The next morning was hectic as I awoke to the sound of shuffling feet and hushed voices that called to each other in the halls just outside my room. I groaned, trying to gain my bearings as I pushed myself into a sitting position. I was used to hearing a few servant here and there, but today they where usually down stairs, not up here.
Lifting a brow in question, I decide that it probably be best if I were to start my chores for the day. Usually, it was Alice or Millie who would barge into my room to wake me, but to my revelation, no one had come to my room to even tell me to get dressed and work. This was odd.
Stretching my legs, I throw the sheets away from me as I stood up in order to push the curtains open. Once the curtains were out for the way, I was surprised to find that the sun was almost at its highest point tin the day.
'How could they let me to sleep in?!' I hissed, feeling alarmed.
In a panic, I rushed over to the drawers to change into a clean uniform. After that, I wasted no time to quickly wash my face and place my hair into a manageable bun. I barely even touched my powder as I rushed out of the bathroom in order to leave my room. What I met through the door was a hive of swarming maids rushing blinding through the corridor.
'What's with everyone?'I thought to myself, watching as another group of servants made haste and quickly dusted the portraits and cleaned the windows with such speed that it nearly frightened me. What had happened to make the workers act like this?
Spotting a familiar head of blond, I maneuvered my way past the moving bodies in order to reach my goal. I didn't even bother a to say a simple hello as I rushed into finding out what was happening.
"Mind telling me why everyone is rushing around the place?"I questioned, part of me feeling guilty for startling Alice in the middle of her work while another part was just concerned on the matter at hand.
"Oh good you're up!"My bubbly friend exclaimed, completely dodging the question as she dragged me to the side so we weren't in the way of the other maids.
"Can you explain this nonsense?" I tried again, hoping this time she would enlighten me on today's events.
"We're preparing for a party."
"A party?" I repeated, clearly shocked by this news. I wondered if she knew how vague the statement was. "What's it for?"
Since the time I had arrived I never thought of Rath as the type to hold such a thing, even if it were to just invite a few friends. From what I gathered, it seemed he enjoyed his solitude life. Or at least that's what I thought. It's not like I kept tabs on the man.
"That's the thing, we don't know." Alice said with a shrug, her tone one of uncertainty. I would have shrugged the subject off as well, yet, when I noticed the strange glimmer in her bright blue eyes and the slow smile that began to creep along her doll like face, I felt compelled to question her again.
'Why do I have the feeling she isn't telling me everything.' I thought grimly, narrowing my eyes.
Yet, just as quickly as the glimmer in her eye and the smile had formed, it vanished, which left me to sigh in defeat. With a huff, I spotted another maid scurried past us with her dainty arms carrying away a load of cloths that I never seen before.
"I see." I murmured under my breath, taking one last glance at Alice features before shrugging the weird look as just part of her already abnormal behavior.
"So do you need help?" I ask offhandedly, seeing that I was already up and dressed to work.
"Sure, why don't you go assist Bree in the back? She needs help with tending to the flowers so they will be presentable when the guests arrive." She recommended, seeming pleased with her sudden idea as she nodded in satisfaction to herself. When I raised a casual brow in response, she quickly sighed and started to usher me down the hall until we were at the steps In the back of the manner. At first I wondered why she just didn't take the stairs towards the front of the manner, but when I turned to my head to the side to notice that most of the servants where coming from that general direction, I realized perhaps this was the best route to avoid the main traffic area.
Once we left though the back doors, I found myself facing a pair of granite steps that curved towards a path that led right through a row of trees. When I asked Alice for directions, she was already heading back inside.
"Just head down that path and you'll see her." Was all she said before disappearing behind the door, leaving me alone to my thoughts as I looked around the place. With a mental shrug, I left my feet to do the work as I followed the path.
The day was nice outside, not to hot or cold like it tended to be at times. Through there was a few clouds in the sky, it wasn't gloomy, but nor was it perfect. Letting myself to my thoughts, I silently admired the landscape.
The more I walked, the more the place began to change. Soon, the row of trees disappeared behind me as an iron gate blocked my course. It was such strange gate too, seeing the bizarre designs that were engraved into its smooth texture. When I touched the surface, I was astonished to find it was rather warm where else I expected it to be cold.
