Sunday, May 19, 2013
(#Five: Edmund and Annabelle) Wuthering Nights: Inspired by Wuthering Heights
Edmund and Annabelle
This secluded section of Hampstead Heath also led to a hidden laneway that attached Hareton Hall to The Grange. Kate and Heath ran down the lane and it brought them out in the garden of the neighbouring property. They laughed when they saw their neighbours, Edmund and Annabelle, in the distance. Viewed through the low, floor-length windows of the Grange, the Hunt siblings were taking private dancing lessons. Heath had never seen a ballet class and thought the whole thing was hysterically funny. Kate thought it was rather beautiful, but she would never admit that. The Grange was a world beyond billowing cream curtains where all seemed tranquil and safe. When the dance teacher tried to demonstrate with Edmund, how to partner, Heath literally fell on the ground laughing.
‘Who’s out there?’ Edmund shouted, turning towards the window. Heath and Kate crouched out of sight, beneath the sill.
‘Mind you keep your eyes up here while we are dancing,’ the woman, wearing leg warmers and a tight hair bun, scolded him. Edmund reluctantly looked away. Annabelle glanced up when the teacher wasn’t looking and noticed two children. The boy looked vaguely familiar to her, about the same age, running away from the house in the long grass. The girl tumbled in the heather and before long they were laughing and running, fading into the meadow.
If anyone had asked, Annabelle would have described them as the opposite of her and her brother; free. The blonde girl wished she could join them. Instead, her glacial, childish image, secured in tight ballet slippers and pink ribbons, her unsmiling yet lovely face, mocked her in the mirror.
That night, Heath lay awake under the covers of his bed, his school trunk packed, his uniforms tagged with his initials, perfectly starched and ironed. The summer wind outside howled through the trees and rain fell softly on the roof. He could see shadows of the branches outside. A breeze swept through the heath across the pond and along the heather fields. Then all he could hear were the traces of it, and in those traces, a whisper, and in that whisper, the sound of a tap at his door.
Kate came wandering into his room with her hair in curlers as she wanted to make a good “first day” impression at her new school.
‘You look ridiculous,’ Heath said. ‘Go back to bed. You know Greta has warned you about not distracting me now that we are going to be in separate houses at our new school.’
Kate, hurt, turned and walked out of the room. Heath was sorry to have been so mean but how could he explain his issues to Kate? Lately, the desire to sink his teeth into her wrist was becoming stronger. He’d been taking his medication twice a day and was just about to take his evening dose when Kate arrived to tell him her hopes and dreams for the future. She’d gone back to her room, crawled upon her quilted bed and fallen asleep, listening to the storm rage outside her window.
Late, very late that night, the young girl woke to the sound of the screaming trees and the branches thrashing the window pane. She would not be rejected this time and opened the connecting door to find Heath fast asleep.
‘Heath,’ Kate whispered. ‘Wake up.’
‘What’s wrong?’ the boy said, crawling out from the sleeping bag he slept in for security – the one Greta had tried, with little success, to take away from him these past six years.
‘I had a dream about us.’
‘Shh. Go back to sleep, Kate.’
‘I dreamt I was left outside in the rain, freezing in winter. I cut my arm on your window and it bled and hurt and I had to beg you to let me inside…’
Heath groaned. ‘Don’t say things like that Kate. I would never hurt you.’ He moved uncomfortably, the venom sometimes pulsed more strongly in his blood at night, but he’d never told anyone this. ‘Go back to sleep, Kate. It’s almost morning. You know Greta doesn’t like it when you come in here anymore…’ He was due to take his morning vitamins, and then he’d be sure to feel normal for at least eight hours…
Heath rolled over. Kate hovered again and began to cry as she rocked his sleeping bag, forcing him to open his eyes.
‘Heath, Heath, wake up.’ He rolled over unwillingly. ‘Promise me…promise me something.’
‘Alright, I promise, now go back to sleep.’
‘Promise me, if that ever happens, you’ll let me in.’
‘Heath smiled and shook his head sleepily, ‘I promise. Now go back to bed.’ Heath took his capsules from the bedside table and gulped them down in the morning light.
Kate crawled beside him, dragging her blanket around her, as he turned over. The girl gained comfort from her nightmare only when she managed to rest her head in the crook of the reluctant boy’s shoulder.