Memories Lost in Time

Katirina Hartford is a 16 year old girl from Gold Gait High. Everything is fine until she discovers a family secret. Soon she finds herself in a sticky situation in the past, trapped. She must find her way home and while fighting for her life and for the love of her life. There is mystery, deception, and high stakes. Will she make it home, or will she be stuck in the past?

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4. Of Paintings and Problems

CHAPTER 3

Of Paintings and Problems

As I walk up to the ball, I hand the butler my ticket. He looks it over, and waves me through. I walk down the hall, and two more butlers open the doors. As they draw the doors open the sounds of classical music, laughter, clicking of heels, and the smell of food all rush at me, overwhelming my senses. I look upon the sea of faces. But on second glance it isn't faces but in fact masks. I pause at the top of the stairs as we all had been taught. Rows of food on silver trays are set out, there is punch and even a fondue fountain.  The chandeliers are bright, illuminating through the crystal, sending strips and bands of light shooting throughout the vast ballroom. Paintings line the walls of the first and second floors. There are people talking casually on the second floor and people eating and dancing on the first. I continue to stay at the top of the stairs while I wait for the foreman to announce my name. Once the song was over the foreman clears his throat. I lift my chin in fake confidence even though my stomach is turning beneath my corset.

“Introducing, Lady Katirina Hartford of 10th year.” His voice booms through the whole hall and all at once people gasp and cease talking to gawk at me. I feel my cheeks flush as I descend the stairs. Quickly scanning the room with my eyes I search for my friends. They are standing in the back-middle of the room. As I reach my final step I set forward to my friends. I start to weave through the mass of people, but I soon do not have to. After the first two or three people, everyone just starts to part ways as I get to them, whispering to their friends and when I am gone the mass closes again. When I reach my friends they greet me with hugs. A moment later the music starts again and our group moves to the edge of the floor.

“Wow, nice entrance, Kati,” Alex remarks.

“Yeah, you still look stunning,” Cynthia breathes.

Emily just stares, finally she says, “Come on girls lets dance; we can't let these people have all the fun,” and with that we move to the center of the floor. When we reach the center of the floor, Cynthia, Emily and Alex all get asked to dance. I start to retreat to my spot on the edge of the floor when I feel a tap on my shoulder. I turn to be greeted by a boy in a blue mask.

“It would delight me so, if you would take my hand and give me the honor of this dance.” he says, bowing.

“It would be my pleasure,” I say, curtsying, then taking his outstretched hand.

He guides me to the center of the floor where we start the fast paced waltz, and so it goes, with every new song I gain a new partner in which to dance the night away. As the night winds down and the songs slow, I excuse myself and go to find my friends. I fofind und them at a little table drinking punch.

    “My feet hurt,” I groan, flopping into a chair.

“We ought to have known to bring extra shoes, but we hadn't danced this much last year.” Emily is smiling but looks exhausted.

“Ah, brighten up love, we’re but halfway through the evening. Surely we will be swept away again to dance and you will have all but forgotten your aches.” Alex is grinning at me from ear to ear.

“Yes, well before that can happen, I must fetch my coat from the racks; there is a awful draft. I’ve got goose bumps up my arms,” I say, hugging my arms to myself.

“Here, I’ll come with you,” Cynthia said, rising from her seat and giving me her elbow. We grab our coats and put them on, mine is black so it doesn’t look too bad with my dress. Instead of dancing we decide to wander the second floor balcony overlooking the ball. The second floor is lined with paintings of former balls. One painting catches my eye. Cyn is remarking about one of her partners of the evening when I abruptly turn to face the painting.

“What is it, Katirina?” The mirth that had been in her voice only moments ago is now gone.

“This painting...it just seems so…” I have forgotten  what I was going to say and walk closer to the painting, arm outstretched.

“Kati, you mustn't touch the painting, it would be ill advised…” But I can’t hear her anymore. I am so engrossed with the painting that I haven’t noticed the the ripple in the carpet until it is too late.

With my hand still reaching I fall forward, all at once I hear Cynthia yelling for me and my hand penetrates the painting. I watch in horror as my hand disappears, followed by my arm, then shoulder. Then I hear nothing, all I see is a shimmering light too bright for my eyes, and a tingling sensation rippling through my body. It wis as over within seconds and I fall on the carpet again. I look up to see that Cynthia is  gone and a different orchestra has taken place. Confused, I stand up and make my way back to the top of the stairs. I slowly descend the stairs to the center of the ball. A swift movement from the corner of my eye catches  my attention.

“I am sorry to bother you miss, but I was enwrapped by your beauty as you walked the stairs down yonder. Might I have the honor of this dance from such a rare flower?” The kind man gives  me a low bow, stretching his hand to me. I gape at him: never in my life had anyone been so kind.

“But of course, a dance from a fine gent such as yourself would delight me ever so.” I give a low curtsey and a slight incline of my head. I take  his hand and we dance. After a moment of dancing he starts to make casual conversation.  

“I ought have noticed you at the beginning of the evening, Miss?”

“Hartford, Miss. Katirina Hartford. And I you, seeing as though our attire is matching, sir.” He looks at his tailcoat, black with gold trim, a gold silk hankie folded neatly in his breast pocket. A rather delicate black mask rests upon his cheek bones.

“It would seem that we are, Miss Hartford. I am Marcellus Sperry, My father is Lord Atwood Sperry.” He points to a man about six feet tall, he has  blonde hair and kind crystal blue eyes. He has a rather round nose and a gentle smile. Even from a distance you can tell he has working hands. And the return and set of his jaw proves a strong and confident man. “And that is my mother Lady Dorothy, she was a Valley until she married my father.”  Lady Dorothy is  about as tall as I, she too has blonde hair and clear blue eyes. She stands  straight and holds  herself with poise. Much like her husband, her nose is  slightly round as well as her cheeks, but her jaw is  sharp and defined. Her smile is  very pretty and tender.

The song ends, he bows and I curtsiy Then Marcellus gives me his arm, I accept and he leads me away. He leads me to a table on the outskirts of the dance floor.

“Shall I fetch us some refreshments, Miss Hartford?”

“If you please, Mr. Sperry.” After he leaves I scan the room for my friends, and to my dismay they are nowhere to be seen. Without a moment's hesitation I run through the room and back up the stairs for a better vantage point. “They are gone? Where have they gone?” I whisper. I scan the room once, twice, they are nowhere to be seen. A man walks by and I tap him on the shoulder saying, “Excuse me, but do you know where Emily, Alex, and Cynthia have gone?”

“Who? Alex? Well that is an absurd name for a child, if I do say so myself.”

“Yes, Alex. Have you seen her she is in an orange dress and mask.”

“Orange? No one is wearing orange this season,” he says in haute tone and walks off.

“This season?” I whisper to myself. I look around and to my shock I am not at the same ball. Everything looks different, older, a gentleman walks by me and I ask politely, “Sorry to bother you sir, but could you tell me the year?”

“But of course madam, it is 1842.” He bows and continues on while I gape in my confusion.

 

 

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