A New Life
In 1999, Jennifer Adams wrote a story called "Stoned". I loved the story (if you've never read it, please do! I read it on FictionMania, and my story makes much more sense if you read "Stoned" first) but the ending was such a downer! Being the "fluffy bunny" that I am. I couldn't just leave it like that! I was actually just trying to work through some serious writer's block, and this came to mind. I hope you enjoy it, and Jennifer, if you're still out there, thank you for such a great story for me to start with!
Brenda walked through the museum garden, carefully checking each sculpture. It was just after lunch, and most of the people had gone back to work, so she was quite alone as she walked thru the beautiful area. After a few minutes of looking, she stopped before a small statue of a young, nude woman. She was quite beautiful, despite the slight coating of moss around her feet.
“Lilly? Oh, I hope you can hear me, child. My mother needs you so much!”
Lilly, of course, didn’t move or reply, but she did hear the pretty young lady. She had been standing in this garden for so long. At one time Michelle had visited her fairly often, frequently spending her lunch in quiet conversation. She had talked about her family, a family that Lilly had once belonged to. Or rather, that Michael had once belonged to.
Michael had been an 11 year old boy when he had thrown a rock at a bird. He’d missed the bird, but by accident had chipped the nose of a small statue of a girl that stood in Old Lady Winter’s garden. He had enjoyed looking at the naked marble girl, and he felt bad that he had damaged the statue. Not bad enough to accept responsibility for the accidental damage he had done, unfortunately, even when the friendly old lady had asked him directly.
Oh, how Lilly wished that she had merely apologized for what Michael had done. The old woman had been a witch, and the statue was a young girl who had been enchanted. The witch had restored the girl and named her Michelle. She changed reality so that everyone accepted Michelle’s replacement of Michael, while Michael became the statue. The witch had made him a statue of a beautiful young girl, and told him that she might restore him when her anger with him had passed.
She had also named the statue Lilly. Throughout the next few seasons, Lilly stood in the garden. Michelle had spoken to her frequently, and in the spring, Michelle had told Lilly that Old Lady Winters had commissioned a replacement so that she could restore Lilly to life. Not her original life, but still, Lilly very much anticipated the change to a living, breathing person.
She saw no one for some time, until Michelle, obviously distraught, had come. She told her that the old woman had died, and Michelle had no way to turn Lilly into a human. Worse, the wife of the new owner of the property was offended by the nude statue, and Lilly had been sent to the museum, where she believed she would spend a very, very, very long time.
Michelle had talked to her, but no one else knew that the statue could understand them. Lilly knew that Michelle was upset about her plight, and she told her that she would do everything she could to find a way to restore her.
The years passed slowly, and eventually, for some reason Michelle had not returned to visit her. No one spoke to her, and sometimes she felt as though she would go insane. Apparently part of the spell prevented that, though.
Lilly’s existence was boring; she had no idea of how long she had stood in the garden. It just went on and on, the only difference had been the weather, and that didn’t really affect her. She just watched people walk through the garden, and mused about the mistake she had made. Oh, if only . . .
Now this young woman stood before her, telling her that her mother needed her, as if Lilly could do anything. The young woman closed her eyes and made a few strange gestures, then told Lilly she would return at dusk.
If Lilly could have laughed, she would have. Why did she think Lilly would care? She couldn’t move or speak, so what difference would it make if she returned or not? On the other hand, she did hope that the woman returned and talked to her some more. She had missed that so much!
Lilly watched as the sun crossed the sky, hoping the woman did return, as she promised. She began to notice a change, almost like a vibration. Oh, no! Were they coming to move her, or to possibly take her away? She was very frightened. They might put her into storage, somewhere dark and even lonelier than the garden, just as she had felt that a small part of her torturous existence might have some slight relief.
But no one came to her, and while she felt the vibration continue, and even grow stronger, nothing in her limited world seemed to change. She had no idea that her smooth marble surface had grown rougher, more like stone than marble. It happened very slowly, so no one really noticed.
It was beginning to grow dark, and Lilly was hoping that the woman who had spoken to her would return. The shadows continued to grow, and still, no one had come. Lilly found herself despairing. She silently cursed the young woman who had built up her hopes, even just a little.
It was almost full dark when Lilly heard some noises behind her. The young woman, along with another woman of roughly the same age, was approaching her. She carried a large plastic sack that seemed to have some things in it.
“Oh, Lilly, I am so sorry I am late. I had to get my little sister, as what we need to do will take more strength that I have on my own.”
Were they going to steal her? To move her some place? The vibration continued to increase and something else, a thumping vibration that came from somewhere became noticeable. Why did she feel so odd?
The two young women said very little, and what they did say was little more than a mumble. They sat on the ground in front of Lilly, naked in the darkness. Okay, this was starting to concern Lilly. What was going on?
The first thing she noticed was a bit of pain. She had felt nothing for so long, that at first she wondered what this perception was. Then she began to notice that she was bending, as if the stone was melting.
*At last,*she thought, “My torture will be over. I can accept dying, and maybe I can go to Heaven? I hope I’ve paid the price for being such a bad child.*
Lilly prayed in her mind, asking that she be forgiven. She didn’t notice when the first woman she had seen moved to hold her, to support her as her body melted. It really didn’t feel like melting, though, although it had been so long since she had felt anything, she couldn’t be sure. She seemed to grow about a foot taller, but she felt . . . lighter? Maybe this was what her soul felt like as it left her stone body.
