Branches slapped my wind burnt cheeks, as I ran as fast as my 11 year old legs would allow.
The sharp stings aiding my hearts steady supply of adrenaline to my blood stream.
I had to go faster.
My legs burned in protest, as I pushed them past their limit.
But I had to keep going, if I slowed my pace I’d be captured.
The moonless night did me no favors, as I stumbled and tripped over rocks and branches.
I was probably a sight to see currently, filthy, covered in cuts and bruises, wearing nothing but a long, tattered night gown. Paired with what I’m sure was a wild look in my eye; That even a mother could not bring herself to love. Not that mine had loved me anyways.
But these things are not what occupied my mind.
The here and now is what mattered, and my here and now currently left a lot to be desired.
I’d been running for what felt like days , but in reality was more like hours.
However for my young, malnourished body, it was a miracle I had even lasted past the front gates of my childhood home.
If you could call it a home, I prefer the word prison.
A twig snapped behind me, sending my heart plummeting to my feet.
Whipping my head around, I scanned the forest as I ran, but the trees revealed nothing, as they too hid in the impenetrable darkness.
Although I could not see my pursuer, I was not fooled into assuming he had given up.
He would never give up, not until I was dead.
As if to punctuate that thought, just then a long mournful whistle rang out.
Always the same three tone song, nothing to send ice cold chills of dread snaking down my spine.
Yet it did all the same.
The memories tied to that.. that Goddess forsaken whistle, almost paralyzed me.
He was going to catch me.
He always did.
I won’t let him.
Not this time.
A few more miles, and I’ll be at the faye kingdoms border. Where one of the rifts into the human realm lies, this is the closest I’ve come yet, and I won’t let it be for nothing.
Tapping into some reserve of energy I somehow had left, I zipped past the trees with unnatural speed.
My white hair snapping behind me, like angry living tendrils. Blending into the freshly fallen snow that blanketed the ground.
I silently cursed to myself, as I realized that my tracks were making a clear route to my demise.
There was nothing I could do about it, so I pressed on against the shrieking wind.
I sent up a silent prayer of thanks to the goodness for blessing me with an internal furnace.
I never got cold, this fact had saved me more times in the past then I would care to recount.
Tonight it gave me the upper hand.
My assailant may be resistant to the bitter bite of our realms unforgiving winters as well.
But I was far more than resistant, in fact I was poring sweat currently.
2 more miles.
I can make it.
I will make it.
My lungs seared, each breath Like knifes behind my rib cage.
My feet faltered slightly.
“Fayyyyyah”a low voice rang out, in an ominous slur.
“You’ve disobeyed me, fayah. You know what that means.”
It was not a question.
He knew that I knew exactly what he meant.
If it were not for the fact that he had planned on killing me anyways, I might have been afraid of what his threat entailed.
Tonight though, he would not scare me into complying.
I would be free.
1 more mile.
Bursting through another especially thick wall of bramble, the rift came into view.
It looked as if The fabric of time had been slashed wide open, vast and dark, it sucked the light around it into its endless void.
It’s was horrific, and beautiful.
I could have wept had I not been so dehydrated.
My spirit soared with hope, I’m going to make it.
I reached desperately for any energy I had left to spare, but found none.
As the last few feet closed in front of me, I was no more than staggering towards my liberation.
I made i-
Before I could finish that thought, a large hand gripped my shoulder.
Sharp pain surged down my arm and back, as I was spun around with much more force than was necessary.
My blood ran cold.
There before me, stood my father.
Not one hair on his head was out of place, he had not even broken a sweat in these past few hours, hunting me down like game.
His sharp facial features gave him an uncanny resemblance to a fowl, his dark hair, and beady eyes tied together the avian appearance, his appearance was uncommon amongst Faye, where others of our kind are fair skinned and haired, he was among the few who bore dark hair and ghastly pale skin.
“welll...welll... wellll what do I have here? Seems Iv caught a wild, filthy little creature trying to scurry into the human realm.” He clucked his tongue at me disapprovingly.
Tightening his grip, he pulled me off my feet to meet his eyes.
One might think they would find compassion, love, or maybe even pity in them.
But, as he held me, dangling above the ground. Crying out at the barbed pain pulsing from his grasp, all I saw reflected back at me was hatred.
Pure and unfiltered.
Gripping onto his arm, I kicked out at him trying to break free, and sprint the last few feet to safety.
But it was to no avail, he was stronger than me.
“Now, that’s no way to treat your father.”
With a sneer, he shook me hard enough to make my teeth clack together painfully.
Tears raced down my face, which only seemed to amuse him. Because he tossed his head back, and with a spine chilling roar he laughed at the sight of my cowering.
“You know? I was going to kill you tonight, make it quick and be done with it.”
He fluttered his hand in the air at the last bit to show how little he cared about the topic.
As if murdering his only child was a chore he’d rather hurry along with.
