Sarah shivered as she shut the door behind her. To help her eyes adjust, she closed them for a few seconds. The only light came from candles shining through the windows. Once halfway across the yard, where their light didn’t reach, Sarah began to feel on edge.
You’re just being silly, she told herself as she pressed forth, bucket clutched tightly in her hand. She fastened it onto the hook. Turning the crank Sarah slowly lowered the bucket into the communal well.
Her deliberate slow breathing did nothing to clam her nerves. Sarah’s whole body screamed at her to turn and run back to the house. Something about the darkness and quietness freaked her out. It felt unnatural, just like that dark alley in the city, the one in which she’d been attacked.
There was a splash as the bucket hit the water. Sarah turned the crank one last round. She counted out ten seconds before reversing directions to raise it. The rope creaked under the weight of the full bucket. It sounded loud in the quiet night.
Then, between the creaks, Sarah heard another sound, like the snapping of a twig. Spinning on her heel, she let the bucket go crashing back into the water. Without thought, her hand had already drawn the kitchen knife. Two glowing eyes and a toothy grin was all she was able to discern of her foe.
“Do you really think you can escape a Nigiri Assassin?” His voice snarled, cold as steel. “I guarantee you will not escape a third time.”
Sarah’s shout for help stopped in her throat. A strange constricting force kept her from speaking. The man came closer as her mind screamed for Jason. He attacked and Sarah’s body flipped into self-defense mode, though her thoughts were frozen in fear.
He was slippery as wet soap. In the darkness Sarah could barely see anything but his eyes, teeth and the occasional flicker of a dagger. Her skirts were hindering her fight and all too soon her knife was on the ground and she was pinned against the well.
Suddenly the willow tree lit the area like a bolt of lightning. It distracted the dark man, giving Sarah the chance she needed. There was a hiss from him as she broke free and bolted for the door.
“Griffon!” Sarah managed to yell out before pain ripped through her lower back.
“You will die!” the man growled.
“And so will you!” Jason’s voice rang out.
Sarah turned as she fell to her knees. Jason glowed with an inner light and in one swift motion he thrust his sword clean through her assailant. Sarah’s eyes met the man’s in that last instance. A look of sudden recognition and horror crossed his face.
“Gods forgive me,” he muttered as he sank to the ground and breathed his last.
Sarah herself was slowly sinking, losing consciousness.
“Jay” she gasped.
“Sarah,” his voice choked on her name as his arms wrapped about her.
He pulled her close; her head nestled into his shoulder, his face buried in her hair. Sarah’s body went limp as her mind slowly succumbed to the darkness. The last thing she heard was Jason’s tormented voice calling out.
“Why, oh Gods, why?”