A Gift or a Curse
By Sandy Neumann
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Chapter Two

Robin woke up at the sound of the door to his cell opening. He was feeling very weak. The beatings and lashings he took from the two guards yesterday did him in. He was hungry and tired. His arms had become numb again from hanging overnight by them. He looked up to see Angel coming towards him with a couple of bowls. One bowl held his meal for the day and the other had some water and a rag. She looked at his bloody clothes and face. "The Lord wants me to clean up your wounds," she told him, cringing as she looked at him. She could stand seeing this handsome man all beaten like this.

"Why would he even bother," Robin asked. "He has someone coming to see you. Prince John!" She looked at him with great concern. Robin just rolled his eyes.


"I'm gonna see what I can do to help you. The Prince isn't coming until late tomorrow," she told him. "But first I have to clean you up."

"I have to take off your tunic to clean the dried blood. I have to let a guard in here to unlock your manacles and keep watch on you while I clean you up."

"You mean I'm actually gonna be unchained for awhile," he asked, unbelieving. "Yes!" She said, with a bit of excitement. She walked to the door and asked the guard to come in. He was huge! He was a foot taller than Robin and all muscle.

Angel looked like a dwarf next to him. He roughly grabbed the manacles that held Robin and unlocked them. He remained holding onto Robin’s wrists. Robin felt as if the manacles were looser than this man's grip. "This is Giant," she introduced him. The man just grunted. He knew he wouldn't be able to break free from Giant's hold. Plus there were locked into this room anyways, from the outside, so it wouldn't do him much good.

Angel looked at Robin, trying to get him to trust her. He was more comfortable around her now, knowing she really didn't want to purposely hurt him. She started pulling the leather string from his tunic to untie it. As she pulled his shirt off his shoulders, she saw the wounds from the lashings that cut into him. She knew these all too well. She cringed and closed her eyes as she felt her own pain coming back. She shook it off and took the wet cloth and wiped his chest of the dried blood. He could see her admiring his chest muscles as she gently dabbed the cloth on his wounds. Her touch was so gentle. The coolness of the cloth felt good to Robin. Then she took the cloth to his face.

His face wasn't that badly bruised after all, once the blood was cleaned off. He had a slight cut above his left eye from the original blow given to him from the club. She was taking her time wiping his wounds. It felt so good to her to touch this man. He even was starting to smile at her. This made her blush some. Giant seeing this, pulled hard on Robin's wrists, making him groan. Angel could see that Giant was giving her a message to finish up. She pulled Robin's tunic back over his chest and tied it back up. When she had finished this, Giant pulled Robin's arms up again and locked them into the manacles. Then Giant went to the door and gave the signal to the others outside the door to unlock it and let him out.

Angel stayed inside to feed Robin. "Couldn't he have let my hands free a little longer so I could feed myself," he asked.

"He has is orders, as do I, and he followed them."

"Why do you take orders from that man when you can mess with his mind like you do with me," Robin asked.

"It doesn't work on him, for some reason," she replied, casting her eyes downwardly.

"So, you've tried it on him before?"

"Yes, and I suffered for it," she said with a shaky voice. Robin could see that he hit a painful memory for her.

"You need to eat now," she said and put a forkful of food in front of his face. He could see that she did not want to continue this conversation any longer, so he obliged and ate.

When he was finished eating, she simply turned and left. During the whole time, she fed him; she somehow avoided his eyes. She didn't want him to see her pain. She wished he hadn't asked her. She had tried to put that behind her, along with all the other bad things Langton had done to her, to show her he's in control. Robin could tell there was more to her than he could ever imagine.

A few hours had passed before Lord Langton came strolling into Robin's cell with Angel behind him. Robin could see that Angel was avoiding his eyes still. He knew this to mean that she was once again gonna invade his mind with pain and agony.

