|The Familiar Unknown
Author: JayneEdwards PM
Mitzi, a naive sixteen year old has spent her whole life wanting more, knowing that something is missing, it isn't until a mysterious dark hooded figure turns her life upside down does she realise what that is.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Supernatural - Chapters: 3 - Words: 35,394 - Published: 05-23-12 - id: 8144147
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The Familiar Unknown for Elizabeth Andrews
My Editor Katherine Stannard
And last but definitely not least my sister Isobel Stephenson, for her patience.
Sixteen years ago a small cradle was found. Its true contents no-one really knows for sure; but it is said that that cradle contained evil. Some villagers claimed the baby inside was a descendent of the devil others told of it being cursed with ugliness. The strength of superstition and the religion that ran through the village was groundbreaking. There was something about this child, which to them was simply not right.
For its obscure appearance and the fact the child was found on the devils day was enough to bring the ignorant villagers a prominent fear and loathing of it. To them he could not be one of God's children. To them he brought a sense of antichrist to their perfectly holy village. Therefore they tried many a time to rid him of their village and they would have prevailed if it had not been for Everlina, the local wise woman who saw the child with unclouded eyes, for what it really was. She vowed to protect him for as long as she lived.
The villagers could not harm Everlina for she was one of the village's oldest and most respected members. They knew it would be a sin to harm her. To them there was only one other clear solution; her and the baby would be treated as outcasts. They built a shack for Everlina and the child as far away as possible from the village, at the heart of the forest. Everlina and the child lived there feared by all.
From that day on nobody passed in or out the village, some say the child cursed them, this is said to be the most likely of all the theories. No-one spoke of them again, until the day Everlina mysteriously passed away.
Silver wispy clouds meandered across the colourless sky. A tired wind danced rhythmically through the hunched over trees of the far off wood. The most talked about yet unknown place to all that lived there. Rebellious mud that had been untouched by human feet led up the long winding path. Insects scurried unsure of what lied ahead, almost hesitant in their journeys. Birds flew once again uncertain of a once straight forward trail. What is certain in such a tale of deviant desires?
I have always wondered, I guess, who she was and what she did to make her so unpopular with (almost hated by) the rest of the village. I have never been told; any family I have didn't dare mention her name, until now.
My Grandmother Everlina Roleski, whom I will never be able to meet, passed away two days previous. I have heard rumours around the village as to what happened, mutterings of its "his" work.
Mitzi Roleski the seventeen year old granddaughter of Everlina Roleski, was not a trouble maker, she never spoke out of line and tried her best to follow her religion as best she could. She hand an extremely warm smile which invited even those she didn't want into her life. This feature stood her out from the dull and obnoxious people of the village something she seems to be unaware of. She is not a girl to give up easily but knows not to make a pest out of herself.
The only thing I can get out of mother about her is that she used to be the wise woman of the village often using herbs and remedies to rid people of diseases. She was loved by everyone mother says, until…
This is the point I can't get past. I had so many questions to ask about her but I knew I would never receive an answer for any of them.
Something happened sixteen years ago and from then on caused our village to be plunged into a terrible curse. This curse means that no one can pass in our out the village. This curse has brought many sorrows to the village, but it can't be linked to Everlina, can it? Suddenly the car stopped with a jolt, my mother was shaking me. "Mitzi, Mitzi we're here." She muttered dragging me out of my trail of thoughts.
I stared out of the window in disgust. It is an ancient tradition in the village to hold the funeral at the person's former home. I looked at the sinister thick black trees towering above me; they sent a shiver down my spine. This place was so different from the rest of the village; it was like nothing I'd ever seen. I didn't like it. I stepped out of the car reluctantly onto the muddy path next to the forest. My eyes bulged, I couldn't believe how many people had turned up; Looking around I realised the whole of the village was here. It was so ironic; the fact that the most hated person I knew of in the entire village had the most (well supposed) mourners.
I could tell from one look at each of their faces that they weren't here to celebrate my grandmother's life; they had come to celebrate her death. They exchanged looks of fear and glee with each other. It made my insides turn. She must have done something really bad to deserve this I thought. Then out of the corner of my eye I noticed someone, or something. It was hooded figure, dressed head to toe in a black cloak. It stood away from the crowd in the shadows of the forest. I heard terrified scream behind me, which made me jump quickly turning around. And I looked back at the villagers, I saw the looks of deep abhorrence they were casting on the hooded figure. Their looks were so strong it was as if they could have burnt right through it.
I knew from that moment that this was the person who could answer all my questions; I had to speak to them. However before I could even start to walk over to the hooded figure, the funeral abruptly began. It was somewhat short and I spent the time carefully praying to God for my grandmother to be replenished of any sins that she may have committed and that she could please be sent to heaven. When the ceremony was over I made a beeline for the hooded figure. I felt a strong connection with them that I just couldn't explain.
I told myself to ignore any looks the villagers gave me because I needed the answers but before I could even utter 'excuse me' a hand suddenly grabbed my arm pulling me back. It was my mother." Don't go near it," my mother said almost screaming, her voice several octaves higher than usual. At the sound of my mother's shriek, I saw the hooded figure slowly turn to face me, all its features hidden beneath the cloak. Looking back my mother I retorted, "Why not!" I had never felt so confused, the way she was looking at the figure began to scare Me. "Because it's pure evil" she whispered in a distressing tone.
At that my heart started to beat a little faster but I told myself not to take my eyes off the figure. A deep growl erupted from beneath its hood "Murderer" it spoke ever so quietly but somehow everyone around us heard. Noticing this, the figure turned to face the rest of the villagers "You're all MURDERERS!"It howled! Then before anyone could even blink the mysterious figure had vanished into the forest.
The lies that the creature must have been telling caused a great confusion to all especially Mitzi;Lies that are not to be believed, the only thing one can remember is that all cannot always be what it seems.
A few days have passed since the funeral and, I can still think of nothing but the hooded figure and its voice filled with hatred and sorrow.
However much I tried to forget what he'd called them I just couldn't brush off the fact that he'd called my fellow villagers 'murderers.' I shouldn't think about it because it obvious it's not true because the only person that's died is my grandmother and she wasn't murdered but then again...
