Allure – Chapter Two
by Dreams in Pink
|← Chapter One||Chapter Three →|
The bare footed girl sat by the brook’s babbling edge, absent-mindedly dipping her toes into the balmy water. Her face was stained with the remnants of salty tears, and with slender legs pulled to her chest, she rested her head on her knees. Darkness had fallen hours ago, yet she could not will herself to move. The night’s cool breeze curled around her shoulders, her body trembling as a shiver ran up her spine. With hallow eyes she stared at the velvet, star laced sky, her mind racing with all that had happened in the past two months. What had she become?
She would have loved to say they had raped her of her innocence, but she had gone so willingly, quickly caving to flattering words and carnal desires. The momentary sensations of feeling connected and alive made her relinquish every ounce of self-control and logical thought. She had come to the conclusion that what she had been taught was true; people from Earth were barbaric. They were selfishly spontaneous, acting upon foolish desires and catering to every whim. They craved acceptance yet judged so harshly and fought endlessly for transient power with little regard to the aftereffects. However, what her education had failed to teach was that amidst all their negative traits they were filled with intense emotions and with vibrant life. They relentlessly sought knowledge and wisdom, and cherished their individual identities. They persevered against all odds for their beliefs and for love, and they struggled mercilessly if only to stay alive. Completely full of contradictions, she found both the planet and its inhabitants utterly fascinating.
The morning’s golden rays leapt through the dew tipped grass, and feeling their warmth spread gently across her back, the girl was released from her thoughts. Night had completely slid from the sky and it was time to head home. She took off through the waking forest, weaving with agility through the dense trees. As she neared her thatched roof home, an uneasy feeling spread throughout her body, the hairs on her arms rising in alert. Her eyes nervously scanned the surroundings, but everything appeared to be just as it always was. Cautiously she unlocked the front door, slowly pushing her way inside, her senses sharpening, expecting the worst. She could feel it; and though she had no idea how they would have gotten inside, she knew that someone was there.
“Hello?” Her voice cracked, as she peered around the heavy oak door, which released an aged moan. “I know you’re in here,” she stepped forward, her small hands clenched tightly into fists.
“You’re nearly half a day late,” a voice scolded, and as soon as the girl heard the shrill tone, her defenses dropped. She turned to see the voice’s possessor sitting in a darkened corner.
“Luna! You scared me half to death!” She stated, releasing a relieved sigh, her hand covering her pounding heart.
“Where have you been?” The woman’s face was rigid in annoyance, “I’ve been waiting here since yesterday afternoon,” she hissed, angrily crossing her arms over her chest. “It’s well past dawn.”
“I’m sorry,” an embarrassed flush tainted the girl’s ivory skin, “I didn’t realize.”
“This is exactly what happened last time,” Luna continued, “I thought coming here would force you to become more responsible.” The girl’s gaze dropped to the ground and she could feel Luna’s cobalt eyes glowering at her in disappointment. “Sit down Serenity,” she commanded, and the girl quickly obeyed.
“Luna, I –” she started, but couldn’t find the words to finish. There was no suitable explanation she could offer for being so late. She felt herself sink as the memories of the past afternoon replayed in her mind; cringing with the memory of his calloused fingers against her skin and stale breath on her cheek. Her stomach twisted in disgust, and she began to wonder if anyone knew what exactly she had been doing here. What would they think of her?
“Your mother wanted me to give you this,” Luna’s sharp voice broke the silence, derailing Serenity’s train of thought. She leaned forward, accepting the silver envelope from the woman’s hand. With a puzzled smile curving her lips, Serenity broke the white, wax seal.
“My mother… wrote me a letter?” Her eyes went wide with disbelief, her fingers running over the smooth paper filled with black ink. Luna only nodded in response, slate coloured curls framing her face. It had been two months since Serenity had left home, and two months since she had heard from anyone with the exception of Luna, her mother’s advisor. The girl took some time to read through the contents of the letter, tears welling in her eyes at the anecdotes and updates that her mother had relayed. She suddenly realized how much she missed home.
“She misses you, Serenity. Everyone misses you,” Luna said softly, reaching out to grasp the girl’s hand.
“Thank you,” she replied, her voice weak and mind reeling. She momentarily gave serious thought to returning home, starting anew and discarding all remnants of the new life she had recently established. However, her heart betrayed her, and she knew that there was still so much more to learn and to discover staying where she was.
“Is something wrong?”
“No, I’m fine,” she forced a smile.
“Serenity,” Luna squeezed her hand, before letting go, “come home. This is not a life fit for the princess of the Moon, it’s too dangerous.” Luna pressed, persistently.
A year after the princess was born her father was assassinated. The culprit was never apprehended, but the citizens of the Moon blamed it on the men of Earth. They were, after all, war mongering savages and the only inner planet to refuse a united empire. Earth themed literature was destroyed, and education reformed to depict the so-called ‘truth’ about the humans.
