“No Context” is a purposeless, sometimes whimsical, often cut short, and unpredictable addition to the blog feed of Charming Undómiel. This unique content is published once every other month.
Please voice your thoughts below in the comments after reading the July edition of “NoContext“ in which…
Cora shut her book with a slam, leaned her head on the rattling sideboard and watched listlessly as the grey forest jolted by the carriage window. It had been three days since she had said farewell to her uncle and since she had been in the suffocating cab.
“We’ve been traveling for ages.” She said wearily as the rain–which had been threatening its downpour for over an hour–began to fall from the overcast sky, completing the dismal scene.
“I feel as if I’ve been trapped in this wheeled box for my entire life.” Cora slapped her gloved hands down into her lap hopelessly.
“You said that last year we traveled my lady, but we’re almost there, you know.” Her maid replied consolingly as the carriage rumbled down the endless road, swaying with each bump in the gravel highway and rocking its passengers back and forth, back and forth.
Turning from the dreary picture outside her window, Cora curled her feet under her and snuggled deeper into the dark velvet seat, focusing her weary gaze on the roof… going back and forth, back and forth…
“Try and shut your eyes for a bit, my lady; time always passes quicker when you’re asleep”
“I can’t sleep, Baxter, it’s too uncomfortable.” Cora muttered sullenly, casting a doleful glance at her black haired, blue eyed ladies’ maid. Anna Baxter smiled sympathetically and continued to embroider.
Cora sighed heavily and turned to the window again. Her back and neck ached from the constant jolting, her eyes longed for something else to see other than just a small patch outside, and her entire being yearned for something else to happen other than constant rumble, rocking, and the snort of the trotting horses.
The raindrops poured off the forest leaves and splashed onto the dirt road, turning it from dusty to muddy within minutes. The elegant spoked wheels and ornate carriage doors became filthy and splattered with dirt. The legs and bellies of the four Shire horses pulling the carriage boded the same, their feathery white fetlocks becoming matted and brown as they trotted thru puddles and pulled across ruts.
Cora shut her eyes, trying to close out the creaking, the swaying and the heavy drumming of rain on the roof, against the window, and in her head. Maybe sleep would do her good…
Out of nowhere a huge stone hit the windowpane, hammering shattered glass and rainwater into the carriage. Cora cried out as a sharp, searing pain flamed up her arm. A stain of scarlet blossomed on her sleeve and trailed down her arm and into her lap, turning her skirt from light sage to dull, bloody red.
“My lady, are you alright?” Baxter gasped as she dropped her stitchery and knelt by her mistress, grasping Cora’s arm with wide eyes.
A dull thud on the roof of the coach made them both jump. A cutoff shout from the coachman followed, and then the carriage swayed violently and jerked to a stop, sending both maid and mistress flying forward and crashing onto each other on the seat with shrieks and bruised heads.
“Are you hurt, my lady?” Baxter picked herself off Cora quickly and helped her mistress to sit up.
“What happened?” Cora groaned, holding the side of her head, where a bruise was quickly growing. There was a sound of horse’s snorting and the jingle of reins beyond their view.
“Do you want me to go and find out?” Baxter was whispering, looking at the window askance and gripping Cora’s hand tighter. Cora followed her gaze.
“Wouldn’t Blake come and report to us what the matter is?” She whispered back, knowing their coachman would always check on them if something went amiss
“If he’s still alive,” Baxter bit her lips, letting her mistress’s hand go and scooting towards the window. Keeping well away from the opening, she scanned the exterior world.
“Do you see anything?” Cora said, craning her neck to glimpse outside from where she sat. Baxter glanced at her and shook her dark head as she rapidly retreated back to the other side of the coach.
There was a sound of strange voices and shuffling hooves. Cora stared at the gaping hole that used to be a window, then with a deep breath, stood up till her head touched the roof, and moved towards the opening and looked out into the cold, showered environment.
Nothing but the shimmering overgrown greenness of a wet forest met those same colored eyes, which were as troubled as the grey sky above.
“What’s happening?” Baxter asked, leaning off the edge of her seat.
“I can’t see anything from this view,” Cora replied. She gripped the edges of the trimming, carefully avoiding the remaining shards of windowpane and pushed herself through the opening till she got her head and shoulders through.
“I beg of you milady not to hurt yourself!” Cora felt Baxter’s hands on her back as she turned her head in the direction of the driver’s seat–coming nose to nose with a man’s stubbly, filthy face.
“Hello poppet,” A toothless grin spread over his features and a greedy flash lit up two bloodshot eyes.
Cora screamed and shrank back into the coach, slamming against Baxter as the door swung open and a pistol was pointed straight at them, a sinister form behind it…