There was nothing but the faint sound of a beating noise. She could not distinguish if it was coming from in her own head or outside. Lost. She looked around; the world was unfamiliar. Had she fell asleep here? It did not make any sense.
She pulled herself up from the ground where she lay in a mat of tangled leaves and branches. Trees loomed over her twisting their dark thorny branches in cascades of leafy fingers that formed an impenetrable fortress. If there was sun shining somewhere, she could not tell. The garment on her was torn and threadbare as if it had been worn many times. She fingered the soft cotton rolling it over her thumb. It seemed familiar. Her feet were bare. A thought popped into her head, shoes. Why would she be without shoes? The girl rubbed her temples, the beating, it was still distant but persistent.
Her body ached as she sat up. The ragged dress hardly fell to her knees. There were cuts and bruises on her legs and arms. Still, she could not remember a thing. Even her own name seemed to escape her. She decided to stand up. The only thing to do was move from wherever she was. The wretched beating, she wanted to leave it behind. It was agonizing. After much concentration, she stumbled to her feet on the gritty dirt path. The girl headed in what she thought would be the right direction.
She walked for some time. Not really knowing how much time passed and in what direction she was going. The beating remained steady. In fact, she thought it might be getting louder. The canopy of trees did not become any less dense. The underbrush increased and the girl had to start climbing over logs and bushes. The beating rang louder in her ear, she winced and covered it with one hand. What was that? A smell of rancid rot snaked her senses. The girl stepped backward her eyes watering. She pushed forward through the stench. She wanted to know if there was some clue that lay ahead.
In the darkness of the trees, she made out the outline of a small cabin ahead. She hurried onward toward it. Approaching it cautiously, she opened the door. The girl covered her ears with both hands now, while breathing through her mouth. The noise of the beating became overwhelming. She saw a pool of crimson on the floor. On her tip toes, she side stepped this and then looked up. There on the wall written in blood it said, “You are Viola”. Underneath on a wooden table was a small black velvet box. The girl opened it with a steady hand. Inside was a beating heart. She remembered everything.
To be continued…