No-one is letting on that they know anything but a strange feeling tells me that people know something they just don't want me to know. There has always been an odd frostiness towards me but never like this. I try to be a good friend to everyone but some people just don't seem to want me around. I have done nothing wrong but it is a as if I have sinned before even meeting some of them. For example Yasmina, of the Han family is being especially cold toward me. I wish I could understand why she acts the way she does but I just can't. When we were younger we were so close until she suddenly decided one day all out of the blue that she didn't want to be friends anymore. The reason why will always be a mystery to me but it is not as if I have not tried to find out. She was now like a river frozen over in the coldest winters, bitterly cold and impossible to crack.
Simple, the answer to Yasmina's undeserved hatred toward Mitzi was an obvious case of jealousy. The two girls were once inseparable, an odd friendship to say the least. It was true that Yasmina knew something which Mitzi did not but she was not going to part with this information easily.
I have asked my mother frequently but she will not utter a word about the figure or that day. She did say one thing though, 'He is evil Mitzi, pure evil.' This didn't help much but at least gave me the idea that 'he' must be human! I stopped badgering mother about it when she told me that I would understand everything tonight because all would be explained later at church.
I found it quite peculiar that something that had been kept secret from me all my life would suddenly be explained at church. Not only because this was the most important place in the village, but because the whole village always attended. (It was considered a sin if you didn't). This therefore meant that the entire village would instantly believe anything that was spoken by the Vicar. No one ever questioned the Vicar's words, it just wasn't done. This made me worry about what was going to be said but nevertheless I was going to finally get some answers. I was impatient to attend church; I could tell this would be a very memorable ceremony.
For those reasons I could not be late, I put on my best white dress that flowed down to my ankles and left my house as soon as the clock strokes twelve. I arrived at the church a little early, but at least I wasn't late. I scurried down the pews and sat down on the seat nearest the front. I did not have to wait long for the vicar to appear but as I waited I noticed that Conrad Greystaf had sat down on the seat beside mine. He was smiling at me showing off his brilliant white teeth, I looked away not knowing what to do. Annoyingly, I felt my cheeks flush. Conrad Greystaf was the son of Hermoine and Kato Greystaf, they were the richest family in the whole village but didn't he just know it. Conrad was the most conceited man in the integrated village, he was always on about either his 'good looks' or his 'large fortune'. It seemed with this combination; almost every girl in the village swooned over him, young and old alike, but not me. I know it's going to be hard to find but I want to marry someone I truly love not for just good looks and definitely not for money.
How astonishingly unheard of was the rejection of a man of such a great fortune in such a small village. The weight of the decision that Mitzi is implying shows a great abnormality in the inner workings of a woman of the village's mind.
Although unluckily for me just a few days before my grandmother's funeral, Conrad paid my mother an astonishing visit and explained to her his plans about how he wishes to take my hand in marriage not that I have come of age. As my mother strongly believed in arranged marriages (for that was how her and my late father was Wed.) she did not even ask me before she agreed to it. When I found this out, I was outraged and my entire mother could say was 'he is the richest and most eligible bachelor in the entire village; he can give you anything you want.' But the thing was I didn't want him. So now lucky me, when I turn seventeen, I will be known as Mrs. Conrad greystaf and there is nothing I can do about it. I probably should have smiled back at him seeing as we're going to be married and all but I just couldn't help looking away.
It was not questionable as to why he liked Mitzi. She is truly beautiful. Although her amethyst eyes are no exception to anyone else in the village and her long auburn hair although envious in length was not that different from anyone else's. She was like any other girl in the village. They appeared the same, all of them. Then again they always said she was different.
As the vicar stood at the altar he raised a hand, which signalled to the villagers for them to become silent. Seconds after he raised his hand silence fell on the church. He began the ceremony, 'Not last night but the night before I had an epiphany' he started to explain. 'God told me how to rid us of this horrific curse.' I looked around the church; it seemed everyone had leaned in a little closer. He had found a way to rid us of the curse! This was unexpected but nevertheless great news! The curse that our village has been under for sixteen long years has resisted to be broken therefore no one has been able to enter or leave the village.
I faced the vicar watching him intently while anxiously awaiting his next words. He cleared his throat realizing the sudden tension he had caused; he seemed to be enjoying it.' God also has told me that to rid the curse we must first rid the devil of our village and the only way to do this is by holding a human sacrifice.' At the words 'human sacrifice' a gasp erupted from within the church but to my surprise as I turned to look, I noticed several people were nodding including my mother.
A human sacrifice didn't sound great to me. 'God said to me that shortly after the devil was brought to our village an angel was born and he said that if this angel is given to the devil our village will be freed from this curse and therefore it will end our eternal suffering.' This could not be. As far as I knew I was the only one in the village born shortly after the curse began, the vicar couldn't mean me; it just couldn't be.
I froze in my seat; my cheeks began to flush as I felt the gaze of every single person in the church fall on me. Fully aware of this the vicar carried on unaffected by it, it was like the villagers were acting exactly as he had expected.
"He warned me that if we did not break the curse by the time the devil reached his seventeenth birthday in our village, every single person in this church will burn in hell." A few people screamed at this but I barely heard them because I was trying so hard to not think it was me who was going to be sacrificed. I also was trying to figure out how the devil could have a seventeenth birthday, an image of the hooded figure creeped into my head but soon vanished as the vicars next words hit home.
"If this solution is going to work God foretold that 'it must be done tonight' and is to be held on the outskirts of the village, next to the devils forest. God also gave me the name of the girl who will be sacrificed which is, Mitzi Roleski." The sound of my very own name was like a claw ripping at my soul. I couldn't believe it; I was going to be sacrificed! I didn't have the time to even start to think about the devil part of it for as soon as the vicar finished speaking I was up on my feet and running, running for my life.
It was not long before I felt the grip of several villagers dragging me back towards the vicar. Their desperation to rid the curse and their strong faith in the vicar's words had caused them to act against me.
