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Bow to no one, you are a queen. 👑✨ . . .

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Page 19

A story of coffee, monsters, and…romance?
When financial problems drive Amber to move to a rural home in the woods, she finds herself a little more secluded, yet a little less alone than expected.

Authors note: Along with getting into a more regular scheduled for Found in Lost in 2020, I’ll finally be going back and gradually updating the older pages. Additionally, I have a new series that starts Feb 3rd. A slice of life/supernatural/romance series that follows an unusual Circus family and their newest member of the troupe. For anyone interested, be sure to check out @aetherheartcircus !

“Take Me And Do As You Will”

read on AO3

1.1k, Godfather Death/The Physician (Der Gevatter Tod | Godfather Death), E-rating, for Return To the Iron Triangle - January 2019

Summary: “Watch over my son Morrigan,” the father begged, wheezing. “He has no mother. No kin. I do not have long if you are here.” Death agreed, patiently waiting for his heart to cease, soothing his brow — for in the eyes of Death, all souls are fair and equal.

Ogre of the Forest

Once upon a time there was a village located near an enchanted forest.  Rumor had it that there was an Ogre who lived in the woods.  He was a vicious and cruel being who ate kittens, puppies and children for breakfast!  The villagers who lived near the woods warned strangers of this beast and other wicked creatures like banshees and goblins, but some did not listen and ventured into the woods anyway.  They were never seen or heard of again.  This only fueled the many stories about these creatures which no one had ever seen.

One day a woman was traveling in those parts and came across the village.  She gazed upon the enchanted forest and immediately began to walk toward it.  One of the towns folks yelled out to her, “Hey lady, stop don’t go in there!”   Startled she turned around and listened as the man told her about the monstrous beast that lived in the deep of the woods.  The woman shuddered to think she had almost walked into a death trap.  She sighed also because the woods were so beautiful and inviting.  She thought to herself, “There must be something beautiful in there, I can feel it.” She stared at the forest then sighed again and went to book a room for the night at the village inn.

In the middle of the night a terrible storm hit the town.  A fierce wind lifted up the little inn where the woman was sleeping.  She was tossed and thrown about in the air. The entire village was affected but the Inn was totally destroyed.  The town folk looked for the missing stranger but were unable to find her.  They all assumed she was dead and began to rebuild their homes.

The woman was not dead. She was in fact alive but injured. Her eyes were swollen and blistered along with the rest of her body.  She could not see a thing. She was terrified.  She could not tell if it was night or day.  She heard sounds all around her and had no idea what they were. The woman remembered the stories of the Ogre in the woods and she shivered.  Discouraged she laid there on the cold hard prickly ground and waited for death hoping it would be swift and merciful.

Awaked by a gentle touch, the woman was startled and began to whimper in fear.  Something or someone was wiping her face with a cool wet cloth. As her fear escalated the hand wiping her face began to speak.  “Don’t be afraid, relax you are hurt very bad, I will get you to the village for help as soon as I can.”  She could not see, but she knew it was a man and she sensed he was kind just by the concern she could hear in his voice.  The woman was helpless for many days, unable to even feed herself.  She slept most of the time due to the remedies the man gave her to help speed up her recovery.  When he was not caring for her he would sit by her bedside and talk to her, telling her about the wonders of the forest. She smiled listening to him, he was both soothing to her heart and interesting to her mind.  She often wondered about him.  What did he look like, what were his hobbies, did he have a girlfriend?  She could not see or talk due to her injuries.  She knew her body was badly damaged but the man seemed to never mind what she looked like or how little she was able to do for herself.

Many months had passed when the woman was finally able to feed, bathe and dress herself.  After the accident her sight was completely gone but now with help from her friend she could see some light and shadows.  She was disappointed that she could not see the forest, but her friend would take her by the hand and let her touch, smell, hear and taste everything around her.  He had a beautiful story for every creature in the woods.  He had told her of an enchanting fairy who had visited him one day long ago.  She was the most beautiful and marvelous thing he had ever seen. The woman felt a pain of jealousy, which for her, was very unusual since she had never given her heart to anyone.  

