Short Story, The White Rose

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Her feet hit the cold muddy ground with a squish but she didn’t slip. The grass was wet with morning dew, but she had remembered to wear the right shoes this time. The light was just beginning to peak over the snowy mountains set off in the distance and she feared that she might be running late. She pulled her black jacket up over her messy nest of hair and set off towards the village with arms full of white roses. Her chest wasn’t tight anymore-she had made the journey well over a dozen times and was becoming accustomed to the eight mile run. She always ran. It was faster this way, and it meant that she was less likely to get caught. The small buildings, shops and the familiar golden archway made their way into view. “Just a bit further,” she said under her breath praying that no one would have noticed her absence yet.

She ran down the familiar streets as the sun just began to peak above the snowy mountains, as her footsteps echoed hollowly against the cobblestone. No one was awake. The storefronts were dark and not even the fish supplier, Mr. Kimmel, had left for the docks yet, but Onnex knew that they would be waiting for her, and so she pressed on with intention in her footsteps.

 

“I don’t think she’s coming,” whispered a boy to his mother, impatient to get home. He looked around solemnly at the dark alleyway as light began to peak through and danced its way against the cool metal trash cans that he and his mother pressed themselves against. It was cold this morning and they had been waiting for the girl for over an hour.

“I do,” said his mother but the confidence in her tone was wavering and the boy was too old and too wary of the world to believe her. But these roses were the last chance that his little sister had and so all of their hope was riding on this girl bringing them these white flowers. His expectations weren’t high. He didn’t know why this girl should care about him and his family. They were the poorest of poor. They lived in a shed on the outskirts of town. They didn’t own a shower and could hardly afford to feed themselves. No one cared about them. He knew this girl wasn’t coming but he didn’t say it, for his mother’s sake.

Then they heard loud clamping against the ground and they shrank into the trash can instinctively, but were much more than relieved when they saw white hair and roses around the corner. The boy’s jaw dropped at the sight of the girl and the roses. He had only seen one rose before in his life and that was when his father brought one home for his sister–it had died last month (white roses can last up to 10 years, but can also die without warning or reason)–and the only time he had seen the girl was when she came into town on occasion, surrounded by a dozen guards. The mom squealed too loudly in excitement and Onnex shushed her but she was smiling while she did it. Tears cascaded down the mother’s eyes about to form a river on the ground floor. The boy did his best not to show emotion because he was supposed to be the strong one of the family, but one tear escaped his composure.

“I have the roses,” Onnex said with a light radiating out from her. The boy was too stunned to say anything. White roses were so rare that he had never hoped to own one again in his life. In fact, they were becoming rarer now with the eeries attacking more often. And seeing Onnex, the princess, here to deliver them, well, it was beyond words. The mother ran and embraced Onnex in a sloppy and uncordial fashion. The boy was embarrassed–he knew that Onnex came from royalty and that his mother must have smelled terrible. She hadn’t been bathing after the last Night of Blood. She hadn’t been doing much of anything after that night really. The stress was too much for her.

“I c-can’t b-b-believe y-you cam-me,” the mother stammered through great sobs.

“I’m a woman of my word, just remember to take the other ones to people in need,” Onnex said as she pressed the flowers into the woman’s arms. The boy desperately wanted to say something to the girl but all words seemed to fall short of his gratitude.

“I can’t tell you what this means to me, to my family,” the mother said and the boy nodded, Onnex smiled. “I have what you asked for.” The mother pulled out a wrinkled piece of paper that had a photo stapled to it of a little girl around the age of six. The boy stiffened as the mother handed this to Onnex, he wondered what impression she would have of his little sister. Would she think he was a bad brother for letting his sisters skin get so dirty? Or letting her teeth begin to yellow?

“She’s beautiful,” Onnex said and the boy grinned. “Whats her name?”

