Hello again dear readers! I have surfaced from the dark and gloomy forest of “real life” to bring you another post! This one is a creative writing assignment I submitted earlier this year. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. I hope you enjoy, and see you in another year!
Aellonor sat at the window, hypnotized by the crashing waves. The cool breeze tickled her cheek and ruffled the loose strands of her matted hair. This was the closest she got to freedom. Melodic whispers sprung from her mouth and floated into the wind. To the untrained ear they sounded like birdsong. The setting sun bathed her tower-top cell in its dying light and she shut her eyes to its glare. Her whole body quivered as she muttered.
Suddenly Aellonor was back in her woodland home. The heady aroma of damp leaves replaced the salty tang of the coast. A broad smile spread across her face as she felt the grass beneath her feet. The forest sighed; “welcome home.” Her small hovel nestled amongst dense undergrowth still looked how she remembered. The wood had protected it for her, kept it safe while she was away. It knew she would be back soon and it had missed her.
One day a party of dangerous men had stumbled upon her while she was out picking mushrooms. They had enjoyed chasing her through the woods, hunting dogs snapping at her heels. She knew the forest well, but she was outnumbered and unprepared. After many hours of relentless torment they trapped her in a tight gully. She lashed out at them; fought tooth and nail, like a mother bear defending her young. The dogs cowered in fear and would not go near her.
“Pelt her with rocks!” one hunter shouted, “She ain’t strong enough to beat rocks.”
“Don’t damage her too much,” said another malevolently, “I’ve got a plan for her.”
Eventually Aellonor became too weak to resist their torment. They dragged her away, back to their homes as the ultimate trophy. She let out a long, primal wail that the forest seemed to echo back at her.
The click of the lock snapped Aellonor out of her trance. The haggard old crone shambled in through the door and watched Aellonor warily through her one good eye.
“Don’t try no funny bisnuss,” she said, “I don’t wanna hafta tie yew down for bein’ foolish.”
Aellonor said nothing; only glared. Hatred smouldered in her eyes, and the crone felt the rage burning into her as she set down a basin of water and some towels.
“Yur lordship is comin’ tomorrow, so yew need to do summin’ about the smell. Wash yersel’ down and change yer clothes. I’ll be to check on yew later. Yer a disgustin’ creature, I dunno how he can stand to put his cock in yew.”
Aellonor hissed and spat as the crone backed out of the room. She would do no such thing. She didn’t care if his lordship wasn’t happy. He could hardly treat her any worse. Her stomach growled as she returned to her birdsong. A crowd of seabirds answered her as they flew about the cliff-face at the bottom of her tower.
A lone bird, she recognized as a Chough, broke off from the flock and flew up to greet her. Aellonor held out her hand and the bird landed on it happily. It cawed and fixed its beady eye on her filthy face. They stared at each other for a moment, and the bird seemed to give the faintest nod of assent. It knew what needed to be done. Aellonor smiled, showing sharp, discoloured teeth, and clasped the bird gently in both hands. It didn’t struggle as she hopped down from the window ledge. She closed her eyes and said a small prayer. Then, quick as a flash, she snapped its neck.
Aellonor tore the bird’s chest open and sunk her teeth into the warm flesh. Blood squirted through her fingers and down her face. Its metallic tang filled her nostrils and awoke a hunger in her. His lordship was sparing with her meals, he thought it made her more docile. Little did he know nature was sustaining her. Body and mind.
With the greatest care, she peeled off the Chough’s skin in one piece and set it aside. Usually one bird would last several days, but there was no point in saving any this time. One way or another it would be her last night in this tower.
Now that her cell was illuminated only by candlelight it felt smaller than ever. The only furniture, a giant feather bed that dominated the room, cast massive shadows that flickered and danced on the bare stone walls. It was made up with thick cotton sheets and soft animal furs. Only the best for his lordship. The crone had been in to change them earlier in preparation for the visit. He would only stay one night, but the sheets would smell of him for days after. Tangy sweat and cheap wine, his personal fragrance. She refused to ever sleep in the bed. For her it was a prison within a prison.
The shackles had been her own fault. The first time his lordship had clambered on top of her, deep in his drink, she had fought back viciously; clawing at his face and wrenching his cock. She almost pulled it off. The next time he visited, he made the foolish mistake of leaving her ungagged. As he ran his blubbery lips up her neck, breathing wine fumes on her, she sunk her teeth into his ear and wrenched it as hard as she could. The bite didn’t go all the way through, but almost. The lord screamed; wailed with sheer animal rage. He beat her so hard and for so long that she cracked several ribs, and lost a tooth. He didn’t care too much what she looked like. All he wanted from her was a cunt and a heartbeat.
Every time since then, and there had been so many now she had lost count, the crone would supervise her restraint. It took four burly soldiers to capture her, even in that tiny room. Aellonor screamed at them; she kicked, clawed, bit, spat. Anything she could to fight them off. But they always got the better of her. Sometimes it took a smack to the head for good measure before they would pick her up. When she was tied to the bed she would writhe like a snake, throwing her body around like she was possessed.
“You’re a fucking feral bitch,” his lordship would say. “But that’s what’s so great about it, I feel like I’m fucking Mother Nature herself. Hopefully our kids will have your spirit.”
She would not give him the satisfaction of bearing his children. Twice now the worst had happened, and she had felt them growing inside her. But they didn’t last long. She knew how to destroy them, even with limited tools at her disposal.
Aellonor shuddered at the memory. It had crept up on her while she devoured the bird. She threw what remained of its carcass aside and turned her attention to the skin. It was the last one she needed. Aellonor scuttled over to the bed and reached under it, pulling out a great cloak. It was a patchwork of feathers; grey, black, white. Tones of purple and green shimmered in the candlelight. The way she had sewn it mimicked a bird; great wings spread out from a downy body. It had taken her many years to finish, but now she had the final piece.
Aellonor snapped the wings off the skin in her hand and lay the body flat on the cloak in the last blank spot. The wings she arranged carefully in their place at the very edge. She ran over to the darkest corner of the room and muttered to a spider that lived there. It gifted her with several yards of fine spider silk, which she threaded through a small bone needle. She sewed the final pieces into place deftly, aware that the crone would soon return to make sure she had washed.
Finally the cloak was complete. Aellonor draped it about her shoulders and felt the weight of the feathers shifting as she tied it about her neck. There she stood; dark and resplendent, draped in feathers. She clutched the corners in her hands and lifted her arms, admiring the way her wings flapped. The feathers sounded like wind in the leaves as they rustled against each other. The sound make her shudder with excitement. She could taste freedom already. She said a prayer of thanks to the birds that had helped, and to the spider whose silk held her creation together. Without them she would have had no hope.
The stone felt cool under her feet as she climbed onto the window ledge. Moonlight cast an ethereal glow over the now calm sea. Aellonor let it wash her clean. She looked down at the waves breaking on the rocks. Each crash reminded her of the risk she was taking. She said one last prayer to her Earth Goddess, the one who had kept her alive all these years. Live free or die.