Friday, March 13, 2015

Into Thornwood || Chapter Twelve

By Becca
This is the last chapter!
Thank you everyone for your kind and encouraging reception. 
I might do a post with little tidbits and behind the scene things about the story, what do you guys think?
I'm so glad you've enjoyed Into Thornwood and I'd love to share more stories on the blog sometime.

But, enough of that now :)  On to the final chapter!

(Sorry, the indentation is not behaving for, please ignore the strangeness)

Chapter 12
                  Now she will never come back.
                  Lucian opened the gate, intent on chasing them down. In his haste, the automaton missed a step and came crashing onto the stones, breaking apart and clanging all the way down.  Furious, Lucian took his mother’s bible and hurled it through the window. He ran to the opening and saw the wagon drive away, a glint of copper hair. The broken glass cut into the palm of his hand. He couldn’t feel it. 
                  She was your only hope, and you probably killed her. 
                  His lungs filled and a wild scream echoed through all of Thornwood. Far below the automaton lay scattered over the stairs. The fall would break his neck…. and death would be instant. That would be nice. Blood smeared as he ran a hand over his face and then the tears came.
                  He fell to his knees, staring over the forest, weeping. 
                  You loved her, didn’t you?

                  “Cecile? Come back to us darling.” 
The warm coaxing voice was so familiar… but it wasn’t Dax. Her eyes opened to the face of a memory, with Father’s green eyes twinkling above her. 
                  “Am I dead?” 
His hearty laugh pulled her into reality, followed by a bristly kiss. “No my dear. The Lord has seen fit to leave both of us on earth for a while longer.”
                  “You’re alive!” She sat up with that realization. “And you have a beard.”  
                  “Yes I am and yes I do, it grew during my travels. Do you like it?” 
Cecile threw herself into his arms with a delighted squeal. “Oh, Father I am so glad that we have you back!”
                  He squeezed her with all the strength she had missed.  Over his shoulder, she smiled at the group gathered around. Caprice sat next to her on the bed, Dax and Frank stood at the foot of the bed, Mrs. Harvey and all the little ones peeked through the door.  After a moment, she pulled away to look at her father. 
                  “But how did you survive? I thought-“ 
                  “That I died in the shipwreck? I thought I would too, but God had everything in his control. I woke up on a beach amid the wreckage and a few of the crew. It was a long journey home, but I was thanking the Lord the entire way. Enough of me- I heard that you have had an adventure while I was gone. I would have gone with the rescue party-“
                  Caprice laid her hand on his shoulder and smiled at Cecile. “But father arrived very late last night and I thought that he should rest.” Cecile beamed at her sister’s voice.
                 “Certainly any man can nap peacefully when his daughter has been kidnaped-” Father grumbled. After breath, his expression softened and smile beamed from the red beard.
                 “How are you feeling?” He reached out and gently smoothed the bandage around her head. “That was a quite a blow you suffered.”
                 Cecile lay against the pillows, pain returning with its acknowledgment. “I’ll be fine… “
Blurred thoughts began to focus, and she saw it again; the arm swinging out, aimed for Dax and the force of the impact. With the recovered memory she popped up.
Their faces skewed in confusion, everyone mouthing the name.  Caprice took Cecile’s hand gently and asked, “Who is Lucian?” 
                  “He is the inventor’s son, he’s trapped inside Thornwood-“
Dax broke in. “Cecile, no one lives in Thornwood. There was a fire-“ 
                  “Yes, I know that. The fire that killed his mother, but he is still alive and I have to go back-“
 “What about that metal man?” Frank insisted. “It kidnapped you, and we saw it hurt you. That thing is dangerous.” 
                  “No it’s not, that was Lucian-” 
                  “How hard were you hit? You know that’s impossible Cecile.” 
                  “Please believe me, Frank, I know it’s sounds fantastic, but it is true. Lucian is a real person. He controls the automaton-“ 
                  Frank punched the bedcovers with a fierce expression. “So he is the one who did all this.” He gestured to Cecile, all her scratches and cuts bandaged. “And you want to go back to him?”
She tried to find the words that would make them understand. 
                  “He has nothing, he is hopeless, and he is so desperately lost. I think God arranged for us to meet Lucian and, however strange and frightening the means were, we have. Now that we know about this poor soul, we cannot just leave him to die.”
                  Frank’s clenched jaw made her continue.
                  “Yes, he kidnapped me. But he did not give me the scratches on my arms, nor did he make me fall. The only time he was violent was when you threatened him, and even then he did not aim his strike for me. I tell you, he is not a cruel man and he won’t harm us when we return.” 

