Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Ravenholt Great House, Lake Bemidji, Minnesota

   "We will all be killed!" Young Mellisa cried.
    The Ravenholt Family was in mortal danger. They sat at the long dining room table, all twenty one off them, for their dailyexchange. Reimert Ravenholt, the stern family patriarch, was at the head of the table and conducted the discussion with an iron fist.
  The family members nervously darted glances out the large picture window. The rain was endless, with the bridges out, all communications down. And the mighty river was rising. They could all be swept away. Mellisa was correct, they could be killed.
   Patel half rose, the protocol for speaking. Rei nodded and Patel straightened and looked around superciliously, then began to speak in his sing-song voice. Curtis, two chairs away and out of Patel's sight, murmured to Lucille: "Where did these Patels come from? How are these people from India connected to the family?"
   Lucille shrugged and cocked her head, good question.
   "Patel talks nonsense." Curtis added angrily. "I don't understand a word."
   While Patel droned on about slights such as family members nipping his cigarettes, Lucille gazed around the table: How long had they been trapped in the large house? Lucille had lost track of time.
  "Point noted," Rei said, after Patel sat down, "we can gather again this evening. Anyone else?"
   Bob, the slow-witted member of the family hesitantly rose, taking one of Patel's cigarettes and shakily lighting it. Rei gestured for Bob to sit, but Bob stood and straightened himself.
   "What if this is not real?" , Bob said, waving his hand around.
   Some at the table guffawed, others murmured, pointing at the driving rain. Good ol Bob, around the bend, the family nutter.
   Bob continued: "What if we have somehow segued into another universe and do not belong here? Perhaps a time warp, or a spatial tear."
The people at the table shifted uneasily. Some furrowed their brows.
Rei Ravenholt rose."Bob, when the rain stops and the bridges are open, we will take you to the Center. No disgrace in treatment at the Center, Bob."
All nodded in agreement, and the uncertain cloud lifted. There were nods as the family rose, standing to chat before dispersing to their rooms.
Then suddenly, the front door was flung open and brilliant sunshine flooded the hallway. A tall, fashionable blond swept into the foyer.
" Isn't this the most fantastic entrance way!" The blond declared in a booming voice.
Behind her a young couple hesitated, as if the great house would devour them. The couple stepped into the foyer, eyes wide as they took in the grand entrance.
"And this dining room! Just spectacular for those marvelous family holiday dinners we all love. Such fun!" The real estate broker enthused.
Timidly, the couple peered into the empty dining room.

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