Wednesday Writing Prompt: Marigold

It’s finally spring! We have sunshine, warm breezes, and overnight the trees have blossomed and the air is filled with the sweet aroma of springtime flowers. Such happy weather leads to thoughts of skipping out on some of our responsibilities, like work or school or pretty much anything that requires we stay indoors.

Today’s guest post picks up on that theme, and I can’t wait to see what all of you have Marigold do with her magic paper.

“Marigold kicked the piano. Her swing was not hard enough to scratch the shiny mahogany surface, but just enough to vent the little puff of rebellion inside. She felt Nanny’s glare from across the room, and once again forced her reluctant fingers to pound out the notes.
“ONE, two, three, ONE, two, three,” Nanny intoned mechanically.

Marigold squinted her eyes and could feel herself losing the rhythm of the song. Of all the irritating things, having someone try to fix your piano playing while you were actually playing it had to be among the worst. Nanny sighed volubly, and then Marigold heard her leave the room, her heavy tread fading away down the hall.

Eyeing the ornate grandfather clock, Marigold calculated she had about 5 minutes left before she could hope to escape this torture. Abruptly she stopped playing, and her shoulders straightened up in a way that would have highly impressed Nanny. She stared at the clock, her eyes wide. What just a moment ago had been a normal timepiece, its hands methodically plodding along in a circle around its doltish face, now seemed to be a clock gone mad! The hour and minute hands spun fast and faster until Marigold could no longer tell them apart. They were simply a round blur that obscured the clock face from view. And then, as suddenly as it had started, it stopped. The hands were still, and the gentle tick tock was the same as always. Only now, there was something on the floor. A small piece of paper lay near Marigold’s feet. She slipped from the piano bench and knelt to pick it up. Words in a curly script read: A little magic goes a long way.
The door to the music room swung open and there stood Nanny, her hands on her hips and forming a most daunting figure. She opened her lips and Marigold meekly awaited the forthcoming lecture about laziness and the importance of diligence at one’s lessons. But no sound emanated from Nanny. Marigold looked up and saw that she was standing, wide-eyed, and staring at the wall behind the little girl.
“What…what have you done with the piano?” The words burst forth in a semi-shriek, quite different from Nanny’s usually composed tones. Marigold turned and looked. Where the piano had been there was now an empty space on the floor, a thin line of dust marking where the instrument had rested near the wall. What? How? Suddenly she squeezed her small fist in her pocket, clutching the small piece of paper. Magic! A smile slowly crawled across Marigold’s face.”

Enjoy! As always, feel free to share so others can join in the fun.

6 thoughts on “Wednesday Writing Prompt: Marigold”

