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Memoirs of the Lost

[Savannah - Journal] Becoming Lost

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April Horinek

[Savannah - Journal] Becoming Lost

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 August 21st, 1921 ??

I am afraid I do not know if that date is correct. Everything here is different. I don't know how many days I have been here, or if I will ever return home. I fear I shall be consumed by this place. All I can do is hope and pray and work for my freedom. I feel my memories slipping away from me, and I believe this wretched place is stealing them from me. I found this journal amidst his things. He told me, I could have anything I desired...so it is now mine. Perhaps writing my story will help me keep my memories. At the very least, when I waste away to a mindless nothing, perhaps it will serve as a warning and a lesson to other young girls. That is my ardent hope, at least; though I know better then to count on it.

I was born Elena Anne Westerly, on the 21st of December, the year of our Lord, 1905.. Lady Elena Anne Westerly, if you are being precise about it. My father is Baron Edward Westerly, and my mother is Lady Catherine. I am the youngest of five children and the only daughter. My mother had always longed for a daughter, but they had nearly given up hope of ever having one. My next youngest siblings are the twins, and they are seven years older then me. She lost several children before she took pregnant with me, and she was certain she would have no more. Needless to say, I was apparently a welcome surprise.

I was ill as a very young child, as such, my family did everything in their power to protect me from the world. They felt that my delicate constitution could not handle such things as the real world has to offer. I wonder if perhaps they weren't right...

My childhood was as every childhood should be. It was filled with love and laughter. My family is blessed with ample lands, and we never wanted for anything. It has only been in recent years that I have come to realize how blessed we are, and how lucky I was to have such a childhood.

When I was five years old, I was sent to Queen Margarets school in Edinburough. It was quite the experience, and though I loathed being so far from my family, I adored the atmosphere. I was given the opportunity to learn and to expand my mind, which is something I had always wanted to do. I was summoned home as the Great War began, and my schooling was finished while living with my family.

My eldest brother, Edward, was killed in 1915, during the war. He was in France, and had only been gone for a few months when we received word of his demise. It was a heartbreaking blow for all of us, though I think it hit my father the hardest. Edward had been his heir, and had been groomed for years to take over when my father became too old. He'd had a young wife, though no children as of yet. It was the darkest moment in my young life, hearing that my beloved eldest brother would never return to tease and taunt me and take me riding in the country side. The twins, Aiden and Andrew, begged my parents to let them go. They wanted to make a difference, and to avenge Edward. Wisely, my parents forbid them from going.

Time moves on and heals all wounds, even the heartbreak suffered through that atrocity. It hurts me to this day to think of my brother, and I still miss him terribly. I wonder, and not for the first time, if this place is heaven or perhaps hell. I must admit that it is beautiful here, but through the smiles of the others that I see, I can sense a deep seated terror. No, as lovely as it may be, this would definitely be catagorized as hell. Perhaps I am dead, and this is my punishment? I wonder what I would have done to lead God to send me here?

I digress. I find I do that more then I ought to, in this place.

When I was 14, I confessed to my parents my desire to become a writer. A journalist, to be precise. I thought it would be a wonderful thing to travel the world and write about what I see and do. My parents were opposed to that course of action. They feel that it is nothing that a woman of breeding should do. Apparently, I would be better to spend my time running a household and bearing many children. It was ever a bone of contention in our household. Even though they did not approve, to their credit, they still provided me with the means to do what I wished. A beautiful tiny office overlooking the rose garden and a brand new type-writer.

It was the same year that my parents informed me of my betrothed. He is a nice enough man, I suppose, but there was never any spark between the two of us. He is 7 years my elder, the oldest son of a close friend of the family. He has apparently always been quite taken by me, even when I was very young. I know that it would be a wise match for us both. It would bring our families ever closer, and I would not be far from my own family. However, I really can't stand the thought of marrying him. I think perhaps there is an unkind streak that runs through him.

After officially announcing our bethrothal, we were encouraged to spend more time together. Walks in the park, riding, picnics – all supervised of course. Our parents encouraged our relationship and did everything in their power to help it bloom. I tried to be open to it, but there was never anything there; nothing but a deep-rooted sense of duty.

