I should have known that was the last time I would ever see him.
I left our secluded cottage at dawn to meet him, as always, wandering around and through the throngs of branches and leaves and bushes. I was in love. The simplest of things, yet so complicated at the same time. It was... difficult, to say the least, to hide it from my mother.
"People are only ever going to hurt you, Rainne," she always told me grimly when she was cooking or cleaning or casting spells. "That's why we stay here. That's why we don't see other people. We love each other, see? But people don't love us."
I met Adrian whilst collecting flowers for my mother.
The sun, warm and incandescent, shone through the enveloping branches of the trees. The early bird was singing a song that I didn't know, a song that I would never know, but I listened and I loved it anyway. The air was cool and crisp. It was springtime – flowers bloomed everywhere, wild roses and bluebells, lilies and poppies, creating a blizzard of colour against the canvas of brown and green.
He had appeared out of nowhere, like an illusion.
"Hello," he said with a smile. I turned to face him, my heart throwing itself at my ribcage, and with redness to my cheeks. Marvelling at the strange, exotic creature before me, I gaped rather stupidly. I took in his brown, dishevelled hair, his tall and lean build, his easy smile and his laughing eyes.
He was beautiful, I thought.
But then, I wasn't really a good person to judge beauty when I'd never seen another human being apart from my mother in my life.
"My name's Adrian," he told me when I didn't say anything, not losing the smile on his face. "I didn't know anyone lived around here."
"I didn't know anyone lived around here either," I found myself saying cautiously. He's a person, I thought to myself. Alarm bells started ringing in my head. He's going to hurt you. But curiosity overcame reason, and I stayed. He didn't seem harmful at all. How could something so beautiful harm me?
"I live in the village." He took a step forward, out from under the shade of the trees, and I could see him more clearly. I saw the way his lips frowned ever so slightly when I took a step back. "Just at the edge of the forest."
"More people?" I blurted out incredulously.
"Yes, of course," he replied, slightly amused.
Silence hung in the air for a while, heavy and palpable. "What's your name?"
Don't tell him. "Rainne."
He smiled. "That's a beautiful name." I wanted to tell him to stop smiling. I feared I would not forget that smile. "Are those flowers for a lover?"
I followed his gaze to the basket of lilies suspended on my arm. "They're for my mother. It's just us two." I took a step back, snapping a twig as I did so. "I... I must go." Without another word, I scurried away like one of the creatures I often came across in the woodland.
"Goodbye, Rainne!" Adrian called after me. I wanted to tell him not to say my name. I feared I would not forget how it sounded on his tongue, how it sounded leaving his lips.
I glanced back for a moment – just a moment – and he was still there, looking at me with that strange look of his and that odd tilt of his head.
I couldn't stay away from him, no matter how I tried. I saw him the next day, and the day after that, and then and then and then all the days blurred into one and I don't know how exactly I found myself falling.
"I'm going away for a few days," Adrian told me that day, propped up against a willow tree and stroking my hair as I leaned back on him. "Father and I are going on a hunting trip."
"You'll come back, right?" I questioned. Wrapping his arms tighter around me, he chuckled.
"Of course." He kissed my hair. "I'll always come back to you."
"I'll miss you," I murmured, closing my eyes.
"I'll be back before you know it." He paused for a moment. "I have something for you." Sitting up, I turned to face him, slightly perplexed.
"For the same reason that sometimes I look at you, and I can't breathe. For the same reason that I kiss you. For the same reason that I'm here, and you're in my arms, and I don't ever want to let you go." He smiled; my chest ached for a second and for a moment I couldn't breathe. Stupid, how this man made me feel. Stupid and wonderful and ridiculous and perfect.
He reached for the inside of his coat and took out a gleaming mirror, lined and adorned with elaborate patterns of gold. "It was my mother's, and my grandmother's before her. I told Ma about you, you know. She's half in love with you already."
He handed it to me, and I took it carefully and cradled it like a baby in my arms. I looked at myself in it, and was surprised to see a small tear creating a path down my cheek. I reached up and brush it off.
"Remember," he said quietly. "Remember that you're the most beautiful girl I've ever met."
People are only ever going to hurt you, Rainne. The words were history now. They meant nothing, nothing but empty lies. I was falling, but never hurting.
We parted with kisses and promises to see each other again. We'd said goodbye countless of times, but that day... something felt wrong.
