The Adventures of Maite and Kepa: Part 159

Maite slowly pulled herself toward the door, her fingers clawing at the dirt underneath her. While she couldn’t feel any pain, she could still feel the weight of her mangled leg dragging behind her. It felt like forever bfeore she finally reached the door, a larger iron ring tauntingly out of reach. She couldn’t prop up on her bad arm to reach the handle with her good arm. In frustration, she banged on the door and it creaked open, just slightly.

The Adventures of Maite and Kepa is a weekly serial. While it is a work of fiction, it has elements from both my own experiences and stories I’ve heard from various people. The characters, while in some cases inspired by real people, aren’t directly modeled on anyone in particular. I expect there will be inconsistencies and factual errors. I don’t know where it is going, and I’ll probably forget where it’s been. Why am I doing this? To give me an excuse and a deadline for some creative writing and because I thought people might enjoy it. Gozatu!

“I guess they weren’t too concerned with whatever was in here,” she muttered. 

She pushed the door with all her might, and it opened just enough for her to pull herself through.

The room was smaller than the last one. Shelves surrounded it above Maite’s line of sight, so she couldn’t see what was on them. But she could guess.

In the middle of the room sat a lone wooden chair. The body of a woman was shackled to it. Maite was no forensics expert, but clearly the woman had been dead for some time as her flesh was withered. There were obvious signs of torture – burn scars for example – that made Maite suspect the shelves were full of tools designed for torture. 

She looked at the body more closely. The woman had been stripped naked. Scars covered nearly every square inch of her body. Her long dark hair had been shorn off and thrown on the ground. Even her scalp exhibited signs of torture. 

There was something oddly familiar about the woman. Maite couldn’t quite place it until she imagined what the woman must have looked like with her hair, what her dead eyes might have looked like when they were alive. 

“Marina!” exclaimed Maite. Or not Marina exactly, but someone who looked like her. This must have been someone in her female line.

Maite pulled herself to the chair. She could sense the zatia but she wasn’t exactly sure where it was coming from. She reached up to the side of the chair, grabbing the armrest with her good hand, and tried to pull herself up into a sitting position. Even though she couldn’t feel the pain, every part of her body protested. Her arm trembled with exertion. Sweat flowed across her face, which turned deathly white. But, she eventually managed to pull herself up.

She looked up into the face of the dead woman. “What was your name?” she whispered. She could only imagine that the woman was tortured for being a witch, for having powers which frightened the men in charge. 

Maite reached out to grasp the woman’s withered hand. As she did so, there was a bright flash of light. As she felt herself being pulled back through time, she also got a glimpse of the woman’s life. Her name was Catalina. She was a young woman, only about twenty, at the time she died. She had lived in a small town a bit south of Donostia, Zerain, where she helped her parents manage the family baserria. One day she felt a sudden and strange power surge through her, which was the zatia reaching through time and space to attach itself to her, though she didn’t understand any of that. She started exhibiting strange powers, which at first were a blessing. She was able to help her family and friends with relatively mundane tasks, using her “magic” to heal minor wounds and fix broken things around the baserria. But, some neighbors, whether from spite or true fear, reported her to the authorities and they had burst into her home one day to take her away. She was dragged from her home, kicking and screaming as other uniformed men held her parents back. Her parents never heard from her again, as she was locked away in this dungeon, tortured to both renounce her evil ways as well as to turn her into a weapon to use against enemies, depending on who was doing the torturing. Her spirit never broke, but after weeks and weeks of brutal treatment, her body did. It was left in this basement dungeon, lost and forgotten for years, until Maite had found her final resting place.

Tears flowed down Maite’s cheeks as her mind whisked through time and space back to her own time.

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