“Mam im cold” Edith complained, her teeth chattering. They where all cold, but it wasn’t Edith or even herself Helena worried for. Cursing herself she struggled to get the wet clothing off her middle daughter Amanda.
She had been sick before they had even left the castle, a wailing sort of cough that lingered rattling the young girls chest. Back at the castle just had been mildly worried about it, but now the young girl had a fever and the last place she needed to be was huddled in a barn soaking wet.
She had thought she been doing the right thing in running, but half way to no where having spent several uncomfortable nights she was no longer sure. Everything had happened so fast, she could still smell the death. No-one seemed sure what had gone on, some said wolves, another a bear… some prattled insanely about a monster.
She had tried to keep out the way, carry on as though nothing was wrong. But the house was already talking rumours flew and while she did not consider herself a superstitious woman. However the moment she saw the Queen throw Gabriel against that wardrobe, effortlessly like he was made of feathers she knew beyond all doubt that castle was cursed and the Queen was some sort of devil.
She should have left much sooner than this, she didn’t really have much of a plan, she would take the girls to Graymont, to her brothers house where her mother would surely know what to do.
“Mam i’m hungry” Edith complained.
“I know you are”Helena nodded, ” We all are. Cuddle up to Gayle an try and get warm”
“Mam, I saw a farmhouse on the hill” Galye offered. “I could run up and see if they will sell us some bread?”
“Better not, Gabriels got men looking for us. We can’t trust anyone”
“But mam, manda is sick. We cant keep running…maybe Gabriel will get her a doctor?”
“He wont” She snapped all together to sharply.
“How do you know?” Gayle retorted, “he isn’t the monster you make him for”
“Yes he is! Your too young to understand, he is not a good man”
“Your just a bitter old woman!” Gayle huffed.
“No I am no, Gayle good men do not take advantage of twelve year old girls. They do not try and put babies in there bellies, just to prove they can!”
“I’m not so young”Gayle grumbled, “Lady Hamdun, is barely older than me and she is already on her second husband”
“Lady Hamdun, had Gods blessing” she replied softly and without conviction. “She was married and if Lord Hamdun cared a jot for you he would have married you first”
“You have no right to judge me, I didn’t do no different to what you did”
“Perhaps not” she agreed, it wasn’t Gayle she blamed. The truth was she simply hadn’t know better and if anyone was to blame for that it was her, for not doing enough to warn her of Gabriels evil sooner.
Now she was a scared and angry young girl confused why her mother had dragged her out of a job that most girls would kill for even with the occupational hazard of an unstable employer.
“I know he doesn’t love me” Gayle replied softly, “But its not so bad there, its warm and clean and the pays good… Whats the harm if he wants to fuck me now and then, its no different to what Grandma did?”
“The difference is she knew she was getting fucked” Helena sighed, “He lied to you and that what makes it wrong”
“But he aint lying now, I can cope wit it… it really aint so bad”
“It’s not about it being bad, Gayle its about wanting better. Do you really think he would take care of you once he got you pregnant?”
“Raia is pregnant and she doesn’t even know who its papa is” Gayle protested , referring to a friend of hers who had recently taken up whoring to pay her way. “Sure its better to know and for it to be a nobleman. Besides Gabriel wants a baby so bad, i bet he’d take care of us”
“I doubt it” Helena replied grimly, “he already has a daughter living in the villages and I doubt her ma would claim he ever took care of them.”
“Yer such a liar” Gayle huffed, “He would take care of me”
Helena was about to respond when Amanda’s coughing broke her thoughts. Turning her attention back to the nine year old. She again doubted the decision to run, Amanda’s fever was getting worse and truthfully she wasn’t even sure where they where.