-Marigold Fare-

The dining room is grand, with high ceilings and four chairs center close in the middle. My Mother sits straight and elegantly across from my two sisters. I am walking as quietly as I can toward my designated chair. One step and Bitter turns discreetly to face me, holding a bear that wears the same crooked toothy grin in my direction. I whimper, reaching the chair thats placed between Bitter and Holly. Holly speaks with Mother of a boy she found drifting through the halls the other night, Urgently trying to convince her of the spirits she says live within her walls.

Cutting Holly off Mother says

”Marigold, I hope you have something to say for yourself for being tardy, especially since I have great news. ”

Great news..We never have news…

”Marigold, darling, do look into my eyes dear as I speak…. ”

”Yeah marigold look into Mothers eyes. ” Bitter reals, always taunting me in front of mother, disrespecting me, for attention, or for something else.

I look straight into Bitters eyes instead, trying to convey my message to leave me alone. But instead, she growls, letting her little toy move in her stead as it chomps right on my forearm. She looks at me with regret but quickly masks it with a veil of pride.

Giggling wildly next to me my sister wiggles cheerily as I bleed onto the wooden table. I smile back, acid biting the back of my throat. My blood clinks as it crystallizes into colorful dripped jewels. Bitter grabs each one.

”Now girls, NO! No fighting, Bitter go to your room, think about what youve done. ”

”I don want to Mother, ” Bitter says. ”Hmph..it wasn my fault that Teddy tried to bite Marigold. ”

”Tried! Your weird little thing did bite me! Why can you-. ” I say.

”Stop. ”

Mother always has the final word.

Looking at Bitter I wonder how we are sisters at all. Her tall frame is accentuated by the dark long straight hair that crowns her head, accompanied by thick-lashed eyes that drip green oil. Olive skin is contorted by sharp features and sharp teeth. Shes always been an unruly child. Growing up Ive seen her grow, Ive seen her weakness for stealing shiny things. Her passion in creating a life where there once wasn . Bringing to life small stuffed animals and leaving them in halls, rooms, and even outside, for them to watch us. They move when she desires, but they are always breathing, and they are always looking. But it all contradicts me from my gift, to take away life, to my appearance. From my brown curly hair, tanned skin, soft features, and brown eyes I kept nothing in my appearance that would separate me from others. Apart from my hands, which have always looked blackened at the fingertips.

Its not that we don care for one another, its just its hard for us to get along.

As the bleeding stops the mark left by my sisters toothy toy is nothing more than a few small marks. I sometimes wonder if they think I cannot feel pain simply because I heal so quickly or if they struggle to empathize when they have their own inner quarrels to deal with. But little empathy is as good as none, in our family. We continue sitting preoccupied with our own thoughts, as Mother speaks of the horrible lighting in the dining rooms forum. Holly glances once at me, a little face of concern before she lets out a question, clearly and softly.

”Whos coming to visit? ”

”Visit? ” I ask me and Bitter completely dumbfounded by what our sister asked.

My Mother begins to fold her napkin and dapps her mouth lightly. Until all of us are just staring at her waiting for her to speak.

”Your Uncle Soot will be visiting… ” Shock lines my and Bitters face, but Hollys remains passive. Expecting the answer MOther had given. But for the first time in my entire life, we have never had a relative, Much less a actually invited visitor come.

”Mother you
e- you
e lying, tricking us ” Bitter bubbles.

”A visitor, another in my head.. so little and too much to be done in my stead… ” Holly reacts.

”Calm yourself, Holly, calm yourself, I will help. We will prepare a room inconspicuously and normally, so please children while he is visiting not a peep to Holly. She needs to prepare herself. I don need your meddling, don as so much as introduce yourself to your uncle. Keep your distance and that will be all. I will deal with my little brother myself. ”

”Ha! Careful what you say, Mother, youll make poor Holly think we are bringing a murder into the house. ” Bitter remarks in a taunting tone.

”NO, NO that cannot be, A murderer in my house, Mother, Please I already have so much-, ” says Hollys shrill voice. With a loud sigh, Mother stands and says quickly-

”Do not anger me, girls, He arrives tomorrow. So you will all meet me in the trumpet room by 2. Do NOT be Late. Have a good night Love you all to pieces. ” She says loudly, as she turns to leave the smell of lavender in her absence.

I scurry down the same hallway, after a few minutes of waiting to be sure Mother is out of view. Before taking our turns to get to our rooms. Holly grabs my and Bitters hands saying

”Goodnight sisters, take a look at the books I gave you both. They hold the clue to something I have saved, Ill be where I always am, don fight on this little adventure. ” Hollys voice jingles lightly before repeating what she said. I understand only part of what she means. But I pat her hands before saying-

”Goodnight, Holly, sleep well. ” just as Bitter frowns before shaking Hollys hand off and trotting away with her toy bear frowning in hand.

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