The Boy, Part Three
To me, it sounds like ‘let’s go’. It’s fairly easy to guess since she’s pulling my hand in a manner that she wants to lead the way. I wonder where she’s taking me. But that smile of hers… Her eyes are still red from crying.
Her grip on my wrist is strong. It’s like she doesn’t want to let go of me, maybe never. But if she didn’t grab my hand, I’d have grabbed her hand. I found her after two years of total loneliness, and I’m in grave need of intimacy. Merely holding hands is enough to soothe it.
She’s leading me through this vast hall in which there are massive pillars. Also, I can see the upper floors from here. It’s like some power from heavens had struck this castle long ago, making a hole through the roof and all the floors down to this vast hall, then it’d been left like that, only the roof was repaired and balconies were made for the upper floors. But that’s just my imagination. I think the castle was just designed like this.
The girl takes a glance at me as we walk through the hall. She’s enjoying this, I can tell. Is this the girl I dreamed of before even meeting her? Is this the girl I can love for rest of my transient life? Eh, now that sounds way too sugary.
Soon she leads me through a door into another room—nay, it’s a garden within a large glass dome. This place isn’t inside the castle, but outside. I can see the cliffs from here, though some trees reduce my line of sight. This garden is beautiful, I can’t deny it. There’s so much food in this place that I doubt one could starve here.
Did she live here all this time? Or did she find this place in the similar manner as I did? I don’t know, I doubt she got down here like I did. After all, my case was… paranormal, I’d say.
As I wonder many things, the girl seems to have a dilemma. She’s looking at my hand which she’s holding. Soon enough, she puts more strength into holding my hand and leads us to a tree, then she picks a fruit from it. She hands it over to me, though I’m not taking it.
“Shaf.” She says.
Either it means food, fruit, or the specific name of that fruit. It could also mean ‘OK’, which I doubt. The tone she used was a bit odd for saying OK. The girl seems unhappy a little. She takes a bite of the fruit herself, then handing it back to me while pouting. Now I can’t decline, can I? What a way to prove the fruit’s edibility.
Since she’d done such, of course, I take the fruit and eat it. I was hungry anyway, so the fruit disappears quickly. As I eat it, the girl watches me do so with a smile, still holding my hand. Thank you for holding my hand, this way I won’t have to hold your hand, Miss.
Once I’ve eaten another one of those fruits, I start to break the barrier between us, the language barrier, that is. I point at the tree, “Tree.”
I’m not trying to teach her my language, but I’m trying to learn her language. By pointing at the tree and saying tree I’m trying to make her say ‘tree’ in her language. Let’s see if she gets my point.
The girl tilts her head at first, trying to pronounce it in my language. I shake my head to tell her that she’s doing something wrong. I put my other hand on my chest, then I point my tongue with the same hand, then I point at the tree, saying ‘tree’ in my language again.
Then I point at the girl, then her mouth, then the tree, and to finish my wordless talk, I tilt my head to make it seem like a question. She ponders for a moment. I repeat the message, and she gets my point after the second round.
“Joito!” She states.
I test that word by pointing at another tree, then roughly saying ‘joito’. The girl nods her head. So I know one word now. Several thousand more to go. I point at the ground, then I tilt my head again, blinking a few times as well.
I try to repeat the word as best as I can, and she nods her approval. Good. Now she knows that I’m trying to learn her language. One day there won’t be a barrier between us. Until that day, I’ll have to study hard.
We keep up the language game for an hour in the garden. Sometimes we go back to words we’d gone through a while ago, but mostly we try to increase my vocabulary as much as possible. I can say eleven words in her language fluently, and over thirty words with a broken accent. But as long as she understands me, I don’t care.
“Opoja.” She points a door.
Now I’d say that means ‘that way’ or ‘over there’. We came back into the vast hall where all the upper floors are visible. It’s evening by now, so we should get some rest. Or at least I should. I just arrived at my destination after two year’s travel, after all. And I think that she has the same idea. Hopefully.
