I have no idea where this is going or if I want to go there. But I started writing it the other day, and I liked a couple of things about it.
It had been a quiet day, and evening slipping into night had continued much the same. Aisling Warden, a daughter of the house, retreated to the vast library with a full tray.
As she walked, her long blonde hair swished about her body like a cloak. Her steps, brisk and militarily curt, echoed in the empty halls. Had she come across anyone, her white dress might have made her seem a ghost.
Once inside the library, she set the tray on a burnished mahogany table. Steam rose from the tea as she poured it into the delicate cup. She took no sugar.
A standing lamp, older than many of the books, seemed to stare in silent disapproval as she hiked up the long white dress to free her knees. She sat down in an ancient armchair, coughed at the dust, and then set to braiding her hair.
Cradling the cup of tea in both hands as though it were a baby bird, she sipped the contents. Her face relaxed, transforming her from a ghost to a very tired young woman.
A book awaited her, patiently sharing the table with the tea tray. She eyed it warily. As quiet as the day had been, she did not trust her luck. The library was hardly a hiding place, whatever sanctuary it offered. A servant might enter at any time, or perhaps a brother. She had such an awful lot of them, after all. And the sisters were even worse.
She curled her upper lip in distaste. There wasn’t anyone there to scold her for the unladylike expression, but she did not lose herself in a rapture of freedom. Instead, she set her teacup on the table and picked up her book.
The sound of footsteps roused her from a doze that had taken her unawares. With a start, she snapped her book shut and then tugged at her dress to cover her knees.
“Isn’t your bedroom big enough?”
Rolling her eyes would have been more effort than her brother warranted. She smoothed the fabric of the dress with one hand, clutching the book to her chest with the other. “Ellis. Are you trying to be funny?”
“I never try, I’m successful every time. You just have a crappy sense of humour.”
“I was just about to say the same of you.”
At this, her brother, only two years her senior, cracked the smile for which he was feared and famous. His canines were, for a human, abnormally sharp.
The Wardens were not human. But Ellis’s “fangs” did bother Aisling, if only a little.
He knew this, and so had adapted his personality over the years to give himself opportunities to laugh and smile. Aisling suspected he otherwise possessed a mardy ill humour. “Why were you sleeping in here, of all places?”
Turning her gaze away, she caught sight of the half-empty teacup. “I didn’t plan it, you idiot.” She gulped down the cold tea with a strange sense of duty, unwilling to leave it to waste. “I dozed off.”
“You’re one to talk. At least I only fell asleep in a chair. I’m sure Father would take a rather more tolerant view of that over, say, collapsing drunk on the the front steps.”
At this, Ellis narrowed his eyes. Unlike their older brothers, he had only his teeth to intimidate. He put his hands on his hips and stood like a child who had been denied a chocolate biscuit. “Well, it’s not as if we’re likely to find that out, is it?”
“I take it you’ve had a letter.”
“As have you.”
“I didn’t read mine.” She never did. Letters from their father did not often allow the days to stay quiet.
Ellis walked over to the tea tray and picked up one of the sandwiches. It had to have gotten stale, but he didn’t seem to notice. “You’ll want to read this one.”
My biggest problem with it is that I don’t think I used enough description. Not the right kind, anyway. Hmm.