The Girl, Part Three
Just what is he trying to say? First, he puts his palm to his chest, then he points his own mouth, then he points a tree while saying “Koschilrk.” Then he points me, then my mouth, then the tree. Finally, he tilts his head like he was asking something.
I don’t get it.
No, maybe I can get it. Let’s see, he’s repeating it now. Holding his hand on his chest. That could be ‘me’. Next the mouth. That could mean eating or speaking. Didn’t you just eat? Tch, this boy has a bottomless pit. I’ll keep that in mind.
Then he points the tree while saying that weird word again. ‘Me eat tree’ is how I understand it. He seriously can’t think of anything other than eating? Good. I’ll work hard on cooking. But then he points me again, and my mouth. I don’t want to eat a tree, you know. But then he tilts his head? ‘Me eat tree, you eat tree?’
No, let’s consider the other possibility. ‘Me speak tree, you speak tree?’
Now that makes sense! But I still think he has a bottomless pit anyway, tee-hee. “Tree!” I exclaim.
“Trchee?” He points another tree while saying that. Yes, that is a tree as well. Well done! Though he could improve his pronunciation. Anyway, I’m happy to hear that he’s willing to learn vocabulary.
Now he is pointing the ground and tilting his head. I see where this is getting to. “Ground.”
I nod. The pronunciation is straying off a bit, but it’s still understandable. He moves on to next word. He picks a rock. “Rock.”
Now that was almost perfect. He probably read my facial expression, seeing that he has a victorious face. Yeah, he pronounced it well.
The next one takes a couple of seconds to understand. He holds his palm on his chest. Of course, thanks to the previous play, I get it fast enough. “Me.”
I nod with a smile. At this rate, we can have a chat after a week. Okay, the next one is getting interesting. He holds the same rock in his hand, pointing it, and then throwing it. Now he waits for my word. I think he wants to know the word for ‘throwing’.
Now that sounds odd, but I think I can understand it.
“I trohw rock.” He tests out a sentence? (NOTE: words ‘I’ and ‘me’ are the same in the girl’s language, hence the boy uses the word ‘I’ here.)
I nod to reply. Now that I think about it, shouldn’t I be learning his language? After all, I studied languages back in the days, I could catch up fast. Oh well, if he wants it, I don’t care.
He has learned a ton of new words! Though I doubt he can remember all of them. I fed him some other fruits as well as we played our vocabulary game. He could seriously eat for days without break. I won’t let him do that! If he grows fat…
Nevermind that. “Cellar.” I point out a door a few yards away. Let’s see if he gets the meaning right once he has seen what’s behind that door. Of course, I’m not leading us there just to teach him a new word.
It’s because I feel like opening my first wine bottle in a while. Last time I drank wine was back when people had disappeared and I’d traveled to next closest town. I drank all the wine I could find just to ease my sorrow, even if it was for a moment. The hangover in the morning was worse than the sorrow that evening, so I kinda managed to bury the sorrow. Of course, I still cry at times, but it’s not as bad as back then.
About the cellar, it’s actually a wine cellar and a vast one at that. There’s enough wine for two people to drink for rest of their lives. Of course, that’s not my plan for future. I have drunk wine only four times until this day. Really.
We enter a staircase which leads down to the cellar. I’ve been here only once before, and I thought I’d never go back. It’s too dark down here, and darkness means that Zero can provide a real surprise. Let’s hope it’ll let this one pass.
As he holds the torch, I go pick a bottle from nearby. I bet there is even better wine available further in the darkness, but I seriously don’t feel like risking it. Once I’ve picked a bottle, I show it to him. He responds by making X sign, tee-hee.
Wait, does he think I like drinking? Uh, what to do…
Suddenly, his face turns grim. I doubt it’s because of wine, but I really wish it’s because of that. He is looking past me like something was behind me. Don’t do that, it’s creeping me out!
“Sis…!” And I hear such behind me. My hairs are standing. That voice is…
“I’m in here…!” That voice is… ghastly.
I turn around, and I see it. Thirty yards from me, there is a really, really tall woman. For some reason, she’s clearly visible, like the darkness wasn’t veiling her at all. Her white clothes make her look like a ghost, and her long hair isn’t helping at all.
“Here…! In this monster’s belly…!”
I’m frozen. That woman—no, that creepy revenant of a woman has my youngest brother…?
He died because of a disease when he was five. Years before the disappearance. This is a hallucination.
The towering ghastly figure is walking towards us. It’s staring at me like it was hungry.
My hand is being pulled. “Khyrt.” Such I hear, but I don’t get the meaning.
Once I recover from the shock, we are sprinting up the staircase. My brother’s voice keeps resonating from below. “Please, Sis! I don’t want to die…!” And he stops in his movements when we hear that cry. Why’d he stop? Why does he care about my little brother so much? A boy he doesn’t even know? I tug his arm to tell him that we should go. Now.
“That’s a demonic hallucination! A hallucination!”
“Don’t leave me…” The voice is coming from the bottom of the staircase.
