in andover in 1692, the town tears itself apart through witch trials(novella 1st chapter)
|Castles in the sky
The sun blew no whistling winds, on the fateful land of the norm. The reeds traipsed, though, down the winding rivers, and solemnly, into the sight of smoking ovens in the distant hills. The rays of golden specters, beating down on the necks of lesser mortals, floating, over each, evening the tan of working men. The rendition of the autumn leaves, held no treasures, from the common eyes of those who would wish to seek them.
Even the dark had begun a labyrinthine journey, to rise, to the throne of winter.
Among the flags of winter, which blew in divine power over the county, the winter torrents would be harsh and indecent to all those without a warm stove, to loom beside. Merchants made last preparations to leave, securing the wagons, feeding the cattle, or horses, supping with their business patrons. And as such all retail environs left to avoid the tide of misery known to the public as the December frost.
The loneliness to some, living in the hills would almost seem unbearable, yet the friendly cottages and inviting flames of each candle, held expressionless requiem, of last years predicaments. New blood conceived, and stored in a cold box, in the yards of foliage, the last of hunting's, skinning and gutting drawn to each broken animal.
Every simpleton about the valley began, preparations for a seemingly non-existent future. For the summer sun had only just retired and the bleak mornings were still palatable. The day and nights, of irresolution between each season, came only at the price of a slick number of palpitating residents, knowing the days of light, and happiness, and joy, had ascended to the sky. Yet the very worst part for each, was knowing that they had not the wings to follow.
Among such frivolous dispatch, came church bells, chiming, with a cheery ignorance, of the fated apprehension. Awaiting the simpletons of Andover was a cruel, transcendent frost, it came every year and most knew, the vicinities of reality would soon pass into transcendence, and the cool headed sanctum of god, would claim ultimate rain, over all. In fewer words, the church used such foul times to bring the common folk, closer to the man himself.
The citizens of Andover, were a god fearing people, the fundamentalist regime, of the church committee, were more like dukes and governors, without such frivolous possessions, as gold lined pillow cases, or platinum statues to outline their significance, as human beings. Infact, there were few, persons in the town able to comprehend such items at all. However, the church, a valued building due to its architectural stature was said to be built by French colonists. And thus portrayed the nobility of French faith, which had always been known, even to the brothers of Salem and Ipswich
Among the weathered pillars, and dusty tablets, lay statues of humanly beings, each with a profound sense of ugliness, dripping from their forms. Eroded from the harsh showers of seasonal greetings, they looked down upon the simpletons, and commoners around them, each sadistic expression an impediment for the callow children, on a morn, dedicated to the sanctity of life. There icy unnerving expressions, cast down glows, of misfortune, much like the sun, once did in more memorable times.
Among such outcasts of the church, hunched a severity of brokenness, a man with black sockets which outlined his dissipating features. He had obtained over the back breaking years, a cool expressionless composition of volume and verbalism; which aided him through the majority of days involving various acquaintances, who bowed their heads for fear of death, upon looking on his denatured face. Although so horribly caught in the tide of misfortune, his speech and sociality was that of eloquence and extravaganza, for over the years he had obtained many gifts of stature from those feeling empathy for his situation. None the less Demetrius Falgar was ultimately a man of god, and no physical disability stopped such information from testimony.
A red eccentric dawn lay to the superfluously dedicated persona who stirred among the earliest of birds. And as such chiming of church bells, awoke few at an hour as early as this, Francis Dominic, was one such mentionable. He was a large man, brimming with the past seasonal obligations, his eyes a bleak sea water tint which many perceived as an omen of his distance from social commitments; but never the less, the man had a long and glorious history with the community. When standing at his doorway he could hear the galloping of hoarse hooves, driven to the church they always seemed, both man and animal. When standing at his window sill he could just foretell the exact moment, when the first youngling would rise, to a new day. Many of the locals worried of his solitude; they conspired why he didn't attend church, or never set foot to the market on the day of rest. Such traits among commoners were very uncommon, thus publicizing his own harassment. As few others were, he was alone, for many durations of quickly passing hours, hence adding to local folk lore, and suspicion.
Apart from the decisive public, the man had various supporters, his wife being the best proposed example. Catharine Dominic was most notably a devoted wife, and sincere establishment of her partner's perspective. Although she did not contest his absence, in communal affairs, she did not undertake the same vows of religious silence as her mate. She did attend church, even dealt with the cruel torments of other less mature faithfuls, but her deity features and proscribing words, dealt little fear to those more opposing deviances.
