Unfair Trial

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Vivian Ferox is a young girl living in the 1600s. She has been accused of witch craft and for that she must undergo a long journey to face her sentence. She'll delv deep into herself looking for comfort, but what will she find?

Short story: Unfair trial

Part 1

VivianFeroxwas a young girl of 24. Three men had tried to rape her in her village last night. She had killed them; it was an accident but the villagers had accused her of being a witch, and she had been sentenced to death in the most evil of ways; she was to be locked in a secret room where no one could find her, and left to rot.

Vivian awoke in a cold stone prison cell on the morning of her sentence. The cell was no bigger than 3 meters long and 2 wide. She had been given no bedding, so she had been made to sleep on the cold, damp stone floor. Her back felt bruised and tender from lying on the uneven stones. The black and purple bruises on her chest that she had seen appearing the night before were tell-tail signs that the men had damaged her ribs. She slid her hand down over her dress to the ribs on her left side and fingered them gingerly, then she sat up and stretched her legs out, recoiling when her muscles sent a twang of pain through her. She was no taller than 5 foot 4 so she barely covered half of the tiny room she had been given. As she fingered the tender lump that had risen on her cheek she cussed the men who had done this to her. Why was this happening to her? Those men had done this, yet she was being punished… By death! As Vivian sat huddled at the wall of her cell she felt tears welling up in her deep brown eyes. She was in so much pain; her arms and legs ached from kicking and flailing and the bones in her chest caused her pain when she drew breath. Vivian sat there for a while thinking about all the things she could have done wrong to deserve to be punished in this way. Eventually she wiped the tears from her pale cheeks and carefully rose to her feet, peering out of her cell bars, pressing her delicate features against them. She could see a thick wooden door to her right, up a flight of steps. There was a window the size of a fist at the top which shone a dull light through; dawn must be approaching. Vivian had been told yesterday that guards would take her from her cell at day break, and they would start a long journey to a secret room which would become her grave.

Her long white dress flowed around her legs as she started to pace her cell. Vivian always paced when she was anxious. She hated waiting, and waiting for this was even worse than you could imagine. She had tried to look for an escape route the night before but had failed. Now she was out of options and nearly out of time; what else could she do? She flicked her long brown curls over her shoulder and finger-brushed them while she thought; ignoring the cuts and scrapes on her hands that had barely started to scab over and sent spikes of pain through her each time she made a stroke. She could taste the strong tang of iron from the cut on her lip, and shecouldn’tthink past the hate she had for the men that put her there.

Just then, she heard the faint sound of keys jangling outside as the key was jammed into the lock, and then the door flew open spilling light into the dank, dark pit she was stood in. She heard men’s armoured foot-falls sounding down the steps and she stepped backwards, flattening herself against the wall, ready to resist; her heart hammering in her chest. “Not yet, it’s too soon!” she thought as two men appeared at the bars of her cell. They noisily opened the lock, and then they stepped in, taking a good long look at her.

One of the guards said to the other, grinning, “Hey, she’s a pretty one. It’s almost a shame she has to die. I’d have liked to have had a bit of fun first.”

The other guard retorted, “You want to be careful. Didn’t you hear what she did to the three poor sods that wanted some fun with her the other night? She burned the skin right off their bodies. They said the smell was hideous.”

Vivian felt a wave of guilt and nausea ripple through her at the mention of the state the men were found in. She couldn’t remember doing it; she had awoken amidst their smouldering corpses and had been so shocked that she had got up and fled from the scene as fast as her injured legs would carry her. Unfortunately for her someone had seen her fleeing and had alerted the towns guard, who then tracked her down and took her into custody without so much as a question.
“Second thoughts, I think we should just get this delivery over.” The first guard replied, grin quickly vanishing as he played the scene in his head.

