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The Fall Of Evil
I could hear the footsteps of my pursuer as I ran. I searched for a place to hide but there were only trees. Suddenly I heard another sound coming from above me. It broke through my rhythm as if it were the most important thing. A heartbeat. I looked up and saw a young girl looking down at me. She mouthed something and I quickly focused on her lips so I could understand. Jump. You have to jump. She repeated it over and over until finally I nodded once. I waited until I was directly beneath her then jumped as high as I could. The lowest branch to the ground was ten or fifteen feet high but I landed on it with ease. I watched as my pursuer stopped below me and looked all around. Her movements were slow and jerky, unlike the quick and fluid movements my father taught me. I stood on the branch watching as she ran two hundred feet or more in every direction trying to catch my scent until finally she gave up and set up camp for the night. The girl appeared beside me with a bowl filled with some sort of soup. She was a few years younger than me and unbelievably human. Her scent was strong and almost unbearable at first, I almost jumped to the ground and started running again when she came up beside me and I got the full intoxication of it.
"From my mother." She whispered handing it to me.
"Thank you." My voice was low and rough. My father used to say I inherited all of my traits from my mother, except my voice.
The girl was silent for awhile as we watched the woman below me. "What's your name?" She asked finally.
I swallowed the soup and said, "Ashira. My mother wanted me named after the Ash tree but my father wanted more of a unique name." I could feel her eyes roaming my body, it was as if she were burning holes into my arms and stomach as she looked over all of my muscles.
"I'm Rosella." She smiled and held out her hand. I took it after a moments hesitation. Suddenly all the tension in my muscles was gone and all the anxiety I had disappeared. I jerked my hand away and stared at this girl. Then I understood. She was a Marthanian or a human witch. They were rare and very difficult to find. I've only ever known of one being in this area and that was my mother. "Will you come inside for the night?" Rosella asked breaking through my thoughts. I hesitated, I wanted to be able to watch the woman but as much as I didn't want to admit it I needed to sleep.
Finally I shook my head. "No, I'll stay here for the night. I need to leave early if i want to get rid of her." I spat out the last word as if it were venom. The girl nodded and jumped back up to the hut she was in when I first saw her. She leaped from branch to branch gracefully, as if she'd been doing it all her life. When she was back inside I looked down at the woman below me. She was strikingly beautiful but I wasn't going to be fooled by that. I knew what she was and what she wanted from me. I also knew she would never get it. I sat watching her for awhile longer before settling back against the tree trunk and falling into a soft sleep.
It was nearly dawn when I jerked awake and leaped into a crouch. A low and menacing growl escaped me before I could stop it. Rosella leaned back onto her heels and stared at me, her eyes never left mine. She had a lot of courage within her but even I could smell the fear she was trying to hide.
"Good morning to you too." She said smiling. I groaned and relaxed back onto the branch.
"What are you doing here?" I asked struggling to control my anger.
She held out a bowl, "I brought you breakfast. You said you wanted to leave early so you could get rid of the woman." She answered matter-of-factly. I nodded and took the bowl, it was the same soup she had given me last night but I wasn't complaining.
I quickly drained the bowl and handed it back to her. "Thank you. I have to go now." I said standing up. I looked down to make sure the woman was still asleep and then prepared to jump when Rosella's hand fell upon my arm.
"Please wait. My mother," She hesitated. "My mother is sick and I can't take care of her myself. I need to get her down from here so I can help her. Please Ashira." She finished, her voice was desperate and much different from the voice the night before. I hesitated, I needed to go but I couldn't just leave this poor girl when her mother was sick. Finally I nodded. "Thank you." She said earnestly then started jumping up the tree. I followed her slowly until she reached the hut and stepped inside. I followed her through the hut, which was about the size of the first floor of my house, and into a room in the back. The room was dimly lit but I immediately saw the woman lying on the bed. She was maybe three years older than I. I could see the sweat drenching her face and matting her hair. Her skin was covered in blotches as though someone had put cheetah spots on her. Rosella knelt beside her bed and whispered, "Don't worry mother, someone is here to help you." I walked over, pulling my long sleeves down as I did. Carefully I picked the woman up and walked back outside. I tightened my grip as I jumped back down the tree then hesitated when I reached the last branch. The woman was still below me but I had no other way down. Finally I jumped but made sure I would land in the clearing on the other side of the path. Rosella was behind me until then. I turned when I landed and watched her jump to the ground beside the woman and then run over to where I stood. I gently set her mother on the ground and stepped away.
