Silvered Blood

Siblings. One is obsessed with silver and the other is crazy about blood. She is a psychopath and he is a vampire.

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2. One: The Infection

Thursday coldly began to culminate with a brisk, gusty evening upon the village and Ernest’s mother decided it was time for the daily supper. Cold meat was brought out of the cellar and fresh bread was baked and dinner was on the track to be ready. That was until screams sounded from upstairs, screams of Myrah showering like hellfire upon Ernest as he tried to reason with his ailing sister.

“Whatever happened this time?” pondered the mother tiredly as she started to make her way upstairs, only to see Ernest approaching, head down and positively exasperated.

“Ernest, what was happening up there?” questioned she, one eyebrow raised in unswerving distress.

“I touched a coin,” Ernest coughed feverishly, scratching his neck in a dispirited tone. He didn’t appear to have enjoyed the experience very much.

“You touched a coin?” his mother frowned, “Oh, I do, most certainly, hope you didn’t touch one of Myrah’s silver coins, hmm?”

“I did,” he sighed, walking towards the kitchen in hope to get a light snack. His mother followed closely behind, devastation apparent on her weary face. She couldn’t handle a fight between her children, not when her husband almost never talked to her and her daughter was insane! Ernest picked up a banana and munched on the fruit soundly while his mother waited for him to turn around.

 

When he eventually did, with an anxious eye, she sighed with ample disconsolation.

“Ernest, dearest, please don’t do this to me. Don’t let even more tragedies befall on me at such a time, darling,” she pleaded, “Why, you know I am cramped in such a financial and familial disorder! Please, for the sake of this family, do not argue with your sister again. For the sake of Heavens, do not do anything that will make us all even more miserable.”

Ernest regarded her with pity but he did not hesitate in agreeing to his mother’s terms, much to the solace of her wretched heart.

“Of course, Mother, of course…” he coughed again, “Except, don’t you think it is time we tried to find a cure for Myrah? She is, after all, badly infected.”

The mother smiled desolately at her son as she strode ahead and started to chop up some cucumber. Oh, how could he know that sending Myrah to the gruesome asylum was the only alternative to the situation?

“Oh, I am sure we will get something done, dearest,” she whispered, and with a melancholic air, repeated, “We will get something done.” Sensing Ernest’s uncertain eye on her, she forced a thin smile to veil her pain and said, “Ernest, would you be so kind and cut up the meat for dinner? I should check up on your father, ask whether he wants to eat or not.”

Ernest raised an eyebrow and then nodded. “Of course, Mother,” he whispered, sliding his hand over the knife to pick it up. His mother passed him a small smile of gratitude and left the kitchen to see her unresponsive husband in his room. As she walked closer to the room, she felt increasingly nervous – and, strangely, afraid. Her husband had grown so queerly cold to her that she would shiver for no particular reason when he was around. He had become so uncaring towards Myrah, a sick child, and he wouldn’t give a flying care about her death, if such horror did indeed happen.

 

Seconds later, the mother found herself face-to-face with the oaken door and knocked on it tenderly, as if she was afraid to get any response from him. Not too soon, a heavy voice from inside croaked:

“Come in.”

Gingerly, the mother turned the stained knob, stepping inside with decipherable anxiety. The small chamber was in its usual shambolic state, empty bottles of liquor scattered all over and a malodourous, dreadful stench packed the air. In a corner of the room, partly covered in a thin shawl, gulping down the contents of another liquor bottle sat her husband, drumming a closed book in his hands.

“Richard?” she enquired quietly, frozen in her place with the door, “Richard, dinner is very nearly ready. Are you coming to eat?”

Her husband huffed from the corner. “I would, if only –” he cut his own sentence off and sighed with considerable anger.

“Yes, Richard?” stammered his wife. Her heart thrusted vociferously within her chest and her eyes felt hot. This was not going to end well, she decided, this was going to end in a terrible mess.

“Where is Myrah?” he questioned, his tone dense and livid, putting the book down and removing the shawl from his shoulders. When he got no reply from his terrified wife, he stood and took one rocking step forward and reiterated: “Where is Myrah, Anne?”

“She is- Myrah is in her room, I believe,” she whispered, trying to gather her emotions together and desperately making sure she didn’t cry.

“And that’s what I hate most. That she is still here,” said her husband, stepping ahead in the dim lamplight, revealing his hefty features. He was tall and had a stocky face in a rectangular shape with dark, grimy whiskers and rheumy eyes that lay in shadows of his flesh. When he spoke, a disgusting odour – presumably, of alcohol and smoke – reeked from his mouth, only aiding in making the stench of the room worse. More than anything else, his eyes glared at the wife’s petrified face with such intensity that she was unable to stop tears from moistening her own eyes. 

