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Her Silver Cross
“I remember few things about that night. I remember his hideousness. I remember the way his lips curled at the soft rustling sound each time his forty-five’s barrel pressed itself against another family members head…my family. I remember his eyes, ice blue…ice cold. He didn’t even blink when he pulled the trigger. One, two, three times. I remember Dante, sweet little Dante dragged away by his hair through the blood and far far away from me. So no Dr. Scratch, I don’t suffer from memory loss, but I wish I did.”
The woman speaking was Helena Pierce, a strong woman with fiery blue eyes and hair dark as midnight. She was not interested in this conversation. She was not happy about sharing with this man. She didn’t trust him, and not in the average stranger danger sense. There was something sinister about him, something inherently off about him, and she simply couldn’t shake it. Maybe it was the unfeeling look on his face or perhaps it was his eyes…ice blue just like…that thing that entered her home, her life, and tore her world apart piece by piece.
She was lucky apparently, that the Pierce’s were willing to take her in, give her their name, and a part of their strong British legacy. It wasn’t that she wasn’t grateful, because she was, she truly was, but she still didn’t feel right closing her eyes every night and waking up without her twin Angelo throwing little beanie babies at her to awake her, without little Dante jumping on the bed when she still refused to rise. She didn’t feel right without her mothers solemn eyes staring down at her, and sometimes, just sometimes, she missed her father, missing though was different than loving.
She had hated him. She had hated how he had treated their mother, the way he hurt her for even the slightest mistake or no mistake at all. Helena could hear his furious rant now “How dare you?! Are you an idiot? You dumb, stupid woman”. A steak just a little too red, and she got a fist to her eye. Oh! And how she hated the way he had treated Angelo, all because he didn’t want to take over the family business. Maybe the family business was why it had happened; it seemed too easy to blame it all on her father though. She had known he had a target on his back, that was clear, but the whole family…as much as she would like to blame it on the disgusting man she couldn’t. Soon though she was pulled out of her dark hatred for the deceased.
“Your anger is stifling.” The dark haired man across from her commented coldly “That’s why you fight so much, because you can’t get to the man you really want to hurt” Helena frowned not only did he pull her out of her rambling thoughts but he waved the fact that the monster was free right in front of her nose. She could see clearly now why the government employed him, had he been an optional therapist no one would go to him. No, he was a court-ordered therapist for “criminals”. ‘Honestly, if I had known I would’ve been landed with this guy I wouldn’t have fought so much’ she thought furiously her hand rubbed her collarbone gently, a habit she had since she was a child, but then she was rolling the chain of her silver cross. Now each time she did it she was reminded of what the man had ripped off her neck before exiting her sight forever. “Live it up” she sighed in response “You only have 18 months before my time seeing you is over, and that’s by order of the court hon.” Her voice was even yet almost in a hiss. She saw him smirk in reaction “That is if they deem you rehabilitated and they consult me. Better start sucking up, hon.” This guy was a real piece of work. “I’m not the type” she spat her eyes flaring, there was no way she was going to kiss up to him even if it meant more time with this… individual. “Maybe you should be. Perhaps if you had begged they would have left Dante. Donnie you said you called him…little Donnie?”
Why? Why would anyone do this? Or better yet, why would anyone take pleasure from doing this? Yes, she blamed herself. Everyday she screamed and yelled at the mirror tearing herself apart because she knew she could have done more. Everyday Ben came and comforted her afterwards, Benjamin Pierce the son of the people that took her in, and her best and only friend. He had always been their for her, and he was the only one who still said ‘Helena Rosa Bertinellli’ the only one she didn’t have to lie to.
“No answer, huh? Why do you touch your collarbone when thinking?” Her eyes flashed towards him again “When I had a cross I rolled it back and forth.” His eyes seemed to flash with fear at the word, and she made a mental note of what made his skin crawl. “Why don’t you now?” He asked as he picked up that wretched pen of his and began scribbling again. “He took it from me before he left…” she whispered softly. She didn’t have the heart to buy another. She merely prayed, and prayed, and prayed that Dante was safe, that was all she asked. She had spent eleven years searching for him. He was six when he was taken away, and now would she even recognize the little boy she once knew? Would he recognize her, now a twenty-two year old woman? Helena shook her head and looked back at Dr. Scratch who was smirking now. She exploded.
“Look! why don’t we just call it a day. In fact, lets call it a day everyday! Because you…and this is all worthless!” she yelled leaping up from her seat her soft face contorted in anger “Is it now” Scratch mused. “Oh! You need to shut your mouth. And stop scribbling! You writing thoughts down and telling me what I obviously already know, is pointless. You are pointless! You think just because you have a pretty little framed doctorate that you get it. Its obvious you don’t. How could you?! You lack empathy! You don’t care about the people who come in here and lets be honest you know you can’t help them. You know you shouldn’t be in this field of work. And you KNOW that until I know that my little brother is safe and happy and in a warm bed every night that I can’t sleep easy. I can’t relax! And if God can’t give me that neither can you!”
