Breathing hard, Vincent kept running father into the shadows of Wickend Forest. He legs throbbed with pain as thorns from hidden bushes tore at his skin. I must keep going, he thought, can't let them catch me. He tried to take notice of his surroundings, but was distracted by the angry voices following him. He glanced around to make sure he was going in the right direction. The dark forest was spared light only by the full moon and the faint glimmer of the stars overhead. A light mist was thickening around the trees, giving them an eerie and ghostly aura. Green moss clung to the trees as though they were blankets, and mushrooms sprouted from the twisted roots of gnarled trees. He smelled the faint scent of rotted wood mixed in with the stench of his sweat. It was a nauseating aroma, but he purged on for fear of stopping and not being able to continue. He dared to look over his shoulder at the shouts behind him, seeing how much distance he had between them. Small flames of torches were dim, drowning in the dark and lush forest until Vincent couldn't even see them anymore. All this chasing for stealing a bit of food? A man has to eat! Vincent thought haughtily. Maybe it was the fact that I stole a whole herd of cows this time. He grinned smugly at his great escape, and turned around just in time to be clothes lined by a low tree branch. He fell backwards, striking his head upon a rock. Vincent's eyes blurred over until there was nothing but black.

Light came back to his eyes, allowing him sight again. He groaned, and rubbed the back of his head. Expecting to find blood and a large gash, instead he found a cloth wound about his head.
"What's this?" he wondered aloud. Puzzled, he opened his eyes expecting to see the lush leaves of the trees, but instead widened them in surprise at a wooden ceiling. Vincent sat up further looking around him in awe.
He was in a bed, in the middle of one of the most exquisite room he had ever seen. The floor was a creamy colored marble, which was so clean he could see his weather-beaten face in it. To his left, a large, mirror with a gold encrusted frame hung by a wardrobe that was finely crafted with the most skillful of hands. Fire crackled in a small fireplace and a large armchair, shining in its red velvety splendor. Only then did he realize that he was not the only one in the beautiful chamber. A pair of legs dangled from the edge of chair, glowing pure white in the light of the fire.
Hmm, peculiar. Vincent swung his legs over the side of the bed and tried to stand up, but his head spun wildly and he made a little moan of pain. He collapsed back onto the bed, clutching the bedpost for support. He then heard a small noise from the armchair. He shook his head and looked to see who was in the chair. Vincent's jaw dropped.
A young woman clothed in a very thin and pale pink dress stood before him with a worried expression on her angelic features. Her long raven curls swept around her petite figure, a few strands gone astray around her face. Her stormy gray eyes stared out at him from a white silken face, with a small nose and full lips.
How did such a pretty thing end up in the same room with me? Vincent pondered in amazement as she strode forward, and for such a small girl, helped him up and put him in the chair by the fire.
"Are you warm enough?" the girl replied in such a heavenly voice, Vincent was beginning to think he had truly died and gone to Heaven. He managed to grunt some form of a yes, which made her smile and handed him a cup with a crimson liquid. He took it absentmindedly, still with a dreamy look on his face. It was sweet at first, but then having a bitter aftertaste he scowled and refused to drink anymore of it. "Go on, drink some more it will make you feel better," she smiled again, making his heart melt and he drank until the foul liquid was gone.
"There I've finished it. Now may I ask you miss, where have I ended up?" he questioned.
"Not the best place to end up, my lord," she said mournfully, and bowed her head down. Lord? Hmm, I could begin to like this girl.
He asked, "And why not miss? Anywhere with an angelic face like yours would seem to be * good for me." And he smiled what he thought was charming, and lifted her chin up with his fingertips. "Now what's so bad about this place?" It can't be as bad as that village where a man has to scourge for food like an animal.
"You have come upon the house of the Women of Wickend Forest, my lord. It has been here for nearly 100 years. Oh pardon me," she said hastily, "My name is Annabelle"
"A beautiful name for a beautiful face, my lady." He winked at her blush. "Now tell me what of this place that makes it's so horrible."
"Women that live in here are girls that have been sold to be servants to Madame Borselle, who is a very powerful woman, as are her servants. I was only brought here yesterday and have yet to be inducted."
"I think I would have known about this place since I have lived around these parts for all of my life."
Annabelle replied, "Yes you would have, if it was closer to the village. Do you know how far these woods extend? We are in exact center where very few men venture out for fear of getting lost. But I do not wish to be a slave to Madame Borselle! She is a wretched woman, who never lets us see our families again or wed a suitor." She then started to sob into her hands. Vincent's heart went out to her, and knelt to her side and placed her hands on her shoulders.
"Not to worry miss, I shall rescue you from this prison." He smiled and she looked up at him with admiration, drying her tears.
"Why would you do that for me? You've just met me my lord, and don't know me at all."
"Not many pretty girls are in need of rescuing these days, so here's my chance!" he said with a grin, and then looked around the room, trying to find a suitable way to flee. Luckily he was skilled at escapes.
He glanced at the window and stood up, feeling surprising stronger then he did five minutes ago. He strode over to the window, and checked if it was locked. It wasn't, so he pulled it up and looked over. It wasn't a far drop, more like six feet. They were lucky they were only on the second floor.
He looked back over at Annabelle, who was still standing by the fire. And maybe there's a reward for rescuing angels. He thought smirking to himself.
"Annabelle, come here." When she did, he said, "Now I'm going to jump out off of here, don't worry I'll be fine," he said reassuringly seeing the look on her face, then continued, "Then you'll jump down and I'll catch you." Still seeing a look of horror on her lovely face, he gave her a quick kiss on the check, grinning at seeing her flush. Then without another word, he flew out of the window and landed on his feet perfectly.
Vincent looked up and saw her grinning slyly at him and he felt puzzled. Why is she smirking? She should be jumping down now. Then he heard something behind him and before he could turn around, a searing pain ripped through his back and fell to the ground. Vincent looked up, and saw Annabelle laughing wildly. He groaned, and saw about ten men, from his village. Realization sunk in, and he consumed to the darkness that fell over him.

"Here's your pay miss, for helping that cow thief get what he deserved." A rather toothless, old man grinned at Annabelle. She scrunched up her nose at and motioned for him to hand the gold over to a stately looking woman next to her. Her gray hair was knotted to the back of her head, not a hair gone out of place. Her cold brown eyes stared at the grimy man as he put the weighty amount of gold in a ring-covered hand and he ran off to catch up with the other villagers.
Annabelle turned to the woman, "There, I have paid you off, now will you set me free?"
The woman smiled wickedly, "You've been a part of this place for five years now Annabelle, unlike what you told that man. You will forever be a part of the Women of Wickend." Annabelle snarled, her normally enchanting features filled with rage.
"You witch! I will never be a part of this hell again! I only helped capture and kill that man for the reward to pay you off for my freedom that should have never been taken away in the first place. I am to wash myself of this place forever!" she cried and stormed off to collect her things.
Madame Borselle smiled sinisterly, watching the small figure stomp off. Oh you'll be back Annabelle. Sooner then you think. And with that she closed the heavy doors to the castle , leaving the door unlocked.