“But- but we most certainly cannot send her to the mental asylum, Richard,” she spoke up, her maternal love getting the better of her, “You know it’s a monstrous place!”

“A monstrous place, indeed it is,” agreed her husband imperturbably, “But a monstrous place for monsters, monsters like Myrah.”

“Myrah is not a monster!” she cried, the pain alive in her voice, “How can you call her a monster? She is a sick girl, our sick girl! Our daughter!”

“And that is about all she is,” he chuckled with pure indifference. His wife’s voice dropped and her horrified gaze followed him as he paced around the room slowly. “Think about it, Anne,” he said coolly, “Think, what will the neighbours say if they see her like she is? Dear, she is nothing more than a maniac and, unfortunately, our daughter. And you do know the one place that is utterly, absolutely the best place for maniacs, don’t you?”

“The asylum,” she breathed, her mind blistering with anger towards her husband’s unfeelingness, “But you are mistaken. Myrah is young, she is sick and she is definitely nothing close to a maniac, Richard. Why, if she had a father who wasn’t as inconsiderate as you” – she pointed her finger in his face, face seething with fury – “I am very sure that she would be so much more innocent than she is now. And if I had a husband who cared a little more about this family, we all would be so much better off!”

Her husband scoffed, though visibly shaken at the suddenness of the comeback.

“Whatever do you mean that I do not care about this family?” he retorted, “Of course I care. I care about Ernest, do I not?”

“You care about Ernest just because you hope he will grow and provide you fortune in old age, Richard. No, you care for no one but yourself, and trust me when I say that you would be quite happier if you were the father of a family as selfish as you. Why, you think that your very own sick daughter is a monster!”

“Because that is what she is!” thundered the husband but his wife was not about to move away.

“You think that because that is just how atrocious your heart is. But she is my daughter and, if you dare say anything more about her, I will ruin you,” raged she, “for I don’t care for you any more than you care for Myrah.”

“Get out of my room,” whispered her husband, both blown away by the words and absolutely furious, “Get out and don’t come back, Anne.”

“I will go out,” she answered back, “Not because you told me to, but because I do not wish to see your rotten face again.” She swept on her heel and marched out, slamming the door behind her with a vigorous bang, and lumbered all way down back to the kitchen to see how Ernest was doing with his job.

 

As she neared the kitchen, she calmed herself and put on a thin smile before going to her son. Gently she stepped inside, making sure her face bespoke nothing of the argument she had just been through but when she looked up, she couldn’t help but gasp in complete horror – for there, right in front of her, was Ernest, holding the bloodied meat in his hands and staring at it as if it was simply enchanting. Too paralysed to speak, she watched as he sniffed it with a potent desire and then he lifted one blood-stained finger and nearly brought it to his lips.

“Ernest!” his mother cried, knocking sense back into him and Ernest suddenly jolted back to find his mother looking at him with repulsion.

“Oh,” whispered he as he realized what he was doing, as he realized that he had a sudden desire for bloodlust; a desire that was only there because – could it be really true? – he had been infected by the Insane Syndrome.

His mother cleared her throat, trying not to face the facts of the awful situation. “Ernest, what are you doing?”

“I…” he looked at the blood on his finger, the blood he was nearly going to lick, and he shuddered, “I am sorry, Mother.”

“Whatever do you think you were doing?” she reprimanded, clenching her fists in frustration. Her son looked around apprehensively and dropped the raw meat down with a squelch.

“I think… Mother, I think I am infected,” said he, voice barely above a timid whisper, “Like Myrah.”

At the mere mention, his mother let out a wail of desolate melancholy and dropped to her knees with tears flooding down her face. “Oh, Ernest! Not you, not you too!” she sobbed, pulling at her shrivelled hair, unquestionably maddened, “Why did this have to happen? Oh, dearie, why you? Why couldn’t you, for one, be spared? Why did this have to happen both my children, my little darlings? Why!?”

“Mother, I will be fine,” Ernest whispered, washing his sullied hands in the sink little by little, “I just need some time alone… Um, do serve supper soon. I- I am not hungry so I don’t think I will be there to dine with you all.”

