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The Devil Tainted Us: Chapter 4


“Take out the small plates from the second shelf, Agatha,” mommy tells me, pointing at the cupboard where she keeps most of the expensive plates and cups.

I do as told, bringing the utensils on the countertop. I help mommy fill the plates with pieces of key lime pie that she has made, before putting them on a tray and carrying it towards the garden area where everyone else is chatting.

“Ah, here she is,” dad mutters with a gentle smile that he always offers me, helping me set the tray on the table before pulling me beside him to take a seat.

“We were just talking about you,” he says. The other guests laugh in unison as if dad just cracked a joke. Today Tristen’s family members have visited again to bond with our family more. He is sitting beside Helena, while his parents are on the side couch.

“Your father was telling us about your passion for art.”

I blush, fidgeting with the colorful beads on my frock with my gaze cast down.

“How old are you now, dear?” Tristen’s mom asks, placing her cup of tea on the table and taking a bite of the pie.

“Fourteen,” I barely whisper from shyness.

“And you are pursuing art at such a young age? That is very impressive,” she mutters.

“I want to be an artist when I grow up,” I add, feeling my cheeks flushing.

“I would love to see them actually,” Tristen says, leaning forward with his hands tangling together as they rest on his knees.

Dad caresses my shoulder and nods. “Why don’t you show him, sweetheart? Tristen loves artworks too.”

I nod back and stand up with Tristen following behind me as I guide him towards my room. Luckily, mom tidied my room beforehand so I won’t have to be embarrassed with showing him my room.

It is just like any other normal room with a bed, table, wardrobe and a small shelf. But the right corner is my favorite as I paint there most of the time. My easel, brushes, paint tubes and a few art pieces are there, as Tristen walks towards it and looks at each and every work like he is analyzing them.

He simply watches the landscapes I painted, along with a few rough sketches of trees and flowers, and nods with an appreciative look.

“These are very beautiful.” He wasn’t lying.

I let out a breath of relief, and look everywhere but at him as I whisper a thank you.

“You also have a sketchbook?” he asks with a smirk.

I nod and walk forward to pull out the thick sketchbook, filled with more sketches of landscapes and few still figures. I place it on the table and start showing him.

“I’m very curious to know what inspired your artworks. Will you tell me?”

I nod enthusiastically and start to picture stories after stories that inspired me to pursue art. He sits on the chair beside my aisle and keeps nodding like he is attentively listening to my words. I feel a sense of pride and happiness blooming within me.

But suddenly, I feel him caressing my elbow with the back of his knuckles and for a minute my words falter. A slight uneasiness starts to appear, but I keep talking.

“This one is…when me and mommy went to my grandparents house. They have a small greenhouse there and it has lots of flowers.”

“Is that so?” he asks, inching closer so that I can feel his warmth. I try to take a step back, feeling…wrong. But he grasps my elbow, pulling me closer lightly. My heart starts to hammer against my chest from a sudden fear as I look at him from the corner of my eyes.

“Keep talking. I love listening to your stories,” he whispers against my ear. There is something dark and demanding about his tone that made me afraid. Goosebumps scatter all over my skin, sweat beads starting to form on my forehead. This is wrong…it feels bad.

Why is he so close to me?

“I…I…We-” I stutter.

“I said, keep talking,” he grunts. His hand crawls its way forward as he wraps it around my waist, my side crashing against his chest.

Now my whole body is shivering, I can feel tears of helplessness blurring my sight.

But then footsteps from the hallway echoes to my room, sending relief through my heart of getting safe. Tristen instantly pulls back and stands up, fixing his suit. But the warning look he sent me, makes me look away from the monster standing in front of me.

Helena comes to the doorway with a polite smile. “Your father is asking for you.”

She looks at me and frowns. “What happened, Agatha?”

I open my mouth to answer but Tristen beats me through it and lies. “I think too many compliments about her talent made her emotional. She is having tears of happiness.” He ruffles my hair and walks to my sister.

“Hope to see you again, Agatha,” he mutters over his shoulder before he puts a hand over Helena’s shoulder and both exit my room, leaving me all alone in the midst of fear and shame.

* * *

I have no clue about how many hours passed as I stay in my room. There are no clocks to tell me the exact time. But the weather outside started to turn gloomier and darker with every passing hour, gesturing to the arrival of nightfall.

Suddenly, the rattling of the door makes me sit up in alert as I watch it opening. I expect those men to come back…expected him…but I’m taken aback with surprise when I see a woman dressed in a nun’s attire standing at the doorway.

She seems to be in her mid-twenties with porcelain skin. Her lips and face look pale and cold, almost making her look like a lifeless soul. Her green eyes speculates me from top to bottom as if she is inspecting me like an object.

“You must be the new girl. Agatha, right?” she asks. But silence is my only response.

She offers a dark smirk and steps inside as she closes the door behind her, letting the tension and suspense build up in the room, along in my heart. A set of prayer beads with a rusted cross pendant is wrapped around her right hand. I have always thought the believers of God looked angelic and gentle, but in front of me is a complete opposite example.

