In a place so long forgotten, a dark and dank forest, sat a neighborhood built only of the cedar elm tree. The cottages, so small and wide, bore the wood, and the small church in the centre of the place even did as well. There were few children, so the place was quiet and calm.
However, though it all seemed quiet and calm from the outside, there was one house that would ignite the fires of hell, but ever so silently. The child in this house was called Nocere, which meant “hurt”, and the father’s name was Malum, which meant “evil”. Nocere’s mother had died when she was just born, and ever since then, Malum had seen her as a burden, and not as his child. Every day, the seconds would pass by intensely, just counting down to the times when Malum would fly out in rage. His anger was very temperamental, but he hid this well from the rest of the neighborhood. He’d only take this out on his daughter.
The years went by in this quiet, “calm” neighborhood, and for every one year, it felt like ten in the house of Satan. Nocere had become a teenager, and still, the abuse from her father continued. Every day took an awful toll on her mind, making the once loving girl a now empty-hearted shadow. She didn’t know what love was anymore. She’d cried so much before that she was incapable of doing so now. So much heartache had left her with no heart at all. Every day Malum would scream, but Nocere would just sit and stare at the ground. He’d thrown small furniture at her before, but though she bled, her face was still wooden. She couldn’t feel even if she wanted to.
“Maybe feeling nothing at all is better than feeling only pain,” She’d told herself. But the abuse still continued.
“All you are is a good-for-nothing, entitled, ugly girl!” He’d screamed at her many times before. Every time he’d said this, the words sunk in less and less, and she found that maybe this was what normal was. The scars, the bruises, the black eyes, the cuts, and all those bloodstains etched into her clothes. But she soon couldn’t take it anymore.
“Even if this is normal,” She said, “I can’t live like this anymore.”
So one night, when her father was asleep, Nocere crept slowly and quietly out of the house and through the back door, into the woods. Escaping. This was the last time she would see the only place she’d ever known.
It was hard to tell where she was going, due to the darkness, but somehow she felt she knew the way. Or maybe that was just the old thought she’d told herself so many times before: Anywhere is better than here. She continued into the night, branches slapping against her skin, leaves crunching beneath her feet. The coolness of the air and the damp, humid feeling felt beautiful to her. It was quiet, something she’d never really felt before at all. A frog sounded in the distance, and Nocere flinched, expecting something like a punch or something like that to come afterward. But nothing did, and it took a moment for her to realize this. For the first time in forever, she almost felt happy.
After a few minutes of walking alongside shadows and further into the night, she began to realize that she had freedom. Whatever she did, Malum wouldn’t hit her. He was gone. Long gone at this point. Her almost feeling of joy grew, yet she still didn’t know what this was. Nevertheless, it was a pleasant thing, and she smiled. But her eyes remained dead.
To keep herself occupied, she began singing, and her sweet sound pierced the air.
“I praise the Lord for carrying me here, and in darkness there is light. For He who sees all’s suffering, for them he will fight,” It was a song she’d made up as a little girl, when she was still horrified by the trauma, begging the Lord to help her. Only now did that seem to have worked. But she loved the song, still, for it was the only one she’d ever heard.
“And I thank my God as he watches me, for he goes wherever I. So watch me in my darkest hours, and remind me shan’t to die.”
Her voice was beautiful in the dead of the night, hitting the nothing in the air with a crisp cut. The echoes of the wood heard her calls and song, and a breeze was sent down, carrying the song far out.
She carried herself through the woods for days and days at a time, though she suffered obvious fatigue. Her stomach began to show so thin that her ribs were now making an appearance. She found nothing to eat, nothing to drink, but this bothered her not. She wondered if her father even cared that she was gone. He was the last thing she cared about, though. All the hurt he put her through, all the torment and torture. If she ever did go back, she’d just get it all over again.
But as she came upon the fifth day of her travel, she felt very weak. Her limbs fell heavy and her head hung softly on her aching neck, which was burning with thirst. Eventually, she collapsed in a pool of sun, landing on the grass.
“I just . . .need time . . .just a little,”
But she knew that time wouldn’t heal her. Then she heard something—a voice. A woman’s.
“Rest, my dear child.”
Nocere slowly held her head up to gaze at the woman. She was beautiful; she was about twenty, she had a beautiful white gown and ethereal flowing hair. Not to mention, the kindest face she’d ever seen. She held out a hand for Nocere to grab, and she helped her up.
“Who are you?” She asked, her voice waving in the wind.
The woman smiled. “You’ll see, soon enough. Why do you come so far out?”
Nocere wondered if she should answer truthfully, but there was something about her that told her she could.
“My father abuses me. Badly.”
She raised her sleeve to show the graceful woman huge bruises laden across her arm, purple, blue, and black.
“This isn’t even the bad stuff,” She said.
The woman gazed down at her sorrowfully. “You needed an escape from the torment.”
She nodded. “I couldn’t take it anymore, I . . .” She paused for a moment, but the woman’s face looked so sincere, so warm.
“I don’t think I can feel things emotionally anymore.”
She gazed down at the frail girl, shaking and injured. “You’re too weak to move on . . .”
They both stood still for a short while. Then, the woman with the flowing hair took out her hands and framed Nocere’s narrow face.
“Your soul is pure,” She said, “Pure, clean, innocent, mistreated. But your father’s is not. He is evil and abusive. He has no room for kindness in his life anymore.”
She began lifting her hands, and Nocere’s spirit slowly rose out of her body, which fell to the ground, and her spirit turned to pure light. She felt warm and happy, finally, like she was in the calmest place in the world. She felt lighter than air, and the most amazing sensation welcomed itself to her, like the Summer sun in the cool of an Autumn day. Or the feeling you’d get floating in the ocean; freeness, serenity, calm. It all came flooding into her.
“When you will go to heaven,” She said, “He will rightfully be punished. But your sorrows will be ended, and you will be accepted into the grace of God, for we have heard your prayers of rescue and relief. We have listened to your songs of protection and strength. And now, you will be granted it all. No one, especially not a child, should ever have to deal with abuse. But you will be free soon, free of hate and screaming and beating. Though you would have made it years and years longer, I see that the time is now.”
Nocere heard that she was dead, and, for the first time in a long while, she felt a tear run down her glowing face, but the angel wiped it away with her hand.
“Don’t cry, beautiful child. For you see, your Hell on earth is over, and your home in Heaven awaits you.”
Nocere waited for a moment, then nodded, and smiled. She hugged the angel and felt herself surrounded by golden glows, and more of the angels’ kind. Millions—billions of them, maybe more. There were trees of fruit and flowers everywhere, and in the light of the sky, rolling hills of green pastures. She stood in front of a golden pearl gate, so heavenly as it welcomed her in. She was free now. She would never have to worry about her father again.
She looked down at her arm, sleeve rolled up, and noticed that her bruises, along with her pain, had faded into nothing, and Nocere Could, at last, be at peace.