There was too many of them, I just couldn't get away as hard as I tried. I screamed and screamed until I felt a hand clasp itself onto my open mouth. The vicar was whispering something but I could barely hear as I felt myself suffocating as I fell to the hard church floor.
It was not that the villagers disliked Mitzi it was just that the dire desperation they felt had caused them to act against her. Although the guilt of which they would all soon feel was significantly lessened by the fact all of them had noticed something over the years about this girl that wasn't quite right.
When I regained consciousness I looked around frantically desperate to realise that this wasn't real and that I wasn't staring at my mother's face as she uttered countless excuses to me. "Mitzi is the only way; the vicar tells me that if you're pure of heart then God will rescue you as well as the curse being lifted.' I stared directly into my mother's eyes. I had always known she was a strongly religious woman and that she had given up many things over the years and I also knew that father had died because there had been no medicine within the village to cure his illness. Still, id never thought that my mother would be able to give up her own daughter.
The measures of which people go to get what they want are strangely and almost unbelievably astounding. Turning against one's own blood must have been provoked by some kind of higher desire.
Tears fell down my cheeks, I was going to be sacrificed and my mother didn't even care. As I looked at my mother, I suddenly realised that I was finding it harder and harder to breathe peering down at my chest I saw a thick brown rope bound across it. I had been tied to a tree. Before I could even scream my mother put her hand over my mouth I tried to push it off but she had a firm grip. I stared at her so hard and coldly that I didn't see the vicar had arrived at her side. He gently but firmly pushed my mother aside and replaced her hand with his.
He stared at me straight in the eyes, his expression was blank. I struggled against his hand knowing it would be useless to scream and that maybe I should just accept God's choice. He gripped me harder pushing me against the trees rough bark and started to tell me what was happening. 'God told me because you are an angel I should tie you to this tree and when the clock strikes midnight let the devil take you. (I tried to let out a gasp) 'If this is done the curse will be lifted.' And at these words the look of greed on the vicar's face made his intentions completely clear. I glared at him until he removed his hand then watched incredulity as he walked swiftly away, my mother by his side.
Rest assured being tied to a tree and fighting to survive was a fate that Mitzi never expected to happen to someone like her.
I watched as they walked away, the rope too tight for me to even scream after them. My mother did not look back. The realisation hit me like someone had slapped me right across the face. I looked frantically around, feeling the fear sink into my body. The tree I was tied to was not alone; it belonged to a family of trees surrounding the unknown black forest, protectively. As if they were a warning to those wishing to enter to send them back to the place we knew. I felt myself trembling at the thought of the devil and this unknown place. I knew I would have to break free or otherwise face certain death.
Desperately I pulled at the ever tighter rope. This was not going to happen; I could not let the devil get me. I pulled, bit and kicked the unmoving rope until I did not have the energy to even lift my arms. I had no choice but to give up as I let my body fall loosely and hang against the tree. It was the option that I thought I would never do. All I did was wait. As the night wore on even my constant fear of the sinister woods was fading as my whole body gave in to the tiredness. It was not long before I did not have the strength to even open my eyes, too tired to feel anything, I slept. I really had given up.
She withstood more pain and fought harder for her life than anyone would have thought she could but given the circumstances it would seem it was just too much.
I was so drained of energy that it was not until I awoke the next morning that I realized what had happened. I had been tied to the tree for what must have been hours, just giving up on life when before I knew it, someone was untying the dreaded rope. I remember trying to get up and run but being too weak to even stand. This was when it all became a blur and the last thing I saw was the sinister trees as I was being carried by someone or something deeper and deeper into the unknown. I let out a gasp as I opened my eyes wide to take in my new surroundings. I was in a strange little room full of tiny intricate objects. As I looked around the room a strange feeling of nostalgia hit me. The room seemed so distant and different from anything I'd ever known yet it felt so familiar. I was caught in such a trance by the mysterious room that I almost forgot everything that had happened to me. Until a movement from outside the room startled me.
Exactly what happened to Mitzi that Night will forever be a mystery, but that mystery could not even start to portray the mysterious events yet to come
I cowered into the dusty corner holding my arms around my knees trying to keep myself together. I shut my eyes tight as my own fears started to consume me. I heard the door creak slightly open and bit my lip as I felt the overwhelming presence of someone else within the room. I flinched when I heard them lay something hot beside me. I had just plucked up the courage to peek through my fingers, when looking around saw they had gone. It was almost as if they were never there. The only thing I had to prove to myself that they had been there at all was the bowl of hot soup lying next to me.
I stared at the soup in its entirety although I was ravenous. I knew there was no way I should even think about eating it. The words came before I could even think them. 'It's not poison you know, if I wanted to kill you I would have done it already.' The sudden growl had surprised me it was the same growl I had heard at the funeral. I forced myself to turn and face the (as id suspected) hooded figure. He was leaning against the doorframe his face hidden from view by his long black hood. (From the growl of his voice id assumed whatever he was monster or human he was male.)
It was as if he could read this spoilt villager's mind.
A thought struck me; he's had the chance to kill me but why hasn't he? I looked from him to the soup perplexed by the thought of what I should do. 'If you're wondering why I haven't killed you already, I can't answer that, because I'm asking myself the same thing.' I shuddered fixing my gaze on him, I compelled myself to ask the question id been dreading the answer to. I watched him straighten up and turn to leave the room. 'Are you the devil?' I asked almost shouting it. He replied quickly and smugly 'So she can talk.' Then he paused, seeming to be deep in thought before answering my question. 'I am what I am.' He retorted indignantly but with an annoyingly mysterious edge. I looked back down at my feet as I heard the door slam, wishing id never asked.
How naive she was asking such an impertinent question without thinking. For all she knew she could have been trending on a ticking bomb.
I played the words back in my head, 'I am what I am.' What was that supposed to mean? Is he the devil or not? I mean it's not that hard to know what you are and what your not is it? My stomach rumbled as I looked longingly at the soup even though it probably wasn't poison I could not bring myself to eat it. I sat there with my head in my hands helplessly, wondering what I could possibly do. How could I escape this place? And what was it about this room that felt so familiar. I stood up and really took in my surroundings I was overcome by the feelings of which I felt looking around at all the detailed intricate little objects scattered on sturdy wooden shelves. They added a rainbow of colour to the dull and dusty room. They were little figurines all looking up at me and at first glance looked as if they were smiling up at me. I smiled back and then breathed in a deep breath before making my next move. It was now or never I had questions to ask this figure and I wanted answers.
