From Cursive To Curses- Part VII
The air was thick with tension. Jacob was silent as he moved towards his temporary chambers. Aledia followed behind him. Her mind drifted to the wedding. She had felt Jacob tense as he observed the poor woman dance around the fire. Aledia shuddered. Those screams echoed in her mind. Jacob watched the entire thing. She had to give him credit for his strong stomach.
Aledia sighed. When she felt him tense, she looked up from his shoulder. Aledia had followed his gaze. Past the tormented woman, Wilhelm sat. They stared at each other with some unknown emotion on their face. A moment later, Jacob stood and stormed from the courtyard. She did not think the bride and groom minded their early departure. They were far too busy with their festivities. In all her time as a friend to Snow White, she never thought her to be capable of such cruelty.
Jacob stopped ahead of her. He opened the door and motioned for her to enter first. Aledia swallowed the lump in her throat. It was like she was a child at her father’s door after she fought with her sisters. He could not have known she had summoned Wilhelm here. He shut the door behind her and took a seat at the empty writing desk.
“I’m…” he started only to stop and run a hand through his hair. Aledia studied him and made a comparison between the two brothers in her mind. The elder brother, Jacob, was clean-cut. His curly hair was tame compared to his brother. While Jacob was regal and comfortable in proper court attire, Wilhelm was not. She recalled seeing Wilhelm tug at his tunic collar a few times throughout the evening. Their eyes, the bones in their face… it was clear they were brothers. They both shared those same eyes. “How are you? After seeing a scene like that…” he trailed.
“That was horrifying, but I’m alright.” Aledia suppressed a shudder. She wrapped her arms around herself and sat down on the bed. A moment of silence hung suspended between them.
“I will say it is odd to see my brother with that particular messenger. Last I saw you sent him from your father’s castle before we left for the wedding,” Jacob stated. Aledia looked away as Jacob scrutinized her.
She gave a nervous laugh but said nothing. Jacob ran a hand over his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. The anger coursed through him. He stood and walked to the door. He needed the girl to leave before he said something he’d later regret.
The door swung open to the messenger and his brother standing in the doorway. Aledia jumped to her feet, and Jacob slammed the door shut. This was not how Jacob expected the day to go. Wilhelm shouted and pounded on the door. A buzz numbed the shouts.
“Whether you summoned him here with the messenger or not, I don’t care. I will not deal with this tonight,” Jacob stated as he turned to Aledia. She bit her tongue. This had to have been a shock to him. Still, that was not an excuse.
She gathered her skirts and swept past him. “You are a respectable teacher and scholar. Is this how you would teach others to greet their family?” Aledia scolded as she reached for the door.
“You know nothing about my brother, my family, or about me. Do not meddle again, apprentice,” he hissed and as she left the room. He slammed the door behind her. He listened in silence as Aledia walked Wilhelm towards his room. She was explaining something, but the buzz in his ears stopped the words.
Jacob latched the door closed and sat on his bed. He removed his tunic and boots while the buzz continued in his mind. The wedding should have been the most shocking event of the evening. Instead, the sight of his brother startled him more. His letters to his brother were one thing. He allowed that for himself. Jacob never expected to look across the courtyard and see his brother.
He laid on the bed and closed his eyes. This could be a nightmare. It had to be a nightmare. When was the last time he had these thoughts? Jacob draped his arm over his eyes. There were so many times…
***several years earlier***
Jacob had stolen away to his secret hiding spot. In reality, it was under the crawl space of the kitchen in the farmhouse. Under the floorboards, he had a stash of books and a lantern. His father got through another lecture about taking over the family business. His mother watched from the kitchen as she made a stew for dinner.
The moment his father stopped, Jacob had scrambled outside. He wedged himself under the house and lit the lantern. Within the crawl space, several scattered book piles littered the dirt floor. Jacob pulled out a book and flipped towards the spot he left off on. In the distance, he could hear the rumble of thunder. It was about to storm. Three taps sounded on the wooden floor and then a fourth. He whirled around. Wilhelm scooted in after he gave the secret knock code.
“Did father lecture you again?” Wilhelm asked.
“Yes, he did,” Jacob muttered as he looked back to his book.
