The Broken| Samuel Sebbowa Bunnya

 

 

The voices were nothing more than whispers to her. She could not understand a thing they said. She could hear them but they seemed so far away from her, that she wondered if she was finally free from the prison of her horrors for a fleeting moment. All the memories had broken through and had consumed her. There was no going back for her. She had no chance of rebuilding the strong walls. They were gone with the wind and nothing more than burnt ashes of her past. The tables had finally been turned and the horrors consumed her when the whispers disappeared.

She was not sure if it was days or months; but she knew it had been that way for not so long. She was in a state of lifelessness; alone with the horrors until she heard them. Hearing whispers at some point; distracting her from the horrors of six men that poured out of her soul. I am nothing but weak filth that deserves nothing. It was the only thing she told herself for so long she started to believe it. Her body was not her own; it had stopped being her own all those years ago when three brothers had betrayed the bonds of hospitality.

The whispers disappeared leaving her with the great fear that she had held back for so long. Ryta wished she could reach out to them and bring them back. She did not want to be alone with them; the devils from the past and those from the recent past. They circled her every day as she lay there. Before long she felt herself drowning back in the lifeless past. She tried to scream but nothing could come out. Your body is not your own. Their sneers hounded her until she was lost to the world once more; crumbling into the pit of despair as they taunted her.

She stirred as she heard the whispers again. The dream of the past had been clear and vivid. The demons had been her companions until the whispers came once more. They had grown louder. She could make out a few of the words that were being exchanged but she did not understand them. She could hear the strange accents. I am with the gods after all. It was the only explanation to the strange accents that surrounded her. The whispers were stranger than before. They were closer to her and a part of her recognized them.

Mother. She truly was dead. If she could hear the gentle accent of her mother, it meant she was dead. Her father had to be near. Her family had to be close. They had to be. They were the source of the whispers that dulled the hounding horrors and devils. Something inside of her soul dared to look at the demons. The taunting dark things seemed to be afraid of whatever it was. Ryta grasped for the whispers. She willed her weak-self to the whispers, but her will was non-existent. It was dead along with her; consumed by the horrors of the devils that broke her twice.

Just as strong as they had come, the whispers went away. That was when the demons came at her. She cowered away; alone and powerless once more. She let them hound her. She was alone and had no control as the six faces of the demons taunted her in the darkness. Soon enough she drifted into the pit she always awoke from; the demons hounding her into it until she let them have their way.

 

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She felt no pain; she felt nothing. She had not felt a thing since the night she had slain her tormentor. Scheptor’s lifeless body aboard her prison stared at her as the whispers started once again. She did not know where that memory had come from. He is dead. Something glimmered over the demon’s faces. They could not see it but she could. She wanted to reach for it, but she was too scared to do so with the six devils circling and taunting her. She retreated back into the depths of her solitude and let them taunt her as she listened to the whispers. Will I hear you again mother?

Again they had grown louder. She could make little sense of their words but she heard them as if they were being spoken to her. Ryta hoped to hear her mother’s whisper, but the longing desire was but a dream in Ryta’s death. They sneered as she realized she had imagined her mother’s voice. She did not hear it among the strong whispers, as the horrors blocked out the light she saw glimpses of. The whispers were around her; swirling the same way that the demons did. She looked at the demon faces afraid of them but at least the whispers helped.

One demon dared her with a grim smile. You’re dead. Scheptor taunted her. His ugly black form slithered its formlessness around her. The walls had crumbled because of him. He and his allies had besieged her and taken them away from her. They had stripped her of the walls. They tumbled down and continued to tumble leaving her bare to all her fears and horrors. They had left her poisoned. They had left her all alone and as powerless as the last time the three men had raped her. Ora felt the tears sliding down the face of her heart. The shattered pieces were being broken into millions of pieces.

“Look.” She heard the voice through the darkness of the demons. The whisper was louder and reminded her of the little strength she could muster.

“Are those tears?” Another voice spoke through the clouds of her demons. “She is crying.”

“We see.”

