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Catena of Love and Death
The girl was running. She always was, at night, the gas lamps lit, the sky a muddy black, trying to get home after working as a seamstress in the marketplace. She would always stay until the last customer had gone home, make the most money she could for her sick mother and her younger brother. Her mother. She wondered where she was going to get more medicine for her. She had to stay alive. If not, her little brother would be forced to go to an orphanage. She could remember those poor, young children, their faces smeared with grime, their hands turned black from working in harsh factories, their cheeks hollow from starvation. No, she couldn’t allow that to happen to her brother.
It was then that she noticed the footsteps. They were loud, going as fast or faster than hers were. She sprinted. She knew he must’ve come up behind her while she was lost in her thoughts. Normally, she wouldn’t have to worry about this. She was faster than most people. But she was too tired, too much work, too little sleep, and her long skirt was tangling around her feet. The man was gaining on her. No! She thought. If he caught her, he would kill her, Nathaniel, her brother, wouldn’t survive.... no matter what she would go faster.
She ran. But he was gaining, he was gaining. She forced her legs to go faster. She was heaving. She tried. So. Hard.
She tripped, ripping her dress. She heard a sound of pleasure emit from the man, as the dim light faded to blackness.
His sister was dead. They had found her body, beaten and broken in an alleyway. This alleyway. Tears streamed down his face as he smashed the toys she had given him against the wall still stained with her blood. His mother was dying, his sister was dead, he would soon be alone. But he didn’t care. All. He wanted. Was. Revenge.
There was a man, standing, smirking. He had killed such a pretty girl last night. No one suspected him. Why would they? He was a rich man, a married man. No one even knew why, day after day, he stood in the same part of the city, in the same place. Looking at the girls.
The sky was getting darker. He decided to go home to his unsuspecting wife. He was disappointed. There had been hardly any pretty ones today. He wasn’t, of course, planning to kill once one got his attention anyway. He was a smart man. He would wait, for now. The man turned on to his street.
A dark shape flung out of a doorway of the corner house. The man let out a yelp in surprise, and then smiled when he saw who it was.
Jut a child. He looked to be about fourteen, the age of his son. It was odd, to the man, that he was standing there, dressed all in black, a soul-killing glare pasted on his face. But the man didn’t notice the boy’s glare.
“Will you please step aside?” he said in his deep voice, used to seduce so many women.
“No.” The boy growled. The man almost laughed, causing the boy’s scowl to deepen.
“Well, excuse me then.” He tried to push past the boy. The boy resisted, tensing, and it was then, in such close contact, that he saw the boy was no idle threat. The boy’s muscles were pumping with adrenaline, strength. Right now, the boy was stronger than him.
A flash of silver. A stab of pain in his stomach. A slow, painful, unavoidable death.
“You killed my sister, Ella, didn’t you?” The boy hissed, pulling his knife out of the man. The man looked into his killer’s eyes. They were green, the same color and shape of the girl he had killed. The boy, looking into the man’s cold, dead, grey eyes, saw that he had. But he didn’t know about the deaths he had prevented that the man would have caused.
A woman opened the door of one of the expensive houses that lined the street, and looked at the boy’s face. The boy bolted.
The woman ran out the door. Was that her husband? Her eyes filled with tears as she saw his deathly pale face and the pool of blood staining the cobblestones around him.
“Daniel!” She shouted, running to him. She knelt over the man, a sob racking her already shaking form. “Daniel, don’t die! Don’t die!”
“L-Louise,” he choked out. She sobbed again. “I-I cheated… on you…” He took a gasping breath. “I love you,” he took another breath, and his body went still.
It was then that her despair turned to anger. It was the boy. The stupid little boy with the green eyes and blonde hair, so inferior to her perfect son. This was. His. Fault.
Nathanial was satisfied, as satisfied as one could be with a dead mother and sister. It had been just now that his mother had died, and there were still tearstains on his face. But he stopped crying now.
Now he was running. He wasn’t sure where he would go, just that it would be with his Rosalie. He smiled at the thought of her. He loved her, he knew. He may have been young, but he knew what love was.
Rosalie hated her life. She would go with him, he was sure. She hated being prim and proper and perfect, being forced to announce she was looking for marriage proposals, at fourteen. He would marry her, if he could, of course, but her parents would never accept him, poor and unimportant. They wanted her to marry someone high up in society, love put aside.
He reached the servants’ door of her grand house, and knocked, knowing she would be waiting for him, as she always was at this time of night.
She came out, falling into his arms. He smiled and lightly kissed the top of her head. Then he explained his need to run, and asked her to come with him. She nodded, and went back into the house.
She came out later, her long blonde curls restrained with a strip of cloth, her pretty blue gown replaced with a working frock that must have come from one of the servants.