She sits on the bed, in front of me, still offering me a heartless smile. She leans her prayer bead wrapped hand forward and takes a loose strand of my dark hair, before caressing it between her thumb and index finger.

“Silence and disobedience won’t lead you anywhere here,” she murmurs in a shrill, detached voice that holds a hint of dark humor.

“Why am I here?” I ask, my hands fisting the bed sheet tightly.

“You are in a place to be treated. Your brother-in-law sent you to us to be cured,” her knuckles brush back the side of my cheek, “-and to repent for your sins.”

I frown in confusion. “Neither am I sick, nor did I commit a sin.”

She chuckles darkly under her breath, looking me straight in the eye as if she can see through my soul.

“Defy how much you want, child. But it won’t change the dark, shameful truth about you.”

I shake my head, feeling anger and frustration simmering within me. “You know nothing about me. So, fucking stop with the lies and tell me the truth.”

“You have learnt, haven’t you? You have seen the outcomes of your sins and yet you keep adding them in your meaningless life. Why, child?”

Before I let her words make me lose control of the last thread of my anger, I grip her wrist and push it away from my face, glaring at her like she is my nemesis.

“You better tell me why the fuck I am here before I strangle you right here and now.”

She shakes her head slowly while tsking. “Oh, Agatha. You need to be cured as soon as possible, before the devil himself swallows that innocent soul of yours.

She clasps her hand over mine. “But do not worry, by the time your departure arrives, you will be a better person.” She stands abruptly, kneeling beside the bed and takes out a small luggage. I did see it before when I was looking around the room, but it was locked. She opens it by turning the numbers and grabs out a white long nightdress and passes it to me.

“You will be wearing this most of the time and when you are called for checkup, but during the prayers and confessions you will be wearing another dress that is inside this luggage. The clothes inside this bag will be your only clothes that you will wear during your stay here.”

I skim my hands through the silk fabric and grasp it in a tight fist before throwing it across the room. I stand up instantly and grab the luggage before sending it to the same place as the dress.

Without thinking I push her away and dash to the door, opening it and striding to the hallway.

“You can’t run away, child. The Magdalene won’t let you pass until you are cured,” I hear her voice calling out before I run along the path and find a long circular stair leading downwards. As I descend, I find a few other girls, dressed just like the nun. But I didn’t stop to ask for help, not having an ounce of trust for them. Few distant screams and cries reach my ears but I ignore them.

Trust no one. No one at all.

I keep running until I reach what seems like the main hall-room, but it is more like a church room. Benches after benches reached up-to the altar, with Mary’s and few other saints broken statues. But I don’t care about any of those when I see the door that leads to my freedom. Sudden roaring of the thunder fills the surrounding, gesturing the arrival of the storm. I run out, feeling the cold wind engulfing me as I see the place that holds me captive.

It’s the castle that I first saw and from afar its identity may have deceived anyone, because the closer you go to it, the darker it gets. I find the steel gate right away which is luckily open, but before I can make it there a hand right away grips me by my hair before another lands a sharp slap across my cheek, making my ears ring from the hit.

“You don’t give up, do you bitch?” the man grunts with vexation painted on his face. His black hair rustles back with his pale skin making him look even more dangerous. Another slap lands on my other cheek, burning my skin fiercely. The grip on my hair tightens even more that I feel he might tear off my hair from the roots. The excruciating pain courses through my scalp, making my nerve cells thump.

“This is the third time, try again and I will cut you if I need to,” he warns through his clenched teeth. His tight muscles are straining against his black cassock.

Suddenly it dawns at me that he must be one of the men who brought me here. He holds my hand and drags me inside, not caring when I stumble down and claw his hands.

The girls I passed by previously start to gather at the doorway, but none of them make a move to save me from my punisher. I was right. None of them can be trusted.

He brings me inside and pushes me against one of the benches.

“There is no escaping. Your only ticket is the time you are cured.”

“What is with this bullshit?” I scream, hearing the girls gasp from my words and behavior, “I’m not sick. You,” I point a finger at him, “were one of the men who kidnapped me here. I know it!”

He slaps me again, this time I feel the bruise on my lips, tasting the metallic flavor of blood. “Silence. You were brought here under your brother-in-law’s order. And you aren’t going anywhere, so stop attempting.”

Everyone around us just keeps staring at the charade that is happening in front of them. But I notice how their expressions are almost lifeless…absolutely cold. None of them react to a stranger being hit and abused, it nearly feels as if I’m surrounded by walls.

No emotions. No reactions. Pure emptiness.

Just then the nun who was in my room comes dashing towards us. The man glares at her as if he will skin her alive. She instantly looks down in fear and anxiety before she leans down to grab my arm.

“You had one job, Agnes. One. Job,” he says sharply.

“I’m sorry, Father Geryon. It won’t happen again,” Agnes looks at me and leans close to my ear, “-we have to go, right now. You have created enough chaos for one day.”

She helps me stand up and takes me back to my room. The minute we enter, she makes sure the door is locked and before I know it, she pushes me against my chest so hard that I fall on the ground, hurting my elbows.

“You little brat,” she spews, pointing a finger at me, “because of you I will later be punished for my mistake.”

