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the 19th: part 4

So this is what fear feels like. I thought I knew. But this brand of fear is different and frightening beyond measure. I can feel my body tense yet numb. My body does not feel connected. Limbs and my stomach and head feel like magnets flipped to the wrong side, repelling each other and trying to force my body and mind apart. At her name, Anne, the necklace of bone trembled and danced on my skin, like it was trying to escape from the chain. Nervous sweat ran into tears I could noteven feel and misted over eyes that seemed to be no use to me, for I was so scared that everything reflected in them seemed nightmarish. I wanted to simply close them, to crumple up my soul like a sheet of foil, and imagine that this was all a dream. Cora streaked through the air like a puff of warm air on a cold night. Nervously she flitted as if she could not keep still. In a burst of emotion at the mention of the curse, Cora's form burst with rays of light. In a mere moment she faded away into a brushstroke of white smoke. Cora in smoke form wrapped herself around me, blanketing me in a fine sheer cloud. Her voice shocked the air, coming at me like a dagger. It was clear and crystalline and booming, as if it came from the sky. "Calm down. I must show you what I have seen. To do so I have resumed my aura. Let me in.... let me in Ethel." I felt Cora wrapping tighter and tighter around me. Her tendrils of smoke started to sliver through my ears, nose and mouth. I felt like I was drowning, choking on thick woolen cotton. I chocked and gargled for air as Cora's aura seeped into me. "Don't fight me Ethel... this must be done" Cora said. I payed her no mind and continued to scream silently as she entered me. Her fingers of smoke began to burn. They were like feisty embers. I could feel the scalding smoke burn its way through my throat, charring my insides. I could feel it traveling through my stomach and poking my heart, spurring it on to beat faster and faster. "Let me in.... Let me in" Cora said, her high pitched childish voice seemed something deeper and darker. I dug my nails into my palm as she overtook me. Once more my brain went black, and I felt like I had been knocked backwards.








In a moment my brain flicked back on. Playing before my eyes was a spotty, scratched roll of film. It was projected on my eyes and was all I could see. Cora was playing something for me. I watched as I saw a woman in a magnificent gown run down a hallway. She wore an incredible dress of gleaming silk that seemed to catch and reflect both the light streaming from the stained glass windows and the shadows that collected like dust in the corners. It was roped in gold and drowned in finery. It was attached to wine colored velvet sleeves and a headdress with golden brocade. Pearls were looped around her neck like a noose, hinting at her fate. Her feet carried her swiftly down the hall, looking back quickly. Her face was twisted with dread. Her black hair flew up behind her as she ran, like a mangled black bird trying to lift itself of the ground. Her black eyes shone with a spark of adventure. As if she thought death was simply another endeavour and not an ending at all. She stopped at a dead end. A court of soldiers engulfed her.


my brain clicked to the next slide. The woman sat in the tower. Her head slumped in her hands. She cried and cried and cried, that spark of adventure gone. Her ivory skin glowed against her gold and jewels.


next slide. She walks up to the execution block. She kneels. The move is made. The screen goes black but not before you hear the hollow thud of her head hitting the ground, and the mad shrieks of her maid.


next slide. Anne's decapitated body lies on the execution block. It must have been there for days. It has been there for at least a week. No one has bothered to dispose of her or lay her to rest. She simply lies there, dead, bloody and missing a head. The side of her dress has been lifted, and at the exposed leg there is a clean circle of flesh and bone cut. I know her servant has been here.


next slide. The necklace. The servant is dead. In the hands of a merchant, about to be sold it glows with a light renewed.


next slide. This is something more familiar. It is Cora. She sits in the attic. From a jewelry box she takes it out. She fixes it around her neck. I know that in that one move she has made herself as good as dead.

next slide. Now it's Cora. She is in the fire. I can hear Anne speaking to her, a mottled whisper I can't understand. It's my nightmare again. Little Cora screams. She throws off the necklace. She leaves the world. I cry for her.

next slide. It's Anne. This time she seems to be speaking to me. She sits on the ground, her bloody head in her arms. Next to her is the hair thin blade that caused the blow. She leans forward and whispers. "lets play."





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