They then disappeared into the night.
A week later, they had traveled from London to Oxford, thinking themselves safe. But what they didn’t know was that they were being followed, by a woman and her son.
The son was unhappy. He thought his mother was going insane, obsessing over that other boy. It upset him. One parent dead, the other going insane.
“Tonight is the night, William.” His mother rasped to him. They were sitting alone in a tavern, watching the boy and his girl through the window. Will thought she was a beautiful girl, a nice girl. He liked her, a lot. His mother would scold him if he told her. Or she at least would have before. He didn’t know now. His mother use to want him to finish school, but she had taken him out to go with her, and kill the boy. He knew how to shoot a gun, it was true, but he didn’t want to kill, didn’t want that stain on his soul.
“You have been saying that all week.” The boy said, running his fingers through his dark hair.
“Be quiet,” she hissed. “They are moving,” and she stood up, pulling him with her.
Nathaniel and Rosalie were going to sleep for the night in an inn, much nicer than where they had stayed before. Rosalie slept on the bed. Nate was just about to fall asleep when he heard voices coming from within the wardrobe at the edge of the room.
“Just shoot him you stupid child! Avenge your father’s death!” A voice hissed.
“I don’t want to kill anyone!” Scuffles, feet scraping the wooden bottom, limbs knocking on wood. A woman fell out.
She was gaunt and disheveled, her dress filthy and torn, her hair a greasy clump on top of her head. She was holding a gun.
She walked closer, and he wanted to run. But he didn’t. Instead he quickly pulled himself up and tried to protect Rosalie’s sleeping form.
“Foolish boy.” The woman sneered. “You think I want to kill her?” She tightened her hands on the gun, now pointing it at him, took another step closer. “Though perhaps I should?” She moved it so it was pointing at Rosalie. “After all, you killed my love, perhaps I should kill yours?”
“Mother, no!” a boy then shouted, bursting out of the wardrobe. His blue eyes shined in the dim light from the moon through the window.
“Ah, William. Come do the honors. Kill the girl.” She handed him the gun.
“No!” He growled, throwing the gun across the floor. He joined Nathaniel then, standing in front of Rosalie, who had woken up and was looking around with a dazed expression. The woman dove for the gun.
She shot it. Nathanial saw it coming. The aim was horrible. He saw the bullet as if it were moving in slow motion, going toward Rosalie and the boy. The boy, William, looked terrified, but didn’t move away from Rosalie. He would die if he didn’t move, and Rosalie would die if he did. Nathanial didn’t think the boy deserved it. He dove. There was pain. The woman cackled.
Rosalie saw that terrible woman. Saw the gun. Saw the red explode on Nate’s chest. Saw that blank look in his eyes. Couldn’t believe it. Didn’t want to. Her one true love….was gone? And that other boy, he had been standing there, too. The one who was the evil woman’s son.
The woman ran. The son stayed, staring at the body of Rosalie’s love. Tears same to her eyes. He couldn't possibly be dead. Not him. Not their love. She screamed. The other boy was crying, too, though he had barely known him. Stupid, Rosalie thought.
Rosalie stood, wiping the tears away. She picked up the gun the woman had dropped. She ran.
The woman snickered. Revenge was hers. The stupid boy was dead. She didn’t care what happened to her son. In her in insanity, she no longer loved him. He didn’t want to revenge his father, her love! He could fall off a cliff and she wouldn’t care, not now.
In her insane glee, she didn’t notice the girl running behind her, her golden hair flying around her shoulders, the gun clutched in her hand. There was a shot. It missed. The woman cackled again, hearing angry unladylike curses coming from her pursuer in a high, pretty voice.
Another shot, hitting the woman’s leg. She moaned in pain and fell. A flash of gold. Then there was the girl, on top of her, pointing a gun into her chest; her pretty features twisted with anger and smeared with sweat. The woman screamed hysterically. The girl’s fingers tightened on the gun. There was another shot, impossible to miss.
Rosalie looked around. She hadn’t realized this was an open street. People were staring at her, their expressions those of horror and fright. There was a man in a police uniform walking toward her. She stopped looking at the other people of the crowd, and set her gaze on him, getting off the woman and dropping the gun.
He reached her and grabbed her arm, starting to pull her in another direction. She didn’t resist. She was being led through the crowd when a shadow jumped out of a nearby alleyway.
The boy. He rained his fists down on the policeman, slamming the man’s head into the street again and again.
“Run, girl!” He hissed, getting off the man who had lost conciseness.
Years later, Rosalie and Will arrived in America, safe, finally, from the police, still hunting Rosalie in England.
Rosalie had fallen in love with Will. She had fallen for his black hair and blue eyes, as he had fallen for her in that week in the past. And in return, he had forgiven her for killing his mother, as the others had not.