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The Lost and The Living

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The Lost and The Living


1.
Taken

They came at me, two large men. Their warm hands wrapped around me, and for a moment I felt safe. Then reality hit me. I was in danger. Slowly being carried away. To an unknown place, by unknown people, with unknown desires.

I could feel myself slipping away. In every heartbeat my eyelids grew heavier, being pushed down by my longing for sleep. As the man carrying me began to walk, it seemed as if he was rocking me back and forth as my mother had when I was a little girl. Oh and how his hands warmed me, it was calming. Everything was too much for me. I couldn’t handle it anymore, so I rested my head on his shoulder and slipped into a deep peaceful sleep.
I was deep in unconsciousness when the smell of pine and maple and the sound of a running brook overwhelmed me. It intoxicated me. Then I heard the sound of crunching. Was I in the woods? Why was I dreaming about this? The arms around me tightened. I remembered then, this isn’t a dream.

I was petrified. They started talking. A deep voice said “We will keep her here for awhile. Then I show myself. She will fall in love with me and we will be wed,” he paused. The man who held me replied “yes but what if she sees us before hand!” I opened my eyes the slightest bit. He traced a finger across his neck. I tried to make out his face but shadows were all across it. My breathing no longer calm, I started to wonder what was going to happen to me? I fainted from shock.

When I woke up again I was on a dusty mattress in a grand room. The smell of pine wood and maple greeted me once again. I moved my hands around on a dusty, cushioned surface. Then, I sat up and took a look around.

I was in a large almost rectangular room sitting up in a tall bed. The bed had a huge woven comforter with white sheets in which someone had tucked me tightly into. It was also way over done with crème colored pillows. It was truly fit for a queen.
All four walls were perfectly straight. On the walls creamy yellow paint was peeling. On every corner, mold attached itself to the white crown molding, causing it to turn from white to a musty gray. I pondered as to why such a beautiful room had been abandoned.
The floors were a light maple and seemed to be unscathed. All the furniture was painted white. That included my 4-foot high bed, a lilac- decorated vanity along the curved wall, several chairs and tables scattered about, and the bench at the foot of my bed.
I slowly got up as the bed creaked from my weight. I left foot prints behind in the dust on the floor. I walked toward another, more circular room. I realized, this must be the bathroom. I took a few more steps toward a closed door and opened it.
There were shoes and dresses galore! Slowly I put a slipper on. It was silk and very 1800’s, but very comfortable. I slipped on the matching mate and started walking down the grand hallway. At the end of it is an ever more grand stair case. Slowly and carefully I walked down the many steps to the bottom.
I turned and left, following the subdued scent of eggs. I passed through many sumptuous rooms and corridors. In one room, I assumed to be the den, I saw a marvelous painting of smiling little boy. He had on a white collard shirt, and khaki pants. He was handing a rose to a woman in a long, white dress that looked much like the young boy. I assumed it was a portrait of a mother and son and kept walking. As I followed the scent even more, I could not get the boy’s face out of my mind.
I walked into a large room. It had the finest table I had ever seen. On it was a covered dish, of food, I assumed. I sat down in front of it, wanting to eat, but scared to do so. What if it was poisoned? Or…or, I don’t know. Slowly I took off the lid. Under it was a normal sight of sausage, toast, and eggs. I did not notice before but by the dish was a glass. I peered inside and saw a friendly color of orange. Orange juice I presumed.
I finished my meal and started to wander around. In a short amount of time I found a magnificent garden! The smell of late summer roses, and lilies filled my nose. There are fountains everywhere. Behind a bunch of hydrangeas, I discovered a gate. I followed the path going through it.
I came upon a smaller garden with chrysanthemums and peonies. There was also a smaller fountain. Behind the fountain was a wall, it was easily ten feet. “Maybe this could be my way out.” I climbed, slowly at first but then my nerves got to me. Before I knew it I was at the top.
Finally! I saw dense woods all around. I could hear the faint smell of running water in the distance. I prepared to jump, before I could, I heard a voice.
“Stop! You can’t leave.” I froze. The voice was soft, but urgent. And yet faintly familiar. I slowly turned around. Behind me must have been an angel. He was wearing a white t-shirt, and ripped jeans. He had a gentle face, and fierce, but loving blue eyes. They held me in a trance.
I started to fall. I had completely forgotten I was on a wall. Too late. I was already headed downward. Preparing for the crash, I covered my face. Instead of hitting pavement, flesh greeted me. Literally with open arms. Carefully he set me on the fountain.
“Are you okay?” I asked lamely.
He started to laugh. “More like are YOU okay?”
I nodded my head. He was everything beauty should be! He was muscular, tan, kind, smart, and clearly witty!
“Okay then”, he got up and began to walk away.
“Wait”, I called.
“Goodbye Amarie, and be careful.” He kept walking
How did he know my name? Had I ever met him before? No, or else I would have remembered his face. But I did remember his face. I had to know him. How else would he know me? I sat in the garden thinking until noon. Then it hit me. The Masquerade Ball last year at school. His voice, that is where I remember it from. My mind started to fade into that magical night. The annual Faith High School Winter Masquerade Ball.
I was spinning in my dark blue dress. All the sequins catching the light. The curls in my hair were bouncing. He caught my hand. The dance went on but instead of just me I had a partner. It was a Cinderella story that didn’t end at midnight.
Smiling, I walked into the mansion, up the stairs, and into the room I woke up in. There really was dust everywhere. I found a rag and a basin of water and started cleaning.

