’s what she did. It hurt more than a thousand knives. She could feel the pain of the mothers that came before her. She could hear the voice of her own mother, urging her to keep going. It was all worth it when she listened to the cries. Her head felt heavy, and her heart was fluttering, but that wasn’t enough to stop the smile on her lips.


No other joy in the world could compare to this moment, yes, when she first saw her beautiful baby boy.


August 30, 2020 22:56

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

77 comments

Scout Tahoe
22:56 Sep 03, 2020

I have no words. This is an amazing story. You planned it out so well—even though I didn't know what was coming next. Please write a sequel about the baby boy! Keep writing. Thank you for liking my story. I really appreciate it. I'd love to hear your feedback, though. Just pick a title of mine that you find interesting. :)

Reply

Lynn Penny
01:18 Sep 04, 2020

Thank you! I would love to write a sequel so I’m hoping for a good prompt in the future. I’d be happy to give some feedback.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Zea Bowman
01:53 Sep 22, 2020

Wow! I was truly captivated by this story! Your descriptions were amazing, and the words seemed to flow together. You really have a knack for writing! Could you please come read a story (or stories) of mine? Thanks! Keep up the good work! :)

Reply

Lynn Penny
14:03 Sep 22, 2020

Thanks! I’d love to read your work!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Mariam Mansuryan
08:07 Sep 13, 2020

Amazing story. I think this would absolutely deserve to win. The only problem is a logical one. If she buried her husband, and there was a gravestone after his name, how come the people who were looking for Rafael didn't realize that someone had already buried him? This should probably be some secret graveyard, or at least she shouldn't put a gravestone. Otherwise amazing, very nice and had a great unexpected turn at the end.

Reply

Lynn Penny
16:58 Sep 13, 2020

Thank you for reading! My goal was to try and establish this as a private graveyard, by how far and small it is from the town and how the husband had never been there before. Thank you for informing me, I hope to work on my clarification skills in my future pieces.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Grace Jarvis
20:11 Sep 09, 2020

Can I get feedback from you?

Reply

Show 0 replies
Tejas Chandna
18:51 Sep 09, 2020

Great story Lynn! Traditions and the lovely blend of lively colors of what it means to see a new life. Making rainbows from pieces of tradition broken! Lovely! Amazing! Can you read my story "Freedom to fire the flies"? I want feedback from you. I am new to Reedsy and want help from experienced writers.

Reply

Lynn Penny
17:35 Sep 12, 2020

Thank you, I'd love to read your work.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Louanne Ewald
13:40 Sep 09, 2020

I enjoyed reading your intriguing and creative story. Using the grave stones to present each story and increase suspense worked well. The story's end was a nice touch. I'd love for you to read my first submission and offer feedback.

Reply

Lynn Penny
17:26 Sep 12, 2020

Thank you, I'd love to read your work.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Samantha 😜
17:57 Sep 08, 2020

The name of this story is quite similar to one of mine. It is a wonderful story and I would definitely refer you to my friends. By the way, please go read my stories, this is only my second or third competition and I would love some feedback. Thanks!

Reply

Lynn Penny
17:03 Sep 12, 2020

Thank you very much, I'd love to check out your work.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Andrew Krey
03:18 Sep 08, 2020

Great spin on the family tradition being something so negative. I didn't use this prompt as I thought of dull traditions passed down, and you proved me wrong with the use of a curse, great idea. I loved the use of the dates, as once we got into the flow of the story and knew it was a telling of the family history it worked as a countdown, which had an ominous feel to it. I thought it would be set in present day, so greedily expected more back stories! Ha I also liked the husband quick to anger and straight away calling the wife a liar,...

Reply

Lynn Penny
17:09 Oct 02, 2020

Thank you so much! I love your suggestions, I am hoping to add more suspense to my future works

Reply

Andrew Krey
17:57 Oct 02, 2020

You're welcome Lynn, glad it was helpful :)

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Meggy House
22:01 Sep 07, 2020

Wow! This is amazing. I love the little stories, I love your descriptive imagery, and I love how Eliza finally gets a son of her own. The whole thing is so well-written and kept me intrigued throughout; it almost read like a fairy tale. In fact, something about it feels really familiar and I'm pretty sure it's your classic style. If you wouldn't mind, could you read one of my stories? This is my first time in a competition and I would love feedback! :)

Reply

Lynn Penny
04:45 Sep 08, 2020

Thanks! I'd love to read your work.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Indra Hatpins
17:52 Sep 06, 2020

What's up, Lynn? Interesting story! I loved how the backstory narration brought about anticipation. And the last grave was a good twist. Suggestion: I did want to know more about the husband and i do feel that it would have substantially contributed to both plot and story. Leaves me wanting. Hope you find this constructive. Cheers!

