*There are some graphic scenes in this chapter so if you don’t like violence, don’t read.*
A look of shock and utter confusion takes over Mae’s beautiful features and in that moment I know that I truly love her. Even though I told her the truth about who I am(a deserter) she still doubts that. She still sees the goodness in me.
“That’s not true, Rolan. That can’t be true.” She says, wringing her fingers together. She always does that when she’s nervous.
“You wouldn’t say that if you knew what happened.”
“I would Rolan. I don’t think your as bad as you make out to be. No matter how much you blame yourself for whatever happened.”
“I abandoned him.” I say with gritted teeth and clenched fists. “I left him there. He...”
The tears I’ve been holding back finally break through the barrier I’ve built over the past years. They fall silently as I begin to shake with intense emotion.
“Rolan it’s ok.” Mae’s voice seems like a lullaby in the midst of my chaos. “Come here.” She says quietly and I don’t resist when she pulls me with gentle hands to lay my head down on her lap.
I sob more as I remember that fateful day, the day I lost my twin brother, Matthew.
“Your highnesses, wake up, we need to leave immediately!” I am shaken awake by a guard.
“What’s wrong?” I ask, “What’s happening?” Though as soon as I smell the burning and see the orange glow I know what is going on.
“We must be quick your highnesses, there is a raid." The guard urges as he pulls us out the bed. I look to my brother, Matthew who wears a face of indescribable fear. We were always told as children that something like this could happen, that there were people who wanted to kill us. We knew a raid was a possibility but never in our wildest imaginations did we think it would actually happen.
“Hurry, young princes.” The guards eyes have grown more alert as each flame of fire climbs higher and higher on the walls of my bedroom, tearing it down. I suddenly feel mournful for the place, for the bricks that burn under the heat for my belongings that will never be recovered from the flames, for every familiar view that will no longer be standing here in a few short hours.
The guard yanks us out of the room and into the hallways but as soon as we are in the corridors I immediately wish that he had let me burn inside. I would much rather that than see the decimation that plagues the hallways. Slaughtered men,women and children lay on the floor with their stomach cut open, blood seeping out. Their eyes are all open almost as if they’re clinging to life, trying to see but staring aimlessly. Their mouths are parted, locking their last screams of torture in their cold, dead throats. Some of the bodies are being charred by the fire, burning from existence. I look down at my feet and I am in a sea of blood. I keel over, vomiting on the ground as I cry. Matthew doesn’t look any better. He trembles greatly and his skin is pale, his face haunted with the image of this destruction.
The guard grabs us both. “Try not to look your highnesses. Try to look straight forward. Think of yourselves, those that you look upon are already dead. If you do not think of yourselves you may end up like that. Do you want that?” He shouts through the flames.
“Never.” “No.” Come our responses.
“Whe-where are we going?” Matthew asks, yelling over the roar of the fire.
“To a safe house. Your family will be there waiting for-” The guards eyes roll to the back of his head. His mouth parts as a strangled groan of pain leaves his throat. Blood begins to leak from his eyes and slowly his stomach begins to pull apart. The guards body is flung into the flames. Matthew and I both scream and begin to run down the corridor, trying to find a way out.
“Rolan!” Matthew’s scream sends chills down my spine. I stop and turn around. Matthew stand in the grip of a strange man. He wears a stark white suit that seems to be untouched by the flames and holds a black cane in one hand. His eyes glow luminous green and a sickening grin is plastered on his face.
“Help me!” Matthew screams. I tremble as I just stand there, watching in fear at the man holding my brother captive and then I remember what he did the guard, what he did to those people. Those poor innocent people and so out of sheer fear and terror I turn and run.
“Rolan! Help me! Don’t leave me! Please!!”