“Esperanza,” the boy said and Onnex’s attention was suddenly drawn to him. She looked at his eyes and saw that they were even more captivating from up close. Pale green. Her heart skipped a beat.

“And yours?”

“Salvaje, but you can call me Sal,” he said and Onnex and she couldn’t help but notice his ragged clothes and kind demeanor and did her best to suppress pity but her heart ached for him. She wished she could do something more. No one said anything for a moment and the boy’s pale face began to redden when he saw the girl looking at him.

“Well, I’m Onnex, and it’s very nice to meet you,” she said holding out a hand and the boy took it somewhat hesitant at first. It was so warm he thought. The boy’s cheeks grew even redder. “My father is throwing a party tomorrow night at my house if you’d like to come.” Sal’s eyes began to widen as he realized that ‘her house’ was actually the palace and that her father was the king, he had always dreamed of going to the palace. He had walked past it once and it for some reason made him feel homesick. He wanted more than anything to say yes to her offer, but he couldn’t find the words. She waited for a moment and the mother answered for him.

“Of course he will come!” the mother said too loudly but this made Onnex laugh.

“Great, it will be at 7 p.m. sharp, it’s somewhat casual,” she said looking at the boys dirty, ripped pants and oversized shirt and silently wished that that he would dress up a little nicer.

“Yes, yes, of course, of course, you are too gracious your grace,” she said while realizing that that sentence didn’t make much sense and bowed to try to conceal her mistake. She grabbed Onnex’s hand and kissed it and the boy was embarrassed again for his mother. He looked at Onnex apologetically but she didn’t seem bothered. Onnex nodded respectfully and turned to leave, knowing that her absence was likely to be noticed soon, before remembering something.

“Oh, and, don’t mention anything about the roses,” she said to Sal with a sudden harshness to her tone and tucked the paper and picture away in her breast. The boy nodded with as much dignity and seriousness that he could muster and she left. And once she was gone he noticed that his world was suddenly colder.

“Wasn’t she amazing? I mean you hear about her greatness but she was just so much more,” his mother said along with quite a few other things that he didn’t quite catch. The boy stared at where her feet had just been only moments before.

“She was,” he said.

 

Onnex ran home, and on her way, she noticed that the light was nearly completely over the mountains and she knew now that she had left too late and stayed for too long. She was met at the gate by an all too familiar boy with jet black hair and a sword at his side. She slowed down as she came to the gate that led into her palace. Almitch, her half-brother, had his arms crossed and anger clearly splashed across his face. She knew he would be mad and was prepared for this interaction.

“Who’d you bring roses to now?” he asked with suppressed anger in his voice and Onnex gritted her teeth while trying to shove her way past him.  He held up his arm so that she couldn’t get through the gate. “I asked you a question Onnex.” Her eyes were fire.

“Just because you’re a year older than me doesn’t mean you get to boss me around, and stop wearing that sword around your waist like that all the time, you look like a jackass,” she said and stepped on his foot making him clench up, and while he moved his arm to the ground in pain she easily slid past him and ran towards the garden. She didn’t look back. He may be stronger than her but she was faster and more clever.

“You can’t run forever!” he shouted at her but this made her smile because she believed with every ounce of herself that she could. She ran into the massive garden that her ancestors had planted eight generations before her and slumped under the weeping Wisteria while catching her breath. She wondered if Almitch would have told the guards that she was gone, she wondered if the guards would even care at this point if he did. They used to care a lot more when she left with white roses but it seemed that as the Nights of Blood became more frequent the guards cares faded along with their feelings of safety.

Some of the guards had daughters, or wives, or sisters or nieces who could be taken in the next blood raid by the masked men that invaded. She had heard that these men, called the eeries, came silently into the night, dressed head to toe in all black. They came with a speed and a strength that no one could match and left on horseback, with as many young girls that they could carry. The guards were supposed to keep a close eye on Onnex for obvious reasons, but duty comes second to love. It always does, and with Onnex handing out the only means of protection out there, to the town’s most marginalized citizens, well, most guards turned a blind eye. Not all of them had the money to buy a white rose, but ever since Onnex started handing them out they were never without one.

