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Chapter 1: Prologue
She lay in bed, unable to move, too frail to move. God, she hated being vulnerable, weak. She promised herself that she would die with dignity (Though promises mean nothing, they never have and never will. They are simply empty words, uttered by liars to the gullible.).
Being bedridden and drip fed was not dignified in the slightest. It was an image that demanded sympathy, and Edith never was any good at receiving pity nor giving it.
Pity was for the feeble.
And she was not feeble, no matter how much her old body protested otherwise, no matter how much her wrinkles deepened and the age spots accumulated.
The wretched, vacillating body Edith had been graced with in old age was a body she could not accept. It had betrayed her, turned traitor against her. Mutiny against the captain of the ship. Mutiny. Mutations. Her own cells mutating. Then the dreaded diagnosis- cancer. She couldn’t have cancer, there was too much to do. Too many hellos to say, so many goodbyes and there wasn’t enough time.
60 years old, and Edith was dying.
And he thought that she would be safe here. Safe. No one can escape death’s clutches, and her date with the Grim Reaper was 40 years overdue by the very least. Australia wasn’t a haven, it was merely a country where all the convicts were shipped off to as a solution to the problem of overcrowding prisons, where all the rich and the nobles fled to escape conscription. It was a place where the indigenous tribes were oppressed, due to the supposed superiority of the pale faced British colonists who first set foot on the soil 212 years ago.
Edith hadn’t set foot off of Australia for 38 years. She had kids. Grandkids. It was silly to yearn to go back to that Godforsaken place with too many ghosts and nightmares lurking on the fields, in the cities, around the corners.
Then the angel walked in, and all thoughts about France dispelled.
“Edie,” Edith croaked. She’d rather not talk out loud, having to hear her voice that was breaking away too, rusting like the rest of her, but it was the only way to communicate- her hands would refuse to hold a pen due to severe arthritis and she’d never learnt sign language or Morse code, her downfall.
“Nan,” The child replied, kissing the old matriarch gently on the forehead. Her ponytail bounced slightly as she moved, but her red shorts held in place, fastened by the braces slung around her shoulders. God, if she had worn that at her age...well, there was no if, the shops did not tailor such high hem lines, so procuring such a piece of apparel would have been impossible. It would have made running about a lot easier though, rather than having to gather the skirts that trailed along the floor to stop them from tearing.
“Edie, get my, oh get my, my,” Edith motioned with her hands.
“Your box?” Edith nodded in the affirmative. Edie, or Edith as was her correct and proper name, scurried away, retrieving the carved wooden case that held her Nan’s most treasured worldly possessions. It was peculiar that Edith wished to see it with Edie in the same room, as she normally attended to it in seclusion.
Edith opened the top as Edie waited with baited breath- she could not dissimulate her curiosity for the contents, it was second only to her curiosity over her Christmas and birthday presents. Edith withdrew a dark blood red leather covered book. The gold lettering imprinted on it was in French, but Edie need not have read it, for the book was clearly a diary, her Nan’s diary.
Edith, her hands shaking, handed over her life to the wide eyed girl and chuckled (and wheezed) at the surprise that the face beheld.
“My dear, I had to share my story before it ended, God knows you lot (here she was pertaining to her family) would have respected me too much to not go into my box after I’ve died. Read it Edie and do what you want with it, tell everybody, tell nobody, but not until you’ve read it, promise?”
“I promise,” Edie nodded, her young face serious, accepting the vast responsibility she had taken on. She would not let her Nan down. Edith hoped that the promise was not insincere like the many others that were so easily given, slight worry percolating throughout her as Edie clutched the tale that she had withheld for such an extensive period of time.
“Good, now leave me darling, your Nan needs her beauty rest,” Edith sighed, sinking into her pillows and succumbing to the soft silk of sleep once more.
She never woke up.
A/N: I think this is the shortest introduction I’ve ever written! So, this story is an Alastor/OC fic in case you haven’t guessed already and it will be set in France during the war. I’ll be as historically accurate as I can be, so if you spot any inconsistencies, please just send me a note. And any Australians reading this, please don’t be offended! I love Australia, Edith’s just a bitter old woman, forgive her ;)