Please, help me. Ryta could not control her voice. She was alone and lost. The darkness about her increased as she stared at the demons that realized that she could hear the voices. It was then that the bright flame that she had seen long ago flickered above the dark horrors. She stretched her hand towards it. There was a strange familiarity and bond with the flame. It called to something else in her but she could not let out what the flame called out. Paintings of her rescue flashed as she struggled to not let the demons grasp her and hound back to her pit.

She had not known her rescuers and had only recognized them the moment her tormentor stood over one of them. It was then that she wanted nothing more than to kill him. She hated him and had flung herself over her rescuer just so she would not pay for her crimes. When his blade had hissed through the air, she had known it was poisoned. She was the one that told him to put the poison on it years ago. She never knew that one day it would be used on her. Am I really dead? That was the only thing she could come up with.

The flame flickered again. It was bright and she saw something inside of it that she thought she would never see again. It was only in a flash and she knew she had to reach for the flame. She was weak but she could reach the flame. The flame was her way of having something other than strange voices fighting against the demons. Ryta flinched away as the six devils coated her. She tried to scream and it was at that point that the flame burst into a brilliant and blazing white fire that sent her out of the grasp of the demons. The fire died as the demons finally let her go.

You will never be rid of us.

We own you.

You are nothing but a weak being.

A shame to the greatness.

A shame.

And powerless against us.

Their taunts faded as she felt herself being drawn into a deep chasm. She knew that the demons were still there and would remain there as long as she lived. They would taunt her to her grave. Ryta could feel them in her soul blocking any walls she could have mustered to keep them away. They had shattered whatever will and strength she had mustered. She was a young helpless girl who had been tricked once. She was that girl as the demons slithered into her once more. I am nothing. They were right. She could feel the horror smile as she did not sink into the pit she was accustomed to.

“Leave her. The worst over.” The strange powerful voice broke through the deep endless darkness.

“Are you sure?”

“Out now.”

The voices disappeared leaving her alone and without distraction. The demons returned but not as powerful as they had been. She thought of the pit but she did not find it. She crawled away from them and they made no effort to chase her. Ryta shook with great fear as she looked at them. The further she crawled the closer she got to them. Out of the blue, she found herself slipping into something she had no seen. It was just as dark and horrifying as the pit but it gave her peace as it blocked the devils out.

For the first time she did not see the demons although she could feel them on the edges of the chasm she was in. Ryta was afraid. It had just begun for her. She was alone and lost. There was no more Dragon Maid; no more will; nothing to hold them at bay. Three of them had taken it from her and had used it to burn her walls down. Ryta was alone but finally at peace. I am weak but I do not see you here, she thought as she continued to fall.

 

****

 

She did not how long she fell. All she knew was that the demons were not before her eyes. I still feel them around me. That was all. Something acrid and disgusting filled her nose which forced her out of her state. Somehow she had regained her body sense. She could feel the scratchy surface on which her skin lay. She could feel the heat of a fire near and worst of all she could smell maggots and soiled breeches in her nose.

Her eyes flew open but they hurt. Everything was blazing white. Where am I? She closed her eyes once again. All she could remember was darkness and now it was a blazing white. She did not know why she closed her eyes. She was hoping that the darkness would return. She was afraid to meet the blazing white that was different from the darkness and demons she was so used to seeing. She wanted the grey clouds more than anything. She opened her eyes again but took her time to open them all the way.

The light was not as painful and blazing as it had been a few moments ago. Things started to become clear. She could make out certain things where she was. It was a strange place but not as dark and deep. Different animal skins lined the mud covered walls. The roof was made of dried thatch and there were baked clay pots near her. She could feel the sticky sweat that coated her and the disgusting smell that had reached her was close to her.

Her mind turned to the demons. Where are they? She panicked as her eyes darted from side to side. The dark faces and sneers were nowhere in sight. All she saw were strange faces and forms. One of them approached her. Ryta panicked. The demons have a new game. She could not make out who or what it was. As they drew closer, she felt her weakness as she tried to cower away from the approaching figure. Her body was slow to react. It did not want to listen to her.

An ancient and serene face looked down at her, stopping her from moving further away. The old face was motherly and seemed to calm her down. She saw calm blue eyes looking at her and she wished she could go to whoever owned them. They reminded her so much of someone she had lost a long time ago. They also reminded her of something the dark demons had stripped her of.