Few knew of the, genetic entanglement such a character, would have with other, more traditional churchly going people. And many would agree that it seemed implausible to accept such proof in the first place. But never the less Francis Dominic was no-one other than the brother of Thomas Dominic, A hence long attired pastor of the norm.
Some might perceive a mistake as simple as such, to portray the ignorance of simpletons, however there was overwhelming evidence to prove such a matter.
Thomas Dominic, a man of many words, and many morals. The best description of hence this character is that of a teacher, a father, maybe even a Shepard. And so being a Shepard, his role, his purpose was none other than to guide his flock.
It was on that fateful land of the norm, that truth blossomed at the core of winter, an unusual aspect of the deceiving laughter and desperate smiles of a near dead comedy.
"And now we will entreat ourselves with the Holy Communion, let the sacramental ritual cleanse our body, renew our vows, and forgive our trespasses".
"Amen" each individual whispered, among the bleak yet extravagant pillars defining the stone walls of such a church. The bustling mob, so seen among the crowded markets was less obscene and ridicule. And for a mere few hours they thus illuminated the tiny fraction of there faithfulness to such a god. The service proscribed various methods of sin execution. The deviant were dealt with, the explorers exorcized, the occasional accusation of demon possesment was not unheard of, either.
During the slow portamento of Thomas Dominic each awkward individual rose to the lectern to receive their blessing. His passive calming voice soothed, the young children into brief slumbers, before a rude awakening often consisting of a poke or elbow to the lap. In the darkly corners, of the dispositional gloom, seated a pathetic fallacy. Demetrius Falgar uttered wordlessly the pessimistic stalemate for many of the attendees; the traditional property keeper, he always had enjoyed the shadows. Where he sometimes felt the only sense of belonging, his castle and his keep was impenetrable. By the basic human fear, of the dark.
In the distant radius at which the ears could hear, came galloping. Something unusual, for many it was dangerous to leave the town's central mapped area, for the blighted cold, killed men ruthlessly. The composition, of the clips and clops, conveyed to the distracted audience the exact melody, at which the hoarse was riding with. Soon, even the oldest and youngest of the crowd could hear the racket, and no sooner had the hoarse stopped galloping, that the crunch of feet sinking snow came to bear the ears new attention. Consequently, the doors made sudden jolts and the room flooded with bleak light, a long shadow was cast down the most central of aisles, the perfect sign that someone had entered uninvited.
"Witches, devils, heretics, the demented, they are among us." The breathless courier gasped. The crowd, looked up in aw, at such a sudden testimony, "be gone with such frivolity, I will not stand for such incompetence". Thomas Dominic had a deep and piercing voice, which radiated the hall with its base-like volume. He gently stepped from the lectern and challengingly placed his feet in order, "if you will not leave, then may you please be seated, and enthrall us with your ability to remain silent". "Oh sir, let me explain I have horrifying news, simply dastardly is such news, that I felt it was imperative to intervene the service, and attract your attention and every ones attention available". Well sir, may you not keep this testimony but share it with us so that we can revive the sanctity of our service." The courier, felt the hungry eyes fall upon him,
As duteous as his mission was, he could not but feel a slight spice of paranoia that the news he brought would amount to disappointment, and consequently their in-gratification. "Well sirs and mams", he began while shuffling his feet. "There, has been a conviction recently, it was following the suspicions of the high court of Salem-town".
"Yes well get on with it", the crowd had become a little less patient, with the courier, and so morphed like a passing of time over a lake, into a distracted and imprudent audience.
"Yes, yes", the courier brought out a scroll of tarnished paper, "the family convicted, consisting of a man, a wife, and two children, have been proven to have consulted, and acted, with that of Satan himself, a baby has been poisoned, and another family's livestock, has been ridden with plaguing insects."
"Under what such proof", pastor Thomas bellowed, his fists had gone white with almost intolerable anger, "I tell you sir, if you do not remove yourself from this house of god, then god help me, I will point you in the right direction".
"Listen to me dear flock, take control of such passions, and heed not the words of such frivolity, the man does not know what he speaks, and so knows not the crime he commits now will all bow their heads and pray that god may aid him in truth." The suspicious crowd, bustled, then fell silent in prayer, and the pigeons on the mount of the chapel-tower, flapped and ruffled less. But again a distant echo of steps could be heard among the stone walls. "Father", came an eloquent and charmed voice, "might it be necessary for the poor man to speak; for the, consequences could be far direr if the messenger does not complete his testimony," out of the shadows, and before the crowd conceived a dastardly ugliness. Children smirked, and giggled, yet most turned their heads away. "Ah Demetrius, my dear companion, trust me when I tell you that these words you so sourly desire, would be but slithering snakes in all our thoughts.
