because wearing black looks mysterious

She had become one of those girls, possessed.
Possessed by a desire to have the world just so.

Whereas her old self’s room was a stew of unclosed books, unfolded clothes, and an unmade bed – this refurbished masterpiece of a room was a shrine to her controlling demon: the wide spread across a deep window ledge consisted of the usual childhood stuffed animals, but all facing one way, towards their owner, as if about to break into song. Her straight-backed dolls in their many-roomed mansion appeared to be under strict instructions not to touch the walls; the various thumb-sized figures to be found standing about her dressing table (cowboys, deep-sea divers, humanoid mice) suggested by their even ranks and spacing a citizen’s army awaiting orders.

A taste for the miniature was one aspect of an orderly spirit, but the other was a passion for secrets: in a prized varnished cabinet, a secret drawer was opened by pushing against the grain of a cleverly turned dovetail joint, and here she kept her series of diaries. The latest version was locked by a clasp, and an old notebook was written in a forgotten code of her own invention. In a toy safe opened by six secret numbers, she stored letters and postcards and forbidden magazines. An old tin petty cash box was hidden under a removable closet shelf beneath her shoe rack. In the box were treasures that dated back years, to her days in the Old House when she began collecting: a mutant double acorn from Montana, fool’s gold, a rain-making spell bought at a funfair, a series of pebbles that has serious multiple-skips-on-a-lake potential.

But hidden drawers, lockable diaries and flatten pebbles could not conceal from her the simple truth: she had no secrets.

Her wish for a harmonious, organized world denied her the reckless possibilities of wrongdoing. Mayhem and destruction were too chaotic for her tastes, and she did not have it in her to be cruel. Her effective status as the only child left in the house merited her absent from any consistent intrigues with friends.

Nothing in her life was sufficiently forbidden or intriguing enough to merit hiding; no one knew about the mutant double acorn from Montana beneath her shoe rack, but no one wanted to know.

(inspired by briony)


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