"Thank you." Rosella said when she reached me.
I nodded and whispered, "I have to go now. Be careful and get her some help." Then I took off running.
The day went by in a blur of trees. I ran nonstop for a few hours before finally my body forced me to stop. I made sure I was alone before jumping up into another tree, these branches were thin and more rounded than the other ones. As I sat there I closed my eyes and let my other senses take over. I concentrated most on what I could hear. There was a stream about a mile off the trail and I could hear the lapping of deer as the slowly drank from it. My mouth watered slightly as I heard the pitter-patter of their fast beating hearts and I slowly stood up. I was just about to start jumping when I hear the soft footfall of someone running. The heart beat was fast but measured. I took a deep breath through my nose and my eyes flew open. It was the woman. She must have tracked my scent through the woods. So much for eating a real meal. I thought as I took off again, this time I stayed to the trees though. She was maybe three miles away when I reached the stream. The deer whipped their heads up and took off running when they caught my scent. I was a predator and they were supposed to be my prey but that stupid woman had to get in the way. Suddenly she was in front of me. I lunged backward away from her and fell. I landed softly on the ground, not making a sound. She was on top of me in a second. Her hands wrapped themselves around my neck and her thumbs pressed against my esophagus as hard as they could, trying to strangle me. I threw my hands behind me and grabbed her shoulders then without any effort at all I threw her into the stream. It was deeper than I thought because when she landed she began to sink but she recovered quickly.
"Why do you fight me Ashira? You will fail in your quest. You are nothing but a weak boy who had their head filled with lies." The woman said walking at human speed out of the stream. She stopped a few feet away and stood there watching me.
I stood there watching her as well and suddenly I felt all the energy and strength in my body seep away. "What did you do to me?!" I screamed as I fell to my knees. The world began to spin and me eyes got heavy. I fell forward and laid face down on the grass. I heard her laugh as I slowly lost consciousness.
I slowly gained consciousness again and opened my eyes. Everything around me was fuzzy and I blinked quickly a few times. Finally I could see again and I looked around me. I was lying on a hard floor, the walls had no corners and the ceiling was so far above me I couldn't see it. There was a single light in the room but the darkness surrounding it was so thick it was barely visible. I sat up and instantly regretted it. My head started spinning and I nearly lost consciousness again. I flopped back down to the floor and cracked my head against the concrete. Blood began to flow slowly from my head onto the floor and I quickly threw my hands onto the cut. Blood oozed through my fingers for a moment then stopped as the cut healed back together. I heard a bolt click and watched as the wall in front of me revealed a door. The woman stepped through and closed it quickly behind her.
"Oh good you're awake. I was beginning to think I was going to have to revive you myself." The woman said when she saw me. She stood on the other side of the room near the door and appraised me. Then her nostrils flared. "Your head. I'm guessing you hit it when you nearly lost consciousness from sitting up?" The woman laughed, it was high pitched and reverberated off the walls.
"Where am I?" I asked struggling to stand up. Finally my will won out over the woman's control and I was able to without blacking out. My strength began to return quickly and I stretched my stiff muscles.
"You are deep underground." The woman said backing towards the door.
I took a step forward and held out my hand. "Wait. I promise not to attack just please, tell me who you are." I said, I knew she believed me because she stopped moving toward the door and truly looked at me.
"I am the hunter. But my name is Zara." The woman said, her voice was full of caution and wariness.