"Very well father, your will be done, I will at least escort our guest out."
Demetrius enervated towards, the exit, beckoning the courier towards the bleak outdoors. Behind him he slammed the door briskly, and looked up through the courier's confident discipline.
"Repeat yourself quickly, before suspicion returns itself to the warden of this property." The courier retired his good willed fortitude with a sequence of conspicuous tones. "Fear, has broken out in the town of Salem, good sir it is vital that the adversaries of our faith, live not harmoniously no longer. Any suspicions you have of the, less faithful must be proposed to the court, with all do haste."
"As I am also a loyal subject of our Christ, it is my duty to agree with you, however a task as controversial as this, requires a certain amount of subtlety". The courier let his eyes wonder as his associate said this, winking as his eyes reconnected with the maimed face in front. "From now on you report directly to me, is that clear".
The eyes of Demetrius although deep in the back of head, were not sunken or withdrawn but burnt flames of seriousness, "is that clear!" the courier looked up at Demetrius like a vengeful child, "I will take your advice into consideration".
"Then go". But the courier needed no more instruction and had already mounted his horse, at first a trot and then a gallop he rode off. "Report back soon and only in the early hours". But it was no use for the courier had long since rode out of earshot and into the fringes of winter
The prince of madness
The bitter ice wind rode full pace across the towns, cutting each off from the other; like chariots they had driven the once bustling cats of summer and cornered them, their spitting and scratching and all other resisting could not break through the depression; and as each were drowned, a little hope faded from the world.
Across the town of Andover many also had little hope; although the sanctimonious steeples and spires of the church confronted this loss, it could not retaliate and so was hopeless too.
Across the new dusk, the steeds of death could be heard; Growling, pawing at the door panels of one home in particular. A dim-lit room consequently was the quiet funeral of a breaking spirit. Her feverish condition wrapped her in the clutches of poverty. For little could be done to comfort her further. The curtains had been pulled from their railings in anguish, and draped over the twisting agonizing morph; which conveniently insulated her form. Many rationalists had come to define their support to her only dependent, but nothing could satisfy him for Francis had suffered this sickly hopelessness for many hours without nourishment or rest. Even a traveling apothecary had been brought to see what little affect they might achieve on her deluded body.
Across the room another man sat, hunched in prayer, his hands paraded together clasping bitterly on the folds of the bed. "Much will be lost with your absence but do not fight the lords will, go in peace" he chanted repetitively, tears streaking down like rivers, across his mountainous cheeks. "My brother loves you and it is admirable to want to live again with him, but surely the agony, the needles in your heart are signs of God's true purpose for you." He whispered things in her ear, but the body left no repeat to this for it convulsed more violently, flopping like a fish all over the bed, until the men in the room stood up together and held her down, still she thrashed in defiance. "She is possessed, dear father shouldn't we attempt an exorcism so that she may die in peace", a familiar face entered the room which cast all eyes away from his entrance. "Oh Demetrius do not jump to the conclusion that she is possessed for, im sure there is a much more provable reason". Thomas looked concerned though, down at the figure; although her eyes were glued shut, she seemed perfectly awake. The hunched character now entering the room, glanced at the walls and furniture, which was rather plain compared to his slight more extravagant home. Still the walls had defining characteristics, and did retain a some what homely feel.
"Sir" Demetrius spoke, un-cuffing his tight, ridged hands. "If you were just to look and listen to my words for a moment, then im sure you would agree about my will."
He surveyed the room expressionlessly, with no sign of indignance at his previous failure. "Demetrius please, such a thing is becoming more frequent in conversation with you and it is worrying me, speak of such things no longer if only to humor me"
Although weak, it was clear, that Demetrius was burning with rebuttals, like an unloved or neglected child. His knuckles went White, he tilted his head down into the hood of his robe to disguise his utter discontent, and he left the room to avoid any signal of his true feelings. The delegates in the room took no notice, for there was more justification in watching the writhing wreck tangled on the bed, then the raging emotions of the men beside them.
