Love is a Myth
Nicholas stared at his mother in horror as he cried. She let them go, and he had watched the boy run still limping from his wounds. They had left a trail of blood as they ran out. Hansel’s blood still stained his lips as he began to wail. Had he killed him?
“If it upset you so much, You should have bitten straight through the vessel.” Grizelda started. “They die faster and feel less pain.” Nicholas could barely look at her anymore. He didn’t understand any of this. He was terrified. His one and only mother had become a monster without warning. He wanted to go home safely and abandon his mother to her needs. Another hit came towards him. He whimpered as his head was cut up again. “Nicholas! Don’t cry! You're acting like cattle! Are you cattle?” Nicholas shook his head in fear of any other answer. “Good, this is my chance to raise you properly. Listen carefully. The first rule, don’t show weakness. Your wails are annoying me, you know better. The second rule, you will no longer eat food made for cattle. We’re the predators, not the prey. Lastly, I am no longer your mother. You are not my son. You are mine because you're useful. That’s all.”
Nicholas didn’t respond. He only continued to cry without understanding. He was only four years old. This was far too much at once. His head was swirling with questions, fear, and pain. His biggest question was, Why? Why did his mother become this? What had she done wrong? Grizelda wasn’t that old either. She was only eleven, but her complete loss of family, goals, and free will had matured her in a strange way. She was now hellbent on getting it all back. Her body had been consumed by the curse in a moment of vulnerability in a way that her sister hadn’t experienced. The sudden change had brought what she considered to be wisdom as the curse spoke to her and told her secrets. She huffed as she looked around at the room. She had told him what he had to do, and yet he was still crying. “You can be of use to my hunger, or you can be of use to my goals. Choose by tonight Nicholas.” With that she went to explore the other rooms.
This was her home now. This was her destiny. She was cursed, it was pathetic to think she could escape it. She observed Adiscordia’s room, looking around for clues to her goals. There was no doubt in her mind that after she had seen Adiscordia’s soul return within the girl that this was all part of a plan. What other goal would she have than to eradicate the curse? The book was quick to catch her eye. It was open next to a pen and ink on the night table. Adiscordia’s journal told of her journey to find a wishing heart in order to send the curse back to the gods. She explained that she had put some of herself into Verre to look for it even after death. She knew she was dying. Grizelda slammed the book shut after reading it. That's why she invited her.
“Tell me. What do you want?” Grizelda asked out loud. “If I remember correctly, you can grant immortality, you never wanted Adiscordia did you?”
There was a chuckle as the curse emerged from Grizelda without a single tear on her skin. “She was too torn and unfocused. She wanted to use me to save you, and viewed her love for you as only a weakness. I needed someone who was focused and whole. Now there's nothing left for you to be distracted by.”
Grizelda stared at the curse in front of her unfazed by its sudden appearance. She should have been terrified, instead she felt nothing. She had been in through much pain too early. She had a good life with Milia and Gotto, but deep down she always knew that it wouldn’t last. Her whole life was spent battling for her purity, but now she had lost even that. What was the purpose of living if all her efforts were useless and would lead her to losing everything no matter what. Now all she wanted, was for this to be over. “I still love the boy.”
The curse flew besides her. “Let me reveal the truth your sister lacked understanding in. Love is not weakness. Love is a myth. It doesn’t exist! We make attachments in this world, but we don’t love, not here.” Grizelda lifted a brow in curiosity. “The gods created the curse and the wishing heart, both hold the truths of their humanity. Everyone else lives in ignorance as they try to fill the gaps between the two truths .”
Grizelda still didn’t understand but wanted nothing other than to get it over with. “I don’t understand and I don’t care right now." She said bluntly. "You’re evil. You hate good things. They took free will from you. Now you want me because my will and desire has been taken as well.” She could see the curse try to grin. It liked her. “Do you just want me to take you home? You’ll leave us alone?”
The curse debated telling her the truth. She had retained the honesty from her innocence. It loved it. The truth was that it could never leave a vessel, but it could spread itself. If it spread itself between the gods Grizelda would feel such a low amount of the curse that it would feel like she was free. If the gods wouldn't have spread their burden in the first place, there would be no curse. “Do you hate the gods?”
The curse nodded. “I hate them." It confirmed without hesitation. "They never cared for us! They created us to be corrupt and eventually be beaten. We have no chance! I plan-“ Grizelda stopped listening. Now that she was face to face with it, she noted the curse itself wasn't to be feared. It was just another annoying hindrance to her meaningless life. It rambled on about its plans or why it hated the gods. Did it think she didn’t know how hopeless and worthless life was? That she was cursed, her destiny was set, and she would one day be destroyed. Did everyone fear the curse too much to speak to it honestly?
