[Savannah] New Life
The face of the hobgoblin appeared in front of her, seemingly out of nowhere. He leered at her, his eyes widening as he took a big sniff at her, "Ooohhh, pretty pretty new lady, come to buy a gem?"
She let out a gasp, her eyes widening slightly as she took a step back and stared at the creature. In the back of her mind, she started to question her decision to attend the yearly Goblins Market on the coast. There was nothing she wished to buy, but she had never seen a Market before, and she had wanted to experience it for herself.
The creature dipped his grimy long fingers into a pot, pulling them out spilling with sparkling jewels, "Jewels and Gems for the pretty pretty new lady. This one will make your eyes the color of the sky! This one will make you fatter! This one will make you thinner! This one will make you an amazing lover!" he looked her up and down, leering again, "On second thought, you don't need that one!"
She blinked, turning a bright red as she shook her head, stammering, "Oh...no, no...thank you, good Sir, for the offer but...I have no need of jewels...really...thank you, though..." she turned and scampered away from him quickly, glancing over her shoulder once just to reassure herself that the creepy little creature had not skittered after her.
She paused and inhaled deeply. Closing her eyes and counting to 10, she tried to force her racing heart to slow. She had heard stories of the Markets - warnings issued by Moms and others. They had all told her to be careful, to watch her back, and to never go alone.
'Well,' she thought, 'I couldn't find anyone interested in coming with me.' She smiled softly and let out a bit of a chuckle. In honesty, she hadn't tried very hard to find someone to come with her. She preferred to embark on her adventures alone - for better or poorer.
She strolled through the Market, her eyes wide as she took in everything she saw. It was all so new and exciting to her. She had resolved not to purchase anything. She had very little in the way of money, and she had no desire to trade anything more valuable then that for a mere trinket. But browsing had never hurt anyone.
It was her second circuit around the Market (although she took care to avoid the hobgoblin of earlier) when she spotted it. A tiny stall, nearly invisible between a gaudy table selling birds that spoke in every language and a stall filled with baking meat that made her mouth water. It was an older man sitting at the stall, casually reading a magazine.
He looked utterly out of place amidst the color and insanity of the Market. In fact, upon closer inspection, she noted that he looked strikingly like a Grandfather would. She'd not known her own Grandfather, but if she had, she imagined he would look like this man. A kind face, white curly hair, laugh lines around his eyes. Almost unconsciously, she felt herself moving towards his booth.
He glanced up to her, giving her a kind smile as she approached, "Well, hello there young lady. How may I help you?"
She looked around the booth, curiously. He had no wares for sale on his tables, and the booth was bare. Tilting her head to the side she looked at him, "Excuse me, Sir. What is it you are selling here?"
He closed his magazine and looked her up and down for a moment before smiling kindly and shaking his head, "Nothing you would be interested in, Miss."
It was almost as though he knew the words that would drive her crazy. Her eyes widened slightly and she chewed her lower lip, looking at him, "Oh no, I am very interested to see what you are selling..."
He paused for a moment and looked at her, folding his hands on the table, "Now, child, my wares are very expensive."
She looked around and lifted a brow, "But you don't have anything here..."
He laughed, and she thought for a moment that the kind old face looked like a mask. She shook it off and smiled to him, "Oh, child, I have much to offer you. You're new, aren't you? Fresh from the Hedge."
She hesitated for a moment and then nodded to him with a smile, "Just over a year out."
"I see. How long were you gone?"
"Oh...a very long time..." she smiled a bit to him, shifting slightly.
He nods, giving her a sympathetic smile. He leans forward, his voice soft, "You are in need of a new face, are you not My Fair Lady?"
She looked at him, startled, "A...new face? No, I quite like my face."
He laughed uproariously, grinning at her. Once again, she saw just a flicker pass over the mask that she was now sure he wore, "Oh no, dear girl...a new identity. A new person. You need to be a new person..."
"Oh..." she blushed bright red, looking down at her hands for a moment and nodding, "Yes...I do. I am...well, who I was is no longer in existence."
He smiled to her, pulling out a heavy leather bound book, "I can get you a new identity, My Fair Lady."
She blinked, looking at him, unable to keep the excitement from her voice, "You can? How?"
He grinned, "Old fashioned book work. Now, who would you like to be?"
She looked at him and bit her lower lip, "I have nothing to pay you with, Sir."
He eyed her for a moment, looking her up and down. She felt like a piece of meat, with he the lion ready to pounce. After a moment he gave a smile, and she could have swore she saw just a glimmer of cruelty in his ice-blue eyes, "Blood. A vial of your blood is all I require from you.”
The warnings she’d been given echoed in her mind, “What’s the catch?”
He smiled, and she saw the mask slip just a bit, a line of gray skin appearing on his hair line, “No Catch, Fair Lady. You give me a vial of your blood, I give you a new life. You deserve a new life, after the one that was stolen from you.” He flipped open the book, smiling at her, “Now. Who would you like to be?”
