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Key to My Heart

The key fits the lock, and turns with a satisfying click. My hand rests on the doorknob, shaking, too afraid to turn the handle. A shiver runs down my spine, and I turn to see if anyone is watching. What if someone followed me? What if they know the secret of my key? But no one is there, and I face the door again. The stern eyes of a lion stare out at me form the wooden door. He seems to be telling me something, warning me from entering. Quickly, I close me eyes, and open the door.

A cold wind blasts into my face, nearly blowing me over. Gripping the doorframe, I lurch forward, and through the portal. The door slams shut behind me, and then fades away with a foreboding err of finality.

The world takes shape around me, forming colors and shapes out of nothing in a dizzying whirlwind. Finally, everything is still. I survey my surroundings. I am in a clearing, woods surround me, and it is night. I cannot see the stars. A face peers out at me from between the trees. It is a man. He has dark, curly hair, and a tall, muscular frame. The moon glints off his crystal blue eyes. I know this man. It is Castor, my one true friend, in this world, or any other. He is the half that makes me whole.

He recognizes me, and lowers his broad sword. Then we are running to each other. He wraps his strong arms around me, and, for the first time in months, I feel safe, loved.

But then, the feeling is gone, and we are running. Through the trees we pass, swift as deer. I feel my true self returning, and life again flows through my veins. Our hands are clasped in a grip that shall never fail. His hand grasps the hilt of his sword.

“Here!” he shouts thrusting a wooden bow, and a quiver of arrows in my direction.

I take then from him, my fingers remembering their old skill. Quickly, I sling then over my left shoulder, without a hitch in my gait. It is in this moment that I am thankful for my twenty first century attire: jeans, converse, and a blue cami. This would never work in a corset. Though, I doubt that Castor shares this opinion. The twelve hundreds don’t exactly style pony-tails and capris, and lady warriors aren’t really common place either.

A rain begins to fall around us, and a bitter cold wind bites at our faces and hands. I can see the fort of or allies looming before us. Caster is tense; he expects trouble. He eyes dart about, ever watchful for Germanic warriors, enemies of Normandy.

The zing of arrows catches me off guard. Two stick in the tree to my right, narrowly missing Castor’s head. He swings me around behind a tree, shielding me with his body. I brake free of his grasp, and notch an arrow to my own bowstring. Taking aim, I let it fly with deadly accuracy. A Germaine near the front falls, an arrow in his heart, its red-feathered tip quivering in the wind. I let fly two more arrows, and there is pause in the return fire. We make brake for it. Running with all our strength the last hundred meters to the fort, and the temporary safety of Norman walls.

A searing pain assaults my calf, spreading rapidly up my leg, crippling me. The shaft of a black-tipped arrow is protruding from my right leg, staining the ground a deep, sickening red. The pain blinds me. I know I am crying, but I cannot stop it. The tears flow without ceasing, and my world dims. I feel Castor strong arms wrap around me as he lifts me into his arms. Another arrow flies toward us, hurling itself to the ground at Castor’s feet. Another grazes his arm. He cries out as blood flows down his arm, dripping to the ground. But he does not drop me. Instead his arms holds tighter still, strengthened with a newfound sense of purpose. Turning swiftly, he runs for the fortress, ignoring the battles cries of a nearly forty Germains. The sweet ring of Norman trumpets and the creaking of gates, as they swing open reach my ears. There is hope even now. Then everything fades into darkness.
………………………………………………

My eyes slowly blink open, weighed down heavily by my weariness. I am lying in a bed. Curtains swirl in the breeze from an open window. There is but a dull ache in my leg, and my head pounds with a throbbing pain, as though a thousand drums beat out rhythms from within me. I turn my head to see Castor seated next to me. His chin rests upon his chest, and his hand holds my in a gentle embrace, his palm warm against mine. With what little strength I have, I squeeze his hand. A smile slowly spreads across his face, and he lifts his head, his blue eyes gazing down into mine. His face is still dirty with the sweat and grime of battle. His curly black hair falls around his face, free from the hold of the leather band that usually binds it back. My heart leaps with joy to see his face. Is this what love feels like? Do I know even how to love? Could he ever truly love me back?

