Escaping the curse

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You're probably wondering how I got to this point, running through the bush in the middle of the night. Well let me tell you.

I know, I know, there's a shotgun pointed at my face, but it can wait. We have time... I think.

Like most stories, mine began the day I was born. I was born on May 15th. A seemingly innocuous day to many, but to my family... it was a big deal. I was born in a small community in north east Victoria, Australia and given the name Genevieve Katherine McDowell.

The community was self-sufficient and completely off the grid. It was referred to as the "community of light" for the residents. Those on the outside probably would have called it a commune if they knew about it. Cult would be a more accurate description.

My father was an enigmatic man. Charming and kind. The type of man who could sell ice to Eskimo’s. He was a caring and doting father who would never hurt a fly. And, a complete and utter nut job.

He had created a doctrine that centred on him being the saviour born to this world to save our souls. Outside the walls of the community burned the fires of hell. But, that would all come to an end on the holiest of holy days, May 15th.

So when I was born to his seventh wife (yes you heard that right, seventh wife - to this day I don't know if he honestly believed what he was preaching or if he was doing it to get women), on that holy day, I was seen as the princess who would lead us after our father was called home. I would lead us into the new world, a utopian garden of peace and harmony.

I was treated like a princess, doted on by my parents and siblings, and bowed to by the others in the community. While I would be protected by the flock, I was also taught to defend myself, to hunt for food and be a warrior the others could follow if needed. My life was simple, my beliefs unmoving, but that all began to change when I first saw Tommy.

Tommy was the son of my father’s 14th wife. My father had saved them both from the depths of hell and brought them into the loving arms of god. I was 13 when they arrived, Tommy was 15, and to say I was curious was an understatement. He was the cutest boy I had ever seen, and that was the beginning of my first ever crush. There were other boys in the community, but most were my brothers or half-brothers. All were related in some way to me, not that it mattered to anyone in the community; incest was considered normal between cousins.

But, here was Tommy from the outside world, with his dark hair and brown eyes, lean body and handsome face. I was mesmerized as he walked in with my father and was lead to the other end of the community to the rest of us. I didn't see him again for the next few months. He was kept separate from us as my father said he was still susceptible to the devil. He needed to keep him and the rest of us safe until he was sure the devil couldn't reach him.

It was mid-summer when I finally saw him again. He was allowed into the main community and formally introduced to us. I watched as he bowed before me, his shirtless body toned and muscular, fitting of a warrior of gods army. He took my breath away and I couldn't help but smile as our eyes met.

He never spoke a word, something I was accustomed to being the princess. I watched him from afar over the next few days as he helped out in the gardens, harvesting vegetables and planting new seeds. Sweat would glisten off his tanned skin and sometimes when our eyes met, a small smile would play on his lips causing butterflies to erupt in my stomach.

It was a week later that I finally got to look at him close up. We were working together in silence, collecting honey from our man made hives. This was my favourite job. I loved how the bees buzzed about the hives, going about their day. I never feared them, they paid no mind to us as we calmly took the honeycomb from their hives and let the honey drizzle into jars.

Tommy and I worked in a comfortable silence. I enjoyed being around him. I felt relaxed and calm in his presence. He wasn't like the others, he didn't step in to help me with a task fearing I would break a nail. He didn't stop me from lifting anything or getting my hands dirty. For the first time in my life I felt like everyone else, and I liked that feeling.

Every now and then, our hands would brush together as we reached for the honeycomb, releasing a torrent of butterflies in my stomach. Tommy would give me a small smile before pulling away, I could feel myself blush as I busied myself with the task in front of us. I couldn't help but sneak a peek every now and then at his hot body. Again, he wasn't wearing a shirt and it made me wonder if he owned any. His skin was tanned by the Australian sun, and looked smooth, making me want to touch it. I was dying to say something, to talk to him, to find out about him. But I couldn't speak through fear of looking a fool.

We were on the last hive and finished draining the honey. I looked at him as I placed the wax back into the hive, his brow furrowed deep in thought. I put the lid on the hive as he packed up the jars when he finally spoke to me, his voice smooth and deep.

“You know... a lot of people think that the queen bee just sits on her thrown and commands the drones to do her bidding...” he says. I look up at him, curious to hear his words, watching as his lips move to pronounce the syllables. “What they don't realize is that the queen bee is the one who makes all the baby bees... she's not sitting around doing nothing, she's repopulating the hive.” With that he picks up the jars and leaves.

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