Clock-cursing

Pandora is banished from her family and hunted for her curse. But their is another group of individuals after her. And they will stop at nothing to save her.

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3. Chapter 3

When Pandora woke up, the first thing she noticed was the sound of birds around her. Not fake recordings of birds she heard at home, but real life, living, breathing birds. Then she opened her eyes and squinted in the dazzling sunlight that was shining down through gaps in the thatched roof above her head. “Are you awake?” A gruff voice asked from her side. She turned around startled, and saw what was either a very tame bear or a very wild looking man.

“I’ll get yur clothes.” It grunted again, standing up and striding out of the small room, only just managing to get through the doorway. Pandora sat up and blinked several times, staring around her and trying to remember what had exactly happened after she had been left in the forest by her father. “Ere ya go!” The giagantic figure announced gruffly, his dialect lazy and muffled. He threw a pile of clothes at Pandora before leaving again. “You’ve got 5 minutes before ‘e wants to see ya.” He called from outside the room as the door closed.

Pandora stared at the clothes she’d been given. Whatever she had been expecting after her encounter with the bear man, this was not it. Laid on the bed in front of her was a very sensible, athletic tunic-dress and knee-length leggings, as well as a satchel and plain pumps.

“5 minutes up, ya ready?” The bear man asked through the door as she pulled on her shoes. “Um, yes I think so!” she called back, standing up and trying to make herself look presentable. “Alright then, let’s get going!” he grunted back, swinging the door open and beckoning for Pandora to follow him hastily.

“So… May I please ask where I am?” Pandora asked quietly as she jogged next to the bear man’s strides.
“You’re in the deep forest miss, we’re not going far don’t worry” he replied bluntly without even looking down at her. “In fact, we’re ‘ere already.” He added, indicating to a clearing covered in tree-stumps and with a man sat in the middle smoking a pipe.

“There ya go Duke, dressed and ready on time.” The bear man announced, indicating to Pandora with one giant hand.
“Thank you Douglas, you can go now.” Duke replied calmly without turning to face them.
“Ya arrogant twat.” Douglas muttered under his breath as he turned and walk away from the clearing and disappeared into the trees.

“Have a seat Pandora.” Duke prompted between puffs of thick white smoke. Pandora sat on a stump nearby and placed her hands gently in her lap.
“What happened to your wounds Pandora?” he asked her, his voice a lazy trawl that seemed to ooze confidence. Pandora looked at her bare arms and legs and realised she was completely spotless.
“Oh, I guess Douglas gave me some medicine or something when he found me…” she suggested, wringing her hands nervously.

“You’re a terribly terrible liar you know Pandora. Besides, I was the one who saved you from yourself.” He replied with an enchanting chuckle.
“Oh, then thank you Mr Duke!” she announced, putting on a smile and hoping she wasn’t being obviously nervous.
“And I also know that Douglas wouldn’t have been able to fix you up that quickly. So let me ask you again. What happened to your wounds Pandora?”

“It’s my fault.” Pandora blurted out, unable to hold back the truth much longer.
“Elaborate please.” Duke encouraged before putting his pipe back to his lips.
“All I know is that since I was a baby, people around me get hurt, yet I can never be harmed.”
“So why assume it is your fault?”
“Because that’s what my parents told me. I’ve sinned in a previous life and now I must pay to price.”

Duke was silent for a few minutes. Pandora sat there awkwardly, staring at the back of his head.

“Pandora, never let anyone tell you that ever again. If they do, punch them in the face and correct them.” He muttered through a clenched jaw, standing up and turning on the spot and leaping to Pandora’s side. His face was well sculpted, and a thin layer of black stubble covered his jaw. “This isn’t your fault Pandora.”

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