Claimed *Completed*

"I'm already living on borrowed time. When it comes to it, it will be my time to go."

500 years ago Cathy should have died, but she didn't. She was saved by the Devil.

"I agreed to something ... Something that cant have been important then, it seemed too far away.
I'd agreed, after five hundred years, to hand myself over to the Devil, to become his."

Now her time's up, but back in the city where it all started, things are far from over. Cathy finds out that there is more to the Devil than she ever thought. A new boy, a best friend and a deadly enemy, things are about to get complicated...

"No one's that good or bad, it's not that simple, nothing's that black and white. It's more grey."

*Hi, this is my first Movella, so I'd love some feedback and constructive critsism! Thanks :)

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20. Monday, 17th January 2012

Monday 17th January 2012

 

 

 

 

   Monday, 17th January 2012.

  Today I am 516 years old.

  I look in the mirror, to see the same face I saw looking back at me as I did on the 17th January 1512. I still look the same as I did then, but there are subtle changes; I look tired, really tired. Not sleeping for five hundred years doesn’t help, but I also look wise somehow, like I know all the secrets of history. Someone once told me that a person with a secret holds the weight of the universe on their shoulders.

  If that were true, then I’d have been crushed long ago with all the secrets I know. I still don’t know everything, like the future for example, that would be really helpfully for today.

  Now I have six hours to kill until Chrissie and Jess get back form school and another four until the ‘ball’. I’m beginning to regret telling Chrissie I wasn’t coming to school. I decide to try on my dress (even though I know it still fits).

  I open the door to my room and I have to blink a couple of times before my eyes adjust to the permanent half-light that fills the room – it seemed appropriate, like the shadow of my past.

  I walk straight over to the dress and start to take it carefully from the stand when a flash of red catches my eye. Sticking out from a draw is a corner of red fabric. Instinctively I reach out to open the drawer, but I pull my hand back quickly when I remember what’s in there.

  I turn back to the dress and slip it off the dress maker’s doll. The fabric is silky soft to the touch and I carry it out the room without a backwards glance at the draw.

  Back in my bedroom I undress and climb into the floor length dress. It still fits.

  My reflection smiles at me in the mirror; it’s been so long since I’ve worn a dress like this. It feels so good to be wearing it again, like coming home. Especially this dress, I’ve loved it for years.

  I sigh, what happened to fashion? What happened to the times where you could wear dresses like this everyday? The dress feels so heavy compared to the light cotton tops and denim jeans people wear now. The petticoats weigh the dress down, but give it its distinctive wide skirt.

  I let down my hair and let the copper strands fall down to frame my face. I run a brush threw them, tackling the knots. I spin around and all the layers of blue-turquoise material fan out beneath me. Tiny, individual diamonds glitter in the light streaming in through the window.

  I remember how I used to wear this dress, and imagine I was a princess, or a rich young lady with nothing to worry about but the queue of suitors lining up in the street, ready to impress.

  As I spin, I stay locked in my fantasy for as long as I can; when I stop and open my eyes I’ll have to face the real world again. Eventually I become too dizzy and I stop to hang on to the bed post to stop from falling over. I laugh to myself; at least I’m not wearing a corset, then I really would be out of breath. That’s one thing about Victorian fashion that I really don’t miss.

  Looking down at my dress I see a small tear in the off-the-shoulder sleeve. I sigh as I have to slip the dress off again and I dig out my old sewing kit and begin, by hand (a sewing machine isn’t delicate enough), to sew up the tear. Because of the tiny, delicate stitches, I take a long time to sew it back up, until it impossible to tell there was ever anything there.

  I pull the dress back on and wonder out on to the balcony, barefoot. Standing there, leaning on the railing, over looking the city in the cold winter sun, I feel suddenly at ease. I forget about the Devil, Katrina, Jack, the Angel, MI6, my birthday - everything. I just relax and drift off into a peaceful state.

  I feel like a heroine in a book; stuck in her castle, waiting for her Prince Charming and whisk her away.

  I might have stood there for five minutes or an hour; but eventually I hear a knock on the door and I emerge from my daydreams. “Coming.” I hurry to the door as quick as the dress will let me and I open the door to see an overexcited Chrissie. So no Prince Charming.