“Like I give a single fuck about it,” I retort back, trying to get up.

In a flash, she grabs my hair and pins me against the wall with my face pressed against the concrete. The discomfort only makes the bruise on my cheek throb more.

“You think your bratty mouth and nuisance behavior will save you. But it will be your downfall,” she warns.

“The only way you will survive here is by giving in. The faster you do it the less painful it will be for you. Now get dressed like a good little girl.” She pulls me back and forces me towards the area where I threw the dress.

She stands with her arms crossing. “Pick it up,” she orders.

I know I can’t deny her as I will end up with more hits. And I can’t risk myself being weak, so, I cave in and pick the dress, waiting for her to leave. But she stays rooted to her ground, giving me a stern look.

“There is something called privacy and I would like to have that,” I mutter.

“I am sure you didn’t need privacy when it came to committing sins, and your body isn’t something special that needs worshiping. Change. Right. Now.”

Swallowing the lump in my throat I take off my dress, with my back facing her. My entire body feels warm from uneasiness. I put on the new dress, feeling the fabric slightly itchy against my skin. It covers me from top to bottom, up-to my ankles, including my arms too, like a Victorian nightdress.

“Come with me,” she orders in a strict tone before stalking towards the door while I follow her behind.

This time she takes a different route, taking a right turn, walking down a dimly lit hallway. But the further we walk, the more my nerves tenses up with caution and mist of fear. I look around, to memorize every inch of this place. Jotting down every way possible to plan for my escape in my mind.

The place looks elegant and well-built from outside, right away taken from a fantasy story. It is a vast castle that seems to have been built in medieval times. But from inside it is broken and eerie, as if it is a living nightmare. The place has four floors and we are on the third, following Agnes on the top floor. There are doors on either side and a double door at the very end of the hallway. The walls are mostly cracked as if they haven’t been taken care of for several years. I can see mosses and molds between those cracks. Some even have deep nail marks and some have strange writings on the wall with a black paint, but it is hard to read them because of the cracks and mosses. Behind me there seems to be a balcony where the wind blew in, along with the cawing sounds of the crows.

Maybe from there I will find a route.

Reaching at the end of the hallway, she opens the double doors, gesturing to me to enter. Gulping, I try to calm down my racing heart as I step into a room which looks like a check-up room from a clinic or hospital.

The sight instantly brought those horrific memories that have been silent for a few days, but now are returning back to claw me with terror and anxiety.

My breathing paces up, my ears ringing with my pulsing nerves. I can feel my blood turning cold, filling my skin with goosebumps. Sweat starts to form on my forehead and at the back of my neck, as I feel lt adrenaline rushing down my spine.

I can’t be here. No.

I don’t want to be here.

I turn to run away but Agnes already locks the door.

“No! Let me out!” I yell, slapping my palms against the door. I hold onto the handles and give it all to open the door, not giving a fuck if I have to rip it open. I feel my knees weakening and tears burning my eyes.

I don’t want to be here.

I don’t want to be here.

“Please. I can’t be here. I can’t….”

My breathing turned deep and ragged that I can’t help wrapping a hand around my throat. My skin crawls with anxiety as I kneel down on the floor with my forehead pressing against the door. I beg the memories to be buried.

But suddenly, I feel a hand brushing my hair back while my body shivers.

“Hey,” a gruff voice gently whispers. “Hey, it’s okay.”

No. I’m not okay. I can’t be…

The hand continues its motion and I feel his lips against my ear lobe. “Don’t think about those. Don’t let your nightmares haunt you.” His tone is gentle and soothing like he truly wants me to calm down.

Don’t trust anyone, Agatha. No one.

“Hush. It’s okay. I got you,” he murmurs. “Calm your nerves, take a deep breath.”

And I do. For some unknown fucked up reason I do as he says, following his words and inhale and exhale gently, focusing on my breathing.

“That’s it, deep breaths.”

I feel my nerves taking a steady turn with every breath I take. His hand continues to touch my hair and even that is helping me. However, I can’t help but feel this deep ache within me.

“That’s good. I can feel every inch of your body relaxing finally. I got you.”

He picks me up as I rest my head against his chest, feeling the steady rhythm of his heart. I want to be away from this room. I don’t want to be here.

I can’t be here.

I keep my eyes closed, not wanting to look at the room again that brings back horrors in my mind. I clutch onto the lapels of his shirt tightly, my body still shuddering from the aftermath of my trigger.

“Father-” I hear Agnes’ voice but she doesn’t get to complete it.

I don’t know for how long I’m being carried but when I feel the soft bed sheets against my skin, I know I’m not in that checkup room anymore. My muscles turn lax and I finally let go off his hold, curling myself with my arms around me, shielding myself like I always did.

I still keep my eyes closed when I hear the soft click of the door, not bothering about what is happening anymore. Letting this darkness help me soothe my nightmare.

It’s okay. You are safe now.

It’s okay, it’s…okay.

I keep chanting the mantra in my head again and again, until a tireless sleep consumes me, taking me away from my nightmares which I’m part of, for a few hours.

It’s okay.

You are safe.



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