My first fanfic on here... erk.
Not sure if this'll work, even.
Well, this story is for a book we are reading in class at the moment, Coram Boy. It's a captivating read, and one of our homework tasks was to write a creative piece inspired by anything in the novel. I did chapter 2 (or at least a bit of it) from the mysterious woman's point of view. Sort of.
Disclaimer: Coram Boy belongs to Jamila Gavin, not me! :)
"It's a girl," the maid said shortly, practically throwing the wriggling child into her mother's waiting arms.
"Oh, she's beautiful," whispered the mother, staring lovingly at her tiny baby. The maid shook her head disapprovingly.
"It's a cursed child. Foul spirits lie within that small host," she snarled. "It was never meant to be born. You know this!"
The mother nodded, tears welling up in her pale eyes.
"But she's my baby," she sobbed. "How can you tell me my baby is cursed!"
The maid snorted.
"She is doomed, whichever way you look at it. If your husband comes back from the navy to find you with his child, the child he never wanted…" she trailed off. "So it's best just to finish it off quickly. By tomorrow you will have forgotten even its face," she finished.
"Oh, but surely he will understand," the lady cried, "after all, he is a good husband, and I'm sure once he sees her little face, he will come round!" But even as she spoke those words, she knew they were lies.
Her husband was not a forgiving man. And he never, ever wanted any children.
The baby blinked up at her mother, wide eyes bright with innocence. Could she really be under a curse? The fine lady wondered.
The maid sighed.
"If the good Captain returns to find his lady with a child, he will kill it! And you will most probably be abandoned yourself! Either way this baby is going to die! She is eternally doomed!" she cried, desperate to get the mother to understand the dire situation they were in.
The lady nodded bleakly, tears still streaking down her flushed cheeks.
"Let me take it down to the river. I'll drown it there quickly… it won't feel a thing," the maid instructed. To her surprise, the Captain's wife stood up, wrapping a cloak around her thin shoulders.
"I'll go myself," she sniffed. "I wish to… say goodbye properly."
The maid shook her head.
"I don't know - A fine lady such as yourself shouldn't walk out at night. But I suppose as long as you do nothing reckless… the river is only at the end of this road," she sighed.
"Thank you," the lady cried, and grabbed a basket. She quickly swaddled the child in a blanket, and placed it into the basket. "I shall return as soon as the - deed - is done," she whimpered, and hurried into the darkness outside.
Destroy it soon, for all our sakes, the maid pleaded inwardly.
The lady cried to herself as she scurried down the road to the river. She wished there was hope for her baby – but if she wished to keep her own safety, and the safety of those she loved… she needed to rid her husband's household of this - curse it was under.
The setting sun sank bleakly down behind the grey trees, and left behind a chill that froze the young woman to the core. She just hoped the newborn survived long enough for her to say goodbye.
She came to the riverbank. I can't do this, I can't do this, I can't do this…
Suddenly she stopped, and pulled back behind a bush. The Ferryman was there! She sighed in relief as he turned away from the riverbank, but then looked on in curiosity as a wagon lead by mules rumbled down the road. Who would be travelling at this time? She wondered.
The travellers were obviously not rich – the wagon was scruffy and the mules were far from well-kept. But it was the passengers inside that caught the lady's attention. There were children inside! They all looked to be quite young, and although they didn't look particularly happy, they looked obedient and quiet.
Could it be that this wagon is set for the Coram Hospital? She asked herself. She had heard of it – the place where unwanted children could start new lives, and have a home. She had never heard of a Coram man, but – if it could save her baby…
A man jumped off the wagon and began leading the mules onto the waiting Ferry.
This is my chance...
"Are you the Coram man?" she asked softly.
The man turned to peer into the shadows. The lady pulled her cape further round herself, hiding her identity. The man shrugged and tossed the reins to an older boy amongst the children.
"The boy will see them on," he yelled to the ferryman, who nodded and turned to instruct the lad.
She lowered her head, and held out the basket. The 'Coram' man lifted the blanket curiously, and grinned when he saw its contents.
"I'll take that off you for a cheap price," he offered. She hugged the basket anxiously to her chest.
"And look after it," he quickly added. The lady nodded reluctantly and dropped her heavy purse into his waiting palm.
"I'll take care of it, ma'am," he promised with an almost sincere smile, and she nodded tearfully.
"Please look after her," the woman whispered, and quickly stifled a short, sharp, pitiful shriek of grief.
The man took the basket from the crying lady, and leapt back onto the wagon. He rather roughly shoved the basket into the boy's arms and muttered something to him. The lady felt an odd sense of foreboding… but it was too late now. The ferry had set off.
As it slowly drifted its way across the dark water, the lady continued to watch it, her eyes fixed on the basket.
She kept watching, until they eventually disembarked and disappeared into the shadows.
"Welcome back, darling," the lady nervously greeted her husband.
"Of course, my wife! A man always needs a dedicated, honest woman when he comes home from sea!" the Captain of the Courageous boomed. The woman nodded, avoiding eye contact with the loud man. He wouldn't think I'm so dedicated if he knew what I'd done…
"A good trip home, my good Captain?" the maid asked, trying to steer the conversation away from the tender situation.
"Yes, maid! Although, something downright odd occurred," he commented. "We were riding back through the road from Gloucester, when the dogs started going crazy – mad, I tell you! So they started digging – my men were pulling 'em away, but they were so darn insistent!"
"What were they digging at?" His wife enquired politely.
"Well, here's the strange thing," the Captain frowned. "I had a look at the remnants after the dogs had had a good sniff – and – well, there were bones! But these weren't any old sheep bones – these could only be described as the bones of… a human baby!"
The young lady gave a piercing, horrified scream, and her world sank into darkness.
Well, that's it, my first fanfic! ^^