Originally posted 2016-06-10 20:00:37.
When I was young, life was easy. My family had money and power and I did not want for anything. My four siblings (3 sisters and 1 brother) and I roamed our massive house and gardens, pretending we were fighting Feodas when our parents were not looking. By the time I turned 8, my eldest sibling Louisa, was married off to a neighboring family when she was only 13. Even though I was so young at the time, I already understood that once I was of age, the same would happen to me. Girls were married off for property or power and with four daughters, my father had a chance to gain plenty of both.
Once Louisa was gone, I was in charge of the younger children since I was the eldest girl and my older brother, Benjamin was busy learning from Father to take over the family fortune when he was older. Aleena and Marella (2 and 3 years my junior respectively) were a handful for an 8 year old and there were was a time when I hid from them for hours just to get a break and I left the children to their own devices. They hunted the grounds for me and cried for food and attention. I watched them as they searched, craving love and attention as well and praying for a time when I could be married off to a family that would love me and want me around, not use me. Once my time alone grew tiresome, I came out of hiding, running to the girls. We held one another and sobbed as I promised them I would never leave them alone again.
During this time, Mother grew strange, she spent many hours in bed and would not even come out for meals. I overheard the cook and servants saying that she was with child and something was wrong. Mother believed that she was possessed by a demon and needed to have the baby removed. I could hear her screaming from her room at night that the demon was eating at her insides, stealing her secrets. When the shouting started, Aleena and Marella would come to my room and we would hide under the blankets, singing songs to drown out the sounds. Even Benjamin would join us when the noise was too much to bare. He would wrap us in his large arms and whisper that he would always protect us from the monsters that invaded our home.
A few weeks passed and eventually the screaming stopped. Benjamin said that the baby was gone and Mother was recovering. The girls and I were happy and hopeful to get our mother back, whereas Benjamin doubted that she would ever be right in the head again. He snuck into her chamber and would watch her lay there with an empty expression on her face and listen to her whispering about monsters and demons. Benjamin only told me this and I kept it from the younger children, letting them feel hope. More time passed and Mother started coming to dinner. The younger children were so happy that they would talk her ear off during the meal, not noticing that her eyes were glassy and vacant. Her lips would move in silent words as if she was whispering curses. Father would eat in silence or make small talk with Benjamin, never looking at Mother.
On the day of my 9th birthday, Mother was up early baking in the kitchen. A soft glow flooded her cheeks and she smiled at me as I approached. “Hello my dear. Happy Birthday.” She reached out and hugged me tight and I felt relief wash over me as I returned her embrace. My mother was finally back to us. “Sit down over there, I make you a special birthday cupcake.”
“Thank you Mommy!” I yelled and ran to the table to sit down. I was so excited to taste the wonderful sweet treat that my Mother had made just for me. I heard the pitter patter of little feet coming down the hall.
“Mommy! Mommy is up!” Marella exclaimed as she ran into the kitchen. She jumped up and reached out her hands to our Mother. “Up Mommy up!” I watched my mother as she smiled softly to Marella, picking her up in a tight squeeze.
She placed her down gently as Aleena entered the kitchen. “My Aleena ,” she whispered as she stroked my sisters pretty blond hair.
Aleena beamed up at my mother with bright eyes, “Mother, I am so happy to see you,” she glanced over at the counter, “you baked us sweets!”
“This is not for you,” my mother snapped. “This is for your sister’s birthday!” I could see a dejected look come over Marella and Aleena ‘s faces and I smiled a bit to myself, happy that this sweet was made just for me. My mother brought over the cupcake and sat it in front of my face. It smelled wonderful and I could not wait to taste the sweet sugar on my tongue. The icing was large and pink and the yellow cake was soft and warm. Aleena and Marella sat across from me at the table, little tears formed in their eyes as they watched me pick up the treat and take a huge bite out of it.
The flavor was intense and I was instantly filled with a sugar high. The sour tasting sprinkles tickled my tongue as I took more and more bites of the delicious cake. I looked up to my mother and smiled at her with pink icing and cupcake crumbs all over my face. Her eyes were dark and sad, and she looked away from me quickly, “Take the children to play , Morgana. I need my rest. “
“Of course Mother,” I said, happy to have this time and the treat, but sad that it was over so soon. “Let’s go girls.” I took each of them in their little hands and led them to the gardens. We passed Benjamin as we went for the door, his eye was swollen and the skin was black and blue. “What happened to you Brother?” I asked as I touched his eye gently.
