Changing Faces - Part Nine


Tobias crouched upon the slightly damp earth, staring at his feet. His elder brother, Joshua, stood over him, peeking through a window.

Tobias hadn't wanted to come at all; but Joshua was bigger, and tougher, and said he would beat him up if he didn't, so Tobias had tagged along. Joshua had always wanted to see in this house; their mother said a mad woman lived here, with only an old nurse and a deformed demon girl for company. Their mother had forbade them to ever set foot upon this property, but Joshua was never one to follow rules.

"Joshie, can't we go now?" the ten year old at his feet whinned, pulling on his trouser leg, "it's boring, and wet, and there's something biting me - "

"Oh, be quiet", the thirteen year old scoffed, pushing his sibling away, "it's just an old crazy woman and a freak; how scary can it be? Besides - " he said, peering once more through the window, "I don't even see nobody. I bet this whole 'demon' girl is just some ole wives tale."

Raven darted down the stairs, pulling up her shift as she bolted as fast as her legs would carry her towards the back door. She'd never seen other children before, except for her sister; her Mere had told her they wouldn't like her, but she was insufferably curious.

Tobias sniffled and wiped his nose on his sleeve. He was coming down with something, he was wet, he was dirty, and something was *still* biting him. He really wanted to go home.

Raven cracked open the back door carefully. It opened to the garden, which was seperated from the rest of the grounds by a large bush border. Creeping along very silently, she ran down the side of the nine foot tall border till she came to the section closest to the boys. Grabbing ahold of the limbs, she pulled herself up, scaling the botanical wall like a monkey.

Joshua flopped down beside his brother. He'd sneaked away from home, dragged along his wimp sibling, snuck onto the property of a crazy woman, only to see: nothing. Not a lunatic, not a demon, not a ghost, *nothing*.

Raven peeked over the edge, trying in vain not to scrape her chin too badly on the prickly branches. She could more clearly see the boys; they were obviously related, with similar facial features. One looked a lot older than the other, and more muscular too.

Joshua absentmindly kicked at a rock. Great. Now what was he to do today? Besides babysit Tobias -

He looked up.

A girl. A blue skinned girl. A yellow eyed girl. A red-haired girl. A blue skinned, yellow eyed, red-haired girl.

Raven watched Joshua turn as pale as her sheet. His mouth flopped open, he muttered a few words along the lines of "Urrghuffeeee!!!" and began back peddling madly, grabbing his brothers shoulder and dragging him along.

Raven opened her mouth to say something. These were the first children she'd ever seen, she couldn't just let them run away!

Tobias looked up in annoyance at his older brother, who'd grabbed his collar and was attempting to drag him with him. Seeing the look of pure panic on his face, Tobias turned in the direction Joshua was looking.

Tobias had faster reflexes, if no more courage, than his sibling. Upon seeing Raven's face peeking at him over the border, Tobias leaped up and charged across the field, leaving Joshua behind.

Joshua couldn't breathe; his heart was pounding terribly, and he could've sworn the world was starting to spin. (Well) some strangly detached part of his mind said (you wanted to see a demon - what now?)

Joshua stumbled backwards, desperately trying to decide wheter he should scream, run, or fight.

"No, WAIT!" Raven cried, hauling herself over the border. As she hit the ground, his mind snapped. The demon was coming for him. Therefore, he should run.

Raven bolted after the fleeing boy, certain that if she could calm him down, she could talk some sense into him. Glancing behind him to see the pursuing monster, Joshua began to wail, and ran faster.

After chasing them to the road, Raven was forced to watch them flee. She felt an immense sadness overwhelm her heart; her first meeting with other kids, and it ended like this. She felt like her breath had been stolen from her, and not just from her running.

Despite her best efforts, Raven felt her lower lip quiver, and tasted a salty tear course down her cheek to her mouth. As the tears welled up, Raven did what was most natural.

She ran.

She charged up a hill, smashing through some vines, racing into the darkness of a glade she'd never been to before. She felt if she could just run fast enough, she could leave the tears, the embarrassement, and the heartbreak behind. She felt like she'd lost something, and the pain was even worse because she knew she'd never had it in the first place.

Some low brances tore at her face, forcing her to duck to the side. Her feet slipped, threw her off balance, and she hit the ground.

The ground gave way.

Her hands ripped through the covering, sending her plummeting to much harder earth. Her body struck the ground with an audiblr 'WHOOMP', and already she could feel bruises forming.

Pushing her legs beneath her, Raven pressed herself to her feet. She'd fallen into a small hole, three feet deep, which had been covered by leaves and other debris.

Shaking her head, she looked around.

Skulls. Lots and lots of skulls.

Small animal skulls, those belonging to mice and squirells. They lay everywhere, stacked upon each other, eveidence of some hunting animal. Small skeletons lay among them, mostly hidden by leaves.

Raven felt a terrible chill come upon her body; bile rose in her throat, and she had to restrain herself to keep from becoming sick right there.

Stumbling backwards, she desperately searched for an exit. Never before in her life did she feel the need to escape as right now; she felt unwanted and in danger in this cave.

Scrambling up the edge of the hole, she held her breath and begged herslf not to fail. She didn't think she could stand being in here; this morbid place made her sick and frightened.

Hauling herself from the hole, Raven took off again, following her trail from her previous flight as best she could. She felt dirty, drenched in the musty stench of that cave; she needed to go home, get as far from this place as possible.

Raven ripped through the forest, for once not caring if anyone heard her. She ran so far, so fast - she felt as if she would never see her home.

There it was, of course. Sitting placidly on the hill, waiting for her as always. Raven's legs were cramping as she bolted through the door, red faced, dirty, and ill. Pushing by Eloise, she stumbled upstairs and collapsed on her bed, pulling off her musty shift as she did so. Leaving it on the floor, Raven curled under the bedsheets, taking comfort in the stark cold cloth.

Raven buried her face into her pillow, inhaling through her mouth. Closing her eyes tight, she quietly began to cry.

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