Jan 2008

Chapter 116Of Whispers and Barks

It was hard to tell how much time had passed. We were so fascinated by the whole scene in front of us that hours had passed that felt like only minutes. The man came into the room again and cleaned up the circle, removing the cloth, the bowl and the knife and cleaned it up a little. He blew out all the candles one by one, going around the circle, and picked up his clothes before he left.

The silence was deafening.

Even the little sounds, the breathing of the dog, the wind past the fields, cars in the distance, were all blotted out. My mind was going crazy trying to figure everything out. I wanted to know what was on the paper and started to look at a way in.

Not as easy as it seemed. No open windows, no simple doors. In fact, while the house looked ever so simple from outside, it was quite a fortress. Much harder to get in to then the castle. At least without breaking anything. We didn't want him to know we were there.

Faith knelt by the dog and caressed him while she looked thoughtful. I didn't know what to do. I wasn't a good burglar unless I really knew the place. Not that I wanted to break into other people's houses. But I didn't feel as if he classified as a person... Though his final actions made me think.

Did he care about her?

"We go." I couldn't do anything here, and I preferred to think inside the castle instead of here, out in the open.

We couldn't do anything right now so we had no choice but to retreat and rethink our strategy. Maybe Afentis had an idea as well, as an outsider and as someone experienced. Faith stood up and tapped me on my shoulder.

"Basement window, there."

She had a point. There was a small window, leading to the basement. Even though it had weak bars in front of it, we could perhaps speak to the girl or see her or anything. We snuck toward them and peered through.

My mind went blank.

Through a small opening between a curtain we could both see the girl, still naked, sitting in a bathtub filled with steaming water. The man, standing behind her still without his clothes, washed her gently. There continued to be a sort of methodical tint to his actions. It made it hard to discern if it was out of care or just something he had to do for things to be right.

Sometimes it was hard to tell the difference.

He made sure she was all clean before he dried her thoroughly and laid her in bed. There was only a moment of waiting as he saw her laying there, his eyes resting on her and then moving out of the room. We heard him going upstairs and out of our sight. The noises he made were unclear but didn't appear special. Brushing teeth, water running, rustling sheets.

He'd just gone to bed.

We walked around the house but found no way to look at him, no way to see what he was doing. A sound of the girl made us head back to the basement window, leaning close. She didn't look up at us and it surprised us the dog didn't respond to it. He just ignored it as if it didn't happen.

But before we reached the window we heard her whispers on the wind; "Don't hurt him. He's a slave, more than I."

It was so soft it was almost inaudible. But we both heard it clearly. At least I did, but did I really? My senses doubted what I had just heard or not heard. So hard to tell.

"Did you hear that?" Faith added to the wind.

I nodded. "Go?"

She took my hand and looked into my eyes. She took one last look around and nodded. We took our leave, floating softly upward and silently back toward the castle. We didn't rush, both of us had our thoughts to ourselves and didn't want to rush the other. I was thankful for it.

The castle looked inviting though, like open arms that would allow me to rest my head in other worlds again. I longed to read once more, to find new books to dive into and let my dreams run free. Even if I could not remember them anymore.

A loud noise made us turn around. It's echo still running amok in front of us as we headed back. A sound that, once heard, would alert anyone to danger immediately. Something was wrong, terribly wrong. The sound came from right behind us, the farm.

A gunshot.