“Secret” Blogfest – Steam Palace
Okay, I was going to use this for the Cognitive Dissonance Blogfest that was cancelled, but it works here too. Sophia has just read a hand-written note from Viola who has fled the country. I hope this doesn’t reveal too much. It’s a little over a third of the way into the novel. Sophia has been wrestling with the fact that she and Viola look almost identical although they grew up on opposite sides of society.
Sophia sat at the kitchen table chewing a slice of rich, dark bread, studying the last line over and over again. “Your true sister.” Double underlined? A hand clenched her heart and the bread fell from her mouth. For a week she had lain in bed in Beatrice’s residence, hiding ugly bruises from the world, sulking in misery at the injustices of life. This morning, a courier delivered the note.
“Beatrice,” she said. No response. “Beatrice!” Her constricting throat cracked her voice.
The woman rumbled down the stairs. “Yes, yes, Sophia, what is it?”
Sophia passed the note to Beatrice.
Beatrice’s eyes went wide; her hand found her mouth. “Viola has fled the country. I feared it would come to this someday.”
“That’s not what I find most upsetting. Read the last line.”
Beatrice swallowed. “Well, she thinks of you as her sister.”
Beatrice would not meet Sophia’s gaze. Why? ”What are you hiding from me? What does she underline ‘true’ twice? What is she trying to tell me?”
“I don’t know, I don’t know.” Her downcast eyes and shaking head betrayed her.
“Beatrice Harwinton. Is Viola Willamante my actual sister? Answer me!” Sophia stood up and faced the shivering woman.
Beatrice turned, ran upstairs, and slammed her bedroom door shut.
Sophia pursued and pounded on the oak door. “Open this door at once! I demand to know the truth!”
“You don’t want the truth,” she cried, “you don’t want it!”
“I do! Please, Beatrice. By your actions I can only assume that Viola is my actual sister.” And if Viola is my sister—how could such a thing be possible? Scenarios churned her mind. Had Viola been stolen as a child? Then why hadn’t Shelby or Mother ever told her? Sophia pounded on the door again.
“WHO IS VIOLA WILLAMANTE!” Sophia’s throat convulsed into choking coughs, and she fell to her knees, gagging.
The door unlatched. Tears flooded Beatrice’s eyes.
“Please,” rasped Sophia. “How did Mother or Shelby not know I had a sister? Or my father? But you knew, didn’t you? That’s why you took her in. She must have been stolen from us. Tell me, please.”
Beatrice slumped to the floor next to Sophia, her hands pressed to eyes. A sob escaped her throat. “They never knew. I am so ashamed. You never needed to know. But the truth is…” The woman paused, her chest shaking. “…the truth is that Viola is not the stolen child…you are.”
The “cognitive dissonance” part comes right after this as Sophia needs to deal with the fact that she’s been “adopted”…illegally.