The Veil

Throughout time humans have created stories to help cope with their indifferent reality. Why are my crops dying in a prosperous season? Why did my whole family die of the plague? Why are their scratch marks from the inside of my sister's coffin? The human compulsion to find patterns causes them to not like open ends, unanswered questions, and especially the existence of the unknown. Yet the unknown somehow still draws us to stare into the dark abyss.

Lucille is a young girl who lives in a small village who always finds herself staring into the unknown and the deep forgotten corners of the town. These corners harbor secrets and a darkness no one dares to touch or expose. Will she be able to bring these mysteries out of the darkness or will she be swallowed by the abyss?

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Author's note

This is just an idea that popped into my head after writers block! I promise I will try to update weekly!

1. Chapter 1

The last days of summer bring a cool breeze to the soft heat of the evening. Lucille had long before prepared and folded the clothes for the week and has taken to observing her husband chopping wood for the future cold months. She admires the way his arms tense before evenly swiping the wood and placing the remnants aside to repeat. He has a look of deep concentration as the streams of sweat fall from his dark hair. It appears as if he is trying to make the pieces perfectly symmetrical. Her husband’s light grey eyes then flicker to Lucille. Feeling caught in the act of staring, heat quickly rises from her cheeks and her head frantically turns looks away. Edmon Krauss is known by the village to be very handsome. He is one of the village’s strongest, always helping to pull a broken cart or to put out fires of burning homes. He was also thought of fondly during their years at the schoolhouse with him being one of the swiftest runners and highest climbers. Girls would sigh with enchantment as the boy excelled in class, answering the teacher’s questions correctly. Various women have desired him along with families who wished to marry him to their daughters. It was to Lucille’s great surprise when Edmon came to her home to ask her father to have her hand in marriage. She remembers looking around the corner of the hallway to see the boy on his knees in front of her father, surrendering himself to the older man with pure determination in his eyes. Why would he want her? Lucille is known as the odd girl whose mother died giving birth to her and spends her time in the forest talking to trees. Others would always converse about how “Loony Lucy” always claims to have spoken to a pegasus telling her the wonders of the world. And though Lucille and Edmond have known each other since childhood, they have scarcely interacted.

It was when Lucille had stayed in the forest long after sunset was when they truly met. Lucille only a young girl had hardly noticed the light was gone as she continued to travel through the sea of trees. She was hearing small whispers of someone telling her to continue treading and feels compelled to follow the voice. It is not uncommon for her to to sense voices, usually telling her stories or leading her to secret, beautiful areas that were meant to be forever lost to the village. Lucille did not know any better to not trust the whispers. Suddenly she felt dark ropes coiling around her ankles keeping her from taking another step. With panic, she tries to pull away with all of her force but unfortunately more dark vines come forward, now wrapping tightly almost painfully around her wrists. One of the black vines was in the form of a crooked hand reaching for her and belonging to a dark figure with what she believed to have a twisted smile and glowing eyes. She is being forcefully pulled towards the figure and screams for help even though she knows no one can hear her when everyone in the village is asleep. As she begins to think of her last goodbye to her father, she hears an agonizing, echoing shriek. The figures arm has been ripped off with ink fluids spewing from the cut. There was another hit, now to the side of the figure’s head and it falls, writhing and screaming for a few moments more, then unmoving. Before she could let out another breath, Lucille felt herself being lifted from the vines grasps and moving quickly away from the ominous figure. Her eyes look up to gaze upon her savior to find Edmon gazing at her with worry. He takes Lucille back to her relieved father and explains that there were thieves in the forest. He took care of them with his axe chasing them off. Lucille wanted to deny it for she was sure it was something else but for then, decided to give in to the conclusion that she was tired.

“Lucille.”

She was lifted from her thoughts and finds her husband peering at her with curiosity. She curses her pounding chest and she did not doubt that her blushing had returned.

“Is something on your mind?” he asked softly.

Lucille lets out a sigh, attempting to collect herself before answering.

