Violet, page 1
30/3 Productions Ltd.
‘The decision is final, Rebecca,’ Joseph stated with no emotion. ‘Violet has been chosen, there can be no negotiation for her freedom now.’
‘But her crime was so petty,’ Rebecca cried. ‘The blight… we had no food.’
‘This does not matter.’
Violet watched on, Joseph’s unwavering tone inducing more shocks of horrid panic through her body. She was being restrained by another man of their church, struggling as her wrists were bound with rope. Her mother kept up her pleading, all of her words falling on Joseph’s now deaf ears. Her father, Thomas, was doing nothing in Violet’s defence, accepting the decision of the church as final.
He’d been the one to make Violet go and steal, reasoning she was quicker on her feet than her younger sister, Annabelle. During the trial, he’d not uttered one word to this truth, though Violet had implored him from the stand to speak for her. She was only sixteen, she was supposed to wed Samuel, the apprentice smith who lived in the village. There were others more deserving of this punishment.
Rebecca kept weeping into Thomas’s shoulder as Violet was dragged away, screaming. Annabelle had been forced to stay home, disallowed to even say goodbye to Violet.
Her punishment was worsened for having to see Samuel on her way to the woods. His father was holding him by the arm, demanding he do nothing to rescue Violet or else he’d be hanged for it.
But they weren’t taking Violet to the gallows for her crime. Her punishment was far more horrifying than a simple noose. She was close to begging the pastor Joseph for this to be her sentence as she was dragged through the trees, away from the village.
‘Dear Violet,’ Joseph said calmly. ‘Your sacrifice is noble. You will be helping to save our little ones in the night from those who seek to menace us constantly. I will ask all to pray for you afterwards, I promise you this.’
‘I do not want your prayers!’ she shouted. ‘I want justice. I was doing right by my family. My father…’
‘He what?’ chuckled Joseph. ‘Told you to steal for him? Then this proves you are a good daughter. God will be merciful when your time comes. He will let you into his realm.’
‘If I am good, then spare me! Please! I don’t want to be consumed!’
‘It is too late for pleading, child.’
Joseph walked on ahead. Only three other men were permitted to bring the sacrifice to the woods, to the sacred place where the Enorahts would finally eat her alive. Violet was almost faint from her struggling. They dragged her almost a mile into the woods where she was to die.
There were no altars here, no symbols or graven images. Two trees stood either side of her, and her arms were lifted and bound by two long ropes, tied tight around her slender wrists. Her ankles were then tethered, forced perhaps a foot apart. Her weeping was only subsiding for her weakness. Her mouth was dry but her face was sodden with tears. She licked her lips and it did nothing to quench her.
Now she was stuck, Joseph went to her, taking her face in his hands and smiling at her.
‘Hush, Violet,’ he murmured. ‘Your wailing is very unbecoming.’
Furious at this, Violet spat in Joseph’s face. His smile grew bigger before he slapped her cheek. Leaning in once more, he whispered harshly, ‘You are lucky I’m not raping you first, you insolent little whore. Behave yourself.’
Joseph let her go and stepped backwards to the centre of the clearing. The three other men, all much younger and completely devout, stood aside, their heads bowed.
‘As it was demanded by the Enorahts, and as it shall be until they haunt us no longer, I offer this child as a sign of faith and charity to these remarkable creatures. I beg once again they do not harm our infants or darken our doors for one more year. May our deeds be ever righteous, and our thoughts ever pure.’
The four men uttered their Amens before they away with their heads still bowed, leaving Violet completely alone. She found the strength to scream for help one last time, but she was too far from anywhere for anyone to save her.
Darkness slowly settled throughout the trees. Violet began to think the Lights were a lie. She’d never seen them. Wolves must be coming for her instead, bloodthirsty and ready to tear her to shreds.
She had gone to church as her family had, giving praise to these entities whom so few now had seen. For almost a seventy years, the Enorahts had plagued her village until Joseph claimed to commune with them.
Now she was to be perhaps the sixtieth sacrifice of her village. She made her own prayers to God, hoping her suffering would undo her torment, that His divine grace would deliver her from her horrible fate. Then she heard the scurrying of rats and desperately called to them to bite her ropes.
The night drew on with no other sign of beast or spirit. She’d been starved that day, her last meal granted the night before, and her mind was foggy from her hunger. It wasn’t much longer before she realised she’d been simply left to rot.
Thoughts of her death were beginning to become a comfort to Violet when an odd light flickered past her eyes. The woods were almost pitch black, and it had to be a moonless night for this ritual to be properly carried out.
Hundreds of purple, glowing spheres were gathering in the clearing, drawing closer. They cast a dim light that revealed a mist between them. Now delirious, Violet thought them quite pretty until one hit her cheek and she cried out in pain. The light had bitten her, and a moment later, more were coming to nibble on her flesh.
She whimpered at first, her screaming reaching a shocking crescendo as the lights dug into her. Thousands of pinpricks dotted her skin, she saw by their lights her blood coming to the surface. Shutting her eyes to everything, Violet let out one last scream, her body seeming to evaporate into nothing.
By dawn, Violet thought she was seeing with her own eyes, but she could no longer touch anything and her hands were gone. She looked down but couldn’t see herself. The birds singing around her sounded different, more hollow. She was looking everywhere, but she wasn’t there.
She was floating now, pitching herself forward and moving erratically through the trees.
Kelesnae, someone whispered. No one was around. Cursed one… leave. Leave these woods. Do not go back to your home.
She no longer had a mouth. The words she made were thoughts now created by whatever form she’d taken.
‘Where must I go?’
Find the one who will take you in. Who will make you whole again. You will know them by the kindness of their heart. Do not go to a loved one, they will not help you.
‘I don’t understand!’
The Enorahts were gone. They couldn’t be the ones speaking to her.
We will find you again, we will tell you more. For now, keep traveling south. Stay away from this place, little kelesnae. Do not return.
Violet went forward again, quickly darting through the woods as far south as she could go. She couldn’t cry without eyes, or eat without a mouth. She couldn't even detect the scent of the leaves and grass anymore. She passed through the trees as if they were air. The feeling of flying did nothing to elate her.
And she didn’t want to go back to her village to see her father who’d betrayed her. She never wanted to return.
But where was she supposed to find someone with a kind heart now?
‘You saw this coming, Nate,’ Rachel argued, keeping her eyes on the road ahead as she drove. ‘You decided to stay with her even though she was moving.’
‘She was supposed to move next month,’ Nate grumbled. ‘Not last week.’
‘He’s just annoyed he ended up as third wheel,’ smirked Joel.
‘I don’t care,’ Rachel said. ‘P
Nate groaned at her pretentiousness. ‘Just because your dad’s a psychology professor, doesn’t mean you get to psychoanalyse people, Rachel.’
‘Can you not ruin my holiday with your moodiness?’ she countered.
‘Can the both of you can shut up?’ Joel demanded. ‘No one’s ruining anyone’s anything.’
The conversation stopped until the pause was too vast for Rachel to tolerate. Nate only listened to her babble on about her friends. Joel was way more accepting of Rachel’s nonsense than he was. The three of them had been friends since grade seven, but Nate was growing tired of Rachel’s ever-evolving snobbery and Joel wasn’t as fun to hang out with as he used to be.
On top of all this, Nate was smarting over his breakup with Fiona. They’d spent most of their summer together, Nate believing she was happy with him and nothing was going to go