They both reached out to grab an arm. Vivian sidestepped one but the other hand landed hard around her forearm. She twisted trying to get free but he was too strong. The other guard tried to seize her arm again and succeeded, and then Vivian was dragged struggling from her cell, her legs flying, kicking at anyone she could reach. They dragged her up the steps and outside where a horse was waiting to start its journey, pulling a huge iron cage; the cage was an iron prison made for her. The prison door was opened and she was propelled inside with so much force that her head hit the bars at the back, sending a shock wave of pain through her that made her vision blur. The guards bolted the door shut, sealing her in and one gave an order to the driver to start moving. Then she passed out.

Part 2

When Vivian awoke, they were in a forest. She looked up slowly, trying not to attract attention to herself and saw that the forest they were in stretched in all directions for as far as she could see. How far away was this secret place?

The trees all looked the same; they had huge, thick trunks that were covered in moss, mushrooms and ivy that spiralled all the way up to the top. The old and weathered trees cowered down from over 50 feet above, watching the puny trespassers bellow. As Vivian was hit by a breeze passing through she could smell the sweet summer air and the dirt being trodden up by the guards; but that was all. The ominous silence suddenly struck Vivian as a pang of unease and confusion coursed through her; there were no sounds to be heard; no birds tweeting and no wildlife chirping. Where was she? The sun was high over their heads. It must’ve been around mid-day. Vivian had been out so long that they must be miles from home by now, with no hope of escape.

Her attention was suddenly diverted by the nearest guard who had his gaze fixed on her. Either he was so scared of her that he hadn’t looked away this whole time in case she played a trick of some kind, or the little movement she’d made had caught his attention. She sat up, staring back at the man. One of the other guards noticed she was awake and shouted to the men in front. She hadn’t seen how many men were escorting her before as she was bundled into the cage so fast. Now she saw that there were at least 8 men, all clomping their heavy boots, walking next to her carriage. If there were more in front she couldn’t see over the horse. A few of them peered over at her, and one said something that sounded like, “Watch out lads, don’t get too close.” As if touching her would make them burst into flames.

They walked for what felt like forever. Vivian felt dreary with the pain she suffered all over crossed with the sheer hopelessness of her escape. Finally one man in front shouted that he could see something up ahead and as they drew closer she saw what looked like a labyrinth.

Part 3

As they approached the labyrinth, the tall bushes seemed to tower over them like angry spirits, trying to ward them off. The cool summer breeze that had been following them on their journey had turned into a cold blast of icy wind that was buffeting them. The men decided it was best to stop for rest and food before continuing further on their journey and two of the men set off to find fire wood. When they returned they set up a pot of boiling water and someone took some sort of dried meat from their pack, which he shared around; shared with everyone but Vivian. She was so cold and thirsty; she couldn’t remember the last time she’d had a drink.

Vivian wrapped her arms around herself, trying to fight off the cold wind while she watched as the men bickered amongst themselves on how they were going to get through the maze. One of the braver men took it upon him to lead the way, and all the other men seemed to agree without hesitance.

By the time they were ready to set off into the great looming bushes, it was nearing dusk. The men lead Vivian’s carriage into the labyrinth, grasping torches which they had plucked from the fire they had built outside. They walked with careful foot falls to begin with, taking it slowly and carefully; obviously creped out by the looming scenery. Then after a while they forgot and began stomping through the labyrinth noisily. As Vivian tried to memorise every turn they took, the guards chatted away at the front not paying her any attention.

Suddenly, from the very bowls of the maze there was an ear splitting scream. It was like nothing Vivian had ever heard before; it was both low and high pitched at the same time. What on earth could make a noise like that? The horse reared and managed to un-hook itself from the carriage, and then it fled back the way they had come.

The guards all drew their swords, looking around as if something was going to swoop down on top of them, confusion and panic on their faces. Then there came foot falls, like thunder getting closer; deep, booming, like something huge taking strides through the labyrinth towards them. At this noise the men all panicked; some standing frozen to the spot, others turning and running the way they’d come. One man stopped next to Vivian’s cage and paused for a second wondering whether to set her free or to leave her to this monster; give them a head start. The second idea got the better of him and he bolted round the nearest corner, continuing his mad run for freedom. Vivian shouted after him, fear in her eyes. Would they really just leave her here? Abandon her in the middle of this labyrinth with this THING?

