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A Kiss Will Set You Free

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A Kiss Will Set You Free

By: BeaStKid

Chapter 1: The Curse (Prologue)

Rutland Isle, 1885

Richard Hall could be considered one of the luckiest men on this earth. He was blessed with good looks, was the son and heir of the wealthiest man in the island and was engaged to be married to a beautiful woman.

Richard's engagement with Ruth Williams had created a sensation in Rutland Isle. The island's heart-throbs were about to be married.

Anyone looking from afar would call Richard's life a perfect one. Young, good-looking, wealthy and with an attractive fiancée. Yes, he should be happy. Anybody in his position would have been content. Anybody except Richard.

Unfortunately, money can't buy happiness and try as he might, Richard was not satisfied with the way his life was progressing. There was a void. He found himself suffocated with the demands and pressures that come with being affluent. The pretentiousness, the so-called higher status; he found all this to be a product of a highly delusional class of people who lived in a fool's paradise. He did not like the aristocratic nature of his family and detested their arrogance at being rich. He hated it all from the bottom of his heart and hence refused to be a part of this system. The fact that he had given his heart to somebody else certainly did not help his sullen attitude and made worse his situation.

Richard had fallen in love with his nanny's daughter, Mary, in his teenage years. He carried this torch into his adulthood and his joy knew no bounds when those feelings began to be reciprocated. Little did he know that his jubilation would be short-lived, for when Richard's father got wind of this ongoing affair, he was enraged. The Hall family heir falling in love with a lowly servant's daughter! What an atrocity!

Hence, much against the wishes of his own son, he arranged for Richard to be married to Ruth, the daughter of his long-time friend and business partner, whose family was equal in stature to the Hall family.

Richard had no option but to agree as he was being emotionally and psychologically blackmailed, with dire consequences for both him and Mary if he didn't comply with his father's demands. "Do you think I will let you marry that scum?" his father had said. "If you even dare to disobey me, I swear to God, I will have Ruth and her mother wiped out from the face of this planet. Do you understand?!"

And so here he was, sitting in his room, preparing for the wedding, which was to take place the next day.

The door to Richard's room sprang open and Mary rushed inside. She had been crying and her sleeves were stained with the residue of her tears. Richard immediately took her in his arms.

"Richard, you must not let this happen," Mary sobbed.

"I am helpless, dear," he answered, looking into her eyes.

"But I thought you loved me! What about all those promises you made? About living and dying together, about loving me for eternity?" she asked.

"I do love you, Mary. I will always do so. But you must understand, this marriage is not in my hands anymore. Forgive me, my love," Richard said as he kissed her.

The couple sprang around in surprise as they heard a gasp from the doorway. Richard was mortified to find Ruth standing there, shaking with fury, her hands covering her mouth .

"You filthy little piece of rubbish! How dare you! How dare you throw away my love, our wedding!" Ruth screamed as her eyes turned a fiery red.

The world around Richard and Mary began to spin and when it stopped, they were astonished to find themselves in an unused part of Richard's basement.

"How? What in the name of God ...," Richard began.

"Richard, what's happening? I am sca ...." Mary was unable to complete her sentence as her body went rigid. Her neck snapping in half, she fell to the ground.

"NOOO! What have you done?" Richard cried as he ran towards Mary, but was flung back towards the wall by an invisible force, restrained and unable to move.

"You witch! Let me go," screamed Richard.

Ruth started laughing, a slow mirthless laughter. "It is useless. No one can hear you." She raised her hands and conjured chains to bind Richard.

"You have two choices," she continued. "Come back to me or here you shall spend all eternity."

"Never! I would rather rot in hell than be with the witch who killed my Mary," Richard answered solemnly.

"Then rot!! Stay stubborn!!" Ruth retorted. "Time will weaken your resolve. Loneliness will bring you to me. Your heart will once again desire me," she said as her voice broke, tears coming to her face.

Seeing the grim determination on Ruth's face, Richard's courage dissolved and he broke into pleas. "Set me free! Please. I beg you."

"Oh, you shall have your freedom. I would hate to deny you happiness." She took a deep breath and spoke on. "The kiss of a young man would set you free."

"What!!" Richard cried. "That is an abomination. I will commit no such sin!"

"Then you shall stay here for ever."

Silence reigned supreme for a few minutes as both Richard and Ruth fell into deep thought.

"Very well. I shall find a young man. A young man will desire me," Richard answered through clenched teeth.

Ruth walked up to Richard and ran the back of her forefinger across his cheek, feeling the smooth skin.

"Ah! Such a beautiful face. This is the face I fell in love with. The face that still makes my heart beat faster," she said through tears. Taking another deep breath, she continued in a voice filled with sarcasm, "Forgive me, I forgot how big a narcissist you are."

She waved her hands and this time conjured a mirror behind her. She stepped aside for Richard to see his own reflection. A gasp escaped his lips as he saw an old man instead of his handsome face, a shabby old man with dirty hair and wrinkled skin.

"NOOO! What have you done to me?" he asked in the quavering voice of an aged person.

Still crying but now with a strong conviction, Ruth spoke. "With every dawn, a glimpse of light will shine on your face. The face that has betrayed me. The face that you are so proud of. Every time you look into this mirror, it will remind you of the intense pain you caused me. Goodbye, my love." She looked at the quivering man in front of her for one last time and left him to rot.

********

The newspapers the next day reported that the Hall mansion had completely burnt down. The cause of the inferno could not be found, and the entire Hall family was reported to have been inside the mansion at the time of the tragedy.

********

Ruth Williams stood outside the mansion's ruins as rescue workers tried in vain to clear the rubble. She heard the chief fireman call out to his crew that there could not have been any survivors.

Ruth smirked to herself as her eyes found her way towards the area where the basement was located. At that moment, the loud cry of a feeble old man emanated from the vicinity, as Ruth walked away from the rubble.

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