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The last thing that I heard was a sickening smack, as if someone was struck in the head from behind. Then everything went dark, except for a few moments before I completely went under, and the next thing that I knew I was in the hospital. My mind was in tumult. What day is it? What time is it? I thought and remembered that it was October 10th 1780, at least that was the date before I passed out. Was I with anyone? If so then with who? All of a sudden I felt faint and then I went under, letting the darkness and dizzy, sort of sick, feeling consume me.
There were screams and gun shots coming from the courtyard of my family’s country estate. I came here with my family and a long time friend , Rebecca Persimmons, her father was a wealth tobacco merchant and she was allowed to spend the summer with me. She was the first person that I saw coming from the courtyard that cool October morning. Her dress was blowing with the wind and you could see her stockings because the wind was strong and blew her dress skirt up despite her attempts to keep it in place. She was a petite young woman with hair as black as a raven’s, it was exactly like mine. Her skin was a shade lighter compared to my olive tone skin. She has bright, leaf green eyes and rosy cheeks. My eyes are a deep brown and I was an inch taller than Rebecca.
Normally I would have laughed but not today. She ran to me and told me that her brother Daniel and our best friend Austin were fighting again. Why must they fight! Can they not just be happy and be calm for once in their lives?! Instead of heading inside the house I ran at full sprint over to the courtyard and saw them with their sabers in hand, their guns on the floor, slashing away at each other furiously. Daniel was Rebecca’s older brother, he only had a little bit of a baby face, dark brown hair and green eyes the same as his sister’s. Austin’s face was sharp as if he had been chiseled out of marble. His eyes were a dark blue and his hair was a golden brown color, basically a mixture of golden yellow and dark brown. He was taller than Daniel and lean. Girls in town would say that his mind was as sharp as his appearance. Despite his intelligence he was not snub with anyone or stuck up.
“You are a formidable opponent.” Daniel was saying to Austin. Daniel was wearing a white ruffled shirt with a dark, navy blue coat and beige britches. Austin was just wearing a plain, white ruffled shirt with a grey waistcoat on top and solid, deep brown britches.
“Well my skills are impeccable, especially in the face of adversity. Considering that you are my adversary.” Daniel was closest and had his back to me and Austin was the farthest to me. But then I saw that there was a small cut on Austin’s left shoulder and that his deep brown doublet was on the floor, all bloody and ravaged.
“Cease this senseless fighting at once, or I will have you both thrown out of this property!” I screamed and instantly, they dropped their sabers and ran over to me.
“Please do not cry Emily, please. Daniel and I were just sparing a little bit, nothing violent, I can assure you of that.” His voice was calm and soothing, his thumb was gently stroking my face, below my eyes and I realized that I was crying.
I looked at him and saw that he was smiling down at me. I thought of him as my big, overprotective brother, nothing more and nothing less.
“Excuse me but I would like to get back to practicing now if you do not mind.” Daniel’s voice was rough, he sounded angry about something, then I remembered that Austin’s shoulder was cut. I was now seething, my feelings of rancor were growing because he had harmed not only my friend but his as well. I walked away from Austin and over to where Daniel was until I was right in front of him. I started shoving and smacking him while screaming,
“You are an abominable man! How dare you harm Austin, your best friend!” He was stock-stiff for a second. Then I felt arms wrap themselves around me from behind and restrain me from touching Daniel. Then the person started to release me when they saw that I was starting to calm down a bit. I stared, well glared actually, at Daniel. Expecting him to explain himself and I started to get madder when he just stayed silent.
“Well say something Daniel, what reason would you have to hurt Austin!” I yelled at him and then I felt a strong hand rest on my shoulder.
When I turned around I saw that Austin was right next to me, but I also saw that his shoulder was still bleeding. I had never noticed that before, just that it was cut.
“You should have that bandaged, before it becomes infected.” I suggested, well my voice sounded authoritative so I guess that you can say that it was more of an order than a suggestion. He smiled and bowed deeply, my expression was confused and when he looked at me he chuckled.
“As you wish Miss Emily Ophelia Langsyne.” He answered with a smile and started running towards the guest house. It had three bedroom, one for Daniel, one for Austin and one for Rebecca. It also had a huge kitchen with an ample dining room and a table that could sit twenty people comfortably. The larger room that was the parlor was used mostly for dances and the occasional party or family get-together. The guest house was behind the main house and in front of a garden that ran through the whole property. There were dozens of bushes of roses, hydrangeas, magnolia trees, palm trees and vines wrapping around the metal rails that fenced the property. There was a gravel stone pathway that led from the back of the guest house through the garden over to the back entrance to the estate.
“Emily, would you mind walking with me, so that I may have a chance to explain myself?” Daniel was asking me, his hand was extended towards me and I reluctantly took it.
When his hand closed over mine he started leading me towards the garden. The entrance to the gardens had two, six-feet tall, white marble angel statues on either side. As we started walking I was looking at him from the corner of my eyes, a mixture of feelings were welling up inside of me. The first was fear. What is he thinking, why am I afraid of being alone with him? The second was curiosity. Was the cut intentional, if so then what reason would he have to hurt Austin? He did not speak until we were well into the heart of the garden, then he stopped and led me to a grey, iron wrought bench with metal roses at the sides for arms that were connected to the back by long, straight stems. The back was decorated with images of rose bouquets, hummingbirds and butterflies. The attention to detail on the flowers and animals was amazing and so lifelike that the images seemed to pop out of the iron.
