Something I wrote back in 2008/02/04. It’s part of a story.
The day is clear and beautiful as dewdrops still clung to the blades of grass trampled underfoot by the man who walked carelessly along the unmarked path in the dark woods. He is tall and slim – not skinny but pale, as pale as the creamy surface of the moon that sometimes could be seen in the sky during such a beautiful day as this. His long hair fell right below his waist, tied in a ponytail braid without a source of a tie. Loose strands of hair framed his angular yet long face. His eyes are a dreamy deep chestnut tinged with goldenrod streaks. His thin lips curled into a grin as thoughts of joy danced through his head.
He walked towards the edge of the dark woods, towards the village but not close to it. His destination is somewhere different than neither the quaint shops of arcane and modern delicacies in the midst of the village nor the huge architectural wonders of the city. He took a turn and walked forward, up a grassy hill that sloped more like the side of a deep cliff instead of a small rounded bump. He soon reached a modest residence that stood alone at the top, its white columns holding together two stories of which were painted bright white but had aged to an almost dirty speckled white where some patches of the house were covered with more dirt than the rest. The house had no windows visible and no entrances or exits save a door that stood in between two post classical columns.
He stepped up to the door and slightly raped three times, pausing to speculate whether the owner is home or not before lifting his hand to rap again. Suddenly, the door opened and he peered into the dimly lit home as his hand paused in mid air, waiting to rap again at the door.
Another man, a taller man with blonde hair and flaming green eyes looked at him nervously while tapping an irritated foot against the hardwood floor. “Yes?” He asked, raising an eyebrow in question of the man on his doorstep.
The first man mumbled a few words audible only to those within an arm’s reach and the owner of the residence opened the door wider and allowed him entry. The door shut behind as the first man walked inside with a smile, his mouth chattering and continuing on the conversation.
It is nearly dusk now and all around is quiet. No noisy beetles or chirping crickets abounded. The very beginnings of stars appeared overhead along with the moon to light the way for travelers but the house stood motionless. Then the door opened and the man with the long hair walked out, a look of satisfaction plastered on his face as he dragged behind him a huge mahogany box. The door shut itself as the man past and it once more stood still, resembling a sleeping giant.
The man walked the same way he had come and through the dark woods he ventured. The night sky changed the shadows of the woods and an eerie dread replaced the look of happiness on the man’s face. He is nervous now, glancing around at every stir within the woods; beads of sweat started to form on his face as he walked forward. The soft click of a tree branch or an old tree limb that cracked underneath the weight of a passing critter stopped him in his tracks. He stood still and cold, with the passing of the breeze, as a statue in the middle of the dark woods. His eyes scanned his surroundings, terrified of what he should find. A moment passed. Then more and more time passed and no creepy shadow came to pester him. He moved slowly and walked, his pace quickening as if he is silently being chased by some unseen presence.
The edge of the box hit against an ancient tree as the man stopped and from behind the tree, pulled out a shovel. The moistness of the dirt made it easy to scoop out and pile beside the roots of the tree. The rain the night before drenched the earth and made it easier for the man to dig deep and fast. It didn’t take very long until he dug enough and seeing that, he laid the shovel against the side of the tree as he shoved the box into the hole. It hit the bottom of the hole with a thud, a soft sound that barely could be heard but was rather felt by the swaying of the contents inside.
Reaching down, his fingers gently clasp the silver chain and ran it through thumb and forefinger, feeling the smoothness of the chain. His fingers stopped momentarily to outline the detail of the charm before he caught a glimpse of green.
The man with the green eyes stared intently at him, those bright green eyes flaming with anger. The man with the long hair bent down over the box with a casual grin. He bent down closer into the box to unclasp the necklace and as he did so, the man with the green eyes whispered something into his ear. He shrieked back from the box as if in pain and the flames within the green eyes of the man in the box burned into the depths of his soul. He gripped his head in agony and fell onto the ground, gasping for air.
It was a moment before it all faded and the man with the long hair stood up once more. He took the necklace and stuffed it into his pocket, a silver necklace with a silver charm. He laughed at the man in the box. The man with the green eyes was tied at the wrists and ankles with heavy rope. Although his mouth was not gagged, he did not speak. He only stared with unblinking eyes.
