I finished editing my book a week ago, and I’ve updated my blog on it. So GO REREAD!
It’s about 50k words, so not a long read!
Haha I’m writing another completely new story. Here’s the first chapter. See if you like it.
The storm raged over the insignificant dilapidated cottage that was just a speck on the dense, green hill. Gusts of wind thrashed the frosted windows and the rain splattered on the rooftop, but fortunately for the inhabitants, the cottage stood. Loud cracks of lightning lit up the sky, drowning out all other sound.
It was bare inside the cottage, besides a badly frayed spring sofa, and a television set with a twisted antenna. A small, tattered rug was laid out on the decomposing wooden floor. There was only one room inside the cottage, and no kitchen. All cooking had to be done outside, with a lighted fire.
“Is mother alright?” The small boy sat, shivering, on the wooden floor. There was no warm water, or food, but the aching hunger did not bother him as much as the cold. He clutched at the torn rag that covered him, barely keeping his frail body warm. His thin, wet pajamas were of little comfort.
“You do not need to worry about her. She will be fine.” His father said brusquely, and glanced out the window. “It is a dreary day, indeed. I am surprised that the roof has not been blown away.”
The boy trembled uncontrollably, the cold sending ripples down his spine. His lips had a purplish tinge, and his hair was in a disheveled mess. His teeth chattered, and he uttered an odd choking sound in agreement.
His father cast a softer look at him and took off his own coat, handing it to the boy. It was badly patched and worn, but the boy took it gratefully and shoved his arms in, his hands shaking.
“I-” His father stopped.
They both froze as the roaring sound of gusty winds was pierced by a loud scream. The boy pointed at the wrecked door with a quivering finger.
“Mother…” He shook as another wave of cold tremors hit him.
His father looked worriedly down at him, then rushed into the room, the loud creak of the rotting door opening barely discernible over the battering sound of the rain.
“Helena?” He asked, entering the small room. A shriveled woman lay on an undersized mattress on the floor, covered in many layers of dusty grey quilts. Her face was pallid and beads of sweat clung to her skin.
“The baby…” Helena’s face creased as she choked out the single word. The midwife crouched near her bore a grim expression.
“What is it?” The man asked in alarm. “What happened? Are you okay?”
“I’m- I’m fine.” Helena croaked. “I-” There was a gurgling sound and she let out a blood-curdling shriek of agony.
“Helena-” The father stretched out a hand, pain flitting across his features. He stared helplessly as the midwife bent down, anxious. He kneeled down on the floor and held Helena’s hand as she blanched, her chest heaving.
He gazed at her face, which was contorted in pain. “Hold on, Helena, hold on.” He gripped her hand tighter and her breath quickened, taking in gasps of air.
“The baby’s coming!” The midwife shouted, and the father didn’t even glance at her. He kept his eyes locked on Helena’s face.
“You can’t be lost, Helena. Don’t leave me for the world of shadows.” He begged, his stare fixated on her.
Helena nodded, biting her pale lip until a bead of blood stained it a rich red. Then her mouth opened and let out a heart-wrenching shout of pain that stabbed at the father’s heart. Helena’s back arched and her expression twisted in anguish. Her muscles were taut as she struggled to not scream again.
“Helen-” The man started, but then the woman’s face sagged and her eyes slid close.
“Helena? What happened? Helena? Answer me!” He shook her, gently at first, then more violently seeing that she didn’t respond.
The midwife smiled a little and the father grew aware of a small wailing coming from behind him. He spun around and saw a baby in the midwife’s hands.
“Don’t worry about your wife, sir.” She said. “She’s only tired out. She’ll come around in no time.” She looked down at the baby. “It’s a girl.”
The man nodded, relieved that his wife was alive. Then he spotted a little boy trembling at the side of the door, holding his rag like a soft toy. His oversized coat dragged on the floor, and he had one hand in his mouth.
“You can come in now, Evander.” His father called him in as he held his arms out for the flailing baby. The midwife placed it in his hands, and he cooed, tickling the hands of the little girl.
The boy ran in, teeth still chattering. He ignored his newborn sister and crouched next to his mother, putting one small hand on her forehead. He wiped away the blood from her lips and buried his head into her chest. “Mother…”
Helena’s hand twitched and she opened her eyes with difficulty. “Evander, dear. Don’t worry about your mother, I’m fine. Where’s the baby?” Her words came out in a whisper. The father turned to face her, and he handed her the baby.
