March On

I dug this out of the depths of my writing and cleaned it up a bit. See how long it takes for you to figure out what this is based off of. . .

Blood marked the trail.

Teeth chattering and hands shaking, the young girl staggered forward. The weight of her infant brother was almost crippling, but she refused to let anyone else take him.

He was all she had left.

Wind howled, and all around them government soldiers rode on their horses and cracked their whips. They yelled insults and screamed into the cold- a futile attempt to keep their faces from freezing.

An old woman in front of the girl staggered and fell. Two men jumped off their horses and rushed over to the woman. Taking their rifles, they beat her as she huddled in a fetal position.

The girl watched without expression. Her mind numb to the savage attack. Pulling her blanket closer around her, she continued walking along the bloody trail.

The woman’s screams stilled, and her body stopped shivering.

She was at peace.

Just like the ten year old girl’s father, mother, and older brother.

The girl trudged on, her feet numb to the pain, and her hands bleeding from holding the leather straps that held her brother on her back.

“Ayoli.”

Child.

The word brought her to a halt, and she looked up into the motherly face of a woman she knew not.

The woman motioned to her back, and the girl’s heart fell.

No. Not him too.

The woman, as though reading her mind, nodded sadly.

He too was dead.

The girl had stubbornly refused to believe it, but now it was undeniable. Falling to the ground, the girl bent her head.

Her tears mingling with the blood and snow on the horrific trail.

Fiction: Seeker

[Key Word: QUOTE(S)]

Blasted horse.

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.

“Father?”

“Belle?”

[DISCLAIMER: This is a fan-fiction off of a scene from BEAUTY AND THE BEAST not an original story thought up by the writer]

Fiction: Master

[Key Word: PAIN]

Well it was battered and scarred,

And the auctioneer felt it was hardly worth his while,

To waste much time on the old violin but he held it up with a smile,

Well it sure ain’t much but its all we got left I guess we aught to sell it to,

Oh, now who’ll start the bid on this old violin?

Just one more and well be through.

The crown fell silent as the bidding began. It was nothing abnormal. ‘Twas simply a lazy Friday afternoon with birds singing outside the windows, and crickets chirping merrily. A spring day, full of new life and rest.

The old man in the back had already bought a couple nick-knacks to add to his failing shop and had fallen asleep. His head rested on the wall, and his hands stayed peacefully on his gilded cane.

His nephew sat beside him, impatient and annoyed. His afternoon had been wasted, and he was none too pleased- Especially as the hard wooden bench was cashing his back pain. Seeing the poor auctioneer stumble through the explanation of the old oddities bored the young man to death, and stared exasperatedly at one of the final items.

The violin.

And then he cried one give me one dollar,

Who’ll make it two only two dollars who’ll make it three,

Three dollars twice now that’s a good price,

Now who’s gonna bid for me?

Raise up your hand now don’t wait any longer the auctions about to end,

Who’s got four Just one dollar more to bid on this old violin?

No one moved. It seemed to the young man that no one breathed either. The old broken piece of junk looked like something his younger brothers would turn into a bonfire.

He glanced at his uncle, wishing he could wake him up to leave, but alas he was worried that he might signal the auctioneer and thus waste four dollars.

The air grew sticky and humid as the calling drew on. It seemed the nephew as though it would never end, when suddenly a stir in beside him brought him to his senses.

His aged uncle looked at the violin, and in one smooth motion rose from he back of the room. All the young man could do was watch.

Well the air was hot and the people stood around as the sun was setting low,

From the back of the crowd a gray haired man,

Came forward and picked up the bow,

He wiped the dust from the old violin then he tightened up the strings,

Then he played out a melody pure and sweet, sweeter than the Angels sing,

And then the music stopped and the auctioneer,

With a voice that was quiet and low he said now what am I bid,

For this old violin and he held it up with a bow.

The man sat in shock as his uncle limped his way back to him. A quiet joy covered the older man’s face, and though he didn’t smile, the  younger one knew he was at peace.

Peace.

Something he’d been longing for his whole life. He had it all- Stable job, lovely wife, beautiful children. He had everything but simple happiness.

Yet his nearly broke and widowed uncle seemed to have it all.

And then he cried out one give me one thousand,

Who’ll make it two only two thousand who’ll make it three,

Three thousand twice you know that’s a good price,

Common who’s gonna to bid for me?

And the people cried out what made the change we don’t understand,

Then the auctioneer stopped and he said with a smile,

It was the touch of the Masters hand.

“My boy,” the old man leaned over to him as the auctioneer glanced at the man in the front. “If a simple human such as I, can create a bearable noise out of such an old ad beautiful instrument- How much more can the Creator and Master of the universe do with his most blessed creations?”

All italics quoted verbatim from The Touch Of The Master’s Hand. (Linked song by Wayne Watson)

Please Don’t Leave Me

[Key Word: BONDS]

“Please don’t leave me,“ her voice cracked, and her plea fell on deaf ears. Fear gripped her heart and twisted it around her worst nightmare.

“Don’t try to tell me what to do!“ he screamed at her. Raising his hand, he smirked to see her cringe.

Pulling back into her tiny dark corner, she shivered and shook. Her bruises and cuts not yet healed from the beating of last night.