  1. “I– I didn’t do anything,” Marigold said almost silently, the words barely coming from her mouth. She wanted to talk. She wanted to let her jaw loose and let the words come flowing out, she wanted to pepper her Nanny with excuses. But not a single sound came out from her mouth.
    “What did you do?” Nanny asked again, seeming not to have heard Marigold. The little girl gulped and was about to draw the paper out of her pocket when she realized exactly what her governess would do. She would seize the paper from her immediately, carry it to the furnace, burn it, and make her take the ashes to the river and dump them in, scattering them across the long stream. Marigold couldn’t let that happen.
    But Nanny was smarter than that. “You’re concealing something,” she said knowingly. Marigold was a terrible liar, and although she shook her head in what she supposed was an innocent way, he face betrayed her. “Give it to me.”
    Marigold shook her head and stepped back. Nanny repeated it. “Give it to me! I’ll tell your father!”
    “My father?” Marigold stuttered. He was the most strict and stubborn grumpy man that anyone could have imagined. They’d all blame Marigold for the disappearing piano. But… the paper was magic! Maybe it could whisk her away to another world full of adventure and happiness instead of beatings and work and mind-numbing boredom. Marigold was hopeful, but to no avail.
    Before the girl could react, her governess was upon her, seizing her wrist and squeezing it with unimaginable strength. Marigold tried to stop the tears from coming out, but alas, they sprouted from her eyes and trickled down her cheeks. Her hand loosened and Nanny grabbed the paper, reading it.
    “What?” she asked. “It’s blank.”
    That couldn’t be true. Marigold snatched it back, and looked at it. It said… Moonlight Sonata, 2nd movement. Why did it say the name of a piece? And more importantly, how had the writing on the paper changed? How had Nanny not seen it? It really was magic!
    “Give me that!” Nanny shouted, snatching the paper from Marigold again and walked away with it. Marigold walked after her, trying to take the paper from her hands, but Nanny concealed it and her brute strength kept Marigold from getting the paper. Marigold began to cry, and her body went limp, only her hands still holding on to Nanny. Nanny continued to walk, however, pulling her student across the floor. She walked over to the fireplace, and without hesitating, tossed it inside. Marigold watched with horror as she saw it crumple into the flames. She closed her eyes, not bearing to watch. She opened them again, a few seconds, and saw that the paper wasn’t charred in the least!
    “It’s magic!” Marigold shouted.
    Nanny briskly shook her head. “That’s nonsense. I want you to take this slip of paper and throw it into the river,” she continued, drawing the paper out with a metal pronged tool and dropped it onto the mantlepiece. “Oh, I need the broom to sweep up this mess. It’s in the closet over there.”
    Marigold stood and shuffled over to the oak door with a sour expression and began to open it. But it was locked. She looked up from her pouting expression and saw that the oak closet door… was mahogany! And there were small pieces of ivory sticking out from the middle! Marigold wondered what it was, but eventually put two and two together. The piano had been turned into a door!
    “It’s a piano door!” Marigold said, pointing at it.
    “What?” Nanny asked. “That’s non–” she started to say, when she saw the door. “You’re right!”
    Marigold, who was quite a smart girl, continued, “A piano door has piano keys.” She looked at the ivory keys that were sticking out of the piano and played a little on them, then thought. Maybe it was a code that opened the door? She started to think of what it could possibly be, then remembered the magic slip of paper. Moonlight Sonata! Movement No. 2! Thankfully, she fairly knew how to play this song, and deliberately began to press the keys with grace. She played the entire movement, over two minutes long, and finally finished with a major chord and heard a faint click from the door knob. Excitedly, she put her hand on the doorknob and opened it.

  2. “Do you know how much a piano costs?”Nanny glared at her.
    “Magic.” Marigold mumbled in wonder.
    “What? I do not take mumbling for an answer.” Nanny’s voice was loud, but Marigold didn’t hear most of it.
    “Magic. It was magic.” Marigold repeated.
    “Magic does not exist. Now please, tell me.”
    “It was magic. There is no other explanation. I just looked at the clock and the hands started spinning. I didn’t even notice that the piano was gone before you told me about it.”
    Nanny looked at Marigold. “When I come back after a few hours that piano will be there.”
    Marigold wanted to argue but knowing Nanny she did not say anything. As Nanny walked away Marigold turned toward where the piano used to be. Mostly, Marigold wanted to go outside, but part of her wanted to stay and figure out what had happened to the piano. Slowly, she stepped toward the wall and got on her knees to examine. In a crack on the floor there was a piece of paper. Marigold picked it up.
    Your piano did not disappear. It is just somewhere else.
    E A E B N S T M
    “What could that spell?” Marigold asked herself. “Oh! I know. Nanny, do we have a basement?”
    “No,” was the reply.
    Marigold started opening doors.
    “I said we do not,” Nanny’s sharp voice said.
    “One probably appeared magically.” Marigold said.
    She opened and shut several doors before she came across one with stairs. She ran down them and almost fell while doing it. At the bottom of the stairs there was the piano. Even though Marigold did not know it, the piano was directly under where it used to be!

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