After much suspense and waiting the poor spirit died, sweat bulbs still blooming at her skin surface. The fellows around her sat down at last, fatigued at the work that had just ended. Her complexion however, was not of distress or aggravation as she seemed within her last moments; but of piece, as her hair quilted the surface of the bed spread, her hands lazily placed at her sides. "Francis, Francis please come to me and look upon your wife, do not weep for she is clearly now in a place of peace with god." But Francis had not shed one tear of sadness at her passing; he looked almost numb with euphoria at her final restfulness, contained only by the entirety of his own need to rest.
The swollen crook like heels of Demetrius swayed upon the frame of the pantry door. A wealthy globe of sweat hung at the perch of his brow, defying the feverish cold slipping off, and falling down the wells of gravity. Watery tears conjured up in his eye lashes "why, lord do you leave me hear to fight the just fight, the good fight alone, for unless I be blind, shouldn't I see angles of burning gold at my sides". "Demetrius do not fret, she has left this world of sin and suffering, she has gone far away where she may forget the burden she once knew." Demetrius was not startled at Thomas's approach and he did not allow even a slight change in tone when readdressing his new companion. "Although your words are kind, dear master, I believe that we may have sentenced her to a far worse grave that that with god.... I, I could see fire in her eyes the moment she passed". Thomas lent across the table and though for minutes about how best to counter what had been said, he frowned and wrinkled his nose, and clasped his hands together. "She died of something known to our profession as asphyxiation; those violent tremors in her body were purely physical attempts to find breath". The seemingly impotent voice came from behind the two figures, walking briskly up to the council he looked both in the eye. "There was nothing demonic or satanic about what just happened to that poor girl, if you have any respect for the dead, then you wouldn't spit on her grave anymore then you already have." Demetrius looked speechlessly at the alchemist, almost demoralized but, soon fire raged in his eyes. "Be careful with what words you speak, for some as im sure you'll know are more expensive to pay for, than others."
With this he drilled his eyes deep into the stunned fellows opposites, then flung his thick robe, across his previously vacant neck and limped out of the door way.
With a great slam, the firm oak doors shut. Daylight beamed out of corners in the walls, Demetrius curtained the windows, bunged any peering light until he sat in the reign of darkness once more. His decrepit fingers comforted upon the gloomy furniture, seizing a glass and unmarked bottle, he poured a colorless liquid in to the glass, and let it pour down his dusty gullet. The pooterish room lay silent, for there were many things, clutter of sorts that lay in denial on shelves of old. In the centre of the room lay a cozy arm chair, another swift gulp and the bottle left his feeble grip and splashed upon the floor, the less amiable shards sprayed across the wooden floor, protruding a wink in Demetrius's eye.
Almost drowning in mid air, he fainted just catching the arm and seizing upward the back plate, with a last burst of effort, he positioned himself in the chair, and sat in comfort.
At first the room became blurry; the walls seemed less defined the paintings and mirrors faded too. The corners of the room became darker, as if little black insects were erupting from holes in the walls; long devilish shadows crept from the various objects in the room. Brass mugs, and kettles and pots, began to ting, and tong; a portamento off each ended note. They rose in the air, clanging together detrimentally denting each other, the furniture jumped out of their usual places, mimicking any normal living creature, their drawers spilling out and maiming themselves on the chalky wooden floor. Then as if teasing, the chair in which Demetrius sat, began shaking, at first just a slick jolt in one of the legs, then a feeble hop in the air, as if a persona had tried to jump with too much weight on their back. He clutched the arm chair, his fingers numbly whitening with pink blotches under his grimy nails. Pivoting around, the broken mess was clinging on for fear of death. Like a bull throwing a rider off its back the chair tossed him forwards. grazing his cheeks on the dusty floor, He lifted his splintered hands, to grasp at anything in reach, to flail in his defense; but every object in the room was dancing about musically, candles and kettles held spouts and arms as if hand in hand cheering and leaping loudly. Wildly Demetrius rolled away from a swiping antique sword, but his frail body twisted in the process and the malignant blade flayed out a portion of his side. He looked down and saw his trickling blood, in pools splayed out across the surface like a map of some sort. Suddenly before him, a mirror hovered before him, and through it he saw only what he should see, himself. Yet this was not a portrayal of the decrepit and insignificant state he was at that point in time. His reflection was in fact grinning, more perfectly then ever and generously radiating what seemed like sunrays, away from him. "What... Do you... want with me", he said to the mirror swiping at his own reflection. But the character before him just laughed a horrible dusty laugh, as if a sound before had never escaped his lips.
