Reads: 244

 

My hand uncontrollably starts to jitter and the knife starts to cut into her neck. The drops of blood start to fall onto her grey dress as she stays silently still. My hand jitters more violently and the knife digs deeper into her neck. I shut my eyes desperately not wanting to hurt the girl any more and in the darkness I feel my mind moving. It takes me back to the desert, back to the morning we set off. I hear Matt's voice,

“I'm sorry I shouted at you yesterday, it's not your fault. I was scared, exhausted and hurting. I will never do it to you again, I promise.” In the blackness I feel warmth wrapping around me and entangling me.

 

Something hits the floor and I snap back. I hear the girl gasp and I put my hands up reading for an attack. Instead I hear a soft and peaceful voice,

“You need to be more careful.” I watch as she rises up and puts the vase back onto it's stand, she then reaches for a napkin and puts it to her bleeding neck. My eyes stick with her as she bends down and picks up the knife, only to freeze as she points it at my neck, “Who are you and how did you find me?” I swallow,

“I'm. Kai. A student from the train crash.”

“Kai? Last I heard you couldn't talk.”

“I couldn't. But. Things happened. You're only the second person to hear my voice.”

“Second?”

I swallow again, “Yes.”

“Who's the first?”

“A man. He was in the desert.”

“Is he here?”

“Yes.”

“Why are you here?”

I pause for a moment, “Curiosity.” I feel her turn the knife so the edge is picking my skin.

“Why are you really here?” A longer pause falls over me.

 

“Because I don't want to be alone.” Those words almost drive the knife through my neck. But instead I feel it drop away and her soft voice rinse over me,

“No one is ever truly alone.” She says softly, I lift my eyes to watch her tilt her head to one side, slowly remove the napkin and press against the wound with two fingers. She places the bloodied napkin by the knife on the shaft. She then walks over to a dresser and takes out a clean napkin arranging it in the exact same shape of all the others. “I've known hate, I've known prejudice, I've known fear but I've never known loneliness.”

“What are you doing here?”

“Cleaning. Tidying. Thinking. Discovering.” She gives a little smile, “Like a caretaker in an abandoned concert hall.” She giggles silently to herself.

“Why are you in this place?”

“Why would I not be?” She finishes laying the napkin and turns to me, “When you're the only person to know about such a beautiful place you have to admire it.”

“Who are you?”

“Just one of the many, I disappear so easily that I may as well not be there at all.”

“But you're not one of the many.”

“What makes you say that? You don't know who I am.”

“I know that you can see,” She looks at me, “You know with these.” I point at her eyes.

“With what?”

“Your eyes”

“What about my eyes?” I realise.

 

She's blind.

 

“What about my eyes?” She repeates.

“Nothing. I just thought that. Nothing. How did you find this place?”

She smiles, “I didn't have to find it. I grew up in it.”

Anger crosses though me, “But the Monarchs are all destroyed.” I call out but she keeps smiling,

“I'm not a monarch.”

“You're a Blackwood?”

“Sophia Blackwood. Stephen Blackwood was my great, great, great, granddad. Now as you are here would you like me to take you to your man from the desert?”

“You've spoken to him?”

“No, but I heard which way he went from the entrance hall. And I think it would intrigue you to know what he's found.” I follow her out of the dining room and back along the upper gallery, as we walk my eyes widen as the silver patterns running up the walls seem to form a door. We reach the top of the stairs and I stop,

“What's in there?” Sophia turns to me.

“Why don't you find out?” I look at her then I turn back and push against the white-coloured wall.

The hefty door opens and I feel a shudder run down my spine. As I walk through the massive hall it stretches up above me to the dome where the sun beats down onto the smooth marble floor, the colour reflects around the hall clearing it of any cobwebs. At the far end the throne stands on a raised platform, steps lead up to it and above the throne itself stands an owl carved into the stone with fierce eyes fixed on those standing below.

 

Then my eyes turn to the tapestries. Down each side of the hall 3 tapestries hang, all full body portraits so perfectly done that it feels as though they are standing there in flesh and blood. I instantly recognise the faces and I bow, slowly. In the empty hall I say their names,

“Jessika. Elen. Samtha. Benedict. Otto. Hugh.”

 

Each are in beautiful tailored outfits, colour is weaved into the very threads of their clothes.

“Beautiful aren't they?” Sophia’s voice comes from beside me.

“Yes.”

“The first monarchs. The first people who set foot in Kirk.”

“The seers.”

