1. GreyLiberty

    GreyLiberty Member

    Jul 31, 2007
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    Sacrifice, Sanctuary and Special People

    Discussion in 'Strong Character Contest' started by GreyLiberty, Oct 10, 2007.

    Special People

    by Elspeth Allison (greyliberty) (2075 words)

    Sacrifice, I took it for granted once, when I was a fool.

    Fools are curious things; we drift our own ways and ignore the consequences of what we say and do. I thought that if I didn’t notice what was bad, it wouldn’t affect me, but I was wrong.

    Now I suffer as I have never suffered before. Every day I am tortured in some new way by a sadist who blames me for ruining his life. A life that he does not deserve. I was agreeable once, once, now I am bitter.

    I remember a day, when the sun was shining, the air was clear and there was a slight breeze to refresh our skin. Ellen had her guitar and was singing a song she had written herself. Her sweet voice carried through the air and we were joined by Jonathan, from the village. He did not look like he normally did, for once he was smiling, I did not realise at first why.

    Cody asked me what I was doing, “thinking,” I told him; he smiled and pulled me to my feet.

    “You think too much,” he scolded lightly, kissing me gently on the nose.

    “Nothing wrong with thinking,” I replied.

    “But what were you thinking about?” Ellen asked from her place in the grass.

    “How there are things worse than death,” was my answer, “How pain defines us.”

    “Gloomy today aren’t you Erica,” Jonathan commented lazily, I spared him a small pout.

    Ellen set her guitar aside and stretched, flopping on her back, she patted the ground beside her and Jonathan settled there obediently. “Tell us then Ricki,” she yawned. “What is worse than Death?”

    “Eternal suffering,” I said, “The knowledge that someone is suffering for you. The knowledge that someone died for you. Someone you love being tortured.”

    “Why do you have to consider such dark subjects?” Cody asked me.

    “Horrible subjects,” murmured Ellen, her eyes were closed.

    “Death isn’t horrible,” I said, “Death can be beautiful.”

    “Perhaps we should call Adelie Death now hey Cody,” Ellen teased and Cody blushed as I pulled him back onto the ground.

    “I think you’re mean Elle,” Jonathan said propping himself up on one elbow. “Making a fuss just because he’s got a thing for her.”

    “Like you’ve got a thing for Ellen,” Cody said and the two young men fell silent. Ellen did not seem to notice and I poked her.

    When she still did not respond I sat up and sighed. Cody opened his eyes sleepily, “She’s passed out again hasn’t she?”

    Jonathan suddenly sat straight up, “Passed out? Again? How can you take this lightly?”

    “It’s a regular occurrence in our household,” Cody said, “Isn’t it Ricki,” I nodded, “Elle has a tendency to skip taking her medication.”

    “It’s our job to get her going after she has her episodes,” I said as Ellen finally began to stir.

    “Episodes?” Jonathan asked wearily, he sounded worried.

    “Ellen is epileptic,” I said, “Or so the Doctors say, personally I think they haven’t done enough tests and she’s got something worse.”

    “I do not wish to have this discussed in front of me,” Ellen said quietly, she was pale as the lilies she gathered from the river every seventh day.

    I wrapped my arms around her small frame, but she pulled herself free. “Let us go somewhere, do something, I am tired of being here.”

    We followed her uneasily, she was clearly not herself and we had never seen her thus. I said so and Ellen looked at me blankly, I do not think she heard me and I was worried.

    “Ellen, are you okay?” Jonathan asked and she gave a weak shrug.

    I knew something was wrong.

    “What are you not telling us?” I asked her, gently probing her mind with my own, there was a sense of uneasiness within her thoughts. I tried to instil an urge to tell us but I think she was compelled on her own.

    “I see things,” she said in a whisper, “Things that have not yet happened.” The sun had vanished behind a cloud and I was uneasy. Could she be like me?

    “The future?” Cody asked and she nodded, confirming my half-formed fears. “How far into the future?”

    “Never more than a week, but I cannot do anything but watch.”

    “What did you see?” I asked her, Jonathan silent and motionless beside me.

    “You would not believe me,” Elle said in despair, “No one ever does. I always dream the same dream now, every night. It will only stop haunting me when the event comes to pass.”

    “I am your sister,” I said gently, “Tell me, tell us.” But Ellen stubbornly shook her head, I sighed.

    It was her fourteenth year celebrations all over again.

    Ellen came down the stairs, led by Cody, who was little more than a year older than her, as was I. she was wearing a blindfold.

    “Why do I have to have this thing on?” she asked impatiently and I nodded to him.

    “You can take It off now,” he said they were halfway down the twisting staircase. We all yelled surprise and Ellen grinned.

    We took her to cut the cake and as she blew out the candles I asked her what she wished for.

    “I’m not going to tell you,” she said teasingly, “It’ll never come true.”

    “Did you wish that you’d stop having the nightmares?” Cody asked her lightly but there was a tone of seriousness in his voice.

    “What nightmares?” she asked coldly and I could see her hand trembling.

    “What’s going on?” I asked, I did not know what they were talking about, but Ellen refused to say a word about it.

    That night I woke to the sound of Ellen crying.

    I gently touched my brother’s arm and he flinched. Something was wrong with him as well, I could tell. Ellen could see things, I could feel them; what could Cody do?