 

And, with the words, he hassled off to his room. Once inside its relative security, the boy huddled in his blanket, rocking back and forth as he tried to think of what to do. There was no denying that he was infected because of Myrah – but it was more the horror of what the infection had caused him to be obsessed with. His mind had been overtaken by an uncontrollable yearning for bloodthirstiness, not something that was less severe – like Myrah’s love for silver.

Could it be true, thought he to himself, that his last encounter with his sister was the reason for this ailment? He should have stayed away from those coins. They were the reason he was in this mess after all; if only he hadn’t touched them! And now, Ernest questioned himself, how would his parents hide him? Bloodlust was not something that was, in any way, easy to hide. Worse, what monstrous deeds might he perform upon his poor family if he stayed with them in such a condition?

His mind had suddenly become cannibalistic towards living creatures and, now there was nothing the boy feared more than staying at home around his own family. All of an unexpected sudden, Ernest felt more isolated than ever. He was no longer normal. He was just as abnormal as Myrah – maybe even worse – and he was insane. Oh, how he suddenly longed to meet his friends and act normal! All those things that made him happy were snatched from him the instant he was stricken by the Syndrome.

 

“I have to talk to someone,” he whispered to himself.

And who was better to talk to than his parents?

Myrah, that’s who.

She was in the same horrifying abyss as him and he couldn’t care less about being around her. After all, he was infected now and nothing could be there to reverse it. Off he went, tiptoeing to his sister’s room and making sure no one saw him. His mother had left the house, most certainly to get some vegetables. Once in front of the door, he took out the room key from his pocket and turned the lock, quickly entering and shutting the door behind him.

Myrah’s tiny room was simply overflowing and glittering with silver in all forms. Metallic tones of grey glinted everywhere and she was sitting in the centre of everything, playing with her condensed, pecan-shaded and irrefutably muddled locks. At the sight of her brother, she looked up and smiled vaguely, something that indicated her insane tantrum of earlier was over.

“What are you doing here?” she inquired immediately, “Why did you come?”

“I wanted… uh, just to talk to you,” Ernest lied, sagging down with his back dragging at the door, “I wanted to keep you company.”

“And that is just so thoughtful of you,” Myrah said, sarcastic vibes resounding in her tone.

“I am not joking,” forced he, “I was worried you were, um, getting lonely. It is always a good idea to talk to your siblings.”

“A divine idea,” hissed Myrah, placing her hands in her lap in irritation, “Might I ask why you haven’t considered that for all the months I was diseased? Why, you told me you wanted to stay as far from me so that you don’t get infected, am I right?”

“It was just an attempt. A futile one. I realized that nothing was better than staying around you, Myrah,” he smiled – or, tried to smile for his lip got stuck and he looked simply mindless.

“How sweet of you to think so,” his sister scoffed, “But you certainly realized that very late, brother. Father has been coming by and telling me that I am a mad animal. Not only that, he said, and I hereby quote, that, in comparison to me, you are an angel to a demon. What have you been doing to gain such a reputation, hmm?”

Ernest coughed. It was very clear that his father favoured him above Myrah in all circumstances and she had every reason to doubt that he had been spending time earning that favour.

“I haven’t,” he stated, “I have done nothing to become a favourite. It just happened, Myrah.”

“Likely story,” Myrah mused, “I do believe that the odds are always with you, Ernest. Don’t you find it strange that I am the one infected, not you? That I am the one locked here? That I am the one hated by Father?”

“It is just an insolent case of favouritism,” he shrugged, wishing he had not come to talk to Myrah at all.

“Just because you are the son,” his sister breathed, displeased, “Well, what can be done about that? I, after all, am the one whose mind doesn’t match with Father’s, not when he is such a heavy smoker – and I do hate smokers.” She pulled her knees up to her chest and laid her cheek on it despondently. Ernest’s eyes dawdled on her for an uncertain moment and he coughed again. Myrah looked at him and narrowed her eyes.

“And what was it that you wanted to talk about when you came in?” she questioned.

Her brother shook his head. “Just wanted to have a… light-hearted conversation. Nothing much. Uh, I think it is time that I left – getting awfully late, isn’t it?”

Myrah glowered at him for a minute and then sighed, “Certainly. Later, Ernest.”

“Later,” he smiled and departed his sister’s room as quickly as he had entered. His heart racing, Ernest was afraid of staying in the house any longer. He could feel the desire for blood, copious warm blood, ringing in his mind and he ached to do something to soothe it, and nothing could be done about it as long as he was with his family.

 

He had to run away. That was the only option.