“This is why I love this place. It's so different and beautiful and undiscovered yet it's part of a history that we all know.” I turn to her and watch as her eyes move around the room. How is a blind girl this amazing? How can she see without eyes? Sophia turns to me, “Anyway, do you want to find something even more intriguing?” I turn away and walk out of the room following Sophia. We go back into the entrance and hall and turn left by the brass covered doors. The corridor stretches out in-front of me to a room with an arch covering the entrance. As we get closer I begin to see the bookcases lined by side by side.

We step into the library where the arch above me seems to turn and twist out sideways; it seems to braid itself along the upper shelves of the bookcases and lights lined the ceiling shining down onto each and every book. I could hear Sophia’s hand brushing gently against the books as we walk, our footsteps are muffled by the carpet that sits quietly below our feet.

I hear a muttering and pages slowly creaking as they are gently turned over. I turn the corner and see Sophia looking at the same thing I am, Alex is sat with a large dusty red book in-front of him. The cover reads ‘Poems of the uncovered land’, sat by his left elbow is a rusty gun and in his low voice he is muttering,
“Alex?” I say. He moves slightly towards the gun but he doesn't register me, “Alex?” I say again and his hand moves again to rest on the gun. I see Sophia start to move behind me to the side of a bookcase, “Alex?” I say again.

 

He turns suddenly and I duck as the gun is fired at my head.

“Sorry.” He says quickly and turns back trembling slightly, “The words. They don't make any sense.” Sophia turns her head round the bookcase. Alex silently touches the gun. “Who is this?”

“Sophia.” I say calmly walking to Alex and take the gun from his grasp. I turn to throw it when Sophia grabs it and she shakes her head,

“Don't.” She turns to Alex, “the words don't make sense because you're reading the wrong book”

“Excuse me?”

“The words don't make sense because you're still a child.”

“A child?! Have you seen yourself? Who are you to tell me what to do?” Sophia shuts her eyes and shakes her head,

“Caretaker in an abandoned concert hall with a bird trapped in the curtains.” Alex looks at her confused then looks at me. I close my eyes just long enough to give Alex the message. He looks back to Sophia. “You're trying to read without knowing how to read” Sophia gently tells him as she leads him around the corner.

“What is this? I am not a child! I am not the one who is naïve, you are. You can't even read these books.”

“Neither can you.” Alex stays still but I watch as Sophia gently raises her hands in self defence. “You want to learn?” Sophia lowers a hand to point at a seat, “Sit.” I watch Alex sit as Sophia reaches for a book then sits beside him. I turn from them and notice a box decorated with gold sat on a shelf. I open it to find a pile of neatly folded letters. I take out the top one and examine it. It is very fine, thin paper with a deep red seal on the back of it. On another it is the same only with a yellow seal. I rummage through the letters finding several different coloured seals. I open a letter and start reading it,

 

Dear Teresa,

Since the last time we met I have been thinking deeply about the matter of Riof, I am very fearful about you're lack of concern about this. Simply knowing and watching what he his doing is not enough, we must act immediately and severely. I have met with Charles, Sylvia, Jules and Louis in Alais and we are obstinate that we must end his foul practices for the sake of Chezelle and of it's people. I therefore am informing you of our decision to march on Chezelle and to take it over by force.

 

I do not know where you stand Teresa but know this. The seers that founded Kirk may have been blind to the people but we call upon you to see the light. We will stand with you to help uphold the connection that we strive for. But if you are not willing to stand among you're own people and would rather side with Riof's foul methods, we will been keeping a watchful eye on you. And so will you're people.

 

The King of Roumanix,

 

Nicolas.

 

“We're not the only ones.” I whisper.

“What?” Comes Alex’s confused voice.

“There are other towns, outside our walls.”

“What are you talking about? If there were other cities we would have found them by now.”

Sophia smiles interrupting Alex in the process, “What if you were never told about them?”

Alex turns an angry glance at Sophia.

“I'm going there” I speak in the silence.

“I'm sorry?”

“Don't you talk.” I direct my voice at Alex, “I never belonged here. Not really. What use is someone who everyone is afraid of?” I stop and look at Sophia, “I'm going to find something. Something that's been lost for a long time.” Sophia smiles.

“You can't just take off like that-” Alex stands to continue but Sophia stops him. She turns to me and smiles.

“Here,” she hands me a book. I look down and on the cover it reads, Colours of the World. Then all at once Sophia brings me in close and grips my hand,“Don't be the caretaker,” she raised her mouth to my ear and whispered, “Be the messenger.” she lowers back down and I look into her bright green eyes. And there for a moment she looks back into mine.


Submitted: May 31, 2015

© Copyright 2022 SE Howie. All rights reserved.

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