In the English countryside there is a fire, small but dangerous and it growing latching onto the house of a family, burning everything, every memory and moment for the family, taking the lives of a mother and father. A carriage draws near bringing the daughter home, only to find the house set ablaze. She stares in disbelief, "Why would anyone do this?" says stand there only for a moment before racing to the house, get in to see that the inside is being lost in the inferno.
"Mother! Father! Ceil! Anyone are you there?" She yells, but is ultimately muffled by the flames. The girl coughs, the smoke filling her lungs. She rips of a piece of her dress covering her mouth. She goes further into the doomed building searching for any life, when she spots a slumped figure in a chair. "Father!" she cries running with renewed vigour. She touches his shoulder he doesn't respond, she shakes him furiously, "Father! Father! Wake up!" As the girl moves to the front she sees what has become of him, his neck slit and blood all down his front. She shrieks as tears well up in her eyes.
The girl takes steps back staring in disbelief scene of which has just unfolded. A beam fell from the roof landing between her and the body of what used to be her father. "Mother! Ceil!" she yelled her voice shaky, she ran towards the stairs leading to the upper hall. Debris fell from the sky, landing all around the foyer.
Reaching the top of the stairs the girl stood there, which way should she go left or right? Her thoughts were interrupted as a piece of the flaming roof fell directly where she was standing. All she could do is stare as it hurtled towards her pinning her to the floor.
The pain was unbelievable, she cried out in agony as the flames burned her dress off her body, and ultimately the skin from her back "Ashling!" A distant voice called as if try to capture her attention. Her vision began to blur as she saw an outline of someone, "Ashling... Ashling!"
Ashling shot right up in her bed, "That dream... I haven't had that dream in a while" she thought. She gazed around the room, quite large all be it bare. Ashling gazed in the vanity mirror that laid directly across from her bed, she had sweat rolling down her face and her breath was slightly more sporadic, but mostly nothing out of the ordinary. A soft rapping came at her door taking her attention from her reflection to the door only second later to be opened. "Madam, your uncle has requested I wake you." said Claire De Roux a small dainty maid employed to her uncle.
"Claire, we have known each other since we were children, there is no need for formality." She said as she swung her feet over the side of the bed. "Might I ask why I am being awoken by my dear uncle?" The maid grinned, "Your Uncle would like to know if you will be going back to the Phantomhive estate with him. "
Claire move further in the room, towards the pulled curtains. "This is not a request is it?" The smile across the maid's face became so wide and devilish that it could put the Cheshire cat to shame as she moved to open the curtains letting the room be flooded by light.
Ashling smirk, turning towards the window "I thought not..."
"You are to meet him in his office to discuss arrangements of travel. Do you need help with your 'medicine'?" Claire asked stepping towards the vanity.
"That will not be necessary." She responded quickly,
"That will not be necessary." Ashling said more forcefully. "Yes, Miss Ashling."
Dressing process was short and yet it seemed to take an eternity. The light, delicate skin, was blemished and twisted by dark pink burns, covering the center of her back. The marks, scars, a horrible reminder of her failure, of her moment of weakness, of vulnerability.
"If you need anything ma'am please send for me." Claire said, taking Ashling out her put her moment of self pity.
An hour passed since her awakening and the girl exited the room and strolled down the corridor. She had been living with her uncle in Italy for almost half a year, six months away from her home in England, The Pantomhive estate. Her uncle, Klause, had constantly asked her when she would be returning to England, and all she had said was 'I will when I am ready,' she had been ready for sometime now but felt she could not return for some reason.
As Ashling grew closer to her uncle's study she thought of what she would tell him. When he set his mind on something though he would follow through. The young girl knocked on the door, waiting a response.
"Enter," Came a male voice from behind the door. It was muffled, yet seemed to echo in the hall. She turned the doorknob slowly, taking a deep breath before opening the door. It was a small room yet felt enormous due to the windows on the far side of the room giving a vast view of the veranda. A desk sat right in front of the window, scattered with papers and books that seemed to originate from the bookshelves that lined the wall. In the middle of the room stood her Uncle staring out of the windows "You requested I come here Uncle." Ashling said standing in the doorway.
"Yes, it is about your stay here," Klause began, "As you know you are welcome to stay here as long as you want, but I think it is time for you to return to England. I know the fire that had taken your father and mother has left you scarred physically and mentally, especially since the return of your brother but you need to move one." He paused and turned towards her, seeming to evaluate his words and choose his next carefully, " I will be heading to the Phantomhive estate in a few weeks and you have two choices, leave with me in two weeks, so you may get affairs here in order or leave earlier and arrive before I do"
Silence hung in the air as Klause went quiet, the only sound to be heard was grandfather clock that stood outside the room and the occasional bird's cry. Ashling began to speak several times trying to gather her courage to speak but every time she went quite. She searched for her voice along with what word she would say. "I... I will leave soon. You are right it is time I went back. I will go pack now."