Ernest whimpered to himself. He didn’t want to run away without telling anyone, but he didn’t want anyone to know he was infected and he most certainly didn’t want to leave them in such a distressed situation. But, regrettably, his staying around could only mean even greater distress.

“But where?” he asked himself, “Where can I go?”

Almost fourteen years of age, an age that was considered the beginning of adulthood, Ernest had taught himself the importance of alacrity when tough situations arise as he had understood how one must remain composed under stress. He knew he had to remain tactical for the moment. This was, without a doubt, a restless point of his life that could either wholly ruin him or partially ruin him; either way, his intellect was aware that his life was going to be worse, now that the Syndrome had gotten hold of him.

That way or the other, it was important to run away and, thus, important to pack up.

One thing that appeared most crucial to Ernest was the availability of supplies till he reached a destination that was safe for him to stay in. Since the boy had no particular place in mind, he only chose to take food that would remain unspoiled for the longest time and he took clothing that was loose and long – to ensure that he could wrap himself in a colder environment. He made use of one of his father’s forgotten bags and, without lingering about for another minute, started packing. Ernest happened to realize that money would also be a necessity on the kind of journey that he was about to undertake. However, he knew what a crisis the family was in and his mother had worked every last minute collecting enough money to feed everyone.

It would be dreadful to snatch away all her hard work but, then, Ernest was going to be an even more dreadful problem if he stayed and he couldn’t run away without some money to tend to sudden circumstances.

“If I take just twenty pounds, what disaster could that possibly be?” he considered. It was impossible to resist the temptation to grab just a few pounds; nobody was around anyway! Making it all the more tempting was the fact that his mother never kept the money with her but in the veranda – where she thought it would be safest from thieves and the sort.

Creeping into the veranda like a ghost, Ernest skulked towards the small chest of drawers where all the savings were reserved. The rising moon glowed in the darkness of the late evening as the sky faded from pulsating rosy and indigo hues to a solemn black, rinsing the boy in an enchanting but melancholic colour. The wind fell low, rustling adjacent grass blades and imposing a silence so tender that Ernest couldn’t help but feel somewhat remorseful for his impending deed.

 

Bathed in the miserable silence, he just knew he was wrong to take the money – but was he? Money was a vital item to survival and that is why he needed it, he resolved.

He needed it – and he was not going to step back now.

The wind rose to a gradual moan at his decision and someone, a girl, started singing in the distant of the eerie dusk. The outright unsuspected singing gave Ernest disturbing shudders and he slunk close to the drawers, looking around in alarm. While it took him a moment to calm the thundering beat of his heart, he made out the vocalist’s voice as Myrah’s. She was singing to the moon for she had developed a devoted connexion to the night ever since she was just an infant.

“Twinkling like a blooming pearl

Exquisite and white

There is nothing that I could adulate more

Than your enthralling silver light

O, you lie by a stream of gleaming stars

In the cool of the hushed night

There is nothing that I would love to gaze

Than your bedazzling sight”

 

Ernest had never reason to see that there was anything good about her systematic songs but, that evening, he felt something he had never felt coming from his diseased, confined sister – comfort. She had never been one to be graceful in any way but the melodic words departing her lips were all too sentimental for Ernest to hear. Even though he was still at home, he was terribly homesick and tears were just commencing the damp feelings he had.

“Oh, I am so awfully sorry to do this,” he whispered, brushing away his tears as he opened the drawer beside him, “I know what I do tonight is wrong but it is only a need of time.”

The stash of gold was squatting right before Ernest’s eyes and it was exceptionally challenging to resist taking all of it in one go but he knew that was simply off limits. That would be not acquirement as a necessity but downright theft! His ears grasped someone coughing close by and he made a dash for the stairs at once, puffing as if he had just had a horrific nightmare. Sprinting like a Spaniard bull on the run, Ernest threw himself inside the confidentiality of his own chamber, panting and wheezing fearfully.

“Ernest,” his mother was calling from downstairs, “can you come down here for a minute?”

Ernest’s hand seized a hoary cloth bag at his table and he emptied the money from his hands inside the bag. In the twinkling of an eye, he had dusted his hands and face and put on one of his fakest smiles to greet his mother outside.

“Mother? You called?” he said, stepping out and swiftly closing the door behind him.

His mother, who was just done putting away the provisions she had purchased earlier, looked at him for a moment and then sighed. “I did,” she agreed, “I need some help, Ernest, and you are the only one I can count on.”

“Me? But… you do realize I am infected, don’t you?” he stammered, beads of perspiration dribbling down his dampened forehead. He was absolutely scared to have any request that would ask of him staying longer.

