The moonlight glinted off the metal window frame, highlighting the silhouette of a little girl. She rested her arms on the windowsill with her long, amber hair tumbling down around her. It covered patches of her exposed skin, making a lattice of shadows on her arm. She had been standing there for hours, watching, staring, thinking.
The girl wasn’t up for a particular reason. She simply couldn’t sleep, so had gotten up to gaze at the moon. However, as the night dragged on, she had fallen into a trancelike state where time ran at a different speed. Had she looked at her clock, she would have been surprised at how far the wooden hands had progressed. Even though the moon had moved far across the sky, to her, it didn’t seem like more than an hour had passed.
The girl was simply pondering the moon, at the moment. There were so many shadows and dimples in the face that she could almost pick out images on it. A bunny, like in her father’s fairy tales. A fantasy land. The face of a man.
As she was gazing, a strange shadow suddenly crossed the light. The movement caught her attention, breaking her trancelike state as she whipped her head around to focus on it. She had caught just a glimpse before the shadow disappeared around the curve of the house’s wall where she could follow it no more. It had looked like some winged creature was flying by, but she didn’t know if it were her imagination or lack of sleep that was causing her to see such images. Perhaps it was just a bird that had startled her.
After watching the skies for a few more minutes, the girl saw nothing else. She resumed her position at the window, resting her head on her arms this time. As she looked upon the glowing moon, she began to return to her trance.
And then, the girl fell to the floor. A sudden, sharp pain had exploded in her head. It was like nothing she had experienced before, consuming her entire mind. She clutched her skull desperately with her fingers in an unsuccessful attempt to relieve the agony. She closed her eyes and tried to call out, but her voice would produce no sound. Fragments of red shot through her vision every time she moved a muscle - a visual manifestation of her suffering. Every breath caused jolts of pain to shoot through her body. She ceased breathing. Seconds slowly ticked by as the girl writhed on the floor in silence; nobody who would come to her aid at this time of the night. Everybody was asleep. So great was her pain that she could not even feel fear. She could focus only on her head.
As suddenly as the pain had come, it left. The girl was left gasping for breath, but greatly relieved. She stayed on the floor as she recovered, soon able to take full breaths and see colors besides red. As soon as her mind cleared enough to think properly, curiosity soon bested her other thoughts. Why had such a sudden pain occurred to her? Where did it come from? She didn’t know.
As the girl lay on the floor, she began to notice vibrations coming through the floorboards. She tried to focus on the sound coming through, but was unable to distinguish the source. What was happening now? Nobody in her household should be awake, and especially not at this hour.
The girl tiptoed toward the closed door of her bedroom. She cracked the door and peeked out, half expecting some creature to jump out at her. When nothing did, she widened it a little to see the hallway better. Anxiety fluttered in her chest as she tried to find the source of the sounds from her limited vantage point at the door. She couldn’t find it, so she thought to close the door again and hope it stopped soon.
Just as she was about to close the door, the girl heard footsteps pounding up the stairs. She recognized the pattern - her father was coming, and quickly. The girl threw open the door as her father came around the bend in the hallway. He scooped her up in his arms, hushing her with a finger to his lips. Despite his request to stay quiet, the girl still peppered him with questions.
“Papa, what’s the sound coming from downstairs? Did you know I saw something fly by the moon tonight?”
Her father began carrying her away from the staircase. She asked where they were going, and he replied with a vague answer.
“Your mother has some visitors over right now. We’re going to give them a little space, okay?”
The girl nodded. That was a sensible explanation. Her parents had many eccentric friends, and some arrived after nightfall when they had been travelling from distant places. Oftentimes, she was instructed to leave alone the visitors after introductions had been made. After all, they must be tired, hungry, or otherwise wanting of solitude. Her father would usually take her someplace else so her mother could entertain the visitors. But a sense of apprehension slowly rose within the girl as her father moved throughout the house. Where were they going? This wasn’t their usual routine.
The girl’s worry increased when her father opened the door to the balcony. She couldn’t imagine any possible reason they should stay outside in the middle of the night.
The girl was even more surprised when her father climbed the railing. She panicked, afraid they would fall and be injured. Her father looked down at her face, giving a weak smile in an attempt to comfort her. Then, in a dizzying rush of air, the two of them dropped. The girl closed her eyes and felt her stomach drop, then waited for the impact. When there was none, she opened her eyes in surprise and looked around. They were running very, very quickly away from the house. Glancing over her father’s shoulder, the girl saw lights of many colors that almost reminded her of fireworks illuminating the walls and surrounding vegetation. However, although she scanned the area many times, she could not find the source of the lights.
“Papa, where are we going?” she asked again. Her father took a moment before he answered. Between strained breaths, he gave another vague reply.
“Far away from here, but only for a short while.”
The girl’s anxiety increased at his response. Her father was the type of man who could answer any question - why couldn’t he answer this one? Why couldn’t he tell her what was happening?
The girl buried her face in the comfort of her father’s silky nightshirt. She tried to focus on the rhythmic pounding of his footsteps across the ground. They were going so fast. His strides were so much longer than hers. She couldn’t ever recall him having running this fast before.
Because she wasn’t watching, the girl was almost dropped when her father suddenly halted. She looked up in alarm. At first, she didn’t see anything. But then, she saw the shadows that surrounded them. The same ones that had crossed the moon.
That was when her memories of the night ended. Yes, she knew much more had happened. But she couldn't remember the actual occurence, and nobody had ever spoken of it again. There was too much loss, too much for a young child to bear. But forever after, the girl remembered this much: it was then that the angels had left her side. It was then that her life had been thrown to hell.
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