Leaving the Past
Grizelda woke up on a large stack of pillows and a few sheets. There was a small stool besides her and a glass of water. Her head was aching, she grabbed onto it to feel that there was cloth around it. Where was she? Who had taken care of her? Slowly the memories from the night before flooded in. She stared at the ceiling. After a while she heard a voice.
“She’s awake miss!” She tried to peek out the room, but the young woman left as quick as she came.
Slowly two pairs of families came into the room. One clearly wealthier than the other. Grizelda was frightened, backing up a little into the frame. The ones in poverty had close faces, she soon recognized them to be her neighbors. Yet the richer family were strangers and upset by the looks of it.
“Grizelda, please have a drink.” The neighbor who she knew as Accorsa spoke. Grizelda did as she was told, taking the glass and fulfilling her thirst until there was nothing left. “This is Grizelda Hex.” She began to explain to the other pair. “Born to Nicholas and Katherine Hex, whose main origin is Coraline Hex.” She explained in a serious tone. The wealthier family was shocked, in disbelief before the man stood up.
“Our stock was destroyed, we can’t afford to blame it on legends and myths.” The man known as Gotto spoke.
Hearing this Grizelda's eyes widened in realization. Could it be possible? She was cursed with the same curse that destroyed Coraline Hex. Could the curse actually lead to legend type evil?
Accorsa continued. “Her parents remained pure, but when higher desperation came due to the famine I never saw them again. She had a sister, but yesterday when I found Grizelda her sister was gone. Grizelda is cursed, she can't sin or else the people will be at risk. I have reason to think that this desperation regarding the famine was what caused her sister to rob you of your work. As you can see Grizelda was harmed and is severely malnourished. I heard screaming, crying and believe she is innocent.” Gotto and his wife observed Grizelda. “The curse is real.” Accorsa agreed coming close to Grizelda who shook a little in fear. She slowly touched the right side of Grizelda’s hair, which was a bleach white. The other side was an ash black. “This is proof, it is unnatural.”
Grizelda sat up finally, her lips still swollen making her sentences harder to understand but she tried. “I didn’t want to! Adiscordia wanted us to not starve and mamma was gone! I was sleeping and she went and took it! I woke up and she tried to give me some, I didn’t take anything! She got mad at me, and her-“ Grizelda found herself at a loss for words. “she hurt me because I wouldn’t eat. Then- curse- she ran away.” Her looks were distant as if she was still replaying last night's events.
“What is this curse? Where is your sister? If the curse is a danger then we should just hang Adiscordia should we not?” Gotto asked, his wife nodding at the obvious.
“No!” Grizelda protested.
“No.” Accorsa’s husband, John stood up. He was clearly a foreigner from an inter marriage, but he knew plenty of stories. “The curse can not be killed or stopped. At this point Adiscordia would be difficult to kill, she would need to be caught and the vessel burned or destroyed. Even so, It is passed on, and if you killed its vessel it would simply invade another vessel it desired and multiply through the generations.”
“Then what should we do?” Milia, Gotto’s wife asked.
“It seems that all we can do is assist where her parent’s failed. We must take care of Grizelda and assist her in staying on the right path. If she grows in purity we can only hope that one day she may be able to reason with her sister, and stop any disaster that will be brought among us.”
“Sadly.” Accorsa interrupted. “During these times we don’t have the money nor resources to provide fully for ourselves, and we can't take in another member in our home. We were hoping that you would be able to assist.”
Grizelda quickly looked to Milia and Gotto. “Please, I will work very hard to return what Addy took! I’ll clean, work, and be as good as I can!” She pleaded.
Milia observed Grizelda, before exchanging looks with her husband. “My name is Milia, and this is my husband Gotto.” She said giving a proper introduction to Grizelda. “It’s nice to meet you. Don’t worry about our losses, It seems you have your own to worry about. What do you own Grizelda?”
Grizelda’s doll was still in her arms as she slowly loosened them to reveal her doll. She looked around looking for her sheet. “She also had a bed sheet, but I needed to wash it, it was filthy.” Accorsa added. Milia waited for more but received nothing else. She almost seemed pained to see a child living in such a state as this, especially one as special as Grizelda. She could see why Adiscordia had stolen.
“Give us a chance to discuss amongst ourselves, we may be back within a few hours. If we have not returned by night we will at the least spread the word to find this girl a home.” Gotto finished. “Good day.” With that he and Milia left the room.
Grizelda went back to laying on her bed, staring at the ceiling. Things were changing so much, so quickly. At the very least she received some help, but she was still alone. She held her doll tight and began to cry quietly again. She missed her sister. Accorsa sat besides her, rubbing her back. “I am so sorry, it was such a sensitive situation I didn’t want to intervene, but now I had no choice.” Grizelda was grateful, thanking her and hugging her neighbor close, but after all this she wished she had been hearing her mother’s heartbeat.
She didn’t expect the richer folk to return, but they did. As it turned out Milia was unable to have children and wanted a child to love. Gotto wanted a child to teach his work to. Grizelda needed a mother to guide and love her and a father to teach her useful skills in life. It was a good match. They took Grizelda home, and bathed her as soon as she arrived. Introducing their home, rules, and her role. Grizelda knew she was safe.
She adjusted and soon began to learn how to cook, bake, clean, and build. Despite taking on the role of helper, she was loved. It slowly began to heal her. She no longer feared the curse, or her new family. As the year progressed, she was grateful to have thicker sheets and an actual quilt inside a house with a roof. She nearly forgot about the curse until a new threat appeared.
Some men were being recruited for war against a neighboring city just across the border. This city was called Rhionine. Rumors had been spreading for a while, and the beginning of war had sparked a hate across the people for the Rhioninians. Grizelda had to mature, and very often stayed indoors to avoid the negativity and bias. She could not afford to hate, despite being surrounded by it. Her new family was very good at understanding what was at stake and often helped her by giving her explanations and concepts as to why opinion was never fact. Yet, living above and working in a bakery meant people were always in and out, gossiping and chatting. She could hear them. Being strong, she refused to speak against those she hadn’t met. For that, others soon began to speak against her. Directing their Rhioninian hatred towards her as well.