2.9 Silent night, bloody night

All I felt was burning rage. Rage against every living being. Scanning around the room, I took note of my enemies. I heard their frantic breathing. Dozens of heartbeats beating out of sync. The smell of blood was everywhere. I was excited. It didn’t take too long to discover a screeching ‘Dried Cedar’. With an inhumane dash, I closed the distance between us in an instant. In the next instance, I used my bare hand to stab into her fragile body. She didn’t even have the time to grasp what has happened. Bones cracked. I felt my fingers gently embrace …

2.8 I gladly submit

“What are you afraid of?!” ‘Dried Cedar’ screamed back some sense into the adults that were present. “This woman is trapped behind the barrier! Continue with the ceremony!” Upon hearing this, the guard that had killed Valerian and Reed, continued. Goodbye Elm, I never really knew you. I watched in terror, as the lifeless little body dropped with a loud ‘thud’ on the ground, his blood merging with the bloody stream. At the same time, I kept on struggling, when I noticed the belt of my tunic had loosened. With one bold move, I slipped out of my top and …

2.7 New moon

I don’t know how long I was kept there. In complete darkness, you lose any sense of time. It must have been quite a while though. They regularly brought me food and tea, but my body rebelled against the highly dosed poison in it. I think they were at a complete loss on why I wasn’t becoming as drowsy as my peers. Sleep was another challenge in this confined space. Besides the smelly area where I regularly threw up my food and defecated, there wasn’t much floor to lie down. All I could do was sleep while sitting, back leaning …

2.6 You are too late, mummy!

It was really as the stranger had told it. When I returned, nobody had noticed my absence. And since Lilly was in the process of being bandaged, I wasn’t gone for too long. This gave me the confidence to secretly return to the stranger within the temple. This was just a poor unfortunate soul, right? I pondered a lot, but even when I asked her, she never responded. The most I could get was a cheeky smile. Almost every day I managed to find some free time to sneak back into the temple. Since I somehow knew my way, I …

2.5 Taming the lion

We stared at each other for Nu knows how long. Frankly, I was just terrified. I mean, you have this ghostly adult Sadako chained to the wall, staring at you with vengeful eyes. In addition to that, I felt a wave of emotions rolling over me. It was as if this woman was probing me, trying to find out who I am, and what I was doing here. However, she did not speak a single word. There were no voices in my head. Just a weird sense within me, compelling me to answer her. Bit by bit, I responded to …

2.4 The captive

I honestly don’t know how I managed, but I actually did it. Every night I grabbed my stuffed hen, reached through an open seam and took out a small vial with a concoction my mother had brewed for me. I swallowed a few drops before tucking it back into the hen and going to sleep. At first, I didn’t notice anything special, and I began thinking my mother just went a little crazy there. But then I noticed small differences. All the kids began having these vacant stares. As if they were no longer in their own bodies. When they …

2.3 Unwilling disciple

We were escorted to a flight of stairs carved into the stone. They ran up all the way to the first plateau. And I tell you, walking them up was not an easy task! At the very end, everybody was panting, some were even crawling up the last few steps. Well, except the black guards, they probably could jog all the way down and up several times without breaking into a sweat. As soon as we entered the plateau, a group of four female practitioners greeted us. Each one was wearing a different-colored robe. The woman in the front wore …

2.2 On the road

We traveled for several days. How many, I cannot recall. It was very, very long, though. We passed through many villages and towns which hosted great festivals for us. It kind of felt as if we were celebrities, and the thought slowly crept into our minds. The boys began behaving arrogantly towards other children, speaking to them in a condescending tone (now, really, mates?). Lilly, being pious as always, was the little darling everybody adored. Not surprisingly, she was often seen with her hands folded in prayer and reciting Nu prayers she had been practicing ever since she could talk. …

2.1 Goodbye, the world as I knew it

One week after we caught the Vice Representative’s attention, we were to embark on our journey. Only I knew that it was going to be one with no return. My mother made sure I remained silent. But to be honest, though, after the incident on that evening, I had pretty much forgotten everything already. Instead, I was enjoying life to the fullest again, playing in the streets with my friends. What can you expect from a 6-year-old boy? During the days until then, my mother had stopped accepting clients and locked herself up in the little cabin next to our …