    It grew colder and the wind picked up, like something sinister was approaching. I tried to quell the rising panic that threatened to overwhelm me. Jonathan stood still, said nothing, but I could feel his thoughts in turmoil. Something was terribly wrong; it was like the time of Ellen’s first episode, when we were confused. We were confused now, and now we would not open ourselves to each other, like we used to. There was a stranger, looking on.

    “I think you should go,” Cody said to Jonathan, “We need to discuss something, privately.” I silently blessed my brother for his tact. I myself could not have driven Jonathan away so politely.

    Once we were free of him I turned to Cody, “Something is wrong with you too,” I said.

    “Curse you Ricki for your uncanny way of noticing the unnoticeable,” he said with a weak grin but neither of us, his sisters, smiled. “You are not as alone as you thought Elle,” he said, “I do not See, but I Smell. I can smell emotion better than anything. Everything has a scent, even people’s souls.” Ellen’s mouth opened in a little ‘o’.

    “I feel things” I said, entering the bubble of conversation, our voices soft so that only we could hear ourselves. “I can wander people’s minds, and experience their dreams. I do not know how, I just do.”

    “We are not normal,” said Ellen, bringing the realisation home to all of us.

    “If we are not normal, what are we?” Cody asked.

    “Freaks,” Elle muttered.

    “Different,” he said.

    I thought before answering, so many answers for the question ran through my head, anomalies, aliens, mongrels. Finally the answer came to me, the right answer, not one that degraded us and our powers of perception, just an answer that made us feel…

    “Special,” I said finally, “We are special.”

    --- --- ---

    Cody and I led Ellen back home, or at least what we call home, the Sanctuary. I climbed up the tree to the little house in its branches, wishing fervently that Cody was not looking up as my skirts were hanging loose and there were obvious tears in the petticoat. I pulled Ellen up after me, worried at how light she was.

    “Elle, have you been eating properly?”

    “No,” she lied but soon amended the falsehood. “Maybe I did not eat when I was supposed to once or twice but we cannot afford all that we need.”

    “You are sick,” Cody said firmly, as he joined us, “You must eat your food and take your medicine so you can become healthy like you used to be.”

    There was a rumble of thunder and it began to rain.

    “I am going to die anyway,” Ellen mumbled, “It makes no difference when I pass away.”

    I hugged her again, “We care about you. Please Elle, tell us what you saw.”

    She hesitated and I was tempted to coerce her, give her a little mental push, but she spoke before I had the chance.

    “I am going to die tonight.”

    “What do you mean?”

    “He is going to kill me because he is jealous of my powers and jealous of us.”

    “Who?” I asked, I could feel a cold pit in the depths of my heart.

    “Jonathan,” she said, as if I should know, “couldn’t you feel the hatred? I could feel it, he like me once but now that he understands who I am,” her voice trailed off.

    I did not understand, how could she Feel like I could?

    “You are more powerful than you let on,” I said with dawning realisation as the rain drummed our little Sanctuary.

    To my utter dismay my final sentence was heard by Jonathan, as he climbed into the Tree house we had built in our childhood, clutching a hefty stick.

    I stepped in front of my siblings, “leave Jonathan, now.”

    But he shook his head.

    “There is no place for you here,” Ellen said, her voice quavering. “We have always been together.”

    “You can’t break us,” I said, feeling his fear, and his burning anger. I could almost see the steam rising from his wet skin as he simmered, but still he said nothing.

    “No one has to die,” Cody croaked.

    “Everybody has to die,” Jonathan suddenly snapped. “You took away everything from me.”

    “What do you mean?” Ellen asked weakly.

    “You,” Jonathan pointed at Cody, “Kept me away from the love of my life.”

    “You were stalking her!” Cody snapped back.

    “You, let him,” he said, swinging his finger over to point at Ellen.

    “I still don’t understand,” was her reply.

    “And you pitied me! I don’t need any pity,” Jonathan waved aside her protests, “I could see it in your eyes,” he snarled.

    “We took nothing from no one!” I cried in outrage as Ellen murmured my name.

    “You were the worst of them all Erica,” he said, “with your comments, always putting me down. Most people didn’t like me because of what you said.”

    “I spoke nothing but the truth,” I returned coldly.

    “The whole truth and nothing but the truth,” Jonathan said thoughtfully, “because I am a monster, like you said.”

    “Leave, Jonathan,” Cody said, “Now.”

    “No,” Jonathan said, with an almost sadistic pleasure, he could tell we were scared of him and his fear was fading. “One of you will die today.”

    “No one will die,” Ellen said, sounding as if she did not believe her own words.

    “Everyone will die,” I said, “Because death is not bad when it is the right thing. If we are to die today we die together.”

    “In that case,” Jonathan said, a smile curving on his lips, “No one will die. One of you will come with me and the other two will never see me again.”

    “And what will happen to the one you take?” I asked, trying to keep my own voice steady.

    He turned to me, a look of pure Evil in his eyes. “They will suffer.”

    In that moment I felt the despair that was clear in Ellen’s eyes. I felt the anger, and the frustration, that Cody was struggling with and I felt my own fear, and terror. In that moment, I made one decision. Not knowing what would happen to me. With no idea as to the consequences I was about to face I stepped forward. My mouth was dry but I managed to speak the words I did not want to speak.

    “I will go.”

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