20: Let The Flames Consume Me

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I stumbled ahead of them in a daze, my eyes locked on the forest floor, my pale hands clutched together near my abdomen. They asked so many questions, who I was, how I found the house... I answered none of them. My lips were locked and sealed, thanks to a short-term spell the Witch had placed on me, forbidding my lips from speaking of what truly awaited them at the house.

The Witch had been waiting with giddy delight, snatching them up with her meaty claws without delay and tossing them into a tiny cage. She had ordered me to start a fire for the cauldron while she went to find some herbs.

I took the chance to set them free. I stole the key from out of the jar above the fireplace and freed them from the cage. I though they'd be angry with me, but they weren't. The blonde scampered away without saying a word, but the other boy stayed briefly. He studied my face with worried, green eyes.

"Are you coming with us?" he asked. He extended his hand to me.I shook my head without hesitation and backed away. Back then, I'd been terrified of the Witch. I was nearly on the verge of fainting just picturing what she was going to do to me once she saw that the children were gone. There was no way in this world I would be able to work up the courage needed to try and escape her.

"Not today," I whispered, before dropping my head. I stared at his pointed shoes, waiting for him to leave. He eventually did, after a few more moments. A few minutes later, I was on the ground, surrounded by cooking utensils.

The Witch grabs me by my hair and pulls me up so that we are face to face. Her ragged breaths blow into my nostrils, a nauseating stench of rotten fish and sulfur.

"How many times must I repeat this, Morgana?" she coos while scratching the tip of my chin with her nail. "You do not disobey the one who owns you." She pauses and cocks her head, as though she's listening for something. I'm limp in her clutches, simply awaiting the moment that she will release me.

That moment doesn't seem to be getting any closer. "I did you a favor by taking you in and raising you. Your parents feared your powers and your curse, thus the reason they left you in the forest to be devoured by creatures. I am the only one immune to your curse, Morgana. I am the only one who can hone your powers to their full capacity. I am the sole person in this entire planet that wants someone as pitiful as yourself around! Do you dare to anger your master?"

"No," I whimper. The Witch cackles before dropping me to the ground. I curl up in a ball and sob.

"Please forgive me," I whisper.

The Witch is silent, perhaps considering my words. I keep my face covered. I can't stand to see her watery, angered eyes watching me.

Suddenly, she laughs again.

"You are forgiven, my dear. Now... bring me more children."

I got up, wiped away my tears. I did as I was told.

* * *

I blink back into the present time. I have to save Zenobia. I have to be brave this time.

The world is blurry, thanks to the unshed tears in my eyes. I blink them away, hoping the stinging in my eyes will fade as well. Unfortunately, that doesn't happen. Something's in the air, something that is murdering my eyes with it's toxicity.

Smoke.

I sniff the air and smell the pungent flames of a fire. When my eyes are finally rid of the smoke, I'm able to see the fire sprouting from the house that I just escaped.

"Zenobia!" I screech before I take off towards the burning building. My bare feet slap against the packed dirt below me as I push them to go faster. Right before I can reach the building, it flares up into a wild inferno, engulfing the entire house in bright, orange flames. I slowly come to a halt. A sense of dread envelops me like the flames taking over the house.

Another person is dead. Once again, it's my fault.

I sink to the ground, a limp pile of dirty white cloth and blonde hair. I stare up at the fire, feeling dull and immune to the heat licking at my skin.

Yet again, I am the cause of a companion's death. The Witch was right. There isn't a place I can go without my curse affecting those around me. The curse of misfortune and death.

I raise my shaking hands before my face. They were once so clean and delicate. Now all I can see on them is innocent blood. All I can see traced in the lines of them are the faces of Zenobia and Gavin, each murdered by these cursed hands.

The tears flowing from my eyes feel as hot as blood. I turn my hands so that my palms are facing me. My face is slack as I stare at my palms, summoning my powers to them.

Yes, the Witch is right. There is no place for me in this world. Maybe.... Maybe there's a place for me in the next life.

I press one of my trembling palms to my forehead.

"Eveni..." I whisper. "Eveni..."

I picture the Wolfman's jaw I shattered apart in Darpine Village. Will my head do the same? Will it fly into a million broken pieces? Or will it simply collapse in on itself?

"Eveni..." I try again. I clear my throat, ashamed of the quavering whimper that is my voice. I dig my nails into my forehead, trying to force myself to finish the words, to finish myself.

My hand falls back on my lap, wearied and useless. Tears flow freely from my eyes, like a pair of waterfalls. I won't take my own life.

The house is merely a pile of smoldering rubble now. Other houses, far off in the distance are also on fire. An orange glow has settled over the town, over the people running around with buckets of water in hand.

I climb to my feet and bow my head to say a silent prayer for Zenobia, the girl with the kind heart and innocent face, and also for Gavin, whose loud, infectious laughter seemed so out of place in Darpine Village.

"Milady? Did you not hear the evacuation notice?"

Someone's speaking to me. I lift my head, after finishing my prayer, and find myself staring up at a man who must be a prince.

****

(Madame_Bootsie: Alright, another part down! I hope you all enjoyed Morgana's part. If you did, don't forget to leave a vote and make my day! :D Don't worry-- Morgana's going to catch a break soon, believe me. But, of course, her curse of misfortune and death won't let her relax for too long! What are your thoughts on this part? Like always, I love hearing from you guys!)

Next time, it's back to Ruta, who has just come face to face with the man who murdered her and her father. What will be her first move? Will she have mercy on him? Of course not; it is Ruta we're talking about. So buckle down, take cover, and get prepared for Ruta's revenge in Part 21: Burn!

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