I shuffled toward the large mahogany door and with a strong drive of curiosity leading me on. I gently tried to push the door open although it was heavier than id imagined. When I started to move the old wood a resounding creek echoed throughout the room so as soon as the crack was a large enough size I slipped through. I stared in amazement at my surroundings 'How can someone live like this?' I thought to myself. Spiders lurked in every corner of the corridor. Everywhere was thick with cobwebs and every picture on the wall looked like it had been dipped in a pool full of dust. I was taken aback by the vast contrast between the small colourful little room glancing out here it seemed like I was in a totally different place. Straight in front of me was an old spiral staircase leading to a place unknown.
This house was not one of the traditional Greystaf models that had filled the rest of the villagers with their happy memories of home life. This was something different entirely.
I could hear movements coming from below me and I was just a stair way away from finding these answers. I took in a deep breath and reluctantly trudged forward down, down, down the spiral stairs. I stood at the foot of the stairs my eyes almost popping out of my sockets in disgust. A great animal was writhing in pain strewn across a large black table and he was... eating it! Glancing at the animal again I realised it was a magnificent black horse this made my insides churn. I held a hand over my mouth so that I could not scream turning swiftly on my feet I ran as fast as I could out the open door.
Not taking notice of where I was going until it was too late.
One should never leap before one looks and a look is not always just a glance.
I was soon plunged into darkness as the forest consumed me within its heart. I just kept running, branches clawing at every bit of me but I could not stop, I had to keep running. It scared me how much noise I seemed to be making in this dead forest. I couldn't think, all I could see was the monster that I had left behind this image spurred me to run faster. I could see a clearing way in the distance I knew that was the way out even though I was in desperate need of a rest I pursued my running until I tripped over my hem and fell painfully to the ground. I lay there staring down at my dress it was covered it both mud and my own blood; you could not even tell that it was a white dress. Ripping off the end of my dress I started to try and failed to hoist myself up. It was at this point I realised I was not alone laying there helplessly on the ground I looked around my eyes darting in every direction. A large pair of luminous amber eyes stared back at me startled
Mitzi did not define elegance by any means. She did not float or glide although this was something she could never change however much she tried.
I quickly observed the creature's quickly brilliantly white pointy teeth. From its silvery frost like roughly tousled fur and the way it was almost wolf like. I knew of a creature like this it had been perfectly described back in the village as a mythical creature that could tear through bones with just one bite. I had always thought them to be myths, made up just to scare little children, obviously not. Looking up I could see two others just like it in the distance striding through the trees I was starting to feel very threatened. Looking back I saw the one directly in front of me while giving me an extremely curious look, starting to edge toward me, looking every bit as real as I could have ever imagined.
I did not move a muscle, I did not want to instead I just sat there letting my fate be poured away into those large amber eyes. I felt entranced by them, sheer curiosity me unable to move. Maybe it wouldn't kill me I thought, maybe was alone like I was, Maybe it felt lost and lonely as did I.
There was something about the intensity of its stare which made me feel sympathy for the creature before me. It wasn't until the wolf was close enough to me that I could feel its warm breath on my face that I saw crimson blood stains smeared across its immensely white fangs. Snapping out the trance immediately I tried to back away from the evidently ravenous creature before me. I tried to grab at twigs desperately trying to find something to defend myself with. Snarls filled the air as it was preparing to pounce, there was nothing I could do but let out a blood curdling scream. It was too late.
I held my arms up in front of my face not wanting to watch as the wolf like creature prepared to devour my defenceless body. I clenched my fists and tightly closed my eyes waiting to endure the immense pain. It seemed as if all hope was gone. Then all of a sudden I heard a walloping thump which caused me to open my eyes wide open. Lying in front of me was the bloody corpse of the animal of which I had been almost sure was going to kill me. Ruby red blood seeped out of it's now limp body, I let out a gasp but how... I thought to myself. Letting my gaze rise up I saw a hand outstretched leading out from a hooded black figure. It was sinking in, he had just saved my life.
I almost let out a half smile as I went to put my hand in his but before I could even fully extend my arm he was knocked straight down in front of me. I watched as he writhed in pain on the floor as two other strange wolf-like creatures had attacked him. I couldn't just sit there letting the wolves sink their sparkling razor sharp teeth into his cloak covered skin. Struggling to raise a large wooden log into the air, I wacked one of the wolves with all my strength. I almost hobbled over because of the weight but all had not been in vain as the wolf I'd hit limped toward me before falling down. I saw it laid there unconscious my gaze quickly darting back to the hooded figure. He was wrestling both at once they were snarling and ripped at his cloak tearing at his arms he wrestled one to the ground the other jumping on top of his exposed back.
My heart raced in terror as I wiped the bloody sweat off my forehead. I glanced down to the ground grabbing at jagged rocks which tore at my hands. I did not notice as I could only think to help him as he had helped me. All of what I had seen earlier was forgotten as we fought the wolves for our lives. I pelted the rocks at the wolf on his back hoping and praying it would stop. It staggered backward off of him as I watched him wrestle the other wolf, his arm muscles bulging out beneath the ripped and stained cloak my eyes fixated. He pushed the wolf as he had knocked it down to the ground I could hear his deep desperate breathing although I could not see his face. The last and dazed wolf pounced at me as it realized who had hit it but the hooded figure was quicker as he once again pushed the final beast to the ground. As they both snarled and clawed at each other I staggered backwards watching the figure defeat the final beast. He pushed the beast down to the ground then weakly fell down next to it. The fight was over both the figure and the wolf lay there motionless.