Evander lifted his mother’s head with small shaking hands, and Helena cradled the baby. “My baby…” She whispered contently. Evander smiled slightly as he got a good look at his bloodstained sister.
“There’s no warm water available in this weather.” The midwife said from a corner of the room. “And I’m sorry, but is it possible for me to stay until the storm passes? It would be nigh impossible to get home in this storm.”
“Of course.” The father said. “You may stay for as long as you need. The baby cannot be washed off in cold water, it’ll catch pneumonia.” His scraggly beard shook to and fro as he spoke. He frowned as the thunder clashed ferociously outside, and the rain beat down stronger than ever.
The midwife nodded her thanks and went out of the room into the main part of the cottage, leaving the family to their privacy.
“What’s her mark?” Evander perked up, fingering his ankle. He had a birthmark in a shape of an angel on his ankle. It was a symbol of good, deigned by The Creator.
His father jerked back upon remembering the symbol that marked the future of one’s life. Everyone had a birthmark on their ankle when they were born, depicting what kind of person they would be when they grew up. His mother’s brows furrowed, but she was too weak to raise her hear high enough to see her daughter’s ankle.
Evander held his mother’s head gently in one hand, and touched the baby’s ankle with the other. “What’s this?” He asked, frowning. He didn’t recognize the two crossed lines on the ankle as a symbol.
His father squinted, and a gasp of horror came from him. “No.”
Evander frowned, confusion etched in his face.
“What is it?” Helena asked urgently.
“It’s- It’s…” His father’s voice trailed off and he whispered. “It’s the sign of death.”
Helena drew in a shocked and terrified breath. “But… There’s only three of that kind of symbol in the whole universe. It’s… So rare, so very rare.”
Evander looked confused and scared. “She’s going to die? I’ve never heard of that symbol before…”
His father shook his head. “She’s not going to die. The sign of death…” His voice faltered. “She must be killed, before she inflicts harm on the world.”
“No!” Helena clutched at the baby, her voice hoarse. “Not before she gets a chance to live!”
“A chance to live…” The father’s voice was bleak. “If the legends are true, then the lives of people would be lost if she stays alive. It is our duty to the world to slaughter this evil child. The sign of death- One day, she’ll be a killer. She would kill anyone in her path to gain the throne.”
“No.” Helena said, sitting up higher. “No, I don’t believe it. How could she be evil, just because of a simple mark? She could not be evil, before she could prove herself.” Her voice was pained and Evander shook beside her.
“Are you saying that my baby sister is the evil murderer of legend? The one that will stop at nothing to gain the throne- whom cannot be stopped by any man?” He trembled, both from the cold and from the realization of the fact.
“Yes.” His father said firmly, and the little baby girl wailed, her eyes opening and closing. Her hands fluttered as she reached out to him. “She must die.” His voice wavered as the baby girl cast her wide, milky brown eyes on him and blinked.
Her father drew back and exhaled. The eyes sought his, and the deep sincerity and innocence in them touched him. “How could she be evil?” He whispered, and Helena took a deep breath.
Helena closed her eyes, pained. “We’ll keep her. If she shows signs of evil later, we can always bring her before the magistrate. She should at least have the chance- the chance to live.”
The father shook his head slightly, and then nodded at Evander’s martyred expression. “But I promise you, if she does show any signs of evil, she does not live another minute.”
Helena nodded, her face drawn with exhaustion and worry. “She’ll grow up to be a fine lady.”
“Don’t worry, dad, I’ll make sure my little sister grows up alright.” Evander said, his bony face stretched in a warm smile.
His father ruffled his hair. “I know you will.” His eyes flickered in the midwife’s direction, just outside the door.
Helena frowned a little, understanding. “She wouldn’t have heard. The wind and the rain are too loud.”
The father closed his eyes. “No one must find out. No one must know that she is the evil one. No one would show any mercy to her. She mustn’t step out of the house without supervision, ever. Not in her entire lifetime.” A tear rolled down Helena’s cheek at her daughter’s future.
Evander nodded solemnly, his boyish face devastatingly contrasted to the somber expression he wore.
“We’ll take her to the Namer when she turns seven. We’ll have to hide her mark when the time comes.” The father looked down at the baby.
She blinked twice and shook her head, which was covered in a small layer of matted bloody curls. She looked around with a grave expression, almost as if she understood their words.
They all stared at her.
Outside, the thunder and rain- the cries of heaven- shook the sky.