So the end of my first terms work, not too shabby and feeling more confident. xx
The Beast Within, Chapter Two
Vincent felt confident that this was a jest, a trick, as he just stepped forward once more, trying to impose a tone of menace in his voice and sound older than his twenty years.
“What trickery is this; what magic is this. You foul creature, what witchcraft made these?” to illustrate his point Vincent, grabbed one of the roses growing in a pot, noticing the colours were blue, “How did you create such things?”
“Through hard work and the study of plants”. Came the slightly defiant feminine reply, oh this was a trick alright, which caused Vincent to advance, determined to do what he had set out to do. Deliberately overlooking everything up until now.
“Then show me your face”. Vincent demanded as a sadistic thought occurred “Or I will kill all your children.”
The figure froze and seemed to sag slightly, even cloaked he could see its defeat, as the shimmery hands lifted up carefully, and pushed back the hood.
Revealing the most incredible face Vincent had ever seen.
It was a woman, along with her glowing skin, her hair was dark purple and fell long across her shoulders, and he noticed her long black dress under her cloak, but it was her eyes that blazed green, which he truly saw.
Vincent blinked and tried to understand, yet by this point, his mind was unable to function rationally.
“You’re the Beast”, he exclaimed, causing the woman to blink.
“I’m the what?” her voice though annoyed had a lyrical quality, which almost caused Vincent to sway. This had to be a trick, some demonic magic.
“The Beast, a hideous, monstrous Beast”, Vincent exclaimed, while the woman just looked confused.
“I’m a monster, I let some unconscious man into my home, and his first action is to come after my children” The Beast, woman shook her head. “I knew it; I just knew it. I know I shouldn’t have left that armour in your room” She claimed, more to herself.
Perhaps it was the idea of killing children which went against everything Vincent knew and caused him to immediately become defensive.
“I’m not here to kill your children…I just said I would”.
“Then why are you here, in the dead of winter. A time where no one comes to my Castle…or even through the Forest”. The woman demanded, angrily.
“I came at this time because it’s the one-time no one has ever attempted”. Was Vincent’s retort as the woman just rolled her eyes.
“Perhaps because no one is stupid enough to it in sub-zero temperatures, you fool”, she said sarcastically, causing Vincent to blink.
Aside for her exotic looks, she looked and spoke, like a human. However, she still wasn’t, he reminded himself once more, as she looked up again.
“So why are you here? Why come to the Forest, so late in the season?”
“I’m here to take the Beast’s head and…”
“Wait a second,” the woman stopped and just held up her hands.
“You called me the Beast, you think I’m a Beast?” she asked, undoubtedly trying to take in what Vincent had said, as Vincent, himself just nodded.
“I’m a Beast…and you came here to take my head…why on Earth would you or anyone want my head?’ the question sounded so absurd coming from the intended target, which caused Vincent to struggle for the answer.
“Because you kill the children, we leave for you. In your demonic sacrifices”.
The woman shook her head, “This is just too preposterous” she muttered to herself. “Demonic sacrifices, taking my head…calling me a monster”. Then from behind them was the door opening, causing both of them to turn their heads.
“Mama”, came the small and almost pitiful voice, which caused Vincent to blink. It was a girl aged about eight or nine, unlike the boy and his arm, this one had a significant mark on her face.
Without it, she might have been called pretty, instead of looking disfigured. The girls grey eyes settled on Vincent. Immediately, she looked puzzled while the woman never turned round, but made it clear to whom she was speaking to.
“Claudia, go upstairs with the others”. She said, to the little girl, who just ignored the request and race over to her “momma”, and pressed her face into the woman’s cloak causing the shimmery hand to brush through the little girls red hair.
“We’re scared mama; we’re afraid of the bad man”. The little girl muttered, gripping the woman’s cloak with all her might, while the powerful words from the little girl, finally made Vincent lower his sword.
“You’re not a monster”, these were words that Vincent had never imagined saying. In his most vivid dreams, he had always envisioned, cutting off the Beast’s head and marching it back to his people.
Instead of this, instead there was this young woman and these children, all the while the female just smiled softly and shook her head.
