The Loving Servitude

The night was dark as Elspeth made her way through the woods. She was carrying a wicker basket filled with sweet breads and meat. As the daughter of an Earl she shouldn't have been in such a position. However, her father had kept the servants she favoured most and gave her those whom she despised instead. She had waited until her home was out of sight before she sent them back. If she couldn't have who she wanted then she would have no one.

An owl hoots, flapping its wings. The beady eyes peered down at her. She caught its glance for a moment before looking away. If she didn't know better she would have thought it was glaring at her. Animals are pitiful and worthless, her father had told her, that's why we eat them. He had promptly thrown out the cat she had brought inside after his lecture and she paid no heed to any animal since. Tonight, however, offered her no other form of companionship so she listened intently for the wildlife.

She gasped and almost fell when a thorny bush caught the hem of her dress. She tore the fabric away from its skeletal branches. If she hadn't been taught etiquette by Lorelei then she would have thrown a fit. She takes a deep breath and the cold stings her throat. She clutches her neck as the sharp pain begins to fade. Then she starts to walk again.

Her intent listening for wildlife suddenly catches the sound of something else. She looks to her right and finds two large shapes huddling at the side of the untamed path. Elspeth stops, her breathing shallow, trembling with fear. One of the shapes moves. The clouds part further, allowing a small beam of light to shine on the figure.

Elspeth gasps, almost dropping the basket. It's a boy, appearing no older than twelve. His face is smudged with dirt and his clothes look to be too big for him. His hair is golden like the sun and his eyes are emerald. She strides over to him and sets the basket down. The closer she is to them the clearer the other shape is – a girl. She looks very much like her companion.

"Are you two well?" Elspeth enquires, worriedly.

"No, miss, we are not," the girl replies with an angelically soft voice. "Please do not feel the need to worry… Our friends should arrive soon. They promised to stay forever with us."

"They won't come," the boy murmurs. "We've been waiting for so long. Miss, will you come and play with us? Our home isn't far from here and we have prepared for a night of festivities."

She smiles; pitying them. "Of course I will, but I can't stay for a long time. I'll leave when your other friends come, alright?"

Elspeth stares at the wrought iron fencing. The imposing and tall fencing surrounds an old gothic mansion. The entire building seems treacherous and haunting. She glances at the twins, one on either side of her, worriedly. They take her hand in theirs and grin widely at her. An image flashes through her mind, too fast to distinguish, but it terrifies her.

Before she can voice her sudden nervousness the twins start pulling her along. She opens her mouth but she suddenly can't remember what she was going to say. She frowns and lets them drag her up onto the porch. To her horror the door is cracked and slightly bent. She quakes in fear but the twins are oblivious to her discomfort. They push the door open and race inside.

"Please allow me to show you our room," the girl giggles.

"We can all enjoy our time together there," he exclaims.

"Who are you? What are your names?" Elspeth gasps, stumbling along behind them.

"I'm Lucinda," she smiles, leading Elspeth down a hall.

"My name is Aaron," he explains, nudging the bedroom door open.

They lead Elspeth in. At once her eyes widen. The room seems distantly familiar. The wallpaper is old, faded and peeling but she recognises what she can see of it. The bed is large with four ornate posters but they are cracked and damaged. The carpet is faded and pale but she knows it. Lucinda giggles and spins her around before pushing her onto the bed.

"Would you like some tea?" Aaron enquires, pushing the cup towards her face.

"Brother, you fool, you've splashed her face," Lucinda scolds.

She leans over and licks the liquid from Elspeth's face. Aaron sits on the other side of Elspeth. He grins at her when she looks, hoping for reassurance.

Lucinda whispers in her guest's ear. "Dreams are sweet as the sugar in tea because they're heaven made. So close your eyes and have one,"

The twins push her onto her back. She stares at the canopy for a moment. They lie down next to her and she squeezes her eyes shut; scared to displease them. All at once a wave of drowsiness sweeps over her. She drifts into a realm of unconsciousness quickly.

Lucinda grins at her brother, pressing a finger to her lips. "Dreams are good only when surrounded by hallucinations,"

Elspeth stares down the long dark hallway. She shivers, her lower lip trembling. A small glimmer of light appears as a door cracks open. A wide smile spreads across her face and her small legs race. She pushes the door open and beams at the room. The walls are covered in stripes with floral patterns. The carpet is rosy pink with a large circle of roses in the centre. The windows are large with heavy iron frames.

Elspeth runs towards a large toy box. She lifts the lid and stares at the numerous stuffed bunnies and bears. All of them are grey. Then, a flash of colour catches her eyes. She drops the box lid and skips to a halt in front of two blonde dollies. One is a boy and the other is a girl. Their eyes are beautiful amber orbs that remind her of her mother's favourite earrings.

A great heaviness bears down on her. She winces and slowly cracks her eyes open. Strips of fabric are wrapped around her head. The twins are sitting, sipping tea at a tiny table made for children's rooms. Aaron drops his cup and it smashes on the carpet. He stands up, Lucinda following his lead, and strides over to her.

"Bad girl," he says, standing over her. "You shouldn't have woken so early."

He and Lucinda drop to her knees and Elspeth tries to scream. Their eyes are glowing bright amber. She struggles against the bindings, discovering that her entire body is bound. Aaron pushes her onto her back.

"Bad girl," Lucinda smiles. "If you blindfold comes off should I blind you instead?"

Aaron pushes the corners of her mouth into a smile. Terror flashes in her eyes. The twins share a secretive glance.

A pink doll in a pretty, frilly frock is held out to Elspeth. She takes it into a tight embrace. The two blonde dolls are lying at the top of the stairs. Their amber eyes are turned to their mistress in longing.

"You look cute," Lucinda squeals. "Too bad you're still wearing lies. Let's continue our party!"

"You're trembling," Aaron notes. "Do you want milk to calm you down like you would have at your house?"

Elspeth shakes her head and rolls away. She falls from the bed with a loud thud. Her vision swirls for a moment but she soon recovers. The twins lift her into a sitting position. They share a smile before looking back at her longingly. She pushes away from the bed and tries to crawl away on her knees.

"We'll toll you now so you don't lose face," Lucinda explains.

"Give it to us now," Aaron continues.

Lucinda reaches out.

At the gates of the mansion Elspeth lies in silent contemplation. Her head has fallen forward and a small trail of blood trickles down her chin. A huge gaping hole is where her heart should have been. Two dolls rest on her lap with blonde hair and amber eyes.

Author's Note: Hello! Happy All Hallows Eve. This was inspired by Trick and Treat by Len and Rin Kagamine. Thank you for reading.