Marked at Birth, Chapter seven.
Just to let you all know, this story is also available on Wattpad and I would love some feedback :)
“Here you are darling.”
My mother put down a plate of roasted chicken, mashed potatoes and a mix of vegetables covered in gravy. My mouth watered and I picked my fork up, shoveling the vegetables in my mouth and trying not to groan at the taste.
My mother’s cooking surpassed all other food. She even made my most hated foods, Brussels sprouts, nearly tolerable. I still refuse to eat them; the smell alone turns me off of them.
My parents hadn’t found out that I had snuck out two weeks ago and since then, I had been anxious to train again.
Marune and I had talked occasionally, texting. I was good at texting, once I got the hang of it. Marune had berated me for using the shorter versions at first and then he gave up.
I couldn’t be bothered spelling out all the words all the time. That was the point of texting, wasn’t it?
I had been trying to work out another day to train, but he had told me he was busy for the next couple of weeks and I had been waiting since to train again.
That’s all well and good but in the meantime I have a demon trying to take my soul.
I had sent him that this morning when he had told me he couldn’t tonight because he wasn’t in town.
I wondered why he had bothered with the first session if he was just going to blow me off.
I had only had one training session with him but I had already felt stronger for it. As silly as it sounds, that one session made me feel alive. Being thrown to the ground and having my mind invaded made me realize how weak I was and how unprepared I was for this demon.
I realized that I didn’t like being weak and I would do all I could to feel strong.
In order for me to feel strong, though, Marune would have to stop being busy and organize another lesson.
I was getting really frustrated with him, I just wanted to learn so that I could survive and it seemed that he could care less.
“Cecile, honey, is something wrong?”
I looked up at my mother and realized that while I was contemplating hunting Marune down, I had been neglecting my dinner.
“No, just distracted I guess.” I said and then shoveled a big helping of mashed potatoes into my mouth.
“Understandable,” her mother smiled, “what with your birthday coming closer and closer.”
The tension in the room thickened once that sentence was spoken and I didn’t feel much like eating anymore. The chicken on my plate looked soggy and the vegetables looked soft, I had finished her potatoes.
I pushed the plate away and crossed my arms over my chest. My parents exchanged a look and then my father frowned as he turned to me.
“You have to eat.” He said disapproval in his tone.
“I don’t feel much like eating anymore, may I be excused?”
He ignored my question. “You’ve got to eat, keep your strength up.”
“I’m sorry if the topic of my death makes me lose my appetite.”
My mother dropped her fork at that and my father’s eyes widened. I don’t understand why they were so shocked; talking about death while eating dinner would turn anyone off of food.
“Sweetheart,” my mother said in a soft tone, trying to calm to atmosphere. “Don’t think of it like that. Just think of it like your birthday, another year gone by where you get older and eat cake.”
“And have a party with friends, oh wait,” I laughed. “I don’t have any friends because I have been trapped in this house my entire life.”
They exchanged another look and I was getting quite tired of it so I excused myself and ran up the stairs, reaching my room, I slammed and locked my bedroom door. I collapsed onto my bed, screaming into my pillow before flipping onto my back and staring blankly at the ceiling.
They always did this. They would always mention my birthday and then pretend as if I wasn’t going to die and then look at one another as if I wasn’t there. As if they had already lost their child.
I checked my phone but had no new messaged from Marune.
What’s taking him so long?
I had known that these lessons wouldn’t be a daily occurrence, but I had thought that we would have done at least two by now.
As if he knew that I wanted to talk to him, my phone started buzzing and Burgundy flashed on the screen.
“Milkshake,” he said as his greeting. I could hear the grin in his voice.
I sighed instead of playing this name game with him. He always won because nothing annoyed him.
“Is everything alright?” He asked.
I considered telling him about my parents being so calm about my birthday, I even considered telling him that I had run out of my favorite shampoo and now I had to use the cheaper one that didn’t smell as nice.
“Everything’s fine,” I decided on saying, not bothering him with my problems. “Well, as fine as impending death can be.”
“Milkshake,” he chastised me. “I don’t know how you can be so calm talking about your own death.”
“I’ve gotten used to the idea of dying.” I shrugged. “Anyway, why are you calling, what’s up with you?”
“Subtle subject change,” he said but didn’t pry. “I’m back in town tomorrow; shall we pick up where we left off?”
I grinned, excited by the idea of training, of growing stronger. I replied enthusiastically and Marune chuckled.
“You know, most seventeen year olds would have qualms about sneaking off to meet someone they didn’t know.”
“Most seventeen year olds aren’t marked to die, are they?”
There was silence for another minute; the only sounds were of out breathing. I wondered why he wasn’t saying goodbye and why neither of us was hanging up. Perhaps he had something more to say and he was just trying to put it into the right words. It made me nervous, what could he say that would take so long to think of the right words?
“Cecile,” he sighed into the receiver. “I’m training you in the physical and mental fields to stop you from dying and you keep thinking that you are going to die. If you let that thought rule your life, if you let it rule you, then you are going to die and all of this training will be in vain.”
“I think that’s the first time you have called me by my actual name.”
