The Talisman of Minton Square
The bridge was the only way to get across the river. Plenty of people have crossed and nothing was dealt with them. It was the shortest route to every single place in Minton Square. The Founders made sure Minton Square fully surrounded Delaney Bridge. It was peculiar how little it was acknowledged when it held so much importance to our town.
As important as Delaney Bridge was, it is easy to see why the townsfolk steer clear of the bridge alltogether. A sudden chill runs its course along my spine as I continue closer towards the bridge. An overbearing sense to run the other way clenches at my heart. But I have already come all this way and sundown is fast-approaching. I must go forward.
The river that lies underneath is as black as death. It is completely dark and uninviting. It's beginning and end is known to no one. The only part of the river that is visible is what lies beneath Delaney Bridge. It serves no purpose but to give off an illusion of despair and turbulence. Maybe that's why many go insane on Delany Bridge. Their eyes behold such terrifying images and their imaginations run wild.
As such a thought crosses my mind, I attempt to keep my eyes forward as to not allow my imagination to run wild. I strut forward quickly in hopes to quicken this dooming passage but it is of no use.
A sudden screech brings me to my knees as I grasp for some hope of peace. I frantically look around but nothing seems to be amiss. I stay crouched to make sure the danger has passed. And...nothing. Not a single sound can be heard except for my rugged breathing. My heartrate slowly accelerates downwards.
I rise once more and run across the bridge. I keep running deep into Hanging Forest. I start to wonder if maybe what I had heard was a figment of my imagination when I hear it again. A shrilling cry that is neither human nor animal, rather a mix of pain and sorrow that brings me once again to my knees.
I hastily pick myself up, change my direction and leap foward. I have lost the direction of Wyning Manor, but I hope that if I keep running I can safely make it out of this horrifying woodland.
I continue to chase the shadows of the scenery while looking for an opening or a break between the trees, but none I can find. My skirts entangle within my feet and I lose my footing. I fall once more, but I cannot regain composure. I feel more lost than ever, mentally and physically. All strength has been taken away from me leaving me crippled and agitated. Frustrated, I break into tears. Deep, sorrowful sobs that rake their way through my entire body. It is now dark and cold in the Forest. I can make sight of nothing. I shiver and begin attacking my surroundings in despair.
A log is buried beside me, broken and ragged. I pick it up and throw it as far as I possibly can. It sails through the air into the dark depths of the forest eventually connecting with an object. An object that seems to move. I squint and try to discern what such an object could be when it starts to trudge my way. Frightened, I quickly try to pull myself together but it is of no use. Movement I am not capable of.
I watch the object intently as it continues to move towards me. Whether human or animal I can not tell, but one thing is certain, it is picking up speed with major force as it barrels my way. Almost as if it is readying itself for attack. I try again to stand, to kick, to scream- anything at all, but again it is no use. I am paralyzed with fear and desperation. I do not know how long it took the object to proceed towards me but to me it feels agonizingly slow. I can only watch helplessly as doom awaits me.
The object is no more than ten feet away. I can now tell that the shape is that of a human. A very tall, lean man. It -he- stops. He stands there and stares at me, analyzing me intently. I watch him as well, not sure what he will do. His features are hidden by cothing, dark clothing that is similar to that of the gypsies. Unlike the fashion of the townsmen, that consists of trousers, a button-down, and a long coat, the gypsy men wear tight dark leggings with a dark overshirt - baring more skin than what is expected of society. But the gypsies are never considered a part of society as it is.
The man's clothing are very similar to that of the gypsy men except for his face. His face was hidden by cloth that covered all features excluding his eyes. His eyes, a vivid, startling blue, are the only features that are visible. They watch me as I break apart, shaking and sputtering. I attempt to plead.
"Please. Please, don't...". I trail off not certain of how I should continue. I'm not sure what this being is planning. He shows no sign of coming towards me, only continues to watch me with eyes that are supernaturally masked. As I stare back with my deep emerald eyes, an eerily calming feeling takes hold of me. A soothing aura of sorts that is utterly unexpected considering the situation I was in.
"You must not be here", the stranger speaks in a deep, monotone voice.
"I have lost my way."
The stranger stares at me in silence for a fraction of time, then he replies.
"Follow this road, look for the markings on the trees and you will find the manor."
I look around and notice that some of the trees do indeed have markings and all follow a certain pattern making a road of sorts. I look up to ask the stranger how he had noticed him but he is gone. I look around hoping to catch sight of him but no sign of him remains, almost as if he disappeared into the air. I rise, not as afraid.
"Thank you." I speak into the air , knowing full well no one will hear me but feeling that it is owed.
I proceed to follow the trees with the markings. As I keep going, I see that all the marking diffrentiate from one another. Some are longer while others and more complex. What they mean or who created them has me clueless, but I realize that they lead exactly to Wyning Manor. An opening at the end of the marked trees reveals the backside of the manor.
Why I never noticed before that Hanging Forest is so close to the manor is questionable, but what confuses me more is how did the stranger know the markings led to the manor or even how did he know that I was looking for the manor.
Two gypsy men face off in one of the tents that lies in Manackha, otherwise known as gypsy territory. The younger of the two has just arrived and removes the cloth which hides his face. He wears a stricken expression on his face while his blue eyes fail to show the fear that he beholds.
"Well?", the older gentleman questions the younger, blue-eyed man.
"Well what?", blue-eyes counters back with as much attitude.
"Did you see her?"
"I did." He replies with indifference.
"It is she." The blue eyed man remarks quietly.
"What does this mean Lucas?", the older grey-haired man speculates.
"It means what has been taught to us our entire lives, Cyrus. She must die." With an air of finalty, Lucas calmly walks out of the tent and into the night.