The king was becoming furious that all of the white roses from the palace garden were disappearing, but he couldn’t prove who was taking them–and while Almitch never wanted Onnex to leave the palace he’d never tell their father where she was going.

Onnex heard crunching of leaves a few feet away and she stood up instinctively and turned around to see none other than Almitch standing in front of her with his arms crossed again. The sword was gone though and she smirked.

“You owe me an apology,” he said, eyes narrowed and foot throbbing.

“Don’t block my path next time,” she said and he stepped towards her fast. She made moves to run away but he grabbed her by the arm and shoved her up against the tree, putting both hands on her shoulders.

“Did you bring roses to that trash boy?” Almitch asked and Onnex’s expression narrowed. His breath was hot against her flushed cheeks, his nose could nearly touch the top of her forehead. And she watched him look down at her breasts as they heaved in disgust. He looked back up at her eyes. Onnex didn’t know how he knew that she brought roses to Sal and she didn’t like how he called him the trash boy. She squirmed and he got closer to her–he looked deep into her eyes. They were a dark silver. She didn’t know why he loved to look at them so much. “Well? Did you?” he asked again angrily and she raised her eyebrow.

“Why do you care so much Almitch?” she asked and after a few moments, he let her go. Warmth fading from his hands as he took them off of her. His face was a mix smugness and jealousy–and she figured that he took her answer as validation.

Almitch had seen her looking at that boy before and he had remembered that she loved green eyes. Almitch’s eyes were blue.

“We’re not kids anymore, you can’t just pin me against a tree when you want to know something,” she said and he looked at the ground for a moment and then back up at her.

“Sorry,” he said and she scoffed and started walking towards the palace. She had heard enough apologies from him and he knew it. “Look I really am sorry. I promise. I just–I was worried. You don’t know what the townspeople would do for a white rose. They might take you for hostage or something,” he said. Her footsteps slowed but they didn’t stop–she knew it was only a half-truth. “I made us breakfast, and I didn’t burn the toast this time either.” She stopped and turned around slowly to face him. His eyes were soft, his expression broken and her anger began to slowly melt like ice set out on a hot day. He could be sweet when he wanted to be and she was impressed that he hadn’t burnt the toast this time. He always burnt the toast.

“Did you poach the eggs?” she asked him and all the color from his face instantly left and she smiled. “Just kidding.”

 

Sal and his mother quickly ran back to the outskirts of Nimf with roses in hand. They hid them underneath their shirts and jackets but pressed them close to their skin to keep them warm. White roses didn’t like the cold. Sal’s younger brother and sister were sitting in the shed, huddled underneath a large pile of blankets and he could hear Esperanza giggling and his heart melted. He loved to hear her giggle. She seemed to be doing it less and less as the Nights of Blood increased. She was afraid–and he hated seeing her afraid. His mother went and embraced the two kids, one of them was six and the other eleven. Sal was 15. He heard Esperanza’s tummy begin to growl and the guilt of this was like a cool blanket.

“Are you guys hungry?” he asked and suddenly everyone was smiling at him with strands of yellow across their teeth.

Sal went behind the shack and picked up his bow and arrow. It was old but reliable. His father had given it to him before he died last year in a Night of Blood. This was when the King used to dispatch troops to be on guard round the clock every night. This was before they realized how much more agile and strong the eeries were than anyone in Nimf. The whole Nimf army didn’t stand a chance against them and really having troops sit out all night waiting did more harm than good. It was a bloodbath. People just hid now and used white roses for protection if they could afford them. White roses were known for protection and drastically increased your chances of not being detected. No one was entirely sure how.