“I do,” his mother nodded with a vibe of pain in her voice, “But only I do. That is, if you haven’t told your father and sister yet.”

“No, as a matter of fact, I have not had the courage to. So, what is it you would like my help with, Mother?”

“Do you…” her voice dropped and she looked at him squarely, “Do you think, dear, that you would manage to work at the mill at the Floss’ farm? We do need more money, son, and you would have to take on quite some restraint for that. I am too exhausted and worn out to take on a sixth job to support this family. Well, darling?”

“I don’t know,” Ernest cleared his throat, looking around frantically, trying not to meet his mother’s eyes. Taking on a job at such a point for him was out of question! On the other hand, he could not break his mother’s heart by showing inconsideration. “Uh,” he went on, grasping on some compact points to help his argument, “say, Mother, I thought fourteen was the ideal age for working? I am not quite there yet, are I?”

“Why, yes, it is,” she approved, though not very pleased with his suggestion, “You are only two months from it nonetheless, and I fail to see why your age would be so crucial to you in a time when the family is in ruins. Can’t you lift even a finger to help your family, Ernest?”

“I just- I just don’t want to be in trouble,” he squeaked, quaking like a leaf, “I- I do love my family, Mother.”

His mother frowned at him. “Ernest, you don’t want to do it, do you? Well, don’t. I am not begging you and I shall soon not even be here, thanks to you. This is not a time for childish behaviour and I might as well die in the process of putting up with all your whims! Good Lord, what an irresponsible family you have blest me with!”

“I am sorry,” whispered Ernest, “but I suppose it is only right to tell you.”

 

“Oh, for the pure sake of Christ! I do not wish to hear any more reasons from you,” his mother huffed, turning away to go outside. Ernest followed gingerly, trying to remain sophisticated for the news he was going to unleash upon his poor mother.

“Mother, please. Just listen,” he pleaded, his voice soft and sympathetic.

She exhaled a deep draw of the night air and then partly turned to look at her son. “What is it, hmm?”

“The Insane Syndrome, Mother. It has infected me and caused me to yearn for a thing most unholy – blood. It has only just begun and is, therefore, easy to keep down for the moment… but it will grow more powerful by each passing hour. I am afraid of what I will do – to people, to my friends, to my family! Then, again, it is incurable and fatal.”

Being petite, she was somewhat shorter than him, even though he was still a child and she had to raise her eyes slightly. She looked at him, properly this time, and there was just that hint of motherly concern in her sapphire blue eyes.

“And what is that supposed to mean? What are you trying to say, son?”

Ernest swallowed and scratched the back of his neck. “I am running away, Mother. I am so awfully sorry, it’s just that…” he trailed off because his mother’s eyes were overflowing with uncontrollable dismay. “Mother, please, it is really necessary,” he tried to reason but she was too frozen in shock to even cry.

“You are running away?” she questioned in the smallest of voices.

“I promise, it is only for the best,” he articulated, hoping she would finally understand.

“I don’t understand, Ernest. How could you betray me like this?”

“No! I am not betraying anyone, Mother. I am just afraid of staying around you all with this… sickness, this insanity.”

“Preposterous. I had never realized how one you love with all your heart could ever backstab you. But I realize now – first, with your father and now, you. Like father, like son. History is repeating itself; I see that now.”

The dismay in her voice was transforming into a storm of infuriation and Ernest was losing his own voice – but he had to make his point. He had to talk her down this time.

“Mother, stop,” he directed, gaining a frightening glare in turn but she did settle down, “I mean no disrespect but I think you are not realizing what a humongous problem I might turn into. I have an irrepressible thirst for blood and staying around humans is doing nothing to help. My mind is cannibalistic and I wouldn’t be surprised if I ended up devouring one of you – if I was forced to stay here.

You say, Mother, that I am betraying you and that I do not love my family. I say that is absolutely false. If I loved none of you, I would never even lacerate and force myself to leave this house, the place that is the only one that I truly belong to. I need to leave and that is only because I don’t want any harm to come to you.

Don’t you see? I am going to be a man-eater in no time and there is nothing anyone can do to cure me – unless, of course, you want me to turn myself in to the horror of the lunatic asylum, huh? What do you say, Mother? What should I do?”

 

His mother looked at him with tears on her face and Ernest thought he might have spoken a little too much. After his resilient discourse, she appeared even smaller and paler.