                  As they returned to Thornwood, Caprice opened her heart to her sister.
                  “Cecile, I am so sorry for the way I’ve treated you all these years.” The sincerity in Caprice eyes was beautiful.
                  “I was such a wretched person, wasn't it?  But after father’s shipwreck, everything I held onto just slipped through my fingers. Despite everything you and Dax had hope. You trusted in the Lord; you’ll never know what a testimony that was to me. But I was stubborn and proud, and didn’t want to surrender. Then when you and Dax disappeared, I was distraught. God took away everything I cared about- and He showed me how brief this life is.”
                   Caprice wiped the tears that flowed down her cheeks, and laughed. “ I was washing dishes and began to cry, feeling the weight of my sin and the hopelessness of my life. I knelt down right there, the way mother prayed with us at bedtime, and I gave my heart to the Lord.”
                   Cecile was crying too, and she hugged her sister; overjoyed with the knowledge that she now was her sister in Christ. The wagon bounced over a rock, throwing the passengers off balance. Father caught both of his girls in an embrace and kissed them.  Caprice shone with happiness.
                  “That night, God brought Father home. I probably woke entire neighborhood when the door opened and he was standing there-”
                  “Sorry to interrupt…” Frank called back. “But look ahead.”
                  They looked, and through the thinning trees they saw the iron gate opened wide. Frank urged on the horses and they road through, stopping at the steps.
                  A breath caught in Cecile’s throat, for there was the automaton.
                  Bits of metal and shards of glass lay scattered over the stones like confetti. The dented limbs and torso had rolled to the base of the stairs, and by the wagon wheel was the automaton’s battered head, each glass portal smashed.
                  “Well, I would have loved to see that beast fall.” Frank jumped from the wagon and kicked the body. “It won’t be able hurt anyone again.”
                  Father climbed down and helped Cecile and Caprice out of the back. Dax limped to the front and they surveyed the wreckage. Despite how scared Cecile once was of the automaton, she was sad to see it destroyed.
                  “Cecile?” Caprice picked up something among the broken pieces. “Here, look at this.”
She held out a key in the palm of her hand. Cecile snatched instantly and examined it in the sunlight, thinking it may vanish away. 
                  “You found it!” She squeaked. “Come with me, we are going to rescue my kidnaper!”
                  She lifted the edge of her skirt and started up the stairs. Through the house she sprinted, up to the top story. Caprice was close behind and together they halted, breathless, at the bookcase.
                  “Lucian! Caprice found a key, it was inside the automaton.” 
                  Cecile thrust it into the keyhole. It turned with a click. A little knob stuck out from the wood and with a trembling hand, she took hold of it and pulled.  The shelf was heavy, and with years of resting it wouldn’t move. Caprice joined her; they braced their feet and heaved at the door. 
                  “It’s coming! It’s starting to open!” Cecile could't contain her excitement as a crack of light widened between the shelves. Then something yanked the door shut with a slam, sending them back with a surprised cry. 
                  “What was that?” Caprice looked to Cecile, but before she could answer father came up the stairs, Dax’s arm around his shoulders. “Is everything all right, girls? I can’t wait to meet this poor soul.” 
                 Cecile pulled out the key and peered through the hole, it was blocked. “He’s in there, but we can’t open the door… Lucian? That is you, isn’t it? Why won’t you let us in?”
                  “You found the key, and I thank you. Now you can go home.”  His monotone voice was perplexing.  
                  “I was home, and I came back for you. Do you truly think we’ll leave you now, just like that? I deserve to at least see the face of my kidnaper.” 
                  “No, you don’t”  
                  “Are you going to hide in your room until we leave?” 
                  “I believe that's a marvelous idea.” 
Cecile groaned and threw her hands in the air.
                  Frank shifted from his position by the banister.  “Right then, we did what we could, time to head on home. I need to find Diamond and bring the other wagon back to the shop.”
                  “Wait! Please, we can’t leave yet-“ Cecile pleaded. 
                  “You heard him, he doesn’t want us here." Realizing his tone, Frank tried again. 
                   "You did the right thing, Cecile, but now it’s done. Let’s go on home.” With a glance over his shoulder, Frank turned and started back down the stairs.
                  As she looked back to her family, her mind could only offer one thought; this isn’t how it should go.  
                  “Please Father," Cecile tried to keep her voice calm.  "We can’t leave him like this.”
                  He stepped close and put a hand on her shoulder. “What else can we do? You have shown him love, you helped set him free- what happens next is his choice, it’s in the Lord’s hands.”
                  She looked up from the floor and nodded slowly. “ I suppose you are right…”
                  Dax limped forward and gave her a smile. “ He cannot hide forever, and you know him better then I do, but I have a feeling you will meet him again someday.”
Father helped Dax to the stairs while Cecile stood by the bookshelf a few moments more.
                  “Would you like me to stay?” Caprice asked.
                  “Thank you, Caprice, but no… I’d like to say goodbye.”

