Outside The Manor:
Kyra and Serena trailed close behind the last two guards who were at last descending the hill, but their haste was for naught. Before they reached the cabin the episode was over and done. As they approached, Kyra could see most of the guards standing around the outside of the building. They stood with their backs facing away from the open door.
She attempted to bypass them, but one man briefly managed to stop her from entering the building. Refusing to heed his warning, she twisted past him insistently. She needed to see that Cassandra was all right. The way the soldiers stood there so stiffly, facing the woods with the coldest of stares, sent chills racing down her spine.
Kyra quickly sought to enter the cabin, ignoring Serena's warning to stay back. The reason the guards faced away from the building became evident when she stepped inside and saw the revolting scene. Serena stood just beyond the doorway. She gasped and turned away just as quickly as the guards had, knowing the reason for it now. But, Kyra felt compelled to turn back and look on.
Phillip was lying prone on the floor with a pool of blood swirling around his head. Blake's eyes were narrowed on Phillip's dead body, his face a mask of unadulterated hatred for the man who now lay at his feet. Blake wiped a fine sheen of blood from the edge of his sword, his eyes showing no remorse for having ended Phillip Redmon's existence on earth.
In the far corner of the room, Cassandra was huddled on a thin cot. Her torn clothes were strewn about and she lay nearly naked on the bed. Caleb was kneeling in front of her now, attempting to conceal her from prying eyes.
Hearing Kyra's gasp of outrage, Caleb turned to face her. In hushed tones he bade her to go get him something to cover Cassandra with. For a moment she was held paralyzed. Understanding the depths of depravity Phillip had been brought to, she was momentarily held still in shock. Then, at last, she turned and ran out the door. Touching one of the soldier's on his shoulder, she tugged gently but insistently on his cloak. Without question, the young guard removed the garment, smiling affectionately down at her. She soon returned to Caleb and handed him the oversized cloak.
Whispering what words of comfort he could offer, Caleb wrapped it deftly around Cassandra. He quickly lifted her into his arms and turned to carry her out of the building. Cassandra was crying softly, holding on to him desperately as she attempted to cover her shamed face.
Just before carrying her out the door, Caleb chose to turn and face Kyra. By way of an apology, he nodded gratefully to her and said, "Thank you, Kyra. Despite how it looks, Blake arrived here just in time. Cassandra will be all right."
Kyra bowed her head in silent recognition to God for that. Relief and sorrow overwhelmed her when Caleb finally turned to carry Cassandra back to the manor. She could find no reason that he should thank her. He should have been cursing her for her carelessness in allowing Cassandra to go off with that man. She knew she should have stayed at the table no matter what. She had very nearly let the woman get herself killed. It was unforgivable. How could Caleb possibly thank her?
Numb from head to toe, she felt herself draining of energy. She slumped against the doorjamb, covering her mouth with her hand to stop an overwhelming bout of nausea that rose in her throat.
"Kyra," Serena stepped closer. She was worried about how ashen Kyra suddenly appeared. "Are you all right?"
With eyes flaring in self-recrimination, she argued, "Of course I am. I was not the one who was attacked!" She was unable to stop the need to vent some of the anger she felt.
"I'm sorry," Serena apologized, unable to bring herself closer to the room.
Stamping loudly, Kyra fumed, "Don't be sorry! I am the one who should be sorry for allowing this to happen."
"Kyra," Serena cried in surprise, "You cannot possibly blame yourself for this man's act!"
"Yes! I blame this all on myself," she signed.
"Why on earth would you," she asked, her brows rising in disbelief. "How could you possibly think this was your fault?"
"Because," she breathed heavily, "I saw this coming."
"No," Serena denied. "No one could have seen something like this happening'"
"I did! You don't seem to realize how much someone can really see by simply sitting quietly in a room, observing the people around them. I saw how strangely that man's words mocked the look in his eyes. It is the same thing I can see when I look at'" Cutting herself off, she bit back the words she longed to say.
Somehow, she was going to deal with Andrew Brady. She would never forgive herself for keeping silent, if that situation could possibly end with such drastic results. Maybe Andrew wasn't after physical harm the way Phillip Redmon had been, but she was positive the man was up to something.
As she stood beside Serena contemplating it all, she felt herself drowning in a sea of guilt. The weight of her emotions was so great that what happened next thoroughly confused and bewildered her.
Staring into the room from the opened doorway, Kyra's viewed the blood and mayhem around her. And, though she was standing there physically, her mind was suddenly transported to another room, during some other place in time. The sight of Phillip lying there lifelessly brought to her mind the image of a horribly disfigured and bloodied woman, lying prone in much the same position that Phillip was now. The woman's face was at once startlingly beautiful, yet amazingly sickening to look at.
Trapped within herself as she reflected upon the apparition before her, Kyra could practically feel her soul screaming out in horror as she was assaulted by a graphic memory from the past. For a moment she was uncertain if she had actually released such an ungodly sound from her lungs. She stood there in real time beside Serena in the cabin as she continued to allow her mind to play out the entire memory that was relentlessly assaulting her.
She blinked in rapid succession as she stood unmoving across a darkened room, watching as the young woman lay so helplessly on her back on the floor. It was impossible to turn away from the terror she could see in the woman's eyes. Kyra's eyes closed involuntarily in that moment though, as the woman's fateful scream of shock and horror reverberated around the walls of the cabin's interior. Despite turning away from it though, Kyra was unable to prevent the image from reaching her mind's eye. She had not closed her eyes that day. She hadn't been wise enough to realize that she should. It had all happened so fast that she'd had no time to prepare herself for it.
As the woman screamed out in terror, her beautiful face was violently smashed into the floor, silencing her screams all at once. It was a senseless act of violence, unlike anything she had ever witnessed before.
Kyra's eyes widened slightly as she tried to remember how to breathe. She could feel her mind screaming out in anger and rage against the memory of the vicious assault she had witnessed. She shivered and her head shook in denial of it, refusing to believe such a horrific act could have possibly played out in front of her eyes.
"Kyra," Serena shouted as she watched her paling immeasurably.
Feeling sick to the center of her being, Kyra shoved the image from her mind and closed her eyes to try and prevent its return. She knew the strain of the day's events must be playing havoc with her emotions as she recognized she was now having delusions of the macabre. In truth, she really didn't want to know what the memory could possibly mean. She just wanted to forget it.
Without another word to Serena, she turned away to escape the room. She wanted nothing more than to bury those images back into the pit of her mind's eye.
Go To: TOP OF PAGE