I stood there, catching my breath, eyes wide, unable to believe what had just happened. I suddenly remembered and fell down to his side. There was blood everywhere in a deep crimson pool around him. I gasped as I turned him over, willing him not to be dead. His face was blood soaked his body limp. There was nothing I could do. Tears fell like raindrops onto his still body, it couldn't be. I pressed my ear up to his chest, panic stricken I listened, desperate to hear a heartbeat. A sea of relief washed over me I heard a racing drum beat. He was Alive! He wouldn't be for much longer unless I got him out of there. But how...
I bent down trying to hoist a rag doll arm over my shoulder whilst attempting to straighten up. His body was a force stronger than gravity dragging me down. I was breathless as I pushed myself to walk forward holding up his unconscious body with all my might.
The weight of his body was intolerable. All I wanted to do was stop and rest.
I could not give up on him, he wasn't going to die and that was final. Desperately I hauled him with me trying to break back through twigs and get out of the deadly clearing. I was using all the strength I could muster to yank his limp body along with my own through the eerily quiet woods.
Mitzi was not an incredibly strong girl, she just had such a determination that one cannot help but admire. However the impact of the excess weight should surely bring her downfall.
Twigs broke all around us, as I entered another clearing. Looking around in a panic, realization hit. I had no idea where I was. The Frustration hit me, draining me of any energy I had left. I let out a desperate wail as I fell slowly, crashing to the ground. All hope seemed to be fluttering away as I lay there. Helpless. I shut my eyes in a dreamlike motion, giving up seemed like my only option. I was too exhausted to even notice that something had pushed through the trees behind me. Painfully, I opened my eyes as I felt something brush against me.
I gazed up at the most beautiful creature. It was horse like (If any creature I had ever seen before could be likened to It.) the shade of a glowing midnight moon. A silk glistening mane cascaded down it's enchanting body. It had long black muscular legs holding up its immense figure as it stood tall, towering over me. The intensity of its gaze upon my pathetically weak body drenched in the blood of my saviour made me feel a sudden flash of guilt as I could not do a thing but stare back.
The stallion bent down it's bewitching head extending out an extremely mesmerising neck I gasped as the creature leaned toward the hooded figure I had my arms clasped so tightly around. (as tightly as I could manage) I lent in front of him protectively; still unsure of what this mysterious beast wanted. It gently nudged me out of the way before hoisting the figure's body onto its enormous back and taking my own feeble body with it. I did not feel scared as there was something about this creature that I knew I could trust, I cannot explain how I knew this but from my wounded gut I sensed that this creature would not bring us harm.
How can one so clever be so naive?
With one hand carefully weaved around the figure's body so that I could still feel his steady pulse reassuring me that he was going to live. With the other hand I clung to a rogue piece of silk fur as the ever so inviting trees whipped past me. We were speeding through the thin clawing robust trees, my heart had already beaten out faster than I could have ever imagined; yet it still thumped harder and faster as the beast strode electrically through the woods. It seemed completely unaffected by anything in its pathway. I closed my eyes so that they were shut tight so that all I could feel was the cool air washing over my skin as we danced rapidly through the last of the trees. Darkness had crept over the eerie shack
As my eyes burst open I peeked up at the damp wooden walls. The creature had taken us 'home'. Well to the place he called home anyway.
I had regained some energy as the creature lowered us down my hand still tightly intertwined round his broad chest. Gazing up at the creature I saw its emerald eyes glistening in the moonlight a look of content in them. It truly was beautiful. It nudged the crooked door open as I dragged the figure's unconscious body through the tight opening. After laying him down on the cold hard floor and I ran out to thank the enchanting beast. To my dismay I saw it bounding back into the woods. The only feature I was able to see was a thick scar down the back of its right muscular calf. There was no time to even wonder about this creature as I rushed back to the figures side. I carefully pulled back his soaked hood to reveal a face hidden behind a splattering of crimson. I lightly pulled off the rags of his cloak as his true form was once again smothered in the same crimson liquid so thick I was not able to distinguish which blood was his or the wolves. He still remained unconscious as peeled all of the material off of his wounded body. I ran to the dust filled kitchen to fetch a pale of water.
I tore the embellished ribbon from my dress and tentatively washed it. cautiously folding it into a cloth like shape. All of his body was a blood sodden mess as I painstakingly brushed the ribbon over him. I washed the ruby viscous blood off of his limp shape. I gasped at the patches of skin that I had removed the blood from. First I noticed the massive gushing wound on his side as I mopped up the oozing liquid. I started mopping up all wounds from the nights events but as I cast my eyes over the rest of his body I noticed something peculiar . I stopped what I was doing immediately.
It was not just the blood she was washing. Mitzi was mopping up surreptitiously the sins she was going to commit.
A variety of scars covered his arms legs chest and face. Tiny vexatious sores crawled over him. A shiver was sent down my spine as I looked closer. They covered his body as if drawn on by some twisted artist in a repulsive manner. Grooves and dents were scattered all over his skin. It was like nothing I'd ever seen before. Although I had heard stories describing a creature with skin of a similar condition. This creature had been the devil. The only difference was that the devils skin was ruby red yet the person who had claimed they were not the devil's skin was fair unlike mine. I did not know how to react to this, the skin that had always been masked by his now unfixable cloak. Mixed feelings coursed through my body as I felt a concoction of repulsion pity and fear. I stared at his powerfully built figure his figure was picturesque but the skin that covered it was simply agonizing to look at.
Lucky for him that Mitzi had never been of the squeamish kind.
I still continued to dress his wounds tying each cut together as tightly as I could. I winced for him. I was so glad he remained unconscious, yet part of me was just willing him to wake up. The cloth wrapped itself around his dented skin like ivy constricting around his closed heart. I fell to the cold hard floor beside him, pushing at his stone chest. He sat there a gargoyle ignited with a false life. I could not leave his flame to wither I had to ignite his soul and breathe my own life into him. My hand stroked over his stone figure my fingertips drawing over every imperfection until all became one. I unleashed my inhibitions as I washed his tortured body. I nursed him as best I could, yet my own state did not help. I found myself falling uncontrollably into a slumber beside him.
Naive she was. Although she was not judging him by his appearance anymore she had delved into something forbidden. An act she will never forget yet always be condemned for. An inadvisable gesture-Indeed.
