Bad Things

"Isabel, wait! I'm tired," Victoria's young voice called. Isabel turned to see that her younger sister had fallen several feet behind. She walked back up the hill towards her and handed her sister her canteen. She pulled out the small cork and drank.

"I'm sorry about the fast pace," Isabel said. "But we don't want to be in the forest when the sun goes down. All the bad things come out then." Victoria laughed as she climbed onto Isabel's back after being beckoned to.

"You always say that but I never see any bad things," she said.

"Well, that's because you have a loving sister who won't let you come here at night." Isabel walked with Victoria on her back until they reached the edge of the woods. She then set her on her feet and they walked through their village. Their village was small but never boring. Isabel suddenly felt a hand land roughly on her shoulder. She looked up into the face of Nathaniel, her friend since she was small. He had grown up to be the handsome man that every girl in the village swooned over, except Isabel. She assumed it was because she had known him for so long that she never felt the need to make a fool out of herself in an attempt to impress him.

"Hello, Isabella," he said cheerfully. "Where have you been? Looking for a few Elves to talk to?"

"Hello, Nathan," Isabel replied. "No. I'm sure all of them would feel dreadfully bored if they were to speak to a mere human. I was picking fruit and flowers with Victoria like I promised." Nathan looked at Victoria before kneeling down and smiling at her.

"Hello Victoria," he said kindly. "How are you today?" Victoria's cheeks immediately turned pink and she buried her face in Isabel's waist. Nathan chuckled as he ran a hand through his short dark hair. Isabel looked at the setting sun and then at Nathaniel whose eyes seemed to glow in the diming light.

"Would you like to stay for dinner?" she asked and Nathaniel's smile widened.

"I would be honored."

Isabel and Nathan with Victoria, with some coaxing, sitting on his shoulders walked to their house. Almost everyone in village thought Nathan and she should wed and spoke about it as if the wedding were already planned. Nathan played with Victoria while Isabel cooked dinner. After everyone was full Nathan carried a sleepy-eyed Victoria to bed and then met Isabel by the door. He took her by the hands and kissed each one of them.

"Are you all right? You been acting so different since the accident," he said with concerned eyes. He let go of her hands and put his arms around her shoulders, pulling her into a hug when tears started to roll down her cheeks. "I'm sorry I asked."

"No," Isabel said as she pulled away from him and wiped her tears away with the back of her hand. "I'm fine. I just know how much Victoria misses them and I hate to see her unhappy...and I miss them as well." Nathan put a hand under her chin and tilted it up so she would look into his eyes.

"If you ever need anything," he said slowly, "anything at all. You tell me, okay?" Isabel nodded and he gave her one of his gorgeous smiles. "Take care, Isabella." She watched him as he walked down the darkened road. She realized why every girl now liked him. Just watching the way the muscles in his arms flexed when he helped her with the dishes was enough to make even her smile. When he disappeared from sight Isabel went inside before she closed the door. She leaned back against it and smiled to herself. Maybe marrying Nathaniel wouldn't be such a bad idea. She quietly walked up the stairs and entered the room that Victoria and she shared. She changed into her nightgown and took her blonde hair out of the tight bun she had worn it in. Her sister had the same color of hair as she but it was much shorter. Isabel's was to the middle of her back while Victoria's was only to her shoulders. Isabel silently slid into the bed and put her arms around Victoria's waist. Just before she fell asleep she remembered Nathan's smile just before he left.

* * *

Victoria awoke to a dark room and a woman's voice that sounded oddly familiar. She carefully, so as to not wake Isabel, slid out of bed and made her way to the front door. When she opened it the voice grew faintly louder. She walked down the dark road that was only illuminated slightly by the full moon and to the edge of the forest. She knew that Isabel would be mad if she found that she had gone into the forest at night, but she had to find that voice.

The moon was blocked out by the clouds and trees as she made her way through the dense forest. The singing voice almost sounded as if it were humming not singing, for Victoria couldn't make out any words. She suddenly stumbled upon the clearing that she and Isabel had been in while picking flowers. The only thing that was out of place was a pond that took up half the clearing. On a rock by the edge of the pond sat a woman who seemed to be in her mid twenties. Victoria realized she was singing a song in another language she had never heard before. It was beautiful but strangely terrifying. The moon suddenly came out from behind the clouds and lit up the clearing.

The woman's hair was as black as the sky and her skinned was as flawless as the water she was surrounded by. She wore a long pale blue dress that seemed to change shades as the moonlight reflected off the pond. She looked so much like her mother. Victoria wanted to weep with joy, thinking it really was her. But she knew that it was impossible since both of her parents had died in a sailing accident last year.

The woman suddenly looked at her, stopped singing and smiled. She motioned for her to come closer and Victoria, though she didn't know why, felt perfectly safe in trusting her. She moved to the ponds edge. The woman put a hand on Victoria's cheek and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. Her skin felt chilled against her warm cheek and Victoria supposed it was from the cool night air.

"You have a beautiful voice," Victoria said quietly.

"Thank you," the woman said kindly. Her voice was as powerful and beautiful as a waterfall. "What is your name, child?"

"Victoria."

"That's a lovely name."

"I...I don't mean to sound rude. But, what are you?" When the woman looked confused she quickly added, "You're so beautiful; you must be an elf or something." A curious light shown in the woman's eyes at Victoria's words and she smile widened.

"If I were, would you like to see where I live?" Victoria's eyes widened with childish excitement and she nodded. The woman held out her hand and the moment Victoria's hand touched hers she felt her body go numb but she was still able to stand. The woman slid from the rock and stepped into the dark water of the pond. Fear gripped Victoria as the woman led her into the water. She tried to pull away but she was no longer in control of her own movements. The water reached her chest as a single tear ran down her cheek. The woman's smile vanished when she saw this and she pulled Victoria closer to her as the crystal clear water went black.

"Don't be afraid, child," she coaxed. "I'm going to take good care of you." She seemed to kneel down in the middle of the bottomless pond and slowly pulled Victoria down with her as she went.

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