As a young girl, Marelda escapes a massacre but loses everyone she loves
|Marelda awoke to the sound of screams and the smell of flames flickering outside her window. What’s going on? She thought drowsily. She turned her head and looked over at her little sister Rosalie, who slept in the bed opposite her. Rosalie looked at her as tears streamed down her face and whimpered, “Marrie I think they’re trying to hurt papa,” It was then she remembered overhearing her father say to her mother, “These are dire days Velma and I’m afraid that soon we won’t be safe anymore.”
Without hesitating she quickly got up as she heard a window smash near the back of the house. Papa’s men must be defending us if they aren’t in the house yet, she thought hopefully as she rushed over and grabbed Rosalie saying “Come on we have to go and get the twins!” In a room two doors down Marelda could hear the sounds of her twin baby brothers Aiden and Justin crying their lungs out. With Rosalie right behind, she raced into their brothers’ room and saw a dark figure leaning over the crib. Marelda quickly put her hand over Rosalie’s mouth to stop her screaming and letting him know they were there. She didn’t realize until a moment later that Rosalie had down the same thing to her. A habit they had both grown into whenever they had gone sneaking somewhere they shouldn’t. So far the man hadn’t noticed them yet but Marelda knew that they didn’t have long until he either spotted them or killed her brothers. What do I do? Marelda thought wildly, I’m only 9 years old! How can I save them, he’ll crush me! Letting her hand fall from Rosalie’s mouth she crept as silently as she could until she was right behind him. She had seen the dagger sticking out of his boot and so she quickly ducked down and grabbed it. Yes! She thought as she pulled it out. Then the man turned around a look of surprise on his face.
It was this next task that terrified her. She had seen her father do it plenty of times in the training yard and he had even taught her how to throw a small knife which she proudly showed off to anyone who cared to watch. Thinking of nothing but protecting Rosalie, Aiden and Justin she plunged it forwards and right in the man’s stomach. She remembered her father saying it was best to try and get their heart or throat but she couldn’t reach up that far. The man sunk to the ground and she saw his hand snake out and grab her by the throat. She dropped the dagger and tried to fight him off realizing she had probably just dropped her only chance of life.
Behind her she heard a scream as her vision swam and then the hand holding her vanished and she fell to the floor gasping for breath. Rosalie stood above her with the dagger in her hand looking terrified. Poor Rosalie, she though as she stood up, she was only 6 years old and she had heard her mother say so many times to her father that they were too young to be taught this kind of life. Marelda herself loved this kind of life. Learning how to use weapons and fight, but Rosalie was more ‘proper’ as her mother often put it preferring to play with dolls and learning how to sit properly and talk appropriately.
Quickly she reached into the crib and pulled out Justin while Rosalie grabbed Aiden. They were both strong for their young ages from constant tree climbing and snooping in the forest. Marelda heard shouts coming from inside now and knew they had to somehow get to the forest. Their papa had always said that if there was any trouble they were to run into the forest and hide until it was safe. “Quick,” she panted as she ran down the hall, “We’ll go through the front door!” The door came into view already open and she could see the bodies of men and women scattered everywhere. She almost stopped in horror but she knew she had to protect her brothers and sister. She was the oldest so it was her responsibility to make sure they were safe.
She heard Rosalie behind her sobbing as they entered the front garden. With no shoes on she could feel the softness of the ground and an image of walking in blood and entrails appeared in her mind but she managed to shake it away. Just think of safety, she thought grimly as she ran. It was then she heard someone say faintly, “Marelda….Rosie….” she look around and saw her father lying close by with a spear through his side. “Papa!” she screamed and she raced over and knelt by his side. He smiled painfully at her and cupped her face in his hand. “Here,” he gasped and he placed his dagger in her hand. It was a fine-looking object, its handle was carved with beautiful symbols and the blade was a smooth flat shape that ended in a fatal tip. She looked at it wonder. Her father had never let her touch it even just to look at. It suddenly frightened her that he was giving it to her now. She opened her mouth to say something but then he said “Take care of them, Marrie they need you.” then his eyes half closed and his body stopped moving.
Tears streaming down her face she stood up still holding Justin and ran towards the forest with Rosalie carrying a crying Aiden bringing up the rear.
She could still hear the screams and smell the flames as she stumbled in the darkness. Our hiding place, she thought frantically we’ll go there nobody will find us. Not long ago she and Rosalie had been wandering the forest and they had come across a small track leading into a bush. They had pushed through the bush and found a small grove. It was silent and beautiful so they decided not to tell anyone else about and keep it their own secret place. I only have to try and find it in the dark she thought. The sound of her sister screaming made her stop and spin around in fright. A man had jumped out of the bush and was coming straight at her.
The dagger! Her mind screamed at her to use it but she couldn’t throw while she was holding Justin. She might drop him. Then Rosalie was behind him trying to kick him screaming at him to leave them alone. Faster than she could blink he spun around and hit her in the face. All at once her screaming stopped and she fell to the ground and when she hit the ground Aiden, who was still crying in her arms, ceased to make a sound. It was cut off in mid-cry. Everything seemed to slow down during the next few seconds. She screamed and as he advanced towards her she quickly placed Justin as carefully and quickly as she could on the ground and with everything she had she threw the dagger at the man who had killed her brother and sister. It hit him right in the centre of the chest. She saw the look of shock on his face as he fell to ground making strange gargling noises. It didn’t take long for them to stop and once they did she approached him trembling and drew the dagger out of his body. She quickly picked up Justin who was crying even harder than before as if he knew what had just happened to his sibling. Marelda went over to Rosalie and hugged her while holding Justin. When she got up she felt the dampness of her night gown and knew it was blood. She let a small sob escape as she turned and ran into the darkness leaving her lifeless brother and sister in the middle of the forest floor.
She found the hiding place after a few failed attempts at locating it and crawled in holding Justin who was no longer crying but shivering and whimpering from the cold of the night. She held him tight as she allowed herself to cry and she whispered repeatedly until she fell asleep, “I’m so sorry papa I’m so sorry….”
Morning came. She opened her eyes and realized where she was. She hiccupped and let out a small cry as she remembered the previous nights events. She knew that they were all dead. What about mama? she thought with hope she might of made it too! She carefully looked down at Justin and stilled. His lips were blue, and he wasn’t breathing. She cried in despair as she placed him down and tried to gently make him wake up but to no avail. He was gone to be with his brother and Rosalie. Now truly crying she picked him up and crawled out of the grove and began to walk back home. I’m so sorry Papa, she thought miserably, I failed you.
She crept silently into the yard and saw the carnage from the night before. The grass once a beautiful shade of emerald green was now stained red with innocent and murderous blood. The flowers, those that were not destroyed, were glistening brightly with droplets of the red liquid spilled so carelessly everywhere. The first thing she noticed was that all the bodies were gone. While walking home she hadn’t found Rosalie, Aiden or the man that she had killed but she had found their blood on the forest floor. She saw smoke on the other side of the house and quickly ran around realizing that everybody had gone. She rounded the corner and saw them. Bodies piled on top of another, people she had known all burning their lives smoking into the sky. Her stomach began to feel queasy and she knew she was going to be sick. She turned away only to see a more dreadful sight waiting for her. She screamed. “Noooooo!”
“Noooooo!” Marelda shouted as she shot up in bed. Sweat covered her brow and her heart was pumping frantically. She sighed and collapsed back onto her bed and stared at the ceiling in frustration. Thirteen years later and she was still haunted by that terrible night. She turned onto her side and whispered quietly, “I’m sorry papa,” before drifting into an uneasy sleep.