Velvet Lace: Chapter One

The Girl and the Tree

As Velvet’s eyes slowly opened, her senses filled with the cool damp evening air. Blades of grass twined between her fingers, looking up she could see faint glimpses of stars appearing across the dimming sky. Realising she was laying down on a cold bed of grass she slowly raised her head enough to have a proper look at her surroundings. No buildings were in sight, the grassy field was sparsely covered in tiny daisies and lined with oak trees. Velvet arched her neck as far as it was able to go both ways and realised she was smack bang in the middle of the field, using her arms to prop up into a sitting position her eyes drew focus to something moving amongst the bottom of the trees directly in front of her, roughly 100 yards away. She squinted her eyes trying to gain more focus in the dim evening light. Cold drops of rain started to fall on her face, she looked back up at the sky as the rain got heavier making her shudder. Returning sight to the spot between the trees she noticed that whatever it was was slowly making its way up one of the larger oaks branches. Not being sure what kind of creature was climbing, Velvet slowly scrambled to her feet and started making small steps towards the direction of the tree. The rain fell heavy making her eyes blink frequently in attempt to bat the drops away with her lashes. Her body started to shiver more as her clothes got wetter and colder, wrapping herself in a hug she continued towards the tree.

She was close enough now to see that the climbing figure was no animal but in fact a woman, now several branches up the tree. The leaves of the great oak keeping her from the rain, she still seemed to be bone dry as her long dark hair blew around her face in the cool breezy night air. Velvet’s in contrast was now matted and wet around her face and shoulders, her clothes were soaked through. The woman wore a long white lace nightgown, her feet bare.

“…Hello?”

Velvet received no response, not even a glance at her direction. Nothing.

The woman instead began edging out onto the thick branch she was stood on, slowly and gracefully until she was near the middle of it. She took a few minutes standing there, staring out into the darkening damp field. Her clothes and hair being swept by the soft breeze looked like they were dancing to some calming inaudible music. Velvet caught glimpses of her face, long enough to see she had her eyes closed. After a few minutes she reopened her eyes, took in a long deep breath and lowered herself down to sit on the branch. Velvet moved so that she was standing directly underneath the branch and stared up, noticing the woman clutching something between her hands. Velvet used both of hers to wipe most of the rain from her face to get a better look. The woman began wrapping something around the tree branch next to where she sat, it was rope. Velvet’s eyes widened as she saw the woman securing the rope to the branch and seeing that the other end was already tied into a noose  knot. She held it with both hands and stared at it before lifting it over her head and pulling it tight around her neck. Staring back out into the calm darkness of the field, the rain still fell heavily. Stars in the clear sky were more visible now and she stared at them before closing her eyes again.

“Hello? …What are you doing?” Velvet’s voice was full of cold desperate panic.

The woman still made no response.

Velvet gasped with horror as the woman edged off of the branch, free-falling several feet before the noose caught tight around her neck. Velvet put her hands up to her mouth and screamed into them as she jumped backwards, the woman’s body lifeless and swinging in front of her. She forced her eyes shut and sobbed into her hands. When she finally got the courage to open them again, she stared at the woman now hanging motionless from the tree. Still grasping her mouth, Velvet looked up at the woman’s face. Her eyes were still closed. Velvet realised she mustn’t have been any older than 25. Her body began to feel weak as she crumbled down to her knees, crying into the ground.

When she lifted her head again and looked around, she was back in her bed. Her breathing was rapid as the image of the woman’s body falling from the tree replayed in her head. She reached a shaking hand up to her face and felt a wet cheek. Taking deep breaths she pulled her covers up to her face, laying back down in bed trying to convince herself that it was just another horrible dream. Just another horrible dream.

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