“You’re very handsome-“ she bites her lip before saying anymore. She was frozen and screaming internally from her confession, secretly wishing the axe Edmon was holding would chop her so she would never have to face any more shame. She then tries to open her mouth again, clumsily starting to speak on what she truly wished to ask.

“T-That time you saved me in the woods. What did you really see?”

Edmon had a gleam in his eye from her first comment but then gains a distant look on his face as he sets the axe near the tree stump and securing it.

“There were men,” he says as he resurfaced the memories. “From the other village. They were hit with a famine and tried to steal from our village countless times. I remember my parents speaking of them in passing. They’ll never hurt you again and I made sure of it,” protectiveness was seeping from his words. “Why do you ask now?”

Images of the dark figure with the twisted head and arm laughing maniacally with murderous glowing eyes flashes in her mind.

“I thought I saw something else in the darkness, something that did not look human or animal.”

Children have been told stories of the monster called the stranger who ate naughty children who did not listen to their parents. Sometimes the story is told that the stranger was once human but did so many evil deeds his form melded into something unrecognizable. Lucille is beginning to believe that this had been the creature and she also believes that it is not gone for good.

She feels a light touch on her left cheek. Edmon is now inches away from her and it takes all of her control to steady the beat of her heart.

“You have always had an expansive imagination,” Edmon tells her with affection.

“When we were children others would always talk about the sprites, elves, and other worlds you would see and talk to in the woods. It was probably your mind playing tricks on you.”

He turns from her to place the pieces of wood in the nearby wheelbarrow. Lucille still in her daze, stands to help him. They are finished with little sunlight to spare and walk back to the house. Lucille had not returned to the forest let alone traveled at night from her past fears. Her arms instinctively wrap themselves around her husband’s as they continue walking. Edmon leans in and walks closer to Lucille giving her comfort as the day’s light disappears. They proceeded to talk of their day. Edmon brought up the odd news of sightings of dead animals scattered around farms. The recent town talks only deepened her fears.

Upon entering their home, she lets out a sigh of relief she had not known she was holding. Their dinner consisted of potatoes and corn Lucille had picked from the garden hours before along with loaves of bread she bought from the bakery. They are in a comfortable silence with the exception of her father’s light snores from the other room. Her father Christoph stayed with the two after they wed because it pained Lucille to know that her father would be alone. She used to hear her father sniffling at night from the loss of his wife. He tried to hide it from her but she knows that she is the reason his wife is gone and the cause of his loneliness. This way, at least he can feel less alone with an addition to Lucille and Edmon having an extra hand around the home.

Lucille is still lost in her thoughts reliving that night in the woods and hardly noticed Edmon now sitting beside her, tracing his fingers through her curls. Lucille calms herself, leaning into his touch. They had only been together for three years, marrying at eighteen but she feels they have been together for lifetimes.

“I have certain things come into my mind too,” Edmon admits. “I often dream about you, even from the time when we were younger. You would walk around the woods giggling with happiness and I would follow you. I saw us holding hands as we explored and you leading me. That night I saved you, I had a strange dream that you were in trouble and something told me to find you.”

Lucille heart swells from his confession and gives him a sleepy, grateful smile. “I hadn’t thought much of you when we were younger. To me, our worlds seemed too far apart for them to cross paths.”

There was and still is a bridge she did not realize existed between them.

Edmon smiles from her response and takes her hand. “The day of His worship is tomorrow and so is the council meeting,” he explains with seriousness in his tone. “Everyone is afraid of the potential shortage of food from the deaths of animals, especially with these coming months. We and you especially need sleep.”

Lucille could only nod in agreement, allowing Edmon to lead her to their room. As she drifts to sleep as she feels Edmon’s fingers, rough from his day’s labor, gently stroking her skin. His presence will always be comforting to her. She silently pleads to the spirits to keep the nightmares from consuming her.

(A/N: Feel free to comment on how I can improve!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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