“I feed you, I clothe you, I put a roof over your head!“ his face reddens, and his glare cuts through the bubble of protection she’s imagined over herself. “Don’t try to tell me what to do.“

He turned and grabbed a book off the table. Throwing it against the wall, he gave a scream of rage. The book rent a small tear in the wall, and she shuddered as she felt it invade her soul.

Tears filled her eyes and threatened to spill over- It was just too much.

He glanced down at her and scowled. “Aw, don’t go crying now.“ He sneered at her and grabbed her by her arm.

She quaked and was nearly blinded by fear. She barely felt her body connect to the cold floor, her body was too numb to comprehend what was happening.

“Please don’t leave me,“ the plea whispered from between her chapped and shaking lips. Something inside her didn’t want him to leave, no matter how he treated her.

“I’ll do what I want,“ he yelled back at her. Turning on his heel, he stormed out of the room. The door slammed, and the familiar click of the lock rang in her ears.

Grey, black, purple- The colours flooded her vision as her breath started coming back to her. Her leg bled, and her arm was numb.

The bonds on her mind were greater than those on her body, and she gasped for breath as thy tightened.

He’d left again.

“Hello.“

A gentle voice drifted into the dark room like a cool breeze on a hot summer day. It’s comforting tone wrapped her in a blanket of peace and comfort, and the beating of her heart slowed as the shaking quit.

“Hello, dearest.“

Her heart warmed, and the clashing colours in her mind vanished. They were replaced with a single colour of white, with royal purple streaking across it.

A single tear made its way down her cheek.

“Please don’t leave me,“ the plea that had fallen on deaf ears for years, made its way through her lips from her heart one last time.

“My, love, I will never leave you nor forsake you.“

Fiction: The Void

[Key Word: SEARCHING]

Screams fill my head as I gasp for breath.

Wave after wave crashes over me, and I struggle to stay afloat. The words grabb at my shoulders and tear me down, trying to drag me into the endless void of darkness and utter hopelessness.

Struggling to stay on top, I yell and scream into the darkness, fighting with all my might. Never will I succumb.

But it’s so easy.

The whisper of a lie feeds into my mind, and I feel my arms and legs weaken as I try to stay on top. More words and insults bear down on me, and I can barely breathe as I struggle to keep away from the void.

It sucks me towards it, and I flail hopelessly. I’m losing grip and allowing the words to defeat me. Everything negative anyone has ever said about me today feeds the void.

The strength of its pull strengthens and continues to pull. Its persistence refuses to let up, even after what seems an eternity. The pain and weight of the words just pulls me down.

I’m sinking.

The void of depression pulls me deeper, and my eyes are blinded from the light of Hope. I can barely breathe, much less look.

No matter how hard I try, my searching comes up with nothing. Screams that fill my head blind my vision to the light. I can’t see the hands of hope offered to me.

This is why I don’t let myself get caught in my head.

Everything is dark in there.

Fiction: Whipped

[Key Word: PERSPECTIVE]

Pain blurred his vision as his nails dug into the wooden pole.

Sweat streamed down his face and cold salt water burned his back. A criss-cross pattern of red covered his tan back. Shaking, he braced himself for the next crack of the whip.

It rained down mercilessly. 

His mouth forced itself open, and a scream escaped his lips. Tears changed his perspective of the punishment from “slight pain” to “burning pain”. 

It had seemed so great at first. No more swabbing of decks. No more drills. No more seasickness. 

It was a win-win situation. 

Or at least it sounded like it when the sailor first whispered in his ear. That turned out to be one of the worst night’s in his career. 

Just a couple nights later, a couple hours of planning, a hastily packed bag- and he was out of there.

He hadn’t expected them to be so fast and thorough with their search. 

Another blow rained down on his back. 

Slowly, his vision started to darken, and he started slipping to the ground. The last thing he heard before slipping unconscious, was the contempt of his fellow sailor.

“Deserter.”

Fiction: Game On

[Key Word: CROWD]

He took in a deep breath and let it out.

Nervousness racked his entire body, and he forced himself to stop shaking. 

This was what counted. This was what it came down to.

The crowd fell silent.

He glanced up at the flag that was flapping wildly in the wind. Words from his best friend filled his mind as he slowly backed up to prepare.

“Don’t sweat it, man. It’s just a game.”

“It’s the biggest game of my life.”

“Well, life’s a game. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.”

Biting his lip, he leaned forward, waiting for the ball.

“Hike!”

The ball appeared in the hands of his teammate, and he ran for all his worth. Swinging his leg back, he kicked it sky high. . .

. . .and dead between the two yellow poles.

They’d won.

Unlike his best friend.

Fiction: Burned

[Key Word: ROASTED]

Smoke billowed- bringing tears to my eyes.

Hastily I brushed them aside, and continued the monotonous job. I saw him glance over at me, and I prayed the darkness would hide my face.

How long would I be able to keep it on? The mask- How much longer ‘til it slipped?

Another flame jumped into the night sky, and I inadvertently jumped back.

Unpredictable.

Just like everything else in my life.

“Hey, you okay?“

I started again. His voice was gentle and kind, yet I found my hands shaking.

How was I to answer? The words ‘I’m good‘ failed to pass through my lips, and I felt myself compelled to tell the truth.

With a tear sliding down my face, I replied, “I’m dying.“

The silence wasn’t broken until my roasted marshmallow slipped into the fire and burned. Just like my mask.

Slipped off and burned.