Three Word Wednesday - Sacrifice
Clever; adjective: Quick to understand, learn, and devise or apply ideas; intelligent; skilled at doing or achieving something; talented; showing intelligence or skill.
Finish; verb: Bring (a task or activity) to an end; complete; consume or get through the final amount or portion of (something, esp. food or drink); (usually be finished) complete the manufacture or decoration of (a material, object, or place) by giving it an attractive surface appearance; noun: [usually in singular] an end or final part or stage of something.
Silky; adjective: Of or resembling silk, esp. in being soft, fine, and lustrous; (of a person or their speech or manner) suave and smooth, esp. in a way intended to be persuasive.
Sacrifice- Part 1
My hair brushed to a fine silk, hung down my back in ringlets, that refused to leave. The attendant placed the finest white veil over my face and head, hiding me from view. The veil luminous, as gold flecks were embroidered throughout it, yet so thick I couldn’t see through it. I wondered again why I had to finish this and then I remembered...people depended on me.
Scared, I kept telling myself just get through this. As I marched down the long hall and into the inner sanctum of the beast, I heard the attendant leave and the doors slam closed. I peeked through a small hole in the veil and saw a huge dark room. I counted at least twenty dark black curtains covering what I assumed were windows around the room. Had someone died? It looked like a house in mourning. I grew more afraid would I even be welcomed?
I fumbled around finding first floor to ceiling treasures of gold and jewels in containers then two chairs covered in gold and satin brocade. I sat down being careful to arrange my gold silk dress carefully around me to present the best picture.
I glanced around the room again and comprehended it wasn’t totally dark; lamps flickered on low, in the corners of the room. I breathed a sigh of relief when I realized I was alone, I could still flee I thought and then I remembered what would happen if I did. I would finish what I had started.
I sat there for hours wondering if I would die from hunger or thirst first when the door to the room opened with a thud. I wanted to scream and run but my duty must be done. I straightened up and stood up from the chair to await the beast. The beast from what I could see through the tiny hole in the veil and the darkness of the room, stood as a tall as a giant. Too dark for me to see his face I still saw that he was over seven feet tall. In shadow I saw his arms swing as he walked across the room. He startled when he saw me standing there.
“What have we here? Have the villagers brought me yet another of what they think is treasure?” he asked, as he reached out to touch me.
The beast unwrapped me like a present, removing my veil. He touched my hair and I grew frightened, other sacrifices had come back with tales of the beast screaming at them and then wrapping them up in rugs to be returned to the villagers. I could not be returned, if I were then all would be lost. The village owed a great debt to the beast and they had decided I could be the only payment. I would do my duty.
“So they’ve sent me another woman. When will they stop? I didn’t want the marauders near the village anymore then they did. The village was lucky they came at night, for I do not go out during the day.”
I tried to look over my shoulder and into his eyes, but I could not see them in the darkness.
“Don’t you have a tongue, or have they cut it out?”
“I am sorry my lord. I did not know you wished me to speak,” I answered meekly.
“Politeness? And so it begins a simpering miss, who begs me not to ravish her,” he laughed.
I smiled to put him at ease.
“Go,” he commanded.
“Please sir, let me stay. I can make your home more habitable,” I offered.
“You’ve seen only my treasure room, why would you think my home uncivilized?”
“I beg your pardon sir, I did not say that. I only offered to...”
“You offered to clean, like a scullery maid. I can clean myself. You are a great lady, are you not?”
“I am a lady, a princess,” I admitted.
“And you think me a beast?”
“Oh no, sir, I do not,” I lied.
“You lie prettily enough. Are you clever, can you play the harpsichord?”
“I can and I can sing.”
“There in the corner is a harpsichord and a sheet of music. Regale me with your talent.”
“I fear I cannot see the music, or the keys, my lord.”
“Cover your head with this veil again, whilst I light the lamp in the corner. You must not look at me, only look at the harpsichord. If you look at me, I will have to kill you is that understood?”
“Yes,” I answered.
He walked me to the harpsichord and bade me sit. I did so and then after he lit the lamp, he removed my veil and told me to perform. The song near the harpsichord was a favourite of mine, ‘Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes’.
As my voice rose in joy and I gave myself over to the music, the room was transformed, roses bloomed in the room and light filled the room surrounding me. I felt exhilarated and like love surrounded me. Somehow, I knew all this came from him whom they called the beast, but was he a beast? I wanted to look back at him but I grew afraid of his threat to slay me.
“Your voice is golden and has brought me joy. Put the veil on and come with me,” the beast bade me when I finished.
He took me to a bedroom and I grew afraid again but then he slammed the door and I heard a bolt thrown on the other side. Through the door I heard “Eat the food I placed at your bedside and sleep well my lady. I will return after you rest.”
I looked around in the centre of the room was a huge four poster bed with pure cotton white voile bed curtains and white satin sheets with a white cotton bedspread. Beside the bed on a small table as the beast had promised was food and drink. Maybe he was not a beast I reasoned, had he not gave me food drink and a place to sleep?
I ate and drank greedily and found my eyes quickly closing. There had been drugs in the food or drink I reasoned, but who had prepared it I was my last thought, before I surrendered to sleep.
To be continued next week
©Sheilagh Lee May 22, 2013