The room was as dark as its owner's thoughts. It was as if he didn't dare to light not even a small candle, afraid that he may see the shadows of his black conscience. Even the stars were shrouded by big heavy clouds that gathered that evening. Some farmers from the nearby village began expecting an all-night rain.
A man pacing between the large window on one side, stone hearth without a flame on another and a book in glass case in third corner of the room.
He made few steps and stopped, his haunting thoughts following him like hungry hounds in pursuit of a wounded deer. His effort was futile because he was seeking solace that he could not find, for he wanted to hide from his own mind. And deeds.
There comes a time when every criminal wishes to be exposed. Be it from the perverse thought of a last stand against the authority or a genuine remorse for what he did.
What if the deed one has done has hurt a member of one's family but one believes (although one has his fair share of doubts) that he has done it for the greater good? Does the rule 'no rest for the wicked' include him, too?
Another story of a brother fighting a brother. Nothing new on either side of the multiversum. But they both hoped that this time it will be different. Because they were different.
Milton Grimm stared into the dark coldness of the hearth missing its flaming heart. Clenching his fists.
He wished them to be here with him. All of them. Beatrice, Laura and yes, even Giles. The times they spent together were the happiest moments in his life. The days on the road and the nights in the shack in the woods. They were so young, so free, so carefree.
Now he was alone.
It was a year now. That day was predestined to be made into an unforgettable memory, however everyone was expecting a completely different kind of unforgettable. September 2012 the month of the two hundredth anniversary of opening the school. Two hundred years. Two hundred Legacy Days. The whole Land of Ever After was preparing for a great celebration that was supposed to go down in history.
The fairy talers celebrated their realm, the famous school itself and the wise men and caring leaders that founded it – the Grimm brothers.
The whole day was amazing, filled with laughter and bright hopes for the future. But in every light is a speck of darkness. After the pledge-taking ceremony everyone went to have fun at the after party, all except the founders who were looking for a quiet place. They went to the Vault of Lost tales to have a short private talk.
It started as their usual discussion about the plans for the next day. Repetitive and in some cases boring stuff but necessary for smooth running of the school, however it gradually grew into something bigger and sinister that no one anticipated. It caught them both by surprise.
It wasn't the first argument in their lives, there had been some squabbles and skirmishes in their childhood and adulthood, but this one was by far the worst. What was more to blame the glasses of wine they drank, the weariness of the last days or their stubbornness. Anyway they started a fight. Several punches and spells flew through the air.
When the men ran out of fighting spirit and stamina, they stopped to catch their breath. The room already crammed with old books and broken tools was filled with dust. Only the huffing, panting and coughing of the opponents was heard over the wall of dust clouds. When the cloud dispersed the men looked at each other with terrified expressions. Like deer staring into headlights, unable to move, its wits scared out of its body.
It was Milton who broke the silence first: "Giles! Are you okay?" He repeated his question but no one answered and that scared him. He came closer to his baby brother worried what has happened.
Giles stood there, leaning on one table, his forehead creased and shutting and opening his eyes as if he was being unable to grasp what was going on or trying to desperately remember something that was out of the reach of his mind. "Does the clock strike thirteen when the cow dances?" A riddle escaped his lips. "A spoon, a rocking chair, all five share a tongue," spoke the frowning man again. Milton wondered why Giles doesn't speak normally until it dawned on him. He couldn't, he was cursed.
The taller man reached to undo his spell but then he hesitated, he held himself back. It will happen many times during the two and half a year but neither of them know it yet. His worried look was replaced by a glare without mercy. A thought flashed through his mind. That he could pretend that Giles went on a journey or a vacation and he could lead the school alone without any unwanted interference.
He whirled around and stomped out of the room and through the passages of the library.
Sacrificing the bond with the person closest to him for the good of two worlds, as he believed. With this last thought he left the room. He left his little brother alone in the dim light of some candles and the quiet company of books, statues and globes.
The next day's dawn and the following days showed how pyrrhic this victory really was. The fight left bitter aftertaste. Milton swore to himself to free Giles after things will settle down a bit.
Meanwhile he ordered Mrs. Trollsworth to bring Giles food and everything necessary but she was forbidden to free him for he wanted to do that himself. The weeks came and went and all this time Milton couldn't bring himself to face his brother, always stopping in front of the door leading to the locked room.
This is my version of the conflict between Milton and Giles. I was thinking how long could have Giles been imprisoned and I thought that Milton may have cursed him on the Legacy day of 2012 when they discuss the future the school shall take after existing for two hundred years. I made it into more of an accident caused by uncontrolled emotions than calculated crime because the relationship of the brothers seems to be positive and deep otherwise. I couldn't bring myself to portray them as outright hateful to each other, more like complicated. Like there is this person you really like but for some reason they are getting on your nerves right now. Of course, it's wrong to curse them but shit/script happens and you're left there hurting.