I am lacking in interesting real-life commentary at the moment, and also lacking in something to do (other than studying, but I feel like my head will explode if I continue to try to force myself to understand German morphology). I’ve just realized I missed the deadline for The First Line Literary Journal’s Summer issue
But I love the prompt. For those of you unfamiliar with The First Line Literary Journal, it’s an online publication which gives its authors a one-sentence writing prompt that they would like each issue (published quarterly) to be centered around. I will probably write something for the fall or winter issue and submit it. Now though, I want to play with the sentence for the upcoming issue. You are also welcome to do so. I am doing so, because I think it would be excellent for one of the characters, Colina, in my fantasy series, Darling, that I am still developing.
The prompt: “I started collecting secrets when I was just six years old.”
I started collecting secrets when I was just six years old. My mother was a chamber maid and always busy cleaning up after rich, young school girls in their pristine, plaid uniforms and at six years of age, I simply had become too big to follow my mother around without being a nuisance or creating some sort of larger mess. The Headmistress, Miss Pritchett, insisted that I either hide in the kitchens or in the help’s quarters.
You can imagine how boring it is for a six-year-old to have to sit in the corner of the kitchen all day, doing nothing so that she doesn’t get in the way and disrupt the natural order of things at the St. Agnes School for girls in Aberdeen. One day, I figured no one would notice if I happened to wander away for a little while–as long as I was back in time for Mum and I to have our dinner. The practically ancient building itself held many secrets just waiting to be discovered. I thought I was just the explorer to do so. I tip-toed from the kitchen, heart beating in my chest over the suspense of my being caught.
Day after day, my daily routine went like this. Mum and I would rise, wash ourselves, have breakfast with the other servants and children, and Mum would go off to her work either in the gardens or assisting in the dining rooms. She’d leave me in the kitchen and tell me to behave myself. I assured that I would. The maids in the kitchen even informed her that I hardly made a peep and it was as if I were not there. As soon as the coast was clear, I stood up from my place in the corner and continued on my adventures around the old school, which was once a convent.
If anyone knew the St. Agnes School for Girls well, it was me. By the age of 12, I had memorized all of the secret tunnels and passageways around the school and to where each tunnel led. Unfortunately though, by the age of 12 I had become just big enough and just smart enough that I could be counted on to start helping Mum in the gardens and dining rooms, and also helping in the kitchens. In my free time though, I continued to make use of the passageways, eventually attracting notice from the students in my teens. But most figured I was just another student who just happened to never wear a uniform. Yeah, I noticed there were a few rebel ladies over the years who didn’t care for the rules set forth by society for them, and who didn’t care to be told what to wear. The headmistress usually set them straight though, and if they weren’t set straight during their time here, chances are they were set straight when they returned back to their parents’ estates or manors in disgrace for unruly behavior. For this reason, I’ve never envied these rich girls. I had more freedom with my tunnels and my woolen articles than these properly primped future homemakers did.