Merina's Hope - Part Two
Parnan pulled her away from a wizened thing reaching for her. It hung, like dried beef, off an overhead hook. “Merina, who told you Yanna was faultless? She is as human as you or I. Has she always been kind to you?”
Merina stopped herself from saying “Yes!” Her mother had blamed Merina for her long bout of infertility; her stepfather had leered at her until she had slapped his face. Caring for Yanna as a baby was the only thing that had restored Merina’s frost-bitten heart. But, no, Yanna hadn’t always been kind. That was hard to admit, for Wise Women were to be of flawless character.
While the hot flames hugged the walls and scorched the flesh dangling from pegs, they kept away from Parnan and Merina. She silently thanked the Holy One for this protection.
Parnan guided them to the far end of the room, where carved wooden doors soared high above their heads. Merina realized the walls of the farmhouse could not be this tall. They had crossed the threshold into the evil one’s domain. The door carvings were of bodies grimacing in agony.
They stood before the impossibly tall doors, the sounds of the torture room fading, as if it had moved far off. It became quiet, except for an odd hum from behind the large doors.
“Well?” Parnan said. "What is your answer?"
“She lied, once, and let me take the blame,” Merina said. She felt like a traitor.
“Only once? About what?” he said.
“Just once! A little thing! She stole cookies from the baker. ” Merina said.
“Please tell the truth,” Parnan said.
“I did!” Parnan’s insistence irritated her.
“Merina, she lied about something much more important. She never told her parents that your gift of Touch was of the Holy One,” he said.
His words stung, a fiery arrow piercing her heart. A year ago, Yanna had told Merina the Touch was a great gift. Merina was overjoyed. She had waited for her little sister to tell their parents or someone in the village. Yanna never mentioned it again. Merina had chosen to forget it happened. She couldn't look at Parnan, now.
He tilted her chin up and looked into her eyes. “Your gift makes her jealous.”
She couldn’t look away. It felt like she was becoming part of him. Then, something banged against the doors. They both jumped.
“What was that?” Merina said.
“A reminder we’re here to rescue Yanna,” Parnan said. “Call her on her lies, Merina. She needs you to do that, more than ever.”
"Which was the lie?" she said. "I'm not sure I know.
“You do,” he said. He raised a hand to knock and stopped. “Keep close.” He grabbed the door handle and shoved his shoulder against the wood. It swung open, and Merina fell into a new nightmare.
Third installment coming soon. Feel free to leave story feedback on my blog or FB page! Thank you for reading!