It took Sal a few hours to get ahold of a jakrimit, which wasn’t nearly enough for his family to all be full he knew but the light was fading against the trees and he cursed his luck because he had to be near Esperanza when it got dark. He decided that he wouldn’t eat any of the jakrimit and then maybe they wouldn’t go hungry again tonight. His stomach growled in protest but he knew where his priorities were. His mother was too sick not to eat, his little brother needed to grow so he could be of more use soon, and Sal would be damned if he let Esperanza go without a meal.

He got back and he could see disappointment in their faces when they stared at the jakrimit through the small window of the shack. His mother more than any of them. Shame swelled in the back of his throat as he made a fire outside and they came out and huddled beside it while he cooked the meat.

“I gathered some berries!” Esperanza declared with excitement and held out a small handful of blue bulbs. Her mother gave her a half smile, knowing that those wouldn’t satisfy anyone.

“You keep them, darling,” she said and Esperanza’s smile fell.

“I’ll take one Es,” Sal said and came and sat down next to Esperanza. He put his arm around her and could feel her frail bones shaking. He took off his jacket and wrapped her up in it like a small caterpillar. She giggled and loved the feeling of being constrained in such a way. It made her feel safe.

“Do I look like a small bean?” she asked him with a giggle, her two front teeth were missing.

“Yes, but a very cute one,” he said and she giggled. “I think you’d also be the silliest bean around.” She giggled louder.

“Sal why don’t you tell your siblings about the conversation you had with the princess,” his mother said and Esperanza’s eyes widened.

“Oh um, yeah, the princess invited me to her house,” he said with red cheeks. His little brother’s mouth dropped and he started stammering. His mother beamed.

“No way! That’s not fair, I want to meet the princess!” Fe said and Sal fought back a smile.

“It’s no big deal,” he said but the smile he was fighting was fluttering around the corners of his lips.

“I’d like to be a princess one day,” Esperanza said in a tiny voice that no one heard but Sal. His brother was complaining to their mother while she was just sitting there looking smug. Her boy was to go to the palace.

“And so you shall be,” Sal said to Esperanza. Her eyes grew wide and he found himself being lost in them. He put his finger to her nose in an affectionate way and she giggled and rested her head against his side. He stroked her dark hair and leaned in and kissed her forehead.

“Will you tell us the story of the silver rose?” his brother asked after a few minutes of complaining. He sighed.

“Yes yes yes! Please, please please,” said Esperanza with a large grin. He normally would have objected because they always do their best to hide and be quiet during the night for obvious reasons but with the white roses, he was feeling more confident.

“You’ve got your white rose Esperanza?” he asked and she pulled the white flower out from under her shirt. He knew that the eeries wouldn’t bother them when they had this. They were only interested in young girls and so as long as his sister would be concealed they were fine. They didn’t attack unless provoked–it just so happened that they were provoked often when the lives of young women were concerned. He gazed at the fire as he tried to remember the story that his father used to tell.

 

Onnex and Almitch had decided to have a camp out in the garden. Their father–the king–didn’t mind. In fact, he didn’t really even know what they were doing half the time anyway. With the kingdom in such disarray, he didn’t have room in his mind for much else than his people. He gave very strict orders for the guards to keep a close eye on Onnex but apart from that Onnex and Almitch didn’t see much of him. He was always locked away in his tower or out somewhere–they didn’t know where. It was like this ever since Onnex’s mother was taken.

Onnex stared at the fire. The flames licked towards her face. She was cold but enjoyed the comfort of the outdoors. They had set up two tents at Onnex’s request and were roasting blanc’s on metal rods and Almitch’s was on fire–as always.

“You know it doesn’t taste as good when it’s burnt,” Onnex said and Almitch blew out the blanc with a huff.

“It’s just a little extra warmth–I like the warmth,” he said and Onnex rolled her eyes. They consumed their blanc’s and laid down under the stars. This was a favorite past time of theirs when they were younger–and still, on occasion, Almitch liked to partake in it. They slept in different tents now though.