I was running on a twisted path, as beads of sweat seeped out of my brow. A dark chain was coiling itself around my frail body furiously tightening as I pushed harder and harder against it. My hands reached out desperately in front of me as I plunged into an inevitable darkness, my screams drowning out the cries of despair. I had fallen.
I stared longingly at her, lightly stroking her cascading auburn hair. She looked so pure and innocent lying there. Her white dress encapsulated it but the image of my blood made me shudder. It tarnished her somewhat perfect image. Her delicate hands were covered in the red substance that she had been dipped in. I hoped that any effect I had on her would wash off as easily as the crimson liquid was shifting. She was in a deep slumber. Dead to the world. There was something about her that captivated me. I wanted to wake her but at the same time I wanted her to remain peaceful forever. She seemed too divine for this world. She awoke so suddenly, it startled me. She was screaming crying out. I didn't want her to touch me. I felt too ashamed. I did not want her to feel my inherent scars but I could not resist the impulse to hold her.
I felt panic stricken as my heart pounded against my chest. Tears streamed down my face. I leant in subconsciously, into the arms of the demon. I peered up into his piercing blue eyes as he registered me, curiously I felt colour rushing to my cheeks as I went to shy away. Instinctively. Almost, His rough caring fingers carefully caressed my cheeks sweeping away my dripping droplets.
If only he could sweep away her sins as easily as he defied those tears. Something a little bit harder to accomplish wouldn't you think?
I felt shivers creeping up my spine when he touched me, causing me to shudder away. As I drowned in the distorted images from the previous night. His mangled body all covered up by a new cloak. Although the thick black material was not enough to conceal what had already been revealed to me. Was this proof that he was truly curse even though he had saved my life would it be wise to stay here seeing what I had seen? It was as if he was reading my mind, he took his hand away from me and gracefully stood up without making a sound. My eyes darted around the room there was no sign of blood anywhere. The repulsive red splatters seem to have evaporated before my very eyes all evidence had been meticulously removed. I gasped as I looked back down at my own clothes to see my white dress had been removed and exchanged for a long purple gown. I stared at the careful embroidery and the many embedded jewels within the velvet materiel it was truly beautiful. I gasped as that same feeling of nostalgia washed over me.
I knew this dress it was too surreal that I was wearing it. I looked up at the demon with a gaze of amazement, he acknowledged this and I knew I had to ask. "Whose dress is this!"I demanded to know, a shrill edge had been added to my voice which caused me to blush a little. I stared into the cloak indignantly awaiting my answer.
A concoction of dread and apprehensive anxiety filled Mitzi's curious heart. Although the answer to this utterly pointless question somehow seemed invaluable.
'You know whose it is.' I felt slightly irritated by the vagueness of his response. Why couldn't things just be straightforward for once? Gently fingering the velvety material and inhaling in that musty smell I knew for almost certain whom it must have belonged to. It was her grandmothers. I hugged the dress tight. 'And the room I was in when I first got here?' 'The same' he replied. I could not contain myself I tugged at the dress raising it over my dainty feet as I ran up the stairs almost tripping over the last two in my excitement. The hooded figure bounded after me as we pushed the creaky ancient door to and entered the exquisite little room.
The little room stood out from the rest of the shack. Differing; only in the most meticulous details. So subtle to an outsider's eye yet extremely obvious to those who know where to look. A room which consumed so many deeper into the unknown.
This room was incongruous to the rest of the shack; I swept back the dust blowing it off the little intricate objects to unveil a whirlwind of colour. I examined each of the little wooden people as they appeared. Is this what my grandma enjoyed making? Her room smelt of the most exotic spices and herbs. My eyes shot around the room, looking at it properly as I noticed the colours splattered on the wall. Little lace bunting seemed to grow up the walls spreading like ivy the breadth of the room cascading down to reveal another rainbow. It was truly beautiful this room was so full of life I just felt the energy bursting out and into me.
Then I felt my stomach tie in knots with an overpowering wish that I could have known her. Tears welled up in my eyes yet my cheeks blushed as I did not want the hooded figure to see me cry.
Moonlight flooded in through the dusty window. There was an indescribable ambience throughout the room. I felt a strong sense of nostalgia. I had been here before. Yet that was impossible. Embarassed by my own trail of thoughts, I looked down to the oak dusty floor. Quietly, I whispered so that my voice would not crack and reveal my sadness, 'What was she like?'... I felt an arm wrap itself around me and turn me round. His rough fingers brushed the salty tears from my cheeks as I looked down at the floor. He put a finger under my chin and pushed it up so I looked up into his hood as I plucked up the courage to gently but swiftly push back his hood.
I stared intently into his glistening sapphire eyes as they were illuminated in the moonlight. I persisted. 'Please tell me I want to know her.'
'I-I don't know what to say' the hooded figure looked abruptly away, embarrassed and obviously ashamed of the scars that plagued his face immediately putting the hood back over his face. He turned away I couldn't help but persist. I reached up to his shoulder 'Please tell me anything, I didn't know her at all and I know you did... Please.'
The desperation in Mitzi's voice tugged at the heartstrings of a figure which at first appeared non-existent.
'But Mitzi you did know her' he said matter of factly. As he stepped out of the light and shuffled into the shadows.
This bold statement was uttered so profoundly. That it left Mitzi utterly speechless.
'Every crucial or important moment in your life, she was there' He placed to hands firmly on my shoulders and shook me a little. Desperately 'Come on..The old lady selling flowers on your first day of school, the kind woman you helped cross the road on the day of your Dad's funeral. You never thought...Your mother never believed she existed because to her she didn't.' I gasped as realization struck me hard like lightening bolting into my brain. I put a hand quickly over my open mouth as the hooded figure continued. 'She watched you from the sidelines, she was there for you everyday of your life. She'd of given anything to tell you her true identity but she couldn't bear to hurt you anymore. She was a woman overridden with a guilt that was never hers to take.' I shook my head in disbelief this was unbelievable 'How do you know all this, how can I believe you...' He shook me again .
'Don't you get it Mitzi I was there, I watched you grow up too, I've watched you everyday of your life.'