I was pulled out of my thought when I felt Daniel tug at my arm and it hurt a little.
“Are you listening Emily?” Daniel was practically yelling at me but I could not see why.
“I am sorry but I was just admiring this bench, the artwork is amazing.” he made a sort of disgusted grunting sound and stared at me with cold eyes.
“Please try to pay attention, you know that I hate to repeat myself.” His voice was exasperated.
“Alright, I was just distracted, I apologize.” He sighed at tried to calm himself.
“That is fine. Now, I just want you to know that Austin and I were just sparing. Then we started talking about what we were planning to do with our lives.”
“Austin plans to become a doctor, that or a historian because he loves to read so much that, if you let him, he would lock himself up in his library and never come out until he finished reading every single book in the room. But he would come out only to buy more books.” I meant it as a joke but Daniel seemed to only scowl at the thought.
“He is a voracious reader but sometimes I think that he is wasting his time and taking the things that he has for granted.”
His words made my heart do a back flip, they made me uneasy and his eyes were staring at me with a hunger that made me want to get up and run from him, to the safety of my house and to Rebecca and Austin. But I did not move, I wanted a straight answer to why Austin was hurt.
“What do you think that he takes for granted?” I asked, my voice felt shaky and my voice broke. I felt more vulnerable every second that I was with him, but I wanted an answer so I tried not to seem frightened by him and the way he was staring at me now. I scooted as far away from him as the bench would allow, because I doubted that he would let me get up, but he inched closer to me. So close that he was leaning on his left hand and his lips were close to my ear. I was frozen in place, too scared to move and inch.
“You, I know that you have feelings for him.” As soon as he scooted away from me I sat up right and was trying to process what he just said.
Austin is a brother to me, just a brother.
“I do not! He is my friend and nothing more than that, I can assure you.” His eyes seemed to grow wide and he was now glassy-eyed. He seemed to not be interested in this conversation anymore so I thought that it would be best to get up and walk back to the guest house. I wanted to see if Austin’s cut was just that, a cut, or if it had gotten infected or worse than it seemed. But as I was rising from the bench he clasped a sweaty, meaty hand over my arm and yanked me down, making me sit back down. Try as I might, he would not let go of my hand.
“We have not finished talking Emily!” His voice was faster and his words were slurred, as if he was intoxicated. I remember that Rebecca once told me that Daniel had a habit to drinking numerous glasses of beer and that no one would be able to tell until a while later, usually about two hours or so.
“Have you been drinking today Daniel?” I asked him. He leaned close to me, his face only inches from mine and said that he had been drinking, but only two glasses. By the smell of his rancid breath I knew that he had drunken more that that, much more than that. Why did I not notice sooner?!
“Daniel, let go if me right now! Before I call my father!” I spat at him and that just make him angry.
The more that I tried to escape his grasp the more he tightened his grip.
“Oww, Daniel, you’re hurting me. Let go now!”
“Why would I do that? We still have to talk.” Now you could tell that he was drunk because you could just barely tell what he was saying.
“She said let her go!” The voice was coming from a few feet away. Austin was standing a few feet from where Daniel and I were. His expression was murderous, his eyes gleamed with an intensity that made me fear him more that I did Daniel at the moment. He stalked over to us and grabbed Daniel’s wrist and seemed to wring it with as much force as possible. In an instant Daniel let go of me and cringed away from Austin. Austin pulled me up gently and pulled me behind him protectively.
“She asked you repeatedly to let go of her and you did not do as she asked. You harmed her!” Daniel’s eyes were wide and filled with fear.
I felt Austin go tense and he turned around and stared at me, his eyes grew gentle and warm.
“Emily, could you please go inside? I have to talk to Daniel and I do not think that you would like to hear what I would have to say to him.” He smiled and I nodded.
“No, I have to talk to her!” Daniel suddenly sprung up and stretched his hand to grab me but he only managed to yank my silver locket from my neck. Austin shoved him back down on the bench and was trying to keep him there. Then he turned to me and told me to go back to the guest house. I ran over to the house and ran into Rebecca. I wanted to cry but I held the tears in, not wanting to talk to anyone about what had happened but I saw that she was looking at me with a worried and a scared expression. When she asked me what had happened I told her that her brother was acting….not like himself. Should I tell her that he had hurt me? I doubt that she might believe me, Daniel is her brother after all. When she did not believe me I said that I was fine now and that I would be in the library, reading a book on ghost stories.
One of my favorite things about the guest house was that, at the end of a long hallway, there was a library, it held so many books that I doubted that I could read them all even if I had all the time in the world. I bet that Austin would be able to breeze right through these books. Despite there was a profusion of books ranging from fiction to nonfiction to biographies. I suddenly remembered that he was with Daniel and that there was the chance that he would get hurt, or worse, in the state that Daniel is in. My mind was filled with ardor because he had tried to protect me from Daniel’s drunken state because who knows what he would have done. I sat down on a maroon armchair and tilted my head back, trying to relax. After a few minutes I heard footsteps come from the hallway and they stopped at the door. I ignored the footsteps and closed my eyes.