They gazed at the stars for what felt like hours but was really only a few minutes. Onnex said she saw the sun in one of the constellations–Almitch said he saw it too even though he didn’t. It was quiet for a long while.

“Why did you bring that boy those roses?” Almitch asked and Onnex rolled over to her side away from Almitch.

“So his little sister could be safe,” she said back harshly and wondered when he would understand that she loved her people above all else. Unease hung in the air.

“Half the town has a little sister,” Almitch said quietly and Onnex made no response.

“Let’s tell stories like we used to when we were young,” Onnex said breaking the tension and Almitch sat up.

“What do you want to hear?” he asked and she thought for a moment.

“Tell me the story of the silver rose,” she said and Almitch rolled his eyes. She never tired of this story even though he was getting sick of telling it.

“You’ve heard that one a dozen times,”

“And I’ll hear it a few dozen more and I’ll still want to hear it again,” she said with a grin and he caved. He was a sucker for her grin.

“It was a sunny day in the Garden of Nede when the eight were out for a walk. All of the flowers were blooming, the trees were lush and the sky was a beautiful golden blue that glistened against the bright sun. They had not a care in the world. They did not even know of cares actually. They only understood peace, love, hope, and happiness. This world was the picture of perfection. There were no sorrows, no pain, no hurting, no hatred, nothing of that sort had ever entered the gates of Nede. That is until the day of blood.”

 

Sal looked over at his little sister to make sure that he hadn’t scared her with the beginning of this story. The day of blood had always scared him when he was younger, but Esperanza was looking at him with nothing but excitement in her eyes. He pressed on.

“It was a garden full of strange flowers that they were unfamiliar with. Never touched, never smelt, never felt. The rose garden was gated up and they knew not to go into it. It was forbidden and yet something that day as they walked past it caught one of the eights eyes. It sparkled in the sun and was more beautiful than anything they had ever seen. It was a sliver rose. They had grown up in this garden and it was all they ever knew. They knew every tree and every flower. They had named them all. Well, every flower other than the ones that found refuge behind those pearly white gates.”

 

Almitch said. He looked over to see Onnex sitting at full attention. Her eyes sparkled silver against the flickering fire. He hated telling this story, but he loved seeing her watch him tell it.

“Finally one of the eight couldn’t handle it any longer. They slipped away from the group as not to be seen and hopped over the fence without the slightest hesitation. Eyes set on the sterling flower. They searched through the garden trying to find the one flower that they wanted. The beautiful one that sparkled in the sunlight. Before long the group realized that they were only seven and went off in search for the eighth. They looked near every stream, under every tree with no success, until they heard a noise that had never been uttered before in the garden. They ran to the white pearly gates stopping abruptly behind them, being the obedient seven that they were. They all stood there watching the eighth pluck a sterling flower from the forbidden garden, and as the eighth did this their finger pressed up against something on the stem. Something that  the eighth was not accustomed to.”

 

Sal said and looked over to make sure Esperanza was not afraid. She wasn’t. His brother was hiding under a blanket though. This made him laugh and he kept going. His little brother could stand to lose some of his confidence.

“A thorn. That was the first feeling of pain a person had ever felt, and as they did a small drop of blood descended from their finger, and onto the petal of another ivory flower.

As this happened the earth began to shake. The trees uprooted themselves from their places and the plants and animals ran off in search of somewhere else. The whole garden was running away from them. Well, the whole garden except for the roses. The roses remained. The ground shook, the trees retreated, the clouds turned dark, and the sky was no longer a golden blue. That was the day of blood, and that was the day that the flowers lost their hold on the world, and mankind’s domain began. Each rose held a certain part of the world, and when one of the eight pricked their finger all of the roses powers transformed into the eight humans. There was a rose for each element, a rose for time, a rose for space, a rose for protection, and the silver rose, which was for the people. Though what the humans did not know was with these powers came a curse. A curse that each of the flowers had to bear, and now they were free from it, and the humans were shackled to it. And from then on the world was a cold place, it was a kind of cold that only the silver rose could warm.”

