This is a short story that stemmed from my favorite Barlow Girl song of all time….well, I have a lot of favorite Barlow Girl songs of all time, but this is one of the many. Anyways, it’s my first actual short story not short scene. I hope you like!
NOTE: Here’s a YouTube link to the song if you want to listen to it:
Sweet Revenge by Barlow Girl
The line “‘Cause setting you free, it means my freedom too.” is really the one that inspired this story. 😀
A young girl stood against a large tree trunk. Chains wrapped tightly around her waist and bound her securely to the tree. She was wearing a long dress that had, once upon a time, been orange. Though, now the dress seemed to be no more than rags. The midnight light shined upon the girl’s long blond hair and made her teary blue eyes glisten brightly.
The girl sobbed loudly as tears ran down her face, each one catching a different strand of moonlight. The small body of the girl shook with each intake of breath and her hands clenched into fists with each sob. Her loud crying was the only noise that shattered through the dark night. She appeared to have been left here to die of dehydration or hunger.
“I hate you.” She said in-between sobs, “This is all your fault!” she screamed at the forest that stood to her right, “I know you can hear me! I hate you!” She let out another loud sob and resumed her crying as she whispered words under her breath. “It’s…it’s your fault.” she sobbed failing to convince herself of her own words. The pain, anger, and sadness where visible in the young girl’s face as she continued to cry.
A male figure silently walked out of the woods and towards the girl. She didn’t realize his presence until he was in front of her, “Why would you blame me?” he questioned kindly. His voice sounded compassionate and his face showed pity.
“Because…you…” the girl was at a lost for words. She hadn’t expected him to come out of the forest.
The man carefully wiped a tear from her face. “You can free yourself, you know that.” he said solemnly already knowing her response.
“Free myself!” she scoffed through her shaky voice, “I doubt that!”
Her words seemed to hurt the man as another wave of pity washed over him. “I’m sorry than, I cannot help you anymore.”
Tears continued to stream down the girl’s face as she pondered the man’s words. ‘Could he be right?’ She thought sadly, ‘Free myself…’ His words seemed to tug at her heart as her mind thought back to the events that had brought her here and the emotions that had once fueled her actions.
A girl woke up to the sound of a loud knocking at her house door. She quickly reached for a robe that hung on her bed and slipped it over her thin nightgown. After hurriedly brushing her blond hair she rushed over to the door and opened it.
A tall man wearing a dark green suit stood at the door holding a scroll. She smiled courteously at him and listened intently as he read it aloud.
“Miss Celest Derenza. You’re king, his royal supreme highness, has sent me to inform you of a new development in your deceased mother’s passing. Due to the sensitive nature of this case he has also requested that you do not interfere.”
“What is it?” the girl asked hesitantly, anguish and fear in her tone of voice.
The soldier put down the scroll and locked eyes with the girl, “We think we may have found your mother’s killer, though his location is uncertain.”
The girl’s breath caught in her throat and she felt her face go white, “Who?” she managed to whisper.
“A blacksmith ma’am…”
“His name?” she pressed, her jaw clenched tightly and anger began to set in.
“Sendro umm…Smith.” the soldier replied hesitantly.
The girl nodded politely and slowly closed the door. She leaned against the door and waited until she heard the soldier walk away. She quickly got to work rushing around her house gathering supplies. Once she had finished she walked over to her door.
She wore a long orange dress that sparkled in the early morning sunlight. A dagger was hidden behind a scarf that wrapped around her waist and her blond hair was placed in a small pony tail. She took in a deep breath and reached for the door.
‘This is it…’ she thought as she opened the door and walked into the street.
Hours later and a few stops to ask about Sendro the blacksmith, had brought Celest to an old cottage in the outskirts of town. The moon was just beginning to peer over the trees that stood behind the house and stars twinkled in the dark sky.
‘This seems like a decent place for a murderer to hide.’ She thought angrily as she loudly stomped up the steps to the house. After checking on her dagger she pinched her cheeks and worked up small tears. She had splattered mud on her orange dress and this added to the poor and frightened picture she was attempting to depict.
Celest calmed her racing heart and knocked lightly on the cottage door. The door swung open revealing a rough looking man with shaggy hair and angry eyes. His arms and apron were covered in dirt and he seemed upset at the disturbance caused by the girl.
“Please, sir.” Celest whimpered sadly, feigning fear. “I was lost in the wood for days, can you help me? I just want to go back home….p-please.” She managed a small tear to trickle down her cheek as she starred up at the face of her mother’s killer.
The man grunted angrily and moved inside for the girl to come in. Celest walked inside timidly, the floorboards creaking with her every step. The man slammed the door shut and began to walk towards the young stranger.
Suddenly, she pulled the dagger out of her scarf and pressed the man up against a wall, placing the sharp blade on his neck. Rage showed clearly in her eyes as she pressed the weapon firmly against the man’s neck.
“Do you recognize me?” she growled furiously as the man looked at her with surprise written on his face.
“No!” he screamed at Celest, slightly angry.
“Of course you wouldn’t!” she scolded him, pushing the dagger harder against his neck and drawing a small amount of blood, “You killed my mother.” her shaky voice proclaimed. Recognition flashed in front of the man’s face but, it was quickly replaced by fear. “I suppose you remember her than.” she moved the dagger slightly and the man’s breath caught in his throat. “Do you care to tell me why you would kill my mother?” she pressured, choking back the tears that threatened to show their presence.
“You don’t know?” the man responded fearfully. She put more pressure on the knife, “Okay…she didn’t pay me enough.”
“So you killed her!” Celest screamed at the man, unintentionally pressing the dagger deeper into his throat.