"Well, Robin Hood, are you ready for another mentally exhausting session," Lord Langton sneered. "Eventually, after going through enough of these short sessions, you will become a vegetable. Your mind will not be able to recover to normal thoughts and all your head will picture is agony and pain and send it searing through your body. Oh, how I can't wait to see you spend the rest of your life twitching and fighting against the endless pain. But actually Prince John will get to enjoy watching that, as I will let Prince John see that you are in my possession tomorrow. He will allow me to finish my brand of torture, then pay me your reward money. Then I shall let him take your helpless form and do whatever he pleases. Perhaps he will make you an attraction! And to think, An

Angel brought you this fate!" Lord Langton burst out laughing evilly.

Angel was hanging her head as low as she could during all of this. She really did despise this man for all his worth, but she seemed to be powerless against him. In all the times she tried to escape his evil, she ended up becoming even more hurt. No one would ever help her out, because they feared her gift.

But to her it was more of a curse. Would she ever be free to live a life of her own, she didn't think so.

"Boy, you sure are sure of yourself, aren't you Langton," Robin said with a gleam in his eyes. "And why shouldn't I be. You have no possibility of escape and your friends will never find you here. By next week, you will be mentally destroyed and I will be richer!" Once again, he laughed out. Then he grabbed Angel's arm and pulled her to where Robin was.

Angel looked at Robin and mouthed, "I'm sorry." Robin ever so slightly nodded to her that he knew. This helped Angel feel a little bit better about what she was about to do. She placed her hands upon his head. She felt his smooth hair in her hands. She looked him straight in the eyes this time as she began to transmit images into his mind. He was at first staring back into her eyes, trying to resist the images, but as they became more numerous and painful, he closed his eyes. Her eyes had become fiery and he had seen this just before he closed his eyes.

This time he saw different images. They seemed to be of an individuals suffering. He was viewing the burning death of an older couple. They were being burned in what seemed to be some kind of ceremony. Then he saw whippings, lashings, and branding being done to a young child. Then he was seeing a rape occur. He couldn't see the faces but he could feel the pain from these people.

Angel now closed her eyes, as her pain was becoming more intense. Robin's individual images turned into hundreds again. Their pain was starting to become his pain. His body could feel the heat from the flames, the pain of a sword going into his back, the anguish of the woman being raped. It all seared through his body. He started trembling, as did Angel. They both were suffering from the pain of the events that were being conveyed into Robin's mind. But one's pain was more real than the others, because they'd actually lived some of it.

Robin's whole body was shaking violently. Lord Langton was enjoying every second of seeing this. He had seen so many prisoner's of his go through this, but never did he enjoy it so much as to see the great Robin Hood suffer through it. When he saw Robin starting to scream for it to stop, he just laughed. It brought him joy, when everyone else in the room felt pain and agony. He pulled Angel away from Robin and into his arms, when she began to moan out in pain. He knew that would be enough for today. He dragged Angel out of the cell with him.

He glanced back at Robin before he closed the door. He chuckled as he could still see Robin trembling and mumbling incomprehensible words. She sat in his cell staring at him, hoping he would forgive her when he woke up. Angel had snuck out of her quarters in the middle of the night to make sure Robin was okay. She was worried that Lord Langton had let her go too far the day before and did some damage already.

She really didn't want him to suffer. She now knew she had to help him escape before Prince John came for him. She just sat on the cold ground looking up at his still form. He was hanging from the manacles again. She had tried to wake him when she first entered, but he was unconscious. That almost always happened to them when their bodies gave into the pain. She was used to the pain. It only bothered her when she is in the act of conveying the pain. Then she just grows weak from all the force it puts on her body and mind.

Robin started to stir and she sprung up to see if he was ok. He needed to be strong enough to go through with her plan for his escape. He slowly open his eyes to see her hazel/green eyes staring at him. He was about to ask what she was doing there, when she put her finger to his lips to hush. She didn't want to wake the guards up and find out she got in. Lord Langton would surely punish her then. Robin's eyes looked a bit glazed over. This worried her. She hoped he was strong enough that he could recover faster.

"I am here to see if you are ok and if you will be strong enough later today to get out of here," she told him. His eyes lit up a bit when she said that. She was glad to see this. She knew he would be able to understand her plan.

