The Tie that Binds
Once upon a time, do all tales begin that way? Some begin with Once upon a midnight dreary. What is often forgotten is that the Brothers Grimm didn't write happy, winsome tales. They wrote lessons. Sometimes, they were dark lessons as reminders to children that there are consequences for bad behavior. There were things that went bump in the night. The tales also told of rewards for those that stood as heroes against those things in the darkness.
She tried to be a hero, she tried to be good, but there were always shades of grey. To preserve one life, another might have to be taken or placed at risk. She had been meant to be a princess in the royal court of what humans had called Atlantis. Life can not only be cruel but ironic as well. In a time of great joy, a daughter of Poseidon was drowned by a would be suitor. For all his power, the grieving father was not able to breathe life back into his child. He struck a bargain with his brother, the Lord of the Underworld, and the three sisters, who arranged the meetings with death. At an appointed time, the young woman would be reborn in a land and time far away with no knowledge of who she had been. She would be left to find her own pathway in life. She would, however, be watched from afar. Her fate was to shape the destiny of others and, somehow, unite a disjointed family.
Life went on for those left behind. She had been reborn into her new life: plying her gifts in the healing arts. She was different, this much she knew. How different, however, was just beyond her reach. While she found happiness in many ways as her first father had hoped, one thing eluded her. It wasn't an unusual story, finding love and losing it by folly or circumstance. When she finally convinced herself that it was never to be, there he was. Nothing worth having is ever that simple. Someone from a past that she didn't remember was determined to destroy it all by telling her who she was. The lovers survived it, they conquered it, and the villain was vanquished. Was he, really? The evil dead lurk in dark places, they hide in nightmares, and they wait for vulnerable moments. The moment came with a ripple in time. Things changed, the dead returned, and the world turned up upside down.
She wasn't confronted with that dead man. It was much worse than that. It was her nightmare come to life and then some. Her nightmare had become a reality as she faced what might have been. She looked into a familiar face. It was careworn with a hardened expression, but it had been her own. Even if that woman had missed a date with destiny, there was still hope for something better.
The second figure had been harder to face. Lifted hands revealed scars on the wrists that should have disappeared long ago. As the third woman, yet another aspect of the first, lifted a hand to her throat, it was clear that, she had been the victim of a cruel and torturous death. Her fingers were pressed against a razor thin slice that had severed every possible vein and artery.
Fate was still playing cruel games. How was she going to cope with this one?