The booming strides were getting closer. Just as she was about to be over-come by fear, a guard that was stood frozen in panic appeared at her cage door, keys jangling uncontrollably in his hand as he tried to find the lock.

“Thank you! Thank you!” Vivian shouted in a sudden bout of relief.

The guard didn’t look up, but from what Vivian could see of his face she could tell that if he didn’t find the right key soon he would just throw them on the floor and scarper. The thundering stomps were getting louder, and she could tell she didn’t have much time. Vivian grabbed the keys from the young man’s hands and he looked up at her, half seeing; face filled with half disbelief half horror. He didn’t stop to think, he just ran as fast as he could, trying to find a way out. Vivian rammed the first key she could find into the lock and turned; nothing. She tried another one, this time fumbling and almost dropping them in her haste; still nothing. She tried another key closing her eyes and praying for it to work and, ‘click’. The lock popped open. As the door swung open the booming stopped. Vivian swung her head up and looked at the path ahead of her. Then came the screams; the screams of the 3 frightened men who hadn’t known what to do in the haste of everyone fleeing. As the 3 men feebly took up their swords, Vivian saw the monster blocking the path and couldn’t help but let out a horrified shriek. It towered over them like they were ants, hot steam flaring from its huge nostrils, and the reflection of the fiery torches in its big black eyes glaring back at them. Then without warning it lifted its huge axe and sliced through the first man easily, gushing ruby red blood all over the dark soil. The other men didn’t stand a chance!

Vivian dove out of her cage and ran for the nearest entrance, her white dress billowing behind her. She could barely see 2 feet in front of her; the huge bushes blocked out any light that the moon and stars shone down, and she hadn’t picked up a torch. The ground was rough against her bare feet, but the soil was moist so she ran as fast as she could, without stopping, brushing the side of the maze with her outstretched hand to tell her where there was an edge. Behind her she could hear the men’s petrified screams as they were hacked down by this beast. Soon it would catch up with her and she would be cut down the same as them. The screams stopped and the thundering stomps started again. Vivian’s heart raced. She didn’t want to die like this! She was supposed to be locked in a room and given a chance to escape.

Just then, Vivian had an idea. She stopped dead. Could she outsmart the monster by being quiet? She started again, moving slowly; tip-toing along without a sound. She was barely breathing; the only sound that came from her was the rapid beating of her heart.

The thundering slowed down, as if unsure which way to go, but carried on slow and steady. It had worked, but the monster already knew the direction Vivian was in, so it was heading straight for her still. It wasn’t that far behind her and she could hear it getting closer with every stride. She wasn’t going to get out of this by standing still.

Suddenly, she broke out in a run, turning and heading for a passage leading in the opposite direction. She carried on running full pelt, twigs and bits of fern snapped off in her hair and dress as they trailed behind her. The monster let out another deafening scream startling Vivian and making her stumble, as it started running again, getting closer, and closer; each step sounding like a wave of thunder rolling from the earth.

Vivian took a quick look over her shoulder as she ran, and her heart sank as she saw it was no use; the monster had already seen her. With her long white dress flowing behind her, it lit her up like a target.

Vivian stopped and turned around, her face un-feeling. The monster slowed and came to a halt at the end of the passage they were in. She saw the huge indents in its figure that looked like muscles, and its arms grasping that huge bladed axe, that were thicker than two of her put together. Its twisted, pointy horns were as sharp as stakes, and they made it look like some kind of demon. Its legs were shaped in such a way that it was easy to out run her, and it had hooves where its feet should be, which would easily crush her if she were to try and get by.

All of Vivian’s fear was suddenly over powered by a great sense of helplessness and sorrow, and tears began to blur her vision. She had come this far; fought off men that wanted to rape her or worse, and now at her final hurdle she was left without a chance, with no hope of fighting her way out.