  “Hi – oh wow! You look amazing.” She marvels at the dress a moment longer before turning her attention to her own dress, which she left in my wardrobe. She runs off into my bedroom and I follow her. I try to lean against the door frame, but the petticoats won’t let me. It’s going to take some getting used to again. I just stand and watch her instead, “Where’s Jess?”

  Chrissie shrugs, too busy pulling her dress out of its cover, “She said she’d be around later, about half past; she had to do something first.”

  Hmm, I wonder what she’s doing...

  I don’t have time to wonder any more, because Chrissie is pushing me – carefully so as not to damage the dress - out of the door so she can get hers on. I wait and a few minutes later I hear Chrissie squeal on the other side if the door, so I push it quickly open, but only to see Chrissie grinning like a lunatic who has just won the lottery.

  The gown looks amazing on her; it’s simpler than mine, but it suits her. She spins, like I did when I first had my dress on, with the full skirt flying around her. I notice the pink in her fringe has been dyed the same colour red as the dress.

  Chrissie comes to a stop, facing me, “What do you think?”

  I smile, “You look amazing. It looks great on you.”

  She, with difficulty, sits down on the bed. “I like it, don’t get me wrong, but who’d have thought it’d be so heavy? Seriously, how did people used to wear these all the time?”

  I shrug, “You get used to it.”

  Chrissie suddenly remembers something and jumps up, “Wait here.”

  “Err, okay.” But Chrissie’s already in the living room rummaging through a bag she brought with her, and forgotten about as soon as I opened the door. She pulls something out and hurries back over to me. I’m standing feeling confused, watching her.

  She’s got a small package in her hand, delicately wrapped in tissue paper. “You’re birthday present.”

  I’m nonplussed, “Huh?”

  Chrissie rolls her eyes, but smiles, “You know, that thing somebody gives you on your birthday to celebrate the fact you’re a year older.”

  Oh, right, that birthday present. I frown, “Chrissie, you didn’t have to-”

  “Yes, I did, you’re my friend, and friends buy each other birthday presents. Besides, I’d never have done any of this,” she indicates our dresses, “without you. So you’re getting a birthday present in return. It’s the least I can do. No, take it.” She sees that I’m about to protest and forces the carefully wrapped parcel into my hands. I don’t know whether to open it now, or wait until later – I’ve forgotten the etiquette for opening presents.  Chrissie saves me. “Open it now.” She looks excited.

  I start to unravel the layers of blue paper to reveal,

  My mouth drops open, in my hand lays a beautiful blue tear-drop pendant, with what looks like topaz. It’s simple, but glints in the light, making it shine. It matches my dress perfectly. My jaw still hangs loosely from my head.

  Chrissie’s smile drops, “You don’t like it? Oh, I knew I should have just gotten you-”

  I find my voice; it’s a little hoarse, “Chrissie, it’s gorgeous. I love it, but, this must have cost a fortune...”

 She smiles slightly, but looks solemn, “It was my grandmothers, she past away last year, but she gave me that the last time I saw her. I remembered it and thought of you.”

  I shake my head and try to give her the necklace back, “Chrissie, I can’t take this, it was your grandmothers, I can’t take it – you should have it.”

  She pushed me away and steps back so I can’t give it to her. “The wasn’t the only thing she left me with.” She holds out her wrist so I can see a set of gold and red bangles round her wrist, replacing the usual assortment of bracelets that run up her arms. Delicate carvings of flowers and spirals decorate the gold and wrap around tiny rubies imbedded it the bangle.

  “I want to give that necklace to you – so take it, because I won’t have it back, it’s yours now.”

  I’m torn between forcing her to take it back, and wanting to treasure it. I’m touched that she’s give me something that used to be her grandmothers.

  Carefully, I take the chain the pendant is hanging from and do the clasp up around my neck. The topaz weights heavily on my collar bone. I look up, “Thank you, Chrissie. I mean it.”

  She’s about to reply, but there is another knock on the door. Chrissie jumps and says, “Oh that must be Jess. Cathy, get her dress out.”

