Words Count: 425
By Sally Madison
They had heard the bad news. The Turks were coming down the valley, with Silesian Ostrava Castle as their next destination. They would be here by mid-afternoon. Natalia and Alexandria had only a few more hours to prepare.
Alexandria had already instructed Alma in the kitchen beginning the preparation of dolma, baked pastries filled with vegetables, stuffed cabbage pastries, twisted bagels with seeds, baklava, and sesame cookies. She would go back down to continue the preparations, as soon as the upstairs was staged. Natalia had moved all the most valuable paintings to the attic and hid them under the floor boards. All the silver and other valuable possessions had been stored in the loft of the barn, beneath the hay.
The bedrooms were next. Alexandria had sorted her jewels. Natalia was sewing the precious ones into the hems of Alexandria’s day dresses. The bag of black pearls was next, “which dress should I sew the pearls into?” Natalia asked.
“The blue day dress,” Alexandria decided. “I will wear that one upon their arrival. Do what they may, they will not find my precious pearls.”
“The garnet and the ruby rings are still in the jewel box. How should we hide them?” We can hide them in the kitchen or attic”, suggested Natalia.
“No, that won’t do. They need to find them. They will search the wardrobe take the most ornate of the gowns for their mistresses. Put the jewel box with the garnet and ruby rings in the wardrobe under the slippers. They will search everywhere, but they will stop, if they think they have all the treasure, and end the search. This needs to be staged correctly. We need to let them find some things,” explained Alexandria,
“It’s too bad to have to sacrifice the rings.” Natalia replied, disappointed. “I don’t see what the point is. They will probably kill us, anyway.”
“Yes, it is unfortunate, but better to sacrifice the rings, then our lives,” theorized Alexandria.
Her grandmother had told her that, over a hundred years ago, during one of the first invasions of the Turks, it was their faith and rosary that had protected them. Since then, the rosary has been strung of peas, beans, or beads, for everyone in the church. Alexandria tucked the rosary in the folds and waist band of her skirt. She wanted it as close to her heart as possible. She knew her scheme was reckless, but what were her choices? It was too late to run, and they were too weak to fight. Therefore, we must out smart them.