LifesDarkFire here with my second Meg and Erik story! I'm very excited to say that it is going to be a chapter story and I am posting the first chapter in honor of finishing my first year of college.
I owe thanks to the reviewers of my first story Monsieur Yo-Yo for asking me to expand on the oneshot which led me to starting this story. I've kept the basic facts and feel for the characters but have changed the age and how our two main characters meet. As for how it ends, you'll just have to read to see. I hope you enjoy this and thank you again to all reviewers of Monsieur Yo-Yo for inspiring me.
Chapter 1: Devil's Child
Julienne Giry at the age of sixteen knew that she shouldn't have given in to the younger ballet rat's excitement to go to the gypsy carnival; she also knew that if they were caught swift and harsh punishment would be brought over them. Even though Julienne was fully aware of her fate, she followed her fellow cohorts down the dark passageway and through the small gate that hid the secret tunnel of the opera house from the public's gaze. She shivered against the night's cold air, winter was coming and in her rush had forgotten to bring a coat with her, and she added catching a cold to her growing list of reasons why she should not be going to the gypsy carnival.
Julienne turned to go back to the safety and warmth of the ballerina dormitory but was caught by two of the younger ballerina's who dragged her with them. "Come on Julienne stop being such a bore!" one exclaimed as she quickly removed Julienne's hair pins that contained her hair in a tight bun. "Let your hair down!" her other captor exclaimed through giggles finding her metaphorical and literal pun too much to handle. Julienne gave up her struggle and nodded in assent as they quickly ran to catch up with the rest of the group.
The gypsy camp surrounded, engulfed and abandoned the senses; fires lit the night throwing shadows on the ground that many claimed were the devil himself. Julienne found herself pressing closer to the group of girls her hands clenching in anxiety as many men leered and flirted openly with the young women who proved all too easy prey.
"Maybe we should go." Celeste, a young girl at the cusp of her thirteenth year, suggested timidly as a man caught the edge of her skirt and gave it a tug. Julienne nodded in agreement as she tried to fight her way from the throng surrounding their group. "Wait!" another ballerina, Isabella cried. "I wish to see the Devil's child!" Julienne's eyes widened in fear as she grasped the small cross that hung from her neck and whispered a quick prayer, suddenly she found herself being pushed into the swarm of Parisians clamoring to enter the tent which held the supposed Devil's child.
Inside the tent it was dark, and the smell of death hung in the air, in the middle of the darkness there stood a small cage in which an animal was emitting small sounds of whimpering that reminded Julienne of the cries of a child. She shivered and hugged herself wondering what sort of beastly ordeal had she been dragged into, when suddenly a man's face lit by a blazing torch loomed out of the darkness. Julienne's breath caught in her throat believing that he was the Devil himself; she clutched her cross tightly in an attempt to ward him off with the golden amulet.
"Come to see the Devil's child have you?" he roared to the crowd which screamed in fear and delight. "Well you'll get your money's worth," his voice dropped to a whisper as his face leered in front of Julienne, "and more my pet, and more." She tossed her head back as he reached out to touch her cheek. He laughed in a brazen voice at her actions and turned once again to the crowd as Julienne shuddered revolted by the brash gypsy man who smelt of strong whiskey. He walked slowly to the animal which lay withering on the straw covered floor, grabbed at its arm and pulled it up to stand, and the crowd gasped at the realization that it was a child they saw. They could see nothing of its face because it was covered by a coarse sack, with only an opening for its eyes. Julienne's throat closed at the thought of a child being abused in such a way, and fought to contain the tears that swam beneath her closed eyes.
"Quickly, quickly gather round to see the Devil's child! Throw your coins through the bars, that's it come on! You've got to pay to get a look!" The gypsy cried as the crowd began to push forward to the bars of the cage. Julienne found herself pressed closely against them and struggled against the crowd, desperate to get away from the gypsy, the carnival and its madness. The gypsy ripped off the sack covering and thrust the child into the front of the cage where it was met by curses from the crowd, screams from the women and an onslaught of coins thrown purposefully at his face. Julienne erupted into tears when she saw the poor boy, ridiculed because God had given him a horrible deformity, this was no Devil's child, just a young boy with a scarred face. The child said nothing; his eyes remained on the ground, as his hands clutched a small toy, a stuffed monkey, to his chest. After what seemed like an eternity to Julienne the gypsy man pulled the cloth sack over the boys head again. The crowd grumbled with the loss of the Devil's child and Julienne felt the pressure on her back slowly decrease as people left the dark tent to see other horrifying exhibits; she looked around for her fellow ballerinas and panicked when she could not find them. Julienne ran from the tent never glancing back at the poor child who was cuffed and then thrown to the floor.
Julienne ran swiftly trying to catch a glimpse of her friends but still could find no trace of them, in her panic she reached to her throat to grasp her cross but felt nothing, not even the thin golden chain she hung it with. Her mind thought back to the tent and she ran back to it, determined to find her precious heirloom.
Julienne ran into the tent her eyes searching the ground for anything that faintly glowed in the darkness, she saw a faint hint of gold by the cage where she had stood and stopped to brush away the dirt that had accumulated, it was there that she found her beloved cross. Sighing with relief Julienne placed it carefully in the hidden pocket of her dress patting it twice for safety when her eyes were suddenly attracted to the cage. The boy stood in the middle of the cage his hands held tightly over a piece of rope as the gypsy man struggled to find his breath, the boy lifted his head to the darkness outside the cage and his their eyes met. He dropped the rope quickly and cowered in fear expecting Julienne to start screaming murder, but was amazed to see her walk slowly up to the bars where she signaled him to be silence as she placed a finger to her lips.
"The keys, can you reach them?" she whispered, pointing to the circle of metal that hung off of the now unconscious man's belt. The boy nodded as he scrambled to the man's side and deftly took the keys off, his eyes glittering with tentative hope. Julienne reached through the bars and took the keys from the boy's hands their hands brushed briefly and she saw him flinch at the brief contact. Tears filled her eyes once again, this boy reminded her of someone, lost in her memories of the past. She flitted to the door of the cage and carefully unlocked the gate motioning quickly to the boy who stared in complete disbelief at the young woman. "Come! I know somewhere safe! Just hurry before he wakes up!" Julienne hissed.
The boy merely nodded grabbed his toy monkey and carefully made his way down the steps of his cage on shaky legs covered in bruises and dirt he took his first steps on solid ground. Once Julienne was sure he had gained his balance she took his grubby hand in hers and slowly lead him away from the only life he had ever known, and into a new one bathed in Parisian moonlight
Thank you for reading please review! I hope you enjoyed the first chapter, hopefully I'll have the second chapter up soon I know that good feedback about this chapter will encourage me to continue.