A Time Long Ago
I’d wanted to go for a walk, just to get out of the castles walls, I needed to get out, sometimes it felt like the walls were smothering me, I’d been here two years now, was it only two? It felt like so much longer, it seemed I was always by myself here, there were other kids here though, one only two years older than my six years of age, but I didn’t think he liked me much, he always seemed to be avoiding me and the other two, I did not like them all that much at all, they were cruel most of the time, they often reminded me of him the man that was supposedly my father, which I sometimes found very hard to believe, I was nothing like him, nothing like any of them really, what with my shining silver hair, none of my half siblings had my looks, I began wondering if maybe the mother I never met or perhaps just didn’t remember looked like me, I hated it, always being by myself, that isn’t to say I didn’t like my own company, I did, I just…sometimes I wished there was someone I could talk to, someone who’d understand, seemed like I’d never find that someone…..
Or at least that’s what I’d believed until today, I’d gone for that walk I wanted around midday, lost in my own day dreams as usual, the only way I could escape the harsh reality that was my life for more than a minute, this of course meant I didn’t hear them until they were upon me, whispering their vicious words like normal, tormenting me because I was only half Zagurian, as if I needed any reminders! I just had to look at his other children to know I didn’t belong.
The court yard of the kingdom was bustling as usual, filled with people from the kingdom, yet none seemed to notice my tormenters but then none ever did, it was because of how crowded the courtyard was that I didn’t see him, the boy close to my age was hanging around, probably out for air himself, no big deal, he was watching though, he didn’t seem too surprised to see how busy the place was but he must have been surprised to find the cluster of his father’s followers that had me surrounded. Me, the same unwanted half sister he’s successfully avoided for two years, I’d tried not to take it personally, he must have had his reasons for avoiding getting too close to me, I could tell instantly he’d noticed me, it wasn’t like my strange silver hair was easy to miss, especially among these cloaked figures.
As if subconsciously compelled he took a few steps towards the gathering around me as if he were trying to see what was going on. My eyes were wide, fearful, why wouldn’t they leave me alone? I tried once more to unsuccessfully step around them, to run away, yet they stopped me, their harsh words bringing tears to my eyes, as they always did, I just wanted to get away, to hide, but there was no way around them, I was trapped as I always was, yet again the feeling of complete powerlessness overwhelmed me.
He’d seen me crying I could tell and the look on his face let me know it bothered him. Even at such a young age and despite his obvious negative feelings towards me I could see he didn’t like seeing a girl cry. He started to move quicker, at almost a jog, his voice ringing out easily “Hey! leave her alone will you? Don’t you guys have something important to do? My father would hate to see his followers slacking off to pick on a six year old…” Whoa those were big words for an eight year old yet I saw the harsh look in his icy blue eyes as he spoke and didn’t doubt he meant them.
They stopped, pausing to turn towards the eight year old son of their leader at his words, seeming to forget about me entirely as they just…stared at him, I seemed to edge backwards, using the distraction to try to hide “You heard me, get!” He barked; waving dismissive hands at them with a continuous glare. They seemed to flinch, the master would be mad if they ignored him, or so they thought, as one they seemed to stumble and turn away, retreating, while I just cowered behind the closest thing I could find, peering out.
He had a smirk of childish satisfaction as he watched them slither away. He then turned back towards me having seen me hiding behind one of the pillars of the courtyard. It was so big I could’ve easily been missed…which was probably what I’d been aiming for, however again my hair gave me away, tentatively, he took a few steps forward. “Did they hurt you?…”
“N..no just cruel words” I stammered from fear, peering at him with wide eyes, unsure why he was speaking to me now, what had changed to make him decide I was worth his company all of a sudden? He rubbed the back of his neck almost absently, avoiding eye contact for a moment “You’re…Amelie, right?” he asked as if he only vaguely remembered it being the name our father had introduced me under.
“Yes…that’s me” I seemed to frown in deep concentration while I searched though my mind for the name he’d been called by, I did have three half brothers and my mind sometimes mixed them up. “You…you are Michael?” I looked up at him only briefly as I asked that. “Yeah, that’s me” He looked at me then his eyes moved over his shoulder to the fountain in the middle of the courtyard constantly flowing with water.
His eyes returned to me almost immediately afterwards and he seemed to motion for me to come out of hiding, the gesture was casual. “Come on, nothing’s gonna hurt you” He tried to reassure me, but that was no easy feat when I’d been harassed so fully “You sure? They are gone right?” I peered out once more before slowly shuffling into view.
“Yeah, they’re gone” he then made his way to the fountain to sit on the ledge without looking back at me even once, I thought that was it, that he was done talking to me now. But once he had his seat he motioned me over to join him. I was seriously wondering if I were imagining this whole thing, was my imagination that good? Still when he beckoned me over I hesitantly followed, unsure what was going to happen now.
“Do you remember anything from before you were brought here?” He sounded like he doubted it, I had only been four. But seemed to think it was worth a shot. He obviously could see I wasn’t like everyone else and it probably made him curious as to where I’d been before this. “No…” My eyes lowered, staring at my hands, if there were fragments then I was unable to recall them, it sometimes made me sad, not knowing where I was from, who my mother was, if she was a better person than the man who called himself my father.
He was silent for a moment after that, I could almost sense what he was thinking, that he’d hate not being able to remember his mother, the whole other side of his family even “Has that happened before? With the followers..” Silence met his question for a moment, should I tell him? Would he care? Finally I found my voice “Few times…usually they get side tracked and I can run away” I didn’t look up, couldn’t bring myself to, not wanting to see the look on his face. However when I did look up he was rubbing absently at his arm as if it pained him and the expression on his face said he knew just how much even words could hurt someone, especially at our age.
“Well, they tend not to bug me, I bet they won’t bug you if we stick with each other” His icy blue eyes flickered to me then, looking like he barely believed what he was offering, I barely believed it myself “Stick with each other?” I echoed the words in disbelief, was he serious? Or trying to play a cruel trick? I had thought he hated me.
“Yeah, not many other kids to hang out with around here, you know? And with the adults being jerks I guess they don’t let many people be your friend.” he shrugged and looked down at the water “I don’t have many friends either, so why not?”
“O…ok then” I smiled somewhat shyly, used to being on my own most of the time, used to nobody wanting me around. “Well then come on, I’ve got some stuff we can do” he gave a soft smile in return and stood, offering a hand to me almost hesitantly, like he hadn’t even held someone’s hand in quite some time. Timidly I lifted a hand to slip it into his, a sudden bright smile curved my lips “Ok then let’s go” I sounded almost excitable, I had no idea where we’d be going but I didn’t mind in the slightest. When I looked at him again, I could see the grin that graced his lips, almost as if he couldn’t help it, hand in hand we headed back into the castle, I wasn’t sure about Michael but I felt like I’d finally found exactly what I was looking for I couldn’t seem to suppress the skip in my step as I walked with him, no longer hated, that was something I never thought I’d feel.
(The beginning of a collaboration series with Michael Zagurian’s player…stay tuned for more and enjoy!)