“Am I interrupting your thoughts?” My eyes suddenly opened and searched the room, only to find no one in the room. Then I felt a hand on my shoulder. I was shocked so I suddenly stood up and turned around. When I did my scared eyes meet Austin’s shocked eyes.
“I apologize if I scared you Emily. I just came to return your locket, I finally made Daniel let go of it.” His tone was serious and that sent a cold chill down my spine.
“Where is Daniel? Is he still in the garden?” I asked and I heard my voice become softer and softer as I spoke. Austin walked up to me and his eyes looked suddenly contrite.
“I took him to the hospital, he will be taken care of there.” Now he placed his hands on either sides of my face, but they were barely touching my face, as if he did not seem to be sure how I would react to his touch.
“I promise you that he will never harm you ever again, I won’t let him.” His face showed that he was serious and his eyes that he was worried for me. He removed his hands from my face and reached into his pocket. In an instant he produced my locket. I turned around and made my hair into a pony tail with my hands so that he could place it around my neck. When I heard the faint click of the clasp shutting I turned around and saw that he was smiling and that his eyes were filled with joy, but there was also a protective air about him.
“Thank you for the restitution. I thought that I would have to make him give it back to me and that scared me.” Very slowly, he wrapped his arms around me. I was taken aback for a moment then rested my head on his shoulder.
“You will never have to be scared of anything as long as you have me here with you…..and Rebecca and your father.” his voice was rushed when he finished the sentence as of he just remembered that they lived here too.
“I know.” That was all that I said and then everything grew quiet, as if time went still. All too soon I heard Rebecca walk over here and I suddenly broke away from Austin . Then I walked over to the book shelf farthest away from him and pretended to be interested in a book on philosophy.
“Oh, I didn’t realize that you were here Austin. Was I disturbing anything?” She asked and I could tell that she thought that she did. Her huge grin gave her away, it always did.
“No…I was just making sure that Emily was alright.” Austin’s voice was rough and he seemed to be a bit annoyed with Rebecca’s sudden presence. She seemed to be oblivious to that fact and walked over to me.
“I apologize if my brother hurt you. He was just drunk that’s all.” I did not speak so I just nodded. After an awkward silence she just left and then I felt someone standing next to me.
“Would you mind if I asked what you two were talking about?” His voice was curious. I waited a moment before I answered him. He might as well know.
“He thinks that you spend too much time with your nose always stuck in a book and are taking things for granted.” He tilted his head to one side in confusion.
“Did he tell you what I took for granted?”
“Well…he said that you take me for granted. He seems to think that I have feelings for you, but I think of you as a brother and nothing more.” As soon as I finished that sentence his eyes became poignant. He moved away from me and suddenly I heard a shrill scream and I just stood completely still. A second later the door slammed open and Daniel stomped into the room. Austin ran to me and pulled me behind him again, keeping between me and Daniel.
“Step aside Austin, I would not want to hurt you.” Daniel’s voice was deep and full of malice. The entire right side of his face was swollen and a deep red color. As if he had been beaten with a great force. His right eye was a deep black and the right corner of his mouth was bloody.
“Why are you here?” Austin’s voice was hard and cold as ice.
“I am here to talk to Emily. Now step aside or I will have to hurt you!” I knew that it wasn’t an empty threat.
“You will not go anywhere near her! Unless you want me to do the same to the left side of your face that I did to the right!” His voice was deep and rough, a sort of growl was heard as he spoke, more animal than man. As I looked at Daniel I thought, Austin did that?! Daniel reached for something from inside his doublet and I saw that is was what seemed like a small version of a deer rifle. He pointed it towards Austin’s head but Austin did not flinch, he stood his ground.
“You will not go anywhere near Emily as long as I am alive!” As soon as he said those words Daniel pulled the trigger and shot Austin right through the head, Austin was dead instantly. I let out an ear-piercing scream but after a moment Daniel clamped his hand over my mouth so that I could not say anything at all. I bit his hand until I felt his grip loosen and then I heard him strike me with the butt of this gun. It was so fast that I did not even feel any pain at all, just a smack and then everything went dark. Suddenly I was in a field of grass, the sun was setting and the area was washed with its golden light.
“Emily, turn around.” the voice was soft and when I turned around I saw Austin. He was smiling at me, only a few yards away. I wanted to run to him, cry with him and tell him that I was sorry.
“Daniel was drunk and he was jealous of me.” A second later he was at my side and holding me. The tears that I was holding in since the incident with Daniel streamed down my cheeks and he wiped them away gently with his fingers. He lifted my face so that I would look at him.
“Why would he be jealous of you?” I asked, although I already knew the answer. He smiled at me but then I saw that he was starting to fade, the sun’s rays were shining on him and he was fading away. The last thing that I saw was him smiling at me. After a few seconds I was all alone. Because I love you. That was the last thing that I heard as I was slipping into nothingness.