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Click Here to view Sweet Innocence Pt I
And so, on with the scrap...
A prison. That’s what this place was. It was obvious in its task. There were no luxurious surroundings to fool oneself into believing otherwise. A plain cot was in the corner with a hard mattress and scratchy sheets. No blankets or quilts even now, in the middle of winter. A small privy was stuck in a corner, no privacy. The walls and floor were stone and cold even in mid summer. There was one window. The dark one had not bothered to put bars over it, it was too high to jump and live. The prisoner had briefly entertained the idea of growing her hair long enough to make a rope, but she figured that, alike with many of Madda’s stories, it was unrealistic in real life.
Real life. The poor girl prisoner had no idea what real life was. She had been in this tower for as long as she could remember…which actually wasn’t very far back. Her memory only went back a few days. She had to hear something or see someone many times before they would stick in her memory. But the tower was familiar, so it must have been a very long time.
She remembered the stories that Madda told her about other girls in towers. She remembered the dark one. His was the only face she could picture perfectly when he wasn’t right in front of her. Others drifted in and out of focus, without names or memories, but he was always clear. An ever present whisper.
From her window the forest was visible. There was only a small clearing around the tower. There were no other buildings, no people. Madda lived below this room. There was a secret place in the floor from which she came twice every day. The girl could not remember where it was. Madda always made her turn away when she came. The girl had been bad a few times and peeked, but she could never remember the next day. She could not even remember her own name. No one had spoken it in a time she could remember. She wasn’t even sure she had a name. Madda just called her Rose. The girl didn’t know what it meant, but she liked it well enough.
Just then, there was the sound of steps below. There was a heavy knocking somewhere under the floor boards. The girl couldn’t place where exactly it came from, which briefly frustrated her until her brain moved onto the voice.
“Rose!” The way Madda talked was different from what the girl new. There was a different sound to it. There was a word for it, but she could not remember. When she said ‘Rose’ it sound more like ‘Rosa’. The girl liked the way Madda talked, it was a pretty sound.
“Face the window Rose.”
The girl did as she was bade and was distracted by the beauty of the forest during the sunset. She couldn’t see where the sun went down from here, but the sky this was ablaze with dark blues, purples and reds. She smiled at the beauty there and let her attention shift to a large bird soaring above the forest. She imagined what it would be like to soar like that, no cares, no worries, no-
“Rose! Look at me!”
She frowned and turned around. Her attention slowly shifting to Madda. When had Madda entered? And why was her tone so much sharper than usual. Such a change was vaguely familiar in her mind, like it had happened before…but she couldn’t quite place it.
Madda slapped her, “Pay attention girl!”
Her cheek stung badly and she touched it lightly, wondering why it hurt so much.
Madda grabbed her chin, forcing her eyes down to look at the shorter woman, “Rosa, listen to me, he is coming tonight.”
Immediately the dark one’s face appeared clear in her mind’s eye. She shrank back from Madda with a whimper. Her eyes filled with tears.
Madda nodded sympathetically, “I know girl, you have been looking well lately. That is not good for you. We must make you look poorly, he will not hurt you as much then.” Madda pulled her forward, giving a hug.
The girl could almost always remember Madda’s face hazily. She was a short woman with rich brown skin, eyes, and black hair. Her clothes were always rich colors; reds, purples, greens and yellows. She was always kind except when she was afraid. She seemed afraid now, but not for herself…for the girl instead.
“Do you know what a birthday is Rosa?”
The girl frowned and tried to think of such a thing. She could not remember.
“Never mind, I can see you don’t. It happens only once a year.”
The girl didn’t know what a year was either. She didn’t not bother to say so.
“Today is your eighteenth birthday Rosa, you are a woman today.”
The girl didn’t know what any of this meant either, but it seemed important. She frowned and looked toward the window. Her attention was almost caught and swayed by the shining of a star, she wrenched it back to Madda.
Madda was pursing her lips, “I can tell you don’t understand, but it is very important that you do not look well today Rosa. You are a pretty girl, we cannot let him see just how pretty. Will you let me help you?”
Of the two people the girl could remember, Madda had always been the more trustworthy. She couldn’t put into words her feelings toward the woman, but they must have bordered along love. Without understanding what she was agreeing to, she nodded.
An interminable time later, the girl had already forgotten many times why Madda was paying so much attention to her. Madda had patiently explained it many times and it was starting to stick in her brain. Something about a birthday was bad, the dark one was coming, and she must not look well.
I only have a tiny bit more of this, but it's from Adrian's point of view and it is, in my humble opinion, hilarious. It is also what give the real opening for the story. Hang around if you want to see it!