The last part seemed so blurted. The hooded figure seemed to not even realize what he had just almost shouted until it echoed round the small room and the shock caused him to turn away. I knew at that moment if I'd of been able to see under that thick dark hood of his, his tortured face would be crimson from blushing.
'What' I almost spat out the word in disbelief. 'First day of school, your dad's funeral, every single birthday we were there. You were always the other child. The one she truly should have loved. You were her family I was no-one. I am no-one. I could see as we were growing up what a great person you are. We watched from the trees every good deed you acted upon which you thought no-one ever knew about we saw it.' There was such pain in his voice he was torn by the fact my grandmother had wanted to be there for me. I could tell he found it hard to take my heart was clenching as I reached out to him butterflies fluttering in my stomach as I clutched his hand.
'She loved you, look I don't even know your name but you know mine.' I said tightening my grip on his hand as I placed the other on his shoulder. ' I know you weren't related to her but at least you knew her. I'd of given anything to of known her from how much you feel for her I can see what a wonderful person she truly was.' My voice was soft as I tried to soothe his pain.
Mitzi was soothing an eternity of wounds that she should never have gauged open in the first place. All his emotions were spilling out faster than she could of ever imagined leaving an awful mess on the shiny wooden floor.
' You don't understand.' ' She was everything to me' ' They stole her from me'... ' the only person who and could ever love me' he looked down as he felt embarrassed by the power his words had over me. I stepped into the flooded light in the room as I tentatively placed a hand on his shoulder in a comforting stance. " All I want to do is know her "I whispered. "
I had felt the passion in his voice and the obvious undeniable devotion. I curiously yet slowly pushed back his hood and looked him in the eyes. His stare was so looked at me in a different way than ever before. I could tell he wanted to touch me. His eyes looked longing. I knew this because his look reflected my own. I felt my lips on his before I could help it. I lingered there falling into his arms as my own clung around his neck.
I soon felt him returning my kiss as he sent pulses down my spine as I kissed harder and more vigourously then I had in my life.I could feel his pain, his passion, all his inner secrets and desires as gave into my own. I did not care for who he was he was the only person who I felt erotically and unexplainably devoted to him. I caressed his scarred skin gently yet ardently letting my lips explore.
She was plunging deeper than anyone could have ever imagined. How naive.
His rough fingers ran through my hair as he took hold of my waist and lifted me. I had never met anyone who had made me feel this way. I carried on intimately embracing him as he held me close. I was overcome as I drowned in passion letting myself be thrown into a frenzy of emotion as our lips locked ever so intensely. My fingers touching his face moving through his hair. I bit his lip. Tilting my head into his, I craved more. I was being devoured by feelings raging deep inside me in an explosion of desire.
He moved his lips onto my neck erotically nuzzling into it. I felt an overwhelming sense of pleasure unlike any other feeling. We intertwined once again as he carried me into his arms laying me down on the bed. It was all going so quickly I just let it happen as I kissed him again and again. The passion building as it felt almost frantic pushing him down into the bed. I could not stop. I wanted him too much.
We had been seized into an ocean of passion. There was no-one else I could think of but him. He had saved my life I gave in to any conscience objection I had. I could not resist the temptation of his kiss. I started pulling at the cloak still embracing his soft lips as our tongues danced frantically. He in turn started to undo the laces of my dress rhythmically we started to undress one another in amidst the grip of our uprooted emotions. It was not until we had thrown the cloak onto the floor leaving him half naked and me on top of him. He stopped.
He pulled away from my embrace and stared coldly into my eyes.
The moonlight had reflected the curves of her figure beautifully. I am haunted by the dazzle of her eyes. The serene glow of her skin, so clear and pure. The way she sees everything yet still knows nothing. The intensity of her lips on mine. I wanted her so badly, too badly. I could not have her. For then she know everything. Something I promised myself to never share. She would know too much. And there is nothing worse than knowing too much. I have to resist. I must resist. I was scared, damaged. I could do that to her. She was precious, pure and untouchable. Every day I saw what I had become. something she should never and could never understand.
'I-I-I can't' he muttered. I was mortified as I suddenly realized what had been happening. How could I have been so stupid. I immediately started lacing my dress back together I couldn't talk I was so embarrassed. 'There's a lot of things you don't know Mitzi this can't happen between us.' I stared in disbelief what was so terrible, what had suddenly changed his mind. All I could feel was the strength of my own feelings toward him. 'Look you don't even know my name' he said holding my chin up. I felt the tenderness in his touch but did not respond.
I pulled away, I was so ashamed.' What is it then, your name can't be all that's stopping this.' I said instantly angry, what was he playing at. ' I don't want to talk about it right now' he said with the same annoying mystery he had always had as he pulled his cloak back onto his muscular body which I couldn't help but taking a last look at.
He stood up and quickly left the room. I was left there once again unnerved and utterly astonished by what had just happened. I had never felt like this before. Now I knew if I ever got taken back to the cursed village which banished me I could never and would never marry Conrad. I fingered my lips reminiscing his touch. Why did he have to make me feel like this?
Yet what right did he have to treat me like this. He was confusing his mystique was so opaque and unclear. I couldn't figure him out. He was like no-one I'd ever known and I wanted him. Although I had to get things straight I needed to find out more about my grandmother. I pushed through the oak door in order to find him and lingered slightly on the staircase near his room an eerie silence ran through the shack. He had gone.
My eyes flickered to the cobwebs in every corner, the grimy walls and the stained wooden floor. This shack needed some serious work and after seeing my grandmother's room I knew she'd have never wanted it to look like this. I tied my hair back in a high ponytail away from my face and took a large bucket from the corner of the room thinking this will have to do. I looked out the window and saw a large tap outside where I filled the bucket and took the remains of my ivory stained dress to use as a cloth. I scrubbed hard at the floor and the walls easing off every part of dirt and grime. Pushing hard into the creaking floorboards. I was determined to have this shack clean.
Mitzi worked for hours yet she felt like the task was neverending. Was he even going to return? It was as if she was wringiong out a secret with every wring of that rag ones which she was too eager to find out.
