I sigh as my mother and I climb into the carrige. We've just departed the train,and had to fight our way through the thick crowd of men and women bustling about. I'm not in a good mood,as I'd been jostled around in such a manner that I'm sure I'll feel sore in a while.

The little boy carrying our bags looks to be about ten,and I watch with a strange feeling of pity as I see him put our parcels into the he is,a little boy of only 10 years,having to work to the bone to make a partially decent living. He turns to walk away after giving us a smile. His teeth are yellow and somewhat round cheecks look out of place on his thin body.

"Wait," I say. He turns around. I hand him a silver coin, and he smiles.

"Thank you, miss!" he removes his cap,revealing dirty brown hair, and places his new money into it before returning it to his head and running back towards the quickly moving crowd yelling "Carry your baggage 'or you! I'll carry your belongins ,only for a few 'oins!"

I watch him and his terrible way of making a living until the driver of our carrige smacks the two white horses on their rumps with the reigns, and we move along.

It's raining, and the sky is dark, and there is a muggy atmosphere. The lanterns on each side of the carrige are lit, and the driver is making friendly conversation with us.

"So,why are you two headed out to such a rural place? And on such a night!" he asks.

"My daughter is heading off to finishing school." my mother says. She looks at me and smiles proudly, her eyes beaming.

The driver turns around, and is about to say something. But he stops and studies us.

"Rhonda? Rhonda, is that you?"

I blink, confused. How does he know my mother?

"Jason!" she gasps."I barely recognized you! How are you?"

"Oh, I'm good," he looks at me,"And this must be Piper!"

Unless my parent have had more children that I don't know about, then yes, I must be Piper. I force a smile.

"Yes." I say.

"I can't belive you're going off to finishing school!" he exclaims."16 already! I knew you when you were just a little tot. And now you're 16. That means you're almost a woman."

My mother beams at this comment, but I glare at him. I saw how he looked at me when he said that.

I smile fakely,"Yes, well perhaps you should keep your eyes on the street. And close your mouth. It's most unbecoming."

"Piper!" mother scolds,"That was terribly rude! Apologize immediately."

"Now, now. If I do remember right,I believe you had that same fire when you were her age." Jason comes to my defense. I don't need defending. "It's attitude, why, she even looks like you did."

I must agree. I've seen portraits of my mother at a younger age,and I do have the same brown hair and light brown eyes as my mother did. We both have the same skin: light, but not pale. Most likely average. The only difference is that my hair is longer than hers was; hers went to her shoulders,and mine goes a little below my shoulders.

I shift in my seat to a more comfortable sitting position, and I accidentally kick one of my parcels out of the carrige. Jason stops the carrige.

I quickly get out of the carrige and go to retrieve my parcel. Jason follows. I pick it up from the wet cobblestone street, and am wiping the dirt off it as Jason speaks.

"You are a very pretty girl."

"Thank you, I have no intentions to marry."

He places a hand on my shoulder," Ah, you are a rebelious one, then."

"Take your hands off of me."

"Perhaps I can interest you when you finish school."

"I said take your hands off of me."

He removes his hand, and I take a step back.

"You are awfully rebelious. It makes for an interesting combonation since you are an attractive one in my eyes."

"Yes, too bad I can't say the same about you." I retort as I walk back to the carrige with him following me. He opens the door, and helps me climb in. I feel his hand swipe over my rear. I turn around.

"How dare you!" I exclaim. My hand meets his face harshly. I smirk at the satisfying smack that comes, and the red handprint that follows.

"Piper!" my mother exclaims again.

"No, no."Jason climbs into the driving seat,and takes hold of the reigns,rubbing his cheek which is hidden under his long black hair."It isn't her fault. After all,she's going to finishing school to learn better." he speaks bitterly.

I close my eyes and fall asleep, haunted by remembrants of that ghostly girl in the tattered clothes. She stares at me from eyes hidden underneath that hood and speaks in riddles:

A woman crying oil tears that are not her own
Trapped inside for many years a marble cage of stone
Two figures cruel at heart yet warmer than they seem
Three paths, all will kill,yet one will set you free...

oooo

"Piper,wake are here."

I am jostled awake by mother, who is flushed with excitement. I look ahead. We are on a small pathway of gray cobblestone,and on either side of the path is a fountain. The path goes straight, then it makes a circle, where the carriges can turn around without the trouble of going backwards. That circle is in front of a large place that looks like a castle with it's gray and black brick structure. There are five stories and on either side of the castle are circular towers.

