The Keeper (Part 11)

It was a strange noise that drew Mona out of the comfort of her wing. She hadn’t really gone exploring as much as she might have, had she not known that the master of house was someone to be careful of. Now, as she lurked in the hallways, she could hear a muffled roar through the tall walls. What was it? Were there animals in the palace? She hadn’t thought there were any other life in that place other than herself, and she wasn’t even sure she herself were still alive.

The roar rippled through the very air around her, causing her hair to stand. If she didn’t know any better, there was a lot of pain in that roar. Something was very hurt. Her instinct kicked in. She didn’t know why but she felt compelled to seek out the hurt beast, whatever it may be. So she ran, propelled ahead by the roar. As she ran, strange doors started opening in front of her, to her left and to her right. She choose her way as the roars came, following through the door that sounded the loudest. When she was lost in a strange dark hall she waited, sure there would be another roar. But suddenly, the air was silent, and cold. Freezing in fact with her breath as white as smoke.

She’d come far and through a great maze of corridors. Even if she were to head on back to her wing, to her room and her library, she knew she’d be lost. So she stood there as still as she could, waiting to hear any semblance of sound. When her breathing slowed and her heart beat inaudible, she heard faint groans, and despite her freezing limbs she powered on. Following the sound as if it were a beacon of hope. Suddenly, a stranger door appeared in front of her, dark like the night, and thorny like the brush of a rose. She could see no handle on it, but she was sure whatever was making the noise was just beyond that vengeful wall.

She looked up at the door and couldn’t see an end to it, as if it were melting into the starry night sky. Was she always able to see the night sky from the palace? Or had the ceiling vanished just like the many doors did in the strange place? Is that why the last dozen corridors had been getting colder and colder than the previous one?

Before Mona could debate the existence of a ceiling or existence of the top end to the thorny door, she heard another low grunt of an animal hurt and found herself reaching for a thorn amongst the many. Sharp. She could feel the blood trickling out from the cold cut on her hand but didn’t much give it any thought. Beyond that door was something far more hurt than she. Who knew what else Lucifer had trapped in his tricky home.

Mona pushed open the door with all her might and it budged open a bit with every shove. Her body against the sharp deadly thorns. But she’d come so far to turn around now. Whatever it was beyond her reach she needed to go find and treat. With a last mighty push, she gave it her all and felt the door give finally, but so did her skin against the thorns.

Her breath caught in her chest. She grimaced at the pain and the strange sight in front of her. She could tell from the gurgle in her lungs that a thorn or two had done quite some damage. Despite the threat of dying there on the floor, Mona stared mesmerized till the light went out from her eyes. Mesmerized indeed. What was that thing?…

To Be Continued…

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