Calabella – Part 1
As the priest read the strange sounding psalm in some odd language she didn’t understand, the
tear filled eyes of the little red haired girl in ragged clothing peered over the top of a moss and lichen encrusted headstone at the black clad mourners around a grave mouth and the ebony casket with polished, brass handles being lowered into the large, oblong shaped pit.
“You shouldn’t be here”, said a concerned, elderly male voice from behind her.
The little girl turned around and saw a tall, grey haired gentleman in a white suit with a white rose in his jacket lapel looking down at her with worry in his eyes.
“Shhh!”, she said to him, putting her little index finger infront of her lips, “You’ll give me away.I climbed in over the old willow tree that grows outside the wall. It’s not hard. I’m good at climbing”.
“Well”, asked the man in white, crouching down and trying to whisper, “ I don’t want to scare you but if they catch you, you’ll be in terrible trouble”.
“I have to see”, said the little girl, pointing her index finger now towards the throng of mourners, one of whom was throwing a wreath of strange black flowers down into the grave, “That man being buried over there, though I never really knew him, is my daddy but those people, the ones dressed in black, wouldn’t be very happy if they saw me because I’m what people call Ill- legitimate”.
“You shouldn’t let anyone call you that”, said the man, frowning, and then the little girl saw his pale hands and the white sleeves of his jacket pass through her as he tried to hug her.
The girl turned sharply around, trembling, “What are you? A ghost?”, she asked with wide blue eyes
full of fear.
“I’m your daddy, Calabella ”, said the man, with a kindly smile spreading across his face, “And I want you to know that I love you and will always be watching over you”.
But Calabella only screamed and then the man in white vanished into the autumn sunlight, but it was too late, she had given herself away and all the mourners looked furious when they saw her and frightening to her, especially an old, gaunt faced woman in a black veil who had piercing eyes of hatred, as they scowled and yelled angrily at her.
Running, frantically, towards the tall, iron gates of the churchyard, she only just managed to clang them shut before that angry looking woman in black could grab hold of her arm.
Then, running all the way home, her head whirling with confusion, she found her mother sitting in the living quarters of their little wooden shack, smiling.
“You’re not crying anymore?”, she said to her mother, feeling her cheeks to see if they were still wet.
“A man just came to the house. He was your daddy’s solicitor and your daddy left us quite a fortune and a big house in the country too. I think he really loved us, Calabella”, said her mother, hugging her daughter so tightly that it felt as if two people were hugging her.
“I know”, said Calabella, remembering what the ghost had said, “I know he did”.