No more pretending: CHP 3- the dear

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“EVERYONE UP, IT’S BREAKFAST!” my mother’s voice quaked, her thick Irish accent rushing out with her words, making them mix and murmur to something illegible. I sighed, lifting my nimble fingers to my head brushing out the flakes of straw from my fair hair. The curls twisted down my back, like coiled snakes from medusa’s head.

My mother was a pretty lithe thing, that did NOT match her voice, she looked like a dancer but her thick heavy voice weighed her down; she had molten golden hair that flowed out like water unlike my thicket of waves and curls that coiled on my hear. She had nutmeg eyes that softened with the fire; let me explain, my mother had always been the woman of fire; beautiful, lithe, fiery and every night in winter she would make a log fire, letting it’s flames heat the room. She was exactly that, the flame in winter. That is what my father said, and i would always reply about me being a snowflake, so small and simple, so many always falling that fade before anyone can remember it. He would always say back that ‘each snowflake shall forever be unique, none are made the same and if you look close enough you see how complainingly beautiful it really is.’

I pulled the blanket of my body and looked disgustedly at how the blue dog-eared shirt show how painfully skinny i was- winter had been hard this year and there were many days were i didn’t eat so Lily could have another spoonful of porridge or another morsel of bread. Lily was my younger sister; she was five and a half she had the same beautiful eyes of mum and a set of silken black hair that no one knew where it derived from, dad had light mousy brown hair with greyish green eyes, however he was defiantly still the father because she had been gifted with his crooked smile that looked devilishly cute on such a small girl.

I jumping off my straw mattress i pattered my unusually small feet down the wooden steps; winding down down down as i scurried from the turret. warm hit my toes as the hit the smooth stormy stone of the castle floor. Lifting my eyes up i saw everybody emerge from their rooms, the castle became alive with patters, clonks, thumps and thrums- alive with the familiar sound of feet echo across the halls and down the turrets.

I smiled as Felix passed, his black hair mused from his sleep. Felix was the only person in the castle closest to my age, he was only three years my elder and never heist to let me forget it.

‘You fed the animals yet?’ he asked a smirk held uncontained or hidden in his voice; he could tell from my messy hair and sleepy eyes that i hadn’t.

‘maybe’ i mumbled grumpily as i rushed off before i could see my mother, if she saw me here; i would be the next meal, and i am sure no one would object seeing as food was running short, although i wouldn’t taste good from my lack of body weight, you would probably have to pick the bones for a decent meal.

I scurried through the castle , winding down the confusing corridors and out to the servants exit. Slipping myself through the heavy set door, i rushed out across the dew dropped grass, hoping my bare feet wouldn’t met against a rock or thorn. The morning sun was slowly getting up, yawning with the fog. Winter was nearly over and the frosts had faded, leaving only the night’s chill in it’s wake. The castle had a tall wall that ran around it, leaving about an acre of grassland for us to grow our food. My job was the animals; mucking out feeding, collecting eggs, exercising the horses and of course my favourite- the dogs.

i jumped over the small fence, and yelped as the six of them pulled me down, their hot fuzzy faces breathing dank breath on my neck, as i squirmed and struggled to get up from under their weight. ‘Stupid dogs.’ I chuckled under my breath as i managed to worm out from under them and dust the mud from the paws off myself.

Well we had six dogs, like i said, four were female and two were male. The bitches were called Fresca, Lila, foxy and goldy. The dogs were rex and wolfy. And yes, i do have a favourite; Foxy. She was the strangest colour; a mix between gold and grey, she had a white tip to her tail and was the wolfish shape of a fox with her big bushy tail. I would sometimes bring her scraps of my food in summer- when there was enough around.

I yanked the creaking door to the stables aside and nearly tripped over the leftovers bucket that was positioned, coisidently, on the exact spot where i would have rushed into. If it were not for Wolfy tugging on my shirt sleeve for some kind of game of tug of war.

Picking the slope bucket up, i went directly to the pigs pen, and sloshed the stinking mush in to the trough which they gobbled up eagerly. Spinning on my toes i grabbed a lode of hay, dumping a decent amount in each stable, we had eight horses; six of which used to be Mr and Mrs Fieldings, they had owned a farm and had manage to hustle them here, they even brought the pigs. The other two i had found while hunting with Felix and the dogs, they were hungry and rushed to us when we produced some blackberries had picked from a bush not too far away.

I got to keep one and Felix the other; i had named mine Blackberry and his; Nutmeg. Both were mares and happily greeted from everyone.

Blackberry was a large horse around 15.3hh, she was jet black with an odd white marking on her left flank and a strip of white in her black tail. She was sweet until it came to food. Then she wouldn’t mine killing all in sight for a mouthful of oats.

Nutmeg on the other hand was a typical mare, she stood at 16hh and was proud of her huge height, she had the biggest temper and really funny at times as she looked like she knew exactly what you said and knew exactly how to annoy you. She was a rich chestnut and i will forever be jealous of her gleam.

I picking up an apple and some rope, i leashed Black up, and sat on her bony back with only a thin rug between my thighs and her warm body. And with that we were off, the chickens get feed at night so i could go for a nice ride till lunch, no one will miss me and i am sure Felix or Lily would gobble up my breakfast.

I trotted up to the large gates of the castle, the heavy oak had been reinforced with tree size logs, to keep out the Phagus’ or so called ‘vaccinated’.

The sun had finally come out it’s cocoon of cotton like fog, revealing it’s bright light and blessed us with its warmth filled kisses.

‘Jeremy? Jem? You there? I want to go out for a hack, i’ll be back by lunch!’ i called to 76 year old Jem, the elder of the castle and commander of the gate. He’s probably dosing up in his look out box.

‘JEM?!’ i yelled, finally letting my mouth go louder than my usual mumble.

‘Allllll right, c-carm DOWN, i heard ya’ the first time.’

The gate started to creak as the joins protested again them opening. And as soon as it was wide enough, i slipped out in to the fresh morning breeze.


I galloped round the castle a few times, checking that no holes had been dug for some fruitless attempt to get in from the Phagus’. Nope, no holes, no bricks broken, nothing. Smiling i jerked Black off towards the meadows, letting her dissolve her pent up energy charging through her veins. Looking around i saw a deer; it was lying down in a graphic position, its eyes rolled back in to its head, its leg broken off at odd angles, it was foaming at the mouth, i grimaced, this is what happens when a Phagus fed off animals, the blood of an animal could not and would never quench the angry thirst from their parasites. The animal writhed in pain, the parasite inside it’s veins fruitlessly eating at it, trying to turn it human, trying to make perfection from a body so unlike it. The poor doe was crazed, and i could tell by the bite marks from its neck that it had been resent. The legs must have been broken from its killer, all i wanted to do, is bring out my knife and slit its throat, ending its pain. But i couldn’t, if i approached it the parasite could react and like a rabid animal the dear would pounce.

The dear looked up towards me, it’s legs unable to move, but i could tell by the jerking and thrashing movments it was making that the parasite had scented my blood. And with that i turned Black around. Not noticing the shadow nearby watching me safe in the shade of an oak tree...

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