A Moonlit Night

The train gave a muted screech as it pulled to a stop. The elegant red doors silently slid open, revealing a seemingly empty corridor. Denys firmly called out “All passengers wishing to depart the train please do so now.” Denys was quite used to silence. Insolitus had an air of silence rarely broken about it; even at noon you still had to strain your ears to hear anything. It was for this reason that Denys jumped when soft tiny footsteps began to echo through the station. A small girl, appearing no more than five and wearing a tattered white nightgown, tentatively peered through the doors. Too surprised to say anything, Denys gently stepped forward and took the girl’s hand. Deserting his post, he led her through the village all the way up to the deserted church. Denys stole a quick glance at the girl; she was deathly thin with stringy unwashed hair. The girl wasn’t from around here as she had dark penetrating eyes while much of Aleusia had faint blue. She obviously had no papers, making her an illegal moveri, but Denys did not have any intention of calling the malefactor, or police. She was too young to experience such brutal treatment. But he couldn’t hide her for long; a girl of five can only be so quiet.
The church door made a piercing squeak as Denys creaked it open. He knew of a small room off the sanctuary where the girl could spend the night. It was cold, but it was shelter from the cruel world the ravaged through Insolitus. Denys dragged a ratty gray blanket into the moonlit room and spoke: “My name is Denys. No one can know that you are here. What is your name and do you have papers?”
The girl simply shook her head. Denys considered the possibility that she was a complete foreigner, and did not speak Latin. In the dark she looked older, and seemed to have an unearthly mist about her. The countries surrounding The Great Nation of Aleusia all spoke or at least understood Latin. This girl was from far away. Denys pointed to the grimy blanket and motioned sleep. He then pointed at her, then to himself, and made a shushing sound that echoed through the room. The girl simply shook her head.
Was it possible that this girl knew and spoke Latin, but wished not to speak? Or did the girl not agree with what Denys was trying to communicate? Was she a mute? No, she can’t be a mute or she wouldn’t know I’m saying anything, Denys thought to himself. But was she really what she seemed to be, an innocent little girl? Denys could have sworn he saw her smirk, just seconds before. But she was so small, so helpless, Denys conscience told him. His brain fought back, telling him that a person without papers could be anyone, and besides, they’re moveri, and banned from this country. If anyone was to find out what Denys was doing, he would lose his job and be imprisoned.
Denys heard a shuffle behind him. He turned to find the girl brandishing a long rusty knife directly at him. Denys froze. Never had he seen such violence from a child. He now had no doubt that she wasn’t what she appeared to be, and was quite capable of harming or killing someone. Denys was frightened. Fear was new to him; he was respected in the town, and just appeared to be the kind of person that you don’t mess with. Unless you’re a five year old girl. Denys began to back up.
The girl spoke. “My name is Angelus Evito. You do not know me. Nor do I know you, other than this…muffled tragedy that will occur. Yes, I am a moveri. No, I am not from this country. No, you may not ask questions nor will I answer them. Yes, I speak perfect Latin. Yes, I will eventually kill you. No, it won’t be a murder. Yes, it will be a…painful death. And no, I am not five years old. I am fourteen, just…small for my age,” the girl…Angelus smirked again, this time even more bone chilling, “Yes, there is reason for your...soon tragic disappearance.”
“What?” Denys tentatively asked as he hit the rough, hard wall of the back corner of the room.
“I said no questions. Anymore, and you are dead on the spot.”
Denys gulped. This was not what he had expected when he gently took her fragile hand earlier. This girl was dangerous. And he was now cornered, with no way out. Put simply, he was dead.
The girl advanced with her rusted blade. “Before I kill you, you need to hand over that stamp in your upper right coat pocket,” whispered.
Denys suddenly understood what she was after in an evil way. Angelus must want to be able to travel freely throughout the country and become an adsiduus, or legal citizen. Funny thing becoming legal by committing an illegal and criminal crime. But he understood her drift. And he knew how he was to escape.
