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Awakening (Born From Shadows #1)

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Chapter One

Tatianna Fiducia gazed upon the darkened city with hungry, desperate eyes. Her mind fixated on the smell of ambrosial roasts flowing in the winter’s breeze, sweeping through the gelid streets to her grumbling stomach. Her head reposed upon a brick wall that her small body was slumped against, taking the moment to relax in tranquillity as she tried to figure out where to find food in the cold night.

There was no way in which she could glom the victuals from the mansions that surrounded her. She could only eat the scraps left in the dumpsters once the opulent were finished filling their stomachs to the limit if there was one.

A screeching noise echoed across the city telling her that another person had finished relishing in their food and warmth. She stood from her spot on the snow-covered floor and made her way towards the noise as expeditiously as her frangible body could take her, knowing what would transpire if she did not make it in time. Of the consequence that loomed upon her if she wasn’t quick enough.

Her torn black cloak swayed in the wind as she ran as fast as her feet could carry her. The worn-out girl’s eccentric eyes seemed to sigh in relief at the sight when she arrived at her destination. No one else was there.

Her feet made a susurration in the snow as she stalked towards her meal like a cat. A pile of half-eaten food had been left on the ground from when a benevolent person scraped it off their plate or discarded it, because somehow the precious food was no more use to them. It laid on the gravel for a waif, like herself, to eat.

Not taking any chances or hesitating for even a moment, she dived for the half-eaten food. Grabbing all that she could carry, turned and dashed back towards her corner that was only a few streets away. Tatianna resumed her position that she was sitting in minutes before she found the food, with her body on the floor. Like a rabid animal, she shovelled the soft bread into her mouth only to be disturbed a few moments later by the yelling of men which could be heard reverberating in her eardrums. The fight between the ones that slumbered under the stars had commenced. They battled over the food that she was unable to pick up in her arms.

They were the reason Tatianna knew that if she did not get there in time, she would be consuming nothing and only having bruises and cuts to comfort her on this cold night, because of the more vigorous men that would fight over the remnants of the meal. She learnt of this quickly and because of it, in her little years of life, she has learnt to defend and protect herself. In the streets is when one’s animal instincts are exposed. Where a human is perceived for what they genuinely are. A selfish monster.

To survive, a set of rules was needed. Tatianna deciphered this when she was still a child getting used to life under the stars where not a soul cared for her. Rule one; never go for food or eat when others are nearby. Rule two; stay in a place that is not too isolated, but still secretive enough that people cannot easily find you. Rule three; stay within walking distance of water, but never right next to it. Finally, rule four; don’t trust anyone.

Tatianna obeyed those rules as if they were the law, and to her they were. Never breaking them in trepidation of what may transpire to her, of the consequences they held. The necessary guidelines to survive and survive she did. Eleven years on the streets, she cannot recollect a time when she had a warm home…a family.

The tired teenager looked down towards the food that she was almost finished eating. A half-eaten apple and some bread that seemed to be getting mouldy from the spots of colours on it. A sigh eluded her lips, she was profuse of gratitude for what little she was provided despite it having a high chance of making her lamentably ill. All she was worried about was getting through this day and living in the next.

She snuggled underneath the torn grey blanket that she stole many moons ago on a cold night such as this. Her bare feet were numb from the snow they laid on. It’s a wonder how she has not died of hypothermia yet, considering the temperatures and the limited amount of attire that she had to wear.

Just as Tatianna was finally falling to sleep, a howling noise erupted into the black night jolting her eyes awake. A wolf on their own hunt for food, prowling through the very streets that she laid on. Tatianna pressed her body closer to the brick wall, hoping she wouldn’t be that hungry wolf’s dinner like another man she once knew was. As she did, her long caramel hair fell upon her bony shoulders, cocooning her body within herself. All that remained was to rest and arouse the next morning, to reiterate what she has done her whole life. Her hand clasped around the small dagger she had strapped to her waist, hidden underneath her cloak.

The tired girl closed her eyelids and drifted off into the realm of dreams.

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