Chapter One: Cold Night
The air was crisp, and her feet were going numb. The girl's lungs ached as they took in the cold night. Tears streamed down her face and while her heart pounded deafeningly.
She reached the safety of her house and quickly shut the door behind her. The girl locked it with her fumbling hands before she ran to her room and rolled under the bed.
Pressed into the wood of the floor and the wood of the bed frame the girl desperately tried to quiet her breathing. All that she could do was silently pray that she wouldn't be found.
As the seconds ticked, her eyes were drawn to the shadows being cast by the window and the full moon. The light was supposed to be something that brings one comfort, and yet, she would have rather been in the pitch black. Only the complete darkness could ever be comforting at night.
There were scrapes against the house. Before she could hear the front door rattling loudly.
The thumping of her heart started to pick up a quick pace. The girl wanted to go into hysterics, but somehow her body instinctively knew to stay quiet if it wanted to live.
The girl shrieked and her face scrunched up as there were several loud gunshots. A haunting screech echoed through space before it slowly faded away into the silence.
Before she knew it, daylight was filtering through the small room. The girl didn't want to leave her small space; she considered it to be safe. But as the morning wore on, she finally crawled out from her hiding place.
Paranoia was all that the girl was able to feel. She couldn't help it. The night had seemed like it was never ending and now the only comfort she could partake in was knowing that the dangers of the night were put away for now.
Even when knowing that the danger was gone the girl couldn't help but stare at the door unwilling to open it. She was scared that something would be waiting for her on the other side.
The girl went to her kitchen and pulled out some canned peaches. She wasn't supposed to eat them; they were to be saved for when winter fully overcomes the land.
After a while, the girl finally decided that she could open the front door. Her throat was scratchy, and her eyes felt dry, she wanted water. She pulled on her shoes and walked to the front door. She hoped that the noises against the house were just noises. The idea of seeing evidence of a monster made her want to throw up.
She pulled open the door and went to take a step forward. Only for her feet to run into the presumably dead body on her front porch. The girl's stomach dropped.
The man laying in front of her was completely nude. Unseeing eyes stared up into the sky. His body was twisted while blood had pooled around it.
The girl didn't know how to respond. She was shocked. Laying in front of her house was her own Father. The man's life was over. The girl could do nothing but stare.
"Papa," Escaped from her muted rose colored lips. Nothing more than a whisper.
"You shouldn't be looking at your Father, not in this state anyway," A gruff voice stated.
The girl had jumped from surprise before her head swung in the direction of the voice.
"Settle down, I ain't going to hurt you." A man stood before the girl; he was tall and gruff.
The girl's mouth moved, but not a single sound escaped her lips. She didn't know how to react.
"Come here," He sighed.
The girl didn't move. So the man walked up and scooped her to his side, he was ushering her away from her dead Father.
"No," She cried weakly. Unable to resist. She couldn't take her eyes off of the body.
"Didn't know you would be up this early, let alone dumb enough to come outside. Woulda moved the body if I had known," The man explained.
She nodded weakly. But as soon as she couldn't see her Father, her eyes decided to water. Even if she couldn't comprehend her feelings, her body was quick to respond to the distress. Water slowly started to drip down her cheeks and onto the dirt beneath her feet.
The man sighed, sitting down in the dirt and pulling the girl down to his lap. He began to pet her as the girl started to sob.
"Papa," She wheezed. The only parent that she had left was lying on the porch. Her Father had taken care of her and worked most of the week just to keep her fed.
The horrible feeling of being utterly alone crept into her system along with the realization that she would never see her Father again. The tears poured without resistance as she was comforted by a complete stranger.
Strong arms wrapped around her and the scent of pine needles engulfed her as the man held her firmly. He didn't make a sound, but he would pat her every so often as if to tell her that he was trying.
After was seemed like hours her tears finally began to wear out, most likely from the dehydration that was overcoming her system.
Without a word, she was pulled close and lifted into the air. The man carried her. Normally she would be terrified but after all of the recent events that she had experienced the girl was too tired to complain.
He took her to the well on the property and pulled her up a bucket of water. He made her drink some water before he wiped off her face.
"Why?" The words had escaped her lips before she had the chance to think about what she had asked.
"Everything will be explained when you're feeling better," The man told her. His voice was gentle with a firm undertone.