A very short story

Emma made sure that she was a good girl that day, because she knew she had to impress her mother to be allowed to go play with Mary in the evening. She helped her mother wash a set of clothes, mixing in the right amount of powder to get the right amount of bubbles in the water. When they were done, she handed them one by one to her brother, Tom, so he could hang them to dry on the line of iron on their terrace stretched from one column to another, after emptying it of the dry clothes. Once she finished that, she took the dry clothes downstairs and helped her father by folding them after he pressed them.

As soon as the sun yawned and began to set, she sped over to Mary’s home with great excitement. She knocked on the door two times and waited three minutes. But nobody opened. Seeing the car parked outside, she guessed the family was still home. So she knocked on the door three times and waited two minutes. This time, Mary’s mother opened the door with a kindly apologetic expression on her face. “Emma, dear. Sorry to have kept you waiting,” she said, “How can I help you?” Emma simply beamed at her and replied, “Oh, it’s okay Mrs. Brown. I was wondering if Mary can come out today?” Mary’s mother smiled and answered, “Why of course. If she’s done with her homework she can definitely come out. I’ll just check on her.”

 

**

Mary had to run to keep up with Emma, who seemed to be running on excitement, not that day’s lunch. “Where are we going, Emma?” Mary asked, fitting each word between her breaths, “I need to be home for supper.” Emma stopped shortly after, and turned around to smile, “Don’t worry, we’ve reached our destination. Over this fence is a huge plot of land that belongs to noone. But not for long, apparently. I hear the Governor intends to build a school here as soon as the Madrasi rebellion has quietened down.” Mary peeked over the fence in awe and asked, “But why do they need much land for a school?” Emma replied while climbing the fence, “Well, they might even build a college here like those fancy ones back home.” Mary looked at her quizzically, “A college? What’s that, Emma?” Emma looked back to her friend and nodded in sadness. She often wished she had smarter friends. “Well, the future of the land is not important now,” She said as she hit the ground, “It’s the past. I have heard there’s a Magic here, leftover by a witch.” Mary’s eyes widened in fear, and she momentarily stopped climbing down the other side of the fence. “My father told me to stay away from Magics, Emma!” Emma simply started walking down the street and said, “Oh don’t worry, Mary. I’m sure Mr. Brown won’t find out. Just follow me already.”

 

**

 

They two girls climbed down the second opening that they came upon. The first one was simply a snake’s home, a clear indication of the Magic ahead. The second opening, the one they chose, was large enough for an adult to enter, and had steps carved out in the mud inside. From the outside, however, it was less inviting, having been shaped like a Lion’s mouth roaring away at nearby spirits and humans alike. Not too deep into the lair, they reached the end, a large wall with an altar chiseled into it. Emma slowly walked towards it, chanting something from a piece of paper she pulled from her pocket. The altar’s eyes reddened with light when she was done, blinding both the girls.

For your prayers, I shall grant you wishes. What do you want, Emma?

Emma, still confident despite the blinding light, replied calmly, “I want to be eternally beautiful.”

Granted. Not only you, but everyone and everything bearing your name, even sticks and stones, will be beautiful.

What do you want, Mary?

Mary, on the other hand, was terrified. Her white knuckles were holding her clenched fingers with far more difficulty than they were her skirt. Crying in panic, she shouted out, “Please, I don’t want to die.”

Granted. You shall never be embraced by Mister Death. Life will always embrace you.

 

**

 

As the years passed, a college was indeed built on the land, although the rebellion didn’t quieten down. It is unclear of what happened to the cave or the piece of paper, both lost in Father Time’s journey. However it is easy to confirm that all Emma’s, even Stones, turned out beautiful. Hence, it can be assumed that Mary never passed away.

This legend may explain one of the biggest mysteries in the college that was built. How, despite everything, MarryBrown is still alive.

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