*Please, Lord, let me come to you!* She thought, and she reached up to Him.
She . . . reached up? She could move? Slowly she brought up her hand, a hand she had not seen in so long! She stared at it, amazed, as she slowly stretched stiff fingers.
“Lilly? This whole transformation will take some time, and we cannot stay here.” She began to rummage through the plastic bag Lilly had seen earlier. She pulled out a robe that had a hood. “Can you walk yet, sweetie?”
Lilly found she could stand, and moved her legs. They were still very heavy and stiff, but yes, she thought she could walk, if very slowly.
“My name is Brenda, and this is my sister Elaine.” She smiled. “In a way, you could say we’re your daughters!”
Elaine had finished dressing, while Brenda was almost done. Elaine began to lead Lilly away from the garden where she had spent so much time. They walked towards an old van, and Lilly was able to crawl in and lie down on some blankets. Each moment she felt less heavy, and less stiff. The girls got in the van and Brenda talked while Elaine drove slowly away from the museum.
“My mother is Michelle, the girl who was given the life you knew, so long ago. She has spent her life looking for ways to rescue you from the hell you must have gone through. My sister and I have studied hard to find the spell to make you human again.
Our mother is quite ill, and we believe that seeing you, restored and alive, may help her to recover. She has spent so much of her life trying to save you that she has allowed herself to waste away. The doctor says if we can give her hope, she could get better.
My sister and I stumbled onto this spell in an old book, and it was our last hope. Please don’t be angry at Mother for not coming to see you after all this time. She has traveled all over the world, and spent hour and hours looking through old documents and talking to special people. Please help us to make our mother want to live again?”
“Brenda, I . . .” hearing her voice for the first time surprised her. It was so beautiful, and so wonderful to speak! “I will do whatever I can for Michelle, I promise! Can you tell me more about our family? Is Mother still alive?”
“I’m sorry, Lilly, Grandma passed some time ago. You know that, thanks to the spell, she never missed you, right?”
Lilly broke into tears and began to bawl as her heart broke. Not only would she never see Mom again, her mother had never even known she was gone. Brenda held her as Lilly broke down completely. Eventually she had regained control of herself, although every time she thought about what she had lost, the teardrops started again.
“What will happen to me now? I have nothing and no one. I guess I don’t even really exist, legally.”
“Don’t worry, Lilly. We will straighten all of that out soon. We have not studied and studied, only to lose you again. We love you, and we’ll do anything to help you, so relax, sweetie.”
They drove through the night, and by the time they arrived at the hospital, Lilly was feeling much better. She was fully human again, if still female, and Brenda had made her feel that that she would have somewhere to go. The important thing right now was to help Michelle. She only hoped they were in time. She wasn’t sure how bad Michelle was, but she had to help her.
Elaine helped her to get dressed in some clothing that was a bit loose, but a sweat suit could be loose and still look good. She had no shoes, but Brenda had her sit in a wheelchair that they had brought, and they wheeled her into the building. They got into an elevator and went to the third floor. As they entered the room, Lilly was struck by how much Michelle looked like Michael’s mother, except that Michelle looked kind of sickly and gray. She was sleeping and Lilly watched as the older woman breathed steadily. She stood up and walked to her side. She kissed her tenderly on the cheek, and she stretched as she woke up. She looked up and saw her daughters standing beside her bed.
“Hello, girls. I’m so glad to see you tonight.” She said, without emotion.
“Mother, I think you are going to be much happier when you look to your right.”
Puzzled, she looked at the beautiful little girl who stood there.
“I’m sorry, dear; do I know y . . . Lilly?” Her voice shook with emotion. “Oh, LILLY!!”
They hugged wildly, as if they could not get enough of each other. Michelle grabbed Lilly and “hugged the stuffing out of her.” Everyone had tears, especially Michelle.
“How did you girls do this? I’ve tried everything, I had given up hope. I thought that there was no way to break that horrible spell . . . what did you do?” Michelle asked in a rush.
“We found a very old spell book in a dusty old library. It was in a section on ancient mystic healing. It was almost as if it called to us.”
“The librarian, a very nice old lady, told us that no one had even been in that part of the library in years! It was pure luck that we were there. Then we had to find the right museum where Lilly was. Brenda finally found her, and she started the spell. We had to wait until dark to finish the spell and we got her here as fast as we could. Please, Mom, you have to help us help you get well. We need you!”
“I need you, Michelle.” Lily told her with tears in her eyes. “You look so much like Mom, I, I . . . I’d like it if you could be my Mom from now on? Please, I don’t know how to be a girl!”
Michelle held her arms open for her new daughter, and held her tight. They were both crying happy tears.
“I love you, Mommy!” Lilly said, happily, which only made Michelle cry more. She could feel a great weight lift from her heart, while the love she felt for this little girl made her feel wonderful again.
“And I think I know where I can get a couple of babysitters when I need them. Just don’t let them turn you into a frog-I hate those slimy things.”
Everyone laughed, and all Lilly said was “Rrribbit!”
The four of them took a drive once Michelle had left the hospital. Brenda and Elaine wanted to check out that library to see if there was more lost knowledge that could be useful. When they got there, however they discovered that not only did they not have an older woman that worked as a librarian, but the part of the library where they had found the book didn’t even exist!
Perhaps Old Lady Winters simply wanted to help Lilly, and give her a new life.
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