Grizelda sat up interrupting it. “I don’t fear you. I don’t care. If there’s no love there’s no hate for the gods, but I do need to speak to them. They have no right to do this.” The curse watched as she left. It was right. She was right. Grizelda was heartless. She had given love where she herself was lacking. Now she was alone with no one who wanted to be near her. She had no fear of it consuming or destroying her. As soon as the curse went in, it had noticed the vessel had nothing left. It couldn’t torture her to do its will because she had nothing left of value. She had comes to terms with the fact that it probably would all be taken from her and that's how life would always be. If the curse tortured Nicholas because of her, it was expected. It was just another hurdle in her path. The way she perceived the curse was making it be shown as it was. Without it’s vessel obeying it out of fear or control, the curse was seen as it was. It was pretending.
It wasn’t controlling her. She was doing this willingly. This was making the curse, feel. It was feeling emotion. It hated it. It wasn’t a weak child! It was their fault! Why didn’t Grizelda fear it? To worsen it the curse had had a conversation. It wasn’t a one sided conversation. Grizelda had asked it what it wanted. She had listened to it, insulted it, but agreed to give it what it wanted anyways. It had actually spoken to someone. It took a minute to understand, the two were separated. This had never happened without breaking the vessel! It screamed in anger. She had interrupted it while it was talking. She had said she didn't care. Grizelda looked back at the creature twisting itself and fading in and out of view with loud inhuman screams. She then looked back at the door turning the knob to leave. This wasn’t how it was supposed to work! It was supposed to scare her! The curse rushed into Grizelda, looking for pain to use against her. There was nothing. It was panicking.
Her worst nightmare was here. She expected the worst. Grizelda had prepared herself for it the second she saw Adiscordia in the oven. There was no more reason to fear. “Do you need me to be afraid of something to take me?” she asked. “I’m yours. What more do you want? Although while you’re here, I need help explaining to Nicholas. He could be of use to me.” With that she stepped out and back into the guest room where Nicholas had retreated to hiding. It was useless, she could feel his pain and hear his panicked breaths and sobbing. She threw herself back on the bed. After all that, she could use some rest.
“Nicholas.” She started. “Did you know that there are gods so powerful they created us? They live in another world.” She spoke slowly hoping to help him understand. “They live on their own with so much strength that they don’t need magic. They are too strong for it so magic doesn’t even exist there.” She stopped trying to think on how to continue. The curse assisted. “They cursed my family. If I did one bad thing I would become evil and try to kill everyone.”
Slowly the door opened as Nicholas heard his mother. “I did nothing bad, You know this. I did my best to do what was good, but it was useless. The gods created the curse, the curse did what it wanted, and took me anyways. I am not evil. Have I ever been evil?." Nicholas felt torn between what he had seen today, and everything he knew. "There is no good or bad.”
“Killing is bad! You hurt someone!” Nicholas exclaimed quietly in fear, his head peeking out of the wardrobe, half expecting to be hit again.
Grizelda took a deep breath. His voice annoyed her, but she knew it was the curse. He smelled delicious. “Go back to the closet. I’m hungry.” She replied leaving him to hide again. She took a long breath. He hadn’t lived through enough pain to understand. "No, Nicholas." The curse destroys my body. It turns me to stone and breaks my flesh. I need to eat other boys and girls to live. Killing is bad, but I did my best to do good and it did nothing. There is no good or bad, there is only what the gods want. If I don't eat boys and girls I could die.”
“but- it’s bad.” Nicholas started more quietly.
“Its bad, but the gods want me to be bad. There’s nothing I can do. I don’t want to eat you Nicholas, and I’m hungry.” She repeated. “They ruined my life. After I eat I’m going to find a way to go up and talk to the gods to stop this. Now, how do you think they want this story to go? That I am so bad that I eat my own son?" She heard him cower and bump into the back of the closet. "Your choice, can you please get me something to eat?”
Nicholas slowly stepped out of the closet in his entirety watching as his mother automatically rose, taking a sniff. She flew over to him, smelling his hair. He watched as the mouth on her stomach salivated it’s tongue spreading on his arms. “Mamma, how? I’m so scared” he whined full of fear. As expected she hit him harshly. His face now bloodied again, making her instincts worsen as the scents grew.
She growled. “My name is Grizelda! Now, go away!" She spread her hand on his face before pushing him away. Her tongue released and without hesitation Nicholas ran away.
The white bird looked over to the boy before looking over to her companion. This wasn’t right. Grizelda had done everything right. To make matters worse Nicholas would get lost and starve to death without help. If he didn’t bring back something for Grizelda to eat, she would probably attack a village causing even more deaths! Wouldn’t it be easier if she had kept Hansel? Was there a purpose behind letting a perfectly already prepared filling meal go?
After a few minutes of running Nicholas looked back at the cottage. He couldn’t see it. Where was it? He looked forward, there was nothing but trees. At this angle nothing looked familiar. He whined afraid, feeling someone grip his shoulder with claws. “Grizelda!” He jumped up as he looked up to see two corrupted birds. They took his shoulders as he began to fly into the village. Could he cry for help?