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Story Saturday: Thread of Time Chapter 2 - TheEyreEffect
I missed posting last Saturday, since it was our anniversary and I forgot to schedule the post but if you haven’t already caught up on my Fiction Press account, here is chapter two of Thread of Time. Enjoy! Chapter Two: Aftershock The first thing Maeve noticed was an earthy, musty smell, like the aroma of earth that has been wetted down and filled with moss. Her eyes refused to open right away, but she could smell everything. The dirt beneath her, the water that dripped somewhere in the vicinity, the puddles that people walked through outside. Wherever she was, it smelled of stone, worn in and kissed with cold age. Rubbing her eyes to will away the pounding headache, she squinted one lid open and barely caught movement above her. The tendril of someone’s hair slid across her face, and fingers poked her cheek. Maeve grunted in response, her heart beginning to race. Had she been kidnapped? She barely remembered last night; the dancing and drinking and midnight kissing all blurred into one loud memory that she did not care to relive. But after that kiss… what had happened? She couldn’t remember. If she hadn’t felt so much like throwing up, Maeve might have been a little more concerned about the figure tentatively prodding her body. But, the person did not seem to be after much of anything, and she was preoccupied with merely getting her vision back to care much. Something about the sounds coming from outside seemed odd to her, but she could not quite pin what it was. Finally, both eyes cooperated and granted her vision — blurry, gritty vision that welcomed in stabbing pain with the light, but vision nonetheless. Above her was darkness; some sort of wooden beams beneath a floor, shrouded in shadows and cobwebs. To the left was a window; the sort of rectangular kind that basements have, which follows the line of the ground and does very little to allow a view in or out. It was barred, but then many basement windows were in the city. To the right was a dark stone wall. It surprised her to see this; she had expected brick of some kind, but instead gray stones greeted her eyes, dripping with moisture of indeterminate beginnings. And, as she finally gathered the energy to push herself up to her elbows, at her feet was what appeared to be an old woman wrapped in a gray blanket, who was poking at her with a stick. “Hey,” Maeve protested, immediately thinking of the delicacy of her dress before she realized it was utterly ruined by dirt and alcohol and one too many misstepping feet. With a scream, the woman threw herself back against the wall, her eyes wide. Unintelligible words flew from her mouth, and she covered her face with her hands, muttering all the while. Maeve raised an eyebrow. “Well. Hello…?” At her utterance, the woman shrank even further into the corner. She clasped her hands before herself and raised them up, bowing her head into her elbows and crying out what sounded like a plea. Having some knowledge of languages, Maeve hazarded to guess she was speaking gaelic, or something very similar. Maeve had been obsessed with Ireland as a child, and decided to choose the language as an extracurricular activity. But, it proved harder to learn than her thirteen-year-old brain had predicted, and she dropped it after learning the most basic communication. She knew just enough to impress, but nothing more than greetings and queries about food and toilets. Maeve sat up all the way, closing her eyes for a moment when a wave of nausea hit her, and then very slowly got onto her knees. Peering at the woman, she prodded the recesses of her brain. “Erm… dia dhuit..?” she tried, hoping this was the correct way to say hello. The woman peeked at her for just a moment and then began muttering again. Maeve just barely caught the words “saol” and “bás”, or “life” and “death”. Did this woman think Maeve intended to kill her? “Oh, heavens.” Maeve rubbed her face again and bit her lip. Stuttering, she introduced herself, “Is é mo… uh… ainm… Maeve.” The woman showed no change. Face firmly averted, she continued to babble on about life and death and, if Maeve’s memory served, something about God. If only she had been persistent in her learning as a kid, she could have translated whatever this woman was saying. But, no matter. Nobody in Seattle spoke Gaelic — except for the woman in the room with her, apparently — so she wouldn’t have to sit wondering what was going on for long. Tentatively, Maeve felt around on her person for her phone. She had specifically requested this dress be altered to have pockets, and to her surprise she found her cell tucked safely inside the right one. Pulling it out, she held it up and huffed. No service. Where were they? She could hear foot traffic and animals outside, so they had to be somewhere populated. But no service meant it was somewhere remote. And, apparently, behind on the times. There wasn’t even wifi. Forcing herself to her feet, despite the voracious protestations of her stomach and the woman in the corner, she put the phone back in her pocket and walked unsteadily to the solid wood door, which had a small window in it like one might see in an old dungeon. This sparked both curiosity and confusion in the back of her mind, but she shook it off. She had more important things to worry about. Such as, escaping whatever this place was, reporting her abductors to the police, and picking up life after The Jilting. Slamming her fist on the door, she yelled “whoever you are, you’d better let me out