One day she got up the nerve to ask him about the wicked creatures who resided in these woods but she especially wanted to know about the Ogre.  She told him what she had heard about it and wondered what his feeling were and how he could live in the woods alone when there was so much tragedy and pain associated with the forest and the Ogre.  She was so fearful of that particular creature that she refused to ask before for fear of nightmares.  The man looked at the woman.  He did not answer right away which made the lady think he too might be afraid to talk about the beast.  Then she realized her speech was not as well as it use to be and wondered if he understood her at all, but no, somehow with her broken way of talking he always understood her.  

The man sat down while gently pulling her down with him unto the soft grass.  The woman was a little confused.  He had not yet said a word.  Neither did she ask him again, believing that this was a bad subject to bring up.  She did not want to hurt him.  She wished she could take back her question, even though she could not understand why he wouldn’t want to answer it.  During this silence she realized he was still holding her hand but a little tighter as if worried that she would run away.

She heard him take in a deep breath and sigh.  His voice was beautiful to her ears as always but this time it was a bit sad as he described the ogre that he had seen long ago.  The man sighed one more time, and then began to tell of his encounter with the beast.  “Many years ago when I first came into the woods, I was a troubled man.  I was running from myself which I quickly discovered was impossible to do.”   “When I first met the Ogre, he was a terrible sight to see!”  So cruel and angry, but I saw something else….I saw pain. Terrible pain that I had no idea was possible to see in a person’s face.”   The man now gently put his arm around the woman as he continued.  “The pain I saw in his eyes was a wakeup call to me. I decided to get to know this creature, even reach out to him to see if anything remotely humane was still there.” He went on to say that eventually he and the Ogre became close friends.  He learned to control his great temper and gross appetite.  The woman was impressed with his strength and compassion for such a horrible creature.  The man continued to tell of his experiences with the Ogre.  Somehow she was much less afraid of the beast.  The man looked into the woman’s eyes and saw that the fear she had in the beginning of his story was much less, maybe he hoped, even gone. He smiled at her.  Her poor vision would not allow her to see his face or the loving smiles and gazes he often gave her, but he hoped at least that she could feel the powerful passion in his gentle touch.

Many more months had passed by, the woman was still recovering but she was getting better.  The two had settled into a beautiful and peaceful routine.  The woman would sometimes ask about the month or the date or the day.  The man would always reply with “What day do you want it to be?”  The woman would say, “Easter Sunday” or “Christmas Eve” or “Friday” or whatever day she was in the mood for.  The man would put on his most serious face, clear his throat while making a grand gesture towards the vast dark woods and call out in a loud official voice,  “Hear Ye, oh residents of this Enchanted Forest, the Lady of the Woods has announced the day of the day!  Take heed that you celebrate and be happy accordingly!”  This would always cause a fit of giggling between the two of them, but more importantly they would start hustling to prepare for whatever the “day of the day” had been proclaimed.  

The two had forged a strong friendship that both had never expected to ever experience in their little lives.  She could not see him, but she could smell the sweat of his hard labor as he toiled to make his house her home.  She heard the adoration in his voice whenever he called her name and she could certainly feel the passion in his lingering touch.  She realized suddenly that she was in love with him. She shook her head and laughed as she sat in her room.  He had built a separate room for her to sleep and dress in.  Being the lady she was, she did not want people to think anything was going on between them, she was going to have to move out before things got too crazy, yet in her heart she was very conflicted.  On the one hand she wanted to keep her distance and on the other hand she wanted to be by his side every moment of the day.  “How does he see me?”  She wondered as she absently reached up to touch her face, and then stopped. She thought about how plain she was before the accident, but wondered what she must look like now.  “I was never pretty, but now….”  She sighed then smiled when she remembered her friend’s kind words when she asked him how she looked.  He said, “When mankind becomes intelligent, compassionate and loving enough to create the words that describe your beauty—I will then tell you what you look like.” He made her feel beautiful and loved, safe and protected, “What more could a girl want?” She thought.  

One morning while hanging out clothes on a warm sunny day the woman asked, “I think I am strong enough to travel through the woods to the village will you escort me?”  The man was intent on clearing away the brush for the designated vegetable garden.  The woman’s question took him by surprise.  He spun around toward her with a fierce frown on his face and yelled, “No!” then angrily added, “Why do you want to go to town anyway?”  The woman felt a little uneasy with his voice booming in her ears, he usually did whatever she asked of him, but on this day for that request he straight out refused to accommodate her.  She replied, “Well…”  He yelled back, “Well, What!?” His mind went into a rage.  The woman sensed his tension and her fear rising. She spoke softly since after the accident she could not raise her voice, “I don’t think we should live under the same roof.”  The man shook like an earthquake at her answer.  He could only stare at her in rage and disbelief.   She quietly pleaded with him, “Oh please my friend…it is only decent that I move out. We are not married, what would the town folk think?”  She had never until this day heard harshness in his voice.  He responded in an angry mocking tone, “I don’t care what the “tooowne Peeople” think! He continued in a loud voice, “I don’t care what the world thinks!  He paused for a minute realizing he was behaving poorly.  He cursed himself praying that the lady would not think him a brute, but how could she not?  The man threw down his gardening tools and stormed off into the woods.    