  We spend the rest of the afternoon making ourselves look like Victorian ladies. We dig through my extensive shoe collection to find my most Victorian-like heels. They don’t look a thing like Victorian shoes, so it’s more of a Victorian style, with a modern twist. Our make-up takes a lot of time too.

  We’re about to set off for the hall – early to make sure everything’s ready – but I quickly slip into my room while Jess and Chrissie are arguing about handbags.

  “You can’t take a handbag, it doesn’t look right.”

  “Where else am I going to put my phone?”

  “Victorians didn’t have phones-”

  I shut the door quietly, blocking their voices. I move to the book shelf and take down a jewellery box. I place it on the desk and open it up. Inside are the pieces of jewellery I treasure most. I slip out a single bracelet, before placing the box back on the shelf.

  The bracelet is a plain silver bangle, the simplest piece of jewellery; to anyone else it would probably look like nothing special, but my mother gave it to me the night before she introduced us to John. Before that it was a wedding present from the father I can’t remember. A sad feeling washes through me, but I feel strangely content to be this close to my mother and father again.

  I’m about to return to the now muffled voices in outside my door, when I remember something. I turn back and open a draw and dig through its contents. Finally I pull out what I was looking for and examine it.

  The blade is still as pristine – and sharp – as ever, as you would expect from silver. The handle is covered in blue jewels, which match the ones on my earrings. They were both presents from the king of France; matching knife and earrings. Well, I lost the knife doing him a favour, so he owed me a new one. Who says you can’t assonate in style? I can’t say that’s a particular period of my life I’m proud of, but it’s not like they didn’t deserve it. And you never know when it might come in handy again.

  I slip a cover over the blade and then tuck it into the bodice of the dress.

  Just in case.

 

*

 

  The dance floor is heaving with people. It looks like the whole school’s turned up.

  I curse Chrissie as I attempt to force my way through the crowd to the other side of the hall. I consider using my knife to force my way through, but I don’t think that would go down too well down very well, especially since I’m the host.

  I’d gone to the toilet (which is quiet a feat in this dress) and I get back to find Chrissie’s disappeared and now I can’t find Jess either.

  I make it to the opposite wall, but there’s still no sign of either of them. Suddenly, through a parting in the crowd, I spot Will taking to a few boys I recognise from my English class. I have to force my way across the few meters of floor just to get to them.

  “Hey, Will, have you seen Jess or Chrissie anywhere?”

  He looks down at me, “No, sorry.” I huff and start to storm off, when he calls, “Wait, Cathy,” I turn back to him. “I think I saw Chrissie leaving just before, Jess went after her, to find out where she was going, but that was a while ago – are they not back yet?” I glower, not particularly at Will, but at the fact they’d both walked out on me.

  “Thanks.” I mutter darkly.

  One of the boys he was talking to plucks up the courage to say, “Looking good Cathy.”

  I glare at him and tell him where to stick it. I can hear his friends laughing at him and he turns red, but I just stalk off. I’m really not in the mood. He caught me at a bad time.

  Once I’m outside, I inhale deeply, savouring the feeling of cold air on my skin. I don’t think I’ve ever really realised how stressful balls can be for the hosts. I’ll never take them for granted again. Not that there will be a next time.

  I glance up at the sky; it’s nearly the sunset. I know what that means.

  Looking around, I can’t see any trace of Chrissie or Jess. The whole road is deserted; it seems slightly eerie, even though it’s not dark yet. I look back at the packed ballroom. There’s no way I’m going back in there on my own – they can look after themselves. I’m annoyed that Chrissie and Jess have run off and left me on my own – on my birthday. Well, if they can leave, then so can I. I feel like Cinderella running away from the ball. Except I have worse to worry about than my clothes turning into rags and my car turning back into a pumpkin.

  I find my Mini, parked among all the other cars and quickly get in. I drive aimlessly for a while before stopping the car down a quiet side street I don’t recognise. My head drops on to the steering wheel. I feel tired and worn out.

  A sudden buzzing from my phone makes me jump out of my skin. It’s just my phone vibrating against my hip. I fish it out from my dress and glare at the screen, You have 1 new message from Chrissie. I open it and freeze.