I was taking what he said to heart and realizing that he was right. He was training me to stop me from dying and I had to stop acting like I was going to die because with any luck, I wouldn’t.
“Don’t get used to it Milkshake,” he said in an amused tone. “So tomorrow night, I can pick you up if you want.”
“What about the price of gas?”
“It’s worth it.”
I laughed at that and had to quiet myself. My parents were still awake and possibly listening.
“I should go,” I said regretfully. I didn’t want to stop talking to Marune, because he was the only person besides my parents that I had really talked to. “Tomorrow, same time as last time?”
“You got it Milkshake.”
With that he hung up and I stared at my phone for a little while before finally putting it down.
Marune was the only person I had spoken to that knew about what I was. In fact, he was the only person I had talked to that wasn’t my parents.
When I was younger, I would see other kids my age going to and coming home from school. Playing in the street and I would want nothing more than to play with them, talk to them, anything instead of being stuck in here with my own imagination.
Imagination is boring if you have barely ventured outside of your room.
I sat up on my bed and wrapped my arms around my knees, holding them to my chest.
My parent’s unemotional response to my upcoming birthday bothered me more than I was willing to admit.
I was their only child and they acted as if they no longer cared for me. As if I was already dead.
They had been acting like this for the past two years, ever since I found out what I was when I was fifteen. I remember it clearly. It was vivid in my mind and I closed my eyes and let myself sink into it. Into the memory of the day I was told I was going to die at the hands of someone else.
It was a usual night for me. Sitting on the arm chair, flicking through a book I had read before.
I looked out the window wistfully as I heard the fading sounds of excited teenagers. Every Friday night I would hear them and I would sit in this chair, wishing I was with them.
I was like a walking stereotype for home schooled kids. Never leaving the house, never having fun and always doing some kind of study, like this book. I had to read four chapters by Monday.
With a heavy sigh I continued, even though I knew the outcome.
There was a knock on the door and I looked up at my parents in shock.
I don’t think I have ever heard someone knock of that door.
My dad frowns and gets up to answer it, muttering about sales people.
When the door opens, a gust of wind enters the house causing me to shiver. My mum looks to the door curiously just as my dad calls out her name.
Instead of walking all the way to the door, she stops as dad approaches and looked, solemnly, at me.
“What’s going on?” I asked uneasy.
Both of my parents turned to me and looked…scared. Why were they scared of me?
Who was at the door?
“Cecile Leamon,” A figure came forth wearing a cloak of deep red that covered it from head to toe. I had no idea who or what this person was but the tone of voice it spoke with, full of authority, made me gulp.
“You were marked at birth,” the person continued, pointing at me with a long, wrinkled finger. “The mark of the demon’s and the demons are coming to collect.” I looked to my parents with widened eyes, asking them what was going on silently.
They wouldn’t look at me.
“The day of your eighteenth birthday is the day you forfeit your life. It is on that day, that you will take your final breath, and your soul will leave this earth.”
I opened my mouth but no sound came. I couldn’t fathom what had just happened. Did someone really just come into my house and tell me I was going to die when I turned eighteen?
I laughed, it was the stupidest thing I had ever heard of and there was no way this was really happening. It was probably some prank or something equally as stupid.
My laughter stopped abruptly as I looked at my parents. The figure had disappeared and they stood there, motionless staring at me like I was a monster. Like they didn’t know what I was anymore.
“Mum, Dad what—”
“Go to your room Cecile,” my mum cut me off. “Now.” Her tone was final and I obeyed.
I sat on my bed, shuffling my feet, unable to think clearly.
Why did they look so scared? Who was that person? What was going on? Did they believe it?
When my parents came into my room an hour later they told me that it was true.
They told me that on my eighteenth birthday a demon would come and take over my body, my soul would leave and I would die.
I sat and listened and didn’t believe it but a part of me new it was true, why would they lie?
It was on that night that everything changed and my parents were no longer my mum and dad.
They were mother and father, barely able to look at me. My mother disgusted and my father retreating into his study, never speaking to me the same way again.
A knock sounded at my bedroom door, breaking me from my trip down memory lane.
My mother walked and held a plate in her hand.
She came to the bed and sat down next to me, handing me the plate of her delicious lemon meringue pie and handed me a fork. I ate the dessert in silence as she ran her fingers through my hair.
I reveled in the feel of it. My mother barely looked at me anymore, she hadn’t played with my hair since that night and sometimes I missed it.
When she did things like this, I could almost pretend that everything was as it should be and no nasty demon was coming to collect my soul.
Almost being the operative word.
I finished my pie and looked over at my mother.
Her mousy brown hair was cut shirt and straight, reaching her chin with straight across bangs. She had big blue eyes that shone and her face was faintly lined from age. She was tall and curvy, her skin slightly tanned.
I didn’t look like her much; she used to say that I got her personality and my father’s looks.
I stayed silent as she continued to play with my hair, braiding it to the side.
“Oh Cecile,” she said with a sigh as she finished. “You are so beautiful.” She touched my cheek and I allowed myself to meet her eyes. She looked sad, like she was already missing me. Like I was already gone.
We sat in silence for a moment before she took my plate and left my room, with her parting words left in the air as I sat there, not moving. Trying not to cry.
“I love you my darling.”