Trigger warning: contains violence against women
The rain pelted down on me. Each drop mocked me. I had lost him. The sickness took a hold of his body and ravaged it until nothing was left but a shell of himself.
His brothers would soon come to claim what now was legally theirs. I looked up at the house where I had lived a long life. The voices became louder. I had to leave before they could claim me as their property as well. I shouldered my pack, filled with my only belongings.
I walked away, hoping the rain masked the sound of the coin in my purse.
I ran, following the path out of the village into the dense forest that threatened to overtake the village every year. I sighed in relief when the sentry trees parted and rustled my ancient name.
I greeted them in my mother tongue. The sun shone in the grove. I fell down on my knees and caressed the sacred grass.
A familiar voice greeted me. “it pleases me that you have found your way home.” My mother pulled me into arms. “I thought I would never see you again! What happened?”
“Binding spell. Made to tend the land for my captor.” I didn’t want to tell her what else had happened to me. The violence still lived on my skin.
“How did you break the binding spell?”
I shrugged. “I called the disease onto his body. Left him the moment he died. Thankfully his brothers were not there.”
“They would have claimed you?”
I nodded and shuddered at the thought of enslavement to the Mallan brothers. “Yes. My gift with the land fattened their purses.”
My mother pulled me into our dwelling. She bathed, clothed and fed me. I must have lost myself to sleep then I woke up in a human bed. My wrists were tied with rope and the bright blue chords of the binding spell. A pair of foul hands tore at my clothing.
My mother stood next to the bed, a coin purse in her fingers. I screamed against the cloth in my mouth.
My mother smiled, “Meet your new owner, he will make you happy. I know, you wonder why I do this. We enter a new era, my dear. Humankind has no use for the fae anymore. I wish to build a life in this world. I need coin for that. I have it now thanks to your gift with the soil. You will not see me again.”
She waved at me with her coin purse as she left the room. Bile rose to meet the cloth. I knew now how I ended up in the Mallan house that fateful spring day. I hated her.
My captor tore the last of my garments away. I turned my gaze towards him, hoping the hatred would burn a hole in his heart. I recognized him. The village’s chief. He was an old man without heirs. He would die soon. I would be free again to hunt my mother down and end her life.
The brute removed his clothes. I turned my head away and cried.