The monster snorted hot steam from its nostrils, and kicked the soft dirt from under its hooves, staying its ground; all the time fixing Vivian with a hungry stare. Vivian closed her eyes and wished she was somewhere else. As she saw the monster vanish from in front of her, she felt warmth rising up inside her. This warmth was familiar; she had felt it just before those 3 men who’d tried raping her were burned. She welcomed it, and let it take her over.

Vivian slowly opened her eyes; they were blood red from corner to corner. When she saw the monster, she smiled. It was a wicked smile, an inhumane smile. When the monster saw her smiling, it roared with rage and began to charge.

Vivian lifted her arms to the sky muttering words in a strange language and a huge fire ball came hurtling down from the sky, illuminating the area around them, and hitting the monster full pelt in the chest. The monster lurched back in surprize, but it was only wounded, and it came charging towards Vivian again, axe raised. Vivian muttered some more words and another fire ball came hurtling down from the sky, exploding as it hit. The monster took it, and again stood up and kept on charging. It was persistent.

She paused for a moment, thinking, and then waved her arms towards the monster shouting a stream of different words. The monster stopped dead in its tracks, dropping its axe, and clutching its throat. When it opened its mouth Vivian could see little trickles of light dancing out as the monster squealed and writhed in agony.

Vivian walked towards the monster, stopping a foot away from it, and then smiled down at her victim, eyes rolling as she drank in the chaos radiating from the beast laying at her feet, writhing, burning from the inside out. She closed her eyes, and when she opened them again they were no longer red with rage, but the bewildered and confused dark brown eyes of the helpless girl that was stood before this huge dead monster.

Vivian stepped back, eyes widening as she realised what lay before her. Did she do that? Did she kill that beast? She couldn’t have; it was over 7ft tall, and at least 3 times larger than her in every way. She should be dead! She took another step back and tripped over the monsters huge axe, toppling to the floor and scampering backwards to get away. Her heart was pounding and the fear she had expelled came rushing back. What had happened here?

In her shock she had failed to see the 3 armed guards who had found their courage and were sneaking up behind her. One of the guards jumped on her and pinned her down while another bound rope around her hands so tightly that she felt a trickle of blood seep from under the binding, and forced tears to her eyes. Once she was bound the guards lifted her onto her feet and prodded her over the limp body sprawled across the floor; barely acknowledging its presence.

They continued to make the journey to the secret place. Vivian was exhausted. She wanted to stop for a rest, but every time she paused she was kicked in the legs or shoved in the back. A few times she tripped and landed face first in the dirt, the men just laughed at her and kicked her until she got up again. She hated these men. What had she done to deserve this treatment? She wanted to scramble up and charge at them, arms and legs flailing. She wanted to claw at their faces, to make them hurt like she was, but she couldn’t; she couldn’t muster the strength, nor the courage. She hadn’t eaten for 3 days and she had been chased, hit, kicked, beaten and pushed around so much that the only thing willing her legs along was the guard walking behind her, poking his sword into her back.

When they finally found the exit to the labyrinth it was just after day break, and they came to an old, winding stone path.

Part 4

The guards took her up the path leading from the labyrinth. They were all tired and weary from what they had experienced in that labyrinth and Vivian longed to stop and rest her poor blistering feet, yet if she had suggested it she suspected the guards would be less likely to stop so she stayed silent, as much as it pained her to carry on.

It looked like no one had been this way for a long time; the path was barely visible through the grass and other plant life that were creeping their way onto the road. The trunks of the trees and the bushes that surrounded them were almost hidden by long grass that covered every inch of the land for as far as they could see. As she strained to see ahead she could make out what looked like a cathedral in the distance. Was this where they were taking her? Was this her final destination?

