When I woke up I was back in the forest again, I prayed that it was a dream, I prayed that I was about to hear Jairo's voice asking if I was ok. But when I opened my eyes I was by myself in the clearing. She must have tapped into my deepest fear. My fear of being alone. I stood up in the forest. I knew what she was trying to do, she was trying to unnerve me, to wear me down and make me weak. To play tricks on my mind until I didn't know the difference between reality and the world she had created for me.
I lay on the ground again... It was working. I heard her cackle once again, once again I was plunged into her darkness.
"Do you give up yet Mokoto?" She span around me in yet more circles, so fast I couldn't make her out and the wind that was created in her movement whipped my hair around my face.
"Please what Mokoto!?" Her screechy and immature voice shook my mind. I wanted to kill her. I wanted her too suffer so much it hurt my heart to think such evil things. I reached out to grab her but it caused me to fall. I say fall, I assumed I was falling from the way my stomach churned and the wind whipped upwards. I looked down (or at least I looked where I assumed was down) and saw the faces of the men that she had summoned earlier. They grew larger as I fell towards them, their identical mouths open to consume me.
I screamed, I had reached breaking point, I was so desperate to escape their jaws of death I reached up to the woman that had killed my father, sent my mother insane, and trapped me in this living hell. She looked down at me, I couldn't recognise the expression on her face fully, but it looked as though she had remembered something. Something from a long time ago.
She continued to stare down at me in silence.
I didn't expect her to save me, but I continued to reach out and scream for freedom, despite the fact it was travelling miles away. I braced myself, I waited for the end to come...
I hit the floor of the forest fast. I groaned. What now?! What more could she do?! Why couldn't she have just killed me? Why couldn't she have just let it end?
"Leave me alone, just let me die... Please..."
I felt a hand on my back, I wondered what sort of hell-beast it belonged to, so I looked up.
"Jairo!" I wrapped my arms around his neck, this was probably not real but I could pretend for a moment.
"Mokoto, thank god! One minute I was holding your hand, the next I was in some kind of... Well I wasn't anywhere! But there was this woman and she-"
I just held him and listened to him tell me about how he had been dropped back here after I lost him, not wanting the moment to pass.
Afterwards he started up the fire in the clearing again, saying that tomorrow we would start our quest in earnest. We didn't talk much after that, we were both exhausted by that witche's torture.
I fell into a troubled sleep, the vioet eyes of the evil woman and my own both circling my mind. I woke up in the night, I was relived to see Jairo sleeping peacefully acroos the clearing. But I sensed something. I sensed her presence.
"What are you doing?"
I recieved no response so headed away from the clearing. I saw her nearby, just standing. I approached with caution.
"Is this a trick?" She seemed almost tame, her torn dress hanging loosely, her limbs relaxed by her side.
"N-no." Her stammer chilled me. She seemed... Almost human. Suddenly she rushed toward my face. I knew something had been wrong! I tried to run but she had glued me to the ground!"
"Listen to me Mokoto, I won't live much longer." I listened, intrigued. What did she mean by that?...
"You were born special, that's how you got the eyes, that's how you got the power. I was like you once..." A tear fell from her eye, was this really the trick I first suspected? There was no reason to believe her, but there was something in her voice...
"Mokoto I know how this ends... And, as much as it hurts, you end up like me..."
"Please listen! I don't have much time I-"
She suddenly stagered backwards, her eyes bulging from her skull, foam dribbling from the corner of her mouth. She fell backwards onto the leafy forest floor. I knelt down next to her writhing body.
She clutched her hands to her head, her violet eyes rolling as she let out a scream of pain. I had wanted her to suffer! I had wanted her to die! I had wanted this...
So why was it I sat with her? Why did I hold her hand as she lay dying? I guess I was just a better person than I thought... Eventually her screaming stopped, her body lay still. This was far from over though. I knew now that there was deeper evil afoot, I was naive for thinking she was in charge of this. The journey was just beginning...