  It simply reads; At the bridge.

  I don’t need to ask which bridge she’s at, but why? Why has she gone there, of all places? Why now? I didn’t tell her.

  I start the engine and I’m driving top speed toward the bridge. As I drive a thought darts across my mind – what if it’s the Devil? What if he’s got her and is using her to get me to him? It’s a trap. I know it, I know it’s a trap, but I’m still speeding towards the bridge because I can’t just leave Chrissie there with him. And he knows it. I can’t let her get dragged into this. Well, anymore than she already is. It’s my fight – she’s got nothing to do with it.

  I catch sight of the river up ahead; I’m getting closer.

  Too quickly, I slam on the brakes and find myself at the foot of the bridge. I don’t dare look up. I close my eyes and take a few deep breaths to steady myself. I open the door and step out, trembling. Finally I look up at the bridge, silhouetted in the first rays of pink light from the dying sun. It feels like déjà vu. Exactly like last time. Nothing’s changed really. Even I’m still as selfish as I was.

  Self hatred fills me. Jack was wrong. I haven’t changed at all. I’m still Catherine, still the self-centred idiot that I’ve always been. I dragged Chrissie into my life because I couldn’t stand keeping it to myself. I trusted Jack because I was vain enough to believe he actually liked me. I killed my sister because I wanted my sister back. I’m still that horrible person. I can’t stop, it’s just who I am – not that that’s any excuse. No matter what I told Chrissie, dying didn’t change me, I was just vain enough to think that it did.

  The Devil should Claim me.

  I stride forward with a sudden purpose, fuelled my self-hatred.

  It strikes me that the usually busy Kiay Bridge is strangely empty. No car are coming and going, and not a soul is around. Like they are all avoiding this place tonight – like a bad omen.

  I reach the top of the bridge; the place where I jumped. I look around, there’s still no one; no Chrissie, no Devil.

  Suddenly the wind picks up; it gets faster and faster. It feels like someone has flicked a switch from calm to stormy. The water under the bridge is becoming violent; I can hear the water hitting the bridge below me. The waves start to slam into brick so hard that spray is sent up around me, quickly soaking me. My dress feels even heavier than it did before. There, in the middle of the bridge, I sink to my knees. My head drops into my hands.

  As I lay there as cold feeling rushed over me that’s got nothing to do with the water flying around me, or the howling wind.

  Memories force their way into my head. I haven’t the energy, or will, to fight them.

 

*

 

  My arms ache from carrying the bucket up from the Kiay, but as soon as I reach the house I immediately drop the bucket holding all my hard earned water, sending it splashing over the dirt floor of the house.

  Mother’s crying, but it’s not her usual sort of crying, like when she’s been hurt, or when we have no food and no money to buy any food with. This is a sob that tears straight through me and sends shivers down my spine.

  I run over to mother and fling my arms around her.

  “Mother, what is it? What’s wrong?”

  Then I notice something’s missing. Someone. The house feels strangely empty and cold. I shiver.

  “Mother, where’s father?”

  She just cries harder.

 

  The memory fades and is almost instantly replaced by another;

 

  My eyes flash open. I don’t know why I woke up, but as I lay there in my makeshift bed of straw and a blanket, I hear a strange noise coming form the direction of mother’s bed.

  I sit up and strain my ears to listen harder. I realise that it’s the sound of crying, but it’s a constrained sob, like she’s trying to hold it in.

  I fling my blanket off me and creep across the cold, dirty floor. In the moonlight streaming through a small window next to mother’s bed I can see her sitting up with her face buried in her blanket, muffling her sobs.

  I tip-toe towards her and slide onto the bed next to her, quietly taking her hand to make my presence known and to comfort her, though how much help I am, I don’t know.

  I’m suddenly reminded of another time three years ago – I found mother crying then too.

  I have a very bad feeling.

  Mother puts her arms around me, “Cat, oh Cat, I’m so sorry.”

 

  The memories start coming faster, the memories are more blurry, speeding through my mind quicker, so that I can only see snippets;

 

 Elizabeth sniffs and looks at me, “I’m scared.”

