Citrine’s Monsters: Chapter Two | Betrayal
A smell woke me and I bolted upright, involuntarily reaching out a hand to pat the other side of the double bed.
It was empty. A stiff anger rose within my body as I realized Hansel had not returned after our fight last night.
Wrinkling my nose, I sniffed again and a sudden frenzy gripped me. Thoughts of Hansel dropped out of my mind. Sleep fled from my brain as I recognized the charred smell. Something was burning. Tossing back the quilted blanket I leaped out of bed and ran, forgetting the scarf I wore over my bright hair and the shoes for my feet. My heart thumped in my chest in a way that made me feel nauseous as I stumbled out of the room, through the narrow hall and down the five stairs into the kitchen. My square kitchen was my peaceful haven. Each morning the yeasty smell of fresh bread and cinnamon wafted through the air before I stepped out into my garden to gather plants. Now, the back door that led to my herb and flower garden was ablaze. Bright yellow flames leaped high, encouraged by the greenery. A smoldering rage smoked through my veins as I froze, staring at the wicked flames, jeering at me with tongues of red and blue fire as it ate my garden. Pure terror struck me and a silent cry shot through my brain like a comet through the skies. My pets.
They lived in the garden, coming and going as they pleased. A desperate prayer rose within me and I pleaded to the unknown Creator. Please let my pets be safe. They never would have let a stranger enter the garden and set it on fire. Someone I trusted must have done this which meant… I let the thought trail off as a fireball blasted into what was left of my smoking kitchen. A whimper of fear escaped from my dry lips and instinctively I covered my head, ducking from the flickering embers. The sudden heat made it impossible to breathe, and I inhaled. A billow of thick black smoke floated through the air, taking its time like searching fingers, winding its way into every nook and cranny. My heart constricted and a painful cough burst from my lungs. I bent over at the waist, wheezing, fully intent on taking a step forward to find my pets when another blast of heat surged through the kitchen and the door collapsed with a shudder. The roar of heat, the lack of oxygen, and the haze made me feel weak, heady and dizzy I fled from the room, my eyes streaming with tears on their own accord.
Thick smoke had spread throughout the entire hut by the time I burst out the front door. Turning I covered my mouth while I watched the straw thatched roof cave in. Fresh air filled my lungs, rushing in to chase out the smoke and I took a deep breath, feeling strength return to my body. A fury like I’d never known blasted through my body and my eyes narrowed. I folded my arms across my generous chest and turned around.
I was bold, confident and always sure of myself and my decisions. In the years past life in the village made me feel comfortable. I’d forgotten about risk and allowed myself to live and love as if I were one of the normal mortals, happy to do nothing more than farm, love, and make babies to inherit their land. I wasn’t lucky in life, just smart, and I’d let my guard down with Hansel, let him see my true self and he ran.
My accusers stood a safe distance away from my hut, watching the fire turn my livelihood into dust. A deep seething boiled within me as I eyed the villagers. They stood armed with farm tools, pitchforks and shovels, as if I were a powerful immortal who could blast them away with my words. If I wasn’t so angry I might have laughed. I had one unusual ability which led to a swift betrayal.
“Look!” a voice shouted, and I could make out a hand waving in the distance. “She left the hut, she’s alive.”
“Stick to the plan, we have to bring her in,” another voice ordered. “Follow my lead.”
They marched towards me, faces set, and even though the mob was silent, I could almost hear their thoughts floating through the air like poisonous arrows. They called for my blood. They wanted me dead. Solely because I was different from them. They did not understand. How could they? Ignorant scum. Turning on my bare feet I ran away from my burning hut, heading west towards the boundary line forest.
Download the full version of Citrine’s Monster’s here. | Copyright 2018 Angela J. Ford