My eyes widened, "Z-Zara? As in the Princess Zara?" I asked. I'd heard of her but I'd never before seen her. My father spoke of her with something close to admiration when I was younger. The woman just nodded. I stared at her then slowly bent to one knee. "I am sorry for running before princess." I whispered, then without warning I attacked. She was not Zara, Zara wore a white dress and had long white hair according to my father. And she never, never attacked the Others. Her sister, Jezebel, though believed the Others, such as myself, were demons here to take her back to the Hell she belongs to. I could feel the evil rolling off of her as soon as she stepped into the room. I had the advantage when I attacked because she was pinned against a wall. When I leaped I felt my hands curl in and my teeth sharpened. Before she could move I was in front of her and my claws wrapped around her arms pinning her in place. Unfortunately she broke free of my grasp and dashed to the other side of the room. I followed but she threw me against the opposite side just as a pinned her again. I fell to the floor and felt myself shifting back to normal. I glared up at her and slowly climbed to my feet. She stood calmly across from me then crossed into the middle of the floor.
"If you want a fight then we'll have a fight." She said, her voice was low and menacing. I jumped and landed behind her before she could move. I quickly grabbed her neck and snapped it, her head spun completely around to face me. I dropped my hands and watched as her body collapsed in on itself and fell to the floor, then I crossed back over to where the door was and banged lightly. It swung open on a hinge and I walked out slowly. A guard stood on the other side and when he saw me he froze, then he saw Jezebel's body.
His mouth opened and closed like a fishes then finally he said, "You killed her. She's dead." I nodded and waited fro him to attack but instead he fell to his knees before me. "Thank you. Thank you for getting rid of the evil in this sacred castle." He said holding his hands together in a prayer type of way. I didn't say anything but instead strode past him and up the stairs at the end of the hall. I opened the door above my head when I reached the top and stepped out into the sun. Rosella stood there facing away from me.
"What are you doing here?" I asked when I saw her. She turned and smiled at me.
"I came to thank you for saving my mother. I heard the fight below and decided to wait before I tried to free you." She said smiling.
I smiled back. "You're welcome about your mother. Thank you for not getting involved, I would've been very upset if you had gotten hurt." I said placing a hand on her shoulder. I barely knew this girl but already I was protecting her. That was my job, to protect people.
She looked up at me, "Will you come back to my hut?" She asked. I nodded and together we ran all the way back to the woods near the stream and up into the trees to where her mother was waiting with a warm meal and a bed. That night and for many nights after that I slept without any worries.
Life with Rosella and her mother was good for awhile. I was able to hunt for them so we were able to eat something other than soup every night for dinner. One night I was out hunting, Rosella and her mother were back at the hut making another soup. I was running through the trees when I heard it. A whisper in the window. 'Ashira you are needed. Your parents are searching for you. You must find them.' I stopped mid jump and befroe I could catch myself I fell thirty feet to the ground. My prey took off running when I hit the ground and screamed. I looked down at my ankle and nearly vomited. My foot was twisted backward and pointing up toward my back. Blood left thin steaks of red running down my ankle where my bone was showing. Carefully I took my foot in my hands and slamming my teeth together slammed it back down and twisted it forward again. A scream rang through the forest for a few minutes as I sat there and my vision flickered black a few times. Finally I tried to stand but fell back to the ground grinding my teeth together. I looked back toward the trees and that's when I saw her. A woman stood at the end of the trees. She was completely surrounded in white light. As I watched she moved silently through the trees. Her moves were full of grace as she walked. She stopped a few feet away from me and I gasped. She was extremely beautiful.
"Ashira. You are not safe here. You must leave." The woman said, her voice was full of love and kindness like my mother's whenever I got her as a child. My eyes suddenly fell closed and when I opened them again the woman was gone. Slowly I stood up and walked back to the hut. When I got there Rosella and her mother were sound asleep. Quietly I slipped into my "bed" and fell softly into sleep. My dreams were full of the woman. I felt like I knew her but every time I tried to figure out how I would suddenly wake up. I tried to figure out her name because I was sure I knew what it was but I could never figure it out. All night I slipped into a fitfull sleep.