“Look mom, she looks just like me!” Cassy exclaimed with her finger pointing at a girl in the middle of a black and white photograph in a photo album with yellowed pages.
It was a photograph of a group of people sitting on and around a picnic blanket. The well nourished men were holding wine glasses, and the women dressed in Chanel suits from the early 1900s. And in the middle of them was a young girl, who besides her clothing and big blond curls looked just like Cassy. It looked like a pure moment of bliss.
“Mom, who is, or well, I mean, who was that?” questioningly Cassy tore her bright blue eyes of her carbon copy looking back at her, to face her mother.
The ink underneath the photograph was smudged and had just like the memory of this event, faded with time.
“Cassandra’s 13th birthday 1906”, she deciphered with great difficulty, “I think that’s what it says, and for the rest, I don’t know.”
Open mouthed Cassy listened to her mother, “She, she had the same name too?” Her mother nodded. “But who was she Mom?” not letting her mother answer she continued, “Why did you never tell me about her?”
“Well I believe that this is a picture of my great-grandmother, making her your great-great-grandmother. I have never seen this picture or photo album before you know. I had no idea that she looked just like you. The best thing is that we’ll ask your grandparents at dinner tonight” her mother proposed.
After what seemed like hours of hearing old family tales, Cassy sunk into her bed. Apparently the girl in the picture and herself had many things in common, not just their name and appearance.
With the break of dawn Cassy woke, even though she was the first person to sleep in on a Saturday, there were some things that had kept her mind racing all night. Quiet as a cat she snuck out of the house, with a clear goal in her mind, find that picnicking spot form the photograph. Her grandmother had mentioned a picnicking spot at the edge of the estate, apparently in the past there had been a nice clearing, but as no one went there anymore the forest had grown thick and hostile.
The deeper she went into the woods, the uneasier she felt. The call of the cuckoo made her jump, but as it was the first of this spring, so she remembered to touched her silver necklace, and tripped over some roots.
Scrambling back onto her feet she noticed a small archway between the trees in front of her. It was not a fancy arch, it was just two old trees that had grown in the shape of an arch. Intrigued she went on to examine the archway, at the moment that she found herself between the those trees the air was filled with static electricity, as if lightning was in the air.
She went on. Hot and humid air greeted her on the other side. The sound of cicadas was filling her ears. Over her shoulder Cassy could no longer see the spot where she had left spring behind and stepped into summer, the archway seemed to have disappeared.
What was that? Cassy heard an unfamiliar laughter and the sound of clattering dishes. Nearby it seemed, people were eating and talking. A picnic? Here? Impossible?
Brushing the moss from her messy uncombed hair and readjusting her now dirty shirt, she took her courage with all her might and went towards the unknown sounds. She stepped into a clearing and was greeted by a familiar sight, just that this time it was all in colour. There was a red and white picnic blanket spread out on the ground, there was a big wicker basket next to it, and a joyful company, wearing clothes from a different time, having a copious lunch. Just the girl from the middle of the photograph was missing.
“Cassandra!” A woman examined, as her eyes fell on Cassy, no one had ever called her by her full name, at least not in her memory. “Cassandra, why on earth are you dressed like a boy? And what have you done with your curls? I spend hours last night putting those rollers in!” if it wouldn’t have been for the man next to her, she would have gone on forever Cassy thought.
“Charlotte, let her be”, he cut her short, and to Cassy he said “come here Cassandra, have some lunch with your uncle Jonathan, and don’t listen to your strickt mother, today is your birthday, and you shall do what you wish to do”.
Cassy let herself drop onto the picnic blanket, she tried to pinch herself, but she wouldn’t wake up, she already was awake. “Don’t worry dear, you’ll get used to it, it runs in the family, I arrived here from 1742 at the age of twenty and before that I was a kid closer to your time, but I left there when I was 5 or so, I don’t recall everything now you see.” The man who claimed to be her uncle Jonathan whispered to Cassy, who looked at him in pure disbelief and horror.
“I think that it’s best you enjoy your birthday picnic before the ants attack your cake”. he said to her as he handed over a full plate.
Written by Solveig Werner
This is my reply to the writing prompt from Wednesday 16th of June 2015 provided by Ula @ Confessions of a Broccoli Addict. The prompt is “Write a story or poem that somehow includes a picnic. Maybe the characters are getting ready for a picnic, maybe they’ve just returned, maybe something happens at a picnic. See where this prompt takes you.”