When they approached the cathedral Vivian could see that pieces of the structure had been damaged. Some of the magnificent building had started crumbling like soft bread, and some of the beautiful statues were missing limbs; they looked old and weathered, some of the statues almost covered head to toe in ivy and moss - those likely to be the only thing keeping them together - the rest covered in black mould from hundreds of years of rain washing over them, and harsh winds lashing dirt at their delicate figures. There was thick ivy covering the huge wooden doors at the front, and some hanging down in front of them like lots of little arms waving in the breeze. The old wooden doors were enormous; they must have been at least 20 foot tall, with deep cracks and grooves in the wood, showing their age. There was more ivy stretching up farther up over the spires and pillars above, hiding the intricate details beneath. Mixed with the ivy, Vivian could see other plant life and soft white and purple flowers straining to peek through the stems and vines.

The men struggled for a while trying to open the doors, cutting back the ivy they could reach and heaving with all their might on the giant copper door handles. While they were trying to get the great doors open they attracted the attention of a number of nearby animals who had probably never encountered such a racket in their parts before. One by one birds appeared and fluttered up to perch on the high terraces, rabbits hopped over and poked their heads out of the long grass, and Vivian could have sworn she even saw a deer poke its sharp ears out from behind a bush; all twitching with curiosity at what was happening.

As the guards finally wrenched a door open far enough to enter, they all filed in and the smell of dust, mould and filth hit them like a putrid wave which made them all draw back momentarily while they adjusted to the smell. Vivian saw the filth covering the floor and the pews. It was apparent that no one had been here for well over a century, so there was no hope of anyone coming to her rescue. There was more plant life inside, stretching up the walls and over the floor, and as they walked through the pews Vivian could see a few birds happily nesting high above them, ruffling their feathers and cawing at the disturbance. There was moss growing on the benches and the statues and evidence all over the place that rodents and other wildlife had made themselves at home here. A beam of light from a damaged roof tile illuminated tiny flecks of dust which had been disturbed by their movement. As Vivian passed through it, she paused to feel the rays on her skin one last time.

The moment didn’t last long; a guard jabbed her in the back hard enough to leave a mark. Vivian yelped and then wheeled on him fixing him with a vicious stare, her teeth flashing as she glowered. The other two guards quickly appeared behind him, flanking him with sharp swords, showing her that they weren’t afraid to use them. Remembering how outnumbered she was, Vivian dropped the stare to her feet and turned around reluctantly continuing their walk.

The guards took her down several winding flights of stairs leading deep under the cathedral, pushing and shoving as they went. They eventually came to a room. This room had a huge stone door, made to keep people in. Vivian couldn’t help but think about all the other people that had been locked inside and left to die, slowly starving, forced to eat anything they found in the room with them, going mad trying to escape. Vivian paled at the thought of more than 1 person being locked in there together. Were they still in there? Still rotting? She ground her teeth and tried not to show her fear but couldn’t stop the tears of terror that were welling up in her eyes.

One of the guards noticed her panic and said, “You should be scared, this is your tomb. This is the last room you will ever see, the place you will go mad trying to escape from. The hungry rats will gnaw at you in your sleep and when you’re too weak to fight them off, there will be nothing you can do but cry and scream as they eat you alive.”

At this Vivian’s knees almost gave way; she started to shake uncontrollably and the tears that had been welling up fled down her chalk white cheeks, painting a trail as they went. The other guards laughed; a cold, vindictive laugh. This laugh made her shiver, and the hairs on the back of her neck stood on end. She felt her heart surge, and anger raged inside her like fire waiting to burst. She screwed her eyes shut, trying to block them out. Vivian could hear her heart pounding in her chest. Any fear that was there had been pushed the back of her mind, all that remained was anger and hate for these people that were doing this to her. She wanted them to feel what they’d just described; she wanted them to die a horrible death.

Her bindings snapped. Vivian’s eyes flew open; they were blood red. Her hands flew outwards as she muttered words in a strange tongue. The men all froze; caught in some kind of spell. Then one by one they turned around and walked into the room, unresisting. The last guard to go in turned to face Vivian, with indescribable fear in his eyes, asthe door slammed shut, never to be opened again.

Submitted: July 05, 2012

© Copyright 2021 TashaKincaid. All rights reserved.

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