"What time is it," Robin questioned her.

"It's 4am. Everyone's still sleeping. I needed to talk to you in complete privacy, without the guards possibly listening in. This is the only time they are not outside your door."

Robin just nodded his head that he understood. He was still feeling a bit out of it. His body felt numb all over. He tried shaking some circulation back into his arms, but wasn't having much luck with it. He was managing to stand on his own two feet, but if it wasn't for the chains holding him up, he would have probably been collapsed down on the floor. His head was still picturing all the images from the day before. Death and agony was all around him, it seemed. Angel could see he was struggling within himself to loose those images. She sighed deeply and said, "That pain is not yours. Just remember that. It is someone else's."

She stared down at the floor for awhile then mumbled, "It's mine." Robin's head wasn't quiet clear enough yet, to understand what she meant, but he would later realize it.

"I wish I could put happy thoughts into your head, but I truly don't know any. I only know sadness and pain," she said as she looked into his sad eyes.

He was sad for her. All she knew was sadness, what a horrible life. This actually helped him think of all the good things he had in his life. Marion, Little John, the Friar, and all the happiness he brought to others.

"You can read my mind, too, right," Robin asked her.

"Yes, I can. Why?"

"Read my thoughts now then."

She looked at him curiously and then decided to do so. She placed her hands on his head and began to read his thoughts. Robin could see a smile growing on her face. He was glad to see he could give her this. He didn't remember seeing her really smile before. She could see children at play, laughing and teasing each other. She could see people laughing and sharing stories about their families and well being. Then she could see Robin's deep love for a woman. He was embracing her in his arms. She could see them look into each other’s eyes so deeply, it made her jealous. She pulled her hands off of his head and smiled at him.

"Thanks for sharing some happy thoughts with me. I can see that you truly miss her and your love for each other is so strong. You are very lucky." The sadness had returned to her face. She knew she could never be so lucky.

"Ok, now for the matter at hand," she continued. "At about mid morning, Lord Langton will be leaving the castle here to meet Prince John at his castle. He will be taking several guards with him, leaving only a few here to guard you. He trusts that I would never do anything, so that is why I will be left here too. I am gonna take care of the door guard. The only ones you'll have to worry about is Giant and a couple others. I have your weapons in storage and will bring them to you. Then I will show you the way out."

Robin asked, "What about you, aren't you coming with?"

She looked at him, fear showing in her eyes now. "No, I can't leave. Lord Langton would surely have me killed or worse. You will have to knock me out to make it seem as if I wasn't part of your breakout!"

"Why are you so afraid to leave him? If you came with me back to my camp, we could protect you there. We are well hidden and you'd be safe from his grip," Robin pleaded.

"NO!! I can't. Now that is the plan so be ready for the next time when I come," she pleaded with him as she walked toward the door.

Robin just shook his head as she closed the door behind her. He just couldn't figure out why she was so scared of him. Robin had fallen back asleep shortly after Angel left. He had nightmares of the old couple burning and the young child being tortured. The dreams became more clearer in his head as time passed and he could see the faces. The young child wasn't a young child as much as it was a young girl, being beaten and whipped. Her back all bloodied and scarred. Then he dreamed of the young woman being raped. The man doing the evil, disgusting act was none other than Lord Langton himself. The face of the victim still wasn't clear, but he could truly see her pain.

When Robin woke up from the nightmares, the face suddenly became clear to him. It was her! It was Angel. She was the young girl being beaten. She was the young woman being raped by Lord Langton. He now knew why she said it was her pain. He realized that all this time she had been taking bits of her own pain and placing it into his mind. He now understood her fear of the man. He had controlled her in more ways than one. Perhaps she never truly used her powers on him, for fear of retaliation from him in the form of abuse. But he still didn't understand how she came to be in his possession, per say, in the first place.

End of Chapter Two

Chapter One
 Chapter Two
 Chapter Three
 Chapter Four the Conclusion
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