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Don’t let go….
God, please don’t let go of me….
“Relax, Rhokani….You’re safe now.” Whispered a woman’s voice.
Rhokani could feel the cool breeze from outside tickle her face. The nightmare she was having was enough to break her body into a sweat, and the air was a welcome look back into reality. The nightmare about the night before, and about her family. What could be worse?
She could feel someone brush a washcloth across her face. Her forehead, cheeks, and nose….Was that the same woman she had heard speaking before? She could feel herself waking up now. Her eyes felt like they wanted to open….She tried to focus on doing so, but suddenly something slammed her back into the nightmare.
“Whatever you do….Don’t scream.”
Suddenly she wasn’t in the safe place anymore. She was home, in the mountains, where her family had lived for generations with their livestock and dogs. But this time, the feeling was not of warm tea and ginger, or fresh mint and fruit from the mountain orchards….
….It was of blood. The slimy feeling crept through her hair and down her back, to her hips and thighs, before finally a drop appeared at her ankle from the end of her white skirt. She remembered now. They had just returned from church….She had been baptized… Her hair was still wet.
She jumped when she heard something slam into the roof above her head.
“Rhokani! Get below!”
She froze and looked around. Her long red hair fell over her eyes as the slamming sound came again, this time shaking the entire house. She felt the hand of her mother grab her and pull her in a panic towards the basement door. She flung it open and pushed her inside. “Don’t come out. Don’t make a sound….No matter what you hear.”
And she slammed the door.
Rhokani could feel her body start to shake. What was up there? What was happening?
She scrambled back against the wall and hugged her knees to her chest. She could still feel the blood on her legs. She was almost completely soaked now, her beautiful hand-crafted white skirt was stained crimson.
She heard it again, only this time it was accompanied by screams from her mother and a shout from her father. She could hear her much older brother crying out in pain, and something hard smacked against the basement door. Something that sounded like an animals snarl came from through the cracks, and then the creature that had made the feral sound leaped again for the kill. A strangled cry of a woman could be heard, and then a sickening snap as the voice was abruptly cut off.
Rhokani couldn’t stop herself. “Mother!” She screamed.
Everything came to a halt.
All the noise stopped with that one sound of her own voice.
Slowly, the basement door opened and a shadowy creature stood there. Rhokani could see the eyes of her brother behind it, terrified as he looked at her bloodstained figure an the monster who approached her.
“Help me!” Rhokani cried out, pressing herself as much as she could against the wall. She stared hard and scared a her brother. “Kairo! Please!”
Kairo was frozen. Even though he was older than the twelve year old Rhokani, he was still young…and not ready to fight. At sixteen he had no fighting experience, let alone monster experience. He willed his muscles to move to his sisters side….He fought them to take action, but the whites of his eyes showed clear that he could not.
And the creature lunged.
Rhokani woke up this time. She sprung upright, gasping, a cry on her lips that was silenced by the sight of the woman who had saved her. She was elderly, with silver hair and kind brown eyes. Her figure showed her age, but her face did not.
“It is alright, child. You are safe.”