“No, I’ve never been a monster, nor Beast”, while she relaxed no doubt by Vincent’s fallen blade and just smiled still running her hand over Claudia’s head in a comforting manner.
“But these children…your sacrifices”.
“Oh my word, this is going nowhere”, the woman said to herself, just shaking her head, as she bent down to the child.
“Claudia, darling. Go back to sleep with your brothers and sisters, and I’ll speak to you in the morning.”
The little girl didn’t look too convinced, but did as her mother advised her, and swiftly disappeared through the door, not before giving Vincent an odd look, which he couldn’t decipher.
Which gave the two, their moment of silence, before the woman finally broke in with the most unique thing Vincent had ever heard.
“Due to the customs of your people…would you care for a cup of tea?”
The voice was so traditional and so strange for the situation, all Vincent could do was nod, realising how tired and hungry he really was.
“That would be…fine”. Vincent said smoothly, as the woman directed him to follow her, with a gesture.
A few minutes later, both of them still walking to, he assumed the kitchen, “I hope you don’t mind. I would have asked the children, but all of them safe asleep…well should be asleep. Your appearance made a lot of them curious, you know.”
Vincent just grunted to this, his sword was now back in its sheath. But he wasn’t totally relaxed by this turn of events; while out of the corner of his eye he was aware he could see more children, a myriad of different ages, all gazing over balconies and from behind doors.
Until the woman just spoke up, “We don’t get a lot of visitors, none really”. While she cleared her throat. “You know, then I saw you lying in the snow, I really thought you were dead”. The woman declared, smoothly, causing Vincent to almost stop. “You were the one that found me. Why didn’t you leave me to die?”
“Because I’m not evil, no matter what you may think” came her reply, until then both turned a corner, and into a large kitchen. Pots and pans were all stacked up, and gleaming bronze, and in the middle of the room was a large tea service, all setup, with steam pouring from the spout of the large pot.
“Ahh one of my children must have prepared it”, she stated cheerfully, sitting down with ease into one of the wooden chairs, gesturing Vincent to do the same.
All the while he, cautiously kept an eye on her, as she decanted the two cups and watched very carefully as she took a sip of the steaming liquid before he did the same.
The tea tasted delicious, and thirst quenching, while he drunk greedily, even though the woman had placed down her teacup and was studying him curiously.
“I can imagine you must have questions”, she said with a wry smile on her lips, as Vincent eventually placed down the cup with a small rattle against the china, yet chose his word very carefully.
“Where do the children come from?”, even though his first word should have been asking about this mysterious woman in front of him, with the shimmery skin and strange hair, but this question caused the woman to just tilt her head.
“They’ve been left at the entrance of my Forest for generations. I take them, bring them here. Some stay, some don’t. I never ask them to do either, it’s always was their choice”. She finished quickly before Vincent could ask more.
“So you don’t…eat them?” Vincent finally said, which caused would be called a chuckle from the woman’s throat,
“No never, you don’t want them, so I did. I took them, took them into this Castle. Left over from the old King, oh many, many years ago” She smiled softly at the memory while Vincent began to feel hot inside.
“But the men, the others who have been here before”, he managed to say, while rubbing his neck. Why was he feeling so warm?
“Some enter, most leave…but those who get too close”. She stopped before trying to find the right words. “Well, I always put the world to rights”, she finished, her gaze never leaving his face.
In Vincent’s mind, he could feel his brain, slowly turning over and over, while his vision swam, what was in the tea? All the while the smile never left the woman’s face, and sliding to the ground. Vincent heart finally stopped, and his life left his body, permanently.
For a few minutes, all she did was sit there, until he had finished his death throw, and one of her children came into the room. It was Sean, one of her eldest who had seen it all before. Who leant over and just closed his eyes, with his fingers, the glassy stare unnerving the teenager slightly.
“In the Forest”, he whispered to his mother, who just lifted her hand to the boy’s birthmarks face, the reason he had been abandoned fifteen years earlier.
“Let the blizzard die down, darling. Before you go out, and wrap up warm”, she stated, and just leant back and drunk her tea.
Of course, she didn’t want to kill him. He was no older than some of her children, but he was all like the others at heart, in truth she may have given him a chance. But calling her a “Beast.”
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