Ryta’s eyes looked to her body that was covered by a thin blanket. She could feel the tautness of fibre bandages across her back. She could see them as her eyes travelled back to the woman. Ryta’s breathing started to increase. Her eyes shifted away from the woman’s before being drawn back to them. There was a strange calmness that gathered around her through those eyes. Her breathing started to calm down.

“Calm down,” the woman said. Her voice was low and soft. “You’re safe here.”

“Does she know who we are?” another asked from behind the old woman.

“Give her time. She been back few moment.” Ryta did not know where she was. She tore her eyes away from the woman and looked round in fear.

She felt soft hands making her look into the deep blue eyes once more. “No one will hurt you,” the woman soothed. She turned her face from Ryta. “Will you all be quiet? Her memory will come.”

“You know you healing good.” It was a male voice. Ryta heard the surprise in it.

“She know everything,” a voice Ryta had heard before spoke up.

Once more Ryta was frightened. She thought of the devils. She opened her mouth but only a strangled and croaked yelp came out. “Give me some water,” the old woman said. She placed her hand under Ryta’s head. Ryta was confused. Why are you helping me? The woman received and small bowl of water and placed it on Ryta’s perched lips. Ryta opened them as her eyes stayed on the blue of the old woman that was helping her. She took slow and simple sips of the water.

As it slid down her throat, she felt a soothing effect. She took it as the woman gave it to her. After a few more sips she started to cough it out as the soothing effect vanished. Ryta started coughing into the bowl as some of the water splashed onto her face. Ryta coughed as more air entered into her lungs. Her breathing calmed down; the coughing started to calm down and her throat became clear.

The woman removed the bowl from her lips and placed her head down on the small bed. Ryta saw the sadness in the blue eyes. She saw the deep worry etched in the lines of the old woman’s face. Ryta was not used to such pity after the sneers of her personal devils. Ryta blinked and opened her eyes as soon as the horrors appeared behind her lids. She looked into the calm blue eyes.

She heard the whisper of movement near her. Who else is coming at me? Ryta was still afraid but not as afraid of the people around her as she had been. She had nowhere to run. Her heart was telling her to be weary of the games of the devils. She looked into the blue eyes and was a little guarded. The devils had full control of her. They had broken her and taken her will and strength.

“Look around.” The woman urged her with a calm and honest voice. “Look at her.”

Ryta listened to the gentle voice. I know your voice. She looked deeper into the aging blue. As she looked at the woman, her memory opened up. She knew those blue eyes and the regal face that was misplaced on a slave woman. The small memory of the old woman protecting two younger girls came to her.

“Amah,” Ryta whispered.

All the memories flooded her mind. The gates were open. You all came to save me. She knew them and she remembered the last time she had seen them; the fateful night. Ryta looked round now that her eyes were used to the light. It was no longer blinding her. She blinked as the tears slid down her cheeks. She had not realized that her eyes had watered up. Ryta took a breath as she stilled her heart.

She pushed the fear and thoughts of the devils away as she saw the dark-skinned Sabbah woman, Ayah, the two Eradian girls, Rashina and Amyra; all looking at her with deep concern. She remembered them. She could not help the small smile that tried to worm its way onto her lips. She could trust the four of them but she could not get rid of the feeling that the devils had some control of what she was doing. Am I in a dream?

“You no dead,” a strange voice she did not really know spoke up.

Ryta searched for the source of the voice. Her eyes landed on the fifth person in the little space. He was as tall as Ayah and of the same skin. His build was massive. He had broad shoulders and a thin line of hair above his upper lip. His nose was crooked and larger than most, striking a difference with his fat cheeks. His dark eyes were set apart and formed a natural scowl on his face. He had a face that somehow reminded her of Scheptor.

As soon as that thought crossed her mind, Ryta tried to scamper further away from the man. Ryta tried to block out the fear that built up in her chest. This is a trick of the dark things that have plagued me.  She looked at Amah, hoping the woman saw the pleading in her eyes. “What is Scheptor doing here?” she whispered. Ryta could only hope she was no longer alone with her demons. She pulled the thin blanket over her body as she looked at the man. “He…he…I…k…kill…killed him,” she stuttered.

 

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