Sal finished and Esperanza looked up at him in wonder.

“Oh! Is it a true story big brother?” Esperanza asked while his brother was just beginning to emerge from the safety of the blanket. His mother had fallen asleep a long time ago, but he was used to this. She hadn’t been much help with the younger kids anymore.

“What do you think?” he asked her and she looked down at her feet for a moment.

“I do,” she said and he smiled.

“Then I think so too.”

 

Onnex was looking at Almitch in the way that he wished that she would always look at him. Her silver eyes still gleamed and he could see why one of the eighth had hopped the fence for the flower.

“Do you believe it’s true?” Onnex asked. She knew that this was the supposedly how life started in their world. Though they had no idea where the roses were now and if it was even a true story. Almitch scoffed.

“Of course not,” he said and it was quiet for a moment. Onnex looked down at the ground unsurprised. Of course, he wouldn’t believe it was true.

“Let’s go to bed,” she said and got up and went into her tent without hearing his reply. Almitch stayed awake though for a long while, looking for the sun in the constellations.

 

The day had gone by fast before the party, but Onnex hadn’t seen much Almitch at all. They normally would practice sword fighting on a day like this. They didn’t have too many days off and normally they tried to do something fun when they did. Almitch was the crowned prince and Onnex was the people’s favorite because of her love and devotion to them, so they were being groomed to rule. They had studies from 6 a.m. in the morning until 7 p.m. at night five days out of the week. So they valued their days off.

Onnex had asked around about Almitch but no one knew where he had run off to. The servants found this change funny because it was normally Almitch asking around about where Onnex was.

Worry was beginning to set in for Onnex. She wanted this party to go over well and knew how furious her father would be if it didn’t. Their people were scared, they were angry, and they were beginning to wonder if there should be a change in the monarchy.

Almitch showed up only five minutes before the party was set to start. The tables were set and the servants were dressed in nice black and white attire and holding round serving plates with Nimf’s most coveted appetizers. Her father had been down to check in with her and make sure that her speech was set. He was very stern with her. He always was now. All of the happiness that she had once seen in his eyes were gone. They were replaced with a sort of hollow look that always was open to anger and frustration.

This party was to celebrate the discovery of the white rose seed nearly 15 years ago and so he had told her that her and Almitch’s speech had to be perfect and to make sure that Almitch didn’t mess up like he always did with speeches. He lectured her about how that if they didn’t do good with this speech that it could be it for them. They could be kicked out of the palace or even killed. He reminded her that this is what happened to the last monarchy. He asked her if she wanted to see the photos of the hanging again–she didn’t.

This party was supposed to bring hope she reminded him, and so they should try to come at it from a hopeful place. He ignored what she said and pressed on with questions and lectures. He had inquired as to Almitch’s whereabouts and she had lied and said that he was pruning the garden to make it look better for the guests. He had believed her, but if he knew anything about his son he would have known that his son doesn’t know how to prune.

“What are you doing you’re almost late! And why do you smell like smoke?” Onnex asked Almitch, who was walking with a slight limp and looked like he had just fallen off his horse.

“I um, got lost sorry,” he said and limped towards the palace to get changed.

“Well hurry up we have a speech to give,” she said and looked towards the small clock tower that they had in their garden. She could see carriages beginning to line up at the entrance and knew they were about to start. The staff was in their places and her father was yelling at some waiter about something that she didn’t catch.

People began shuffling in hesitantly. They were afraid–coming to this party meant you supported the monarchy and it seemed that there weren’t nearly as many people showing up as was expected. They had invited 200 guests, but only about 80 would show up.

