Hope its going well!
I wrote a story for competition but I ended up never posting it in... don't know why but if you're interested to read it here it is :) Let me know what you think!
I know its long, but if it grabs you read it :)
To my knowledge there are some true facts, like her siblings, her father all the reasons she came here. Other than that I made the story line.
The Short Life of Elizabeth Caroline
2 March 1819
I do not know what is becoming of my family. Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth being around or running away. I do not understand my Father’s rounds with women. I dream about my husband, even though I have not met him it feels like I know him already, he will be trustworthy and faithful. He will be different, I know it. Women are not respected. We are used and then put to work, washing their clothing, making their food, watching them act foolish when they are drunk.
The morning was crisp, and the sun was rising fast, today was going to be hot. The forest was alive with life, it was exciting. Father says they were out hunting and found traces of elephants! I have never seen one before, father says they are dangerous. He says if he ever catches one he will shoot it and cut it up. I had never had so many nightmares in my life.
I walked out the front door and onto the porch looked up to the sky and breathed in the fresh air. ‘Hmmm, this is what I love the most of all, fresh air’ I thought. The cold air burnt my throat, making me regret taking in that deep breath. I sat on the porch step with my robe tightly around my waist. Hoping no one would catch my everyday habit of watching the sun rise. Everyone was slowly stirring, the kitchen was already full of noise and the smells of fresh pastries for breakfast were already made, making my stomach growl. I heard the front door creak, and I turned around to find little Edward standing in the doorway with a blanket across his shoulders, “Elizabeth” he said softly. He came and sat next to me and I pulled him into me to keep him warm.
“What you doing up so early, little Edward?” I asked.
“I couldn’t sleep, I had a bad dream and then I saw you walk past my door”, Edward said. I held onto him tightly. I was the closest thing to a mother to him, mother died in 1812 and even though he was only two; he missed her terribly. “We better go back inside before we get found, come on lets go get dressed,” I said pulling his hand up. We walked into the stylish set sitting room and everyone was still in their rooms getting dressed. The older girls all had their own servants to help them dress. Edward found his room and went inside. I went to mine and so the whole process went my underdress was on, and so the dress was put on over, made to fit. These were just plain dresses.
Once everything was done at home I grabbed my diary and rushed out the house shouting “I’m going out, I’ll be back in an hour” before anyone could stop me from going, because there was always something to do. I didn’t stop running before I was sheltered by the trees in the never ending forest. I went and took my usual spot behind a tree that was covered in moss; it was easily over a hundred years old. I began to write.
3 March 1819
I miss mama, it aches sometimes. Yesterday Edward came and sat next to me on the porch saying that he had a bad dream. He probably dreamt about mama again. Father went out again today with the slaves. He said that the elephants had wrecked the storehouses he built just a few miles from here. He says if he ever catches one of them and then he stopped as if he was living it in his thoughts. I tried to forget what he said, but it made my mind work even hard harder trying to figure out what he was thinking.
I stopped writing to think a while. I stared out to see ferns and trees, the forest was so alive. I felt at home here, this was the one place no one could take away from me. Father used to stay in England and he says that the air was so thick there and that here he felt as if the world was taken off his shoulders when he came to Knysna. He tells us a lot of stories at night of when he was younger and the Prince of England. One night I remember him saying to me, “When I was just about your age I saw the most beautiful girl, it was love at first sight” he said. “Her name was Hannah Lightfoot and she was eight years older than me. My father would never have approved of her, her father was a shoemaker. This is why we took matters into our own hands.”The story sounded something like a fairytale but it never had a happily ever after. The look in his eye was pure longing. My eyes were fluttering closed and I slowly gave in.
