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La bête et la belle

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                                                                                                                   I: La bête

The beast, hovering on the roof above the lane, smelt the old woman standing below. It was the scent of spices and oranges and clean skin; a familiar scent of something - someone - good and sweet and pure.

Mother...

The beast passed the old woman softly and disappeared to the black shadows.

 

                                                                                                                   II: La belle

Elizabeth Lavenza was in her thirties, with rusty hair and splendid dress; brilliant rose of the satin ribbons glowed against the icy whiteness.

"What on Earth has been done to you?"

The creature, disgustingly dirty and ugly, with fleshy red scars against the mud white skin, looked at her. Chains still hung from the bloody wrists, and Elizabeth´s first thought was:

"Feeble-minded or lunatic."

"I will help you," Elizabeth said softly. "Don´t be afraid."

The man tilted his head, listening.  Elizabeth hoped he wasn´t going to attack.

He wasn´t.