The woman stumbled her way back into the house, bewildered and hurt.  “What just happened?” she asked herself.  Everything was fine, until she asked to leave.  He had told her he would return her to the village as soon as she was well enough.  She was hoping that when she shyly asked about leaving that he would protest it then ask her to marry him, but that is not what happened.  She spoke out loud to an empty room with a bit of indignation in her voice, “Well, I am well enough!  He’s not going to keep me around here as a “guest”!  No if he wants more….he will have to marry me!  She began to sob at hearing her own pathetic voice.  “Oh who am I kidding, he can have anyone he wants, it’s me who is needy!  I fell in love with him, he didn’t fall for me and why would he?  What can I do for him, what can I do for any man?” The woman cried until tears flowed from her eyes in streams, until her ribs and throat ached, until her insides cramped.  She finally fell asleep on her wet pillow.  

The cock crowed, reminding the waking world that morning comes no matter how long the night.  The woman remembering the pain of yesterday began to cry again but then stopped as she noticed the room was brighter than she ever remember and everything was much more detailed.  Gone were the shadows and blurs of light she was actually seeing things.  She ran to her friend’s room…he was still gone and from the looks of it had never returned.  “Hum” she thought “I hope he is alright out there alone,” She desperately wanted to see him, especially with her sight back.  Then her anger revived, when she remembered that he walked out on her “So be it, if he doesn’t want to see me again, I don’t want to see him either!”  Her vision was not perfect but it was good enough to help her walk out of these woods and never look back.

After thinking about it and missing him, she had decided to wait after all.  With the exception of the last few moments they spent together, they did get along quite well.  She also had a growing pain in her heart.  She had to see him to know he was ok and she wanted to say goodbye and make amends.  He was after all, the most wonderful person she had ever met.

She waited for two days then three and four, still no sign of him.  She climbed on top of the roof to get a better look around in hopes that if he was anywhere near she would spot him and go to him.  With him gone she began to notice unsettling things about their lovely cottage like the crushing silence without him.   She waited all day on the roof, it was night now and she was hungry.  She thought she should go inside but the thought of being in a house without the one she loved, made the thought of going into the house depressing.  So she stayed on the roof and prepared a simple fire for a simple meal.  Under the moonlight she thought of him. She remembered the fairy he once talked about to her, “Maybe he’s with her.” She thought, “Maybe he and I were never meant to be…”  She began to cry again.  As she dried the tears away she saw a creature standing before her in the darkness. It was a massive beast with huge legs and feet for stomping.  It had large brutal hands for crushing and a large belly no doubt to consume large quantities of food in one gulp!  The woman realized, “It’s the Ogre!!”  She was terrified but then remembered the stories her friend had told her of the beast and how it had become more civil.  She stilled her nerves and fear to ask him, “Where is my friend?  Oh please great beast tell me, he told me you were a friend of his too.”  It just stood there silently, and then it seemed to point to its stomach.  The woman’s heart sunk in despair as she realized this beast betrayed her man and ate him.  She cried out in anguish, as she fell to her knees.  The town folk were right, no one returned from these Enchanted Woods, the goblins, witches, banshees and Ogres ate them all.  She stood before the monster, as the wind blew around her swaying the trees.  She could hear others approaching, but she didn’t care anymore he was gone, everything was gone even her tears and fears.  Still on the roof top on her knees she bowed her head and said a prayer, “Lord, thank you for the short time you gave me with my one and only true love.  As these vile beasts feast on my flesh as they did my man’s, may you touch their hearts and turn them from their wicked ways. Amen.”  The woman’s head was still bowed as she finished her prayer.  She could hear the Ogre walking toward her then she heard him laugh.  

