Paisley Blue

United States

they/them | 6.2.2020
genderfluid | christian

the sound of rain

Message to Readers

Hooray--draft two! This is all thanks to Abby.a, Doodleninja, midnight.summerrose, and seaomelette! Thanks so much you guys!! :D

I will be continuing this story as a series of short stories set in the same place and time. Keep an eye out! They'll be under the same title! Thanks for reading, guys!! <3

Under Grey Skies | Part 1

November 10, 2020

FREE WRITING

13

Paris, France - 1903

    The faint sound of music danced along the air, bringing to mind warmer days, but Jacqueline Cadieux shivered as the wind cut through her. She pulled her coat tighter, watching the sky. It was grey—it was always grey now.
    Across the street, a raggedy young boy was playing a small mouth organ, a black hat set on the street in front of him. Jacqueline fingered the five cent coin in her pocket and looked away, making sure not to cross the street until she was a safe distance away from the boy.
    Her chapped lips stung against the changing weather, November making way for the dismal chill of the winter. She lowered her head, trying to cover her neck with as much of her overcoat as possible. Her overcoat, which hung down to her knees, flapped back and forth with each gust of wind.
    She kept her head down, but her eyes flicked back and forth, constantly checking to make sure no one was watching her. Dry leaves scuttled across the street, whipping into a whirlwind each time a carriage or automobile sped past. The cobblestones had once been polished and pristine, but now cracks ran along their surfaces and yellow grass poked up around each stone. No one lingered on the street. More than once, she caught sight of a shadow sweeping behind a building, or a black cloak whipping out of view, but each time she glued her eyes to the ground and continued on. They couldn’t take her, not yet.
    The wind howled as she turned down a slim alley, almost as if it was trying to chase her as she hurried out of reach. Still, though the breeze was no longer biting at her ankles, she kept herself huddled in her overcoat, shivering slightly.
She stopped abruptly outside a dimly lit store. The sign above the window read Lavigne’s Bijoux et Objets de Collection, written in neon lights that had long since burnt out. No one would ever get around to replacing them.
    She wiped the grime off of the window in front of her. Staring into the dusty little shop, she turned her head so her breath wouldn’t fog up the glass.
    Through the faded glass, her sunken eyes landed on a pedestal which held a ring. It was small, very small, as if made for a child. The metal had been polished until it gleamed, hiding the small dents that were hardly visible, unless one knew where to look. Jacqueline’s eyes found them immediately. Absentmindedly, she rubbed her finger, where a pale line showed the memory of a ring.
    The wind snuck through the brick walls of the alley and tugged at Jacqueline’s choppy black hair, sending chills down her spine. She hurried to the door and swiftly let herself inside, looking once to each side before closing it behind her.
    A small bell tinkled in the back of the dirty room, but no one rushed out to greet her. She coughed, the sound dry and raspy in the silent shop. Outside, the wind howled at her small form. She paid it no attention.
    The coat rack next to the door was empty, but she made no motion to hang up her large coat. Instead, she stepped to the pedestal, shoes clicking quietly in the still room. She looked down at the ring, and, stretching out her hand furtively, slipped it onto her finger, an action that looked almost out of habit. It fit perfectly.
    A door slammed in the back, and Jacqueline dropped the ring. A bony, hunched man bustled out of the back room. Upon sight of Jacqueline, he froze.
    “Ah, Madame Cadieux-” He hurried over, smiling guiltily. “-excusez-moi, I was just in the back, you know, cleaning up…” 
    Jacqueline nodded, though she could smell the cigar smoke on his breath.
    “Have you paid your dues, then?” the man asked, not unkindly, lowering his voice to a whisper.
    Jacqueline looked up at him desperately. “Please Dominique, you’re my last hope. I don’t have anything left. Monsieur Allard refused my application, and I only have two days before I’m on the streets, and then it’s only a matter of time before they-”
    With a look of alarm Dominique shushed her, glancing around the otherwise vacant shop. “I’m sorry,” he said in a voice so low she had to lean in to hear, “my position doesn’t allow me to help.”
    “Couldn’t you-”
    “Non.” He shook his head firmly. Brightening his voice, he spoke loudly to the room at large, he glanced again at the ceiling, as if someone was watching. “So you’re looking for a gift, oui?” Gripping Jacqueline’s arm, he steered her to a display of silver bracelets. 
    “Dominique, I don’t have time for this-” she protested in a low but agitated voice. He widened his eyes at her, wordlessly warning her to stop talking.
    “For your niece’s birthday? Well, maybe she’ll like one of these, they are tres magnifiques-” He said loudly, before hunching over a bracelet, leaning in and whispering. “You know what they would do to me if they caught me. I cannot help. My hands are tied.”
    “You have to be able to do something—s'il vous plaît—they’ll take me away-” Her voice cracked with desperation, rising to dangerous levels.
    “That is enough!” he snapped, hand clasping on her bony wrist. His eyes had gone wide at her raised voice. “I regret that I cannot help you. I bought that old ring from you, but even that was a risk. They’ve been watching closer, they’re always watching, you have to understand.”
    “Please!” she gasped, pulling her arm from him sharply, tears in her eyes.
    In response, he opened the door and eased her out. “You—have—to—go!” She fought, but when the door closed, she crumpled to the ground, sobbing loudly. Dominique walked away from the door, trying his hardest not to look back. Jacqueline watched him retreat into the dim shop once more, gasping back her tears.
    There was nothing more she could do, except—a flash of gold in the window caught her eye. The ring.
    