"Remember me... old fool", the words voiced from Demetrius's reflection, but his lips and tongue had not produced the motions of which to say each melodious word. "Disappointed I am...with you of course, you see ...I imagined you happier like me, do you want to be happy, I can make you happy, just sooth .....Down, and relax". Demetrius looked delirious; white, with vomit almost spilling from his mouth; blood had begun seeping in small rivers around the room sinking into the cracks in the floor. The parallel feature before him, grinned once more "you know not every one gets an audience with the boss, consider yourself lucky." With that he waved and faded into the normal reflection of Demetrius Falgar.
The whole room erupted in darkness, an impenetrable, impermeable blackness, as if shiny like the purest pearl white, yet black with difference. Demetrius could not look about, for his neck had siecced its service to him, his arms had quit his whole body protesting in paralysis.
"Come again to see me oh patron of the sanctimonioussssss messiah". A harsh tongue flicked, and spat within his ears, slithering like snakes within his belly, a warm inviting hand lay across his side and shifting into eyesight a beautiful temptress became known. "It has been long since'sss, we met last, infact this may be your first consciousssssss, moment in my presence'ssss, ah you didn't know it, but there were many times as a boy and sincesss then when you and I met, continually." The nude, erotic form lay in front of him levitating within his eyesight, the long tongue, too long to be human, licked at his cheeks and swelled around his ears. Demetrius attempted to move uncomfortably but with no ado as he was frozen like an ice block. "I want you to know that ive alwaysssss been here, for you. Tell me where issss, your righteousssssss god now, has he left you to my reachessssss alone." Demetrius tried with all his feeble might, to close his eyes, even to spit at the burning luscious character before him. "Is it torture, is it painful, is it demising, tell me is it terrifying to know that there is nothing you can do and that it will never end ever. Because now that you know I exist and know that there is nothing you can do, and most importantly of all that I will be waiting, for you!" the burning embers of its scalp, molested the breath of the room. "Come to me, yes you heard come to me; let us dance, to the music..." All the pots and pans and ornaments that had been noisily bashing and clanging together just minutes before, were now positioning like a highly acclaimed orchestra; a sound of beauty and fragrance filled the corners of the room. No sooner had the music started then the maniacal form before him levitated them both into the air, and clasping Demetrius's hands with it's, they began dancing. Demetrius had whitely fainted at this point, his arms dangling loosely around the lusty figure. "Not yet, im afraid, we must finish the dance and it hasn't even got to the best part yet." With its fingers it wrenched his eyelids open, "look at me, LOOK AT ME!!"
Suddenly all darkness faded from the room, like a small hole in the wall had sucked all of it out. A heavy oak door opened and light flooded into the room, footsteps sounded near, and as Demetrius opened his eyes he saw Thomas Dominic's friendly warm smile, breach his peripheral vision. Demetrius sat bolt right up. No blood was seeping from his side, no ornaments were even twitching with playful illegality, he sat on the hard wooden floor. "My dear friend why are you sat on this awful floor, when your bed sits untouched". Thomas looked about the room suspiciously, and saw a bloody antique blade bolted to the wall. "Demetrius what happened to that..." but his words fell on deaf ears for Demetrius had already faded from consciousness, posed lazily in his arms.
Upon the pearl white rooftops, and icy over hangings dripped the slow tear drops of summer. Dying, her warm breast went with her, and at her last breath the new frozen breath of winter blossomed. Although immeasurably cold, life continued, church continued. Families tightened their grip over reality, pursuing indoor activities because often there were fewer reasons for setting foot out the home in the first place.
Cow skinned balls were thrown or passed at each cooking stove, dolls were seized by sniggering boys, to the much contempt of pony tailed girls. Upon each table sat the recipes for often gruel’ish suppers awaiting the starving animals each realistically were.
Fathers and older sons left the homely warmth to break holes in older fishing spots, often with long hours of pecking at ice which hadn’t been scratched all winter. Other less traditional folk left even these chores as simpletons work; and vacated even the icicle ridden gates of Andover to wonder the hills in search of winter elk.
Across the winter plains the soft gentle snow had been known to steel the hearts of men and tuck them in for there last long sleep. However there were such defiant souls that would often wonder the white pines, who were less easily lost, and who died a longer death each and every hour they spent in such a god awful wilderness. Spine ridden trees shook reluctance at the fallacies of a winter tax collector, jingling its purse in signal for the collection of their leaves. Thick logs were laced like sugar among the spangled placement of pine trees, their once honey suckle sap, now frozen like blocks of ice.
