“Are you ready?” The sound of my mother’s voice wakens me from my stupor.
I slowly take a deep breath in and release it.
Was I ready? I was far from ready.
But you can’t really prepare yourself for something like this.
I look at myself in the old, cracked mirror. My brown, empty eyes stare back at me. I can’t think of anything to say to her. Not a single word. My mother comes to stand behind me and places her hands gently on my shoulders. “Cat got your tongue?”
I know what she’s doing. God bless her. She’s trying to make light of the situation I am currently in, but doing that won’t forget what today is all about. Nothing will draw my attention away from what is going to happen very shortly. She’s gone through this before. She knows exactly how I’m feeling right now and the thoughts running through my head.
Today, I will be taken from her and begin a new life. As a blood servant.
I look from myself up to my mother to see that her eyes are dampened from crying. She’s been crying all morning but has tried to hide it. She does not fool anyone. She’s also tried to reassure me that everything will be alright, but I know she’s only saying it just to make me feel better.
The crying began on the day of my birthday. She smiled and wished me happy birthday, but I knew that she was devastated and wished that I wasn’t growing up. Last month, was my twentieth birthday. Since then, she hasn’t stopped crying.
I pull the strap of the kaplan dress up over my shoulder. “You know the reason for my silence, mother.”
She wipes her eyes with her soaked sleeve. “Do not hold me responsible for this. You know that I do not wish for you to go.”
I slam my hand against the worn dressing table. “Then, why let me go so easily!?”
Tears stream down her face as she looks at me in pity. “Because it is your destiny. It is all of ours.”
What she says is true. It is everyone’s destiny to become blood servants. But it didn’t used to be.For years, creatures have roamed the Earth. For years, they have walked alongside humans as equals. For years, they have lived together in peace until a rebellion occurred not so long ago. Humans who no longer wanted to live amongst the supernatural began a rebellion where their goal was to completely wipe out the supernatural, but failed miserably. Thousands died and thousands suffered. The majority of them human. The human race almost became extinct when they finally surrendered and agreed to a settlement. As punishment for the rebellion, all boys and girls of the age of twenty must attend an annual auction, where they’ll be auctioned off and become a blood servant for the rest of their lives. Until of course the creatures no longer require your services.
That’s what happened to my mother. While she was serving, little did she know she was expecting. When her master learned of her pregnancy, he simply let her go. Thankfully, he was a kind and gentle vampire, or so my mother says, but I cannot bring myself to believe her. All creatures were evil.
“So, that’s it? I’m just supposed to leave my life here and become a servant to a vampire? I am your daughter! Your only child!”
She brings me up to my feet and turns me around to face her. “Jane! You have no other choice but to go. If you do not do as what is expected of you, you will be executed and your corpse will be given to the werewolves. That is what I do not wish for you.”
“And so you wish for me to serve a vampire? Or worse serve a faerie for my body? They hate our kind.” I spit.
She looks to the side and closes her eyes in defeat. “If you are chosen to become the servant of a faerie then, yes. I would rather you serve a creature that hates us than you not being part of this world.”
I reach for her hand and hold it tightly in both of mine. “And what about you? You cannot live out here alone. You won’t survive when winter comes.”
She opens her eyes and tries her best to give me an encouraging smile. “I will not have you worrying about me. I will be fine.”
I gasp. “How can I not worry about you? You are my mother. I have not stopped worrying about you since father died.”
Mother cries. “Don’t, Jane….”
“On father’s deathbed, I made a vow to never leave your side.”
“We knew this day would come, Jane. There is no avoiding today.”
I release her hand and face away from her. “You’re not listening to me. You won’t be able to survive out here. Not without me.”
I cut her off. “You are too weak to walk miles to collect water from the river. You are too kind hearted to hunt for food, and are too tired to gather wood for warmth. You won’t cope.”
She comes to stand before me and wipes away a tear from my eye. “I am grateful for everything you have done for me, but our time together has come to an end. You must now live your life as a blood servant.”
I cannot leave her. I refuse to go because the moment I leave her, I’ll never be able to return to her arms.
“But mother...” I plead.
She puts up her hand to stop me and rushes me towards front door. “Go. Be on your way.”
I dig my heels into the ground and whimper. “No!”
“It is time.” Her voice quivers.
I shake my head from side to side. “No! I won’t leave you mother. Please!”
“I’m afraid this is where you and I must part. You know that you must go, child.”
I twirl around, my face damp from the tears. “Please, let me stay.”
“You know that you can’t.”
“Then, when will I see you again?”
I know she won’t answer me, but I want the reassurance that hopefully one day I will see her again. She’s all I had.
She does not reply. Just as I expected. She instead wraps her frail arms around me and crushes me to her chest.
“We will reunite, my child. One day.”
She pulls back, her eyes welling up with tears. “One day.”
When will that be?
She gives me a long, hard kiss on my forehead and crushes me against her chest once again. “I love you so much.”
I wrap my arms tightly around her. “And I you.”
Mother and I slowly pull away from each other and shed a few tears together.
After a few seconds, I knew it was time to leave. Just as I make my way to the door, she gasps and calls my name.
I gasp and rush back to her. “Yes, mother?”
She reaches up around her neck and removes what looks like a necklace. “I almost forgot. Give me your hand.”
I willingly give her my palm and stare at the amethyst amulet she places there. “What is this?”
She pushes my palm towards me. “Put it on.”
I do as she says and clasp the necklace around my neck. It’s a pretty little thing and expensive by the looks of it, but I don’t know why she would give it to me. As far as I can remember, she’s worn it every single day and cherishes it. Why would she give me this piece of jewellery to me?
“Listen, this necklace is never to be removed from your neck. Do you understand?”
I reach up and touch it. “I understand, but why must I keep it on? Why are you giving it away?”
She hesitates. “To remind you of me.”
I look away, hurt by her words. “How could you say such words? I’ll be thinking of you each and every day.”
She remains silent for a few seconds then looks towards the door. “And I you. Now, go otherwise you will be late.”
“Will you come with me? To the auction? Leaving you like this breaks my heart.”
Her face saddens as she shakes her head. “No parent wishes to see their child sold right in front of their eyes. Alone you must go.”
I nod in understanding as I reach for the doorknob, dread coursing through my body.