As if in answer, he leans down, and kisses my brow…then my eyelids, then my lips. We stay this way for a moment. He smells of wood smoke and pine. I wish this moment could last forever end. He smiles at me one last time, before rising and striding out of the room with one last parting glance in my direction. My old maid, Granuaile enters slowly, and sits upon the foot of my bed. We were good friends before, and she knows I won’t stand for formality. She smiles, and I smile back. But then she sobers, and I brace myself for the bad news I know is coming.

“’Tis bad miss.” She states simply, her Irish heritage unmistakable as she speaks. “Ta’ doctor said t’would be best if’n we sent ye’ away from ‘ere; back ta’ yer own family. T’would be safer ‘dat way. ”

I had a feeling this was coming, but the blow strikes me hard just the same. Back with my “family” is the last place I want to be. This is my only escape from the twisted world I call home. I am not ready to face that again, not now, mayhap never. But Granuaile cannot know this. No one in this world can ever know where I am from.

Only one person here knows the truth, Castor, and I intend to keep it that way. But what am I to say to her that would not give myself away? I must answer with grace and dignity, and talk with Castor about this at a later time.

“I suppose you are right.” I reply, as naturally as I can. “I do not need anything now. So, if you don’t mind, I’d like to be alone for a time. To think this over.”

“O’course miss.” She says politely, and then gracefully, she saunters out of the room.

Alone with my thoughts, I think of home, and what it used to be. Before the accident, we were a happy family, but then, everything changed. My mother and brother, Connor Brokeheart, died while white water rafting on his eighteenth birthday, three years ago. Dad blamed himself for letting them go, for killing them, as he put it. He started drinking to drown his shame. The drink changed him in ways I did not think possible. He became someone I did not know: a cruel, hard, unfeeling man. To release himself of the guilt that weighed heavily upon his heart he became a violent man, an attacker, and I, his victim.

When the Child Services found out, he was put in jail, and my only living family was severed from me. They put me into a foster care system. Eight families, and ten so called “homes” later; I landed in with the Benstons, a wealthy, snobbish family living in Santa Monica. That was where I found the key, hidden in a desk in a forgotten room, and with that, I found door: the door that led to freedom, to Castor. Not a day goes by that I don’t thank God for leading me to it, and it’s many secrets. But this is also why I fear to return. If I am sent away from there, to a new family, I may never see Castor again. I fear returning, because I may never come back.

Awakened from my thoughts, I stand. My legs wobble beneath me as I limp staggeringly to the door. My destination is to be the high tower, my favorite place in the entire world. It is night now, and the stars will be out in full force, their soothing light there to drive away the darkness that cast shadows on my love-starved soul.

The climb is agonizing on my severed tendons. But I know the reward shall be greater still. I lay with my back against the rock, my eyes gazing toward the heavens. A star filled sky smiles down upon me, and my hope is renewed in this moment of awe. I feel someone lay down beside me, warmth emanating from his body.


“Beautiful night is it not.” His voice is deep and warm, Castor. “You know… Granuaile is right, you really should go back home, you will be safer there.”


“Yah right, and try to explain this to the Benstons. Come on, they’d think I’m crazy, and maybe I am. Besides, what if they send me away for this, and I can’t come back. Castor, I cannot loose you.”

“It does not matter. You will be safer there, and you will have a better chance on healing. I do not want to see you hurt… or killed. I would blame myself if anything happened to you. Please, you must go back. Do you hear me? I want you go back… even if it means I’ll loose you.”

“Castor, I…”

“No.” He says, touching a finger to my lips. “You have to go back. I will take you myself, no one will know. You must go now. But… promise me you will never forget. Evalynn, promise me, promise me that our love will never die.”

“I promise Castor. My heart will forever belong to you.”

And as a tear falls down my cheek, he catches it in his hand, and our lips touch for the last time.




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