The world seems hazy, like clouds have drifted into my vision and blinded me, forcing me to rely on my other senses. I listen, open up my ears to the world, but hear nothing except the occasional thud of heavy, ghost-like footsteps off in the distance. And then it is quiet, everything goes quiet, like all sound has been voided out of my ears, gone forever, leaving me trapped inside a prison that I don’t know how to escape. Suddenly, I feel the pounding in my head, a sharp, shooting pain, that won’t go away. My lungs feel like they have been stuffed with cotton, slowly suffocating my body into a long and ainful demise.
A figure cloaked in black has me pinned against the floor, a dagger with a gleaming gold handle is pressed against my collarbone, and a small drop of blood has begun to pool around the blistering wound. I try to push the figure away, but he only presses the knife further into my skin, for the more I resist, he says, he will only make me endure this cruel suffering for longer. My chest is heaving. My throat has gone dry. I seem to have lost the ability to move my legs, for they have gone numb all but long ago. And then the figure disappears, swirling way in a whirlwind of black, which slowly begins to fill the already darkened room.
And then I am falling. Falling. Falling. I sit up, gasping for air. Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out. My chest slowly fills with air again, but not before my head is spinning in a million different directions, sending a pain greater than a thousand deaths into my already weakened body. I am quaking with fear, unable to comprehend what has happened to me, both physically and mentally. I am going insane. Insane. Insane. Insane. The words taunt me, getting faster and louder with every second. Faster, Faster. Faster.. Suddenly, I feel an icy blast on my back, and hear a heavy door slamming.
I must be in a room, I think to myself, as footsteps seem to edge closer to me, closer, closer, even closer. My whole body tenses, prepared for something terrifying and deadly, as I seem to remember one thing before I was chased by my nightmares into this strange reality: an ear piercing scream, one that belonged to a person I knew. A person I knew. A person I knew… My daughter. Dead. Murdered in her sleep by the very same person whose cold, bony hand is resting on my shoulder, ending unwanted shivers down my spine, and making his heartless presence known with his short, raspy breaths. Hello Aaron,” he says coldly.
My heart stops beating for a split second. And then I remember. The voice, his voice, his dark, wheezing voice. It was the one in the dream. The dream where he stabbed my daughter to death, and tortured me until I agreed to his plan. His plan. His plan. His plan. I bolt upright. It wasn’t a dream. I remember that day like it was just yesterday, the memory suddenly fresh in my mind. My head is pounding now, pounding in fear and anticipation of the horrifying, gruesome details of hat somber night. Pounding. Pounding. Pounding..
The candles flicker in the windowsill, illuminating the raindrops that are speckled on the glass pane. A soft glow is radiating off of the hearthside, and everything seems as it should be, quiet and still, and nothing is moving besides my shadow, posed behind me in a eerie sort of way. Iturn around, feeling exhausted and quite ready to retire to my bedroom chamber, when there is a soft rap on the door. Just once. “How strange,” | murmur to myself under my breath. The hour is late, and the night cold and bitter. No person should be here tonight. No person should ever be here, especially with the curfew.
Years ago Prince Prospero had declared a warning to the people of his Kingdom. “No man shall be seen lurking in the streets past the tenth hour of every night,” he ordered. “And if any of you dare break this, I can assure you that you will be executed as soon as you do. ” Since then, no one has ever dared to so much as open their door past dusk, and l’m surprised when my feet begin to guide me towards the entrance of our small, rundown hut. I creep closer and closer to the door, making sure not to make a sound. The figure at the door knocks again. Just one short rap.
All of a sudden l am overwhelmed with a feeling of doubt. It fills my head, and I stop. Silently, I turn around and tiptoe back towards the bedchamber. I don’t know why or how somebody is at the door right now, but I mustn’t answer them. ******* I have just extinguished the small candle in my hand, when a loud “CRASH” comes from the direction of the front of our hut. The stranger has entered our house. I panic. Beads of sweat drip down my face and my stomach is fluttering with nerves. Footsteps get louder and louder, pounding outside of my door, ausing for just a second, and then my door creaks open.
A terrible, agony filled, heart-wrenching sound fills my ears and surrounds me in all directions. I have lost control of my body, and I do not know where the ear-piercing sound is coming from. Reality suddenly hits me like waves crashing together in the ocean. The sound is coming from my daughter. It is too late to do anything though, for the screams have been muted, and the figure is hunched over me, a dagger clenched between his gleaming black gloves… “What do you want from me? ” I spit, angered by the way he can ring back the memories that are still so painful, so fresh in my mind.
I am angered that he would have the audacity to kill my innocent daughter, Juliette, without so much as the bat of an eyelash. Oh God how much I miss her. A cloud of anger fills my vision, and before I realize it, I am on my feet, yanking his shirt collar towards me and wrapping my other hand around his neck. “Tell me, Prospero,” I scream. “Tell me why you had to kill her. Why did you have to drag me here into your eternal prison and kill my daughter! She was the only person I ever cared about, and you had to take it away from me. I am crying now.
Feeling the pain of losing my only hope, losing the light that had guided me through everything in my life. I clench my hand tighter around his neck. “TELL ME!! ” | scream at the top of my lungs, starting to hyperventilate. “Because,” he chokes. “She was dying, Aaron. Already leaving you behind. And you were so selfish that you couldn’t let her go. So we did,” he spits out, coughing and wheezing as a result. I drop him on the floor, angered in a way that I never felt possible. I am a monster now. My body is quivering with a sudden rush of adrenaline, and I am completely taken over by rage, my oisoned body shaking with it.
I don’t care who suffers anymore. l want revenge.. I storm out of the room, barely aware that every part of me has turned red, and I am dripping with venomous blood. I am so taken over by my own anger and grief, I don’t care who will feel it with me. In fact, I want the masqueraders to feel everything. I want them to feel the pain ripping through my soul. I want them to suffer through the pounding in my head that is threatening to split my scalp apart. But most of all, I want them to know that I am out for revenge. Bittersweet revenge. And nothing will ever get in my way. Not even Prospero.