  “Why should you be scared?”

  “Because you don’t like the bridge.”

  I do a double take, “What do you mean? When did I say that?” I don’t remember saying anything to Elizabeth about the bridge, but she shakes her head.

  “No, at night,” she says in a small voice, “I hear you. You say things like ‘the bridge, the Kiay Bridge’ but then you start crying.” Tears prickle in her eyes, and all of a sudden can’t think of anything comforting to say.

 

  “Cat?” I smile; she’s the only person that can call me that since mother.

  “Yes Lizzie?”

  “Thank you.” She reaches up to hug me, so I lift her up and spin her around, making her giggle and earning me a few dark looks from passer-bys.

  As I set her down, she whispers in my ear, “I love you, Cat.” Her breath tickles my ear.

  “I love you too, Lizzie.”

 

  I can hear wooden door slamming, women and men both screaming abuse, the rowdy singing of the intoxicated men in the taverns, but the sound that bothers me most is the gentle sobbing of children, some orphaned, some lost, and most of them on deaths door step.

  But whatever their reason to cry I can never bring myself to fell sorry for them, but contempt for them as they pity themselves. Even now I can’t bring myself to pity them too; if they are so miserable, why don’t they do something about it?

  The thought makes me run harder and faster than before, mud slips below my feet, but I never once stop or slow down, for I am intent on reaching my destination.

  I concentrate on my foot steps, the rhythmic thudding of my bare feet.

 

    I grip the wall harder, no longer willing to go through with my plan.

  Suddenly I feel fingers pushing me from behind and I am caught off guard. I swing around to see whose the fingers belong to, but the movement finds my feet in mid-air and I’m falling.

  Down and down... air rushing through me. The water is coming up to meet me.

  I close my eyes, willing it to stop, to end. The beatings, the work house, step-father’s shouts, mother’s screams, Elizabeth’s crying- Elizabeth! What will happen to her? No! No!

  But my impact with the water is just moments away.

  I hear a laugh in the distance; an evil, cackling laugh from above, far worse than that of the drunken men.

  Then; a face, jet black hair, pearly white skin, piercing red eyes.

  Another voice; “Hello my dear...”

 

  I refuse to believe that she’s gone, I try to pump the life back into her, but I know it’s hopeless.

  The tears come thicker and faster, leaving trails down my sooty face. I let them come.

  Elizabeth, my dear little Lizzie, is dead and it’s my fault.

 

  Lauren’s tears fall over me, “No, Sophia, wake up – please, just wake up, you can’t die! No, wake up! Come on Sophia!”

  I long to reach out to her, to assure her I’m not dead, but I can’t. They were getting a little suspicious and I can’t stay any longer. My heart breaks for Lauren. I wish that I could have just been the friend she so wanted. And now I’m dead.

 

They keep coming faster, faster, and faster; like the wind;

 

Jane starts to back away from me

 

Witch-witch-witch, the pounding continues, getting louder; witch-witch-witch, WITCH-WITCH-WITCH. That’s when I realise that it’s not in my head: it’s people, chanting, screaming

 

 A face appears right in front of mine, not angry like the rest, more disgusted and disappointed

 

Emily’s looks even more confused, but I know that she’ll remember this. And that’s all I ask for. It’ll make sense to her when she’s older

 

Dear Emily’s face

 

“Don’t let go Lottie! Hang on!”

 

A grave stone with my name engraved in it

 

Poor Georgina’s tears, dripping over flowers left by my grave

 

  Everything blurs into one – a whirl wind of pain.

  Then, suddenly, everything goes silent. The memories stop instantly and all I can hear is my own ragged breathing in the cave of my arms. The wind is still raging around me at full force, but it no longer makes a sound. I feel the spray of the waves, but they don’t make a noise against the brick. It’s like I’ve gone deaf.

  “Families always been you’re weak point, that and your self hatred – that made my job a whole lot easier.”

  Slowly I raise my head from my knees and look up.

  He’s standing in front of me.

  Jet black hair, pearly white skin and piecing red eyes.

  “Hello Catherine.”

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