For this story, I had a friend (sleeplogic.wordpress.com) give me a random idea and protagonist and I came up with the rest of the story.
The idea: Evil Gods
The Protagonist: A Small girl having a confrontation with a malicious God.
So here it is:
AND I WILL SAVE YOU
She stood draped in velvet. Borrowed from her mother and hanging loosely around her small, delicate frame. She couldn’t remember her mother ever wearing this ostentatious, out-of-date gown, but she was glad she found it hidden away in a box in the attic, long forgotten. It fit the mood of what she needed, it fit the mood of what she was about to do.
The long sleeves covered her tiny, child-like hands. Although, they weren’t even child-like, they were child’s hands. For that’s what she was. At thirteen years old, she was small for her age and had never had a problem with it, never until she knew the reason why. So the long sleeves, covering her tiny hands went to work igniting the candles. One black, of course, one red, stereotypically, and one gold. The gold one was the hardest to find. Whenever Annabelle asked her mother to buy her more, she always gave Annabelle a strange look. Her mother hoped it was just a weird new phase, something to do with the romantic notions that candle light brought with them.
To keep her mother from being suspicious, she lit candles every night while she read books way beyond her years. She loved Jane Austen, in all its pseudo-feminist glory, although she never understood how these books could be considered feminist. She loved, the Bronte sisters, even Wuthering Heights with the loathsome Katherine and the terrible Heathcliff. She loved Jane Eyre more than anything. It was dark and romantic but not in that swoony, weak way that was typical of today’s romance novels. It was terrifying and all-encompassing. It was something she knew she wouldn’t fully understand until she was older, and because of the mystery that was left within her whenever she read it, she loved it more. But now was not the time to read her gothic romances by candlelight. Now was the real deal, now was the time to act.
After lighting the three candles and placing them at various places around her; North, East, and West, she found her purple sand and poured it in a circle counter-clockwise around her and the candles. Outside of her locked bedroom door, she heard her mother call to her. Now was not the time for interruptions.
“Annabelle? What are you doing up there? I could use your help with something.” Her mom shouted from the kitchen downstairs.
“I’m just resting mom, I don’t feel all that well. I thought I’d lie down and read for a bit. Is it important?” She replied. She knew if she mentioned her failing health that her mom would leave here be. She was a kind woman, a great mom, and she was doing the best she could. But the truth was, she was lost and she had no idea how to regain her ground, she had no idea how to become the right kind of mother to her sick little girl. So she gave Annabelle space, as much for Annabelle as for herself. “Don’t worry about it, sweetie, I’ll manage on my own.”
Annabelle, for once, thanked her mother’s discomfort rather than cursing her for her lack of support, and continued with the job at hand.
With the sand circled around her and the candles lit, she began the incantation she had found on the internet. She knew this whole ruse was a long shot, like something out of a bad horror movie, but she had to try. It was all she had left. So she began:
“Serva me et te servabo. Serva me et te servabo. Serva me et te servabo.” She repeated it three times, just as instructed and then closed her eyes and waited for a sign, any sign that God was shining down on her. She didn’t care which God she called upon, as long as what she recited could be true. Save me and I will save you. In her research, if you could call it that, she found people who had, in desperation always, followed these steps. They waited for a full moon, done the ritual, said the words, and had been saved. Yes, they all had to give up a part of themselves, and none of them would ever explain who exactly had come to save them. All she knew was that someone did come and these people claimed to be saved.
So she waited, and waited, and began to give up hope that anything was going to happen. She began to feel like a complete fool for having believed something so stupid on the internet. She was desperate, just like they had all been. She needed a miracle and her nightly prayers hadn’t been working. So far, it was still the same. The leukemia that riddled her tiny body was there to stay. It was slowly eating away at her, bones out. It was the reason she was always sick. The reason she was always tired. And now the reason she wore this foolish dress while following this foolish ritual. She felt stupid and weak, and in her depression began wishing it could all just be over. She knew the treatments weren’t working, she knew the worse pain was still coming, she was as certain of these things as she was of her death. Now, on top of this, she was certain of one more thing. She was going to die a stupid, scared little child in her mommy’s oversized costume, probably from Halloween years ago, years when she had still known happiness.
Annabelle kicked the sand and angrily blew out the candles. She tore the velvet from her body and threw it angrily though airily at the wall, then rather than hide her immaturity and dispose of the evidence of her ritual, she got into her pajamas and curled up in a ball on her bed and cried. She cried silently so as not to worry her mother, but she cried.
Annabelle’s mom, Mary, was downstairs. She was sitting alone at the kitchen table where two lone and very full plates sat with pork chops, potatoes, and yellow beans on them. She knew Annabelle would never be able to eat that much, and if Annabelle couldn’t eat, it was just a reminder of their sordid situation, so Mary refused to eat as well. So it sat there, growing colder, the vegetables getting soggy, while Mary instead sipped on a glass of red wine.
