A typical, light evening breeze blew the fallen leaves off of a distinct roof. This particular roof, his usual spot of choosing his victims, barely served for its original purpose. He scoffed as he lowered his body, bending his knees and shifting his weight onto the heels of his feet. His dilated pupils followed one isolated slave - his next victim - who had the nerve to slack off while he sat in a small corner of an alley. The slave picked his nose and lazily stared at his finger as he eyed the green prize he had received.
He narrowed his eyes in disgust; he couldn’t wait until he would teach the slave a lesson. Soon it would become dark, and the people of the middle class would hide in their pathetic excuses for houses. The slaves, on the other hand, were not as lucky. Day or night, it didn’t matter. They were obligated to fulfill the errands of their so-called masters.
It didn’t take long before the sun left the town, taking the feeling of safeness with it. Now, it was his time to shine. He stood up and jumped from one roof to the other. He didn’t shed a single bead of sweat as he effortlessly moved in the dark, navigating with his strong sense of smell.
Finally, he spotted his chosen victim for night. The tall, well-built slave, who had been slacking off, carried a total of three pots. One of them on his neck, and the two others on each shoulder, they were probably filled with water. It was clear the slave was struggling to keep his balance. He stopped jumping when he reached the house in front of the slave. He flexed his arm and looked closer at the slave, the latter was frightened. It didn’t surprise him. Everyone would be when walking at this hour of the night.
The slave looked in every direction, hastily searching for anything out of place.
Nice, I can smell his fear.
He swiftly jumped off the roof. No sound was to be heard when he did. The slave, who was now walking in front of him, trembled. The predator made sure to remain unnoticed until they both reached the darker part of the street, the part where the moonlight couldn’t reach. He smirked, every door and window from the houses on the street were tightly closed, no lights were to be seen, all because the people feared him.
A shiver ran up the slave’s spine. The slave now knew of his presence, but he was too scared to turn around. The victim feared for his life. He knew that these were probably his last moments. Images of his mother and grandma flashed through his mind. The slave couldn’t control his body as it began to shake furiously
The prey accidentally let one pot fall, the sound of the dried clay, smashing onto the hard soil made him scream his lungs out. His high pitched voice echoed in the street, before it slowly died out.
The predator watched the slave make a fool out of himself. The former confined his laugh to a snort, how pathetic for a well build slave to scream higher than a woman. The slave slowly bent down to safely put the other pots on the hard soil. Then he tried to pick up the broken pieces with shaking hands. A small bead of sweat rolled down his bare back as he followed the path of the spilled water with his eyes.
That’s when the prey saw him.
A large, dark shadow, stood right in front of him. It was tall, intimidating, had pointy long nails and the slave knew that he was dangerous. The slave could only see a black silhouette as thick, grey smoke surrounded them both. The prey didn’t see a face which only added fuel to the fire which was his fear, he couldn’t tear his eyes away nor could he use his feet to flee.
‘’P-Please d-don’t, I have a family…p-please...’’
It was futile; the dark shadow wouldn’t listen to him. He never did when his victims would cry out in fear, begging him to spare their souls.
He moved forward, closer to the scared slave, who hadn’t moved an inch ever since he crouched. The slave was paralyzed from fear. His knees were shaking as were his hands. Thick, hot tears streamed down his face, the predator glared, his prey looked uglier by the second.
‘’I-I don’t want to d-die! Not yet, please!’’
A disgusting sound pierced the predator’s ears. The prey had just inhaled his dripping mucus.
The dark shadow stepped forward in a sudden- consuming his prey, he ripped the human flesh apart. The slave screamed out in pain but there was no one to help him. The people knew this happened frequently and no one dared to interfere when the shadow was brutally murdering his victims.
It only took the predator a minute to completely shred his prey to pieces. An arm- there, one leg- here, his head- gone. There was nothing left of the once-healthy, human body. He smirked as he kicked a hand to the other side of the street, hitting the front door of a random house. The human blood, which smelled like rotten beehves (the fruit his mother always made him eat), had mixed with the water of the other two pots (he had broken them while he had been playing with the human flesh).
The predator exhaled a deep breath, and made a mental picture of the mess he had made, before he jumped on a roof again- retreating for the rest of the night.
Tomorrow, he would shine again.
Two-hundred lunar years later
‘’Just five more minutes…’’
Sura sighed; it was her last class for the day. The brunette bit her lip and took a glance around the room. Her classmates seemed to be as bored as she was; they were either hiding their faces to sleep in peace or watching their lap, to play with their electronics. Only a couple of them were genuinely scribbling notes down. Sura sighed, again, when her history teacher continued his mono-toned lecture about some random person’s life.
‘’This will be in the quiz of next week so be sure to note it down.’’
The History teacher finally moved his body as he turned to the board. Sura took this chance to close her eyes for a second. Her body relaxed as she could, at last, rest her heavy eyelids. Sura didn’t even feel bad about the fact that she was too lazy to copy the notes into her empty notebook.
I’ll remember this, it’s easy.
A small part of her peers disagreed, Sura heard their pens slide over the papers, writing down the information her teacher was providing. Sura wondered how they still had the energy to focus.
Sura’s eyes shot open when someone dropped a book on the ground. The brunette glared at the responsible classmate before she stared out of the window. Fall, her favorite season, had arrived; the leaves on the tree were slowly dropping from the high branches. Sura watched as it almost seemed like the wind played with them, making them dance in small circles over the ground.
Suddenly, Sura felt a shiver run up her spine as goosebumps randomly appeared on her skin.
‘’Sura, do you want to study with me in the library this afternoon?’’