By the way, there are hundreds of different doors and corridors here, leading to who-knows-where. I think it’ll take a while before I can manage on my own here. This place is literally like a labyrinth.
And I think my speculation just betrayed me. The door hid a staircase to some dungeon. No, it’s actually a cellar for storing wine and other goods. As soon as we got down the old dusty staircase, this sight of endless wine storage came into view. Awesome. I don’t like wine. I don’t like any alcohol in particular. Not that I have tried.
She lets go of my hand and hurries over to pick a bottle of wine. I wonder, does she have an alcohol problem? Better not. I’m not sure if I can handle a drunken girl. She holds the bottle before me as if she was showing off or something. I make a cross sign with my hands to tell her that alcohol is a no.
She smiles like a devil when she sees that. Just what’s going on in her head? Anyway, the torch I have with me doesn’t seem to like it in here, seeing that its flame is extinguishing. Didn’t we just kindle it? Odd. It’s almost as if there was no fuel for the flame to stay alive. This damp, dusty, and old cellar is becoming darker and darker by the moment as my torch is growing dim. Well, the torch didn’t really light the whole cellar since this place is truly vast, but anyway, the little that was lighted is becoming even lesser.
I grab her hand before we lose the light. She seems to be as puzzled as I am, though I’m not sure what’s her reason. I can barely see her face down here. As I start pulling her with me to the staircase, I see something in the dark, several dozen yards from our spot.
Two pairs, the other pair of eyes has blood red eyes. The other pair resembles wolf’s eyes. It’s pitch dark where those eyes are, so what I see is literally only those eyes. Their gaze makes me shiver, for I can sense their hunger.
“Run,” I say quietly. I spurt as quickly to the staircase as I can while pulling her with me.
Dim light is coming from the staircase. I discard the torch since mere embers remain. I won’t look back. We reach the staircase safely. The stairs are circling upwards, so in no time the dark cellar is out of view behind us. And just as we get to the exit, I hear a voice behind. It’s not right behind me, but slightly away, like it was coming from the cellar floor.
“Don’t leave us…!”
It’s a cry. Cry of a little girl. Puzzled, I turn around to look behind, but I can’t see anything other than the walls of the staircase spiraling downwards. Stony walls.
Another cry. They can’t be humans, can they? Right? There shouldn’t be anyone else besides the two of us. Right? I feel a strong tug on my arm. She’s trying to drag me out of here while trying to say something with a worried face.
“Sae jich da iyjeeo! Iyjeeo!!!”
I get it. She wants me to leave. Now.
Now the voice is clearly climbing the staircase. My heart is racing. I need to get out of here. We need to get out of here! I follow her gladly, exit the staircase, and just as we are closing the door, I can hear the voice once more. Now it’s so close that if we take a look at the staircase from this door, we will see what’s coming up from that dark cellar.
I won’t look.
I slam the door shut, then drag a stone chair of light design to shut the door for good. I won’t stop there, though. I look for more objects to use, and as I do so, whatever’s on the other side of the door is hammering the door.
“Let me out…!”
No little girl has such strength. Seriously. I just keep piling up stuff before the door. I won’t let that thing come out. Never. The horror I felt from their gaze was just too much for me. I felt like I was being stalked by a predator. No, it was worse. It was like I was stalked by some nightmare daemon. Seriously, I can’t find better words to describe it.
Once the door is blocked by several objects, she says something I can’t really comprehend. “Uiyin da kanoen… Sae jich…? Honorka yokana oi jich lin? Uwa kanoen fiyosho…”
She sounds like she was shocked. I know I am, so I totally understand her. I have seen them, and I have seen reflections of long-lost people. But that?
I look at her. She’s clearly horrified and in need of rest. She’s also holding on to the wine bottle she picked up. She tilts her head when she realizes that she’s being stared at. Now that looks funny. All that reaction while holding on to a wine bottle.
I suppose I could taste it. Just a little.