The Forbidden Village

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Chapter 12

I gripped the door handle, but I still felt hesitant to leave the closet. I didn’t know what Avin would think of me when he saw me in this outfit. I should go out though before he decides to come in and get me. I opened the door and walked out into the bedroom. The nervousness that I felt only heightened once, I saw him.

Avin was still in the chair that I had seen him in when I had closed the closet doors. He has turned away from me now, and he hadn’t moved. Perhaps he was sleeping, or maybe he just didn’t hear me come out of the closet. I groaned inwardly and began to walk towards Avin.

However, as I got closer, there seemed to be something a bit off about him. Avin was hunched over in the chair with his face in his hands. He didn’t make any sound or movement as I approached. Once I got close enough, I could see a bite mark on the side of his neck. There were trails of dried blood extending down from the bite mark. Okay, that wasn’t there before.

“Hey Avin, are you all right?” I asked as I placed my hand on his shoulder. It felt like he was trying to shrug my hand off. But it was just such a weak effort that I couldn’t tell. I walked around so that I was in front of Avin. I wanted to get a better look at his face; maybe I could get a better grasp as to what was going on with him. Hopefully. I knelt down in front of him because he was still facing the floor, but his hands were covering up his face. What a bother.

“Avin, are you okay?” I asked again with more force. Still no response. Come on think, what’s his full name? You just learned it yesterday you can’t possibly forget it already! I closed my eyes tightly as I tried to concentrate on remembering what his name was. I think that it started with a Z. Oh, come on. I can’t remember his name!

I stood up again and looked at his neck. Something silvery on his neck caught my attention. I pulled the edge of his shirt down to try to get a better look. Avin made no move to stop me. In fact, he didn’t move at all. Was he still breathing even? I paused for a moment and waited for him to take a breath before pulling the edge back a little further.

Once that part of his shirt was moved out of the way, I could see the other scars from previous bite marks. What the hell? I reached out to touch one of the scars. As soon as I touched it, Avin shivered. I raised an eyebrow as I looked at him, but he still hadn’t changed positions.

I looked at the bite marks again. The new one, I noticed, had a faint red glow to it. Are these curse bites? I tried to recall how to cure a cursed bite from the books that I had read in the library. I think that I was supposed to heal it using a particular kind of flower. But which flower was it again? I looked around the room for anything that screamed ‘magical healing flower.’

I spotted a couple of vases that were sitting on a small table off to the left of the room. The jars were filled with the most beautiful flowers that I had ever seen. But this kind of flower didn’t look like any flowers that would exist on Earth.

I took one more, quick glance at Avin before quickly walking over to the vases. The flowers were even more beautiful up close. However, I didn’t have time to admire their beauty. I needed to find a particular kind of flower. As I searched the vases, I tried to recall more of the curses and the cures from the books that I’d read.

Let me think. Hmmm…Curse bites make people like their personal servants or slaves. Umm…The victims become addicted to the feeling of the bite but with each bite, the magician gains more and more control over the victim. Not just mental control but physical control as well. I believed that it specified that the victim of the bite would suffer an extremely painful death if they did not receive a bite within a period.

I paused shuffling through the flowers when an odd question popped into my head. Would there be any side effects to healing Avin with the flower? That was the one part that I read that I couldn’t remember anything about.

I looked back over to Avin. He still hadn’t moved. I guess I could worry about the side effects later. Right now I just had to get the curse off of him. I resumed my search for any flower that struck a chord with me. For a minute, I didn’t think that there was one in either of the vases. But at the very back of the second vase, I spotted it.

“The Aurora Borealis,” I commented in awe. Yeah, they had a flower called the northern lights in this world. Weird right? It was incredibly beautiful to look at, though. It was colored with a mix of blues, greens and a bit of yellow around the edges. When I picked it up, it shimmered in the light that came in from the windows. Almost like the flower was created out of thousands of tiny crystals.

I stared at the flower. Completely mesmerized by the refracting light that came off of the flower. I was barely able to tear myself away from it. I can see why it was at the very back of the vase now. I shook my head as I tried to get my thoughts back on track.

Okay, so flower, Avin, bite mark, heal, got it.

I quickly walked over to Avin. I noticed that he had moved slightly. His elbows were now resting on his knees, and his hands were just dangling in between his legs. However his eyes were closed, and his face was blank. I walked around him to the side that had the bite mark, but I hesitated.

Now, what am I supposed to do? I don’t think that I was just meant to lay the flower on his neck. I don’t believe that I’m expected to do anything fancy with it like boil it or make it into a tea. Perhaps I should just crush it then?

I didn’t have the things that I’d typically use when grinding up herbs so I couldn’t do it that way either. Hmm, I wonder.

I took the flower off of the stem and dropped the stem to the ground. With a last look at the beautiful flower, I crushed it in my hands. I could feel the flower turn to sand in my hands. I almost started giggling because of how weird the sand felt in my hands. It felt like wet sand. It was all squishy and gooey.

I pressed my hands up against Avin’s neck where the old and new bite marks were. Nothing happened. Confused, I tried to combine my healing powers with the gooey sand solution, but still nothing happened. I had no idea what to do, and it was starting to frustrate me.

I felt the odd sensation in my arm again as my hand began to heat up. I knew what was coming and just I was trying to stop it from turning into an inferno, something began to happen to the flower solution in my hands. The solution glowed for half a second before dissolving into Avin’s skin and becoming his skin. At least I think that’s what it was doing.

I continued to heat up the solution until nothing else happened. That whole time Avin hadn’t moved an inch. Well besides the fact that he flinched once and opened his eyes. When I removed my hands from his neck, there was a bunch of black goop on my hands. I also noticed that the black goop seeped out of every one of the bite marks new and old.

Eww! That was just gross! How am I supposed to get rid of this stuff? I tried to rub the goop off with my hands, but it wouldn’t budge. I looked around the room, and nothing jumped out at me that I could use. I searched through the drawers, the cupboards, and on top of the shelves. Still nothing.

Come on; there had to be something that I could use to get rid of this disgusting goop. I searched a little harder but still couldn’t find anything that I could use. Finally, I just gave up and walked back over to Avin feeling defeated. Perhaps I could try to scrape it off with my hands again?

Suddenly Avin moved. I don’t mean like just a twitch or spasm. He completely straightened up in the chair and stretched out his arms like he had just taken a nice nap. He even yawned. Perhaps that’s what it felt like to be under a bite curse. Maybe you just feel like you are sleeping and are completely unaware of your actions.

Once Avin was finished stretching, he reached for his neck. I cringed as I saw where he was reaching for. I opened my mouth to warn him about the goop that was on his neck, but I was too late. He rubbed his hand right across the goop on his neck. I gagged and looked back to him to see his reaction. But there wasn’t one.

I was barely able to see the black goop just flake off of his neck. Well, that’s not as gross, I suppose. Avin didn’t even seem to notice the stuff flaking off of his neck.

Man, that flower sand must’ve been some pretty potent stuff. I mean like he was still in a bit of a daze. I wonder how long it would take for him to snap out of the rest of his daze. Avin shook his head and appeared to come out of his daze, finally.

Avin groaned and stretched once more before he stood up. He seemed a bit wobbly on his feet and grabbed the chair for support. He seemed confused about something and appeared thoughtful. But he still hadn’t noticed my presence.

“Hey Avin, are you okay?” I asked as I walked around to face him. Avin looked at me with a funny face as I came into view. I guess that he had forgotten that I was there with him.

“What happened?” Avin asked me, looking lost. Then his eyes widened. “What are you wearing?”

It didn’t sound like an insult, but it still stung a bit. Even my face began to heat up at his comment. That wasn’t the only thing to heat up, though. My arm wasn’t as cold as it could’ve been but it wasn’t going to go inferno.

“I-I don’t know,” I managed to stammer out as I looked at my feet. “I just found it in the closet, and I just thought that…”

“It looks good on you,” I heard him say in his gruff voice. My heart jumped in my chest. I looked up at him just to make sure that I had heard him right. Avin smirked at me and then winked. Again my heart jumped in my chest. Wait a second, was he just flirting with me?!

A couple of minutes ago he wouldn’t so much as say a word to me let alone flirt. It could just be an aftereffect of the antidote. Then again it might not be. But with the way Avin looked I was pretty sure that it was. He looked shocked by his words.

“Sorry I don’t know what’s going on with me today,” he told me quickly. Was he trying to retract what he had just said? Ouch.

“I think that I do,” I replied quietly. Yeah, that stung but I had to tell him as much as I knew. I told Avin everything that had happened after I had come out of the closet. There wasn’t much to tell. Once I had explained everything I felt like I had more questions than answers.

“So, what happened to you while I was in the closet?” I asked as I ignored the other issues that popped into my head. The questions had nothing to do with the current situation but more so with me. Avin rubbed his chin and stared at the floor. He appeared thoughtful.

“Someone had knocked on the door shortly after you went to go change,” Avin looked up at me as he spoke. His eyes slowly came into focus as it looked like he started to remember what had happened. “I didn’t want to answer the door. So, I just waited for whoever it was to leave. But as soon as the knocking stopped I felt this need to go over and open the door. It was so overpowering that I couldn’t prevent myself from going over to the door and opening it. Amavin was standing on the other side of the door. She’s a princess from another kingdom in our realm.”

Avin had started pacing across the floor in front of me. He barely even pausing in his story as he got up.

“She has an unwanted obsession with me and is desperate to have me. I keep denying her, but she won’t take no for an answer. Anyway for some reason, this time, I felt an odd overwhelming pull to her. A need for her. It wasn’t that I liked her, it was more like I was…umm…” Avin paused in his story for a moment. It looked like he might’ve been searching for the right word to use.

“Like you were addicted to her?” I suggested to him. It seemed like the word might have fit the situation the best. I was starting to finally understand what had happened while I was in the closet. But I wasn’t in there long, maybe 10 minutes at the most. How could all of this have occurred in such a short period?

“Yeah that, and then I think that I might’ve blacked out because the next thing that I know is that you’re standing next to me. By the way, how did you do that? How did you bring me back?”

Now it was my turn to tell my story. But after hearing his story, I felt that my story was lacking a crucial piece. However, I still told him what I had done to knock him out of his trance. Avin nodded slowly, listening to what I was telling him. This was probably the first time in a long time that a guy has ever actually listened to me. It was nice. Made me feel sort of important for a couple of minutes.

As I watched his face, though, I could see that his mask was slowly making its way back onto his face. Avin started to talk less and less. By the time, I had finished telling the story he had returned to the same state he had been in before I had gone into the closet. Stoney faced, quiet and unreachable.

I suddenly felt very alone. I hadn’t realized just how much talking to him had meant to me. The effects of the cure wore off much too quickly. I needed to do some more reading on this kind of stuff for sure. But I also wasn’t all that sure how much time I had left until I was going to be thrown into the group.

Avin nodded slightly once I had finished. He motioned for me to walk towards the door. Well, I guess we are done with the talking then. I tried not to look disappointed or dejected, but it was difficult. I straightened up and walked forward with confidence that I didn’t feel.

Avin was on my tail the entire time we walked from the bedroom that I was staying in, to the dining hall, where we were going to have breakfast. It was a quiet walk all the way to the dining room.

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