He recoiled from me and I could hear the croak in his voice, “Happy Birthday, my dear sweet sister.” He embraced me and pulled back quickly, handing me a small package wrapped in scraps of paper. He smiled at me quickly and ran out the door.
“What is it?! What is it Morgana?” Marella chirped. I opened up the package and looked at the small, leather bound book with the words Nightmares and the Monsters Inside written across the cover. A golden bookmark stuck out of the pages. When I turned to the words, it was a chapter called The Demons Live Within. I looked closer at the binding and written tight within the margins were the words, “You cannot trust Mother.” in my brothers script.
“Let’s go play girls.” I led them out to the yard and made my way to a tree where I sat and began to read the text. Every word was enchanting, every phrase compelling, and every sentence hit right at home. I read the entire book in Mother was sick in her mind. She was probably possessed or worse. I had to do something, I had to save her from herself. Tomorrow, I thought, tomorrow I would save my family. But tomorrow never would come.
I woke in the night feeling feverish. I was shivering and sweating all at the same time. My body ached as my head spun. Something was wrong. I was too weak to yell for help or to even try and get up. I vomited in my bed and sobbed as turning my head was almost too much to bare. It was hours before my brother came to check on me followed closely by Marella and Aleena. Our Father walked in before they could get too close. “Stay back children, she has the plague. Go get your mother to tend to her.”
Aleena ran off to grab our mother as I laid there trying not to pass out. I am not sure how long I was out but I woke to my Mother dabbing a wet cloth on my forehead. “Mommy,” I whispered, “what is happening to me?”
She placed the cloth in a basin of water and wrung it out before putting it on my head again, “Do not call me that! Do not use my daughter’s words and body to spread your falsities!”
“What are you talking about Mother?” I whispered breathlessly.
“Shut up!” she screamed, “You shut your mouth! You and your demon brethren have invaded my home and have taken over my children, but today I will put a stop to you and your kind. Today, I will end it.” She stood up off my bed, “Oh Aleena and Marella, it is time for your bath!” She looked at me with those cold, dead eyes and emotionless expressions on her face, “I will finish them off first, then come back for you, the poison seems to be doing the trick. May God have mercy on your soul.” She kissed my cheek and left the room, closing the door behind her.
I tried to yell, scream, do anything to make noise, but my body was weak and with every word more bile and now blood would come out of my mouth. I flopped my body onto the hard floor and started to crawl to the door. My vision faded in and out and the room spun all around me. I closed my eyes to try and focus, I needed to be strong and work hard to save my sisters.
My chamber door busted open and Benjamin came running in. “Morgana! Morgana!” he spoke shaking me gently.
“Save them,” I exhaled as my vision grew dark.
Everything after that happened in flashes. I remember Benjamin propping me up and helping me to the door of my room, meeting Mother in the hallway her shirt soaking wet, being placed on the floor and propped up against the wall while my brother drove at Mother.
There was screaming and shouting and blood. I tried to focus my eyes and saw Benjamin laying on the floor beside me, his throat slit from one side to the other. I looked up and saw a silver knife glinting in my mother’s hands. I felt the tears well up in my eyes as I stared at her. “What…what did…you do?” I said with labored breaths.
She stared at me, “You are the last demon spawn left, you will now meet the fate of your siblings and I will send your souls to Heaven.” I looked into the room in front of me as I tried to stand and saw the small bodies of my sisters lifeless and floating in the wash basin. I gasped and vomited up more blood as hysterical sobs filled my body. “Your fake emotions will not fool me, God has shown me the way and I will not disappoint him. I will fulfill my task.” Her steps were slow and purposeful, as she walked over to me, the dagger sharp in her hands.
“Fiona! What have you done?” I heard my father’s voice like a dream.
“You know what I am doing! I am saving their souls! These children, these spawn, are possessed and it is our duty to take care of them!” She spun towards him, “Egan, will you help me?”
My father walked up, arms open in an embrace to my mother and I slumped on the floor as my body grew weaker. “I’m so sorry Fiona, I am so so sorry.” I looked up right as my father plunged a knife into my mother’s back.