Denys suspected the shuffle he heard earlier was unsheathing of the knife, and the lock of the door. It would be nearly impossible for him to go out through it, as Angelus happened to have a knife and a stolen key. But the moonlight streaming through the dark clouds of dust had to be coming from somewhere, and that somewhere must be a window. His eyes darted around the room, looking for an opening of any sort. Just as Denys noticed her piercing dark eyes bearing into his, she spoke.
“Do not try to escape. There are no windows large enough for you to fit through,” Angelus Evito said this with a smirk, as if suggesting Denys was fat, “and only one door, which happens to be locked.” Angelus smirked again. “You have no chance of escape.”
Denys nodded, feigning agreement. He happened to know that any window was an easy fit for him; it was his overloaded coat that gave him a pear-like appearance, not Denys himself. In fact, Denys was tiny, and wore the coat to look intimidating, at his wife’s request. Even the smallest crevice in the wall was an exit to Denys.
“Give me the stamp,” a voice called through the dust.
Angelus wanted a stamp. Denys wanted to live. It seems such a simple exchange, yet Angelus was not an easy customer. If Denys was to give her the stamp now, he would be dead within minutes. But if he was to tease her, perhaps toy with her a bit, he might be able to buy himself a little more time.
Denys reached his cold, bony hand into the upper right pocket of his coat. The stamp safely in his hand, he hurled it across the room.
Angelus easily caught it. “Nice try, but poor little Denys can’t escape.” She stepped forward, the knife pointed straight at Denys’ throat. “How tragic, a killing,” she muttered, most likely to herself.
Denys was panicking. He didn’t know a way out of this one. He truly was dead.
Angelus took another step forward and touched the blade of the knife to Denys throat. “Apparo ab abeo…accelero,” she muttered, pressing even harder on the knife.
Dark red blood began to shimmer in to moonlight as it trickled down Denys chest. The knife hurt, and Denys winced in pain.
“It hurts, doesn’t it? Such a nice way to die…” Angelus had no sympathy.
Denys began to scream. He screamed for his wife, his children, his train, mercy, god, an angel, anybody. But no one came. He was truly alone.
“I like silence, don’t you? It’s so…definite,” Angelus teased.
Denys took a breath; the air smelled stale and rotten, like blood. A rotting body. Denys just screamed louder. Then he stopped. The knife was gone. It was quiet. Scary.
He mustered up his strength and looked up. Light was gushing into the room. A figure stood in the door. A body lay on the floor.
“God?” he asked.
“Shhh…no, no, no. You need to lie down, let me find a bandage. This is Priest Felicitas.”
“Who‘s the body? Are they dead? Is it me? “
“It’s the girl. I do not know her name. Lie down. She is dead. The malefactor will come soon.”
Denys collapsed to the floor in a deep, cold sleep. One could not distinguish between the living and the dead bodies lying within feet of each other on the rough floor. Priest Felicitas gently wrapped his throat in bandages, singing to herself as she worked.
Denys breathing was becoming quick and labored. His face was turning red. He was choking. The bandages were too tight.
The colors of the rainbow were flashing across Denys’ face. Priest Felicitas kept singing, wrapping the bandages tighter and tighter. She was old, and her eyes and ears weren’t what they used to be. She also had never taken a medical class. Denys was not in good hands.
The clopping of horse hooves echoed through the church, announcing the presence of the malefactor. Boots stomped, doors slammed, and three tall men, masked and in long dark robes walked into the room. A long sharp gasp was heard as the men ran forward and seized Denys. They shook him hard, in hopes of bringing back the life that once pulsated through his tiny body.
The malefactor had no luck. Denys was gone, strangled by the good samaritan who rescued him. The knife was lying beside him, red and dripping. The tallest malefactor grabbed the Priest’s holy water and sprinkled it upon Denys’ wounds.
“May he who dies a cruel death find healing in the realms of heaven.”
One could swear that Denys just smiled.





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