Her father was greeting guests at the doors while Onnex reviewed her notes. She was going to talk about how she spent most of her time in the garden (at her father’s request–she wasn’t sure why but he always required her to spend as much time there as possible) and try to throw in a metaphor about the warmth of the flowers and the warmth she felt for her people. She loved them more than anything. Then she saw Sal walk in and her heart skipped and her face warmed.

She walked over to him and he was dressed fairly nice. He was wearing traditional clothing that was only slightly wrinkled, but his eyes were puffy. The guards were giving him a hard time at the gate and she realized that she had forgotten to put him on the guest list or give him an invitation.

“Oh! He’s with me,” she said with a smile and the guard gave her a stern look but let him through while glaring at his shoes which were muddy. He sniffed and his eyes looked pained–they didn’t sparkle like they normally did and something jumped with horor deep within herself.

“What’s wrong?” she asked with a frown and he wiped his nose with his sleeve.

“Someone b-burnt the roses,” he said in a shaky voice and Onnex gasped at first completely shocked. He looked down at his feet in shame as he delivered this news to her. He was supposed to bring the roses to others in his town that needed them–and now they never would.

“When?” she asked hastily with authority in her tone. Sal bit his lip.

“A few hours before I got here, someone, in a black cloak. I, I didn’t see their face, and-” he started and before he could even finish his thought Onnex left towards the palace as fast as she could and ran and up to her room. She knew what had happened. She grabbed the photo of Sals little sister and tears streamed down her eyes. She rummaged through her drawers and found the only thing that would keep this girl safe and set off before anyone could see what she was holding underneath her shirt. She hadn’t had time to gather up more white roses from the garden so she would have to give the girl her own because the party was being held in the garden. She left through the back entrance and no one noticed as she ran through the tree-line.

She was afraid, because it was getting dark and she knew she wouldn’t be back in time for her speech. She wasn’t sure if she would be back in time for light. As she ran she cried–she wasn’t exactly sure why she was crying, but she was.

 

It was an hour after when Onnex and Almitch were supposed to make a speech together and the king was furious because Almitch had to make it alone and he wasn’t a very good public speaker. The king had already spoken about unity and togetherness but no one seemed convinced. The party was quiet and there hadn’t been a single laugh. Sal was wondering where Onnex was the whole time and felt completely out of place. When she had invited him to the party he thought that everyone would be having a good time. He pictures laughter and jokes, and happiness. He thought people would be happy–but they weren’t.  and the guests had finished their meals were beginning to leave. All of the maids and guards were out looking for Onnex and it was nearly night time. The guests always left before night time now. Sal was becoming nervous, wondering where she could have left to and dread spreading over his limbs that she might have left for his sake.

Everyone was gone now and it was just the King and his only child sitting in the throne room together. “Where is she?” he demanded “She is to be outlawed to the garden when she gets back. I don’t want her coming inside for a month,” and Almitch knew that this would mean he wouldn’t be leaving the garden as well. He had a sneaking suspicion of where she was but wasn’t about to tell his dad this information. Onnex was in enough trouble as it was.

Almitch wanted to hate his father for this statement and for being so unkind to Onnex–but he knew that he was acting this way because he had just lost his wife and because his people were beginning to think him unfit for the crown. Still, he wished that he would try to at least pretend that Onnex was his daughter–for Onnex’s sake. She didn’t know that he was her step-father.

Another hour past by and there was still no word of Onnex’s whereabouts–Almitch was becoming worried and wondered if he should go out looking for her. There hadn’t been a night of blood in awhile and he didn’t like not knowing where she was when it was so dark.

And then, the screams started. The all too familiar screams that echoed throughout the hollow land and brought chills down everyone’s spines. The screams that would leave puddles of blood on the ground in the morning. The screams that would leave lifeless bodies left in their wake.

And then, the world suddenly grew a kind of cold that skipped past the flesh and went straight to the bones. A cold that drew the eeries away and made the white roses decay–the roses never grew back. A kind of cold that made you forget everything about the sun–and how it felt to be warm.

 

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