Thankfully, he comes to his senses and we get out of the staircase. He starts piling up some stuff to block the door. The cries of my deceased little brother reach me even now. What truly horrifies me is that it really sounds like my brother’s voice was coming from that ghastly woman’s belly.
I can still recall it, the day when my second little brother heard that he is ill, ill to the point that he will die. His tears didn’t stop. Our parents’ tears didn’t stop. My tears didn’t stop. He was too young to even understand the whole concept of death. Only five years old, yet he had to die.
We did everything he asked during his last days. He told us to bring him chocolate, we did so. He asked us to play a certain board game, we did so. He asked us to sit with him for an hour in the middle of a night. We did so. In the end, when his time of departure came, he smiled for a second, though I was the only one who saw it.
I knew that he was gone when he closed his eyes slowly. I never imagined I’d hear his voice again. And to further tear my heart apart, I heard the voice come from inside of a monster’s belly.
Wait, could it be possible…? It can’t be, right? I’m not leaving my little brother to suffer, am I?
“Little brother… That demon…? Is he truly inside that demon? But my brother died…”
After an unknown period of time, I come to my senses and realize that I’m being stared at, and the door is sealed for good. I tilt my head as to ask him why he’s staring at me while smiling like he was looking at a puppy.
After a while, I also notice that I’m still holding on to the bottle of wine. Oh my…
No worries, I’m in no trouble. Just trying to tell him to help me with firewood. Yes, this place has everything, including a firewood stock. As for my plans, I’ll use these to light up a hearth on the third floor. I’ve slept only a couple of times up there due to Zero’s stupid ideas of scaring the hell out of me. Once I learned that Zero won’t let me sleep up there peacefully, I made up my mind to sleep on the first floor.
However, a change of plans. Today we will sleep up there. I’m tired of sleeping down here, so once we have enough firewood with us, I lead the way to the closest staircase leading to upper floors. We walk through the hall to the opposite side, entering through a certain door to a certain location. There we find a grand-looking staircase, easily fit for royalty.
By the way, since he has a backpack full of his personal supplies with him, and since we are carrying tons of firewood, I put the wine bottle into his backpack. Let’s hope there isn’t anything in his backpack that could break the bottle.
“I’m tired…” I complain as we carry the firewood up the staircase.
We stop to take a break. Taking a glance at him, I can see that he wishes to carry my share as well, but unfortunately, we both took as much as we can carry on our own, so naturally, he has like, twice the amount of wood I have. He seems to be struggling with his own share alone. Nope, you just carry your own share, boy.
Once I’ve caught my breath, we continue to the next floor. The stairs aren’t long, it’s just that we had to walk quite a bit before these stairs, so I was physically and mentally tired before we even reached the stairs. As long as this cursed place won’t come up with a new idea, I’ll be happy. I just don’t feel like running for my life once again.
Soon enough, we reach the balcony of the second floor. The balcony in the vast hall. We can see the front gate from here, and countless other doors, such as the door that leads to the garden. Some doors aren’t visible due to pillars and such, but otherwise one can see the whole hall from here.
Also, it appears to be late evening already since sunlight is long gone. We should really hurry before it gets too late. I mean, it’s Zero we are in. Not some regular castle.
We still got stairs to climb. I won’t sleep on this floor because there are no places to sleep here. Just none. Sure, there are hundreds of rooms, but seriously, none of them is meant for sleeping. I lead the way to the next stairs. It takes a while, but once we get there, I take a break. Seriously, I’m too weak for this.
After a big struggle, we finally get to the third floor. Corridors are far more royalty-like up here. There are paintings, statues, and empty armors for decoration. Thankfully, these corridors aren’t dark, for Zero likes to keep this castle lighted. The lamps and torches burn eternally in this castle.
Once I find a certain room I’ve been drooling after ever since I came here, I drop the firewood by the door before going in. I’ll check the room before ignorantly stepping in. I mean, in this place you just don’t walk around too carelessly.
The door creaks a little, but that’s what most of the doors do anyway. The room is lighted by the dim light of an oil lamp. The lamp is hanging next to the door, so the other end of the room is kinda dark. Oh well, I’ll just get another lamp to light the other side as well.
To my right, there’s a hearth. To my left, there’s a bed, a really luxurious bed. The wall opposite of me is glass, and there’s a balcony behind it. This room is ideal, I’d say. The best part is that Zero isn’t messing with us right now. Maybe we can sleep here.
I tell him to put the firewood next to the hearth. “Wood. Drop.” I use my hands to express myself clearly and he seems to understand me.
“Ookay.” He replies with odd pronunciation.
In no time we are working on the fire. However, it seems I’m not allowed to kindle the hearth. He’s just not letting me go near the hearth. Oh well, if he can kindle it, I don’t care. I leave the hearth to him and I collapse onto the bed, which is definitely meant for royalty or something.
After a short moment, I hear the quiet sound of a flame burning in the hearth. That subtle sound really calms my soul after what I’ve had to experience today.