Taking on last at the designs, I gently pushed at the gate until opened with a soft creak. With the door out of the way, I was amazed by the sight before me.
'Such a charming garden.' I thought in awe, loving the vast range of flowers and architecture. Parts of the garden appeared to hold a different design of its own with flowers that appeared exotic and had been personally shipped here. I even ran up to the few flowers that I recognized and started to take in the wonderful scents. Everything was fresh, sweet and held an intoxicating aroma that practically threatened to drown me in this delightful bliss.
The more time I spent just counting all the diverse types for flowers, the more I seemed to forget my earlier thoughts and the reason why I was there. It wouldn't be long though until I was bought out of my thoughts though when a sudden noise caught my attention.
"Good morning miss Fang."A soft, whimsical voice pierced the air, bringing my thoughts back to reality as I turned from the gorgeous scene as I searched for the owner of the sweet voice. When my eyes couldn't find the owner, I started to wonder if I perhaps imagined the voice. However, when I heard a rustle behind me I turned to find that there was a large patch of tall sun colored flowers that hidden a silhouette. Confused, I took a few steps away from the stone path and went around the flowers to find that there was someone defiantly here as I caught the sight of a woman just a few years older than me sitting beside the vegetation.
"Your Bree right?" I inquired, still stunned by the girl's beauty as she rose from her position from the ground. Gentle waves of autumn brown locks bushed against the small of her back as she turned to me with her warm hunter green eyes that reflected the suns light from above. At first I assumed that she was probably petite since she looked so small boned. Yet, when she stood at her full height, she easily towered over my form with a graceful willowy figure that many Nobel ladies in my kingdom would love to obtain.
When she didn't answer, I wondered if I perhaps did something wrong. I even begun to worry if I stepped on the plants, but when I found that I still stood on solid ground rather than the lovely plants she was tending to.
"That I am." She smiled kindly, her voice soft and delicate like the plants she was caring for. "Is there something you need?"
"I was sent here to help you tend the garden." I stated dumbly, not knowing what else to say. The girl simply nodded at this.
"Of course you were." She said, her tone courteous as she watered another batch of yellow flowers next to her. I glanced away from her for a brief second, interested to see what I'll be doing first. I never planted before, nor did I really know how to take care of flowers. The only plants I was used to were the ones back at my parents manor, which wasn't much since mother had a fancy for strange exotic plants that at times I couldn't even pronounce right. Some were pretty, but others had a contorted shapes and menacing figures that at times would send chills down my spine.
"Where should I start?" I finally asked, finding that I had stood there long enough to contemplate on some old memories that I'd rather keep locked behind a mental door.
"The lilies are starting to wilt from lack of water." She said while walking a little ways form me, her movements light and airy as though she was barely touching the ground until she sat down next to a group of Burnet Roses that one of my teachers from the day I was a child had pointed out when I was still allowed to play outside. The girl then reached out for an object beside her and turned back to me and rose the item so I could see it was a watering can. With her smile still in place she lightly asked, "Could you please water them for me?"
With my own smile, I reach out for the watering can and nodded my head.
"Of course." I said, already walking over to the lilies that stood next to a patch of lovely tulips that seemed to have recently sprung up from the ground. With my eyes focused on the lilies, I could see that some of the petals were weeping and slowly beginning to tug the stem downwards, as though depressed from lack of love.
"Do you tend to the garden everyday?" I inquired unexpectedly. Even though I find the silence to be comforting, I was still a little curious about this woman.
"Yes." I heard her say. "It's my job as well as a hobby of mine."
"You do a wonderful job." I remark sincerely, taking a quick glance around to admire the garden again.
Reaching down, my hand delicately traced the velvety petals of the lilies. The silky feel of the flower was exquisite, just like the silk sheets on my bed.
Then, just as my hand brushed against another individual lily, I noticed something was moving beneath the flowers. At first, it was just a swift movement of a few flowers. Yet, as the movement began to move towards me, I felt a sudden burst of anxiety rush through me. Leaning in I hesitated as I placed my hand on the moving lilies, silently praying it was just a small rodent that was causing the stir.
