I’m sick of this chalk wall. And I’m sick of that chalk wall. And that one. And especially, that one with it’s stupid lines. I’ve counted them a hundred times and come up with a hundred different numbers.
I was seven when Mama started making them and I was thirteen when she stopped. I’m going to keep counting until I’ve been in here for as many days as she was, so I will be here until I’m twenty.
Three days down. Six years to go.
Hi, I’m Millie. Welcome to my new home.
It’s not much. It smells like chalk. I mean, it’s made of chalk, so…
I have a window. It’s probably my favourite thing in the hole. It gives me light during the day and it’s my only source of fresh air. I think fresh air is underrated when you’re not living in a hole. The window’s at an angle so I can’t really see out of it. If I could change one thing, I’d make it a real window with wooden panels and a curtain.
Otherwise, it’s very comfortable here. Mama knew how to decorate. Every pillow is embroidered, and every sheet is worn to softness until linen feels like silk. And every ledge is stocked with books – well, religious texts.
I tried reading one, but it was so boring that I read the first line seven times and fell asleep. Now, I like to stroke the spines and remember how Mama held them. I feel the folded corners and kiss the oil fingerprints she left behind.
Maybe that’s a bit weird, but I miss her, like, a lot.
She must have had every word of these memorised. Maybe I’ll try reading them again sometime. I’ll need something to do. For the next six years.
I brought lots of food with me. I put it all in a basket and I covered it so the flies couldn’t get to it. Not that there are flies in here, but just in case.
I have lots of pies. Lots and lots of pies – some meat ones, some vegetable ones and some jam ones because I love jam although I kind of regret bringing them because it makes everything sticky, and I don’t have water to wash it off.
I have water to drink, though. Obviously. I mean, that’s pretty important!
It’s a lot of food. It will probably be enough for six years. Hopefully. I’m not one-hundred percent sure because I didn’t track how much food I ate in the last six years, but I’ll probably be fine.
Father doesn’t know I’m in here. No, no one knows I’m in here. I pulled the dresser as close to the wall as I could get it and then I slammed the door really hard until the latch fell. It took forever, but I did it without anyone’s help.
Mama would be proud of me. I know she would.
She wasn’t sick, you know. I mean, she was when she died, but she wasn’t before that. Father told everyone she was because he didn’t want to tell them the truth. He thought it was better for her to die in the priest hole than be beheaded.
I don’t really understand it. She was just Catholic. Not even a priest.
I don’t think she should have died at all.
Every time I think about it, my stomach goes queasy. I’ll definitely feel better in six years though. Right?
Deborah Rose is the Managing Editor for Hey Young Writer. She is the author of YA, fantasy novels Dragon Pearls (2019) and Crown My Heart (2020). You can follow her on Instagram at @authordeborahrose or visit her website, deborahrosegreen.co.uk!
Featured Image by Anthony Tran on Unsplash