Suspended in the air at night, hung the dirty cream craters of the moon a wry sadistic grin on its face, as if the cold agonizing deaths of each innocent mortal equaled a night of pleasure and entertainment. The stars gathered also in the midst to audience these consequential ends, masses of each like fireflies tangled in spider webs overlapping the night sky.
Pen and ink which neglected to freeze could often be heard within the confines of Thomas Dominic’s home, for the newly appointed resident of such a simpletons dwelling was also the origin of the latest circulation of gossip. After Demetrius Falgar’s latest withdrawal from society, it was no wonder much talk had been passed among the neighbors and towns folk of Andover. One such family known was a great rival to Demetrius headed by a difference in life belief and male authority. This family was the loving support of their father the alchemist known to many as Blake Pootersmith. His fragrant herbs were perfect in aiding his natural voice of authority, for many respected and trusted him as a compassionate friend and partner. But most of all Blake was a man of family, his most highly esteemed treasure being his eldest daughter Augustine.
Above the vacant flower beds sat her window, the young girl of nine would often peer disappointedly out the glass panes fogging them up with her warm callow breaths. She longed to play in the snow, making snow fairies, chasing imaginary snow goblins, but her parents refused her such desires, they would too often say “the blighting cold steal children at play and give them horrible illnesses some times pains not even your father can help.” But this didn’t stop her from accompanying her father out on errands to gather herbs near the town, and deliver them to his patrons.
The day had come reluctantly; the sun barely strengthed the outside air, as it often acted hopelessly for no warmth was felt from its fiery branches. “Augustine, strap ya boots an, ye pa’s leavin, he’s awlmost out the door”. The aproned women looked down the hall one last time, seeing her daughter scurry out the door, her laces straggling like ragged pieces of hair behind her. “Strap thouws boots on or it’ll get cauwt an you’ll urt yurself”.
But there was no pause or jolt in the now fading image of her as if she hadnt responded or even heard her mother calling. “It’ll be a thrashing fur er wen she gits back it will be”. A young boy sitting at the table looked up hungrily an immature gleeful look upon his face. “An if yur not careful it will be a thrashing fur you too, so wipe that cheesy smirk of ya face”
Across the seemingly ghost like town, Augustine’s light footsteps could be heard. “You almost missed the wagon girlie”, the skinny man spoke head forward as if he knew she had tried to sneak up upon him without a glance behind. “Aww ye eard me again pa, what can’I do to make maself better, sneaking up on dose stupid snow gobwins seems so easy compared to putting it on you”.
“Well I aint no part af yur imagination, am I, an what av I told you about playing with snow goblins eh”. The girl looked guilty on the floor “they culd cast a spell on me, in I culd git a spell cast on me”
“Too right, now don’t worry we can have fun in te ouse with yur brother instead of playing dangerous games like that one”.
“Yes pa”. She looked down at her ragged shoes rubbing one up against the other, “hey now wait there, you cant go off out te ouse like that with yur laces anging,” he bent down slowly as if his knees were seized up, and began untangling the hairy mess.
“pa, pa where’s all that stuff ya usually bring to a patient”, Augustine looked up at her father innocently. A sudden twist of anguish evolved in his face and posture, “ah lord help me, I left’em back at te ouse, look I want ya to promise me that as soon as ya reach te pastors ouse yur gonna wait for me there”, she looked up at her father with a fundamental sense of sincerity. “Awlright now it’s just over that tree line” he pointed ahead of them where a dollop of snow had spilt from the white canopy in the trees.
She leaped ahead, the snow pushing her to lift her legs high in adaptation. “stay there girlie, or it’ll be a thrashing” she passed over the tree line, and into the woods, without a look or acknowledgment to what he had said.
The dirty sullen marshes of the forest in which Thomas had made his home was disguised; for The beauteous silk that covered the ground had hid the tasteless farting of the bog which sang noisily at any other stage in the calendar. Many towns’ folk often looked into the tree line with odd perceptions of curiosity, for none could understand his decision to live in such a hellish scrap of land. The layout of the house so suited Demetrius however, it was a neglected area of the town and thus allowed Demetrius privacy to some of his deeper thoughts. Inside many of the rooms Demetrius had innocently tore scraps of wallpaper from the walls in anxiety of the visions that so wracked his mind. Scrawlings ripped around the ceiling; diabolic marks outlined in a crimson bleed of madness warped the room in a horrific scene of violence. As of late Demetrius had not left one room in particular, its walls wracked with fatigue, Demetrius lay in a bedding of sheets and curtains stained with what most would come to the conclusion as blood. His back breaking agony writhed within his very veins electrifying the sight of him.
