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Chapter Four

I was huddled against the gates of my Assassin’s fortress, tears streaming down my cheeks. The voices rolled and crashed and slammed into my mind, invading every thought and image with their thousands and thousands of words. I was drowning, completely overwhelmed.

I’d tried to amuse myself, to take my mind off of things. I pictured myself furry like the Assassin had been, with long ears and a shaggy mane. I wrote him a mental letter about the different voices I’d acquainted. I apologized to Queen Snow for ruining her ball. I scared Costas, I assured Peter I was okay, I struggled to forgive my father. But it was all in my head.

All in my head.

How did he stand it for centuries? And, I wondered, how did he become cursed in the first place? Was it like with me, an unknowing kiss? Did he do it to spare a loved one, as I still would have done had I known? Or was he the original beholder of the curse?

I didn’t know. I would never know. Because the screaming monster wanted him back, and no matter how tempted I was, I would not allow my beast to suffer again.

Never again.

Which is why when the voices told me of his coming, when the monster railed and tried to force me, I stood up stiffly from my spot and walked away, heart shattering all over again with every step.

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