The crescent moon glows in the night sky, giving off just enough light to see the silhouettes of the objects around. The leaves on the trees rattle as a crisp autumn breeze dances through the air. A woman, standing in the opening of a small grove of trees, shivers from the cold. A baby, with hair as black as night, squirms in her arms and lets out a whimpered cry; she pulls it closer to her chest and tries to cover its head with the blanket it’s tightly wrapped in. Another crisp breeze whips around her causing the skirt of her old-worn dress to twist around her legs. An eerie feeling begins to pour in around her, and the hairs on the back of her neck stand up. A chill runs down her back, but not from the cold. She looks around to see if she can notice any movements, but the trees cut off the moon's light making it difficult to see what’s under their branches. Suddenly, a dark figure in a hooded cloak walks out from behind a tree into the open right in front of her.
“Did you come alone?” His voice is deep and masculine, and as he gets closer she can tell that he is very tall and well built, but the hood over his head makes it too dark to see his face.
“Y..yes.” she tries to hide the fear in her voice, but it’s useless.
“Perfect. Now then, hand over the child and I’ll be on my way.” He holds out his hand gesturing towards the bundled baby in her arms.
“Please, I’m begging you, don’t take my little boy. He’s just a baby.”
Her eyes fill up with tears; another gust of wind blows around them whipping her long brown hair in front of her face.
“If you didn’t want me to take the boy then why did you agree to meet me?”
“Because, you threatened the safety of my village… and I’d hoped you would show a little compassion and mercy if I begged you to stop, and leave us alone.”
“Threatened?” He places his hand on his chest as if to say he was hurt by her comment; then he lets out a slight chuckle that sends chills down her spine. “Oh my dear, I am the one that keeps you and everyone in this village safe. The only thing I ask for in return is to take these cursed children off your hands. So, you see, all the things I’m doing are good deeds all around.”
“Cursed? These children are not cursed; they are gifted! You have just led others to believe that their children are a danger and a threat when in fact they are a blessing… And you don’t protect us. All you do is burden us with your greed and desire to create your own army of personal assassins.”
The two stand in silence. The wind begins to pick up causing more uneasiness between the two of them. He chuckles again, this time louder, as if he’s super amused by what she just said.
“I have to say you are a lot braver then you seem. I like that in a woman.”
He takes a step closer to her, and she staggers back almost falling over her dress.
“Please, just leave us alone!” she begs
Her heart is racing and her whole body shaking in fear.
“I’m not leaving until I get what I came here for!” He yells, his voice is no longer calm, he sounds more impatient and threatening. Suddenly three other shadowy figures appear from the trees surrounding her, all of them carrying swords strapped to their hips.
“Take the child away from her.” The man orders.
“And what do you want us to do with her?” One of the three men asks.
“… Kill her.”
Her eyes widen in terror and she clutches her baby closer to her. She looks around trying to figure out a way to escape; the men unsheathe their swords and her legs scream to run, but the three of them are blocking the way.
“No, please. I beg of you have mercy!”
“Kill her, and take the child!”
She whips around to the three men surrounding her. She looks at her surroundings trying to think of a quick and safe way out; as they step towards her they create a gap between two of them. I have to get out of here, she thinks, if I use a mist spell maybe it will distract them enough to slip through unnoticed. she raises one of her hands in the air and yells,
Her eyes glow a vibrant purple and a thick fog shoots from her raised hand, filling the air and surrounding everyone. Chaos ensues between the four men and without any hesitation she takes off and runs through the gap between the two men. One of them notices her and tries swinging his sword at her, but she ducks and runs away disappearing into the trees.
“Don’t let her get away; after her!” the first man screams.
She cradles her baby closer and keeps running, dodging branches and rocks that come into view; but the trees block out most of the moon’s light making it difficult to see, still she keeps running continuously getting smacked by branches that she doesn’t see in time. She can’t stop, she has to keep running or they’ll catch her, kill her, and take her baby. And if they do that they’ll turn him into a weapon with no regards to human emotion; so, she continues to run as fast as she can.
She can see the lights from the lamp posts that surround her village flickering off in the distance, and she begins to feel slightly relieved; tears begin to flow down her cheeks. She can’t hear the four men anymore; her breathing has become extremely heavy, her legs are burning, and she holds her baby as close to her as she can. The lights are getting brighter and bigger as she gets closer, but just before she reaches the end of the grove of trees she hears a small whistling sound behind her, and before she has time to register what the sound is she feels a sharp stabbing pain hit her leg; she screams and falls to the ground. Trying to protect her baby she pulls him in and lands on her side. When she hits the ground the baby begins to cry uncontrollably, she tries to calm him down but he just gets louder. Her leg is throbbing and as she tries to move it the pain becomes more intense. She lets out a painful whimper, and when she looks down she sees an arrow sticking out of her lower thigh. Her leg feels warm from the blood gushing out of the wound, soaking the skirt of her dress. Suddenly, four figures appear from the darkness behind her.
“Thought you could get away, did you? And for a second there you almost did.” The first man says, and she can tell from the tone of his voice that he’s mocking her, but she can also hear a little bit of frustration as if he thought she might’ve gotten away as well.
“I made sure to hit her artery, she’ll bleed out before anyone can help her.” One of the men says.
He walks over, reaches down and grabs the boy from her arms.
“No! No, give him back!”
She tries to get up and fight him, but one of the other men strikes her across the cheek, knocking her back down to the ground. The man who shot her gets down and grabs the arrow sticking out of her thigh, she screams in pain and her vision goes blurry as tears stream down her cheeks. She can hear her baby crying but she can’t move. The first man looks down at her rocking her child in his arms.
“Please... why are you doing this?” she asks with a hoarse voice.
“Don’t worry, I’ll take good care of him.”
One of the lights on the other side of the trees reflects onto his face revealing a menacing smile. He turns around and begins to walk away,
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