 Cecile approached the bookcase, swallowed hard, and prayed that he was listening.
                  “Lucian, I'm going home now, just like you want. I hoped things would end differently…”           Her restraint broke with an exasperated little cry.
                  “Oh why won’t you open the door? What are you afraid of?”
                  One word came through, very close and quietly.
                  “You.” His reply struck her like an arrow.
                  “Why are you afraid of me?”  
                  “Because I am a monster. If you come in, you will take one look at me and turn away with disgust. I would rather remember the girl who smiled at me from the garden and never see you again, then have your repulsed expression burned in my mind.” 
                  Cecile rested her forehead against the bookshelf and heaved a sigh.
                  “Oh, Lucian, do you think so little of me? No matter what happened to you in the fire, that is not what makes a monster. Man sees the outward appearance, but God sees the heart… and with His help I will try to as well.”
                  She waited, but was only answered with silence.
                 “Are you coming, Cecile?” Caprice’s voice carried from below.
                  “Yes, Caprice.” She called. Then, to him she spoke softly.
                  “Goodbye Lucian.”

                  Cecile wiped tears away as she left Thornwood. The golden sun fell warm upon her face, slanting through the leafy branches. She took her father’s hand and climbed into the wagon. Frank road ahead on Diamond and Dax prodded the horses to a trot. 
                 She felt numb. The mansion somehow stared back at her through the empty windows. A gentle breeze played in the rose vines and carried the fragrance along as they drove through the gate. Tearing her gaze away, Cecile looked ahead to the forest path and Caprice pressed a handkerchief into her hand.
                   The shout sent a jolt through Cecile's body. She whirled around and there he was, running after them. Dax pulled the wagon to a stop and she leapt to the ground.
They met under the iron arch.
            Lucian stood a head taller then her, a black mop of hair falling over his face. Cecile reached up and swept the hair from his bloodshot blues eyes. The side of his pale face was marked with ghastly scars, but she could still see a strong resemblance to the handsome Mr. Eilert. 
            Without a word, Lucian snapped a blossom from the wall and ran his metal hand down the stem.  He held out to her a thornless rose.  
                  “Cecile. I’m afraid, I cannot let you go.”
 The flower quavered in his grip and he looked at her searchingly. Cecile reached out and took the gift. Her heart fluttered behind her ribcage as she offered her bandaged hand with a shy smile.
                  “Then you will have to come with us, won’t you?”


  1. Bravo! What a nice ending! What a surprise that the father survived, too. Great job! I really enjoyed Into Thornwood, and would love to read some behind the scenes stuff.

  2. LOVE it!!!!!!!!! You did a really good job!!!

  3. Thank you everyone! I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

  4. Oops, forgot to comment! I read this late at night then right after finishing my phone went dead.

    It was fantastic!!!!! The ending was great. I was like "Wait! No, it can't end like this... YES!!!!!"

  5. Wow, Becca, this is awesome!! You did such a great job on this rewriting of a classic fairytale!! I love how interesting and original it is!!


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