The man with the long hair spat into the box three times, took the shovel and poured dirt back into the box, starting from the foot of the box and working his way up to the face of the man with the green eyes. As he lifted the shovel high in the air, heaping full of rich black earth, he grinned at the man with the green eyes – those flaming green eyes which were all bright and vibrant looked back a lifeless and dull green, cloudy and weary. The man hesitated before tipping the shovel over to pour dirt on top of the man in the box. He heaved dirt back and forth, filling up the box and soon, filling up the hole that he had dug. He patted the earth with the backside of the shovel once his task is finished and smiled to himself; a hand deep into the inner reaches of his pocket, fingers intertwined with chain and charm. He threw the shovel behind the tree and spat three more times on the freshly buried grave. Satisfied, he began to walk away from the grave, the box, the tree, and the memories of the man with the green eyes. He walked farther and farther until it all disappeared behind him, nothing more than a forgotten memory that is too forgotten to be remembered.
He walked until he reached the edge of the woods and saw the shadowed outline of the village ahead. Stepping forward, he is thrown back into the woods by unseen hands. His body throbbed and convulsed until he is so distorted that he did not know which arm was where and which foot was there. The pain spasms down his body from head to toe in great waves of anguish and he cried out horribly. His eyes burned and he longed to dig them out of the sockets if he could find a way to signal a hand to will itself towards his face. Tears ran down his cheeks and his endless screams of agony went unheard.
When it was all over, he laid in a heap in the woods, a meter from the edge of the village path. His head was bent underneath his back, broken oddly to one side while his legs twisted and curled here and there. His arms were twisted in unnatural positions and his eyes glistened with tears as the chain in his pocket is still clutched safely in one hand. Death is only a small thing but for him, the necklace had brought him more than death; it brought him the loss of his freedom.
Those big brown eyes rolled back into his head and as the whites appeared, his eyes closed on its own. His body stiffened and his mind ran away to dance with the nymphs of the distant waterfall. Death took him, in those clawed hands, and carried him away on threads of wispy blackness.
A moment later, the man with the long hair blinked. His fingers slowly – and painfully – lifted his legs from on top of his arms. He managed somehow to untwist himself, to bend into place what was bent out of place, and to snap his head back into its rightful position. He muttered as he sat on the cold earth; holding both his hands before his eyes, he tested each finger to see if they worked.
Cursing, he got up and walked towards the path again, towards the edge of the village. With one foot brushing the outside of the dark woods, in mid step, he is thrown back with such force that he landed somewhere that he did not recognize. He cringed at the sound of something broken as he hit the dirt floor. He found himself okay although he is not spared the pain from impacting the earth. He bent his foot back into place and reconnected his spine, muttering curses into the darkness. Somewhere in the night, he could hear the man with the green eyes laughing at him. He cursed the man with the green eyes and tried to find his way back to the edge of the dark woods. He began walking, only to find himself amongst moving shadows and nothing more. He came to the conclusion after several attempts that he is lost; not only lost but damned as well.
It is past dark now and she worried about him. She sat upon the white loveseat, her legs tucked neatly under he tiny frame. She sips freshly brewed hot tea made from the pink and purple tea flowers that bloomed on the top of the still lake, nestled in the woods, hidden behind rock and waterfall. She brought the teacup to her lips, two fingers resting on the tiny handle, and took a sip or two. The hot liquid warms her as it passed through her throat. She sat still; the only movement came from the steady lifting of the teacup. Her eyes glance out the living room bay windows often as she hoped to catch sight of him walking towards her front door. Her long black hair hung down her shoulders and spread itself upon the brocaded loveseat.
This is not the first time that he has been late but he has never been this late before. She thought back to their last conversation and was lost deep in thought when there came a knock at the door. Time had passed and it is late morning when he arrived. She got up slowly, deliberately, and set her teacup upon the saucer that rested at the edge of a thick cherry oak table. She did not rush but glided towards the door with a smile on her face, thinking of how she would hug him instead of scold him for worrying her so. She is happy enough that he is safe and sound.
The door opened and she looked at him a moment, a bit confused and a bit bothered by the way he looked. His clothes carried dirt in almost every crevice and fold; somewhere along the way, he needed a shower badly. The smell of damp earth clung to him and she guided him upstairs to use her bathroom instead of turning him around to go home. When he finished and came downstairs with the new clothes that she had set out for him, she set out a second cup of tea for him on the table. He found her sitting on the sofa, her eyes smiling at him while she sips hot tea from her own cup.
He sat himself down beside her, not too close and not too far. He thanked her and took a big gulp of tea, a bit clumsily of manners, before whispering to her. He whispered of things unknown, things that made her eyes grow wide with fright. She caught herself before she screamed at his words. Her voice fell to into a broken whisper as she asked him where he had been and what he had been doing. He shook his head at her then fumbled with something in his pocket. She drew back from him, anticipating whether she should jump out of harm’s way or whether she would faint at what he brought forward.
