[community profile] daily_prompt: #1115, "Miss Hap"

Aug. 3rd, 2013 06:37 am
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Title: Miss Hap
Author: Wang Xi-feng ([personal profile] xifeng)
Challenge: [community profile] daily_prompt. Original.
Warnings: Language.
Summary: 1918. Anna vs. rabbit warren.


Anna came limping in at lunchtime, and everyone admired the pheasants and rabbits she and Stepka had gone out to shoot, except for their mother. Alzbeta Harlova took one look at her daughter's leg and immediately went into hysterics. "My God, what is that? Did you fall off your horse again? I'm still paying off the bill from the last time you broke something! If you want to cripple yourself, that's your business, but have a little consideration for your mother's grey head!" Anna, who had heard it all before, nodded politely and made noises that sounded like remorse.

"I don't know why you're carrying on so, Betka," Veronika Mladenovna said, shaking her head. "You have two sons, and Luka and Stepka have always been high of spirit." She looked at Anna again. "Well, functionally, three sons. It would be more of a surprise if nobody ever broke anything."

"I don't think it's broken," Anna said, rubbing her calf. "I probably pulled a muscle or something, that's all. I can still walk."

"By the time you're twenty-five, you'll be in a wheelchair," Alzbeta said. "The best years of your life, and this is how you choose to spend them. When I was your age, I was inside reading instead of running around like one of the boys."

"Mama," Anna said, still bent over her leg, "I am in the Guards, and all the young men in my regiment--Ow!" Her ankle had buckled.

"You told me your governess rapped your knuckles because you were reading instead of sewing," Kash said, poking her head around the corner. "Oh, God. Did Anna break her leg again?"

"It is not broken," Anna said through clenched teeth. "I might have sprained it or twisted my ankle from running after that hare. That's all. I can walk."

"That is not normal gait, even for Anna," Veronika Mladenovna said. "Sit down. Anna, sit down." Raising her voice, she called, "Stanika, make Anna sit down, she never listens to me anyway."

"Anna, come over on the sofa next to me," Stanika's voice said. Anna hobbled obediently in the direction of her friend's voice, though it was a slow, torturous walk, half-bent over. In the sun room, the women could hear the girls directing each other. "Put your leg up. Can you lift it?"

"Owwww," Anna's voice said. "Shit. That was one hell of a warren I put my foot in."

"Is that what happened?" Stanika said.

"No," Alzbeta muttered, turning moodily back to her tea. "I don't know what happened or how she keeps doing this, but I don't think there was a goddamn warren in it."

"Betka, patience," Veronika Mladenovna said. "She's young and intelligent, and she'll learn she has to take some precautions. I'll call Dr Rauchkov. You have another sandwich." She moved the tea tray towards her friend, standing up as she did so.

"I don't have all afternoon," Anna's voice, loud and irascible, rose from the parlor. "I've got to clean my share of the hunt."

"Oh, I'm sure Stepka can do it," Stanika said. "You don't want to walk on that in case it swells."


"Broken," Dr. Rauchkov said cheerfully, after he had examined Anna's leg. "Her ankle and her big toe. Let's try to learn from this and keep Miss Hap here in bed for a week, shall we? I'll wrap it up and cast it for you."

"Christ lover of my soul," Alzbeta moaned. "Next time can you just cut off the offending limb so I don't spend my life in debt slavery?"

"I've got a regimental thing to go to," Anna said. "I can give you two days. That's all."

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