The town folk were all in their proper places doing their normal things when they heard all the commotion from the woods.  Their hairs stood up on end when they heard wicked laughter and cries of pain coming from the forest carried by the wind.  The villagers had had enough!  They gathered in front of the new Inn for a rally.  The town’s Mayor spoke first.  “Dear fellow villagers, I for one have had enough of this reign of terror on our town and good folks.”  The crowd cheered as he continued, “and furthermore all this ogre, banshee madness is bad for business we’re losing good customers to these monsters’ appetites!”   The town’s people chimed in too, “We want our town back, down with the beasts!”   On that note the people formed a mob and headed to the heart of the forest.

The villagers plummeted into the woods.  They were still terrified, but felt safe in numbers.  They marched closer and closer to the Ogre’s realm.  They heard vile cackling laughter and screaming.  Finally they walked within sight of a little cottage. Many a strong man’s hearts turned cold at the horrible site.  Under the hard moonlight and the flickering torches’ glow they saw the Banshee and the Ogre sitting on a roof top.  

The people stood in fear, until one person stood out from the crowd pointing at them and yelled, “You both make me sick! Kidnapers, thieves and murderers you are!  We, the normal town folk, are here to kill you!”  The two beasts slowly rose from sitting on the rooftop.  The Banshee’s long thin hair blew eerily in the night wind like spider webs.  She seemed to lift her tortured face and arms to the distant black star studded sky as she spoke in a blood curdling screech that pierced the villagers’ ears and minds. The Ogre rose slowly too as he growled and beckoned the men to come closer with his massive arms and legs, no doubt confident of his own sheer strength to take them all on.  They both were a frightening scene, but the thing that terrified them most was how they leisurely ate the remains of their fresh kills.  They both had red, red blood streaming from their mouths.  In the Ogres hand was the heart of some unfortunate person, presumably from the human sounding female scream they all heard earlier.  Needless to say, as the blood drained from the town folk faces so did the courage drain from their nerves.  They all fled like startled bats!

The mob ran home to tell their wives and children of all the horrors of the Enchanted Forest and forbade anyone to ever enter it again.  After all, it was no longer here say for now they had seen the monsters for themselves!

Meanwhile, in the dark , dark of the woods—on top of a cottage roof a “banshee” and an “ogre” stood. Only one of the villagers stayed to see this sight, because he was too petrified to move.  He was a young man who came along just to see what a monster looked like.  The two creatures seeing the man was in shock, climbed down from the roof, took the young one by the arms and brought him into the house.

The young one had been laughing and crying with the couple at the kitchen table all night.  He said, “Ok, let me get this straight.  You, lady Dee, were blown in the woods by a storm which broke your body and caused you to be temporarily blind and you, Mr Theo found her and nursed her back to health.  You also made up stories about the forest to make her think it was enchanted. Then you Lady Dee, asked about leaving which caused a rift between you two. While you were on the roof, you thought you encountered the ogre only to find out it was your Mr. Theo.”   Lady Dee, smiled and said, “Yes that’s the bare basics of it all.”  She then looked to Mr. Theo, “Theo, honey why did you want me to think you had met a fairy and that the forest was enchanted?”   He sighed, “Because my love, the moment you entered my life my world really did become “enchanted”.  You have no idea the hope and happiness you added to my being.  Those stories I told you were from my heart.  The Ogre, as the town people called me was true.  I was a monster of a man, but being in this peaceful forest taught me to live with myself I thought that would be enough and all I could hope for until you literally fell into my life.” “Sweetheart,” he continued, “I knew you would get your sight back and I dreaded it.  I often wondered if you would up and leave me when you saw me. Or when I finally lost my temper and you realized I was not the prince charming you believed me to be.  So when you talked about leaving, I just lost it. I could not imagine life without you; I was going to propose to you when you could see me for yourself.”   Lady Dee got up from the table and threw her arms around Theo.  She cried as she spoke, “Darling dear Theo, you big beautiful teddy bear of a man!  Love, was just another four letter word until I met you.  You were so kind and patient with me, so loving and tender.  Oh how I’ve longed for you.  I held you in my heart long before I could hold you in my arms!  I never wanted to leave but I had to leave before something happen between us that may not have meant to be.  I wanted to know that you loved me for me as I loved you for you.  My love you are beautiful don’t you ever let anyone or thing make you think any different, you are beautiful and greatly desired by me!”

