Sitting in a small cottage by the wall and trail that leads out into the meadow, a young woman rests at her small wooden table staring down at the pile of letters that she has been sent over the years. She brushes back her long flowing blonde hair behind her shoulder with a delicate rosy skin-colored hand as her sapphire eyes reread a few of the friendly letters that sit in front of her. She has two piles of letters; those that are from the kid she had a crush on years ago when she was only 5 years old and then another pile of letters from a boy turned man who is still obsessed with her.
She has tried to explain it to him in her own letters that she has grown a lot since those days and her childish crush has ended since she turned 10 years old but Morlock wouldn’t hear of it and continued to express his undying love for her. That is when Tanya decided to stop corresponding with him and even then, the letters kept coming. She grew frustrated with Morlock and confided in her childhood friends, Stacy and Lennie, and they told her to stand her ground by not writing back even though she wanted to tell him to stop.
The latest letter sits on top of the obsessed pile, the one claiming that soon he would return to their little town and come for her. Sitting atop of that letter is the little trinket that Morlock had given to her when he had left; the purple crystal. She knew that she should have sent it back to him t prove she no longer has feelings for him but she had grown fond of the crystal. She gently fingers the crystal as her eyes stare down at the pile of letters not really seeing them.
It scared her to think that this man could be coming back for her and she feels completely powerless. Her parents, who she lives within the cottage still, have told her to not leave the house unless she absolutely needs to do so. They even spoke of moving to escape the madman but nothing had come of that so here they still live. Tanya brushes her sweaty palms down the sides of her dark green tight dress, her anxiety getting the best of her since it is the day Morlock is to return to the town. She and her family have already discussed the letters to the family in charge of the town and they promised to help if they could.
Tanya sits back in the chair and looks outside where she can see the other townsfolk wandering the streets, gathering items for work or going shopping for food. She wishes she could be out in the town with her friends, talking and shopping or visiting the waterfall where she hopes Mark asks her to be his girl one day soon. But should she tell Mark no if he does ask to keep him safe from the supposed wizard Morlock? She has read that he has become a powerful wizard and hopes to one day work at the castle that sits several miles away from their sleepy little town but she doesn’t know if she believes him. She was hoping he would forget all about her and just go there but instead, she dreads that he has come back to their town and will be looking for her soon. And if that is the case, how can she protect her Mark from this man?
She stands from her seat in her room and walks over to the window, her black boots lightly clicking on the wooden floor of the cottage as she stares out longingly at her neighbors and friends. She feels like a trapped animal ready to break out of its cage and run rampant. But she is a young obedient maiden and she must do as her parents tell her. She groans when she spies her best friends strolling past her house, obviously going into the meadow to collect some wildflowers to most likely weave some flower crowns, one of her favorite pass times. Her parents are gone for the day and they say to stay inside, but they didn’t say anything about not being able to talk through the window. She smirks and shoves open the window, calling out to Stacy and Lennie. The girls turn to see Tanya waving at them from her prison. The girls rush over to their friend, their blue and yellow dresses sweeping out behind them as they quicken their step.
“Oh, thank goodness you two walked past or I would be bored to death,” Tanya exclaims as soon as her friends are beside her window. “Collect enough flowers from the meadow and then come back so we may all make crowns and have a chat.”
Lennie smiles her pink lips, “Of course, Tanya. Now don’t go anywhere and we will be right back.” She winks at her friend who shakes her head and chuckles at her joke.
Tanya waves as the two girls hurry off to get her and themselves basketful of wildflowers. In no time the best friends are sitting together, gossiping and weaving flower crowns for themselves as well as the little girls that live in the town. Tanya laughs and feels much better since her friends are there and it seems like the worry of Morlock’s return vanishes almost completely…almost. The nagging of his return still sits in the back of her mind and she does her best to not let the worry enter her eyes. She weaves an extra crown from the pink wildflowers for her mother, pink being her mother’s favorite color, and sets it aside on the table beside her bed then sits her finished crown of blue and purple flowers upon her head.
The girls all laugh then pack up the other crowns for the girls of the village, setting them carefully into their baskets so they don’t get crushed. Tanya says her goodbyes to her best friends and warn them to keep an eye out of Morlock, telling them that most likely he still has the wild black hair. They promise her to keep a lookout for the crazed so-called wizard and would report back if they spot him. They then head off to go home for the night, passing the crowns out to the girls they pass. Once her friends are gone, Tanya stands and heads out of her room, taking the crown she made for her mother with her. She places it on the table where her mother sits for meals. She walks to the front door and opens it to see if she can make out her parents heading home for the evening. Not seeing them just yet, she groans again, bored, and closes the door. She walks around the house aimlessly until she hears the front door open and she springs through the rest of the small cottage to get to them. She welcomes her father first with a small peck to his cheek then a hug and does the same to her mother.
“The girls and I made some crowns. No, don’t worry I didn’t leave the house. They collected the items from the meadow and brought them to me.,” she tells them as she hands her mom her new flower crown when they look at her worriedly. “Do you like it?”
Her mother smiles as she takes the crown in her hands and gently places it on her head, “It is lovely, my daughter. And made from pink flowers, my favorite color.”
Her father laughs as his daughter and mother clasp hands and dance around like small girls playing in the meadow. But the laughter is silenced when there is a knock on the door. He looks at the door then motions for his wife and daughter to go into the other room. They quickly do as instructed while he walks to the door, opening it just a crack to see who it is on the other side. He lets out his breath since he had been holding it, afraid that Morlock has come to ask for his daughter but is happy to see that it is only his good friend, Byron.
He opens the door, “Byron, my friend, please come inside.”
Byron shakes his head, “I have to go home and eat dinner with my wife and kids but I wanted to tell you that I spotted Morlock standing outside the cottage he had purchased from the Grangers a year ago.” He shifts nervously from side to side. “As soon as I saw him, I knew I must warn you and your family.” He says a quick goodbye, apologizing for the quick visit and leaves into the growing dark.
Tanya watches as her father slowly closes the door and turns two glassy haunted brown eyes towards her and her mother. Her mother takes in a sharp breath, knowing what the conversation is about before he even opens his mouth. She holds up a hand and shakes her head to not say anything to frighten Tanya any more than she already is and she gently touches Tanya’s arm. “Come and help me with dinner.”
Tanya nods her head and walks after her mom into the kitchen in order to help make a tasty dinner for the family. Her father slips out of the house and in the now dark town, heading to the other side of it to where he heard Morlock had bought a house. He stands behind a neighbor’s house to see lights go on, showing him that Byron has been right; Morlock is in town. He steals back into the night, returning home before either woman of the household has known he left. He sits at the dinner table once called and begins to eat, his mind whirling with thoughts of keeping his daughter safe. After dinner, he says good night to Tanya, giving her a quick kiss on the forehead before sending his daughter off to bed for the night. His wife sits beside him still at the table, having asked her to return once she has cleaned the dishes. He tells her in a low voice that Byron has told him that he has seen Morlock and so he went to the house and indeed there are lights on in the cottage. She takes in another sharp breath before she stood and ushered him to bed, saying that they can come up with a plan in the morning as it is growing late. He agrees and the two retire to their bedroom.
Tanya stands on the other side of her bedroom door, catching her breath as she had just ran from the eating room back to her bedroom. She had heard the conversation between her parents before she dashed back to her room before they caught her lurking in the shadows. She walks over to her bed and slips under the covers after replacing her elegant dark green dress with her plain white nightgown. She lays in the inky black of her room, staring up at the ceiling, shivering though she isn’t cold nor was the night cold just yet. She closes her eyes and wills herself to fall asleep.