On the auspicious eve of the night that happens only four years once, a baby girl was born in a poor village. The night air carried a hidden hymn in its gentle breeze and the blue orchid tree blew its petals into the barn where she was born. She was named Hope for it had been almost twenty years since the tribe, on the brink of extinction, heard the cry of a baby. There were just seventeen members in the tribe and ten were appointed by the Priest himself to take care of her. There wasn’t any measurement as to how much the people loved her; they all held her in the softest blanket and gave her all the comforts while they endured nature’s rage that rocked the village.
But something started happening the very second month she was born. The huge barn were she was born turned in to the most feared building for every month unfortunate events occurred there. Out of the ten members who looked after her, one would be found hung from the neck in the barn with the first rays of the morning sun. No one could figure out why it was so... or how it came to be. With people decreasing every season, the Priest looked in to the holy scriptures and came to one conclusion. Hope was cursed till her first birthday. She might wipe off their tribe’s existence entirely yet she was to be treasured for she was the future of their ethnicity. Having known death was at their doorstep, the Guardians still held her close to their bosoms. Hope laughed merrily with the chirping birds of the summer, she hummed with the autumn harvest and watched with curiosity as the village started wearing a deserted look. It was November and December was just around the corner but the custom death did not take place in the barn…yet.
Celia changed Hope’s blanket one last time, dressed herself and took Hope out into the front porch where she steadily rocked her to sleep. Hope pointed to the blue orchid tree and Celia saw Haworth walking around it. She smiled at him shyly and he returned her smile as he walked away. Haworth was a warrior of their tribe and Celia had grown up with her eyes daunting at his direction always. Soon after December she was to marry him, as soon as Hope would be in the next Guardian’s hands. The frozen orchids where thawing when the Priest called out her name. She hurriedly followed him to the barn and paused. She didn’t need to open the door fully to know what was behind it. But she had to know who it was. Usually the person who landed up there was the current Keeper of Hope. But this time it was someone else for she knew that she was alive. One glimpse at the hanging corpse and she knew it was her childhood friend who had taken her place. “She’s the Seventh” whispered the Priest as he held her hands and tightened them over Hope. Celia nodded and quietly walked away as the other Guardians looked as her with despise. Why was she left out of the cycle??
The nights rolled into the next month and every hour the Guardians clutched their hearts as the curse silently grinned over them. Celia spent all the time with Hope, caring for her as if she was her own and mourned to Haworth over the losses of the tribe. He would plainly hold Hope while she dried her tears but Hope would shriek so much that she’d have to take her back. Finally the month ended and Celia unable to part with Hope reluctantly gave her over to the next Guardian. With that act, fear was the only thing she and the other Guardians felt. This meant one of them was next. While the night was still young, a soul crept into the big barn and lit a candle. Celia braved against the blizzard and followed the dark figure and right into the Barn. There she hid fully aware that her end might be near, maybe right this night and mostly right now. The cloaked figure set the noose and waited in the dark and Celia too waited. Who was he waiting for? Or will something just place him into the noose? It was a mystery… still. Then the cry of Hope made her gasp and she knocked down couple barrels. Scared to death she turned around and stared right into the eyes of a murderer. Haworth stood towering tall, a butcher’s knife in hand.
Celia inched backwards as she fit the pieces together. There was no curse, there was no mystery. Haworth had been behind it all. His secret was now known and they had been already gaining upon him ever since he decided to leave his fiancé out of the cycle. Now he couldn’t afford the risk. No wonder Hope cried in his arms...why couldn’t she smell the blood stains? Celia pleaded for her life but she knew how this would end as the knife reached deep into her heart and silenced her pleas. The blizzard covered the voices, the tracks and the injustice as the barn door closed for the night. Next morning, the blue orchid tree was covered in a snowy blanket as Hope pointed at it. The Keeper cuddled her as from behind it Haworth waved at Hope. The priest called and the Keeper duly rushed. Inside the barn hung Celia. Hope still pointed at the blue orchids… and the mystery still remained one for all those who lived. And for the rest, who disappeared behind the curtains of time… it was nothing but the irony of the curse.