I dusted the once grey dirtied staircase to reveal their true colour a burgundy brown which suited the whole shining room perfectly. It looked truly beautiful and to think the deep shade of immense colour had been hidden behind that dark exterior the whole time. I looked around the room pleased with myself as the walls now gleamed back at me. I was impressed by my own good work as I had never been very good at chores back home yet I had felt a will to do this. I thought to myself if my grandmother could have seen this she'd be proud. I walked around the now inviting room and turned to the stove my stomach growled and I longed for something to eat. I ransacked the cupboards trying to find something, still the thought had not escaped my head about the hooded figure. I was starting to worry.
I took a large broth bowl from the cupboard and started mixed all I could find. I guess I would try and make it up to the figure somehow for taking me in and saving my life despite my embarrassment. I also had this unexplainable urge to impress him. I had never been too good at cooking either but I thought I may as well give it a shot. There were lots of different bottles full of spices each giving off the most wonderful aromas. I stirred them in. I was amazed by the different foods that the figure had kept in his cupboards.
I smashed a few of the bottles pouring their contents into the boiling water. I was feeling dizzy with the hazy steam and the intense smells coming from the bowl. I kept stirring and stirring hoping and praying it would turn out well.
The herbs were being sifted and thrown upside down acting as a mirror to Mitzis own life. He had stirred her into it and she was drifting in amongst a flurry of feelings she should have never had.
The broth was getting thicker in consistency and was a pale brown colour. I was about to sip a little but before the thick liquid could hit my lips. I heard a harsh knocking at the door. I rushed to it knowing the figure would be back and wondering if he'd like the broth I made.
The banging continued getting faster and harder. This couldn't be the figure. I felt tense as I shuffled towards the door. Like a beating drum, my heart was banging inside my chest. It wanted to burst out as I wanted to escape from the room. The knocking was getting faster. My heart felt like it was going to give out. Beads of sweat dripped down my head. My eyes darted around the room.
A hand suddenly punched though the rotting wood of the shack door. I shrieked before I could help it. I grabbed at the handle pushing desperately against it yet the door swung a jar. I ran swiftly away from it grabbing at the broth ladle. "You're coming with me right now" a voice boomed. In shock I dropped the ladle to the ground with a smash. It was Conrad.
He stormed right over to me and forced his lips on mine, " Mitzi, I knew you'd still be alive. I have come for you" I pulled away, disgusted. "Oh how I've missed you, there is no other girl in the village that could be my wife but you." I wiped my lips and stared at him in shock. He pulled my hand, I let him. I had no idea what to do. "I tried to look at other girls, but none of them would have suited me. You are the only one of high enough birth to equal mine." He said matter of factly. I just stared, speechless. "I did not realize it at first but after the Vicar said you were an angel I knew you were the one for me. After all an angel is the best and I know that I deserve the best" he then started kissing my outstretched hard and moved his lips up my arm. I let him, in shock then suddenly the situation hit me I pulled my hand away abruptly.
"No" I said. It was a whisper at first but as I heard him coming closer I repeated it gradually getting louder. "No, No NO!" ... " I cannot and will not marry you". He stared at me, gobsmacked. "Mitzi you must. For I have saved you from the devil". His voice shook a little bit, I could see his anger rising. " I belong here Conrad, not with you" I looked up from the floor and into his eyes. " Mitzi" he laughed uneasily."Darling , you're deluded. Come back with me and you will be my bride and you will forget all about this horrible experience" He tentatively put his hand on my arm. "Conrad I said No, I don't want to marry you, I want to stay here." He suddenly took hold of my arm with a firm grip " You don't know what you want, you stupid girl. I will not go back to that village empty handed. You're coming with me and that is that." His grip tightened as he pulled me. I resisted, I wasn't the weak girl he once knew.
Sheer insolence. This girl could have it all. Yet was she willing to throw it away for a beast she barely knew. Finally she was to be rescued only to hurl herself, head first, even deeper. There must be consequences.
How dare she. She must come with me. It's imperative. She has no choice. I will not go back to the village alone. I would be a laughing stock. I promised them I would marry an angel. The puriest and loveliest of them all. This girl was insolent and ungrateful of an obvious and virtuous life I could give her. Any girl in the village would kill for this. Surely she must be deluded. It cannot be true. She will come with me and that is that. I will take her with me, and as the vicar stated I must use any force necessary. I will have her. She is mine.
"You can't do this" I pushed at his chest and he staggered backwards disorientated. I felt my pulse soar as my heart was beating faster and faster. My hands shaking I bent over and picked up the soup ladle. I raised it defensively. If he dared come near me again I wouldn't think twice about using it. I breathed quickly; in a panic. I edged backward. Conrad let out a twisted cackle. I jumped unconsciously. It was a horrible sound. "So be it" he said. A sly half smile playing on his lips. The image was truly disturbing.
He took slow steps forward. A demonic look on his face. Staring at his prey he raised a brutal fist. It was now or never. I struck out my eyes tight shut in a panic. I hit him again and again with the ladle but before I could strike a fourth time his hand suddenly grabbed it. It was him against me. I pulled hard but it stayed unmoved. He cackled once again , manically. Tearing the ladle from my hands throwing it to the floor. The clang left a painful echo. I started screaming as I was staggering back. What was he going to do? I threw out my hands behind me trying desperately to find something.
I scrambled my hands behind me. I turned around and as he was inches away from me, with all my might I threw the soup forward. Thrusting it over his pulsating body. I looked up and stared with false defiance. I had missed. The soup was pathetically splattered over the floor. It crashed down with a dismal slop noise. How could I have missed? Conrad reached out and just like that swung me over his shoulder quickly fastening a bag over my head to muffle my screams. "Gotcha".
However, I was not a feeble naive girl anymore. He could not just pick me up and take me away expecting no fight. I resisted. Kicking hard, hoping that I may inflict some kind of pain. Yet he was stronger than I thought. The bag was slowly suffocating me.I was sick of being the scared victim never able to protect herself from anything.
I needed to think. I couldn't be with Mitzi. It was too much to risk. She reminded me so much of her. She could and should never know.