At the tender age of six, and not knowing the past, Serenity had begged her mother relentlessly to take her down to the mysterious planet. In hopes of stopping her daughter’s incessant requests, the Queen promised that once she turned sixteen she could visit, convinced that this Earth-bound phase would pass. Ten years later, Serenity had not forgotten her mother’s vow. While she never learned the rumored origin of her father’s death, she in secret, had heard both gruesome and enchanting tales about the planet and its people. However, the stories only piqued her curiosity and fueled her fascination. Against all warnings and all advice, on the eve of her sixteenth birthday she journeyed to Earth where she would remain for half a year.
“I can’t Luna, not yet. I have to prove to everyone that I can do this,” she stated firmly, determination set on her brow.
“It’s not that we don’t believe in you Serenity,” Luna started earnestly, “it’s just very -”
“Dangerous?” the girl cut in, a frown crossing her face.
“Yes,” she sighed, “If something were to happen to you…” Luna’s voice trailed off, her mind unwilling to continue on with the possibilities.
“Nothing is going to happen to me,” the girl insisted, naively filled with confidence and trust. “They’re not like we’ve made them out to be.”
“Serenity…” She knew there was no use; the Princess was as stubborn as a mule when she felt strongly about something.
“They have their flaws, but… they’re so filled with passion. They’re not cruel, they just… don’t always control their emotions or their reactions,” she explained, attempting to make Luna realize there was no immediate threat to her life by staying. “They act more on instinct than we do.” She took a moment to reflect on her response, noting that it was all indeed true.
“What if someone finds out who you are? What then? They won’t show you any mercy,” she warned, “There’s a reason talk of the Earth is taboo at home.” Her face grew solemn; Serenity had always simply been told that her father passed shortly after she was born. No more, no less, and it was to remain that way.
“They won’t find out. They know less about us than we do them,” she displayed her unconcern with a flick of her wrist. “I promise, I’ll be fine,” she smiled. Without an ideal reply, Luna simply nodded and rose to her feet. Serenity followed suit, throwing her arms around the older woman. “Thank you… for coming all this way,” she said, squeezing her once more before breaking the embrace.
“If you ever want to come home…”
“Think about it. This is not a life fit for a Princess.” To appease her, Serenity agreed, smiling sweetly. It felt refreshing to be reminded that there were people who truly cared about her; not because she was beautiful or some sort of prize, but because she was Serenity.
With a flash of brilliant light, Luna had taken her leave and Serenity made her way to the bedroom, yielding to her body’s demand for sleep. She relaxed into the soft mattress, and with the stress that had mounted slowly coming undone, her eyes fluttered closed. She awoke hours later to find night had fallen once again. The wind had grown strong and she listened intently as it battled amongst the trees.
Suddenly an overwhelming sense of dread pooled in her stomach. The temperature plummeted, and each breath turned to icy smoke. Her ears perked when she heard twigs crunch under pressure just outside her window. She lay motionless, not daring to move. Her breathing became laboured as her heart beat erratically, and she pressed a hand to her chest in attempts to slow it down. Fixed on the window, her eyes strained to see through the darkness in hopes of catching a glimpse of whatever was outside.
She waited, mentally mapping each aberrant sound in attempts to follow any sign of movement. Serenity’s body tensed with fear as she heard a single, solid strike against her front door. The oak released a panged groan, and in an instant, everything had disappeared. The wind died with an immediate retreat and a gust of heat came rushing in. The palpitations of her heart slowed to a steady rhythm and she felt her body regaining control.
With unsteady legs, she tumbled out of bed, making her way across the timber floors to the entrance of her home. Pressing her ear against the door, she confirmed that the coast was clear. Delicate fingers grasped bronze knob, turning it ever so slowly. Her crystalline eyes went wide with disbelief, her hand reaching up to brush the handle of the dagger wedged into the wood. The iron blade pinned to the door a note and the shawl she had forgotten in the forest the day before. Serenity fought with the knife, eventually pulling it from its grasp and clutching the paper with shaky hands, she read what was inscribed.
Tomorrow when the moon is high, in the clearing of the Northern woods.
I have an offer you cannot refuse.
She swallowed hard, unnerved. Was this a threat? Was it sent by one of her former lovers? Or even worse, one of their wives? Placing the dagger just inside the entry, she carefully folded the thin paper, and retrieved her shawl, which had fallen, forgotten on the damp ground. Serenity glanced up at the moonlit sky before returning to her chamber. Would she gather the courage to go? Or was this merely an idle proposition that she should simply ignore? As she slipped into sleep, her dreams clouded with possibilities both good and bad, and although her body was fast asleep, her mind had made the decision to go.
|← Chapter One||Chapter Three →|