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Kindle wasn't a bad girl. What bugged most people about her was they thought she was possessed – and, in truth, she was.
Kindle was a girl with flaming red hair and orbs of clear blue. Most people said that was a sign from the gods that she would be possessed from the time she was born to the time of her death. However, they were wrong. But, we'll get to that at a later point in the story.
The voice was harsh and uninviting to Kindle's sensitive ears.
“Yes, Nana?” She answered reluctantly.
A woman with black hair tied up into a bun shuffled into the room. She wore a red and white stripped dress with lace at the bottom, and she had a white cloth apron tied around her waist. She was a short, over-weight woman and she wasn't the prettiest thing in the world. She had a mole on her left cheek, and her eyes were beady and brown.
“Kindle, when did you last do the dishes?” she growled, her eyes narrowing into slits.
Kindle gulped. When was the last time she did the dishes?
“Nana, you know that's not my job anymore.” Kindle tried the lame excuse. It probably wouldn't work, but, she had to try to chew her way around another beating.
Nana's eyes widened.
“Not your job?” she hissed. “Not your job! That's the silliest thing I've ever heard escape your little mouth!”
Again, Kindle gulped. She knew what was coming next.
“Go out to the woods, young lady, and find me a switch. Find me a good 'un, too, or you'll be real sorry.”
Kindle felt herself grow faint.
As she walked along the dirt road, Kindle kicked at the little pebbles every time she caught sight of one. As she walked and kicked at the pebbles, Kindle searched for a bush. She hated it when Nana punished her. That woman wasn't even related to her! She just liked to be called Nana, because if Kindle didn't call her Nana, then she would get beaten.
Kindle wasn't happy, living with Nana. She had nowhere else to go. She was only twelve. She could run away – she had considered the idea before. But it wouldn't be that easy. And, if Nana ever found her, she'd get beaten to death. Nana wasn't the type to mess around with like that.
Kindle continued to walk along the dirt path until she came to a bush. The perfect bush for a switch. Kindle bent down, studied the branches, and then pulled the skinniest, most painful looking one. She had to. It was Nana's orders.
Screams echoed through the forest where Kindle was taking her beating. Nana had inspected the switch, and, apparently, she liked it, because she was using it.
“Now do you want to do the dishes?”
It was a rhetorical question, and Kindle knew it. She got up, her back was aching and she was sure there were marks on it, and walked into the little log cabin where she lived.
Someday, Kindle thought. Someday soon.
Kindle walked into the kitchen and started to scrub the grease off of the pots and pans' surfaces. She worked and worked until all of the dishes were done. Nana shuffled in and out of the room every so-often, glancing at the dishes that still needed to be cleaned.
Nana, as mentioned before, wasn't actually related to Kindle. She insisted on being called Nana because when Kindle was very small, her parents had left her on the doorstep to Nana's cabin. They disappeared, and no one knew who they really were. The villagers had said they were demons of the forest that came to drop off the child at Nana's doorstep, so that she may grow and destroy the village when she grew old enough.
Because of this, Kindle was never welcomed in the village, and received dirty looks every time she came through to run errands. The villagers were all dark haired and dark eyed, and they assumed that, because her hair was red and her eyes were blue, that she was a demon like her mother and father. They weren't entirely sure, however, and that made them nervous. Kindle was a good girl, and she grew as the years passed by. She never really was shown love, and this bothered her deeply. She longed for her mother and father to come by one day, and, if they really were demons, they could gobble Nana up, and take Kindle back to their lair and maybe teach her their ways – the ways of the forest gods. Maybe she could be a princess, and live happily ever after with immortality.
But for now, she had to figure out a way to escape from Nana.
“No!” cries echoed through the village as a shadow made its way through the streets. “Help us!”
The shape wasn't very big, but it was just big enough that it would make you nervous. Villagers panicked, so much so that, when the shape continued to make the people scream, it enjoyed the cries of dismay and terror.
One little boy, about the age of twelve, zipped through the crowd, in his hands he held a large stick. Maybe he could fend off the shape that seemed to give everyone a hard time. The boy weaved in and out of the terrified people, growling for them to “move” and “get away”.
When he finally caught up with the shadow, he gasped. It was nothing more than some type of dog! He couldn't really see it in the dim lighting of the moon, but, if he could just get it close to a lantern...
The boy decided to make lots of noise and distract the dog from its latest victim, who had turned out to be a defenseless lamb. So, he banged the stick against a nearby fence and made barking noises.
This certainly got the dog's attention, and it swung around, eyes fierce. They glowed an eerie green as the dog came closer and into the light, and again, the boy gasped. But this time he choked in surprise. It was no dog! It was a wolf. A wolf with red fur – the color of fire. There was something strange about this wolf, though. The boy observed that the hues in the wolf's eyes were not made of green – but instead, blue. They looked strangely familiar, too, but the boy couldn't quite get the name off the tip of his tongue. Where the wolf's tail was supposed to be, there was only a little stump, hardly indicating that there was a tail to begin with.
“Who are you?” the boy suddenly got the courage up to lift his stick and cry out to the wolf.
But the wolf didn't answer. Instead, it got a murderous look in its orbs, and crept closer to the boy. At this point, the boy was also panicking.
“Um... Um...” he shuddered.
What was he thinking?
He dropped the stick, turned tail, and made a break for it. He ran as fast as he could for ten seconds, before the wolf tackled him and climbed onto his back. He could feel the wolf's hot breath on his neck, a sign that the wolf was close to his ear.
Is he going to rip it off? The boy thought frantically.
But the boy didn't feel any sharp pain as the wolf's muzzle came closer to his head. The wolf opened its mouth, as if it was going to say something.
But cries of rage and dismay stopped the wolf dead in its tracks. The wolf looked up to find a mob of angry villagers with steel knives, pitchforks and torches raised to defend the little boy. If it was the fire that made the wolf nervous, it didn't show it. The steel blades of the knives, however, made the wolf frantic. It leaped off of the boy and snarled, its large ears were flat against its skull and it backed away. Then the wolf turned and bolted, and some of the villagers followed it into the woods.
“Kestrel!” A woman pushed through the crowd and came to the little boy. “Kestrel, honey, are you OK?”
The boy pulled the blackish brown hair from his dark brown eyes, trying to catch his breath.
“Yes, mother. I'm fine.”
In truth, he wasn't fine. He had nearly lost his life.