“If you pulled your weight around the farm, he might not lecture you.” Wilhelm grabbed a piece of wood from beside the pile of books. This had once been only Jacob’s hideaway. Wilhelm learned about it, and soon it became their shared hideaway. Among the books were small carvings of animals. Each one was better than the last.
Above them, a door slammed shut. “Where is that boy of yours?” their father asked with a snarl. Both boys winced.
“I would imagine with his brother,” their mother answered as she worked in the kitchen above them. Jacob dimmed the lantern to a low glow. Wilhelm kept quiet.
“And where is Wilhelm?” he asked. A chair scraped across the floorboards.
“I’m sure they are around the house somewhere,” she answered nonchalantly. There were several moments of silence. Wilhelm breathed out in relief. Their father must have left. Jacob grabbed his arm and gave him a severe look. The chair had not moved above them.
“Why do you encourage this in him? We need to be a unified front to ensure that Jacob understands his role in life,” his father said in a tired tone.
“It doesn’t need to be his role in life. Why is it so outrageous that he shows strength in other areas?” she asked.
“This farm has been passed down from generation to generation. Each from father to firstborn son. I will not stop that legacy because of a strong-willed boy.”
“Maybe it is time for things to change. Nothing can stay the same forever.”
“No, Katrina, you are correct. This, however, is what I expect of my son. I will not budge from this. You, as my wife, should stand with me!” he yelled.
Jacob and Wilhelm winced and held their breaths. Wilhelm glanced at Jacob. The arguments their parents had were always about Jacob. Why couldn’t he listen to their father? It would stop all the arguments and discord.
“As your wife? Are we back to this? I am not merely your wife, Destrian! You knew this when you married me and accepted that. When I married you, I disobeyed the expectations my family had for me. You were not meant for my role in life.”
“That is different, and you know it!” he yelled back. The chair made a thud as it toppled over.
“You’re correct. The first time it worked in your favor. This time, it is not working in your favor! Our boy can follow his heart if that is what brings him happiness.”
“Happiness and an empty belly! Katrina, my love, don’t you see that by doing this, we secure his health and safety? He is out of his mind. Books will not provide a warm bed and food each night!”
“Who is to say it won’t? Just because you do not see how it can be done, doesn’t mean it cannot,” she hissed.
“Is it so wrong to ask that you stand by me in this?” he shouted.
“Yes, it is. Finish the dinner yourself. I am going for a walk!” she yelled. Jacob and Wilhelm listened to the footsteps storm towards the door.
“Katrina, it is starting to storm. Don’t be foolish.”
“Oh, so now I am foolish? Well, that makes two of us. I would much rather see you support my son. Since you won’t do that, we both won’t get what we want!” she yelled as she stormed out the door.
Jacob let his face drop into his book. Another argument about him. It was another nightmare in this place. Wilhelm patted his shoulder. Above them, their father paced.
*** Current ***
Jacob sighed and sat up. That walk in a storm started his mother’s illness. It was a slow illness that took her. She stayed strong for as long as she could. He ran a hand through his hair. He tried to keep the memory at bay.
The memory of her dead on that bed. Jacob remembered that Wilhelm cried as he grasped his mother’s hand. His father stood over them both in silence. His father turned to face his eldest son. There were no tears, only cold rage contorted on his face.
“She wanted me to support you. Now you have that support. Get out of here, boy. You and your stubbornness have killed your mother. You are not my kin, nor your brothers. Go fill your head with books. You are not wanted here,” their father said with a cold rage.
Jacob pulled at his hair as he tried to stop the memory. Tears pricked the corner of his eyes. He would not let his past affect his present. Wilhelm would leave, and his life would continue. That man cast him out. He was Jacob Grimm, a scholar that did not have a mother, father, brother, or family. He caused his mother’s illness and her death. Jacob covered his ears and shook his head as the memories consumed his thoughts. His profession was a scholar, the logical type. Jacob could control these rogue thoughts. He would master his memories and shove them away as he had done. His heart had other plans.
***Disclaimer: This is a work of Fan Fiction.
It is an adaptation of the characters created and owned by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.
This story is not associated with Disney’s adaptations, their added characters, or story elements. ***