“It is time, Max,” the stranger said once again, his voice rising in frustration.
“How can it be? We have not seen any of the signs? The sky has not darkened, the sea…”
“Look!” The man desperately shrieked, pulling his left sleeve up over his forearm.
The following silence was almost deafening, taunting the girl. She inched her eyes carefully around the doorframe and peeked into the small darkened room. The lighted candle sitting atop the bookshelf flickered softly across the two men. Her father stood in shock, starring at the other man’s arm which had some sort of a snake tattoo writhing and wiggling beneath his skin.
The girl instinctly covered her mouth to stifle her own shock. Her fear of snakes seemed to wrap tightly around her throat.
“It… it can’t be!” Her father finally spoke. His voice was now rough and almost in a whisper. “She is only twelve, she’s only twelve!”
The girl quickly slinked behind the doorframe once again, her eyes bulging in shock. She was only twelve. Her fingers tightened around her mouth as she felt a scream brewing within.
“I know, but it is time,” the stranger confirmed, pulling his sleeve back down over his marked arm. “It has not happened as we thought, but the time has come nonetheless. We must take action now.” Max nodded.
“Willowfred!” Max called without moving. “Please come here!”
Willowfred froze against the wall, unable to move. Terrible thoughts began filtering through her mind as she quietly stood, unseen.
“Willowfred, dear, I know you are standing just outside of the door, please come in,” her father ordered.
Willowfred lowered her hand, took a deep breath and cautiously entered the room. She didn’t know what to expect, but the worst danced along the corners of her mind.
“Why are you spying?” Her father calmly asked. Willowfred stood quietly, just a couple of feet from the stranger, shrugging her shoulders. She kept her eyes on the floor, afraid to make eye contact.
“I hope this little charade has frightened you into minding your own business,” her father scolded.
Willowfred’s eyes darted up to meet her father’s, filled with shock. “What?”
“You heard me.” A smile crept across his face as he motioned to his company. “He helped concoct this brilliant trick to help teach you to stop spying on me.” A small chuckle escaped his mouth, causing his short whiskers to vibrate in strange patterns.
“But what about his arm?” Willowfred questioned.
“His arm? What about it?” Her father asked confused.
“His arm, that thing…” Willofred exclaimed as she pointed towards the man’s covered arm, her finger slightly shaking.
“Oh that,” her father chuckled once again. “I thought it would be funny to entice you to peek in. Wasn’t that brilliant? To pull up his sleeve like there was something for you to see?” Her fathered laughed again a little harder.
“What? But the snake?” Willowfred questioned again, this time her eyes bored into the stranger for an explanation.
“I don’t know what you are going on about Willowfred, but I hope you will now stay clear of eavesdropping around my study. Go get yourself to bed.”
Willofred walked towards the doorway as her father and the stranger began to pour over a map on the desk before them. She paused, confused. She glanced back at the two men just as the stranger was pushing up both of his sleeves, revealing a writhing snake on each of his forearms. Her eyes widened as fear prickled on the back of her neck. She looked to the man’s face, making eye contact with the stranger that felt like she was gazing into an endless dark well. One corner of his mouth rose into a smirk as he turned back to her father.
Be careful eavesdropping on others, you may discover something you wish you didn’t….
Written by K, Copyright 2015