“Have you ever used a gun before?” she asked me before smiling. She reminded me of a snake, teasing its prey.
I shook my head, my hands trembling, my aim uncertain.
“Well make sure you don’t miss me,” she hissed, her scarlet eyes blazing. “If you do, I will eat your soul.”
I pulled down hard on the trigger – click – and again – click - it was empty. Whilst I stared, fearful, at the lump of metal before me, she cackled and lifted her head to the skies before calling out in a foreign tongue.
I let the gun tumble to the floor.
At her command, a ring of black-garbed figures appeared from the trees and circled around me. They began to chant. I tossed my head left and right, but I couldn’t see any escape. Both fear and confusion flooded my veins.
“You are worthy, young one,” she said, the words assaulting my ears, “you do as you’re told.”
I panicked, making a break towards a gap between two black spectres, only to be picked up by them and thrown back to her feet - it was only meant to be a nature trip, not anything like this.
“Don’t get anxious, young one, this is only the beginning.” Her penetrating glare sliced into me as she spoke these words.
I got to my feet and stood still, trembling slightly due to the fear and the cold.
It began to rain.
The pure rain drops slid down her black, leather overcoat and fell softly onto her metal-studded jackboots, then ran off and pooled around her feet.
The silence pounded my senses, my eyes blinked furiously as rainwater hurtled into them. I looked up at her, afraid, nervous and with my clothes plastered onto my skin. I noticed the rain subsiding, and the pleasant pitter-patter of water hitting leaves coming slowly to a stop.
“You must join us and help redeem this world. You have already proved your obedience, now do something with it.”
“Who are you?” I asked, “I thought you were one of mum’s friends, taking me on a nature trip?”
“Ha!” her eyes lit up with amusement at this point, “Don’t you see? There is more at stake here.” She paused. “You were willing to take my life, so now I am willing to take yours.”
My heart beat faster, my eyes widened, my breath became quick and shallow. It was going to be a fun trip; she was going to teach me about birds, about owls. But then there was the gun, and now this.
I backed away from her, but only to trip over onto a slippery stone surface – an altar. She came closer, pulled out a penknife from her jacket, and said, “The blood of a worthy child will recall our Lord from hell.”
As she advanced, the moon suddenly appeared from behind a cloud, spilling moonlight over the forest. In the light, she and the robed men vanished.
So I ran.
by Jack Colley