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Cursed (part 8)

Tags: eris, arrows, fire

William

Days passed, and William still was tormented by his father's passing. Every time he closed his eyes for more than a second, he saw the smoldering fire, the blackened corpse, those blood red eyes of a monster. A dark shadow fell across his face, whoever or whatever it was, he would see it put down.

Willow had left to see her mother yet again, taking the stranger, Jaden, with her. The whole time he had been here, he had been tried to talk the girl into joining his quest to find this unknown girl.

'Is she unknown, William?' He heard a distant voice call to him. He stopped suddenly and shook his head rapidly, listening intently to see if he heard the voice again. He did not.

He tended to the fire in the forge, the blistering heat filling the room. Carefully, he placed the blade of a new sword onto the flames, letting it heat up. Once it was glowing red for within he pulled it out and started hammering it into a sharp point. He focused on the sharp sound of metal hitting metal, but soon started to hear a dull thud, like an arrow hitting a hay target.

An image formed in his head of Eris practicing her archery. He could clearly see her fluid motion of notching another arrow and releasing it. It hit the center of a hay target where several other arrows had lodged themselves into.

Abruptly, the sound of the sword hitting the ground echoed in his ears, snapping him back into reality. He picked it back up and examined it for any damaged, the blade now had a 15 degree bent around half way of it. With a curse he pounded away at it to make it straight again.

“Ahem.” William felt a cold shudder rummage down his spine. He glanced up and his eyes were immediately ensnared with her strange ones. She glared down at him with an annoyed grimace. “I came here to practice my aim, not standing around daydreaming with you.”

William set the sword aside and smirked, “It’s not my fault you’re obsessed with me.”

“Oh, quit being a tease, and leave me alone to sulk.” She leaned against the wall of what seemed to be a crypt. William looked around a moment and saw that halfway between where they were standing was where his blacksmith shop ended and where ever she was standing.

“It’s seems we are still in our own realities,” Eris observed as well. She brushed her golden blond hair from her face, with a teasing smile. She stepped forward and the line between them moved closer in response. She stepped forward again, trying to cross over, it still stayed directly in the center. William went to move.

“No, just hold still, I have an idea that should work.” She came up close to him that he could feel her gentle breath on his neck. She stood up on her toes and closed her eyes, leaning forward. She fell through him, as if she was merely a ghost. “I thought that would work!” she cried outraged standing back up. “I can’t even have that!”

It suddenly dawned on William that she had tried to kiss him, his heart sank. He had wanted to take the girl up in his arms, hold her tightly, just to get lost in those strange eyes of hers. She was only a figment of his imagination, a daydream, a wish.

“And it shall remain that way,” a deep, dark, gravelly voice answered his thoughts.

William’s face paled, and his hairs on his neck and arms rose.

“What is it? The first time this happened, you looked like you seen a ghost, now you’re doing it again!” Eris shouted.

William didn’t hear her, for he was focused on two large bat-like wings that stretched out from her back. Scales as black as the night sky, and the inner skin golden orange like the sunset.

“What are you?” he whispered. An invisible force knocked him back into the forge, as the wings then swept Eris off her feet and carried her away. He heard a reptilian growl and felt something fast and large dash by.

His head spun and couldn't focus on anything to stop the dizziness.

William opened his eyes to see Willow staring down at him, worried. He tried to get into a sitting position, but was met by a stinging pain in his back.

“You shouldn’t get up,” she told him, gently pushing him back down. She scooped up a hand full of salve and applied it to his arm, “you suddenly fell into the forge when I walked in. It almost looked like some invisible force shoved you into it.”

William’s mother then appeared over her shoulder. “You’ve been through too much strain, William, now lay back down.” He achingly obeyed and watched as his mother rushed to make a remedy to relieve burns. Her hands gracefully flew to everything she needed and grounded them together with such ease that made the other nurses jealous.

Something in her movements struck him as odd. She no longer had that liveliness in her. There was no humming to herself, no small talk with the people. She just got her work done and continued on to the next job.

“Mother...” His voice faltered. He wasn’t ready to bring up the subject of his father, not just yet.

“There will never be a time before either of us is willing to talk about it, William.” His mother stood next to him. She turned to Willow, “We have to turn him over.”

The sheer pain that ripped through his back and up his spine took the breath out of him. His mother took a large pair of scissors and cut his shirt away from his skin. No doubt the shirt was ruined anyway, probably caught on fire from the pit. William strangely felt his back ease when she stripped the cloth away.

She muttered to Willow to grab a sponge and bowl of water and herbs. She took the items away from the child and began to gently pat William's back with the sponge evenly, coating it with the herbal water. Next she took some salve of some sort and rubbed it deeply into his back.

He cursed and sputtered at the pain that erupted from where her fingertips touched.

"Oh relax, boy. It's not as bad as it looks," William's mother told him with her jaws clenched together. He gripped beneath him, as Willow placed a comforting hand upon his.

He looked at the girl, her face began to blur as he blacked out. A distant scream of his name rung in his ears, puzzling him, confusing him, who was calling? Next was the sound of wings and hooves coming straight at him, but he was already out cold before he could comprehend where the noise came from.
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