Next thing I knew, my hand was clasped with something cold, earning a sharp gasp from me as I tried to tug my hand away from whatever had just latched onto my wrist. I looked down again, realizing that the object that was holding my wrist was a hand.
Frozen at the spot, I watched in silence as another form rose from the flower bed.
It was a woman. Her face was like stone, almost marble as though she was carved from one of the artist that my father had so dearly praised back home. She was beautiful, but not in an angelic sense that more artist try to covey through their art. Her lips for one, were chapped, almost in a raggedy manner. Also, her hair, which I half expected to be stone like, was a pale silver white. The appearance of the hair reminded me of cob webs,
Even though she seemed at peace with closed eyes, there was something that about those closed lids that made me wish to flee. I didn't get that chance though, knowing I didn't have to glance down to see the woman's spidery fingers wrapped around my wrist. I could feel the nails digging into my flesh as I tried to yank once more.
Then, she opened her eyes.
A pair of deathly black eyes.
With a sharp intake of breath, I felt the heated blood within my veins turn cold with trepidation as my eyes laid upon those hollow orbs. Even though the sun was high in the sky, no light reflected in those dark murky depths. It was if all the light in the world was being sucked into the blackness of this woman's stare.
I could only watched as the woman with the pale winter colored hair began to move her cracked, bleeding lips, their movements trying to form words but the only thing that escaped was a rush of chilling air that hissed out in a viperous hum.
Reaching out with her other hand, I felt my skin crawl as a long, brittle nail scrapped along the fabric of my uniform that was just over my heart. With another hiss of breath, she moved her lips rapidly, as though chanting. If I didn't do something now, I feared I'd regret the result of whatever she was planning to do.
Using my fear as a my strength, I quickly slapped the hand away, thankful I had enough sense to do just that as I finally jerked my hand away from the ghoulish woman. With her stunned, I manged to scramble away a few inches form her so she wouldn't be able to reach me.
"Kara?" The soft trill of a voice rang out, one that I knew belonged to Bree. From the sound of it, she was already on the other side of the garden, apparently checking upon me. A part of me wanted to respond, to say that everything was not fine. Yet, with my voice caught in my throat, I head the light shift of fabric and feet start my way.
Seeing that Bree was walking over in my direction, the woman with the black eyes began to sink back into the flowers, obviously not wanting other to know that she was here. With her head just above the the flower bed, her deathly black eyes never wavered from my gaze before they melted with the lilies. The last thing I caught was the silent, curve of her lips, forming a small, sinister smile before she completely vanished.
"Kara? Is everything alright?" Bree's said from behind me, startling me out of my thoughts as I realized it was Bree who was next to me.
Blinking slowly, I started to regain my whereabouts.
"Yes..." I trailed off, not knowing what I just saw. I didn't have to look down to notice that my hand was shaking from the disturbing image. "I'm just..."
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a flash of red rush past a pair of rose bushes that stood at the end near the woods. Curious, I turned my head abruptly to see what could have just moved passed the bushes but when I looked there was nothing.
"Did you see something?" Bree appeared next to me, this time on the other side of me. I didn't have to look to know she was looking in the same direction as me.
"I think I'm just a little dizzy."I stated blandly. Though I wanted to tell her the truth, I had instantly stop myself from saying more. I already felt like I was going insane, so why bother worrying about another hallucination?
"The flowers aromas tend to have that effect at times." Bree commented, nodding halfheartedly. Though she seemed contempt with my answer, I noticed that she spared me one last glance that held a hint of unease before turning back to tend to the plants.
'What's wrong with me today?'I wondered, feeling a sudden shift in the wind as it brushed against my bare arms. The temperature seemed to have dropped while I was adsorbed in tending to the garden that I just now noticed the change.
With one last look to the bushes, I shook my head before turning back to my own work. Taking one of my free hand, I lightly touched the area the woman had pointed to and shivered. Whatever had happen, I knew that woman was more than just my imagination.
In my mind, I silently prayed that was my last surprise for the day.
A/N: Hoped you like and thank you for reading! Sorry for the delay!