The Rose

Ever since her mother died and her father disappeared, Belle has been waiting for this moment. Her daggers at the ready, her heart steeled with confidence, she faced him.

The beast.

Veangeace is a mocking thing.

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9. Chapter VIII

   I struggled to sleep that night. The details of the curse twisted in my mind, the enchanting voice I had heard in the room with the rose haunted me into the early hours of the morning.

   I had to act.

   I slipped out of the bed. The room was so dark I couldn’t see two steps in front of me. Stumbling to the curtains, I tugged them open. The light of the full moon swarmed into the room, the stars twinkling in the deep navy sky. I perched on the windowsill, letting myself breathe properly for the first time in what felt like an eternity. So much had happened over these past few days.

   Thoughts of my father clouded my brain. If you had just left him here, this whole mess wouldn’t have – shut up brain. My father was there for me when no one else was. My father protected me from the dangers of the city, the dangers of the leering men and the rough streets. My father’s strength was unparalleled. I must be strong for him.

   My gaze left the night sky, a movement tugging it to the vast gardens. It was like a maze down there; every rose bush overgrown, every grassy patch springing out of it’s confines of pavement.

   The beast was wandering among the plants.

   If I didn’t know better I’d assume he was lost; his giant paws trailed the bushes, his eyes wandering lazily from hedge to hedge, like an unsuspecting rabbit in a fox’s den. I tilted my head. He seemed… at peace. Like he had no worries or sorrows to bother him. Funny, that; how a beast, a creature everyone thinks can only ever be angry, is as emotionally dynamic as a human.

   He was human, once. A proud prince. Probably set on marrying and taking the throne once his father passed.

   It hadn’t occurred to me to even think of his family. What had become of them? Had my mother cursed them too? Or were they already dead, or moved away?

   I couldn’t dwell on these thoughts. I had to move.

   I had to help the beast.

   Even if I died trying.

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