I was awoken by a noise, I couldn’t place it. I was sure I had never heard this noise before. I looked up to the sky and noticed it was reaching twilight fast. I had fallen asleep. That noise cried out again but closer, I was beginning to get scared. “Hello?!” I shouted. I was immobilised with fear, blood was beginning to flow into my cheeks and my heart was beating faster than a drum. Leaves were being crushed as the creature got closer, I shut my eyes hoping this was part of my dream. I don’t know where I found the bravery to open my eyes but they did and when I opened them I was greeted by this huge magnificent creature, one of its feet was at least the width of my body. I looked up to its bulbous body and then got to its face. I looked into the eyes of the creature and saw a person. When I found myself again I saw my hand reaching out to meet its trunk, eyes still meeting. I could sense that it was scared and nervous. There was a moment when our body parts were so close to touching that I could feel the heat surging from it; that it wanted to turn around and flee from me. I didn’t blame it, I felt exactly the same but I found myself glued to that spot unable to move. That final moment came and I touched it. The skin was hard and dusty; I took a step closer still keeping eye contact. “Elizabeth Caroline!” I heard from a distance and was suddenly brought back to reality. I panicked remembering what my father had said at lunch today. The elephant started to panic, “Shhh”, I cooed. “You have to leave, go now.” I said with a matter of urgency. I started to gather my things, and started running not looking back to see whether it was running after me or not. I just prayed that it wasn’t.
The next morning I lay in my bed and thought about what happened yesterday in the forest. That elephant reminded me of someone. The eyes especially, it’s funny how you can tell who a person is just by looking at them in their eyes. Father says it’s a gift I must use wisely; I don’t understand what he means when he says that. The boys would go out today with Father, doing ‘boys’ things he says. John, Edward and Jacob say that they usually just go and see what Father has planned for this ‘town’.
I brought an apple when I went into the forest today, I wanted to find that elephant today. I put an apple, my diary and some orange juice in my satchel and headed out in the same direction as yesterday. I haven’t been deeper into the forest; I’m scared I get lost. But today I went a little further, I made extra sure of my surroundings but everywhere looked the same. I noticed this tree that was particularly large. Just after that came a stream, the water was a funny yellowy colour that didn’t look too healthy. I walked to a ledge and peered over, it went down for what seemed ages. Before I knew what was happening the ground underneath me was giving in and I had nothing to hold onto but the wet mud that just gave in. I screamed but I was too far out for my voice to be heard. “HELP!” I shouted. I began crying, “No, Elizabeth this won’t do you any good”, I thought. My breathing was rapidly increasing and sweat was forming above my brow. I tried pulling myself up but it was hopeless, my fingers started giving in. I felt something touch my fingers and I looked up to see a trunk wrapping itself around my arm. It pulled me up as if I was as light as a feather. I was motionless, my body in some type of a trance. “What just happened?!” My mind couldn’t comprehend what had just taken place before me? We just stared at each other, for staring was all I could do. Suddenly, faintheartedly I fell forward into the rugged embrace of this mysterious elephant. When I knew I could properly hold myself up I reached into my satchel and took out the green apple giving it to her trunk. I found she was a she, and very pregnant. Her teats were swollen “Good girl, thank you so much” I said. I sat there for the rest of afternoon, amazed at this creature. She understood me, we understood each other. Puzzle pieces that fit. When I had to leave it was hard. Although I had no problem finding my way back, I almost wanted to get lost.
29 March 1918
I have been seeing my new friend everyday now. She is the most interesting animal I have ever encountered. I fear for her, she is pregnant and very uncomfortable. It worries me, what happens the day her baby arrives?
Father has been having more elephant problems, I just hope he never finds her. I pray to whoever is up there that if they know how much she means to me, that my father and his men never find her. The kitchen servants have been curious as to who’s been eating so much. I have been taking food from home to feed her: rolls, cold meats, and a lot of fruit. All the other children in the house have been talking about me, I can hear them every night when they think I am sleeping. They wonder why I am always disappearing, even my father moans at me sometimes.
When I went to her today, something was wrong. She seemed in pain, but there was nothing I could do.
That night I was awoken by terrible cry. The sound resonated through the entire forest. I sat up in my bed and my heart started sprinting. I got up, ran out the front door. Luckily the moon was shining bright enough for me to see. There she was, oh no. If father had to wake now...I don’t even want to think about it. I ran to her, thorns were piercing my feet, but that wasn’t important. Tears were already running, I reached her. Crying. This was killing me. She took her trunk and patted her belly. Oh. “How was I going to do this”, I thought. I went all the way around her. She was pushing, and with every push she cried in pain. “Shhh, girl you have to keep quiet, I know it hurts.” I pulled on the baby elephant that was trying to get out. I looked up to the house and a candle was on. Oh no! Please let it be John or Jacob! They’re the only ones that would understand right now. The front door opened and my father walked out onto the porch. Oh God! He had his rifle with him. He ran to where the action was and there I was stained with blood on my nightdress. He was pointing the gun at the animal. “STOP!” I shouted.