Chapter 1 : Prologue
| ||Rating: Mature||Chapter Reviews: 21|
Change Background: Change Font color:
Anaxandra sprinted as fast as her feet could carry her with the sound of shrieks reverberating in her ears as she fled. The bottom of her bare feet ached as they pounded against the hard stone floor, her lungs begging for air. She heard the screams and cackles growing louder until they became deafeningly close.
She turned a corner.
“Come out, come out wherever you are!” a female voice shrieked, causing an echo through the halls. “I can smell you!”
Loud guttural screams followed, and the echoes traveled down the hall until they tickled Anaxandra’s back. One scream in particular had made its way to Anaxandra’s ears and she felt her heart break. They had found her little sister…
She flew down a flight of stairs.
She had been fighting against the tears threatening to fall and she finally lost the battle. The tears broke the barrier and started pouring down her face. Her pace slowed until she rounded another corner and came to a full halt; unable to pull herself together.
No… I have to keep going…
Just as she took another step, a nearby door opened and a pair of arms flew out to grab her shoulders and pull her in. The door closed and a hand flew over Anaxandra’s mouth, pulling her closer.
More screams filled her ears, and now the flow of tears was uncontrollable.
“Stay quiet.” The voice spoke in sharp, hushed tones.
Breaking from the rough arms, she turned around to see her parents’ faces illuminated by candlelight. She had been pulled in to a broom closet. Her father held a finger to his lips to signal to be quiet. He turned and opened a small trap door that lay under a rug on the floor.
“I want both of you to go. When all is clear, I will meet you at the end of the tunnel.”
“What is happening?” Anaxandra whispered.
Her mother clung on to her husband's arm. “I’m not leaving here without you!” she quietly cried.
“You have no choice, just go!” Her father ripped his arm out of her grip and ushered her to the trap door. Tears cascaded down her face as she descended the ladder.
Anaxandra leaned forward and kissed her father on the cheek. “Promise me you will meet us.” Her father’s steel gray eyes held nothing but pain as he nodded and ushered his daughter in to the secret passage to meet her mother.
“Search everywhere! Make sure you find all of them!” The violent voice was far away, for now.
“I want you to run,” he begged as the sound of hisses and snarls made their way closer. “I want you to run as fast as you can and don’t look back.”
Anaxandra watched as he closed the trap door, leaving her and her mother to stand at the base of the iron ladder.
The straight stone passageway was sparsely lit; torches lining its walls every twenty feet. It was wide enough for two people to comfortably walk side by side, and it was so long that Anaxandra couldn't even see the end. It looked like it led into oblivion.
Her attention briefly flew to the anguish of her blistered feet, the throbbing in her chest and legs, and the stinging of tears on her face. Her hands balled in to fists, she could barely muster the strength to keep going, ignoring the protest of her suffering body.
“Come on, Mum!” she choked out, as she began her race to the end of the tunnel.
After a minute, Anaxandra heard a weak voice echo behind her. "I love you, Ana."
Disobeying her father’s orders, Anaxandra stopped and looked back.
Turning around, she felt all the air leave her lungs. She could no longer breathe… Her mother had started running back towards the trap door.
“No…” Anaxandra breathed unsteadily, “No!”
It was too late. Her mother had begun her ascension up the ladder and through the door. There was a final locking sound and Anaxandra stood, frozen. Her mother had made her choice and there was nothing she could do. She turned and began sprinting down the long, cold tunnel. Her broken heart was struggling to beat hard enough and her feet ached, the bottom of them starting to bleed. The last thing she could hear was the high-pitched scream of her mother trailing behind her.
After a few minutes, Anaxandra had finally made it to the dimly lit end of the passageway only to find nothing; no door and no ladder. This far in to the tunnel, the light was scarce. She began frantically feeling around in the darkness, hoping to feel a way out. All she felt was smooth stone. Fear was coursing through her veins and caused her to start shaking. Anaxandra felt helpless. Why would her father tell her to come down here? What was she supposed to do? She didn't even have her wand.
She fell to her knees and started bawling uncontrollably, her head in her hands. They, whoever they were, could find that trap door. They could follow it and it would lead straight to her. Maybe by then she will have embraced her fate and she will die a swift death. Or maybe no one would find her at all, and she would remain down here. Starvation and thirst would take her over first, then insanity. Then, she would die alone... Yes, she would die there, never surfacing. She couldn't bring herself to go back up the entrance to the passageway and see what became of her home... of her family...
Of all the times to be a lamb rather than a lion...
Wiping the tears away, a slight glint of something shone on the floor in front of her. Cautiously, she reached out and touched it. There was a sharp tug at her navel and she flew upward. The tunnel area began to dissipate around her, and as suddenly as her feet left the tunnel floor, they just as quickly made contact with soft mud. She looked up and saw the large, full moon. Feeling grass and mud between her fingers, she concluded she was outside and stood up. The whole area was lit in an orange-yellow glow. Where was this light coming from if she was outdoors?
Anaxandra turned around, her eyes widened in horror as, in the distance, she saw giant flames engulfing her home. The fire eagerly ate away at the wood paneling, burning away her childhood home. The roof she spent many nights stargazing on had caved in, and fed the murderous flames, causing them to dance in delight. Ignoring the burning sensation in her feet and the soreness of her legs and neglecting the aching in her chest she ran in to the darkness. She would run as far as her feet would take her. She would not look back.