“I hate that ignorant man!” Emmie said to her mother in hushed tones.
“Shush, girl!” Her mother told her as she kneaded the dough. “He’s your great, great, great- well, great grandfather.”
“He’s not even fifty! And he shouldn’t be alive to begin with, let alone creeping around our house. It is not our fault they have returned from beyond.”
“They are people, like us! They are just as confused as we are. It is not their fault the anomaly brought them back.” A strand of hair fell down Mrs. Bronte’s face as she buried her fingers in the ball of dough. “They’re here, and that’s all there is to it. We must be charitable and help them however we can. This is his house as much as ours.”
“Then he should not cause so much trouble,” insisted Emmie. “He keeps badgering me about my clothes. Says I look like a driggle-draggle trollop. He also keeps asking me about boys, and more than once I have caught him leering at me.”
Mrs. Bronte sprinkled some baking soda into the mix.
“Oh ignore him,” said the lady. “The men of his time had different views on women. That’s all. As a matter of fact, women didn’t even have the right to vote the first time he was alive.”
“He told me the women of this era need to learn their place. I tried to explain to him the history of feminism," the indignant girl said raising the book in her hand, "and he told me it was all hogwash from spinster flappers. I swear I’m going to smack him with this book.”
“We’re all doing our best dear, have patience.”
Mrs. Bronte placed the pan in the oven, then looked around at the messy kitchen. She sighed. The holidays were always busy.
“For how long are we supposed to keep this up?” the girl said, her face flushed. “They’re all coming back from the dead, and there’s no end in sight. That’s one hundred and eight billion people when all is said and done. Societies are collapsing around us. How are we supposed to feed and house them, let alone get along with them?”
Mrs. Bronte snapped her fingers.
“Icing! I still need to make the icing for the cake.”
She rummaged through the cupboards looking for ingredients.
“They’re nothing but trouble,” said Emmie, “and he’s the worst.”
“He’s also a hero who fought for us in the war.”
“That was centuries ago!”
There was a thud upstairs, and then the sound of footsteps.
“He’s coming!” said Emmie hurrying to the sink and grabbing a dish cloth in which she wrapped her book.
A tall man stood in the doorway and regarded the mother and daughter with cool blue eyes. He wore suspenders, long-sleeved undershirt, and a top hat.
“So ladies,” he said in a raspy voice. “What does a man have to do to get a warm meal around here?”
Emmie unwrapped her book and threw the dish cloth in the sink. Then slamming the book in the man's stomach, she rushed out the back door.
Thank you for reading my entry to the Ink Well challenge #51. The prompt for this week was: They're here.
The cover image is my own.