Within moments however a short tapping came at the door, not a strong bash but an ever so innocent knock which only the fiercest of ears could make out. Surely outside Augustine stood on the tip of her toes, she leaned in close and put her ears to the dormant door. Nothing sounded however, not the chirp of an insect nor the songs of a bird. But suddenly just as she gave up her last hope of a sound, the door slammed open with an astonishing speed which drove Augustine backward and on to her buttocks.
“Who is it that might even dare whisper my disturbance”, he looked out across the sleeping and distant meadows but did not recognize Augustine for the sun at this particular moment penetrated deeply the bleakness of the day and directly into his eyes.
A little tweet however broke the devastating aw of the man. “Sir, sir, where’s Mr. Thomas, ma fathers gone give me a’thrasin if I don’t find Em and stay where he is”.
But these words fell on deaf ears for as Demetrius stood and stared down at the starved figure, something far different was heard in his own ears. “Demetrius, I am Gabriel. You know me as an angel of the lord. I have come to you in the gravest of matters, this girl is a disciple of the lord and she is the only incorruptible thing of the world you know”
Demetrius looked in complete decadence; he quivered and bowed, then fell to his knees
A burning light engulfed the image before him and all that was heard was the soft, sweet voice of the illusion before him. “You must pay your duty to your lord and protect this girl at all costs, take her away from her tainted and possessed home for demons lurk around every corner”. Demetrius bowed lower with utter devotion, “your word be done master”
“Go now and take this girl with you, take her far away, and find a way to cleanse this town which you have devoted your life to serving”. The light though soon perished as quickly as it sparked, leaving Demetrius bowed before the little figure.
“I don’t mean ta be rude but why are ya bowin ta me”, Augustine said this with a profound sense of curiosity; she looked across at the wrinkled figure across from her as innocently as possible. Speechless for a moment Demetrius searched for words to say that might explain his current posture. Abruptly he climbed weakly to his feet and towered above the girl. “Dear girl it is my duty to inform you that………….”, but it did not take long for Demetrius to realize that addressing a youngling in this manner was infact pointless. He leaned in close and looked deeply into her baby blue eyes. “Hello little girl, might I ask you of your attendance at this particular home”
“I just told ya, im ere to find Thomas the pastor ya know, the pastor”. She looked up at the man with a strange look in her eyes. “I know you, yur that man who I see cleanin the church yard, yur mister Farley”
“Yes that would be my name, now little girl what would be your name hmmmm?”
My names Augustine the brave, I fight snow gobwins that attack the town” she pushed her chest forward with pride and arrogance. Demetrius tried to force a childish giggle but it sound much more like a rusty pipe snapping in two. “Well Augustine you must be a very experienced adventurer, tell me do you like adventurers?”
She nodded gleefully. “Well I am intending to venture on an expedition across the snowy meadows to a town you may have heard of, Salem is its name, I must go because my spies have told me that a band of snow goblins are coming and I must retrieve reinforcements to aid our town, I need some one to help me with my things maybe someone as experienced as you could help me.” Augustine thought for a moment brimming with excitement, “Will it take long, ma fathers gonna come ere soon, and he’s gonna be lookin for me, hey maybe he could help us”.
“Im afraid not my darling, for you see the snow goblins have spies everywhere and im sure we would not maintain the element of secrecy if another joined us. we will have to go alone. But it is not far, just over the hill infact, so what do you say em?
Augustine thought hard, she wrinkled up her face in concentration. “I think ma father will be awright with me goin as long as it don’t take too long”
“Then come in dear girl. It is, im afraid a tad messy in here, but please come inside and we shall... prepare for our journey.”
A kiss good night
Within the confines of Demetrius’s current home, they set to work eagerly. They packed a leather sack full with warm gear and assortments of small foods. By the time everything had been packed and ready. However, the brisk day had hardened and became a malignant dusk; red with malice and warning thickly spread across the sky.
Demetrius glanced through the icy pains. He shuddered with anxiety and tore his eyes away from the barren wilderness. He then looked at the young girl, enthusiastically whistling on a low wooden stool “dear girl…”
“Augustine!” she interrupted authoritively
“Yes, yes Augustine I believe we are packed and fully prepared to venture forth”; he finished this sentence with a surprising finalism as if he felt stronger than he actually looked. “Are you ready my seat pea”?
