Charlotte set down her sketch pad and sighed. At only fifteen, she was one of the Gilchrest Academy's finest artists that anyone could remember. Already, some of her work was in galleries in both of the Vespana continents as well as Anglia, Languedoc, and Cadiz. And she dreamed of attending galas honoring her work in even more far-flung exotic places such as Muscovy, Etruscany, and Hokkaido.
But of late, her dreams had been of Camilla, the ten year-old who had been her favorite painting subject but was now lost to her until she returned as an adult. Shortly before the girl had been selected for The Giving, Charlotte had been slowly seducing her. While affairs between students were not prevalent, they were not unheard of and other students and faculty alike let things be where they were in private. Charlotte's desire for a young girl untouched by the even the barest hint of ripeness from puberty still remained although her dear Camilla was gone.
Oddly enough, Camilla's best friend and roommate, Francine, also left the school around the time of The Giving. Although no official explanation had been offered, it was widely assumed that the studious Francine had been taken in by a mentor with one of the research guilds. Charlotte had received a few offers from some of the art patrons but had politely declared her preference to remain at Gilchrest until her graduation.
Tucking her pad into the satchel that contained her pencils, Charlotte wandered about the sun-dappled yards of the academy until she found herself in an area where the preschoolers were romping about in their pastel pinafores. As it was a beautiful day, the tykes had been allowed to remove their shoes and stocking. Now they squealed happily as the soft grass tickled their tiny bare feet.
Then she noticed on girl by herself on her hands and knees in a garden as she peered into a grate set into the side of the main building. From her vantage point, Charlotte could see light brown curls of hair on the girl's back and a plump little bottom pressing from beneath the plain white panties since the girl's dress was hiked up.
"Hello!" the little girl called into the grate.
"Are you looking for garden gnomes?" Charlotte teased.
The girl turned around, her light blue eyes wide as she addressed the newcomer.
"I wanna see the Ben-if-i-cent," she said, carefully drawing out the word.
Charlotte believed, as generations of students had done before her, that the Beneficent were a society of wealthy and learned people who discreetly supported the Gilchrest Academy. It was a belief that was cultivated by hints from an equal number of generations of teachers.
"I don't think they live in the basement," Charlotte laughed.
"They do," the tot insisted. "And they give little girls rides."
This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Mr Double's Palisade
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Changes last made on: Monday, May 07, 2018