Athenas’ hand clasped around the wound on her left hip. Gushing with blood, her legs began to tremble as she felt she was about to faint. The weapon that had struck her moments before had been ripped from her, and violently thrown to the floor. The sharpened arrow smothered with her crimson blood, lay still on the cold damp ground.
Athena heard faint whispers in the threatening dark as she lowered herself down to the harsh earth, feeling blindly with her bloodless hand. A cry rang from her dry throat as her weakened pain-wracked body bent to sit down. She glanced over her right shoulder but all there was, was the horror filled darkness. The sound of dripping water pierced the silence. The pain was so excruciating it felt like it would overwhelm her. Lying on the cold earth, searching with blind eyes, Athena tried to assess her wound. The sound of the dripping water began to resound louder and louder in her head, preventing her from thinking clearly.
She tried to think back to the ambush, it was so confusing; she clawed at the ground around her trying to find the arrow. As her clammy hand fell over the arrow she ran her fingers over the head, searching for markings. She had no idea who had attacked her but when her fingers ran over an intricate pattern, she knew instantly who it was, and the fear of that knowledge numbed her. The Morgot.
The moist blood continued to pour out of the wound; lack of blood was making her light-headed, unable to focus. Sweat began to coat her body; she needed to staunch the wound, before she bled to death. She tore desperately at her patchwork skirt, ripping off makeshift bandages. Tying them tightly round her waist, to cover the wound, the touch of the cloth sent a fresh shock of pain racing through her body. She layback trying to clear her head, feeling the blood ooze out of her. She moved her hand to put pressure on the bandages, they were already soaked, her life essence leaving her so rapidly, tears began to well up at the sheer hopelessness of her situation. That no one would save her.
Her mind swam with images and voices of her past. A sense that this can’t be the end, an inner reserve flooded through her body. Grunting at the pain, she forced her self up against the wall. Shuffling deeper into the black she felt strength of purpose lend her the will to keep going, deeper and deeper. This was not the end. A fresh stream of blood trickled down her leg, ignoring it she kept going. Athena let a smile creep across her face, before she gave a short heart-rending scream and then there wasn’t only the blackness in front of her but also, in her mind. Forgotten memories of the past began to seep into her unconscious thoughts.
* * *
Her heart raced uncontrollably. The feeling of being alone in the unforgiving dark was making Athena shake nervously with fear. The stench of acrid smoke was filling her lungs rapidly. But all Athena could do was wait. Wait to be able to leave her home, alive.
“Why have these evil men come into her home and hurt her parents?” She thought to herself whilst sobbing softly into her dirt-ridden clothes. The house fell silent. Athena could hear nothing at all. Where were her parents? And why had they not come to retrieve her?
She finally had the courage to open her eyes. Black. An endless abyss of darkness closed around Athena. But she knew exactly where she was, she did not know why. The stairs. She was under the infested rotting staircase, in a miniature cupboard, barely enough room for her. She was only an eleven-year-old child. Athena placed her mind into concentration mode once more, listening intensely to her surroundings. Making sure she heard no footsteps stomping up the brittle stairs. She heard nothing. Yet she still felt close to danger, her imagination was running wild with dozens of terrifying scenarios.
Un-latching the cupboard door, she began to push it away from her ever so slightly to open it and escape. Escape to where? she thought. Athena had nowhere to go; all she had were her parents. The mission became more passionate. She had to find her parents. Alive. Athena crept out of the hole under the stairs. Her senses peaked as she fumbled her way through the darkness up the rickety stairs. Knowing where every creak happened, Athena cautiously made her way to the top. She felt a sticky substance on her naked muddy foot. Not knowing what it could be, as her vision was restricted, she wiped it off with her hands then cleaned her fingers with her linen dress. The fire had burnt out; a cloud of smoke still loomed over the majority of the first floor. Athena could see in the distance towards the end of the corridor under the broken window, embers burning somewhat brightly for what they were. “My parents are here.” Athena said delicately under her breath.
The house was more visible up here; she could begin her task properly. As she got closer to the dim glow of the fading embers, Athena began to take a closer look at her dress, and what she had wiped on it. She noticed it was a dark colour, almost black. But as the light began to creep up her body, it showed her that it was as red as the freshly picked cherries that she had picked with her mother that morning. The word “blood” fell out of Athena’s mouth, as she sank to the floor knowing that something terrible had happened. As she composed herself and realized that she had to carry on, her heart sank as she looked between the crack of a door to the right of her. All she could make out was an arm, sprawled across the floor covered in the same substance that she had just encountered. Athena raced to the door and for a split second was not brave enough to open it for the fear that was on the other side. Using all her strength, she barged her way in to see what the devastation was. Her parents. Both dead. Aimlessly spread across the floor, she noticed that they were both face down with several knife wounds to the back, blood was seeping in every direction. A pool of scarlet fluid surrounded her parents. No weapons had been left in the corpses, probably because it would be harder to track these evil people who had done this to her. After a moment of realization, Athena wandered closer to her parents. All she wanted to do was hold them, for them to tell her that they loved her dearly. She was frightened. A stream of tears rolled down her rosy cheeks. Athena collapsed in a heap adjacent to her mother and father. Eventually she cried herself to sleep.