“Oh but I can” Dr. Scratch leaned back “I can give you all that you want, when god won’t. He refuses you darling, I refuse no one.” Helena furrowed her brows and sat back down “Don’t. God gave me eleven years of peace. It was a gift. God helped me.” Dr. Scratch threw up his hands and smirked “Hey, all I’m saying is I can help you…can help Dante.” “How?” she hissed. “Easy, it’s a quid pro quo sort of situation. Your smart girl you know what that means. I give you what you desire. In this case Dante’s safety and happiness, a good kind life, which in turn will help you out, I mean how long has it been since you got a good nights sleep. And you…you give me your soul. After centuries there is still just no nice way of putting that.” “How will I know you held up your end of the bargain.” “I’ll give you mirror you can see him through it whenever you like. Now is that a deal?”
Helena made no hesitation “Yes.” came out of her mouth like lightning, and approached him swiftly to finish the deal. Grabbing her arm Dr. Scratch used his razor sharp pointer finger, positioned tactfully over her wrist to cut into her skin. His black nail now dripping crimson with her blood he pointed to the line, and looked at her smiling. Helena proceeded to hold her bleeding wrist over it and the blood spilled generously onto the yellow crumbling paper, which the devil then rolled up and put in his briefcase. “Still sticking to paper huh.” Helena whispered. The devil looked at her and smirked as he gave her a golden mirror “What can I say? I’m old fashioned.”
That was the last time she was Dr. Scratch for years. She lived still with Ben, who cared for her and saw her finally become happy. She watched Dante grow up from afar from a seventeen-year-old boy into a budding young man. The mirror became her obsession, and Ben though he did not know why she loved it so much just smiled and laughed. Eventually though the day had to come when the devil came back for her and that day is where our story picks up again. And that day, was the day Ben was going to ask Helena to marry him. He didn’t care that they never dated. He didn’t care about her past. He didn’t care that she was still hurt. He cared about her. He loved her. And though he knew that she may never say the words, he knew Helena loved him. It was in her smile, in the way she refused to let him cook. How she went to him when frightened, and how her eyes twinkled when she saw him. Whether she liked it or not, he knew.
Helena was only just cleaning up dinner when she heard the strange beating of horse hooves on the cold autumn ground. It didn’t even register in her mind that it could be him. And so she walked back into the living room to watch a movie with Ben. Helena glanced at the ground when she saw him, he was smiling at her, she should be used to it but, it still made her blush at times. ‘Stupid girl’ she thought angrily and plopped down at the couch next to him grabbing a blanket for the cold. It was strangely cold for autumn, unnaturally cold. A horse neighed outside, and both she and Ben jumped out of their seats. The neigh, it didn’t sound right, the horse seemed to shriek. No, it couldn’t be. “Helena…” a familiar voice boomed from outside. “It’s time.” Her blood ran cold and she instantly looked at Ben. She wanted more time with him, she wanted to tell him, but she knew she couldn’t. “I’m so sorry.” She whispered her eyes sparkling with budding tears. Helena couldn’t bear to look into his soft, confused green eyes any longer. She ran.
The devil was mounted on a white horse with black eyes, no pupils, no whites, just black eyes. He looked down at her “I gave you what you wished.” He said waiting for her to protest as most did. “Yes.” She said “Donnie is well. You did all I asked.” Scratch seemed surprised and smiled slowly “You accept it then?” Helena looked up “Yes.” He outstretched his hand to help her onto his horse, and just as she was about to take it Ben burst outside. “Helena!” he cried “Helena, no! Don’t you leave me.” She saw his eyes water and she crumbled inside. “Ben…” she whispered, “I have no choice. I have to go with him.”
“I don’t understand, you…and him? I thought we…”
“No! Ben, I…I would never be with him. We made a deal. Dante’s happiness for my soul”
Just as she spoke these words the horse’s head turned towards him and suddenly his face flooded with understanding. “Please…there has to be some way” he whispered. “There isn’t” she said and watched as he collapsed. Helena ran to him wrapping her arms around him “Your going to be okay. There is some frozen lasagna in the freezer and plenty of leftovers. You can finish the popcorn yourself and - ” Ben looked at her and said “I don’t want to finish the popcorn alone, okay. I don't want to do anything without you...god damn it Helena" his voice shook as he portrayed the very feelings he had been hiding for years "I wanted to eat every damned single bag of popcorn with you for the rest of my life"
Suddenly Helena understood, and she kissed him. For the first time in a long time she expressed her emotions and kissed him. She loved him, with all her heart she did. All she wanted was a few more days with him. Helena knew that wasn’t going to happen though, and the devils voice called her back over to the horse. “Time to go” he said, and she kissed Ben once more on the forehead before returning to the Devils side, holding back tears.
Scratch lifted her onto the horse and as they rode of she turned around to see Ben convulsed on the ground his face wet with tears calling out “I’ll fight for you! Helena! I’ll fight for you!” Helena’s face was stricken as she saw the event of her childhood through the eyes of Dante being pulled away from the only thing he had left. Except now it was her, and she would never see Ben again. “Oh god please let him find a way please!’ she thought frantically, hope the only thing she had left.
The devil then looked back at her “Sad isn’t it.” He muttered. And sliding one hand into his jacket pocket he took out her silver cross and said “I thought I’d return this to you”.