Reply

Lynn Penny
17:55 Sep 06, 2020

Thank you! I did consider adding more about the husband, but I couldn't figure out a way to do so without taking away from the wife's story. Hopefully I can get better at balancing in the future.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Michele Duess
13:23 Sep 06, 2020

Cool story. What a way to try to break a curse.

Reply

Lynn Penny
17:53 Sep 06, 2020

Thank you.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Rhondalise Mitza
02:50 Sep 06, 2020

Wow, that was interesting! Different from your usual stories, but good nonetheless. I didn't see any of it coming, actually, which is tricky for me to find in stories. :) Good job, Lynn!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Lee Jay
00:26 Sep 06, 2020

Gripping tale - you're very adept at creating intriguing back stories for each character. I loved the family chain - the story had a great flow, and it had a perfectly suited redemptive ending. Bravo!

Reply

Lynn Penny
17:53 Sep 06, 2020

Thank you so much!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
11:45 Sep 05, 2020

Oh wow. I loved the details you have given with words. It was a nice story. Hey. Please if you don't mind read my story.

Reply

Lynn Penny
22:37 Sep 05, 2020

Thank you. I'd love to check out your work.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Kristin Neubauer
19:26 Sep 04, 2020

What a story, Lynn! There was so much to love about it. Of course the writing - very clear and engaging. But, for me, the history. I love that you placed it so many centuries ago - that gives it such an air of mystery. You brought so much drama and mystery to the story and I really didn't see the twist coming. That is a heck of a way to break a family tradition. Fantastic!

Reply

Lynn Penny
20:25 Sep 04, 2020

Thank you! I was quite excited to write something with fairytale vibes so I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
K A
20:24 Sep 03, 2020

I loved this story! Each little story in itself really intrigued me. The whole story was so captivating. I really enjoyed what you have written for this prompt. Great job!

Reply

Lynn Penny
22:31 Sep 03, 2020

Thank you!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Lauren :)
01:32 Sep 03, 2020

Great story! I love all of the creative names

Reply

Lynn Penny
02:12 Sep 03, 2020

Thanks!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Lynn Penny
16:03 Sep 03, 2020

Thanks!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 2 replies
Velma Darnell
18:32 Sep 02, 2020

Wow! That's another fascinating story of yours, Lynn! I truly enjoyed how you described the events, gradually moving from one story to another. It's such a unique narrative style, and it makes the text captivating. The ending is just shocking (in a good way), and the way you told what happened to all the women made me want to find out what happens next. I'm so glad I read it! Keep writing :)

Reply

Lynn Penny
01:24 Sep 03, 2020

Thanks! I’m Glad you enjoyed it.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
E.N. Holder
01:52 Sep 02, 2020

Wow Lynn this was a really captivating story! You have amazing storytelling skills. I like how you told each woman's story in the same way, but each one was still unique. It made it obvious that there was something important about the exact details of what happened to each woman, but I didn't start to connect things until after the last story. Knowing how to make a story suspenseful but not too predictable is something I'm working on with my own short stories, and you do a great job with it.

Reply

Lynn Penny
06:46 Sep 02, 2020

Thanks! Honestly it’s a skill I didn’t know how to do until I just spat out whatever bull idea I had in my head. I wish you good luck with your work!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Thom With An H
23:55 Sep 01, 2020

It’s amazing how you told five stories in one. Each one felt complete. You allowed our minds to fill in the details. I also loved the pace. I have to admit it felt like a slow death march. It was heavy and dark and compelling. Really nice job. One of your best. I used the same prompt. Mine is called “Hope” and I hope you’ll give it a read. 😀

Reply

Lynn Penny
06:36 Sep 02, 2020

Aww, thanks. I’m glad this one was received well, I’ve wanted to do something in this style for a while.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply