11. Double Notes
I should be furious with that asshole. But the least I felt was that. Instead, I felt sadness.
Zion looked down at himself. Like he was something awful. Couldn’t he understand he was just someone who made mistakes, a human?
I sighed and leaned on the carriage window. My eyes glistened with tears as I let out an awkward chuckle. Just remembering him apologizing made me giggle. Zion was trying, and though it didn’t sound that sincere, he still tried.
Feeling the carriage come to a halt, I stare outside. I was right before my house, where my mother would be waiting. I sighed and got down. Then, thanking everyone, I walk back to my humble home.
“I’m back,” I called from the entrance.
I heard some shuffling from the kitchen before my sister came running towards me.
“Wow, you’re finally home!” Aria smiled.
“Yes, where is mother?” I asked, looking at her. Aria fidgeted and then cleared her throat. Then, lifting her finger, she pointed towards the kitchen.
I smiled at her and prepared myself mentally.
“Hi, mother,” I said, taking a seat opposite of her.
My mother drank her coffee without looking at me. I gave her a tight smile, wishing for this to end quickly.
“Leave Aria,” my mother ordered. Aria didn’t argue and just obeyed.
My mother has always been a rigorous person, especially with me. I never understood why, but she never liked me doing certain things, neither interacting with others.
“So, care to explain what happened, Mila? Why did King Noah look for you?” my mother mumbled.
I gripped the skirt I was wearing and cleared my throat.
“And what happened to your face?” my mother asked.
I tensed up and gulped.
“It was an accident,” I whispered without looking at her.
“It was that beast, right?” my mother suddenly blurts. I snap my head up and frown.
“Who?” I asked.
“King Zion, that forgotten king. It was him, right?” my mother demanded. I stared at her in disbelief.
“I said it was an accident. I never mentioned names,” I retorted.
My mother stood up and grabbed her wooden cup. Then, turning her back to me, she serves herself another cup of coffee.
I patiently wait for her to continue.
“I want you to stay away from them, especially King Zion. Do you understand?” my mother muttered, making me confused.
“Why? I already agreed with the king!” I said.
“What?” my mother turned around. Her hand was gripping the cup so hard it was shaking. “What do you do with the king?”
“I agreed with him,” I said calmly. My eyes moved down to the spilling of coffee. It must be boiling.
“How could you?” my mother whispers. “Do you even know whom you’re dealing with?”
“No, Mila! You don’t have a damn clue what kind of monster that man is!” my mother retorted. “He is a fucking monster. Someone who has killed and can kill you, a sinner.”
I stared at my mother in shock as she angrily eyed me.
“No, how could you say that? Zion isn’t!”
“Zion?” my mother muttered, laughing. “Now you have a close relationship with that thing?”
“Thing?” I spat. “He is not a thing, neither a monster. He is a human!”
“You are so naïve, Mila!” my mother scoffed, putting the cup down. “You stay away from them, tell the king you can’t, that I don’t allow it.”
My chair screeched as I stood up abruptly.
“No!” I yelled. “I decided this; you’re not stopping me!”
I approached my mother.
“Why are you so against them? Have they done something to you? Have they hurt you? Zion isn’t what people think!” I said, closing the gap between us. “Yes, he made a mistake, but we all do.”
“You don’t know, Mila!” my mother yelled, making me flinch. “You don’t know what kind of man he is.”
I frowned as I watched my mother. What was wrong with her?
“I don’t understand,” I muttered dejectedly. Then, shaking my head, I look at her. “I’m sorry, but I’m not staying away from them. Zion needs me, and I can heal him.”
“Are you disobeying me?” my mother asked. There was something odd about her.
I gulped down my nervous voice and nodded.
“I am, and I won’t leave Zion alo-”
I blink twice, confused at what just happened. Then, reaching for my throbbing cheek, I turn to look at my mother.
“You stay away, or I will lock you. Don’t make me do it again!” my mother warns as she grabs my arm and pulls me closer to her. Her nails are digging into my bare skin.
My body started trembling as I recalled my memories.
“I swear I will lock you again, Mila. So don’t defy your mother!” my mother growls near my ear. “Disobey me, and you know what awaits.”
My mother pushed me as she dashed out of the kitchen. I hugged my body as my eyes brimmed with tears. This was not happening again.
I rocked back and forth as my tears slid down my face.
After my small discussion and warning, I rushed back to my bedroom and locked myself.
I know my mother isn’t lying. She will lock me if I don’t obey her.
Just recalling that dark, dirty room made me shudder. I didn’t want to return there. Not now, or ever.
My hands reached for my ears and covered them as flashbacks passed by.
“Mother, please! Please don’t lock me here!” Mila begged as tears slid down her frail body. She kneeled and bowed her head as tears flooded her snotty face. “I promise not to do it again!”
Mila let out a yell as her mother dragged her down the wooden stairs. The damp smell made Mila shiver as her mother yanked her against her will down the set of stairs.
“Please hear me out, mother!” Mila begged as her mother gripped her arm tightly.
As they reached the bottom, Mila’s mother, Zoraida, unlocked the wooden door and threw it to the side as she pushed Mila in. Then, going for a chain, she grabbed Mila’s leg and chained her.
“Mother!” Mila cried, but all her mother did was watch her with no emotions.
Mila pleaded, but her mother didn’t answer her. Instead, she backed away and watched her like she was nothing.
Without a word, she turned her back to Mila and walked out of the room. Mila screamed, begging her not to leave her all alone.
The door closed, and all light ceased to exist. Mila cried her heart out as she called her mother to let her out, but all she could hear was the locked door.
Days passed by, and Mila had lost the notion of the time and day. The only thing she received as food was water.
Broken, Mila laid on her back as she closed her eyes and let her silent pleas fall over her dirty face.
It was the same whenever she made a mistake. If it weren’t getting locked, it would be her punishment. Tiredly, Mila closes her eyes and lets herself succumb to the darkness.
I gulped down and let out a shaky breath.
The last time they locked me was five years ago. A year before King Noah started ruling.
I couldn’t let my mother stop me. I was a grown-up, and it was my decision. So why was she so against it?
I needed to find clues, anything that could explain to me her behavior. It would be best if I waited for her to fall asleep. Maybe looking at her small office again might help me understand more. Also, I need more clues about this person, Crudel.
Standing up, I undress. I was dirty and had a rough day. Deciding for a quick shower, I move into my bathroom and do my thing.
I stepped out of my bathroom, feeling tired and sad. Setting my towel down, I turn to look outside the window. It was past midnight. By now, my mother and everyone else would be asleep.
Grabbing my small, long sweater, I walked back down the stairs. My eyes moved nervously up as I carefully made sure she wasn’t awake.
From afar, I saw the wooden door. I grabbed the doorknob and turned it. Thankfully, it was open. Sliding into the darkroom, I shut the door and sighed in relief.
My fingers moved around until I found the light. I had to hurry before my mother woke up or knew I was not sleeping.
I walked to the tall bookshelf. It was the same one that I found the letters that my mother hid.
I looked around carefully. The particular book was nowhere around. Strange, I recall being on the top shelf. Grabbing a stool, I step on it and look around. My hand fumbled on the dusty books. Where did the brown book go?
My mother was a brilliant woman. She liked to hide things in the strangest places. So, just like last time, she hid the letters inside a brown book that she cut from the inside so the letters could fit.
I kept it a secret all this time because if she knew I found them, she would punish me. And I can’t let that happen.
I got down from the stool and moved to the rest of the bookshelf. I took my time to check, but nothing. It was gone.
Scratching my neck, I sighed. I couldn’t stop right here. There had to be something.
I walked over to my mother’s desk and started rummaging through her cabinets. I crouched and looked at the last one. A clicking sound has me frowning. What was that?
I lifted some books and touched the bottom. It sounded empty. I furrowed my eyebrows and slowly looked for a latch or something.
I am pushing down, the other half lifts. Careful not to make too much noise, I lift it, and my eyes go wide.
There were several old yellow letters and a book. I looked towards the door and then back.
I quickly fumbled around until I found a few letters that had the name Crudel. Unfortunately, it would take all night to read this, so I had no choice but to grab some and leave everything as it was.
My mother couldn’t notice I moved things, so I only grabbed four and returned everything to place.
I let out a sigh of relief once I had locked the cabinet. Then, getting up, I dust my nightgown and turn the light off. Then, quietly, I decided to leave the room and head back to my bedroom.
Thankfully, no one woke up, and all I needed to do now was read this and hide them somewhere my mother wouldn’t find them.
I bit my lip and opened each letter carefully. I inhaled sharply as my eyes moved to the contents written.
“What?” I muttered, confused.
The hand that gripped the letter trembled slightly as I continued reading. I rub my tired eyes. Maybe I saw something wrong?
A particular noise distracted me. I looked up and heard footsteps. My heart started beating as I panicked. Turning around, I turn the lamp off and get to bed, hiding the letter under my pillow.
A shaky breath left my lips as I pretended to be asleep. The footsteps had stopped right in front of my door. I gulped and waited for whoever was outside to open the door, but I heard the footsteps go back.
The wooden floor creaked with each step until a door closed in the distance. I turned over and put my arm over my face as I sighed. This was stressful.
Sitting up in bed, I look over my shoulder. I gulped down the fear that was creeping up my mind. I needed to leave this house before my mother stopped me.