Story: Blank Slate

Cath Blank

A beautiful girl with long red hair is leaning against the frame of a window, gazing outwards. She is clothed in a long green silk dress, hair loose and messy. The warm sunlight streaming in highlights her face. Tiny freckles dot her nose and her deep green eyes glow in the morning light. There is intelligence behind those eyes, darkness too. Squinting she tries to remember where she is, how she got here, anything. Everything is so fuzzy. Like someone put a filter on her brain. She found it hard to walk at times, like she couldn’t even remember the basics of how to live. A heavy feeling sat in her chest. Something that made her want to weep but the memories were lost.

Her first memory was opening her eyes in a dark room. It smelled sickly-sweet with an underlying hint of copper. Her torn clothes were stiff with something dried and caked on. The floor directly under her was slick with something still warm. She appeared to be alone. Trying to call out she found her voice was stuck. Or was it her tongue? She couldn’t remember how to form words or sounds. Her body felt light and her head felt like cotton. It was at this moment the door opened. Torch light streamed in. She could do little more than shift her gaze upwards.

A tall blonde man in silk clothes was looking down at her in concern. He spoke of coming there to save her. This person leaned down to look her in the eyes. His deep purple ones to her green. He asked a question that shouldn’t have been so ominous but it was. He asked if she remembered him. The tone he used was light, gentle but it sent a shiver up her spine. She couldn’t remember how to respond so she just stared at him. His eyes searched hers, after a few moments his lips twitched, for a moment, into a smile and then back into a concerned frown. She was gently picked up in his arms and carried from the room. Even his touch made her whole body burn. Like she was afraid of him but she couldn’t remember why.

The servants took and cleaned her up, dressed her in fresh clothes and fed her. It took a long time to be able to do anything on her own. Even the basic act of standing up would cause her to lose her balance and fall. So she was pampered and doted on. The maids were sweet to her, taking care of her every need. Something always felt off though. She found she had a keen intuition. Whenever one of the maids was being vague about a topic she was able to fill in the blanks, without being told, but never let them know. Not speaking was what they seemed to want. Whenever she opened her mouth to speak they quickly spoke up and fawned over her so she kept silent.

Following her gut she quickly learned as much as she could. Tutors were brought in to teach her basic skills, reading, writing, arithmetic, etc. The lessons were easy, like she was learning it all for a second time and just brushing up on her skills. During this time she actually had fun. It was fun to learn, she found she loved learning. Everything was fresh, new and tickled her brain into action. Every so often though she would wake up in the middle of a room, fuzzy, light, clothes disheveled and some of those things she learned before were gone again. It frightened her. This place was a prison. It stole from her every day without remorse.

She rarely saw the man who saved her. He seemed busy with whatever he was doing. That was fine with her. Making sure to never show her uneasiness around him she was as courteous as she could be. Yet, every so often, she could feel his mask shift. His penetrating eyes searching hers for something. A few curt questions asked absently. References to memories she no longer had. On bad occasions she would witness him becoming angry, throwing things or hurting the servants. Everyone seemed terrified of him but they never said as much. To her they praised him and only spoke flowery words but in their eyes she could see the fear. Were they protecting her or themselves?

Lost in her thoughts she didn’t hear the footsteps behind her. An arm wraps around her stomach and pulls her backwards. Losing her balance she stumbles but doesn’t fall. Looking up she sees purple eyes looking down at her needily. He closes his eyes and nuzzles into her hair for a moment. Taking a deep breath in before speaking he says, “Good morning my princess. Ah, I dreamed of you last night.” He takes a handful of her hair in his other hand and brings it to his lips, “A sweet memory of us when we were younger. I wish you could remember. We were always meant to be together. Our families betrothed us at birth you know.” He releases her hair and turns her body to face him. His hand gently caressing her face, “My Princess, I will never let anything bad happen to you again. I swear to always take care of you as long as you are mine.” He leans closer to her and hmms quietly. “I know you are still learning and we will keep trying to get your memories back but do you think we could get married? I want everyone to know you are mine. Under my protection. Marry me my princess and you will make me so happy.” He closes the gap and kisses her. “Think about it ok? But don’t take too long. That would make me unhappy.” The embrace ended as quickly as it started and he was gone.

Turning back to the window the once beautiful scene was now tainted. She waited a few mins before allowing herself to viciously rub her lips, trying to get the feel of him off her. Every part of her body he touched burned. She wanted to claw it off. After a moment to collect herself she immediately went back to her room and requested a bath. While scrubbing herself clean she thought about escaping. She could take the jewelry with her to sell for quick cash. She could flee into the woods and live there until he lost interest or just keep walking and never stop.

