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Originally a novella I am trying to turn it into a full-length novel. Any feedback appreciated. A thin line between love and obsession. Rosalind's father crosses that line. A big house, full of passion and secrets. The silence of shadows deafening. Over-protection is detrimental. Rosalind is loved greatly by her father and Nanny. Rosalind always tries to please and placate him. Who is the lady that appears only to Rosa? Can a father love too much? Would you keep a secret that might ruin your life to protect another? Nanny does for Rosa.

Mystery / Drama
Susan O'Reilly
4.4 7 reviews
Age Rating:

Prelude - Time

In an unguarded moment

it felt like it was raining roses

then they cut me


Bandon, West Cork, Ireland 1956

I watch her as she moves about the room, pride in every step, and elegance in every turn and my heart stirs with love and joy. I devour her essence as she dances around the floor as light as a butterfly’s wing and my soul smiles at the wonder of her. A constant whirlwind of motion and sound and then there’s the rare quiet time, the signalling of the onset of a tantrum. There are less of those the older she gets. She’s girly, mostly sunny but sometimes stormy. The bigger the dress the more spins she enjoys. The only thing that matters to her at that moment is the way the dress moves, the way the sparkles glisten, the swishy-swishy sound the material makes against her legs. She is unstoppable. It’s a moment I want to bottle. Pure, her just being a little girl loving her girly dress. When she laughs my heart giggles in harmony.

Twirling, whirling beauty

Such a little cutie

She is so very small, but beautiful. I cannot recognize a lot of him in her, yet there are times, I visualize him in her expressions, most often when she is displeased and having a tantrum, as I would not describe him as having a sunny disposition. Her forehead wrinkles and her eyes squint and it is in those moments that I see any significant resemblance.

The black parasol matches her mood

anger her soul’s food

disappointment seeps from her pores

chasing dreams has become a chore

She has mannerisms all her own though, flamboyant and expressive hand movements come naturally to her. Some days she’s a formidable force I could see being the Snow Queen, her kingdom would be a land of high drama. On others, she’s the blond-haired girl who is a goofball, adorable and lovable a Shirley Temple-type who smothered you with love. Every day is a performance, and Rosa being an entertainer loves to put on a show. I am so glad she loves the performing I would hate to think she did it for the sole purpose of pleasing George and Nanny. Rosalind will never be alone when alone. With all the characters she talks to daily, in her brain a repeated refrain watching her converse with them eases my pain. The only time she may feel lonely is in a crowded room. Rosalind is a complete firecracker, sparks flying everywhere, she deserves to be able to add a twinkle and a sparkle to peoples eyes and smile, a reflection of what they see in her. It’s a tragedy they don’t get to see her as she’s brilliant, a wonderful, engaging, instinctual presence.

In the land of make-believe, I’ve been told

A beautiful princess doth dwell, oh tell

It is not for me to inform, not so bold

by all accounts she’s a damsel, so swell

Oh, her skin so fair could be transparent

the countenance of a mischievous child

the narrator of this tale, love apparent

Obvious, the enchanting girl has me beguiled

She, I imagine, will become an artist of some sort; she has a theatrical heart and soul if it wasn’t naturally the way she was, her environment has certainly molded her as such allowing her imaginative and creative side to flourish. She loves to draw and play fancy dress; the brighter the color the better and dresses that twirl out when you spin are always at the top of her favorites list. Sparkles are never out of place in her presence. She often announced that she wanted to be a princess-doctor when she grew up. Wearing a surgical gown and a mask or her stethoscope and white coat Rosa would give Nanny detailed examinations from her head to her toes.

Today she was wearing her genie outfit complete with her own lamp. It was often akin to meeting a mysterious garden faerie at times. As a child, I don’t remember glimpses of fairies or trolls, and seahorses or prettily decorated horned unicorns didn’t appear in my dreams but they stampede through Rosa’s, often while she’s fully awake.

In fact, I think she may when she’s out of here and able to shop for herself, she may want to dress like them. I imagine her as a wearer of flamboyant and outlandish fashion which will probably not cause a lifted eyebrow with the theatrical crowd I envision being in her company. Quick-witted and vivacious, she could captivate any audience with compelling stories from her dazzling imagination. My dear Rosalind certainly has the gift of the gab and the soul of a seanchaí. So tragic and ironic that abuse can create a poet, actress, and painter, and yet darkens a shining star. She also has a ton of dolls, Rosalind would often create dizzying narratives for them. Her conviction at times had no limits. Nanny as always encourages it, they’re a blank canvas on which she can project anything she wants. Nanny doesn’t like the Russian Dolls though and always opens and lines them up putting the little one first in front of the tallest, said she doesn’t like it when their complete as she feels the little one is suppressed. Rosalind asked her what suppressed meant and Nanny said not to mind her she’s just being silly.

