Monthly Archives: February 2015

The Awakening, part 4

I’m being carried somewhere. I open my eyes and see my father’s face. His eyes look haunted and I feel bad for him. Last time he had that look was when my mother died.

He doesn’t notice I’m awake and carries me to my bedroom. I try to move when he puts me down, but I’m too tired to even lift a finger.

“Father?” He looks at me and he seems somewhat relieved to see me awake.

“Em. What have you done to Brian. And what’s happened to you?” He looks at my bedraggled clothes.

I push down the ire and hurt my father always makes me feel. Why is it that Brian always comes first in his mind when I am his only child? I purposely ignore the question about my half-brother (mostly because I wouldn’t know how to answer it, since I haven’t a clue what I did in his room earlier) and answer his second.

“Well, father. I fell into a lake. I suppose it’s quite normal under such conditions to look like a drowned rat.”

“At least you’re alright and nothing bad happened.” He is probably sincere when he says it, but I can already see that his mind is elsewhere. Worry for my well-being has passed.

“But what about Brian? We specifically told you not to leave the house while he was under your care. But you just had to go for a swim! When Marissa and I got back from the marketplace and were greeted only by an empty house, we were worried sick. What were you thinking?”

I try to get a word in, but he doesn’t give me a chance to defend myself. Not that it’d make any difference even if I could.

“And then he comes running home all alone, like the hounds of Hell were after him, screaming something about monsters and water and you. What did you do that frightened him so badly?”

“I… Father, I’d never…” That’s all I’m able to say before he cuts in. I blink back tears and listen.

“Poor Brian’s been feverish and incoherent for most of the night. If anything happens to him, you shall be held responsible for it. I know you’re jelaous of him, but this time you have gone too far.” He paces back and forth in front of my bed, clearly agitated.

I grow angrier with every word he says and the need to cry  lessens. How DARE he? I have tried to be as good a daughter as I know how to be. I have never uttered a bad word about either Marissa or Brian. At least not out loud. And I really did try to like them at the beginning. Nor have I ever complained about the fact that my own father prefers another man’s son to his own flesh and blood, simply because of the fact that I am female.

“Get out!” It came out more as a growl than actual words.

“What?” He seems surprised, and doesn’t seem to be moving.

“GET OUT!” A gust of wind suddenly blown in my room. It’s so strong that it makes my father stagger on his feet. He gives me a strange look and makes his way to the door with haste. The door bangs shut behind him without him touching it. I look at it’s wooden surface for a while and think.

By the time sleep finally claims my tired body, the candles have all burned out and I have decided on the best course of action for tomorrow.

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The Awakening, part 3

It must be well over midnight by the time I reach home. If I should even call it that anymore.

This pretty little house was built by my grandfather, and it used to be my favourite place in the whole world. I remember being happy here with my parents, before my mother passed away. When I was about ten, my father remarried. I gained a new (and definetly worse) mother and a step-brother. Brian was five years old at the time, but he was just as much of a beast back then as he is now, seven years later.

It wasn’t very bad at the beginning, although I could see that my new family members resented me from the moment we met. I have to admit that Marissa, my new mother, is a very good strategist. It only took her about a year and a half to make my father (and most of the village) see things from her point of view. Of course, my dearest brother helped a lot with that, by getting into all sorts of trouble and blaming it all on me. Funny, though, that I’m still the one who has to watch over him.

I near the house with some trepidation. What did Brian say when he got home? I don’t know what to expect, and life has taught me there are no such things as good surprises.

I open the front door and enter the kitchen. I’m amazed to find it empty. But just as I begin to wonder, I have my answer. A loud shriek comes from the back of the house. Brian!

I’ve never cared much for my step-brother, but as I run toward his room, I’m filled with dread. Please, please let him be okay. Did he touch the water after he pushed me in?

The door to Brian’s room is open and as soon as I see him, I have my answer. He looks like he’s delirious from a fever, but I’m not sure if any natural illness would stike so quickly and with such force. His mother and my father are at his bedside, and quite frankly they look scared as hell.

As I cross the threshold they notice me and jump up, looking even more afraid. Not the reaction I was expecting. Weird. I rush up to my step-brother’s bed, and our parents scurry away like they think I have the plague or some other such disease. As I touch Brian’s forehead, he turns to look at me. His skin is red and very hot, and his golden locks are damp  from sweat. But the emotions in his gaze scare me the most.

“Sis… I… apologise. I never… wanted to… kill you…” I can see how difficult it is for him to talk and my eyes tear up. I can’t say I love, or even like him, but I’ve never wished him harm.

“Hush, I’m okay. You need to rest if you want to get better.” I put my left hand on his chest and that’s when I feel IT inside me again. It’s magic that burns him. His body is too weak to hold it. Only the strongest can survive the Dark Lake, and he is nothing but a weakling. It says the words with disdain, as if Brian was nothing more than a bug, too unimportant to care about. I try to close my mind from the strange voice in my head, and concentrate on Brian.

That’s when I realise there is something pulsating under my palm. In addition to my step-brother’s hartbeat, I mean. I close my eyes and instinctively concentrate on the strange pulse. It’s not long before I feel my hand warm up and in another few moments I could swear it’s burning. I hear screams all around me, but I won’t open my eyes nor do I remove my hand from Brian’s chest. The heat in me is now almost unbearable, and my knees buckle.