By the time I finished I had cleaned everything! I found some sheets pillows and a comforter in a nearby cupboard, and washed everything down. I was starving! I had not eaten since breakfast. So I went downstairs, hoping to find food on the long table. Thankfully, there was a hot steaming bowl of soup. I devoured it!

Afterwards I found a book and sat in the big room, with the painting, and read. I did not notice but I fell asleep reading. That night I had a dream and a very disturbing one at that.

I was dancing. It was the Masquerade Ball, and just like I remembered it. Except horribly different. I was dancing. Then people started to disappear. Then, in the moment I began dancing with my partner, he grabbed me. Covered my mouth. I heard dark laughing. Pure psychotic laughing. I became chilled to the bone. I turned my head to the corner of the gym. Everything changed I was in my room, and two hands were picking me up. My room disappeared. I was in the woods and a faceless person was laughing.

I woke up in hysterics! I was in the bed I had slept in before. I got up, and ran to the bathroom. I washed my face and tried to control my breathing. Finally breathing normally I crawled back into bed. I stayed there until my sides ached with hunger. Even then though I was weary. After eating I went back to bed.

I stayed in bed for many days. I refused to eat. I was afraid to sleep. This all just had to be a horrible nightmare. But it wasn’t. Finally on the fifth day I was too fatigued to keep doing this. I gave in to sleep. I woke up the next morning still feeling groggy. I decided that day I would go exploring hopefully finding that wall again!

Sure enough I did. I climbed the wall and as I was climbing down I heard him. I heard him chuckling. He was laughing at me. I leapt down on the other side and he walked right through a gate not five steps from where I jumped. “You know it is better to observe than to just make rash decisions”, he laughed again.

I could feel my awkward blush appear. His eyes were studying me. I began to run and reached the brook, it turned out just to be a small river, before I finally had to stop. He came up slightly panting but not much different than he was before. “You can run!” I started to laugh. “Junior Varsity Track Team”, I replied. He laughed! Oh, his laugh was beautiful! It sounded like bells.

When I looked back up at him he was leaping across the river on little stones. He looked so strong, yet so graceful! He got to the other bank “what are you waiting for”, he called. I took a breath and leapt to the first stone. Then the second. I only had one more stone before I reached the bank. I jumped. Sadly I put in a little too much leg power. I launched myself over the rock and landed in the water, slipped and got soaked!

I could feel my face get hot but I got up, held my head high, and trudged through the current to the other bank. “Have a nice swim”, he said taking my hand. “Very nice”, I replied. I was being very haughty. He started walking again toward a bunch of tall trees.

I stuck my nose in the air and followed after him. When I looked up he wasn’t in front of me I had to run in my soaking dress, which wasn’t easy, to catch up to him.




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