There are three flags on top of the large castle. On the left there is a flag that is a bit darker than sky blue, and there is a white stripe in the middle, and inside the stripe is a shield with a cross and a vine on it, the Conswell flag. To the right,there is the flag of Britain, and in the middle is the flag of Her Majesty the Queen. The castle is beautiful, but looks eerie against the dark sky, and the rain.

As we slow downfront of the school, Jason speaks again. "Here we are,Miss. Conswell Finishing School For Young Ladies."

"Splendid!" mother exclaims."It looks perfectly lovely."

"I suppose, if you think Translyvania's castle is lovely." I retort in a sarcastic manner, and smirk. My victory is short lived, because as soon as the words escaped my mouth, the carrige came to a sudden stop, jolting me forward to band my head against the back of Jason's seat.

I growl and sigh.

Jason helps my mother out of the carrige, then reaches for me.

"I am perfectly capable of getting out of a carrige by myself, thank you. Like you said, I am almost a means I'm capable of making my own decisions without any help." I give a triumphant smile, and leap out of the carrige landing right into a puddle of murky water, which spatters onto the bottom of my white dress, leaving black spots.

"Piper..."

"Mother, please," I cut her off, "they're barely noticable."

Jason retrieves our baggage, and carries it to the front door. Mother takes the large golden door knocker and bangs it aginst the large thick doors. It only takes a moment before one of the doors swings open.

Instead of a maid, there is a stocky man, whose face is rather red. His head is bald, and he carries a derby hat in one is holding a girl's wrist with the other.

"I have never been so humiliated in my life!" he exclaims.

"Daddy!" the girl cries out, "Daddy,please,let go!" her blonde hair is in a frazzled bun,and her face carries traces of red,a sign that she had been crying. She looks to be about my age.

The man notices us and stops, letting go of his daughter."Oh,is your girl going to attend Conswell?" he asked politely,despite his anger.

"Yes,she is."my mother nods."If I may ask, is Conswell a good school, in your opinion?"

"Oh, yes, Madame, a very fine school indeed. It turns out nothing but the best. Every girl who accomplishes Conswell always marrys a man with a large dowry and a fine title." he looked at his daughter," Annabelle,here would've accomplished, but she isn't much of a rule follower."

I smile at Annabelle. She smiles back, a brave face.

The man turns to me,"I believe you'll do well, young lady. Just remember that your place is to serve the men. Women were not made to think. They were made to cook, clean, have children and raise then, and entertain when the husband has company. They weren't made to think. Thinking can be a dangerous thing for a woman. It can hurt them. It can get them in trouble. Just remember to obey, and maybe you won't end up a seamstress like Annabelle here."

"A seamstress!" she exclaims indignantly,"Father,you know I can't! I have delicate skin!"

"You should've thought about that before acting frivolously!" he simply replies. He grabs her wrist again,and they head for a carrige parked further on the path. I hear Annabelle pleading with her father.

"Well. He was a pleasant man." my mother mumbles.

"Mother, he was a pompous idiot. And you know it." I finally said. She doesn't say anything, but flushes. She's learned -like other women- that when a women's urge to speak out arises, she must swallow and choke it back down.

A woman comes to the door. She is tall, and rather heavy, with frayed, dirty, smelly blonde hair, and a large mole on her chin that enlarged with her scowl. "Don't jus' stand there like id'ots! Come in!"

Jason speaks, "I'll be waiting by the carrige when you're ready, Rhonda."

He takes my hand and tries to kiss it, but I snatch it away."Goodbye, Jason." I say coldly.

"Piper." he tips his hat and heads towards the carrige.

"Well, aren't you a polite little moppet?" the maid says sarcastically.

"Goodbye, Piper." mother gives me a kiss. "I know you're not happy about this, but you'll grow to love Conswell, I promise to you."

"I know," I force a smile for her sake. "Goodbye, mother." I give her a hug and a kiss, and she caresses my hair. I can feel her chest heaving; she's crying so hard not to cry. When she pulls away, her cheeks are flushed, and her eyes look damp, but there are yet no tears. A mother trying to stay strong; the next time she'll see her child is when they're beheaded.

"I shall see you soon. When I do, you'll be a proper lady!" she tries to giggle, but it ends up as a gasp. She gives me a tender smile, "Goodbye, love." With a final long look at me, she walks back to the carrige. I turn back to the maid,who has picked up my bags. I sigh and follow her. A prisoner, finally prepared to face the guillotine.