In 1920, with the completion of the war and life getting back to normal, I began to work on convincing my father to allow me to travel. It was not an easy task, as he was disposed to keeping me as close to home as he possibly could. With lots of wheedling and help from the twins, we were able to convince him to allow me to travel. I was given leave to spend 6 months in Africa, on the condition that I marry as soon as I return home. It was a small price to pay to have a chance to see the world.

Arrangements were made, and I traveled to Africa with Aiden and Andrew and a small entourage of attendants. We trekked to the home of a family friend near Upington. From there, I was allowed to travel at my leisure.

I can safely say, that was the best time of my short life. There was so much beauty to be seen, so many things to experience; and it was all there, waiting for me. I blossomed while in Africa, I believe my parents would hardly recognize me if they saw me now. I knew that my return to England and my nuptials loomed over my head, but I hardly cared. I focused on the moment, and relished in knowing this was my chance to experience to world, before being thrust back into the polite society of tea and crumpets and dinner parties.

I hate dinner parties.

It was two months before I was scheduled to return to London that he showed up. My Betrothed. Riding in on the rails, waving his hat gallantly like he was a knight come to rescue his fair princess from a dark tower. I am not quite certain where he got the idea that I needed to be rescued, but he claimed to have been sent by my father.

He arrived in Africa and the impending doom that I had been able to push out of my mind came crashing down upon me. Soon, I would be a married woman, expected to run a household and bear children for my husband. I came to loathe the sight of him. The way he dressed, the way he held utter disdain for anyone not of the peerage (not that the peerage matters much these days, but he seems to be stuck in darker times.)

God in heaven, I can hardly believe it has been mere days. It all seems so far away and so long ago. He had been in Africa for a week, when he convinced me to go on safari with him. He knows of my distaste of hunting for sport, but he pressured me.

“It is your wifely duty to attend me, Elena. It is time you get used to it.”

I aquiesed after a time, unwilling to cause bad feelings in our marriage before it had even begun. I would be forced to marry this man, I did not want to make it any more unpleasant then it had to be. We loaded up a picnic and as many guns as he could carry and took off towards the plains. It was not my first trek out, but the beauty of it all still took my breath away. I was entranced by it, so much that I hardly noticed when he stopped the vehicle.

I will not recount it all now. That is one memory I would not mind losing forever. Needless to say, my dear future husband made advances upon me. Had I been less shocked, I don't think I would have had the fortitude to get out of his grasp before something we would both regret happened. Harsh words were exchanged and I stalked off, to try to cool my head and give him time to cool his as well. I am a good, virtuous woman; I will not be bedded before I am wed. Even if the man doing the bedding is my future husband.

As I walked away from him, I saw a young girl. She was naked, with a finger shoved in her mouth. She watched me with ebony eyes, never blinking. I smiled, greeting her in the Afrikaans that I had worked so hard to grasp. The child turned and fled from me, towards a thicket of trees.

The words of my host echoed in my mind. There was danger on the plains. I don't know what possessed me, but I ran after the child, crying out to her in her mother tongue. I felt a deep sense of foreboding, and I was certain that something lurked in the trees, just waiting to snatch the child into its jaws. She ducked into the trees, and I ran after her, heedless of my betrothed yelling for me from behind me.

The trees were thick and cool. There was no stifling heat in here, just coolness. I heard my betrothed's voice fading away into the distance, and I plunged forward, calling for the little girl. Even as I strode forward, I saw the world around me changing. By the time I realized I was no longer where I should be, it was too late.

So here I am. I have been given a gilded cage where He watches me and keeps me as his pet. He calls me his Song Bird, and I am afraid that I have lost even my name to this place. He has given me free run of this place, his palace in the woods. The only stipulation is I am not allowed to leave. Ever. He has taken my freedom, and He plans to keep it in his tight grasp. The golden chain that binds my ankle reminds me that while I have nearly everything I could ever desire, that one thing that I need is not open to me.

I am afraid. I am Lost and I am afraid. May God have mercy on my Soul.

~Song Bird
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