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Julia could keep no secrets from her sister, Marisol, no matter how much she might have wished she could. Whether it was that Marisol had a supernatural intuition about her sister or simply that Julia wore her heart on her sleeve, she could not say, but it was thanks to this that Marisol seemed to notice that something was wrong one day in spring.

The sisters had spent a long day working on their family farm. Once the crops were all tended and the animals all seen to, the women sat together before a crackling fire as the setting sun said its last good nights to them through an open window. Julia had been uncharacteristically quiet all day. She had desired it so: something about being silent made her feel safer, somehow more contained, with less risk of releasing something terrible into the world.

As the warm glow of the flames danced on their skin, Marisol spoke. "Julia, my dear," she said, "I am worried about you."

Julia felt a chill fall over her. Marisol's words, caring though they were, seemed to her a kind of confrontation. "Worried?" she asked. "Why?"

"Come now," Marisol said with a kindly smile. "Can you really think that I do not know my own sister? It is unusual for you to be so quiet as you have been today. It can only mean that there is something on your mind. Please, tell me what it is. I wish to help you."

Julia felt a tear wanting to form in her eye, and fought it with all she had. "I don't think it's wise, Marisol," she said meekly.

"Wise?" Marisol furrowed her brow in confusion. "Why not?"

Julia was silent for a moment, but finally felt compelled to explain. "Because I have seen something that frightens me."

A deafening silence overtook the room, disrupted only by the fire's constant crackle. At last, Marisol spoke again. "Sister," she said, "I want you to tell me what you've seen. It will do you good to unburden yourself."

Their eyes met. Julia could no longer hold back her tears, allowing them to flow freely. "Marisol," she began, "do you remember the story that grandmother would tell us about the first egg from a white hen?"

"Yes," said Marisol. "I remember it well. She always said that, if you take the first egg from a white hen and sleep with it under your pillow that you will see the face of your future husband. Of course, I never believed her."


"Nor did I," said Julia, "which is why I thought nothing of putting it to the test. Yesterday morning as I was taking care of the chickens, I noticed that my little white hen was missing. I searched and searched for her, and at last found her sitting in the coop, protecting a perfectly beautiful egg. It was the first she had ever laid, Marisol. That night, I placed the egg beneath my pillow... and...."

She fell silent again. Marisol leaned forward in her seat. "And?" she prodded.

"I had the most terrifying dream," Julia finally admitted. She was shaking now, and her tears continued to fall. "I dare not tell you the details, but it is enough to say that I fear some harm may come to you."

"To me?" Marisol asked.


Marisol's expression became distant as she appeared to put the pieces together. "At the hands of---"

"Yes," Julia interrupted her. She buried her face in her hands and sobbed.

Marisol made numerous attempts to comfort her sister. She repeated her disbelief in the old legend. These things she did, but to no avail. Julia would not allow herself to be calmed, fearing that the moment she let her guard fall, she would see disaster strike. She was so convinced that her dream would become a reality that she could think of only one thing to do: leave the farm and her sister at once and join the Sisters of St. Dymphna as a novitiate.

It was only once Julia was sitting one night in her tiny room at the convent, dressed in her white habit, that she felt any peace. She had begun to think of the white fabric as a means of protection, a kind of shield that covered every inch of her frame. Not only that, but it served to purify her as well, to remove from her the responsibility of causing her own sister's murder. Yes, she was quite sure she had outsmarted whatever demon had decided that she should be the wife of such a brute as she had seen in her dream that night in spring, but the thought still made her shudder. She doubted she could ever forget those dark eyes, or that misshapen head, or those hands which were far too large and murderous.

Julia was suddenly pulled from her thoughts by the sound of the convent bell. Strange, she thought, never before have I known a visitor to come around at this time of night. That night, it was Sister Maria's task to mind the door, but Julia could not contain her curiosity. Quietly, she left her room and crept down the hallway toward the top of the stairs. There, she thought, she could peer down into the foyer to see who it was that had come.

She was scarcely down the hallway when she heard a blood-curdling screech. It tore the air sharply and died away with a hideous gagging moan. It was Sister Maria. A jolt of fear lit a fire beneath Julia, and she raced to the top of the stairs.

There, below her, was the beginning of a nightmare. This time, however, she was wide awake. The convent door was still open. Just inside the foyer stood a massive, hulking figure. He was filthy, covered head to toe in dirt and mud. Everything about him was over-sized, but his hands stood out the most. Julia found herself staring down into a familiar pair of eyes, peering out of a malformed, hairless head. It was him, the man from her dream. He had found her.

At the man's feet lay the crumpled remains of Sister Maria. The body lay on its stomach, but the face was turned upward, eyes glazed and tongue protruding slightly. Julia looked from the monster to the body and back again. The last time, their eyes met, and the gruesome creature smiled at her, flashing it's twisted, yellow teeth. It lurched forward, and Julia ran in terror.

She never stopped running, not even as she could hear the chorus of screams rise in her wake. Hot tears stung her eyes as she thought of what each scream must mean, of what she had brought to this formerly holy place, now tainted by the hand of a devil. All the while, she kept on, turning down corridors she'd never been down before, hoping to lose the beast entirely. She turned down one hallway and thought she spied a door at the very end. When she got there, however, she found that she was mistaken, forcing her to turn back.

It was too late. Speeding down the hallway toward her was another young novice. The man was right behind. It was a sight she had seen before. This very moment had occurred in her dream, the dream that foretold this man's arrival. It suddenly struck her how similar the young nun looked to her own sister, how her features, softened by the darkness of the hallway, could easily be mistaken for Marisol's. Julia knew what was coming.

The other novice cried out, "Sister!" just as she had in Julia's dream. The man was upon her. He grabbed her savagely by the neck and pulled her to him. She struggled and shrieked as he lifted her up off the ground. He sank his teeth deep into the flesh of her neck and viciously tore out a large chunk. She choked and convulsed in his grasp, and he let her fall to the ground with a sickening thud.

The last moment was just as Julia remembered it. The man's eyes were wild with animal hunger as he stalked toward her, licking his bloody lips.

Written by Jdeschene
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