“Yer im ready but innt it to dark to leave naw”?
He looked outside troubled by the blistering blizzards but he did not allow this shiver of fear to cut through his hopeful expression; “im afraid…that time is of the essence and if... We were to stop for but a moment longer then our course could be lost forever! You see my dear Augustine whatever horrors may lurk out there in the dark however maimed and scary they may be there is always a light that can be seen or felt or even heard sometimes, an that is hope my dear girl, hope. He looked deep into her eyes witch were like a deep empty void contained by globes of watery glass. “hope is a funny thing, it can make men turn to horrible things and can also make men endure such horrible things as well, it is the shred of want when you sit down and eat with your family that there might just be something more to eat. For others in times of war, they may sit in a ditch or a trench or whatever and be shot at or raided and be left to starve but as long as they can hope for a better future they are still in there place fighting themselves and their enemy. So you see my darling if there’s not one shred of hope in you that we can stop these evil snow goblins from raiding our homes and harming the ones we love then we’ve already failed.”
The little girl, her hair knotted and torn looked up aw struck at the decrepit figure before her, for that brief moment he was a strong knight in shining armour, his wrinkles were war scars, his grimy gray curls were blonde fiery locks, and his old worn staff was a gleaming lance, and in that moment, in all her innocence, she would fallow him to hell and back. Demetrius smiled to himself, even he was impressed with his glorifying spiel and yet a hunch or tumor began growing in his mind of doubt or paranoia, what if he wasn’t up to the responsibility. He shook this off and opened the wooden rack closing the outside from the in. he picked up his sack, from which he withdrew a small note with Thomas Dominic’s seal. He placed it on the small table in front of him and then in one sweeping movement nudged the small girl before him out into the cold bleached sunset.
By the time Andover was in the distance Demetrius and his small companion had walked a multitude of miles. The thick icy sludge blanketed by snow, stuck like a laughing tongue grabbing at their feet with teasing hindrance. They drove forward with wading ignorance of the cold; it had yet to bite them under their wraps and scarves, or they were to numb to feel it. The splintering branches occasionally jousted forward halting Augustine in her path as she covered her face with fear. She spat with defiance at each pine cone crunching under her feet and the spines that were caught in her hair. The bloody sky had gradually faded from crimson to an impenetrable black, in which not even the moon and stars could peek down at their orchestrating doom. After hours of less comical trips and falls both were worn out, they’re shivering forms numb and imitating horrific seizers. After bitter contemplation in the white whirl wind which shook both their bones wretchedly they slimmed tiredly to a halt. They sat close looking like bundles of leather and fur coated in icing. “where’ddda’a we gggg’go nnnnow mister.” Augustine struggled with each breath. They sat in a little hovel blow a large pine tree, the white pines glaring down at them. Demetrius almost didn’t answer, yet he looked down into her deep blearing eyes, he must have looked ominous to her for he could not look farther into her fading ignorance.
In many of the local taverns and breweries within the county there was popularity for legends of winter. However being the drunken simpletons that they were, there was little chance at all that any of the seemingly imaginative stories they invented were even partially true. Still the legends were popular none the less. Stories of Thor the northern titan and rival to Norse gods, he may have been a far fetched legend but he was one of winter none the less. “They say ‘is hammer sent thunder and lightenin down to smite ‘is enemies”.
“Now that’s a damn lie and you know it, Thor was de titan a’ winter, ‘e froze ‘is enemies by starin em dead in te eye”.
However it was known far and wide that the best tavern for a bit old folk tale was the Fisherman’s Rest in the town of Andover. The barmaid Nania would serve each eager listener a mug of ale and each would tell a story of legend or horror or loss to the crowd before them. The drunken fools, that sat in there hovel of course were speaking gibberish by any means by the end of the night though.
“Francis, oi Francis, its yor turn mate”, an eager drunken man waved his mug as he downed the formula it whole, and pointed at a much soberer much cleaner young man before him. “I have one tonight actually”, Francis paused briefly for a signal of exclamation from the group surrounding him. “It’s a tale back from just after ma wife died; it seems many of us lost our loved ones in the winter of 92, what with Blake loosing his daughter to the winter cold. Any way I heard that their girl had gone missin and I felt so horribly empathetic for em, you know with losing ma wife an all. So I decided to go out an see if I could find her. Felt like I nearly died myself, I remember I hobbled out there and it was blizzereding like mad you wouldn’t believe it. I