Chapter 3: The Beginning

Chapter 3: The Beginning

A Chapter by Kayla

As Mihaela spends more time in the village, the mysteries pile up and she becomes more paranoid and concerned.


Chapter 3: This Must be the Center

Mihaela ventured downstairs after she was fully satisfied that her room was in proper order for the night. It was far past a decent hour and sleep was calling to her, but even more insistent than that was the urge to find out more about the town. She padded down the stairs in the fur slippers her brother, always a handy person, had made for her on her birthday. Her mother had, of course, brought forth a storm when she had learned her eldest son, the next man of the household, had been doing something as unmanly as stitching. Every time Mihaela wore them now she not only remembered her brother, tall and happy and divine, but was also given a flash of bitter happiness to recall how abysmally outraged her mother had been. Try as she did to suppress it, it was always the forefront feeling.

She reached the bottom of the stairs and followed the voices towards the parlor where a tiny fire was crackling in the stone fireplace therein. She saw a middle-aged woman first, sitting on a rocking chair with her hands crossed tightly together in her lap, staring off into the distance. She seemed to not register a single thing about her, and Mihaela had the urge to shout just to see if the woman would hear. Beside the fire was the old woman, her hands outstretched to feel the warmth of the dancing flames play over her skin.

“I thought you said you wished for water,” Mihaela found herself recalling before she could stop herself.

The old woman cackled. “Yes, well, I will have fire until then. I am old and prone to get cold.”

Mihaela nodded her head as if everything they had talked about and were talking about now because of it made complete sense. Turning to the other woman, she dipped her head politely. “I don’t believe we’ve met. I am Countess Mihaela of Limerick.” The woman didn’t seem to hear her, continuing to stare off into the fire. Mihaela stared at her, waiting for the zombie-like woman to respond or at least seem to notice her standing there.

“Pray tell, what is wrong with her?” Mihaela finally inquired.

“Nuthin’ you need concern yerself with, now.” the old woman insisted with a  mumble that, nonetheless, relayed a stubborn tone. Yet another thing Mihaela wasn’t used to being met with- defiance. She wondered how often the people in this town had met royalty and almost laughed when she considered what would have happened had the old woman taken that tone with her mother.

Throwing all thoughts of her mother aside, Mihaela looked suspiciously between the pair before crossing to stand before the admittedly attractive, yet haunted, woman. When Mihaela got close enough to see the woman’s eyes she was shocked by how brokenly empty they were. They fell flat onto Mihaela like a lover’s whispered lie. Their shallow graves were devoid of any light- it had long been replaced by an inky darkness that drove all else from them. If eyes were truly the windows to the soul then the woman’s had long fled.

“Hello, miss?” Mihaela said softly as she knelt down beside the woman, reaching out to place her hand against the ladies forehead in concern. She wondered if the woman had been stricken by some sort of fever.

The lady finally reacted, reeling back as the hand came into sight.

“No!” she screamed, and Mihaela flinched back at the abrupt and piercing noise, falling back on her hands with a tiny gasp. Finally the woman, her face now ghostly pale as though it was a spirit that now sat before Mihaela, noticed Mihaela.

“Who are you?” the woman demanded furiously as she stood up.

“I’m- I’m- I’m…” Mihaela stuttered, for once caught off guard.

“This is Countess Mihaela, a visitor to the town.” the old woman told the other quickly, placing an odd emphasis on visitor.

“Is that so?” the woman, slightly pacified, responded.

Mihaela stood up, brushing off her robe. “Yes, I arrived with my parents to go visit the Lord of these lands but I am afraid the pass is blocked.” she explained.

“You know nothing of fear, and evidently none of manners, either. Is it your habit to so casually touch people?” the woman demanded.

“I’m quite sorry, I was just concerned-”

Mihaela tried to apologize to the woman but she was cut off with a wave of a hand. She blinked her eyes rapidly, trying to see if she truly was awake. The kind of treatment she was receiving was not at all what she was used to, sheltered and privileged as she was.

“I don’t need to hear it. Please just don’t do it again. You scared me…” the woman said tiredly before slowly sinking back into her rocking chair, going back to staring blankly across the room. Mihaela licked her lips nervously.

“Don’t mind her, she has just been under a lot of pressure lately,” the old woman comforted as she went up to Mihaela and pulled her away from the strange woman. “Best to leave her be.”

“I don’t understand anything that’s going on here,” Mihaela said brokenly.

“You’ll come to.”

“What does that mean? All I’m met with are abstruse statements and strange promises. I’m not sure I want to find out anything, after all!” Mihaela touched a hand to her spinning head as the world around her began to whirl.

“Everything in me is telling me that I should have never come to this place,” she finished once she had calmed down.

“What is it that tells ye ye should have never come here?” the old lady asked with a strange inflection.

“I don’t know, a feeling.” Mihaela replied, suddenly as tired as the woman in the rocking chair had appeared to be. The old woman gave Mihaela a considering look.

“I was wondering if- if ye would tell me somethin’ of yer God.” the old woman suddenly asked in a hushed whisper, glancing almost nervously about her.

Mihaela looked at the woman in surprise for a moment, considering. It didn’t take her long. It was her duty to spread God to those who did not yet know His glory. She grasped the woman’s hand tightly. “It would be my deepest pleasure,” she told her sincerely.

She led the woman to her room and began to tell her of God. The woman listened for only a moment, not even letting Mihaela get through the first few verses of Genesis, before interrupting.

“So he created everything?”

“Yes, that is correct.” Mihaela replied simply.

“Even the light?” the woman asked as she leaned closer.

Mihaela smiled, “Yes, on the seventh day.”

“And what of monsters?”

Mihaela’s brows came together in puzzlement as she tilted her head. “Whatever do you mean? Do you mean Satan?”

“Is that your word for them?”

“Um, I- I suppose they are interchangeable, yes.” Mihaela replied uncertainly.

“So what does it mean if there’s a place where the light never reaches?”

“If such a place exists then I’ve yet to hear of it.” Mihaela replied with a charming smile.

“Yer going to the castle. You’ll see that such a place does. That castle is a place where the sun never does shine.”

“That’s not possible.” Mihaela told the old woman sternly as she rose from where she had been sitting on the bed.

The woman continued on as if Mihaela had said nothing. “If yer God is real and what ye say is true, then it’s a place where God does not tread, but monsters- they do.”

“Monsters aren’t real!” Mihaela insisted fiercely, now peeved by the woman’s behavior. She was willing to believe something was wrong with the village, but she was not ready to put any stock into such fanciful stories.

“You’d best work on yer prayers before ye go to that place. And hide yer cross. He won’t like it. If that cross be truth and not a myth as I believed, then that means it really could be a way out.”

“I’ve no idea what you mean and no longer any interest. Please leave. I’m afraid I’m too tired to continue talking.” Mihaela insisted forcefully, and it was only a partial lie. She really was tired; she was tired of trying to decode the lady’s ramblings. Why the lady would try to say Mihaela needed to hide her cross baffled her. What she meant when going on about sunshine and monsters was even more of a mystery.

“Yes, ye’d best rest up while ye can. You have a trying time ahead of you. Good night.”

Mihaela watched the woman as she retreated, surprised that the people in the village were able to acquire decent manners, after all.

© 2017 Kayla

Author's Note

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Added on November 1, 2017
Last Updated on November 4, 2017
Tags: Paranoia, fear, worry, mystery, suspense, dementia, insanity




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