A myriad of emotions

stream across her face

inspires devotion

imagination creates her space

Rosalind can add drama to any situation. When she wants, she can be the funniest person with an infectious laugh, some would call it the type of laugh that sounds dirty even when doing the shopping list, it seems strange to make that comparison about someone so young, but it is true. It will probably be what she is most known for someday. Her smile brings unequalled light to me and always touches my heart, aforementioned smile or lack of it is always on her terms. Another reminder of him, because when he wants, he has a certain roguish charm, I bet many a lady he has disarmed in his day when the mood takes him, he can beguile with a smile. Back to Rosalind I have seen her summoning her maid to the castle she has made from her bedclothes, asking her to fix her hair and make her bed, in an entitled tone, a tone that also reminds me of him, she looks like she is dressed in an opera cloak of some sort. She had a bell at one stage for this task, but I think it was secreted somewhere after a day of constant ringing for the maid. George bought knitting needles for them once I assume thinking they could learn how to make our own clothes; Nanny hated the task and got no enjoyment from it whatsoever. Those needles conveniently disappeared down the same hole as the summoning bell, wherever it is though I don’t know. I heard Nanny telling George and Rosalind that it may be the lady Rosalind keeps talking about. I am apparently sometimes useful.

Nanny, being the said maid, I have seen ordered about and placed in all sorts of weird and wonderful positions. She does so willingly, always, I am grateful every day for Nanny. Ever since Rosalind was a baby and she’d whisper her a soft lullaby and hold her head up high. She’d blow gently on her crinkled brow until Rosalind’s eyes would start slowly closing, it worked every time. She lays her on her chest knowing that her breathing soothed her best, humming sweetly all the while, placing her down with a smile.

Babies are a connection between angel and man

brightening your day as only they can

a baby proves that life should go on

their smile bringing a brand-new dawn

they touch the world with love

a special gift sent from above

their life’s precious treasure

there worth you can’t measure

they bring you years of pleasure

She’d then accomplish necessary chores, happily accompanied by reassuring snores. It used to make me so jealous. She still cares for her so lovingly today. A sheet and pillows spread across two chairs become either a pillow fort/tent or a moat depending on Rosalind’s whim of the day. A precocious madam, but oh so sweet with it, I love her so much but must let her go. It is now time; I must prove my love for her by losing her. I will miss her so.

This place is too dark for her it holds too many secrets; she is too young a soul to be made act so old. Nanny has done all she has been able to in difficult and unusual circumstances. She has kept things as normal as possible. I love her writing rhymes and encouraging Rosalind to add to them and sing and recite along. The way Nanny can make music, poem, dance and singing interesting every day constantly trying another fashion or form is amazing. Nanny and I will always want Rosalind to be the star of the show, not the backing group. They adore each other. I again feel a pang of envy, but it is something I must get over. There are things I have no ability to change and Rosalind is much better with Nanny than without. So tragic and ironic that abuse can create a poet, writer, and yet darkens a shining star.

Nanny and Rosalind see the wonder of a fairy tale

the midnight trysts of the snail

the girl

with the uncontrollable curl

the laughter of the whale

the hammer being hit by the nail


The elephant afraid of the mouse

the cuckoo burgling a house

the old woman who lived in a shoe

the ghost who couldn’t say boo

the butcher who didn’t eat meat

the giraffe who hated the smell of his feet


The hyena whose laughter was like a drumbeat

the pig who greeted the wolf with a treat

the boy who was all sugar and spice

the girl that wasn’t very nice

the anteater who didn’t eat ants

the day Donald Duck forgot his pants

hee hee

These thoughts made me giggle; they give my funny bone a tickle. On days when the muse is silent, I have seen Nanny resort to alliteration, one of my favourites they have penned together is about animals, it made Nanny and Rosalind laugh out loud when they acted out the actions, how I love that sound I also laughed but they couldn’t hear me –

Flipping frogs flying

Crazy crows cawing

Noisy nags neighing

Racing Rats running

Pesky parrots parroting

Dizzy dogs dancing

Busy bees buzzing

Lazy llamas lazing

Angry apes arguing

Odd owls ogling

Extravagant emus eloping

Slimy slugs slithering

Wandering worms wriggling

Jaunty jays jumping

Testy tigers thundering

Grumpy giraffes grazing

All animals are amazing -

Ah, she has jumped up, what has caught her attention? Of course, he is on his way. No matter what he does or says she will always love him.

The wistful gaze of the child

thoughts so pure actions mild

untainted by life’s cruelty

lost in innocent revelry

A long time ago, I used to feel the same for him. How things and people change over time. I will always watch over her, but in future from afar, without her knowing, as it is meant to be.

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