Black Lantern


June 5, 2017

She sat against the window with that old, tattered book in her hand; her mother’s dress, now hers, finally, folded and draped much like a Victorian nightmare, hissing as she situated herself from time to time. The pearl earring her father had given her for her seventh birthday dangled and cast a small shadow upon her neck due to the setting sun. The darkling thrush swirled and sang, chased each other with dips and dives; they seemed to supply the somber symphony for her evening musings. Quiet and still, quotidian and tenacious in her spell as she sat like a sphinx beholding beyond the bathos that the dusk delivered.


“Do you think one day a book can be a single page, mother? she asked gently while her index finger fiddled with her left earring.

“A single page? That would be no book at all, darling. Wouldn’t that be more like a very short story?” she said staring quizzically at strawberry-blonde locks her daughter had.

“What I mean is, one day a single page could contain hundreds of pages.”

“Hundreds? Darling…are you feeling well?”

“I am doing great, mother. Wouldn’t that be amazing? To simply touch this page and another appears in its stead…and light could come from this page so as to make it possible to read at night,” she uttered with a tender smile without turning away from the window.

“Silly, that’s what lanterns are for.”

“Yes, I suppose.”

“But if you’re going to dream–”

“Dream big! In that case, this magic page could show us Papa’s face whenever he goes overseas.”

“Hilda, that’s just madness!”

“Oh, mother, it’s simply fun to think about it. But wouldn’t that be great?”

“Did you…is…this another one of your dreams?” she asked hesitantly hoping her daughter would turn to face her.

“Mother, I don’t know. Yes, I suppose.”

“Well, don’t forget we have quite a day tomorrow with all those stubborn cows. Get some rest, sweetie,” she said lifting her chin unknowingly as if that somehow would get her to finally turn and look at her, if only just once.

“Of course, mother. Good night,” she said gripping her book and gazing through the open window and staring at the world outside.



With that, she closed the door to her daughter’s bedroom and with a lantern in hand, walked gently to her bedroom and undressed. As she crawled into bed she released a deep exhale and blew out the light. From her window she could see the silhouette of three nooses in the distance underneath the almond tree.

“Please help her to get better, Father,I beg you. Have mercy on my child,” she whispered in a darkening room as she caressed her eyelids the way her mother used to when she was a child. “In the name of the father, the son…”