Thinking of these grand ideas she decides to take a walk around the building. Never really having taken an interest like this before she quickly gets lost. Every door she comes across is locked from the other side. Occasionally she comes across her maids. They look concerned but she just says she got lost and they walk her back to her room, not questioning it. By the end of day she got a good look around. She was in a cage. Every door leading out was locked from the other side. The maids had to knock and someone would open the door for them and close it again. Looking outside she was well off the ground so she couldn’t climb down. It was hopeless.

Exhausted and depressed she lay down in bed. Tossing and turning sleep never came. His possessive words kept haunting her mind. She couldn’t say no. She was going to be forced to marry someone whose every touch burned her. Everything came to her at once; waking up, learning, forgetting, fear, stress. The tears she held back because she couldn’t remember why flowed. The pain in her heart thundered in her ears. Her whole body shook with silent sobs. She was too terrified to make noise. Just in case someone was listening. Just in case they were waiting for her to break to hurt her again.

Now that she has had time to think she was so scared. The random collapses in the hallways, forgetting, no one talking about it. Like it was a forbidden topic. She never remembered entering the room where she collapsed. Are they making her forget? Did he completely wipe her memories so he could control her? She wanted to escape. She needed to leave. Even though she knew no one would answer she put her hands over her chest where the ache was the strongest and prayed. Asking for someone to come save her. Anyone to help her out of this place. She begged and pleaded into the dark until her tears dried up and she felt empty. Right before she passed out she felt a warmth in her chest where the pain was. Soothing it enough for her to sleep.

In the morning she felt something warm against her stomach. Reaching down her hand was met with a ball of fur. Shocked, she threw back the covers to reveal a purple cat curled up against her. At the sudden light the cat grumbled and opened one of its eyes to look at her. It was a gorgeous green. It looked really annoyed at being woken up like that. “Ah I am sorry little one!” She quickly exclaimed and pulled the cover back over it. She could feel them purring now, making her smile. It was early, she must not have gotten much sleep. The maids usually come in a little after the sun rises to bring her breakfast and dress her for the day. Will they hurt the cat? She should hide them. Oh but it’s an animal, it wouldn’t know it needs to hide.

While pondering this the purple cat wiggles out from under the covers. It puts its nose to hers and then jumps down from the bed. She watches as it quickly jumps up onto the top of her wardrobe and lays down, out of sight. ‘Did.. did it know I wanted it to hide?’ she thinks to herself. At that moment the maids knock on the door and let themselves in. They run through the morning routine, eventually leaving her alone with breakfast. It wasn’t until everyone else left that the cat climbed back down. Jumping up onto the table next to her food. Smiling, she boops its nose. “Aren’t you the smartest thing in the world. Yes you are. Did you come here for me?” At her question she remembers her pleas from the night before.

The cat leans its head down toward her and a deeper voice plays in her head. “Yes, I came here because you called so desperately for me.” Her eyes are wide at this point. The cat was talking to her in her mind. “You may call me Sebastian.” He purrs happily, “I am now your familiar. The connection to your own source of magic. Do you still wish to leave this place?”

“Yes!” She exclaims, a little too loudly. Quickly she puts her hands over her mouth and closes her eyes. Listening for sounds outside her door she stays like that for a few moments. When she doesn’t hear anything she opens her eyes again and sees Sebastian looking at her. He has two different colored eyes that she hadn’t noticed before. One green and the other blue. They shimmer slightly in the light.

“You can answer me in your mind. I will hear you if you wish it.” He stands up, “Now let’s plan a way out of here.”

They take the day to prepare for leaving. Packing some essentials and things they could sell. Hiding them so the maids didn’t see. Seb hid every time someone was coming close so she knew when to act like she did before. Lifeless, like a doll. No one questioned it. She was glad the scary man didn’t come visit her. He would have seen the change in her. She couldn’t hide it anymore. That night with everything ready Seb told her to grab that broom. Tying her belongings to her back she stood next to the window, broom in hand.

“Now take a deep breath in.” Seb was explaining, “Focus and feel the warmth in your chest. That is our magic. The magic of our bond. We are going to take that broom and fly. Will it to happen. We are strong and we can do anything together. Focus.”

At his words she focused on that warmth. The beating of her heart. She willed the broom to float, she needed it to. She felt the energy guiding itself into the handle and down the full broom. It felt lighter in her hand and she knew it was ready.

“Let’s fly Cathrena. It’s time to be free”

Jumping out the window together they flew off into the night. Traveling far far away to escape the torment of the man who made her forget everything. She starts again. This time with someone to help her and heal her broken soul.