The brunette flinched and looked in front of her to the source of the outspoken question. A classmate had turned her torso backwards to face Sura. The former wore a questioning expression. Her black hair was tied into a high ponytail and her bangs were neatly combed. Her eyelashes curled up- towards her plucked eyebrows, and her lip-glossed lips reflected the light that shone from above. Zahra put a lot of effort in her appearance, and oddly enough, she found enough time to be a good student, as well.
Sura couldn’t find time for either of that.
Sura relaxed her back and shook her head. She didn’t feel like studying today. Sura had already planned to walk with her dog, Monggu, through the old ruins in the back of the city. She frequently did so and the last time the brunette had a chance to leave the house was already more than a week ago.
‘’I’m sorry, Zahra. I have important things to do.’’
‘’Isn’t this important, too? We have a quiz next week!’’ Zahra pouted. ‘’Besides, I’ll help you with math.’’ she added with a wink.
Sura narrowed her eyes and pulled her nose up. The brunette couldn’t deny the offer sounded attractive, since she sucked at math, and Zahra happened to know this as no other. Sura was the lazy kind of student, so, she hardly put any work into the subject. Zahra, on the other hand, being the smart pants who actually did her homework, easily scored A’s on her math tests.
‘’…fine!’’ Sura growled in defeat as she hung her head. She knew it was inevitable, sooner or later the brunette would ask Zahra to help her anyway.
Better get it over with.
Sura hugged her arms closer to her body. Her summer jacket was too thin to protect her from the mildly, cold breeze which was currently terrorizing the streets. Sura absentmindedly pouted her lips as she passed by one of the oldest houses in the city. It was huge, it was more of a mansion, and it had brick walls covering most of the garden. She could only look inside through the vertical openings of the steel gates. The brunette had passed this house countless times, but never did she have a chance to see the inside of it.
It had been empty for almost sixty five years. Sura hadn’t even been aware of it until she overheard her mom mentioning it to the neighbors last week. Ever since that moment Sura’s interest in the house had definitely peaked.
Sura stopped when she reached the main gate. It was right next to the street. She slightly bent her neck, and peeked inside with curious eyes. The front garden was huge, yet neglected. There were dead plants, and leaves scattered around the place. The few plants which were still alive had grown large and left an intimidating air around the young adult.
In the middle of the garden a fountain, which was located a couple of meters away from the stairs, which, on their turn, led to the main entrance of the house, pulled Sura’s attention. It was truly beautiful even in that neglected state. The white color had faded over the years as nature still tried to take over the artwork. Spots of dark brown and green oddly decorated the piece of architecture. A noticeable smile played on Sura’s lips as her eyes followed a small, blue bird. It landed gracefully on the edge, seemingly not minding the lack of water since the only things in it were crumbled leaves.
And then her eyes landed on a statue. It wasn’t the only one in the garden, but for some reason, Sura’s eyes were glued to it. The statue looked like a person; it was bigger than the fountain as it almost reached the high walls. The brunette estimated it to be around 6 feet long. She couldn’t make out the expression since it wasn’t a master piece, but there was a recognizable head and a disfigured torso, which resembled a prism more than a body. It looked creepy, and Sura didn’t like it at all. The statue didn’t suit the rest of the garden, like it didn’t belong in there, it was out of place. Sura flinched as she felt something against her neck, as if bugs were playing tag on her pale skin. The brunette harshly scratched the itching place with furrowed brows. However, her hand didn’t meet any culprit responsible for the uneasy feeling. Had it been her imagination? Perhaps, the lack of sleep was taking its toll on her mind, which would also explain the weird, tingling sensation she felt throughout her body.
Something about this house was dangerously inviting the young adult. As if a distant voice was calling out to her, as if someone tied a rope around her arms and forcefully tried to pull her in. Sura gulped, she hadn’t experienced a feeling like this before.
Suddenly, Sura felt an inner pressure on her chest. Then, she heard something rustle in the bushes right behind the gate. The brunette snapped her head and grabbed the iron bars. Was it an animal? Or a person? Maybe, a thief? Sura’s heart beat faster with each second that passed by. Adrenaline flew throughout her veins, and her eyes were almost popping out of her skull. Why did the sound of the rustles make her this unsteady?
Sura could now actually see the bushes move. The brunette unconsciously let the cold iron go as she stepped back. Something was in it, she was sure about that.
It wasn’t a human or an animal, Sura was sure about that, as well.
‘’Is something wrong, dear?’’
Sura jumped up and yelped loudly. She turned around in a flash to meet the eyes of the nice, old lady who lived across the street. Sura knew her, it was Umm Rayan. The latter would often stop by Sura’s home to give cookies or other sweets she made.
‘’N-No no! Everything is okay, Umm Rayan.’’ Sura chuckled as she waved her hands in front of her face.
Umm Rayan nodded, and gave Sura a sweet smile as the former leaned on her wooden stick.
‘’You scared me a bit, though.’’ Sura quietly added.
‘’Oh, I apologize, dear; I couldn’t help but notice you staring into the yard. So I thought that you saw it.’’
Sura frowned, what did Umm Rayan mean with it?
‘’Well, if it’s nothing, I’ll be leaving first, dear.’’ The old lady gave Sura an apologetic smile and turned around slowly. She had difficulty walking because of her old age. Suddenly, Sura felt sorry for Umm Rayan.
‘’Oh, and dear; one last thing.’’ Umm Rayan said as she turned around. ‘’Don’t come close to that house. It’s not safe.’’ She looked at Sura with a serious and strict expression. The old lady was obviously forbidding Sura to explore the abandoned house. It was something people naturally did when they heard of Sura’s weird hobby.
The young adult laughed it off saying that she didn’t have any time for doing it anyway. Sura quickly said her goodbyes and continued walking home.
She glanced at the house for the last time that day, it was sure intruding.
Sura had to explore it sooner or later.