I screamed as the knife sliced the skin near my belly button.
"Tell me where it is," the man wearing the cloak said.
"I don't know what you're talking about. Please. Please let me go," I gasped out. The pain was so bad. A week of torture and I still hadn't become used to it. The knife made a circle around my belly button. I screamed.
"Please," I gasped.
"Where is it? Tell me or I'll carve out your belly button."
"I don't … I don … " consciousness was slipping out of my grip. Too much blood. Too much blood pooled around me and too much blood was on the floor. Too much blood for me to stay alive after this.
My vision became blurry. Sounds tuned in and out on their own radar. A crash. A flash of blonde hair and a scream. Then, locks clicking open, arms lifting and a warm jacket around my bloody, naked, cold body.
Dreamed of the excruciating pain of the knife cutting deep, of the beatings I got during my training and of the time I had to watch my brother, Will, get whipped because of something I did. Will, my only family, my only vulnerability, as our tutor used to say.
Someday he'll get you killed and you wouldn't even know until it would be too late.
Never believed him. Never wanted to. After all who would want to hear of their only family betraying them to the table of death.
And then I dreamed of the happy memories.
Will, trying to play the piano as I taught him, with his chubby baby fingers.
Me, running to catch him in the apple orchard that used to be near our home.
And then the time when I fixed him up with his first kiss.
The nightmares started then.
The demon that killed my parents, looking me in the face, and then before I knew, I was the demon and before me kneeling was Will.
I glanced at the sword in my hand. The demon was controlling my body, my brain, my actions.
The sword swung and the only person I loved in this world, lay with his head toppling away from his body. And then I realized, there never had been a demon. I had killed him. I had killed my brother.
I screamed in pure terror, and felt cold on my forehead.
The dream faded into blackness.
The blackness swirled, lightning sounded and I landed into another delusion.
It was storming in this one. I could see the outline of the house in which I used to live, could hear the water splash on the road as the car drew closer. The car that carried the worst news in the world.
I saw as the car stopped, the two men got out and nervously rang the bell. I heard what they heard.
A shriek of pure joy. Happy footsteps rushing down the stairs and a little girl yelling, "Will, mom and dad are back!" Little did she know she was never gonna see them again.
The locks clicking open and the door bursting open. Little blue eyes looked up at them.
"Where's Mommy and Daddy?" The girl asked, her blonde hair flying wild in the wind that blew from the storm.
"Can we come inside, miss?" One of the men said.
I sobbed and whispered, "Will, Will."
And I heard back, "I'm here, I'm here."
"Is she up yet?" I asked Felicia, the maid outside of Nessa's room, and the best of the three maids in the whole manor.
"No, master Will," she said, pity in her tone.
"What does the doc say?"
She lowered her eyes to her shoes. "The blood loss was too much. She asks for you, but she's delusional."
I sighed. Nessa had been out for about a week, and running the demon hunts was not something I was best at. I usually would make make noise, miss out a detail and end up with nearly getting one of my limbs torn away by the demon. Nessa was always there when these things happened, and my limbs would usually be saved. How long was she going to take to recover?
The doorbell ringing drew me out of my thoughts. I snarled looking down the hallway which would lead to the main door.
"If it's that boy," I ordered Felicia. "Then tell him that she's dead and that there is no need for him to be here."
And surely it was that boy, according to master Will. And I told him what I was ordered. The boy scowled.
"But how did she die?" He asked.
Now ain't that a good question. "Um…" I thought what the doc had said. "Blood loss!" My voice sounded rushed. I made it into a whisper and said, "too much blood. Poor miss Nessa. What would happen now?"
"Well, when are they conducting her funeral?" He asked. Was he ever going away? I had so much work awaiting to be finished. The windows needed a wash and the rooms -- oh! They were under a feet of dust.
"The funeral!" I said in horror, which was not fake. Even the thought of this family going through another funeral was horrifying. "She just died. Master Will is still in mourning to decide about a date for the funeral."
He thought for a second. Then said, "would you tell me when the funeral's gonna be. I would like to attend it, not in a joyful sense, obviously."
"I would ask master Will to do so. Now if you would, I have loads of work to do." I showed him.
"Of course," he said and left.
I quickly rushed in the manor, and found master Will standing in the foyer. He raised an eyebrow.
I looked down at the carpet. Blood stained it. Miss Nessa's blood. "He asked for to know the day of her funeral."
Even from a distance I could feel the anger radiating off master Will. Yes, it was true he had anger issues, but he controlled it in front of his sister. And with everything happening to her, I guessed it was difficult to keep even a single emotion in check.
"A funeral!" His voice echoed in the manor. I fidgeted with my apron. "What did you tell him, Felicia?"
"I told him what you asked me to, master Will. I -- " I was saved from saying any further, as another voice -- that of the doc -- yelled from above, "she's awake!"
It was a miracle, I was told, that I had awoken. The blood loss after all had been too much.
The doc and the nurse worked in a flurry to get all their equipments together, the other maid in the room -- Natalia, worked to get my sheets straight. Apparently, I had moved a lot as I had dreamed.
There were hurried footsteps outside, and then the door burst open. Will stood in the doorway. Natalia gasped at the loud bang of the door and left the room immediately to give us privacy, the doc and nurse following her outside.
I smiled and patted the mattress beside me. Will's eyes were bright. He came and sat beside me, a smile lighting his face.
"Nessa," he said, after a while of scanning me of my injuries. The cuts could still be seen but the doc had assured me that they would soon disappear into thin white lines. "What happened?"
I furrowed my brows. "What do you mean? Did you not rescue me?" I had been pretty sure about the locks of golden hair I had seen.
"No, that's not what I mean. I mean, how did you get kidnapped in the first place?"
"I don't know," I said. "The details are fuzzy." If I hadn't known Will, I would've said a look of relief passed over his face, but it was gone before I could be sure of anything. "The last thing I remember is me going to sleep."
"Yeah. You should rest. Soon you'd be back in business."
I chuckled. "Yeah."
© Sachi, 2018. All rights reserved.