The young one, Dupree, had another question, “So, when you Mr. Theo pointed to yourself when Lady Dee asked where was her friend what happened?”  Theo and Dee both laughed.  Theo said, “When I saw her on the roof I knew she could see.  I had been around the cottage checking up on her but was too afraid to show myself.  Finally I approached her.  I know she thought I was the horrible ogre and when she begged to know where her friend was it broke my heart to the point of making me speechless.  I pointed to myself to express to her that I was “her friend” then she did what I hoped she would not do, she yelled no, I never felt so rejected in my life.”  Lady Dee cut in, “No, no dear one—I thought you were pointing to your belly that you had eaten my friend!  I tell you that was the darkest moment in my life when I thought I would never see you again.”  The young man smiled at them both.  I’m just glad you two cleared up all that misunderstanding.”  The couple nodded in agreement.  

Mr. Theo had a few question for the young man and said, “Hey, about the towns’ people last night….” Before Theo could finish his thought, the young man, embarrassed, said, “Yes, about that.  So sorry about that….”  The couple was looking at him to say more, he continued, “We heard cackling, screaming and wicked laughter from the woods last night.  Everyone was on edge and terrified.”  He paused, “The town people were coming to….kill you, the monsters.” The couple gasped, Dupree continued, “I came along just to see what was going on when we saw you two.  I know better now…” he stopped to smile, “but last night you two looked like an Ogre and a Banshee!”  The couple stared in disbelief.  The young one continued,” Well, you were both on the roof in the moonlight.  You Lady Dee seemed to be calling on someone powerful to destroy us and you Mr. Theo were challenging us to charge you knowing you could break and eat us all.” The man laughed and added, “Oh, these boiled whole beets, look like human hearts from a distance in the moonlight.  I mean looked like blood was streaming all out of your mouths, pretty gory sight. That’s why everyone ran.”  Theo and Dee looked at each other and laughed so hard they hurt.  Theo said, “I was telling them to come on over.  We were glad to have some guests.” Dee chimed in with laughing tears in her eyes, “I was calling on someone powerful….God!  I was thanking God for bringing us company and I was blessing the food so it would be enough for us all.” She added, “Oh Theo, I guess we did look horrible I mean, we both were starving and sloppy.”  They all laughed a good long time.

By the next day, the young man was ready to be on his way.  He loved the couple.  Theo and Dee hated to see him leave and told him he was always welcome here.  Dee asked, “Where are you going to go, back to the village?”  The young man said, “Oh no, by now they have probably claimed me as dead and if I show up they’ll think I’m a zombie and finish me off for sure!”  Theo stepped up and put his hand on the boys shoulder, “Where you going son?  It’s a big world out there both beautiful and ugly.”  The young one looked around the beautiful forest.  “I don’t know where I’m going but I do know where I will always return.” The couple smiled with tears at his words.  Theo cleared his throat, “Listen son, there is a village on the other side of this forest.  A wonderful place I go there myself for supplies and never had any problem with the people there since they are a diverse group and always look forward to new and unusual things and people.”  Dee’s mouth dropped, “What other village, you never told me about this  Theodore ….”  Theo cut across her before she could say all five of his middle names, “I went there to get this.”  He got on his knee, “Will you be my wife, my life, my fairy and love forever?”  Dee dropped to her knees too, “Only if you will be my husband, my world, my prince and love forever.”  They kissed and hugged.  Theo looked up to the young one and said, “You can be our best man!”  The youth, jumped for joy and said, “I do!!” They all laughed.

The young one was saying his goodbyes.  Dee had packed him food and clothes for his journey.  The youth said, “I sure hope I can be as happy as you too are one day. Too bad these woods are not really enchanted.  It would be nice to run into a fairy or Ogre, a nice one anyway.”  Theo looked at the boy then his wife to be.  “Just because this is not an Enchanted forest doesn’t mean there’s no enchantment here….”  Dee and the youth both looked at the man.  He chuckled and gave a loud whistle. “Honey,” he said, “let’s give the boy a lift to the other village and pick you out a wedding gown.”  Dee and the boy both had baffled looks on their faces, when a golden dragon landed gracefully before them.  The young man’s jaw dropped and Dee looked to her husband to be and said, “I knew something wonderful and beautiful was waiting for me here.  I could feel it!”  Dee started running and laughing toward the dragon,”come on boys, let’s go get my dress!!!”