The Red Girl

“One assailant was in here,” William said. I didn’t know how he could tell, but I definitely believed him. “He left by the window. I think he followed your friends - they must have tried to lure him away so they didn’t go downstairs ad find you.”

“There’s three on my driveway,” I said in a nervous whisper. We had spoken normally before and they hadn’t heard, but it seemed foolish to talk louder than a whisper when we knew that they were there.

“Let’s go out through the bathroom,” he instructed. I followed him swiftly into the brightly lit room we had only exited a few minutes ago. The window was still wide open - I had forgotten to close it after us.

“Hold on - it will be easier and faster if we go at the same time,” he said quickly, hauling me over his back one handed. I wrapped my arms around his neck tightly in fear as he squatted on the windowsill.

He sprung through the window and we were sailing through the night. The wind and rain spray hit us but couldn’t affect our course. We shot towards the trees as straight as an arrow. I saw the trees looming and unclasped my arms, reaching up and letting myself drop below William. I grabbed a branch and hung, swinging. William had landed on the branch above. He was huge, but the branch didn’t even bend as if he was weightless.

I let myself drop and landed with one knee on the ground and the other in a crouch position, head bowed. I flicked my still damp hair out of my eyes and straightened to my feet. William landed on his own feet right next to me.

We were on the other side of my garden fence, and even as I watched, a slim small black clad figure appeared and leapt over the fence without even touching it. William moved quickly so that I was behind him with my back to the ridged tree trunk.

While he fixed his attention on the figure, which had landed on the mulch of leaves without the merest rustle, I slipped away around the side of the trunk and crouched in the midst of some low bushes and brambles at the tree’s base. I could see that one of the figures had spotted the open window and was climbing up the side of the house as easily as a spider or ant might. It was almost scary to watch. I saw the figure hook itself through the window and disappear into the bathroom. I was very glad that nobody was in there, though I hoped the intruder didn’t do any more damage to the house.

I looked around for the third figure but there didn’t seem to be one around. I knew I had seen more than two moving shapes.

A hand clamped down over my mouth, cold and soft against my lips. I was too startled to do anything but gasp anyway. I tried to part my lips and let a scream escape but the hand was as tight over them and as effective as a piece of duct tape.

The other hand was on the back of my neck, clamping it like William had so that I couldn’t twist it round and had to jerk my head back. I couldn’t see anything but the twisted web of branches in the tree canopy. Then I felt breath skim my neck and short hair brush my cheek. What was disturbing was that the breath was cold. It was like being held by a corpse.

A voice whispered in my ear, a strangled kind of voice which told of a withered beauty. It was a girl, I could tell from her voice as she whispered in my ear barely louder than the wind making a leaf skitter across a tarmac surface.

“Keep quiet. Are you the red girl?”

The End

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