Short Story: Lily’s Locket

      Lily giggled gleefully as she raced through the house, sopping wet, her father chasing her with a fluffy yellow towel. This game of run away had become a nightly routine in the recent months. Lily would hop out of the bath and run past her father as fast as she could, all the while avoiding the big yellow towel. She ran down the hallway, past the grandfather clock and ornamental ship in a bottle in the hallway and into the living room where she danced around the couch, creating a barrier between herself and the towel. The two danced back and forth around the couch until Lily suddenly shot off in the direction of the kitchen.  She ran fast, but her father wasn’t far behind. She looked for a way to escape the soft embrace of the towel but only found herself trapped in the corner of the room next to a huge vase filled to the brim with flowers. 

     “I got you!” Her father exclaimed, scooping her up and wrapping her in the towel. 

     She screamed and giggled as he swung her in a circle around him. Her father carried her into her room and plopped her on her bed while he went to grab her clothes. The two of them had always been close, he was the only parent Lily had ever known. Her mother passed away when she was very young and the only memories that she possessed of her were only in the stories her father had told her. A portrait of the three of them together when she was but a few days old. Lily gazed out through her bedroom door on the portrait that now hung on the wall. Her father brought over her soft lavender nightgown and helped her put it on. 

     “Lily, do you remember when we talked about my work?” asked her father.

     “Yes, I do! You said that your work was going to let you see the world and travel to England!” she responded excitedly.

     “Yes, and you remember that I said I would have to leave home for a while to be able to do that?”

     “Yes,” she said glumly.

     “Well, it’s time,” he said, putting his arm around her, “I have arranged for Ms. Hazewood to come and live with you and take care of you while I’m gone. You will continue your tutoring sessions with Mrs. Mallero and keep your room and be able to do everything you usually do.”

     “When do you have to go?”

     “Tomorrow morning at the crack of dawn.”


     “I’m sorry Lil,” he said, pulling her closer to him. 

     “It’s okay,” she said. She shifted her weight and lay down, pulling the covers over herself. 

     “Goodnight, I’ll see you soon,” he said.


      When Lily awoke the new morning to the light coming into her room through the thin white curtains on her windows, her father was already gone. She stretched and stood up, putting her feet into her slippers. She walked out of her room, down the hallway, and into the kitchen where Ms. Hazewood was busy making her breakfast.

     “Good morning Ms. Hazewood,” she said, minding her manners as her father had taught her.

     “Good morning Lily, how was your sleep?”

     “It was alright, thank you.”

     “Very good. After breakfast, I’ll help you get dressed and then Mrs. Mallero will come for your lessons until 2.”

     “Alright, thank you, ma’am.”

     “Until then, go and play, I’ll call you for breakfast when it is ready.”

      Lily did as she was told. She walked back to the living room and promptly sat down on the couch. A bright reflection caught the corner of her eye. She looked around, attempting to identify the source, and saw it was coming from a crack in the door to her father’s room. She wasn’t supposed to go into her father’s room, she knew that, but she found herself being drawn towards the light. She pushed open the door and the hinges creaked, protesting loudly to the movement. Inside the room she saw her father’s bed, his desk, an entire wall of bookshelves, and a dresser in the corner with a small hand mirror that had caught the light from the window, sending it through the crack in the door. Lily picked up the silver mirror, admiring its intricate detail but her eye was caught by something else. A peculiar box on the corner of the dresser. Her mother’s jewelry box, covered in dust and cobwebs. It was clear that her father hadn’t touched it in years. 

      Lily placed the mirror back on the dresser and reached out towards the box, brushing the dust and cobwebs away with her fingertips. She recoiled at the texture of the dust and looked at her fingers, now coated in grey dust. She brushed her hand on her nightgown to remove the dust and then carefully opened the box. A beautiful silver locket shaped like a bird sat in the bottom of the box. The shape was strangely familiar but she didn’t know why. Lily carefully picked up the necklace and clasped it around her neck. She picked up the hand mirror once again and admired the way the locket looked around her neck.

     “Lily! Breakfast!” called Ms. Hazewood from the kitchen. Lily quickly placed the mirror back on the dresser, hid the locket under her nightgown, and slipped out of her father’s room. The morning of spelling and penmanship went by very slowly and by 2 o’clock, Lily could hardly contain her energy any longer. 

     As soon as her studies were complete she ran outside into the garden. She ran along the moss-covered stone wall, her fingertips brushing the rough surface, creating a sort of drawn curtain with the small vines and foliage. Suddenly, her finger caught in a small divot in the wall. The abrupt change of surface texture startled her. The inside of the divot was smooth and the edges felt intentional. She brushed aside the foliage, curious as to what she had discovered. The small divot’s shape was very familiar, as though she had seen it before. It looked as though it had wings, spreading to greet the moss on the wall. The locket on her neck shifted slightly, succumbing to gravity after its bumpy ride. She pulled it out of its hiding spot and gazed at it for a moment. 

     She then realized that the wings of the locket’s bird looked as though they were meant to fit in the divot. She removed the locket from her neck and reluctantly reached out, placing it in the hole in the wall. She heard a quiet click and the leaves on the adjacent wall scuffled. She placed the locket around her neck once again before making her way over to the source of the noise. Gently, she pushed the vines on the wall away and revealed an old, arched wooden door that stood slightly ajar. Carefully, Lily opened the door further and stepped inside. She took in her surroundings, and, suddenly, thousands of memories flowed back. 

      She remembered toddling around the garden, her little feet in the soft grass, her mother’s laugh ringing through the air. The small pond on the edge of the garden sparkled in the sunlight and the leaves of the trees rustled gently in the wind. Her mother and father squatted on either side of her, encouraging her to take one more step in their direction. She took one wobbly step before falling into her mother’s arms. She lifted her up and spun her around, placing kisses all over her face. Lily had never had any memories of her mother but, standing here in her garden, she could remember. She could remember the way her smile lit up the room and how her laugh brought joy to everyone around. Lily felt as though she had found the missing part of herself that day. Finally.