"Evelyn! Evelyn, stop!" The brunette bearing that particular namesake stopped and turned to see who may be crying out to her. Fumbling down the hill was the mayoress, a tiny double-chinned lady about the age of fifty and gray hair strands matching the dense fog that has encompassed their small province.
Drat, Evelyn thought. How could Ms. Randell have possibly known that she would be escaping? The night was in an ideal condition to leave leave this town: misty weather and the distraction of a committed crime. But again, what she was about to do was punishable by death.
"You shall not go up there!" Ms. Randell, with her stubby stock legs, attempted to waddle gracefully, but it had only caused more tripping and scurrying. "You shall not climb up the--"
"Ladder?" Evelyn answered inquisitively. Her hands clenched the cold sides of the ladder. The object was old, created of rough twig. Stringy grass bonded together the ends. The ladder went for barrels and barrels up. There seemed to be no end, from a ground point of view. "I'm afraid I cannot heed your advice, ma'am."
Ms. Randell put her hands to her hips and cocked out a hip. "Young Evelyn, I do not know what has caused you to believe such oddities and atrocities, but there is nothing at the other end."
"Yes, there is." Evelyn adjusts her backpack's strap. "Don't try to change my mind of letting me go." With determination in her voice, she groveled, "I have to reach the top."
"My husband and I can assure you that there is nothing at the top. No one has ever arrived back. Not even your foster family, leaving you in this village to die off cold."
"Just because they haven't done so yet does not mean that that will not ever come back! I know they will! Have not we all heard the tales of there being a better life up there?" Evelyn pointed her fingers aggressively to the sky. "They are my family, blood wise or not. I have lived in their care for over fifteen years, and I know they did not mean to leave me on purpose. I know they are up there, somewhere."
"Now, stop with this nonsense! My husband, if he finds out of this ordeal, he will kill you. As you may know, climbing up this ladder is treason. It is better to live safe and content than to live a life of the unknown."
Evelyn gasped and walked to look down upon the old women, being the shorter one of the two. Her breath came out in a form of vapor as she whispered, "That's why no one is allowed to go up this ladder, isn't it? You are afraid of the unknown."
Ms. Randell's silence acknowledged the fact. The cold night air blew gently to their direction, causing the brunette and the silver one to have their hairs flying in both directions. Evelyn looked uneasily at the hill which would lead to the village, trying to keep sight of any men who would catch them out here. Her nerves relaxed when the only noise she heard was a cow's moo.
"Ma'am, you know that I am fifteen. I am unaware of my biological parents' identities and of the whereabouts of my foster family. At the sixteenth anniversary of my birth I will be presented to men who I have no interest in to go off and marry. It may be best, for my sake, to leave the village."
"Bah! You are attempting plain foolishness, I assure you--"
"My deed may be selfish, but you are one who knows me best next to my foster family. I need to find answers of my family-- both families." The fifteen-year-old gazed up to the ladder with green keen and hopeful eyes. "There must be more than this life, and I intend to find out of these things."
Ms. Randell smiled sadly at the girl, and she shook her head. Of course, letting her go would be hard, but the young girl beholds much potential and excitement. It would have been a pity to let that all go to waste, just as the old woman did at her age.
Should she let Evelyn go, Ms. Randell would be greeted in the village with treason. But perhaps, if Evelyn returns, her husband would understand that not all of the unknown and magical could be bad. The old women grasped the girl tightly and embraced her. "Please, my dear, do come back holding great news of the world up there."
"I promise." Evelyn tugged away and latched onto the ladder, starting to climb.
"Now, go. Go off at once, before dawn should dare to catch you! For once the day has awaken from it's slumber it will try it's best to work against you! I wish you best on your journey!"
Evelyn did so. Her first several steps on the ladder caused her to slip due to the dew collectively forming, but she brought herself together. The wind blew, hiding the squeaks and noises. Surprisingly, the ladder did not sway unevenly; its base is stubbornly in place. Her eyes squinted to see the end.
The journey may be long ahead, but the brunette knew that at the finals pages of the journey, it would be hope that brought her to where she was meant to be: at the end of the ladder, with answers and a fresh sight on the future ahead.
This is my entry for A Falling Star's Writing Prompt Contest.