And we roll around to another Wednesday. It's a difficult week and a nightmare day, so let't celebrate that tomorrow is another day.
As everyone knows I often play fast and loose with the prompts. This week the link is more tenuous than ever. I had a kind of bet with Julie that I would use the Disney Princess. So.... Here I have Catherine in her wedding gown and, although it's not specifically stated, she definitely looked like a Disney Princess.
Emma was half way across the hall, when a hand grabbed her arm, none too gently, and swung her around. “I told you; you are not to talk to that man,” Ash snarled.
“Let me go. I’ll talk to whoever I want.”
“Not him.” Ash started to drag her back toward the stairs.
“Stop it. You’re hurting me.”
“I’ll hurt you more if you don’t obey.”
Emma looked into her brother’s eyes and saw someone else looking back at her, through the flames that still flickered in his pupils.
“Oh my God, Ash. What’s happening to you?”
Suddenly, someone grabbed her other arm and pulled her free from her brother’s painful grip. Emma stumbled and almost fell into Tristan’s arms. Tristan steadied her. He had a grim expression on his face, and his eyes were fixed on Ash.
“Leave them alone, Catherine,” he said. “Your quarrel is not with these children.”
Ash sneered. “My quarrel was always with you, Tristan. My curse is upon you, and your descendants.”
“Haven’t you had enough, Catherine? Enough lives to satisfy you?”
Ash threw back his head and laughed. It wasn’t a nice laugh. “There will never be enough lives to satisfy me. You took my life and I will have my revenge on all the men of the Loughbridge family, until the very last. This was my curse, and this is my desire.”
Ash laughed again, then shuddered and fell to his knees.
“Ash,” Emma cried and knelt beside her brother. He was so cold.
“Take him somewhere warm,” Tristan said, urgently. “Let me help.”
“What’s happening?” Emma asked, shocked to her core.
“I’ll explain everything,” Tristan said. “But not here; not now. We must warm him, or she will take him, here and now.”
With Tristan’s help, Emma managed to get Ash to his feet. He seemed to be totally stunned, unaware of what was going on around him. He stumbled as they dragged him up the stairs.
Adam met them at the top of the stairs. “What the hell’s going on?” he demanded.
“Ash fell,” Emma said. “I think he’s hurt himself.”
“Bring him up here.” Adam was suddenly all concern, and led the way back to the only warm room in the house.
When they settled Ash in a chair near the fire, he started to come round and blinked up at Emma. “What happened?” he asked
“Don’t you remember?”
“I…. The last thing I remember was looking into the fire. Why am I so cold?”
He looked around. “Who’s that?”
“Don’t worry.” Tristan said. “We need to warm you up. Explanations will come later.”
Adam tucked an unzipped sleeping back around Ash’s legs and Ash stared at his father as if he had never seen him before.
Emma draped a blanket over his shoulders. Even with these he was still shivering, his lips blue with cold.
“Let me help,” Tristan said. He grabbed Ash’s hand and rubbed it vigorously. Ash shuddered and tried to pull away.
For a moment, flames flashed in his eyes, but they died quickly and he shuddered again. “I feel warmer now,” Ash said then, with a sigh, he closed his eyes and seemed to fall instantly asleep.
“Ash,” Emma said, alarmed, but Tristan drew her away.
“Leave him. He is merely asleep. He is warm and that’s all that matters. Let him rest. He’ll be better when he wakes.”
“Will someone please tell me what the hell is going on?” Adam demanded.
“Of course.” Tristan looked at each of them in turn, a searching look. “Perhaps we should sit,” he said.
“To hell with that. Tell me what’s going on; what’s wrong with my son. Now.”
Tristan nodded. “I respect your concern. Try to have an open mind when I tell you my story. Many find it difficult to believe.”
“Try me.” Adam glared at Tristan. Emma knew he wasn’t really angry with the man, but with the situation. Her father hated to feel helpless and, if he was
feeling anything like she was right now he was hating it just as much as she.
“Many years ago – centuries - Catherine Anne Hambley was betrothed to Tristan Loughbridge, who lived here, in this house.”
“Were you named after him?” Emma asked.
“Then you’re a Loughbridge too?”
“A very distant cousin, yes.”
“May I finish my story? There will be time for questions thereafter.”
“On the day they were to marry, Tristan had an appointment in town that could not wait. He was late returning and rode carelessly to the church. His horse threw a shoe in the wood and he was thrown, dying instantly from a broken neck.”
Emma gasped. “Oh no. Was Catherine broken hearted?”
“Indeed. Tristan was foolish enough to have taken a little used track and it was some time before his body was discovered. Catherine believed she had been jilted, and she flew into a rage. On the same day, she took a dagger and plunged it through her heart. With her dying breath she placed a curse upon the Loughbridge family - that all Loughbridge males who dared cross her path would die.”
Now go check out the rest of the flashers