She wouldn’t let herself cry, not after how selfish she had been behaving since six months earlier when the first diagnosis came back. She started pulling away from her only daughter, her only connection to life, because she couldn’t handle it. To not even be there beside your daughter while she slowly decayed, there was no greater sin in the world. But she just couldn’t handle any more on her own. Her husband and Annabelle’s father, Frank, had left almost twelve years ago and hadn’t shown his face since. She had wanted a second child, but once he left, she gave up. She never looked for someone better; instead, she went into a depression that she could feel returning now. Soon she would be completely alone. Husbandless and childless. The thought terrified her, and for that reason alone she began pulling away from her daughter. She began allowing her only daughter, her thirteen year old daughter to suffer alone. Mary didn’t deserve to live; it was she who should be dying, she who deserved the pain of her daughter’s terrible disease.
But knowing this, even now, she didn’t go to her daughter. She didn’t crawl in bed beside Annabelle and cry with her. She couldn’t even lie to her and tell her everything would be okay. Instead she stayed rooted to her chair, glass of wine in hand, unsure how she was going to live alone. Selfishly wondering if there was any point at all. She knew in her soul that she would do anything to save her daughters life, but she didn’t know how to show it so she continued her inaction. Drinking more, thinking less, and hating herself with every breath.
After what could have been hours of lying in bed doing nothing but hating her life, and her fate, Annabelle finally got up. She knew she had to show her face to her detached mother so she wouldn’t come upstairs check on her while there was purple sand all over her hardwood floor. She would go down now and sneak a broom up later to hide the evidence of her desperation.
So she slouched down the stairs, even slower than usual, and saw her mom sitting alone in the kitchen. Her mom looked sad, hateful, resentful. Was it all because of her? Did she really hate her that much? She missed the mom from before all of this. The loving, happy, carefree mom. After all, it wasn’t her fault that she was leaving her all alone; she would stay if she could.
“Hi mom. Not eating again tonight?” She forced herself to say.
“No, not hungry, it’s lonely eating by yourself. Do you want me to reheat your plate?” She slurred slightly
“Maybe just some soup tonight mom, I don’t think I can handle all that food.”
So they sat and ate together, her mother nibbling slowly at her food, pushing it around her plate, almost growing thinner by the second, and Annabelle sipping at her hot soup, feeling nauseous but forcing it down for her mother’s sake.
Finally, she couldn’t hold back her feelings any longer. Here was this woman, this woman who bore her, this woman who was supposed to be her one and only champion in the hard world, and she wasn’t saying a word to her daughter, when there were so few words left for them.
“Is it that you don’t love me anymore mom? Does my disease sicken you?” Annabelle cried.
“Don’t be silly sweetheart, of course I love you, how could you say such a thing?” But deep down Mary knew exactly how she could say such a thing. She understood her daughters lament.
“You say nothing to me. You just sit here, staring at nothing, slowly drinking your cheap wine. I’m dying mom. You don’t have a lot of time left with me. Why don’t you even talk to me anymore?”
With that Mary burst into tears, she knew her daughter was right but instead of admit her wrongdoing, she got up from the table and screamed at her daughter, “How DARE you say that to me. Do not talk about what little time you have left. I won’t hear it again!” She stormed out of the kitchen to lock herself in her room. There she mimicked Annabelle, unknown to her and she curled up into a ball on her bed and cried. She cried silently so as not to worry Annabelle, but she cried.
Annabelle went back up to her room, this time ready to light her candles, which she had now truly become accustomed to, and pick up where she left of in the tale of Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester. After a few chapters and a few hours of her brain finally getting lost in someone else’s life, she saw a flash of something outside her window. Thinking it was probably the flashing headlight of a fast passing car, she tried to go back to her book, but it happened again. This time, curious, she got up and went to the window to see what it was. There, standing on her front lawn, was a young boy, around her age, holding a mirror and trying to reflect the light of a nearby lamp post into her room. She stared at him and him at her for a few moments before he began beckoning her outside. Knowing real fear, and seeing that this didn’t come close, she quietly crept out of her room, down the stairs, and towards her front door.
“What do you want?” She whispered when she got outside onto the lawn, just in front of the boy. She looked back towards her mother’s bedroom window, ensuring that the lights were off.
“I should be asking you, you were the one who summoned me.” The boy replied. He now appeared slightly older than he had at first glance from the second story, although still probably no older than sixteen.
“You? You’re who I called? You’re the one who has come to save me?” She stuttered, adding quietly, “but you’re so young.”
He laughed, “aren’t you a little young yourself to be dealing with the other world?”
“Desperate times.” She replied.
”Well I’m here. I will save you; in return you will owe me. Do we have a deal?” He calmly asked.
