As a young girl, Marina had always been the envy of her female peers in her small sea-side village. She would flit through the village with flowers in her hair, eyes gleaming, enchanting every soul she encountered. As she grew older, the nunnery upon the cliff-top enticed her soul and she devoted herself to doing good to all those she met. Admirers would come and go as she denounced all male relationships in her cause to make the world a better place.
Her charge was to look after the temple of St Agnes of Rome, the poor Saint who was forced to commit suicide to escape the fate of being raped by Pagans, and look after it Marina did, beautifully; she would tend to all its needs. She would shine the walls in which it was made of and litter the statue with the most beautiful items. Marina’s heart was pure and full of love for the Saint whom she had never met, but this was not to last forever.
As her eighteenth birthday approached, she noticed an unwanted admirer of her beauty, although her long golden hair was veiled by her nun-hood, her illuminating eyes and naturally rouged lips enticed the young fisherman. Often he would make his advances, and just as often, she would shun them. He would bring gifts to satisfy a queen: perfumes, jewellery, flowers and luxurious foods from all around, but none of these would take her fancy.
Anger started to seep into Marina’s heart, replacing her patience with annoyance. He was a very handsome man she noticed, but that was not enough to persuade her to give up her passions. Many beautiful women fought for his affections and would spit upon Marina through their jealousy. Marina initially forgave them, but the attacks became too much and her gentle heart became hardened.
It wasn’t long before the young man became angry at Marina’s lack of affections, so much so, he followed her to her lonesome temple consumed by his rage. As Marina kneeled at the foot of her Saint’s statue, she prayed to her charge for forgiveness. To unburden herself from the earthly worries that surrounded her through the women in the village and the constant pestering from the fisherman. As she prayed, she didn’t notice the young fisherman walk in behind her, entranced by his temper from a bad day’s catch and by Marina’s lack of affections, he picked up a nearby vase and struck her skull where she kneeled. Marina folded herself onto the floor in pain and with a gasp she cried out.
“Stop, please! I’m sorry for any harm I have caused you!”
But he did not listen, he pulled the veil from her hair and threw it across the room where he then pinned her to the floor. In his lusty anger, he despoiled her, her pure virtue was lost, bleeding out on the cold, temple floor. He left her there, the unmoving gaze of her saint, staring cruelly at her.
Little did she know that her Saint was still very much real and alive, living in the world between worlds, a spirit with immense power. She was awoken by the bloodied mess that lay on her temple floor. The Saint had witnessed what had happened to poor Marina and grew angry at the girl’s unholy actions spoiling her temple’s innocence, even if Marina was not to be blamed, for Marina was the virgin caretaker and she had broken her vows to St. Agnes. In the Saint’s fury, she used her spiritual power against the already ruined Marina.
As Marina laid on the unforgiving floor, a dark smoke surrounded her, blinding her already shocked state. As Marina tried to move up and away from the billowing clouds, she felt her body start to tingle. As it started with a tingle, it ended with the body burning without a flame. As Marina’s body pulsed on the ground, St. Agnes watched from her ruthless statue as the changes took place upon her victim. As the smoke cleared the cruel vengeance made itself known and a large mirror had appeared at the foot of the statue to show Marina her visual shame. As Marina gazed at her appearance, tears filled her tormented, blood shot eyes and rolled down her face.
Her beautiful light hair had turned black under the acidic scorching. Her entire body was covered in blisters, and her face was unrecognizable in its disfigurement. Within the billowing clouds had been a flesh eating chemical that would not only permanently ruin her god given looks, as she was soon to realize. The Saint had bound her in an immortal state, forever to walk with her shame like a human stain. But things were only to get worse.
A nun hurried into the temple, she had seen the young man enter and leave with blood on his hands and in her old age, hurried as fast as she could from the other side of the nunnery to her aid. When she entered, she beheld the awful appearance of the young Marina and in disgust, put herself into a state of shock. Marina spun around to see the nun and ran towards her for an embrace, unaware of her curse. As Marina’s tainted skin touched the elderly nun, the nun’s own skin sizzled from the acid and poisoned her blood. The blood reached the nun’s heart within seconds and she was dead, frozen by her shock.
Marina screamed and ran from the temple hoping for her family home, hoping for solace from her mother who still inhabited the small haven. As she ran, the villagers screams echoed in her ears. She embraced her mother from behind, her mother slowly turned to see the distraught disfigured girl that was her child. And just as the nun had, her mother also perished from the unknown poison. In fury and despair at her curse, Marina ran to the young man’s home, consumed with the idea that her curse was his fault. As he opened the door to her tortured soul, she threw her hands upon his face and just like the others, he was no more. Women who had once hated her had witnessed her act of revenge against the young fisherman. Marina stepped over the corpse of her abuser and stood within the room, silent as the lamb. The women surrounded her cautiously, clearly ready to scream at any moment. In Marina’s hatred and jealousy that they had not been the victims of the young man’s lust, she attacked them all, knowing that just one touch would be enough to poison there hearts.
Marina left the home, free from the massacre. Village folk had heard the screams and clustered around Marina with weapons, desperate to eradicate her. Many shots were fired, but they rebounded from her as though she was made of rubber. Marina ran from the grips of her would be murderers and was never seen again. They say if you visit the temple today, you can still hear her screams echo off the walls.
By Lauren Victoria