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PROLOGUE- The Night When It All Began
Ten Years Ago...
The night had been eerily silent. Even the moon seemed to distaste the idea of shining her face down on Earth. The wind was still and nothing stirred for what felt like hours. Then suddenly, as if it had been waiting for a cue, the bells of the abandoned Greek temple began ringing. Who rang them? No one knew. And no one was there to ask.
Was it the wind that was playing with the sounds? Was the wind sent by some force to clang the bells and breathe forth its ominous fate? No one knew.
But wait; there was someone who did know. And she stood there at the side of the deserted street, hidden in the shadows of the alley, dressed in a long dark gown, a hood covering her head. Her face was concealed from view but her eyes were fixed on the silent street. Along with the resounding bells, another sound was heard coming from the end of the road. The sound of a speeding carriage. The dark lady stepped out from the shadows and peered into the distance. The carriage was fast approaching and she could hear the sounds of two people quarreling. And then, everything happened quickly.
The two horses, riding the carriage, wheeled their hasty trot to the left and within a blink of an eye, amidst a lot of noise and shrieks, the carriage toppled along the side of the stone bridge it had been crossing, and fell headlong into the dark river. The last sound that pierced the night had been a little girl's cry. The dark lady stiffened at the impact the carriage made when it hit the waters, and she rushed to the side of the bridge. Her pale hands pressed the stone perch, as she watched the carriage sink into the darkness with all that disappeared with it. Then she heard the sound she had been expecting. Another carriage from the other side of the road. She stepped away from the rail, and stood in the way. The man riding the carriage had been yawning, believing that nothing of hindrance would stand in his way in this late hour of the night. Which was why he had been late in seeing the dark shape of the figure standing in the middle of the bridge, her arms stretched out to him. Cursing aloud, he pulled at the reins and brought his solitary barn horse to a stop.
He hastily got down from the carriage and walked to where the woman had stood. "What were you thinking-?" he began, and stopped midway. There was no one there. It was as if he had seen an illusion. He grunted, "I really need to get some sleep. Sleepless toil is getting my nerves on an edge." He was about to walk back to his carriage where he heard the sound of a child crying. It seemed to echo from below the bridge. Immediately, he rushed to the side and peered down. He almost choked himself with shock at the sight he saw. There, in the dark waters below, was a young child, floating, her little hands clasping around the bobbing suitcase and holding onto it with all her little life. She was crying, he could see, but he wasn't sure if it was a she or he. He didn't wait to contemplate the gender though, and was soon rushing to the spot where the land was nearest to the water, his horse forgotten. He jumped into the water and found that the child had managed to swim to the spot where it was shallow and hence he could rescue her without having to risk his own life.
Gathering the wet child into his arms, he tried to heat her with his warmth. He wasn't certain if the child shivered due to the cold or due to fear. She, for he saw that it was a girl, seemed to be pale with fright but her legs and hands were trembling because of the cold. She had lost a shoe and the suitcase that had maintained her life on the water had sunk after having completed its mission.
"Don't worry, dear," the man tried assuring the child, "everything will be alright." He wanted to ask her about her family and how she hand ended up alone in the water, but he saw that the child was fast slipping into unconsciousness and decided to get immediate medical help. He carried the child to where his carriage was waiting and climbed onto the seat with the child in his arms. Securing her between his legs, he grabbed at the reins and beckoned his horse to sprint back home. The ride was hasty that it was almost a blur, but all he felt was the cold of the child's wet dress seeping through his legs. The child herself, was huddled against his warm chest and fast asleep. That was when he noticed that the little girl was nearly seven or eight, almost the age of his own daughter. A strange pang gripped at his sympathetic heart as he watched the innocent orphan repose in the land of sleep, where she would remain untouched by her fear.
The carriage may have moved away into the forest, but there were a pair of eyes watching it from the nearby fringe of the forest.
These eyes, that belonged to the lady in the dark, then looked in the direction of the nearby town where a festive occasion was being held. She made her way to the place and stood at a distance, watching the huge house where it was being held. Her focus was on a particular spot in the huge gardens encircling the house. The place where the tall rose bushes grew. She heard the sounds of raised voices from among them, and then she saw a third person enter the garden stealthily. More voices were raised and verbal fights ensued. The rage of the fight was drowned in the music and laughter coming from the crowds assembled within the house. The lights hanging all over the house flickered for a moment as if these mechanical things knew something was about to happen. The lady in the dark heard a young boy calling out to his mother. With her ears trained on the fight within the rose bush, her eyes followed the teenage boy who had now emerged out of the door and looked into the garden, searching for someone. The sound of the fight caught his attention, and he looked towards the direction, fear growing on his countenance.
"Mother!" he screamed, as he ran to the spot. But just then a loud shot of gunfire echoed in the air, and the noise from the within the house stopped in wonderment. As he raced to the rose garden, the boy tripped on a flowerpot and fell flat on his face. Without thinking, the lady in the hood had reached her hand out to the boy who was too far for her to reach, but realizing her folly, withdrew her hand and stepped a little more into the shadows. The boy was gathering himself to his feet when a loud thump was heard and another cry pierced the night. "No!" The boy screamed out and ran to the rosebush, not seeing where he was going and crashing right into the third man who now emerged from the bush.
"Its alright, boy," said the man, one bloodied hand caressing the boy's hair, and the other hand holding the boy rooted to where he was and not allowing him to run to the rosebush, "Your father won't hurt you anymore. Destiny has punished him for all the wrongs he has done to you and your mother."
Reflected in the lights from the house, the hidden lady's smirk was sharply contrasted against her pale face, "So you think."
Finally his thrashing hands permitted him to break free from the man's hold. He rushed towards the rose bush and the dark lady vanished into the night, as the boy's weeping tore the night's silence.
I have seen how many plot writers (OS, SS or FF) are adamant for likes or comments if they need to proceed. They do have a point you see. When one writes, one writes from the heart and it is a painful process, especially for me. It's like writing words with my own blood. That is how I've felt all my stories to be like. I always write with my heart, whether it's a post, a reply to a post or comment, an answer for an English test paper or even a simple story. Also, if we get comments we would know exactly what it is people expect of our storyline: do we need to change some features of the plot or characterization? Is the style of writing too fast, slow, simple or complex? Is it a style or genre that you are interested in reading? Because if a story isn't successful, it is better to not waste time writing it and spend that time for more useful purposes. Hence, I would also like to request those who read my post to tell me whether you like it or not. What you liked in it, and what you did not. And when I say comment, I expect FRANK, HONEST comments.
For Chapter One: visit
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