now! Everyone will be looking for me! I was supposed to get married yesterday!” Something stirred outside the door, but after a few minutes of waiting, nobody came. Maeve slammed against the door again, this time with both fists. “Let me out! I am supposed to get freaking married and I do not want to deal with this crap too! I don’t care what you did to me last night, just let me out!” The more she shouted, the worse her headache became and the more bile threatened to explode from her stomach. Her threats were weak, but she could tell someone had heard them, because footsteps now pounded across the floor above her and she could hear voices outside. The small window in the door slid open and she saw two very surprised eyes peer in at her. They belonged to a male, so far as she could tell, and he stared at her with much confusion. “Let. Me. Out.” Maeve said through gritted teeth.”Or I will scream so loud everyone outside will hear me and know some pervert has me stuck in his creepy basement.” The man muttered something in Gaelic and slammed the window shut. His footsteps faded away in a hurried fashion. “Oh… yeah.” Maeve clutched her stomach and stepped away from the door. She was definitely going to lose whatever she’d eaten last night, and it wasn’t going to be pretty. Kidnapped or not, she needed to find a decent place to hurl, and fast. Staggering to the corner opposite the praying woman, Maeve braced herself against the wall and briefly mourned the complete and utter ruin of her beautiful dress before everything she had consumed in the last six hours projected from her stomach and straight into the dirt. It wasn’t much, but it felt like her entire intestines were trying to force themselves up her throat. As she heaved, less liquid and more dry retching, she heard someone arrive at the door. Great, she thought, this is a great way to threaten kidnappers, Maeve. Just. Barf on them. But when she tried to stand, she found her knees gave way beneath her and her head began to float towards the ceiling. The combination of no food, too much alcohol, a hangover, and heaving had deprived her of all strength — including the will to stay conscious. She felt herself falling to the ground in slow motion, catching the movement of a large figure as it dove to keep her from hitting the dirt, and hearing more of the same nonsense spilling from the woman in the corner. A deep, masculine voice barked some sort of order in the same language as the woman in the corner and suddenly she stopped. As blackness threatened the edges of Maeve’s already compromised vision, she realized three things: one, she had never hit the ground toward which she had fallen in her current fit of fainting and she was, in fact, being firmly held up by two very strong arms. Two, the person who held her was also very fluent in Gaelic, and she could not help but mutter, “does everyone speak Irish now..?” in a slurred way, bemused by the fact. And three, the man into whose arms she had unwittingly fainted seemed altogether too familiar, while also being completely strange. This last fact was the thing that lingered the longest, even after she closed her eyes and gave in to the bloodrush in her head, even when her ears filled with rushing, even into the dreams that followed the darkness. She knew him, and yet… she had never met him before in her life. In her dreams, he was Alex speaking foreign tongues, telling her he loved her and he had been waiting for her to return. In her dreams, she felt her heart break all over again as she asked him how he could possibly love her when he’d slept with her best friend. In her dreams, he assured her he would never let her go again. In her dreams, he wrapped her securely in his arms and kissed her until she had no more doubts. And in her dreams, when she opened her eyes she saw not Alex, but a dark-haired man with laughing green eyes, whose lips rose tenderly at the corners, whose chin brushed hers with a delightful sort of roughness. She asked him who he was, and he caressed her face, held her hand, leaned forward into the tingling crease of her neck. “Is mise mo chara, mo ghrá.” he whispered, “Agus is mian leatsa.” In her dreams, Maeve understood him completely, and wondered at the words. They rolled around in her head like incessant and comforting waves, washing the shore anew each time with promise and loving caresses. “I am your beloved, my love. And you are mine.” Xxx Maeve woke with a start, once again completely befuddled by her surroundings. She was on a bed so soft she wanted to sink into it forever. Her body was covered in a heavy, beautiful quilt and, on a clothing level, a thin white chemise embroidered with pretty green leaves at the neck. Warm and comfortable, she felt even more uneasy. At least in the basement — or dungeon, if it had been one — she knew she was captive. The fight-or-flight instinct had given her some form of comfort. But here, nestled in a welcoming bed, clothed in a soft garment, she was unsure whether she had been rescued, or whether she was being primed for something worse. Despite the clean gown clothing her, she still felt grimy and dirty, and a quick pass of her hand over her hair confirmed that she was still covered in dirt and sweat. Whomever had changed her had done little to clear the filth from her body. She gingerly sat up, feeling sore and empty, and looked around herself. The room offered her no more answers than the dingy basement had. In fact, it only served to add to her confusion. She seemed to be in the perfect replica of a castle bedroom. A large fire blazed in a stone...