“Well, I don’t know,” she sniffled, not taking her eyes off her son for a second, “But I do know that your departure will bring me more pain than ever. And- and I can’t take any more pain, sweetie, I just can’t.”

“But if I stay with you,” Ernest explained gently, “the pain will be unbearable to the point it could cost your life. Mother, you do realize I am doing this for a good reason, do you not?”

“I doubt I will live long otherwise either, my dear,” his mother snivelled, “But, oh, you are right. Being bloodthirsty is not something that can be calmed… I suppose” – with a small cough of hesitation – “you might need to leave after all.”

“Thank Heavens you understand,” exhaled Ernest, then seeing the tearful eyes of his dejected mother, added, “I do love you, Mother, and the whole family. And that’s something I can’t never stop doing.”

“I am only afraid of how your father will react,” she said in a shivering whisper as she brushed her tears away, “Still you will be safe, won’t you now?”

“I promise,” her son smiled, “And you will be too.”

“Uh, I doubt that, my dear, but that’s not important. You must run away before something dreadful happens, child,” whispered his mother. She extended her petite arms towards him and encompassed him in a final loving embrace, and Ernest couldn’t help but let tears roll down his face as he hugged her back.

“Go,” she declared, pulling away from him, her seemingly strong voice misted with veiled depression, “This is the right time, Ernest.”

Ernest straightened up and tried to smile. “I love you, Mother,” he croaked, the tears gradually drying up on his youthful but shattered face.

“Oh, I love you too, dearie,” his mother beamed with a natural softness, “I also suppose you have packed necessities for this journey, uh, am I correct?”

“I h-have,” Ernest nodded, “I’ll get it.”

“And leave immediately, dear,” she added, “Don’t you worry about us, though. Whether we live or die, I assure you, as family, it is our duty to only make sure we remain in each other’s hearts.”

Die?” he choked, “Mother, you can’t die!”

“Oh, Ernest,” smiled his mother forlornly, “We all have to – one day. But that’s not something you should worry about right now, darling. Get your things and go – now.”

“I will get it,” whispered Ernest. He turned and rushed to his room, trying his best not to sob as he grabbed his father’s bag and put his money bag in with all the other supplies. Fastening it with a piece of old rope near his bed, he heaved the big, but not too heavy, bag on his shoulders and silently made his way out of the house – where his mother was waiting for him.

“Is that all, dear?” she questioned, the dark of the night somewhat obscuring her tearful face.

Ernest only nodded in remorseful silence and his mother smiled at him from a distance without going in for another hug, as her son had expected. She just kept smiling at his disconcerted face with tender longing and unimaginable grief.

“I am afraid,” she whispered finally, “that if I embrace you again, I might just not be able to let you go.”

“Mother?” her son asked, now frightened that his departure really might take a heavy toll on his distrait mother.

“I am fine, I am fine,” his mother responded with unnecessary swiftness and then passed him a light smile, “I will be fine – I hope – but you just make sure you don’t run into trouble while you are off, alright, dearie?”

“I promise,” Ernest smiled back, tears slowly rising in his eyes.

“Farewell, son. May the Lord Almighty protect you, sweet,” said she gently and then, in a more distant tone, added, “Goodbye.”

“Goodbye, Mother. I will love you forever,” Ernest said in a controlled whisper, sweeping away tears from his eyes.

Once more, his mother smiled with reassurance and, with a heavy heart, Ernest turned around to face the journey that lay ahead – the journey he had chosen to undertake.  His heart ached to turn back to the house, the family he had known all his life but, like his mother said, he knew if he turned back now, he would never be able to leave them again – and it was more than crucial to abandon them at such a sensitive time.

 

“Don’t fret, my dear,” his mother whispered gently from behind, as if she knew what he was thinking, “This is the right thing to do, and taking the right decisions is not always easy. But if you do not make the right thing tonight, who knows what nightmares you may have to face further on? Now you must listen to me. Take a deep breath, believe in the power of God and walk away. That’s the right thing to do.”

“B-but…” Ernest began but his mother shushed him sharply.

“Don’t speak to me, Ernest. Do not talk at all. Until you cannot detach your family from your life, you will not be able to leave. Please, darling, just walk away. It will only get more painful if you don’t.”

The boy winced at the true yet throbbing words but he knew that was accurate, and, with both childish nostalgia and mature determination, he walked off into the street ahead. His mother watched him go with melancholic pride and waited for long minutes, staring at the empty spot where her child had stood just a while back, before she turned to go in the house herself and, after that, she simply couldn’t help being overwhelmed by a massive affliction of motherly agony. 

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