The Hands dragged Kyran to his feet before he could take a breath, his legs wobbled a bit but the two soldiers held him up, their grip on his arm was an iron hold.
Walking nearer to Nataya, he could feel the heat from the Circle pulsating and the power that Nataya had entwined within the drawings of star constellations was remarkable. The light that the Circle itself emitted was like art. But the meaning behind the pretty lights, the warmth and the stars made Kyran’s blood run cold.
Drums started as soon as he stood just a few feet away from the Circle at which time the Hands had let go of their iron grip and had moved a fair few feet away. The drums sounded like rolling thunder and they matched the speed of his heart, which was as if he had been running for days without rest. Kyran wished he could run away, but then again where would he run when the Hands and the Sisters were going to follow him?
“It doesn’t hurt.” Whispered Nataya as she leaned toward Kyran’s ear, a small encouraging smile playing on her lips and Kyran smiled back at her, but it was a trying smile a smile that held no meaning.
“Think of me and pray that I don’t die.” Whispered Kyran, his voice wavered dangerously, he could feel nerves and fear grip him in a tight hold and suddenly his lungs felt as if someone were squeezing all the air out of them.
It was then however, that Nataya planted a small, clear, square cut stone in his palm, but Kyran thought nothing of it and instead was surprised at the sudden contact. Her skin was warm, soft and smooth and instantly Kyran felt the air in his lungs seep back in. Nataya smiled encouragingly at him and was about to say something when the bell tower suddenly started to sing.
It was noon and each and every toll from the bell signalled the coming of his departure from this world.
Mustering all of his courage Kyran stepped inside the Circle at the third toll, heat washed over him like an uncomfortably hot bath and immediately his shirt began to dampen with sweat. Nataya had told him that it didn’t hurt, but Kyran was sure that he was going to die by thirst before he would even get to the other world.
The light from the Circle made the world outside shimmer and swirl, and Kyran could only make out shapes of people and buildings. Only Nataya, who was standing just outside the Circle, was the only person he could see vividly among the blobs of colour and weird shapes.
At the fifth toll, a cold wind started but it barely touched his loose clothes or stirred the dust and sand on the floor. At the seventh toll the wind started to pick up, it moved in circles sending the sand and dust around him. At the tenth toll the wind was howling in his ears, Nataya and everything around him had completely disappeared behind the veil of sand and dust and wind. He tried to shout but it was lost in the howling wind. At the twelfth toll, the final bell, the wind intensified and Kyran could no longer open his eyes or breathe or hear anything. The wind blinded him of his senses, and then suddenly Kyran was pulled back by invisible hands their grip on him was like that of the Hands, not letting go.
But they did and Kyran started to fall.