“Well, it was a nice sword! I went to confront her and she denied paying me the wrong amount! Things got out of hand…” Celest pressed harder on the dagger, every fiber in her body wanted to kill him now, but no. He must suffer, like she did.
“Do you know what you did to me?!” she screamed in his face, causing the man to jump. “You ruined my life!” her grip on the dagger got slightly less strong as she attempted to choke back tears, but they streamed down her face anyways. “I was happy until my mother died! Until I was the village orphan!”
The man suddenly came to life and kicked Celest in her knee. She doubled back from the blow, accidentally dropping the dagger a few feet away. The man ran towards a closet as she searched for the dagger. She finally spotted it under a coffee table and lunged for it, only to be picked up by the man and pushed up against the wall. He held a much larger weapon than her frivolous dagger, a well designed sword pressed firmly against her collar bone. She was breathing quickly and her heart was beating from the sudden scare as she felt the cold blade press against her and smelled the breath of her mother’s killer.
“I must say, you fought well for a weakling.” he scoffed at her, “But not well enough.”
Celest felt the sword press harder against her and she closed her eyes. ‘Somebody help me.’ She prayed to some unknown force, wondering if anyone would hear her. A small tear trickled down her face as she heard the cottage door slam open and a small grunt. The blade of the sword slipped from her neck. She shot her eyes open, her surroundings momentarily fogged as she looked around the room.
A man with dark brown hair and expressive green eyes stood in front of her, offering her his hand. She refused it and stood up by herself as she looked around the room. The blacksmith lay on the ground, unconscious from a blow to the head. The sword he had held in his hand lay carelessly on the ground. She looked at the mysterious stranger precariously, “How did you…” her voice trailed off as she once again looked around the room.
“I heard you call for help.” he said kindly.
Celest scowled at him, “I didn’t call for help…” she stated plainly.
“Yes, you did.” he responded.
She pushed the subject aside and instead focused on executing her revenge. The dagger she had dropped still lay under a table to her right. She bent down and picked it up, walking towards the unconscious blacksmith.
“Must you?” the stranger asked wearily.
“He killed my mother.” she said under her breath as she placed the dagger on the man’s throat, “It’s retribution.”
She hardly heard the stranger’s words as she set out to the task at hand. She seemed to black out once she saw the crimson liquid begin to come from the blade of her dagger.
Celest looked up at the stranger, tears still in her eyes. “How?” she whispered cautiously. She had killed, she could not be freed and even if she was freed, she would never be free of the guilt that now weighed down on her. The realization of this made her situation seem all the worse and the kind strangers words all the better.
“You do not know how?” he responded, wiping away another one of her tears as it began to creep down her cheek.
“No, sir.” she replied quietly.
“You are only bound in the physical because you are bound in the spiritual.” the man said as he pulled out a small dagger from his pocket. The dagger was stained with blood that still dripped from the blade. Celest recognized it as her dagger and felt her heart go to her throat, “You would use this to execute your revenge.” Celest nodded slightly, keeping her eyes on the dagger and away from the gaze of the stranger. “Would you feel any better having killed the man?” her eyes dropped from the dagger and onto the ground. “Yet, you have not forgiven him. You still seek revenge…someone to blame.”
She looked up from the ground and into the strangers compassionate eyes, “My mother is gone, I cannot bring her back, but I need someone…to…to.” she couldn’t seem to find the words to explain what she felt. Perhaps this stranger was right, this was done in an effort to blame someone.
“You hold hate in your heart. Hate that will lead to actions like the one you would have committed this night.”
Celest’s eyes widened at his words. “You mean, I didn’t….kill him?”
“No, you thought you had. I was able to keep him alive, though.” the stranger said slowly as Celest listened intently to his explanation. “He is not punishable by the king’s law now… Because you interfered, the king finds it in his best interest not to dignify such actions. So you see, your vengeance has only caused you pain and the man you wished to harm receives no retribution for his actions.”
A fire was sparked in Celest and her mind was once again clouded by the thought of revenge. She would harm the blacksmith for what he did to her whether the law allowed it or not. “I want these chains off me!” she screamed angrily, “Get them off me now! Were is the key?!”
The stranger frowned at her response and shook his head, “You do not realize what I am telling you?”
“No!” she snapped at him, “Maybe you can get to your point and get these chains off my body!”
“I cannot unchain you. Only yourself and your heart motives can remove you from your binds.” he replied, “If you want revenge, you will be tied to this tree. If you let justice take its own course, you shall be freed.”
“What do you mean?” she asked, confused by his words. Why would she give up the chance of revenge on a murderer?
“You cannot cause the blacksmith the pain he caused you and if you did you would have accomplished nothing. Leave him to punish himself, his own spirit will find it’s own troubles and in time he shall pay dearly for the life he took.” the stranger explained to Celest.
She slowly began to understand what he said. A small part of her, so small she almost did not realized it, longed for the relief of no longer wanting revenge, but a larger part of her wanted to hold on to the only thing she had known since her mother’s death. “I….can’t.” she said solemnly, turning down her longing of freedom that was in her grasp.
“There is a small part of you that can…” the man replied, “That small part, is what will free you. Let it help you.”
Celest sighed and battled with her mind as to whether or not to give up on her own vengeance. Tears resumed their endless races down her cheeks as she realized that the stranger was right, about everything. She let out a small sob before admitting her choice out loud, “Okay.” she sobbed. “I’ll give it up, I won’t take revenge… The punishment isn’t mine to give.”
There was a gush of wind and Celest fell to the ground from the sudden lack of chains holding her up. Her dagger landed in front of her on the green grass, the blade no longer stained with blood. She looked around for the stranger, but did not find him. Another sob escaped her mouth as the relief hit her. She realized now that the sweet revenge she had promised herself was anything but sweet.