She watched in horror as he fell to the ground, blood spurting out of the gash in his chest. His eyes flew to her hiding place for only a moment, but the message was clear. Run.
She screamed. Shaking, she wept and hugged herself. Remembering that moment made her remember others. Hands, cold like a corpse’s, reaching out for her. Touching her. She sobbed louder and tried to erase the memories from her mind.
A hand gently reached out to her. Stifling a shriek, she turned her watery gaze on her companion. His eyes were soft with love and sorrow as they looked at her like she the most beautiful and broken thing he’d ever seen. Waves of comfort rushed over her, and she collapsed against him.
“That dream again?”
“Memory,” she replied, still shaking. He frowned and rubbed her back.
“You never told me that,” he said casually.
She hesitated before finally replying, “I’ve never told anyone that.”
“You know, for being my wife, you never exactly tell me anything,” he said, in a voice that would brook no arguments, “I’m starting to think you don’t trust me.” The last was spoken in a voice so soft, so hurt, that she flinched. She sighed and shifted away from him. Turning to face him, she bit her bottom lip.
“It’s…” she started. She paused as she thought of how to phrase herself.
Finally, she sighed again and said, “It’s not that I don’t trust you. I wouldn’t have kissed you then, wouldn’t have pursued you, if I didn’t.”
“Then why won’t you tell me the truly important things? Why won’t you let me in?” She sat up and put her head in her hands. After a long silence, she spoke.
“I...When I was nine, I was forced to watch the murders of my parents. I’ve told you there’s a place here where I absolutely refuse to go, right?” He nodded hesitantly.
“That’s where they died. The palace…” She hesitated and then continued, “The palace was invaded one night. fanatic of the former heir before he was overthrown for his corruption and tyranny. He helped him into the palace while we slept. When my father realized our home was being invaded, he shoved me into a closet, not remembering that I could see through the holes in the door. He...he knew they were going to die that night. He was trying to spare me the sight.” She stopped, her mouth quivering as she tried to force the words through her lips.
Realizing she was close to breaking down, her husband immediately kissed her. She closed her eyes and relaxed, letting the memories melt away from her weary mind. When he released her, she laid back, her head on his chest. Tears that she had tried so hard to force back dripped steadily out of her shut eyes. She gritted her teeth to keep her whimpers in.
“There was so much blood.” He was facing her back when she spoke again.
“There was so much blood,” she repeated. Her voice sounded dead.
“Shh,” he murmured, “Don’t think about it. Just sleep.” But she continued, ignoring him.
“I didn’t know people could have that much blood at one time. I...it’s why I can’t look at blood without feeling sick. There was just so much. When I go into that room, all I can see are the places their blood had splattered on. There were pools of it. So much spilled blood...Sometimes I can still feel the sticky warmth of it on my back…” She shuddered. He waited a moment for her to finish, but she didn’t. Her body was shaking again, and she attempted to muffle her sobs. She huddled into a fetal position and squeezed her eyes shut. She said nothing more for the rest of the night.
In the morning, exhausted and confused, her husband lay in bed, pondering what he had learned. Only one question stuck prominently out in his mind. Why did she lie in her parents’ blood?