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written by: Degrees of Insanity
The sky is dark when he finally finds her.
She’s so cold in his arms, silly girl, she should have known better than to leave home without her coat.
He bundles her up in his own ragged coat, her body so slight and small in his arms, dark hair covered in a powdering of white snow.
She should not have gone out, curse her curiosity and adventurous need to explore, he had forbidden her from leaving the house.
His temper, you see, it always got the better of him. He had hit her, made her cry, and bruised her lovely pale skin.
Fascinating, he had thought, the red had given way to a purplish black, to an almost sickly yellow.
They had matched her pretty, blue eyes, like cornflowers in bloom.
He takes her back to their home, a quaint little thing in the middle of nowhere. It had peeling wallpaper and creaky floors, but it had suited them just fine.
He sets her down on the bed, stokes the fire and he watches her for a moment.
Her chest moves slowly, up and down, as If time itself has been dipped in molasses.
Or is it the shadows, moving across the room, fed by the flickering fire from the hearth that makes it appear as if she is breathing?
Either way, it does not matter. She is home, where she belongs. She came back, she was not like the others.
The frost covering her skin melts away, dampening the bed she rested on.
He does not know how much time passes. The clocks in the house had stopped a long time ago; he never bothered to fix them.
The room is now filled with a peculiar stench, like rotting meat from an animal carcass, it is putrid and disgusting.
He dabs the scented oil she always favored on her skin, a scent of spring flowers and warmth.
A wreath of flowers on a rotting corpse.
The sun rises and with it comes its bright light, the shadows curling and twisting as they hide in the dark corners of the bedroom.
In the distance he hears the church bells ringing to signal the arrival of a new day, a new dawn.
With a loving smile and a kiss on her forehead, he sits down beside her and says,
“Happy birthday, little one, you are ten years old today, papa is so proud…”