Part 1 of #storycontinues is complete with preliminary edits. It is available here. Part 2 will begin posting later this week.
Sophia licked her lips. There was something magical about Mary Mae’s cooking, she was sure of it. No one else could do the things with flour and water their cook could.
Such as honeycakes. Sophia spotted them on the cake platter under a glass dome and licked her lips. Two minutes later she’d pushed a chair up the counter and pulled a tea towels from the nearby stack.
Really, it was all terribly convenient. She counted the honeycakes carefully, then chose three of the smallest and wrapped them in the towel. The rest she rearranged to make it look like none had been taken. Hopping down, she tugged the chair back where it belonged and opened the door to the back stairs, honeycakes in hand.
It was beyond ridiculous. Especially since this route, down the stairs and under the table, had been her idea. It was simple, so ridiculously simple, so obvious, she’d told the boys, that no one would ever think to look there.
And here she was, almost ruining her own plan. It was too much to bear.
Sophia breathed a soft sigh and slipped through into the dining room. Any other night she might stop to look at the silver tea set displayed on the sideboard and only used on holidays, but tonight she was too focused to bother. The door to the butler’s pantry was ajar, so it was hardly any trouble to slip through and into the kitchen.
Almost immediately she stopped and inhaled. Supper was hours over but the smell of Mary Mae’s chicken and biscuits still lingered.
After a lamentable absence, a return to writing, and I’ll start with a #storycontinues roundup from the end of 2011. The following was tweeted, but never found its way here.
That oversight is now corrected.
Confused? Click on the #storycontinues link above to read the story from its beginning. Story tweets will resume 23 April 2012.
Nothing moved that she could see, but then she couldn’t see all that much in the dark. What had seemed somewhat light, if shadowy, from the stairs was darker at ground level. The light from the parlor didn’t reach all the way to the table and the moonlight from the glass windows flanking the front door was weaker than expected for a full moon night.
She would have to rely on her ears, not her eyes, before making the next move.
There were no footsteps, no voices any closer than they had been. Had her sneeze really gone unheard?
It appeared so. To be safe though, she ducked back under the table and counted to three hundred three more times. This had been close, too close. It was getting harder and harder to sneak about, but there was no time to worry. She had to go, now, while she safely could, but she had to do so carefully.
When all was silent she slipped out from under the table, wincing at the sound of her bare feet on the tile.
“Next time, slippers,” she half-whispered to herself, wincing, again, at the sound of her voice.
She really was doing terribly tonight, but then this detour was unplanned. Not that it should matter, she told herself ruthlessly. She and the boys had planned for things like this — acted out how to get away, where to hide, how long to count, everything — and here she almost got caught.
It just figured — no, she mustn’t think about the dust or she’d sneeze. Then Mama and Uncle Peter or the Great Auntie would hear and she’d be in trouble.
The floor, the floor, think about the floor. Though she had done this several times in the past, she was still surprised at how cold and hard the tile floor was on her bare legs.
She slapped a hand over her mouth in shock. Had anyone heard?
Sophia sucked in a quick, quiet breath and waited, heart pounding ferociously in her ears as she counted slowly in her head. After three counts of three hundred, when she could hear clearly again, she risked a peek out from under the tablecloth.
Surely Mary Mae or one of her girls cleaned under here. Why, she’d hidden under this very table just last week and it wasn’t half so dusty then. It wasn’t like they’d had a dust storm or anything like that, just the regular folk coming and going.
Well, maybe she and the boys had traipsed through the hall that afternoon covered in dust and dirt after playing hangmen. They didn’t have enough rope to play properly …
“We’d best be thanking the Lord for that!” Mary Mae had told Mama before shoving them all into the big bathtub behind the kitchen.
… but they’d had fun rolling around on the ground pretending. Later, after supper, she had noticed all the dust was gone, all swept away.
Sophia wrinkled her nose and moved her legs gingerly. So this is where the dirt went. Yuck.