Tell A Tale in 500 Words

Matriarch By Caitlin Wallace

She waited anxiously, biting her already ragged nails and slouching in a way that would offend onlookers. Lillian was aware that if her mother could see her now that she would be appalled by such apparent unladylike behaviour and insist that she keep her hands by her side and her back suitably upright. The thought brought to her a smile and the realisation that soon, she would see her mother once again.

One rainy afternoon, as her mother had brushed her hair, she had said to her that, in order to make a change in the world, she had to let go of her fears. Lillian so longed to be brave but there was something that she lacked: the heroism of her mother. She had often admired her mother for her fearless nature and her tireless effort to fight for what she believed in yet, nevertheless, this was a quality that Lillian particularly envied. The recent uprising of the women in Britain demanding women's suffrage had inspired her mother to leave her fears behind and to take change into her own hands.

The valiant, courageous yet, violent efforts of the women across the country made the prospect of change seem likely. The price her mother had to pay, however, was imprisonment but after three months of apprehensively waiting, today was the day of her mother's long awaited release.

Lillian finally stood up straight when she saw the menacing and threatening constable approaching from the distance with a queue of women tracing his every step. As he marched towards the sleek steel gates of the prison to unlock the gate, Lillian began to watch out for the familiar face of her mother. The women flooded out of the gateway passing the feeble motherless girl by to receive their tokens of their bravery; a single white rose. Her mother was nowhere in sight and Lillian began to feel uneasy. Pushing through the stream of women to make her way towards the gate, Lillian felt hands grip her from behind preventing her from getting any closer. It was then that she saw her.

Though her view was obstructed by the bars, Lillian could still clearly see the shell that was left of her mother. Her collar bones poked through her sagging pallid wax like skin and her knees shook in a hopeless effort to support to her weight. Calling out to her, Lillian watched as she clasped onto the concrete floor.

To further protest for the rights of women, Lillian learned that her mother had refused to eat while in jail and therefore had been returned to her in a corpse-like state. While horrifying, the appearance of her mother helped Lillian to realise that remaining passive and letting your fears hold you back prevents any sort of change from occurring; you must act in order to make change happen.

see more submissions for the Tell A Tale in 500 Words click here