I should have known that was the last time I would ever see him.
I came home to my mother, idiotically forgetting to hide the mirror. She spotted it immediately.
"Where did you get that?" she demanded, snatching it up from my hands. Inspecting it, realisation dawned on her face and she turned on me with a sudden fury taking over her features.
"I—" I stammered, stepping backwards.
"A boy?" The two words were barely audible.
"After everything I've taught you, everything I warned you against—"
"Who is he?" she screeched, spit spraying from her mouth. Her eyes were black. Empty and soulless.
"His name is Adrian, Mother, and I love him!" I screamed. My throat felt raw, my eyes were blurred with tears and something in my chest ached.
"I will not have my daughter taken away from me!" Shrieks erupting from her mouth, Mother threw the mirror down.
Somehow, I felt that so did my whole world.
"But does he love you?" Mother whispered into the following silence. She started cackling, low and sending shivers up my spine.
"You're insane," I said.
"He told you, didn't he?" She smirked, grabbing me by the neck and tracing a nail down the side of my face. "He told you he loved you. And you believed him."
"You're a witch, Rainne!" Her cries broke the quietness; shattered it like she shattered my mirror. "A witch, just like your poor old mother." Her words chipped at my soul, cutting off bit by bit. She threw me to the floor, threw me along with the broken pieces of the mirror and the broken bits of my soul.
"No one will love you."
I hurt. It was painfully ironic that it was by my mother's hand.
I didn't know how long I sat there in my brokenness, staring at the cracked pieces of my mirror. Something tugged at my stomach, and an urge to fix the mirror overwhelmed me.
I blinked. Once. Twice. Thrice.
The mirror was no longer broken.
With shuddering hands, I reached out tentatively and took it, hugging it to my chest. A witch. Resentment bubbled inside of me like a poison brewing, and for a heated moment, I selfishly felt like smashing the world and breaking it.
I stamped out the urge. Adrian. I needed to find him.
Feeling oddly like a child learning how to stand up properly, I picked myself up. I panicked as I stumbled across a chair leg on my way out, but found silence as a reply to the clatter.
She wasn't here.
Like a fool, I staggered into my mother's room and snatched her spell-book lying discarded on the bed. I found the spell I needed, and held the mirror in my hands as I chanted the words. I looked at myself. My eyes were black.
The Mirror glowed as I finished the spell. "Sh-show me... Show me Adrian." The words were barely a whisper, a pathetic command, but the Mirror obeyed.
I screamed. The mirror didn't break when I hurled it at the wall.
I couldn't even recognise his face, battered and bloody and broken. Now, I was truly broken. The urge to break and shatter the world visited me again, and it never left. My soul was screaming and burning and it hurt so much.
His father knelt beside him, weeping. My heart broke just a little bit more.
"M-Mother," I croaked, taking the Mirror back in my hands. "Show me Mother." Again, the Mirror followed my wishes, and it showed me a wolf. An arrow protruded from its chest. I felt nothing as the creature's lifeless body shifted into that of my Mother. I didn't think I could possibly be hurt any more.
I did nothing, for a while. I was nothing, just an empty body surrounded by the bits and pieces of everything. I stayed, for I had nowhere else to go – nowhere else to live the rest of my days as a lonely witch who wanted to break the world for breaking her.
It hurt to remember, but that was all I could do. Remember. Eyes, lips, nose, hands. Don't forget, Rainne.
Don't forget, because you can't.
People are only ever going to hurt you, Rainne.
Mother was right, after all.
You're the most beautiful girl I've ever met.
I looked at my face in the mirror as I cast the spell, reading the words aloud from my mother's spell-book. My eyes were black, too. They were mourning, mourning because they may never look upon Adrian again.
Remember you're the most beautiful girl I've ever met.
And I did remember. I remembered those words as I spoke.
"Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?"
A/N: Okay, so I wrote this for an English assignment a few weeks ago. The idea struck me when I was pondering over how people came to be evil, and because I'm such a hopeless romantic, my brain came up with... this. Whatever this is. I realise it's very short and rushed, but anything I write for my English class tends to be so. Sorry about that. I guess I could've expanded and turned it into a multi-chaptered story, but I wanted to keep it this way. I feared I would ruin it if I did.
We all know what happens to Rainne in the end, anyway.
I hope it doesn't suck too much for you not to like it. Tell me what you think.