With sad eyes, he withdrew a thing from his pocket, holding it in a closed hand; he held it out to her. She strained to see inside his hand but she could not see past his fingers and she longed to see what it is that he would show her. His fingers opened, palm up, and she saw a shiny thing in his grasp. Tears filled her eyes and she clasped the shiny object in her own palm and recognized it to be her own. She couldn’t stop the tears and she fell against the loveseat sobbing. Her hands still clutched the object, pulling it towards her heart as he leaned in to hold her and comfort her. Through tears, she drew away from him and bid him to leave. He hesitated before nodding his head low and showed himself out the door.
She lay on her side against the cushions of the sofa, her legs drawn up towards her chest, pressing against the hurt and pain. Her sobs softened to quiet whimpers. She could hear him leaving, walking away from her house back into the dark woods. She did not move. The day passed and morning came but she had neither gotten up from the sofa nor did her daily chores around the small house. She can hear the garden whisper and scream for her but she did not answer. She can hear him back again, on her doorstep, steadily knocking and she still did not answer. He left after seeing that she would not come. But the next day passed the same way. The same voices heard, the same knocking, the same screaming in her ears. She drowned the noise out with her own crying, coming from deep within her.
The house felt empty and she felt alone. Lying, she found herself escaping into dreams – dreams of now distant memories that faded too fast for her to grasp a hold of. Even in sleep, tears rolled down, wetting the expensive upholstery as she wandered away from reality into the space in between. She did not venture outside, nor did she venture into her garden where the weeds took root, overtaking her crops. Wild vines climbed and settled themselves over her house in tight overlapping rows. For a year, everything stayed the same. For two years, no one has seen a trace of her. The flowers that once grew in her garden and filled the yard with a sweet fragrance shriveled and died underneath the thick carpet of weeds and vines. Three years passed and she is forgotten; time passed and it continued until the dark woods swallowed her home and her garden. There is no presence of anything inhabitable as the woods reclaimed a part of itself that had once been infected but now healed.
Ameggo, that charming child with the curly brown hair, stared up at Maeroleez and grinned. His master is happy and as long as his master is happy, he too is content. They entered a home in the middle of the dark woods and as soon as the door shut, he could feel a change in the atmosphere. Ameggo stopped talking of his adventures with his only friend Keera and watched silently at his owner.
Maeroleez stood quiet by the door for a moment and when he turned around, Ameggo – frightened by the gleam in his eyes – backed into a corner of the house, crawling underneath the ragged quilted cover that he slept with. The man came swiftly and grabbed the child by the throat with one hand and held him up against the wall. The child struggled but he could not free himself from the tight grasp. He dared not try to claw his master’s hands if he valued his life.
Those big amber brown eyes welled up with tears as Maeroleez tightened his grip around the child’s neck. Ameggo pleaded and begged but the man only lifted him higher, laughing, watching the child struggle to no avail. Ameggo watched as his master’s other hand balled into a fist and struck hard against his own left cheek. Pain swept through him and Maeroleez, watching him in pain, the big teardrops streaming down his face, only made his want to hurt the child increase. The man felt stronger, more powerful than the child who desperately tried to free himself from his owner’s clutches. He hit Ameggo again and again, each time, the child cried out in pain, satisfying the man’s twisted lust.
He slammed the child into the far corner. Ameggo hit the wall with a thud, sliding down, hitting the wooden floor with another loud thud. He watched as the child whimpered and curled himself into a ball in that corner of the house; soft choking sobs came as he walked towards the child.
His hand touched Ameggo’s shoulder and the child jumped back afraid. In a pleasing voice, he coaxed the child into his arms. He gently rocked the patted the child’s head.
“Hush now.” He whispered as Ameggo clutched tightly to him, still sobbing. “It hurts me so much more to hurt you. I have told you before not to destroy her things. Please listen dear Ameggo. Hurting you hurts me so much more and I don’t even want to hurt you to begin with.”
He held the child and rocked him until he stopped sobbing.
“You’ll behave this time, won’t you?”
Ameggo stared into those deep brown eyes, a different color from his own. He nodded his head in agreement.
“Good.” Maeroleez smiled a wide smile at the child. “I’m hungry. Let’s eat!”
Ameggo smiled too and swallowed the last of his tears. He believed every word that was said to him. He forgot the pain and the hurt; he traded the hatred for happiness as he followed Maeroleez into the kitchen. All the while, Maeroleez chattered in laughter and Ameggo laughed along too.