Short Stories

Doreena Grayson

Prompt: Doreena has a family secret that almost gets exposed.                 

Doreena didn’t even realize she had fallen until she came to in a pile of glass shards at the foot of the marble staircase. She’d always known that the display of fragile glass figurines in the alcove at the foot of the stairs was a bad idea but her mother had insisted.

“Even with no pets and no small children this was always a bad idea,” Doreena muttered as she tried to extricate herself from the glass without cutting herself to ribbons.

She was so busy getting up safely that she didn’t hear the front door open or the footsteps of the visitor approach but she did hear the shriek.

“Oh my god, Doreena! What happened?” her friend Vicky babbled as she danced around the landing.

“I am fine,” Doreena insisted as she pushed herself up.

But Vicky didn’t appear to be listening. Instead she was staring at the pile of glass in shock. Then her eyes swiveled to Doreena and the shock turned to horror.

Doreena followed her friend’s gaze and gasped. Not only was the landing covered in glass and wood from the broken cabinet but it was also covered in blood.

“Oh wow.” Doreen’s heart pounded as she realized the implication of the situation. She needed to get Vicky out of the house before she asked too many questions and especially before the rest of the Graysons returned home.

Doreena’s hand flew up to her temple and she cupped it as though it hurt. “Darn. Must have scraped my head. You know how cuts above the neck always seem to bleed so much.”

“If you have a head injury then why is your shirt more shredded and bloody around your waist?” Vicky questioned.

Fear and stress caused Doreena to snap. “I am fine! Now can you just leave so I can get everything cleaned up before my parents get home.”

Vicky took a few steps forward, making sure not to step on the glass since her canvas flats would offer little protection. “I can help.”

“Just get out. I’m sick of you mothering me.” Doreena didn’t even turn around to watch her friend leave but sighed in relief when she heard the door slam shut. Vicky would be mad, maybe even a little sad, but she was safer that way.

Knowing she was alone she rushed up to her room and pulled the photograph out of the lock box she kept under the loose slat in her closet. It was only a picture of the family portraits that were stored in a vault in London but it would show her all she wanted to know though she still didn’t understand how that worked.

The portrait had been drawn ages ago and the artist blushed the whole time because she’d only been wearing a thin linen shift. Her father had insisted, saying she would better enjoy the effects of the enchantment if she could see more details.

The photograph also showed those details, the damage the fall had wrought on her body before the portrait had absorbed it.

In her portrait her face looked her true age (very elderly) and her right cheek, the side of her face she’d fallen on, was both bruised and bloody. The rips in her shift were smeared with blood, so much that it dripped onto the floor in the picture.

Doreena hid the picture and curled up on her bed. Even though Vicky hadn’t discovered her secret her family’s days in this town were still numbered.

Your family couldn’t exactly stay in one place for decades when you didn’t age and couldn’t get injured. Only their portraits did.


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