Mid-grade crisis for Novel. I wish I knew what I was doing.
Joshua flexed his spirit muscles again. He was getting stronger all the time, but still could not escape. By his calculation, 40 human years had passed since he managed to get trapped inside a picture of a ship on the high seas framed by a pane of glass. For so many years, he would roam up and down the decks of the ship with only his memories to keep him company. It was maddening.
“I’ve had enough!” Joshua braced against the glass and pushed the back of the picture. First on one side then the other. Vibrating as much as possible to get the picture to release from the wall. If the glass pane broke, he would be free. He knew the ship felt a little askew, but dare not hope. Some nitwit would come through and dust him off and right the frame. Three times a year, a handyman would come in, test the tasseled cords on the picture, then anchor the cords back into the ceiling molding. Joshua hated those days the most. He would have to start all over in gaining his freedom.
There was hope in the beginning of an easy escape. The other seven paintings were framed without an encasement. This picture should have had the glass removed to make it symmetrical. But it did not happen. So he spent long tedious days and nights watching the motions of the help staff, the guests, the party favors, the nose pickers, the old farts, the young twits, he had seen it all at least a thousand times before. People were the same all over. They thought they were being unique, but it was the same nonsense, just refreshed with the language variances.
He returned to pacing the deck, watching the shadows in the room brighten a little and then fade. In the morning’s light, the brightness would spread from each picture to the next and then retreat back into the dimness of the evening light. “Balderdash! Let me out!”
But the picture remained motionless. “Just as well, I’d kill that bastard if I got the chance.” On the rational side of his spirit Joshua knew that his desire to get even with the British were what landed him in this prison. He knew it. He just did not want to admit that the desire to strangle all evil with his bare hands had not deminished over the term of his incarceration. “All right, Lord, I’ll make a deal with you. Get me out of here and I will be good…well, try anyway. Well, what do you say? Is it a deal?” It would never work, but Joshua said it every day on the off chance that he would be allowed to protect Connie. He had a long memory for every foul things Dennis said to her and for the first time she showed up in the parlor with a blackened eye. Dennis had a lot to account for. But until the time he earned his release, he stayed here to bear witness to the evil known as Dennis Smith.
So in the passing of time, Joshua was relegated to monitoring the activity of the home as they awaited the return of the high lord and master. The fat one placed a drink on the side table by the settee. Connie floated into the room, scanning the room quickly and then retreating. Joshua felt a fury rise up whenever he saw his angel being mistreated. She did not do anything that he could see to make Dennis so angry, but Dennis was a mean cuss and it did not take much to get him wound up tight.
Joshua wished he had timed Dennis’s entrance. The slamming of the door shook everything in the room. He wasted no time getting to the parlor and grabbing his whisky and downing it in one swallow. He swung around and strode to the wet bar to refill his glass without waiting for the servant to do it for him. Joshua did not know what had Dennis so riled up, but it must be something big.
Joshua turned his attention to the figure hovering in the shadows at the double arched doors. She watched Dennis with deference and submissiveness that Joshua found nauseating. Dennis must have seen her.
“Get in here, Wench. Your father cut me off. I need a thousand dollars.”
Connie squared up and entered the room feigning an arrogant demeanor. “I don’t have it. You already spent it. How are you going to get it?”
“You are going to ask your father for it.”
Connie bit her lip. Joshua was getting more irritated by the second. Joshua willed her encouragement “Come on, Connie girl, give him the boot. What can he do?”
Connie approached the fireplace, her lips pressed together. She pulled her right thumbnail across the mantle to stop at the edge near Joshua’s home. She caught Joshua’s eye, looking at him but not seeing him. “I already did, and the answer was no.”
Joshua thought, “This must be what she looks like when she lies.”
Joshua moved. He had to get her attention. Connie followed her hand away from the mantle to stand in front of Joshua. She bit her lip, blinking her eyes hard. Connie must have seen something in the reflection because she dodged to the right. Joshua flinched, thankful Dennis’s hand connected with the glass rather than Connie’s head.