The temperature was frigid that night as Anastasia trudged through the thick piles of freshly fallen snow. Her jet black hair was placed in a high ponytail, which fell just below her hips.
With Russia’s usual weather, Ana was quite used to the blizzards, and needing to wear puffy jackets, which covered her knees. Cradled in the small child’s arms, a brand new kitten huddled for warmth. Ana kept her emerald eyes forward, moving as quickly as her little feet could carry her.
Once the tree line was in sight, a sinister grin spread across her face, as Ana glanced down at the sleeping kitten in her arms. In a soft voice the child sang.
“Forever more my precious babe, sleep so sound not a peep is made, child, child forever more, among the stars, you will soar.”
As Ana walked, she repeated the chant, holding the kitten tight to her chest. The deeper she got into that forest, Ana clutched the creature tighter and tighter. It was as if she was comforting herself. Like a child with a stuffed animal, she squeezed until all of her fears were simply diminished, to a monster under the bed in the light of day.
As she approached a clearing amongst the seemingly endless cluster of trees, Ana stopped. She gazed up, into the night sky, with thousands of twinkling stars, gleaming above. It was a full moon that night, how fitting.
In the grips of her tiny fists, Ana awoke the nameless, newborn kitten from her slumber, by the scruff of her neck. She held on with a clutch so firm, that she could feel her nails breaking through its skin. With this, her plan was finally in motion. Ana lifted her arm above her head, so that the kitten was dangling above the white blanket of snow below.
Ana let out a menacing giggle before dropping the defenseless creature to her demise. Once on the ground, the kitten struggled, and convulsed, as Ana pinned it on its back with her knees. Her hands wrapped tightly around the kitten’s throat, squeezing with all the strength that she could muster. A vile screech escaped from the tiny animal, before she was knocked unconscious. Even at this, Ana did not stop, she only tightened her grip as she began to sing,
“forever more my precious babe, sleep so sound not a peep is made, child, child forever more, among the stars, you will soar.”
Ana constricted the cats' airway with all the vigor she could gather, until her energy had been completely depleted. When the job was done, eight year old Anastasia, lumped over on her back, next to the now deceased feline. She held her gaze on the eyes of her victim, and lifted her arm to stroke the kittens' chin. Ever so softly she whispered,
“thank you for your sacrifice,” before she kissed the snow coated head of her prey, and rose to her feet.
As she began the trek back home, Ana spotted a glint in the snow. A small shimmer, from what she soon realized was a shard, from a broken beer bottle. Ana sniffled as she glared at the glass. Looking back at her victim. As she ruminated over the twisted propositions running through her mind, Anastasia pulled back the sleeve of her jacket. She checked the pink, unicorn themed watch wrapped around her wrist.
“No, it’s eleven, I have to go.”
Ana turned away from the glass, beginning the jaunt back through the forest towards her home. It took exactly forty-five minutes for Ana to walk the back roads to her house; She avoided busy streets, and built up areas, so as not to run into any of her mothers’ friends, or her mother for that matter. Who was working the graveyard shift at a local diner, by the name of, ‘Duna Bistro.’ Like a fever dream, Ana stomped her snowy boots off on the porch of her Victorian dwelling, and opened the tall, archaic door.
As soon as she got inside, she ran up the cracked wooden steps to her bedroom and slammed the door behind her. She darted to her antique wardrobe, and swung open the chestnut doors. Grabbing the first pair of pajamas she could find, and slipping them on.
When she had finished her routine, Ana took hold of her sopping wet clothes, drenched with melted snow. She checked her watch before running them to the laundry tub. Tossing them in with all of the other soaked clothes.
“Hurry, hurry, hurry,” Ana muttered to herself, while she concealed her wet boots, and coat in the back of the closet, by the front foyer. As she latched shut the storage room door, Ana turned to run back up the stairs, when a grumbling noise, crept up the driveway… a car.
Ana sprinted faster than she had ever gone before, up the stairs and into her bedroom. She closed the door, holding the knob so that it wouldn’t make a sound. As she heard the emphatic screech of the front door opening. Anastasia jumped under her silk comforter, shutting her eyes, and pretending to sleep.
“Ana, honey, you awake? Mamas' got a big surprise for you.” Ana grumbled and moaned, as if being pulled from a deep slumber.
“What mamochka?” she groaned.
“Come here, and you’ll see.”
Rubbing her eyes, and yawning to play the part. Ana sat up, and ditched the warmth of her bed, following Nadia down the stairs. They turned the corner to the living room, and Nadia pointed to the stained rug.
“Look baby, Lucy had her kittens.”
Ana smirked, with a veiled malevolence behind her eyes. It was as though she was looking right through her mother, and into the very core of her being.