[Key Word: QUOTE(S)]
I stumbled inside, cloak wrapped tightly around me. Falling back against the heavy doors, I pushed with the little strength left in my body. Finality rang through the large room as the doors slammed. Echoes bounced off the walls, leaving me not only breathless, but with fear seeping into my mind.
Taking a step forward, I fell to my knees shivering. With a short cough, I allowed my hands to fall to the ground as well, supporting my weight as warmth raced into my lungs. I bit my lip, drawing blood as I attempted to stand again. Wearily, I made it to my feet and staggered forward.
The temperature warmed slightly, heat emitting from a side room. Wetting my lips and steeling my jaw, I pulled my cloak closer and started towards it. A small cup (or was it a mug?) sat alone at the bottom of the wide staircase that faced the towering double door entry. It’s rim was slightly chipped, and upon closer inspection I discovered it was indeed a teacup, not cup (or mug).
A faint whispering met my ears as I wandered towards the heat-emitting room. The wind blew cool shots of air, ruffling the long purple curtains and throwing back my hood. A moan rode on the back of the drifting wind, and my hands tensed at the sound. Glancing past the door to the warm room, I saw a forbidding spiral of stairs that led. . .to darkness.
Glancing back at the doorway, I crept hesitantly towards the other end of the castle. A couple scraping noises caused my heart to race, and my resolve to waver. No. No, I can’t give up. I have to find him. I have to help him. Repeating the quotes in my mind, teeth chattering and hands shaking, I made my way to the stairs. Carefully, I touched the banister and shot one more glance behind me.
Upon finding no one in pursuit, I held my skirt up a couple centimeters and began the journey up the stairs. With each step, my shoes seemed to get heavier, and the stairs seemed to lengthen in height. My snow covered cloak and hood weighed me down, the melting water already dripping down my back and legs. Pausing on a landing, I brushed aside my chestnut hair and tried to warm my hands by blowing into them.
A loud crash commanded my attention. With a startled gasp, I threw aside caution and weariness to bound up the next set of stairs. Glancing around at the next level, I instantly regretted not confiscating a lamp or candle to use up here. The waning sunlight provided just enough light for me to see where to step, but not enough for me to identify my surroundings properly.
A muffled scream escaped the confines of my hands when I saw the skeleton leaned against the stone wall. Chains clink overhead, and my free hand reaches for the wall, intent on proving to me that this wasn’t just a nightmare. You wanted adventure? The castle seems to mock me. You’ve got it.
Another moan grabs my attention, and in shock I recognise where the sound is coming from. The cold seems to leave in a flash as I race over to the bars. Behind them is a man I know well.
[DISCLAIMER: This is a fan-fiction off of a scene from BEAUTY AND THE BEAST not an original story thought up by the writer]