I don’t know how much more of it I can bear, but I’m not sure how to stop whatever is happening. Then I can sense IT doing something to me. I feel much cooler, and there is no pain. But now there’s lots of swearing anc cursing toward my person. I realise it’s all inside my head and almost laugh. After a few seconds the strange connection between me and Brian breaks and, not surprisingly, everything goes black again.

The Awakening, part 2

I think I’m drifting between sleep and conciousness. It’s my favourite place after getting a beating. The pain feels less here, and my mind is free to wander and dream, without the bounds of the sad reality that is my life. But this time the pain that radiates through me is worse than it’s ever been before. Even my loungs hurt. Why…?

As I rember my last concious moments, I open my eyes with a start. The Dark Lake! I try to sit up, but someone pushes me back .

“No, you need to rest. It’s too soon for you to get up.” I look at the man sitting beside me on the grass. Funny how I didn’t notice him before. I’m not usually that careless with my surroundings.

It’s dark already, and the man is illuminated by a small fire near us. He seems to be very old, and is wearing priests’ robes. His hair is almost white, and he has dark eyes. I can’t make out the colour since there isn’t enough light.

Ignoring the old man’s advice, I try to sit up again and this time succeed. The pain is receding quickly, but now that it’s almost gone, I feel something strange inside of me. Like something is stirring. I rub my chest, hoping that I’m imagining things, but the sensation increases and something whispers inside my head. Look at the man… Look… More closely… But don’t run if you want to live…

I take a shuddering breath. No sane person hears voices in their head. But I can’t help raising my eyes. The man is staring at me with a strange look in his eyes, and as our gazes meet, I see it. He has pointy ears, incredibly blue eyes, and his face looks Elfin, reminding me of the old pictures I’ve seen in my aunt’s house. I blink and the vision is gone. He looks completely human to me again.

There is a duffel bag next to him and as he reaches for it, I tense, almost expecting him to pull out a knife and butcher me on the spot. Instead he presents me with a loaf of bread.

“You should eat, girl. You look half-starved.” He holds it towards me, but when I want to raise my hand I hear IT again. DON’T! I lower my hand with a start and decline the offer.

“I am grateful for the offer, but a man that directly serves our Gods should not go hungry because of me. I apologise if I seem rude, but I ought to go now, my mother is probably already worried sick about me. I must return home immediately. Thank you for…” What, exactly? Watching me while I was out cold? Not even giving me a blanket to warm me in the chilly night while he himself was seated on at least three? But then again, it was most likely him who pulled me out of the lake so he did deserved my gratitude for saving my life. “Everything.”

As I get up, I realise that my limbs are stiff from lying on the ground for more than half a day. Provided it still was the same day that my brat of a step-brother pushed me into the lake.

As I turn my back on the man and the Dark Lake behind him, I feel his calculating gaze on my back until I’m completely shielded by the trees of the sacred forest.

The Awakening, part 1

There was a time when the Elfin people roamed the world. There were stories of their battles with the dragons. Both sides were fierce and formidable. And deadly – most of all for us. Humans were only collateral damage to them. They would wipe out cities, even kingdoms, and not even realise or care about it. The Great Wars wrecked havoc on the land, destroying a lot of my kind. But not all of us. Some of us were gifted and could hold our own. Not nearly enough to pose any threat to either dragons or elfs. Only enough to help us survive. Pathetic, I know.

Luckily for us, though, they destroyed each other. At leatst according to the stories. I wouldn’t know if any of it is true – it supposedly happened more than thousand years ago, and the stories are nothing more than a way for our parents to scare us away from getting into trouble. Not that it’s ever stopped my step-brother from doing exactly what he wants.

“Let’s go back, Brian. You know we’re not allowed to go to the Dark Lake. Just once, please listen to me.” I’ve been at it for the past twenty minutes, but does he listen? No, instead of walking he now begins to run toward his goal. Damn it.

“Brian!” The little devil never does what I tell him to. I am supposed to watch over him and he always, always gets me into trouble. Last time I was whipped so hard I couldn’t lay on my back for nearly a month.

“Brian, please! Come…” But he has already reached the lake and I stop right behind him.

There is something strange about the Dark Lake. It is in the middle of the sacred forest, where only the priests are allowed to go, so not many people have seen it. But those who have, are never the same again. There are stories about it, all of them frightening and without a happy ending.

I thought I would fear this place, but to me it seems peaceful. The surface of the lake is completely still and I can see it reflecting everything perfectly, as if it was a mirror. Without thinking, I step closer and crouch beside the water’s edge. I am surprised to see that the water is very deep even near the land. I can’t see the bottom at all. Dark Lake is a very suitable name. Having forgotten Brian, I slowly lean closer and closer to the surface. I am careful not to touch the water though. Wouldn’t want to end up crazy or dead.

Not daring to speak out loud, I began whispering. “This is so…” I don’t even have time to react as I’m pushed into the water and I accidentally breathe in some of the water. I flounder helplessly and my loungs feel like they’re on fire. The water is ice cold against my skin and my vision turns black around the edges. Or maybe I’m just sinking farther down. I don’t know, and I find it increasingly difficult to care. I no longer know which way is up.  The last thing I see before my eyes close is a pair of huge red eyes glowing in the dark, staring at me unblinkingly.