The Lesser Evil
That night the family began to sleep well. The two girls having full bellies for what may have been the first time in their lives. Adiscordia woke up to a chill that her sheet didn’t cover up well. She sat up to go with her father and conserve body heat when she noticed his sheet had been folded up. Her mother’s sheet had also been folded. She sprung up standing, still rather weak but stronger than the night before. “Papa?” At this she saw two figures in the close distance stop quietly, discussing something. She rushed to them. “Papa? Mamma?”
Katherine was wearing a black cloak, her face full of worry and disappointment. “Adiscordia, we’ll be back in the morning.” Nicholas looked at his wife concerned by the lack of information she had given their daughter as Adiscordia looked at them with confusion and slight panic.
“Addy, we’re headed into the forest. Where there is a fence of bone, and the wind calls your name. During the night, when the moon is clouded…” Nicholas started.
Adiscordia could feel chills go further down her spine as her legs shook. His father was singing an old child’s song, one meant to terrify children from going away to the forest on their own. Why would he sing this? It wasn’t comforting at all! The song told the story of a cursed woman who would enter the thoughts of others, able to tell their greatest desires. She would always grant them, but only with a twist. Each wish provided what was desired but usually ended up with a far greater price or gruesome death or loss. “Wh-Why?” she asked not wanting to him to finish.
“Coraline Hex,” He began. “The corrupt spirit that feeds on those who are desperate. She may have mercy on us.” Adiscordia felt her throat well up. No one in the song survived. Why did her parents think they were any different? “Perhaps knowing that her son is desperate, may help keep you two safe. I need you and Grizelda to be safe.” Nicholas admitted. “We will be back tomorrow, but you must never tell your sister of this, of her grandmother. You must never go to find her.” He said with an unnatural growl.
Katherine looked over to Adiscordia quickly. “We have something she’d like, we’ll be safe.” She admitted confirming Adiscordia’s fears.
“Mamma! No you cant! One of you should stay-“ Adiscordia protested gripping her mother’s shoulders. She was soon gripped harshly and removed.
“We can’t. you don’t understand. We need you and Grizelda safe. Things are far worse than you know.” Nicholas growled. “We need you to be grown. That is the only way for the both of you to survive. Whatever it takes!”
Katherine shook her head quickly. “Without giving into the curse!” This didn’t seem to help Adiscordia, at all. Katherine reached to her chest, pulling out a necklace with a purple type of rock, giving it to her daughter. She stood on her knees as she placed it in her eldest daughter’s hands closing them. “This was my mother's. Take this as a promise. Take good care of it tonight, I’ll be back in the morning for you to return it. Go to bed, and sleep well.” She said giving Adiscordia a kiss and tight hold. Nicholas was the next to hold Adiscordia before gently pushing her back.
Adiscordia could hardly speak as she held the necklace tightly, watching them leave. She was almost angry. They wouldn’t come back. Everyone knew that in the song, no one returned. Her steps were stiff as she walked back to her sheet. They had left her. They had left them both.
Adiscordia decided to stay away from her sister despite needing heat. It wasn’t fair. She stayed awake most of the night just staring at the stars and moon, waiting for it to become visible. She thought of the song and rhymes and waited for the symbol of mercy, yet all that was given was a dark fog early in the morning. She held to the necklace tightly, almost breaking it while she was stuck waiting.
Finally, she woke up to her sister pulling her up. “Adiscordia where’s mamma? She never leaves so early!”
Adiscordia’s eyes opened slowly, with a tinge of anger in her eyes. “They’ll be back.” It was all she could say, although she didn’t believe it. She had to keep her sister’s mind free of the burden of abandonment. The two of them were going to die together, it was logic. Yet Adiscordia refused to let that happen.
“But where are they?” Grizelda panicked, unsure of how to keep both her sister and herself pure on their own after what she had witnessed with her father yesterday. “I need them!”
“No we don’t.” Adiscordia responded hiding her mother’s necklace under her sheet. Grizelda remained silent, something had gone wrong during the night. She didn’t know what, and she didn’t think she would get answers yet. Adiscordia seemed hurt, almost angry. If she had learned anything with her years of sisterhood, it was that Adiscordia tended to need a lot of time on her own.
As Adiscordia suspected their parents did not return. She always kept the necklace with her, hidden from her sister. Days went on, and starvation began to plague them again. It became a week, and Adiscordia began to ask ‘How?’ How was she supposed to keep her sister pure and alive? It was an impossible task, either she would give in, or die. Her parents had done nothing, rather they had dumped the responsibility on her shoulders and abandoned them. There was only one solution that came to mind. Her parents wouldn’t like it, but in that case they shouldn’t have left.
Grizelda was asleep, whimpering in her sleep. Adiscordia watched over her, looking again towards the bodies on the streets. She couldn’t help but be angry. It was all hopeless! She didn’t care anymore, anger bringing impulse and action. She took her sheet and wrapped it on the corners making it into a bag of sorts, swinging it over her shoulder. Her sister would eat, and live no matter what it took.
The way to the better baker’s house wasn’t an easy walk. It was on the wealthier side of town, the side that couldn’t be seen near such poverty. Their egos would be ruined. Maybe that’s why Maud had impacted her so much. Through the walk her anger didn’t go unnoticed, neither did her thoughts of stealing. The curse was awakening.