Daily Archives: December 28, 2011
Yes, that’s right, this is a birthday special! Since I’m the only writer here at Akiko’s, it’s my birthday we’re talking about and the date for it is the 28th December! (Now I love the number 28!) This is the beginning of a new year for me, and a happy happy day, made happier thanks to my wonderful friends and family! In honor (:P) of this day, I’m posting up a Birthday Special, a special release. It’s a short paragraph from Story II which I am working concurrently on along with three other stories. Story I is already being posted online regularly, thanks to my one and only dedicated fan Mehreen! 🙂
So, here goes the preview! Hope you enjoy it! 🙂 Do remember, it is an unedited and rough version, so please excuse any mistakes…
In the country of Hanreul, in the village of Kwena, several weeks before the dawn of winter…
Sasha was a normal 16 year old girl who loved going to the northern hills of Kwena and sitting there for hours, talking to herself or the beautiful flowers that grew there. She went there everyday since she was a little girl, sometimes to play or to bring flowers for her sick mother. She had been a jolly child, smiling and caring for others. But that had changed after the death of her mother. The loss of a mother, coupled with the fact that her father had already abandoned her long before in his battle with death, left deep marks on her heart that might have become less visible with time, but their depth and pain was still the same. The one thing that had not changed in her was the love of the flowers and the joy she got in spending time near them. Her only world after her mother’s death and until she met Tara had comprised of her aunt and her pet cat Ariel, whom she had ever since she had been a child, a gift from her father who had died even before she’d been born. Joan was her mother’s younger sister, childless and widowed at an early age but a mother figure to Sasha.
“Be careful.” Joan said as Sasha sipped tea quickly and got ready to go. Ariel sat beside her chair, looking up at her with impatient eyes.
Today was a special day for Sasha. It was her best friend Tara’s birthday which was why she took careful note of her dressing and looked elegant in the light rusty mustard colored dress she was wearing. She had gotten up early, pinned her rusty black hair back with a small leather cord, as was fashion and took out the boots she had just bought three weeks ago, but never once worn. She wanted to look good for Tara’s sake; she told Joan, and dressing up always made her feel happier. She was a simple child of many moods and had a very small world around her yet she took special care of the few friends and loved ones she had in that world. She and Ariel had rushed straight to the hills after dressing and breakfast and had made it in time to see the beautiful sunrise. She had been seeing the sunrise and sundown from the hills all her life, but for some reason, it always sparked new awe in her, as if she was seeing something different every time. The flowers too, seemed to be in a full bloom today which was surprising considering the fact that winters were approaching. Today, it felt to Sasha as if the whole place had been touched with magic. She settled back comfortably and stared out at the sight ahead, as she lightly stroked Ariel.
“Looks altogether different, doesn’t it, Ariel?” She whispered to her favorite pet. “I feel so happy today. Everything looks so beautiful, so magical.”
The thought of magic brought a smile to her lips. She felt truly happy but didn’t understand the source of it. For whatever reason, she just felt like joys were surrounding her. The morning breeze was a bit cold and brushed against her cheeks softly, freeing some of her hair as it passed. She closed her eyes with a smile, stretched her arms out and turned her face upwards. She drained her mind of anything and everything. All she could feel was the breeze caressing her softly. She suddenly remembered some words from a song she had once heard when the gypsies had come to their village three years ago. The words had touched her heart, the sad song had captured her fantasy and she always carried the words in her heart. The language of the song was foreign, the words were incomprehensive to her, but when she had heard it being sung the first time, she had felt calm and desperate at the same time. She had felt as if the words connected to her, spoke to her and told her a sad tale. At that very moment, the lyrics she had memorized came to her mind and she softly sang them against the breeze.
Inyeon i rago hajyo geobu hal suga eobjyo, Nae saeng e icheoreom areumda un nal, Ddodasi ol su itteul ggayo
She opened her eyes with the smile lingering on her lips. She lowered her arms and with a deep sigh, looked around at the beauty one last time before turning to the flowers. The world seemed so different today and her heart was cheerful. If it was up to her, she’d spend all morning near the flowers she loved, but remembering the time and occasion, she moved towards the flowers and started plucking some. She had just touched the fifth rose when her finger was cut by a thorn.
Blood. The rotten stench of it filled her senses and she felt nauseous. The sound of the horses was deafening and the red eyes that stared at her filled her with an unknown cold. They looked more like beasts than horses. The Black cloaks of the men that rode them reminded her of pure evil. She couldn’t move, she couldn’t breathe. The smell was strangling her. No! Her mind screamed at her. Then she heard the noise. It wasn’t very different from a bell, but it stung in the ears. She saw the big necklace made of strange objects, but what horrified here was the single human finger that sat at the very bottom of it. Her house stood in front of her. It was burning. She could hear the screams. People screaming her name. The figure that stood before her. “We’ve come for you!!!” it hissed. Her own limp body on the ground. The pool of blood she was lying dead in. No! Her mind screamed again.
“Stop it!” She was startled as she drew back to reality, then realized she had screamed. She fell to her knees right where she had been standing, too weak to even stand for the moment, the flowers falling from her limp hand, panting for breath, desperate to make the rotten stench leave her. She could still see the vision clearly, could still feel the strangling sensation of the stench, and could still clearly see the fire that raged across the village. She closed her eyes for a moment leaning towards the tree by her side and took deep breaths. She didn’t want to think about it, not today, not on this beautiful day. She remembered Tara’s smiling face; Amdahl’s loving pat and could feel Ariel’s paws scratching at her dress and urged herself to let it go.
“That was quite a scream!” The sudden voice made her jump with a start and she quickly opened her eyes. In front of her, about three to four feet away, an old man stood smiling at her kindly. Surprised at seeing anyone at all, it took her a moment to register the old man was offering her his hand and that she had never seen him before. She stared at his ragged appearance, his rugged features and long black and white hair that fell behind his shoulders and wondered if he was a traveler. He looked old, his wrinkled face seemed worn, yet his dark black eyes seemed as kind as they were dark and there was something in the kindness of his eyes that made her react and before she even realized what she was doing, she had taken the old man’s hand and he pulled her up.
“Thank you.” She muttered, still shaken by his appearance and her own reaction to it.
“Your friends are worried for you. I believe your archer friend is running here in a hurry. Poor chap seems to have heard your scream on the way here.”
Sasha’s eyes turned towards the village. Amdahl was running towards them and even though he was quite far that Sasha could not see his face clearly, she could tell he was worried by his hurried stance as he ran. She flinched and tried to think of a lie to tell him that would sound convincing.
“Take care of yourself, child.” The old man spoke again and she turned back to him.
“Wait. I’ve never seen you before. You are not from the village. Who are you?”
“I am just an old man.” He smiled as he withdrew away from her towards the middle of the flower garden. “Tell your aunt to be prepared. Time has run out. Soon, the village will be overrun. That is what you saw, no? Be prepared, tell her. The time of the Witches Reconvening has arrived.”
“What? How do you know what I saw?”
“That is a conversation best saved for another time, child. For now, I must go. Your friend is approaching. Remember, tell Joan what I told you. She will know how to save the village but must act quickly to do so.”
He took a step backward, raised his hand and flicked two fingers.
“Wait!” She cried out, wanting to ask him more but he had already vanished like a swift wind.