Red Rose Part 2
Rose pulls her silky cloak tight against her body and prepares to move forward, a plan formulates in her mind. "I've got to find grandma. God please let her be safe." Cautiously she walks alongside the wall trailing her fingertips against the hard, vine covered stones and looking for a small opening to slip through. Finding one near a ramshackle cottage, she enters the village.
Death is everywhere. In the streets... in the quaint shops... even in the church. The whole village smells of blood and death. A disheveled woman stumbles past Rose carrying a tiny headless infant tightly to her breast, a deep moan escaping her lips as she disappears. Hot acidic liquid rises in Roses throat as she takes it all in."Must be careful" she thinks to herself. "He could be lurking anywhere." Stepping underneath a thatched overhang, Rose closes her eyes and concentrates. Reaching into her mind she conjures a gift that lies within. Slowly her small form begins to fade until she is completely invisible.Breathing deeply, Rose sets out to search the village.
Her invisibility ( a gift she's had since birth, but just recently mastered) will only shield her from the night stalker temporarily. He will eventually catch her scent... and hunt her down.
Rose makes a quick decision to check her grandma's cottage first. Solidly built, the house contains a secret cellar that her grandma could have retreated to. Navigating the narrow cobblestone streets, she winds her way toward the back of the village. Rose tries not to focus on the horrible scene around her, but she can't help but be distracted. Memories... her memories of this once friendly and happy place is now replaced with fire and destruction. She knows this village well. She practically lived here before her grandfather passed on. She knows the people... their warm, inviting homes. All of this is because of her. This wrath brought upon these innocent people is because of her.
A howling reverberates off the buildings and rises into the night. A long, low hooowling... calling. Taunting. Making Roses' heart beat rapidly in her chest. He knows she's here. He's looking for her.
Reaching the cottage door, Rose pushes hard against the wood flinging it open."I'm here. It's me grandma... I'm here" she screams. No reply. The house is quiet. Rose releases herself from her powers and retains her form. Running to the tiny, dark room located off of the bathroom she kneels on the floor frantically searching the boards for a tiny latch. "Where is it?" she cries as her fingers fumble in and out of grooves.
Click... Creeeeek. Rose feels the floor rising beneath her palms. She quickly jumps back and sees her grandma's worried face and flowing silver hair appear from below. "Get in here chile. Get in here quick!" grandma Evie whispers.
Evie was born in the very house she still resides. She loves the little village of Rayne. She's 73yrs young and a strikingly beautiful woman. With the same deep blue eyes and creamy skin as her granddaughter, she doesn't look a day over 50. Born with only the power of knowledge, she is known to be one of the most intelligent people in her countryside. She is headstrong and tough, but an angel in disguise. Evie married Rose's grandfather John at the age of 16, which wasn't uncommon at the time. They were soul mates... they had a fathomless love not many could understand. They only had one child, Rose's mother Caroline. Evie yearned for more children, but John couldn't. He developed an ailment shortly after Caroline was born which prevented them from becoming pregnant. After the loss of her husband, and then daughter... Rose is all she has.
"Your o.k.!" Rose says as she descends into the cellar.
"Of coarse I am. Do you think me stupid Rose? I'm old, but I'm not dumb! Where's the tablet?"
"It's right here." Rose carefully pulls the stone tablet from her basket and unwraps the heavy cloth that protects it. Evie takes it from her and walks to a tiny desk to examine it under the lamp light. Running her fingers over the writing etched into the tablet, Evie smiles. "Simply beautiful."
"He's searching for me grandma. He knows I'm here." Rose looks around at the dank, dark cellar. It will provide protection from even the strongest human, but the night stalker will eventually find a way.
The ceiling and walls are reinforced with layers of concrete and metal. No windows adorn the walls; there are only two ways to enter and exit. The door she slipped through earlier which is smartly hidden and another that would take them through an underground tunnel. The tunnel emerges half a mile outside the village walls and is also hidden extremely well. Roses' grandfather built the cellar and tunnel shortly after she was born. Knowing the gifts she possessed, he wanted to take precautions against those who would want to hurt Rose when they discovered her powers.
The silence is suddenly broken by a series of long, guttural howls. You can hear the hunger, the determination... and so close to them. Handing Rose the tablet and a piece of parchment Evie
says "Let's go chile. I'll have to explain when we are safe." Rose shoves everything into the woven basket and follows Evie to the entrance of the tunnel. "You go on ahead now. I'll be right there." Rose felt her stomach drop "Why? Aren't you coming?" Evie grabs Rose's arm
"Walk until you reach the old stone cottage. You'll know what to do from there." Evie said sternly
" I can't... I can't leave you here. Why won't you come?" Rose cried
"I will meet you. GO NOW!" Rose realized as she turned and ran that her grandma had no intentions of following behind. With tears in her eyes, she made her way through the dirt tunnel.
With every thump of her boot, dirt rained upon Rose's head. She could smell the damp earth surrounding her. She could hear the blood rushing to her ears. Thinking about the words her grandma spoke " You'll know what to do." Rose felt sick. She felt wrong. Any other time... in any other situation that statement would be true. With her grandma's life on the line... emotions are clouding the decisions she must make. Finally reaching the end of the tunnel, Rose stops to catch her breathe. Leaning against the tunnel walls, she hears howling in the distance. This time, there's a maddening edge to it. A chill creeps over her body causing Rose to tremble. Tears begin welling in her eyes "Grandma" she sobs. Looking at the path she is suppose to take and then back down the tunnel she just passed through, Rose is heartbroken and confused. She needs to go back. She should go back, but she also needs time to prepare. The moon hanging large in the sky awaits her next move.
To be continued...
This post was written for a writing workshop on Bloggymoms
Labels: Short Stories