    The door flew open. Dominique ran out from the back room, swearing loudly, but she was already running down the street, leaving the door wide open behind her. On her finger was a small gold ring. He watched sadly, waiting until she turned the corner to retreat back inside. He could already see cloaked figures dropping from the shadows, following her silently. It didn’t matter if she took back her ring.
    She would be taken either way.
Word count: 1096 (second draft)

Keep an eye out for parts 2, 3, and maybe even 4!

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  • November 10, 2020 - 12:48pm (Now Viewing)

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10 Comments
  • anemoia (#words)

    WHOA. I WAS HOOKED THE SECOND I SAW PARIS, 1903. LIKE, HISTORICAL? FRENCH? GRITTY IMAGERY LIKE I'M REALLY THERE? FREAKING DARK AND MYSTERIOUS? And Jacqueline is called Madame... so is she married/widowed? And the ring is so intriguing. Heading over to Part 2 now!


    6 months ago
  • pyrrhic

    re: thank you. ily <333


    6 months ago
  • JustAnotherDarling

    the story only gets better the more i read it! :) this time, it was this line that really stuck with me: "November making way for the dismal chill of the winter."
    that personification of november and winter will stay with me FOREVER! and yes yes yes!! i can't wait to read more on your mini-series :)
    Re: thank you so much! i hope you're having a lovely day/night <3


    6 months ago
  • lochnessie

    wOAH ELLA
    STEADY ON
    this is fantastic!!!!


    6 months ago
  • journal.scribbles

    re: I'm glad I found it too! :) Lucky... I have tomorrow off but I'll probably spend all day doing school work anyway (aka procrastinating on my school work XD)


    6 months ago
  • midnight.summerrose

    There's more?! Yesss! I love thissss!! I can't wait for the next part! If you can, notify me when the next part is out! :)
    Thanks for the mention! <3


    6 months ago
  • journal.scribbles

    I'm with chrysalism about being with Abby! I was about to like and comment on the other draft but then it gave me the 404 error page and I was like NO but JACQUELINE! And then I saw this and was very relieved. Anyways. Can't wait for the next part! :)

    Re: This is kinda late but thank you for the comment! That was very kind of you and it really did make me feel better about my piece. I am doing well. A little overwhelmed with school, but mostly well. I hope you're doing well too!


    6 months ago
  • mirkat

    re: thank you so much! your comments me a ton to me b/c i admire your writing so much. glad you love that line! <3


    6 months ago
  • mirkat

    i'm with abby.... how is this even better?! i can't wait to read more too! i love your idea of setting it in the same time but with different pov. <3<3<3


    6 months ago
  • pyrrhic

    AHHHHH!!!! how is it even BETTER than the last draft??!! i didn't know it COULD get better!!!! this is fantastic. i can NOT wait to read more <33


    6 months ago