The Unseen Devil

Dealing with Death. Many people believe it's impossible, but Xanthe knows it isn't. But there's a catch. She is bound to serve the Devil and his helpers for all eternity. She is defeated. Stuck like to glue to a life she hates. At least, this is what she thinks...

Book 2 in the Chalson Chronicles. All rights reserved. Cover designed by TheFuzz

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1. Running From The Witch

I ran blindly through the woods, branches punching my face. I had to get away. Her shaky, malicious voice chased me through the trees, snapping angrily at my heels. Why had I done that? Why was I so damn stupid? The now owner-less voice evaporated in to the mist that surrounded my bare feet as the lake glided towards me out of the gnarled trees. Reaching the edge, I sank, defeated, to the lush ground, the water lapping up my toes. The only place where I didn't have to run. Except I never did stop running. Not really. I blinked and a deer emerged from the water, tear-drops falling gracefully from its golden coat. Even that couldn't cheer me up. Not today. Some days, I wished that I could just run from the forest and never turn back. Not worry about what was in-front and behind. But I knew I couldn't. I was bound to this life. Bound like a page to a book, incapable of a normal life and one step out of line or one slip up, I'm as good as dead. Well, not as good as. Just plain dead.

"Xanthe Van Emion, get your sorry Devil butt out here this instant or you’ll find yourself back in the City Of The Eternal," The Witch’s cruel voice cut through my thoughts like a executioner does a neck. I sighed. My deer disappeared in to the clear air and the water pulled gently away from my feet. Time to face the music. Or, rather, the whips merciless lashings.

Just another day then.

****************

I emerged from the Witch's house, blood waterfalls falling from my back.  I should know better. I really should. After two years, I still got whipped on a weekly basis for things I know I shouldn't do. The gnarled tree dug in to my hands as I made my way up to my tree home. I should know better. I really should. After 5 years of making the same mistakes over and over, I should have learnt. But I haven't. Reaching my home, I flopped down on my hammock, exhausted. Yet I immediately shot up again, pain exploding from my back like a bomb. I moved to the small window and gazed longingly at the horizon. How I wish I could leave here. I would give anything. A large flock of ravens flew over the lush landscape, trees stretching for as far as I could see. Suddenly, the group dove in to the trees, crying loudly. I bolted for the door, knowing the only thing that made them act like that.

I had company.

                                                                     *******************

I ran blindly through the branches, not caring about the pain shooting through my back. I had to warn them. I must. Small breadcrumbs trailed by my feet, leading to me to the trespasser. He whipped around, startling me and himself. Long, black hair fell gently in-front of his soft face, eyes the colour of melted chocolate staring unbelievingly at me. In his hand was a loaf of mouldy bread. Taking a tentative step forward, he whispered,"What are you doing here?"

"Saving your life," I replied shortly, all too aware of my ragged black dress that showed far too much skin and flame red curls pouring down my shoulders.

"What do you mean?" He asked me, surprised by my harshness. Well, what did he expect? He was in Chiollut Forest, the most feared place in Chalson. Mind you, it is supposed to be deserted, so I can understand his surprise. Sort of.

"You don't need to know, boy. Just leave now and never return." I snapped, folding my arms. I'd had enough of watching the Witch entice the unsuspecting children that wondered in to her Gingerbread House and eat them alive. That was even beyond the limits of the City Of The Eternal. This boy was not going to be another victim. Not this time.

"Why? Why should I do what you say?" He questioned, having composed himself. The boy really should of know better, considering the stories of this place.

"You should. Just go boy, unless you want to end up as the Witch's supper," I answered, turning to go.

"My names not boy, it's Alessio. Who are you?" He said. This one really isn't wise.

"My name's Xanthe Van Emion. That's all you need to know," I said over my shoulder as I disappeared in to the trees. I don't really know why I bother. They never listen. Only this time was different. I couldn't shake him from my mind and that night, his face haunted my dreams.

Why?

 

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