He was looking at her, intensely, with that demon like red eyes. Ella felt the feeling of creepiness crawling down her spine.
She was living there from four years and she was taking walks to the woods and the lake almost every day but she never did she encounter any human going across to the lake. According to the villagers, it was cursed by her, so no one would dare to go there. It was her only sanctuary.
Then who was he to come there and scare her with his intense red eyes.
"Ella, Ella, " Gode shook me by her shoulder with a concerned look. "Why are you looking so pale?"
"T-There was someone a-at the lake." Ella stumbled over her words grasping lung full of air.
Ella did not want to tell her friend and worry her more than she was right then, but what she saw with her own eyes terrified her.
"There was someone at the lake? Who?" Gode asked confused placing loaves of toasted bread on a plate and handed them to Ella.
"I don't know. I saw him looking at me from the reflection in the water and he has-" Ella was stuttering words but Gode cut off her sentence saying that it must be some traveler stopping by the water to quench thirst.
But Ella knew what she saw was not too complex to explain. She wouldn't believe her and her friend would say that she must be hallucination with all the event that was happening to her.
Ella wanted to still tell her friend about the red eyed man but she held herself as she thought that she would be leaving from there in less than a day so there was no reason to worry her friend with new issues.
"Maybe." Ella answered slowly, letting the matter be.
"Alright, I came here to tell you the plan I came up with." Gode said rubbing her hands in excitement and Ella nodded her head for her to continue.
"Right at the midnight when the eclipse is halfway through, go to lake and cross it to the other side. There you will find a horse, ride it and cross both the Yorkcoln slopes and eastern mountains and –"
"Eastern mountains? But Gode, it takes two continuous days and nights to cross Eastern Mountains!" Ella gasped. She knew that she couldn't afford to stop and rest but if she is riding a horse then she must stopped several times and give her ride a little rest and food.
What if she gets caught while resting? What if someone from the places around recognizes her then it would be a disaster.
"True and you are taking rest over nights too. Do not worry; while you were going to the eastern side I had already arranged few hints about you to lead the villagers to the southern region. So you can get away without any fret. Entering into the Eastern region, my farthest cousin, Adam will be already waiting for you at the border river. Fret not he is a good person; he will lead you to a cornered small village, Newdenn. He arranged a small cabin for you near to their house and you will be staying there until end of winter and see if you can prolong your stay there for few more seasons." Gode said in one breath.
It was a good escape arrangement, Ella agreed. Staying in a closed and cornered village will be good for her and Ella was so grateful for her best friend to take up such risk and effort to save her.
She felt so lucky to have Gode as her friend and if there come a day that her friend needs any help then she would be there for her through thick and thin.
"Thank you, Gode. You were always there for me when all the odds are against her. Thank you. I will miss you so much." Ella held Gode and cried on her shoulder.
Though Ella was feeling disheartened to leave her only friend and family behind, she knew she need to do it for the sake of her own life. She vowed to herself that once she gets out of her current predicament she would try hard to justify all the efforts her friend put in to save her.
"Now, I think this would be the last time we would be speaking to each other before you take off from here. I will miss you." Gode hugged Ella patting her back in encouragement.
"But do not feel depressed, I will come to meet you once the storm quiets down here."
Ella nodded to Gode but couldn't shake off the off-putting feeling that is creeping in her. She had a feeling that this escape would be harder and life changing than she had expected. She could only pray that everything goes by the preparations they made.
The last evening, Ella visited her husband's grave with a heavy heart and apologized him for not being able to stay with him and being selfish enough to leave him.
Ella loved her husband. Even though she couldn't see his face clearly, even though he was a dead body, she loved him. She made clear to herself every day that it was her duty to love her husband no matter he was there for her or not and she did stood on her vows of loving him.
The thought of leaving him was heartbreaking to her. She almost refused to escape thinking of her husband but Gode made her realize that her husband would want her to life good if he were alive and that got her.
That evening she confessed to her husband's grave that she loved him even though it was duty to do so. She cried and poured out her heart and howled her pain. She apologized again and again to him for being selfish and leaving him.
Unknown to her that her words, her cry, her pain was hurting her husband more than it could hurt her.
The night came sooner than later and Ella has prepared everything in order to make certain that she did not leave anything behind.
The villagers were long gone locking themselves in their houses and there was no one in and around the town. Ella looked up to the sky and found the black shadow slowly moving on to the moon.
This was her chance to leave from there. Ella took her little necessities she has and walked over to her husband's grave once again, kissing the top of the slab. She was tearful with the way things are turning out.
Now she would never ever able to meet her husband's grave. This is it and she would be gone forever.
With tears, Ella moved into the woods towards the lake and found a wooden plank with a row on it large enough for her to sit. She sat on it and rowed hard to cross the lake as soon as possible.
Ella should be anxious but nevertheless happy to be going away but she was getting a kind of eerie feeling of being watched. It was not the first time she felt eyes on her, even when she was visiting her husband that evening, she felt the same feeling of being watched.
Ella took and deep breath and rowed harder and tried to brush off her feeling with the reason that it was because she was sneaking out.
She rowed harder and harder until one moment when the wooden plank was hit with an under-root under the water and the plank started to shake vigorously.
Ella tried to balance her body on the plank but with her sack of necessities she couldn't balance.
Just as the plank was about to tip upside down, the plank suddenly got balanced and what made Ella's heart pound inside her chest was the warm air she was sensing on her ice cold shoulder from the back. Chills ran through her spine and all the hair on her arms stood up.
A sob came out of her mouth and her hands were shivering endless. She was scared to turn back and see what or who it was.
"Hush. I got you, love. Now you are in good hands." She heard a raspy whisper in her ear and her heart almost stopped working. Right away she felt a warm blow of air on her face which immediately made the consciousness slip out of her, falling in the comfortable arms.
She wanted to fight out of the arms and open her eyes to see who it was but the warm air on her face is like a drug that is swallowing into the darkness.
Her limp body was gathered in the arms like a treasure a kiss was pressed on her forehead.