“I don’t know. Who are you? What will I owe you?” She wanted to say yes, everything in her demanded she say yes. But she had watched too many scary movies, she knew how these deals usually went, and if it meant pain for her or for her mother, she’d have to know first.
“All you need to know is that I came because you called. If I save your life on this plane, you will owe me your life on the next. It is simple.”
Annabelle somehow knew this would be his answer, she knew that he would demand her soul from the second she first peered into his eerily dark eyes through her bedroom window. She knew, and yet she also knew she would not refuse. Just as she was about to say yes, just as she was about to give him her soul in return for a full life, one where she could have the chance of really experiencing all the beautiful things she had read about, she heard a short intake of breath behind her and turned to see her mother, staring wide-eyed.
“Annabelle, What are you doing honey?” She slowly asked, scared of the reply.
“Mom, go back inside, I have it under control.” When her mother didn’t move, she continued, “I found a way to make me better, I found a way to not be sick anymore. Just trust me okay? Then we can be happy again. You can love me again.”
Her mom ignored her and was staring, instead, at the young boy in front of her.
“Who are you? What lies are you telling my daughter?” She nearly screamed, stopping herself for fear of waking the neighbours.
“Who I am is not for you to know, but what she says is true. I can take away her sickness, and her pain. She knows the price. I believe she was ready to accept it.” He replied.
“What price? What price, Annabelle?” Now, Mary had turned back towards her daughter beginning to look truly frightened.
“He saves me now; I save him in another world. I’m going to give him my soul mom. I have to. I don’t want to die mom. I can’t. I’m scared. I’m so scared.” Finally allowing herself to fully admit it, she fell to the ground sobbing, needing more air then her small lungs would allow.
In that moment, Mary understood. Seeing her daughter tremble, seeing her daughter so afraid to die made her realize, finally, what she could do. It wouldn’t have to be so drastic. Annabelle would not give up her soul for a life she deserved to live anyways. Her mother would come through for her in the end.
“Take me. You’re going to take me, do you understand? You will leave her healthy; her soul will remain her soul. You will take me. I will do whatever you want.” She screamed, now caring little for the world around her.
“Mom! No!” Annabelle screamed. But deep down inside her she felt finally loved. She felt finally free of everything she had kept pent up for so long.
“It is done.” The young mysterious boy said, and with a flash only bright enough for them to see, Mary fell to the ground.
When Annabelle opened her eyes after the bright flash, she found her mother immobile and the young boy gone. Crying, sobbing so loudly it hurt, she ran to her mother’s side. She can’t be dead. She can’t be dead. As Annabelle reached her mother, she saw her stomach move slowly, up and down, up and down. Annabelle sighed a breath of relief. She was alive. At the very least she was alive.
“Mom! Mom! Are you okay? Mom, answer me!” She screamed through her tears.
“I’m okay honey. Don’t worry about me.” And very slowly, she began to lift herself off the ground.
“What did you do mom? I was going to fix everything. I was going to make it all better.”
“But now I got to help. I got to make it better for you. And that’s my job after all isn’t it? Oh honey, do you think you’re really cured?” Her mother asked.
“Yes mom. I can feel it. I can feel my body going back to normal.”
“Then it was worth it, honey. Whatever happens, it was worth it.”
Annabelle, still crying, helped lift her mom off the ground and they turned and walked slowly back into the house. Perhaps she should have just left everything alone. Perhaps she should have allowed herself to die with dignity and not offer up her soul. Not lost her mother hers. But right now, for the first time in what felt like forever, she felt okay. She felt everything was going to be okay. And she felt loved, so loved.
Her mother crawled into bed, exhausted after the night’s events. She hadn’t let herself really think about what had just happened; still sure it was just a dream. But if it wasn’t, if it was real, her daughter would live. And she knew she had done the right thing.
Within five minutes she was asleep, breathing evenly and serenely, not a care in the world. Mere moments later, she sat bolt up in bed screaming the loudest, most piercing scream she had ever heard. A sound she didn’t think her body could make. She knew Annabelle would be in her room any second. She had to calm down. She had to return her breathing to normal. She had to tell Annabelle it was just a dream and that she was fine. Not just tell her, but make her believe it. She needed Annabelle to know everything was fine.
“Mom? What is it?” Annabelle screamed, bursting through the door.
“Nothing sweetie, a bad dream. Sorry I woke you.” She replied, sounding as calm as she had felt only minutes before.
“Are you sure? Your scream, it was so loud.” Annabelle said, obviously frightened.
“I’m sure sweetie.”
When Annabelle, finally appeased, went back to her own room, Mary allowed herself to take in what she had seen. She allowed herself to tremble, finally allowed herself to let out the sobs she had choked back. For she had seen it, she had seen what was in store for her. She knew what was coming. She didn’t know when, or how, but she knew. She knew what awaited her. So she curled up into a ball on her bed and cried. She cried silently so as not to wake Annabelle again, but she cried.