The Citadel of Meli was immersed in thick opaline mist. The night was chasing the second sun from the titian sky while the merchants were rushing to gather their products and leave Thelos Plaza. Bessa glanced to her right, hoping to spot her fellow merchant, but she had already gone. The girl sighed, for she dreaded to be alone in the evenings, and her home was twenty minutes away, on the outskirts of the city.
Bessa waved her hand over the bracelets, necklaces and rings made with precious stones from the valley of Pricca River. Crystals with utter uniqueness in their texture and colour were shining in the light of candles. The jewels moved in boxes under the girl’s magic. She observed as everything was aligning quietly on the cabinet shelves and the doors closed shut. Her mother forbade her to use her magic in public, and she complied. But sometimes, especially at night, she wanted to go home so badly that she broke the rule. Once or twice won’t matter.
The girl sealed the stone hut, and slightly discouraged, she covered her head with a fluffy woollen shawl and left the plaza behind. She could hear voices in the distance, arguing over a royalty matter. The King’s oldest son was getting married to a beautiful princess. One voice said that the future bride was from another realm, but the second voice disagreed since the other worlds were known to be uninhabited.
Terrified by the sly shadows dancing in the dense mist, Bessa hastened her steps. The fog was often present because of the waters surrounding the city suburbs. The murky waters were sheltering sinister creatures called chameras lurking into their depths. They would feed with corpses and emerge at night, under the mystic light of Megalot and Omega, devouring animals in people’ households. Humans would go missing now and then, and everyone believed that chameras were responsible for those disappearings.
The girl was panting while struggling to spot the bridge’s lights. The bridge was linking her neighbourhood to the commercial areas. Finally, she detected the night lights positioned at the beginning of the bridge and gasped—ten more minutes to my house.
She glared at the waters, silvery and mysterious, and her heartbeats increased. Then, a splash followed by a sharp sound made her stop in fear. She searched a place to hide for a moment, but the bridge had non. Another splash echoed, followed by a sharp sound. Somewhere behind her, steps hollowed, and Bessa sprinted forwards. The follower increased their pace, and the girl increased hers as well. Drops of sweat emerged on her upper lip, and her temples flustered. Now she was running for real, the wooden boards whining under her feet.
“Miss Bessa? Miss?”
The girl halted, her voice lost between gasps. “Who is it? Moes? Is that you?” she asked, recognising the boy’s guttural voice.
“Yes, it’s me, Moes. Are you in a hurry? Why are you running?” The lad finally caught her up. He lightly ran his hand through his bleached hair and propped his palms on his knees while taking a deep breath. He was pretty handsome, tall and fine-boned, and Bessa fancied him.
“It’s the mist. It scares me,” the girl cried.
“Oh,” the boy responded and beamed. “Then I’ll join you.”
“But your house is in the opposite direction.”
Moes smiled and grabbed her hand. They were walking in silence, and Bessa wasn’t afraid of the mist anymore. She was listening in silence to the boy’s precipitated breath and softly squeezed his hand as they reached her house.
“I’ll wait for you to get inside,” the boy said.
“Thank you,” Bessa whispered regretfully. For a long second, her eyes wondered on Moes’s generous lips. She closed her eyes, her heart pounding like crazy. She smiled and pushed against the massive entrance door; it opened with a stridulous sound. A few seconds later, a powerful knock echoed. Bessa smirked and opened the door widely. She didn’t have time to look at the person’s face; she only felt the blunt object smashing her face, and everything went black.