Argh, why was she feeling so much pain in her head? Why was she feeling so faint?
"Ella, wake up." Ella heard again and tried to open her eyes but the bright light of the morning sun is making it difficult.
"Argh, it's my head. It is hurting a lot." Ella said rubbing her eyes and opened her eyes slowly.
What happened to her? Why she was asleep till the sun was on the top of the head? And the headache, it was throbbing.
"What happened? What are you doing here, Gode" She asked her best friend not looking at her and slowly tried to sit.
Ella picked up the tumbler of water and drank it thirstily and sighed in content when the cool water soothed her parched throat.
"What am I doing here? What are you doing here?" Gode raised her voice a little in exasperation. She was so happy that her best friend was finally leaving from the nightmare but when she did not find any hassle in the town that morning, she was a little doubtful and worried what might had happened to Ella and came to check the cabin expecting Ella to be gone.
But all Gode found was her best friend laying on the bed in a good peaceful sleep. Gode was stunned to find Ella in the cabin. What was she doing here? She was supposed to be in the Eastern woods crossing the mountains by the time then why in the God's name was she doing here sleeping so peacefully?
"I? I don't know. Why am I sleeping here?" Ella rubbed her head to calm her throbbing head.
"Yes, Ella. Why are you sleeping here when you should be fleeing from here?" Gode asked in urgency. It was a very good opportunity for Ella to flee away but it got out of hand somehow and she was speechless.
"I do not know. I cannot remember what happened." Ella looked well rested but the thing that she couldn't remember what happened the previous night was terrifying her as well as Gode.
"Last thing I remember was last evening when I visited my husband's grave and bid a goodbye. That was it. From then I couldn't remember anything at all. What happened to me, Gode?" Ella could not remember what happened last night. She was supposed to run away then how come she slept in her room so serenely?
Ella was confused and so was Gode. "You could not remember what happened last night?" Gode asked narrowing her eyes at her friend. Different possibilities were going through her head. Gode was surprised how her plan backfired.
"I think it must be the cunning villagers to keep you still in your place while they were locked. They must have drugged you somehow to be on the safe side. We underestimated their power, Ella. We underrated their thinking." Who else other than the villagers would do that? Gode felt disappointed at herself for not making a sound scheme and not considering the villagers beliefs. She was disappointed that she failed to help her friend given a very good chance.
Ella, on the contrary was not disappointed about not being able to escape but she was more terrified with her thoughts. Was that really the villagers who drugged her or could it be someone else?
She couldn't remember anything but deep down in her heart, a faint voice was telling her that the villagers were not the only ones who was after her. The voice was telling her to reminisce all the moments when felt like she was being watch and many such moments where she someone's presence around her and not to forget those red eyes.
Ella prayed it to be villagers who drugged her or else she was positive that something was going in her life without her intervention.
"You go on with your usual everyday chores for now. I will come up with some other idea by then and this time I would not make the same mistake again." Ella nodded painfully as the throbbing head seems to be mounting with the hot sun burning through the window.
"Now you go to sleep again. I will come to meet you soon." Gode walked out not before placing few fruits and water beside Ella.
"Ella dear, how are you feeling today?" Ella heard just when Gode left the cabin. Ella walked towards the door and opened it wide to welcome Dale inside the small room.
"I am feeling good, Dale." Ella answered though she was not well. For some reason, Ella found Dale's question a little disturbing.
How was she feeling today!
It was as if he knew she was not well.
"Here. My cousin made hot soup with herbs this morning and I brought it for you. The soup is good for any kind of pain." Ella gasped.
"W-why do you think I am in pain? How do you know?" Ella's question paled Dale for a moment but he covered it up with a small smile, "Oh I heard that villagers went wild and threw rocks on you two days ago. I was worried you must have hurt a lot. I was in the other town and when I heard it I quickly came over to ensure you were safe." Dale covered up smoothly. Ella nodded her head and waved her hand in gratitude.
Once Dale gave the container of soup to her, he left telling her that he need to complete some other work. With the headache Ella was experiencing, she just needs something warm to drink and as if Dale was an angel, he brought the hot herbs soup with small pieces of chicken.
The warm soup, gulping through the throat immediately gave her the relaxation she needed and the herbs acted miracles in reducing her aches.
She wondered how her life would have taken another fold if she successfully escaped.
"That was very warm, Thank you Ella." Gode took the small cup of hot tea Ella offered to her and engulfed in a large blanket.
Ella sent a small smile towards her friend and placed another blanket over her. It has been nearly eight months that she failed to escape and from then on Ella continued to live her life like she used to always but she still coul not remember the night of her escape. Except... expect these eight months has been a lot of strain to her with the new fear that was developing inside her.
Now she was completely positive that someone was indeed after her and watching her like a hawk. She knew she was not hallucinating. She noticed a shadow around her many a times when she was working or at her cabin resting but Ella could see the person. It was as if the person has an ability to disappear into the thin air and that terrified her even more.
"Many houses got washed away in the heavy rain and few were crushed by the large trees. Town being in the downhill, the water were getting stagnated and the crops are destroyed. There was hardly any food or a good shelter in town from a month. It was good that you are in uphill and water does not idle here nor there are any large trees near to the cabin. Your blankets are so warm, where did you get them from?" Ella gave Gode a nervous smile. It has been two months that the storm took the worst phase and started destroying everything. Though Ella was safe and well, she felt worried for her friend. She knew Gode could not stay with her for few days. It would be a sin according to the villagers.
"Three months ago, when the first storm hit the region, I found few blankets and many blocks of coal in the room. I thought it was you that kept them there for me in the start." Gode shook her head in confusion said that it was not her that put them there to which Ella nodded.
"I know. Later I started receiving food, blocks of coal and other necessities. I do not know who are keeping them in my room but the moment I open my eyes in the morning, I would find them in the corner." Gode was bewildered by Ella's confession. It couldn't be the town people being so generous to their scapegoat when they are suffering themselves.
They could it be. Gode sure was stunned but she also hoped that to be a good change in her friend's life. She was no doubt frightened when she heard about the sudden faceless admirer of her friend but deep down in her heart she wanted to hope. Hope that the person who was this to her would come out of the shadows and flee her away from the misery. She tried to hope best out of the worst situation.
She just want to trust this creepy faceless admirer.