She knew there was something wrong with his words. In the back of her mind, she knew that she would pay a far heavier price then just her blood. At the same time, the overwhelming desire to exist overrode all of that. She wanted to have a life again, to do with as she pleased. “
He cackled slightly, nodding as he flipped through the book rapidly. She could hardly follow his movements as he seemed to scan every page, finally stopping and letting out a victorious crow, “Found you! Right there, Fair Lady! Savannah Brown, that is who you will be.”
She hesitated, taking one step back from the table. He smiled, rubbing at his cheek and looking like the Grandfather she never had, “Sweet Lady, this is the only way. You won’t find anyone else here who will give you what you desire. I can, I will give you what you need…”
“And the cost is my blood? Only my blood?”
“Yes, only a small bit of your blood, dear girl.”
“Are you going to use the blood to hurt me? What do you need it for?”
He laughed, gently, reaching out to pat her hand, “Sweet girl, I have no desire to harm you. I will never use your blood against you.”
He saw her hesitation and he sighed heavily, “Child, you have been gone for nearly a century. They have taken so much from you, you have given more then most. You deserve this. I can see you are a kind soul, but you must do something for yourself!”
She nodded once and forced a little smile, “Very well. Savannah Brown I shall be.”
At once, his features sharpened until he looked almost rat like. His inhumanely fast hands moved, and she felt a sharp pain across the palm of her hand. She let out a yelp and tried to pull away, but he held her there with a firm grip, one hand catching the flow of blood from a deep gash on her hand. She paled at the sight of blood, shuddering at the wave of memories it brought to her mind.
He watched the blood drip greedily, licking his lips as he watched it fill the crystal vial. He spoke quickly, and she was unable to catch most of his words, her eyes widening as she caught what he said,
He grinned at her, his eyes glowing red. He inhaled deeply, shuddering at the smell of her blood, “Ohhh, the blood of innocence is always so sweet!” Leaning forward, he swiped his tongue across the gash and she let out a choked scream.
She wrenched her hand away from him, her eyes as big as saucers. It took her a moment to find her voice, but finally she was able to speak in a very small, far-away voice, “Can you…repeat all that for me, please, Sir…I think I…misunderstood?”
He cackled and stood from his seat, stretching to an impossible height. She watched as the mask fell away, revealing an ugly gray face covered in sores. His voice was deep as he stared at her, “ALL SALES FINAL, LITTLE SONG BIRD! YOUR NEW IDENTITY WILL BE DELIVERED BY THE NEXT FULL MOON! ENJOY YOUR LIFE!” he chuckled cruelly, staring at her, “While you still can, at least.”
She felt the tears start as she fled, cursing herself with every step. The small hobgoblin tried to waylay her and she tripped over him, bringing his table tumbling to the ground. She let out a choked sob as the stumbled to her feet, running from the horror of what she had done.
Ms. Savannah Brown was a young, quiet, mousy woman. Most people in her quiet little town didn’t even know her name. She had blonde hair and brown eyes and pale skin. She had moved to the sleepy hamlet, although no one knew why. She had no family (so she claimed) and no friends to speak of.
She left one stormy afternoon. She left a note on the library door and she locked them behind her, leaving the key on the mat. Her apartment was packed up (although there was very little there to pack) and her car was gone.
She disappeared from the village, and it was as though she had never been there. They talked about her for the first week, whispering over what could have possessed the pleasant young woman to evacuate so quickly. After two weeks, the gossip had turned to raunchy postulations regarding her sexual life. After a month, there was new gossip and Ms. Savannah Brown was forgotten.
The package was delivered exactly a month to the minute. She was in the garden, planting flowers with a furious zeal. She looked up and noticed a small brown package. Brushing the dirt off her knees, she stood slowly. She knew what it was.
Her first instinct was to hurl it away, to throw it to the wind. But then, if she did that, it would have made it all for naught. It would have made that poor woman’s abduction all for nothing. And she knew, in her heart, that the real Savannah Brown was living with some faceless creature in
She sighed heavily, carefully picking up the package. For such a small bundle, it weighed heavily upon her heart. She looked around the garden at Moms home, suppressing the tears. She had cried an ocean since the day of the Market. Finding her resolve, she clutched the package to her chest and rushed into the house, setting pen to paper.
Today, I received the package. I have done something horrible. I have sentenced an innocent woman to the life I should have been living. I have stolen her life, as mine was stolen from me.
Nothing I ever do will right this grievous wrong. She will suffer for my pride. It eats at my soul.
I resolve to find a way to better the world around me. If I can find the real Ms. Brown, I will free her. If I cannot, I will help those Lost that I find. I will fight, with what talents I have, against the evil that lurks at the edge of our minds.
And I will mourn. Every day, I will mourn.
I am sorry, for what I have done. If I could take it back I would – but there are no exchanges and no refunds.
May God have mercy on me,