“But since you’ve lead me on this delightfully HORRID run, In dead winter I might add. I’m feeling generous. I’ll start tonight, and I will slowly torture you for every hour I’ve spent hunting you down .”
Leaning in close to my ear he whispered harshly.
“And when I’m done, you will wish you had let me kill you as I originally intended.”
I Shivered at the truth I knew laced his malicious threat.
He was wrong about one thing However.
Oh, He would hurt me given the chance, he was right about that.
But I would not regret running.
He may have broken my body down more times than I can count. But never have I let him so much as touch my will to live, with that in mind I twisted in his grasp.
Pulling his forearm, gripped in my small hands up to my mouth. I bit down hard enough to taste blood, as I kicked out one last time.
My feet connected to his chest with a loud crack.
His eyes widened as he wheezed and coughed.
Winded, and looking startled for the first time in my life, he released me.
I hit the ground, landing hard on my tail bone as I did. Pain did not register however, I was too hyped on adrenaline for that.
Not taking the time to see if my father had snapped out of it, I quickly stood up and turned to a dead run for the rift, before launching myself though it.
Instantly I was plunged into absolute darkness.
Where before, I had the stars to illuminate my way.
Here there was nothing, and I was horrified to discover that it was near impossible to walk.
Each step was met with resistance, like walking against a strong current.
The air was thick with a wet density, that made me think of the gelatinous sludge that sometimes came complimentary with the water basin Delivered to my bedroom. Or cell as Father called it, which was fair. Being it was just that, located far beneath my family’s home.
My stomach rolled with disgust, at the sensation the air caused in me, paired with the memory from my childhood.
But I pressed through trying to ignore the burning in my lungs, and extremities.
I was slowly drowning, or at least that’s what my brain was screaming at me.
I once overheard one of the servants discussing how uncomfortable crossing through the rift was.
But I had not imagined this, not in my wildest dreams.
Just when claustrophobia, and anxiety, coupled with the compact stagnant air, were about to suffocate me. I tumbled out of the other side of the rift, as if I’d been falling instead of walking.
Sucking in the deepest breath I’d ever taken, into my oxygen starved lungs, I instantly shot to my feet, whipping around Simultaneously.
My eyes darted wildly back and forth searching for any sign of my father.
There was nothing.
The rift was only visible from alithias side.
Here In the human Realm there was no trace of the massive gaping maw.
Only a powerful mage, or someone with equal magical abilities could restore it. It was fashioned like this so humans did not wander into our realm. My kind, and the other races living within alithia didn’t like humans mucking about.
They didn’t seem to care much about what we did to the humans though, So the rift acts more as a one way mirror unless the three royal families,
The Faye court
And Dragon court.
are all in agreement to seal it completely.
But this is only done in times of war or emergency.
There are three rifts all together, one In each of the three kingdoms.
Taking a few heaving breaths, I shook myself from my thoughts. This was no time to be reminiscing on the history of the rift.
I knew my father would be following after me, no time to properly catch my breath either.
Using the last of my energy, I saved for this moment, I wrapped myself in shadows, and teleported.
My hair stomach dropped as I Whizzed through time and space, before me bright white threads, cracking with energy, sliced through the darkest around me.
Each a different destination, snatching one at random, I pulled it close to my chest, and allowed my magic to tumble me down to the end of the thread.
To my new home.
Somewhere miles from the rift, my magic deposited me unceremoniously in a meadow.
Landing me on my butt again, for the probably the millionth time tonight.
Grumbling at my inexperience with teleporting, which had led to my butt plant.
I failed to notice where I was right off. But when I did my eyes widened at what I saw, trees and mountains surrounded me on all sides.
With the sun just barely reaching over them, it painted the sky in the most beautiful hues of red and pink. Birds singing their lovely morning ballad from every tree, gave me a sense of peace I’d never known.
The meadow I was sitting in was vast. Rolling blankets of bright green grass circled me on all sides. As I looked closer, I realized I could make out small colorful flowers dotting the grass, glistening in the soft morning light.
I was absolutely mesmerized. Don’t get me wrong, my world was a wonder to be held. but I had never been permitted to appreciate it fully.
Being the family punching bag gave little opportunity to really look around and take in the scenery. So for several long minutes I just sat there, and stared, determined to commit this moment to memory.
Soft sounds of life in the distance pulled me from my trance. At least there were people near by, I didn’t think I’d fare well in a strange forest for long with my father no doubt tracking me as I sat here sight seeing.
Although I shouldn’t, given my current situation, not to mention how exhausted and battered I was, and if I’m being honest completely terrified of what the goddess held in store for my future.
I could not help the giddy child like laugh that bubbled up my chest and spilled from me.
Falling onto my back in the cool dew covered meadow.
I cackled for what felt like an eternity.
It was madness.
I was madness.
I was free.