Kelly was too distraught to respond. Her parents looked back and forth between them in shock and disbelief. They scolded him for saying such nonsense about his sister and reminded him the penalty of such accusations.
They killed witches. And forever after their entire bloodline would be shamed and scrutinized. Some of the families of accused witches were regularly attacked and burgled. People were relentless in this regard and they all knew it.
Octavian spoke more softly when he said “I know the consequences but I also know it is true. I do not believe that she knew she was a witch, maybe she still doesn’t know, but it’s true nonetheless.”
Their parents looked at him then at her in utter shock. They were saying that it just couldn’t be. But if Octavian said it then it must be true. He had always been known as a most upstanding and honest person. Octavian always told the truth.
Kelly had always cautioned him about his blatant honesty. She had asked him when they were kids if he ever had to choose between truth and lie, would he lie to save a life. He had been honest then too. No. He would not lie. She had never imagined that it would be her life in jeopardy.
She ran at him swinging her fists and screaming the words she had heard their father use when he thought they couldn’t hear him.
Octavian ran to the far side of the room away from her and her father caught her in his arms and held tight. Their mother sat heavily on the bed and cried.
Kelly fought to get free so she could pummel her brother into oblivion but her father held firm and eventually she exhausted her efforts and collapsed into his arms.
“How can he say such awful things about me father? Why would he want me to die?” Kelly cried into her father’s chest.
Her father held her tighter than ever before and when he released her, he put his arm around her shoulder and led her from the room.
They walked silently down the halls, past the bedrooms, down the stairs, across the foyer, through the dining room, then the kitchen. They were now in a place that was new to Kelly. She had never gone through the kitchen like this and had no idea this passage existed.
They descended a downward spiraling stair case of stone and came out in a stone room with a door on the other side. Her father lifted a giant ring of keys from a hook on the wall and began looking through them.
Once he had found the one he had been searching for he moved over to the dresser in the corner. As he rummaged through the drawers, Kelly wondered what he could possibly be doing.
“Father? Why did we come down here? What is this place?” questioned Kelly.
She thought she heard him let out a sobbing breath but couldn’t be sure since she had never heard her father cry about anything.
When he turned around, he held a long red cloth in his hand. He didn’t answer her but instead gestured for her to follow him. He then went over to the door and unlocked it. The hallway beyond was dark and Kelly was beginning to feel afraid.
When she didn’t move he went in through the door and came back an instant later with a torch. He lit the torch and once more gestured for her to follow.
All of this was very strange and she was unsure what to do. She really didn’t want to go through that door but her father was there and would never let anything happen to her. He would keep her safe.
She took a dep breath and went forward. Once they were inside, her father closed the door behind them and locked it. She asked why he did that and where they were but he still didn’t answer.
She tried to look around but it was difficult to make out what kind of room they were in while her father had the torch turned the other way.
Her father returned to her side and took her by the arm. He pulled enough to indicate that he wanted her to keep going but still said nothing. She was now afraid. Her father was never like this.
They came to the end of the hall and stopped at another doorway. When her father opened the door, there was another door; one made of bars. Her father sat the torch just inside the door, pulled her inside the room and closed the barred door.
He crossed the room to a night table and began lighting candles that were placed all around the room. “Father, what is this place?!” Kelly couldn’t keep the fear from her voice.
He still didn’t answer and she was beginning to get angry toward him. Another new thing. She was about to resort to something she hadn’t done since she was a toddler; she was going to make a demand of her father.
Just as she opened her mouth, he pointed toward the corner. She turned to look and his arms came over her and placed the cloth around her mouth. She struggled but he was much stronger than she was and the surprise and the fact that this was her father kept her from resisting to her fullest.
She was trying to ask what he was doing and tell him that the cloth was too tight and was hurting her face but couldn’t speak around the cloth. She tried to remove the cloth herself but found her arms bound behind her back.
Her father was leading her toward the small old bed that was against the far wall. She was fighting harder now but to no avail. She was in total shock. He turned her around her forced her to sit on the bed. He then raised his finger to indicate she should stop before she regretted not cooperating.
She knew the gesture well. It was one he always made when no further argument would be tolerated.
She glared at him from the bed; confused, afraid and crying.
He came over, lifted her up, turned her around and removed the shackles he had put on her just a few seconds ago. She pulled her hands in front of her and began rubbing her wrists.
He grabbed and held her hands for a moment, still not saying a word. Then he raised her hands up a bit and pulled them toward her right. A second later there was a clanking sound followed by another.
She tried to bring her hands around again but was only able to get them as far as her sides. She pulled but it only caused her pain.
She was crying harder now as she asked him why he was doing this to her through the cloth. She didn’t understand. He met her eyes and for the first time she saw that he was crying too. “It is better this way.” he said.
Then he left her alone and shackled to the wall. She heard the doors being closed and locked and listened to her father’s retreating footfalls until they disappeared.
She sank onto the little old bed and let the heartbreak of the entire day wash over her. She cried and screamed until she fell asleep.
Copyright©2019 Jennifer Treece
End of Story one-Part three
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