Chapter one: Hunted
It was dark and rainy as we ran through the dark and poorly illuminated alley, l wondered what we were running from and where we were headed.
"Mum I'm scared, where's daddy," I said to my mum as she held my hand while we ran through the dark alley.
"Daddy's coming my love, so we need to be there to receive him when he gets to our meeting place," she said to me.
We continued running as fast as we could, I didn't want to plague her with any more of my questions but she still somehow noticed my anxiety.
We suddenly stopped running and she crouched down to my height and held my face in her hands and reassured me that everything was okay as she struggled to portray an affirmative silhouette but regardless she couldn't hide anything from me as I couldn't hide anything from her. I saw through her corroborative facade, which gave a fretful aspect as she spoke boldly but not without trepidation.
"My love everything is going to be okay and I'm sorry that we're outside in the dark when it's raining and cold and for the fact that you are soaked, let's just get to the meeting place and Everything will go back to normal".
" You promise mum".
"Yes my dearest, I promise".
Without warning, we heard a sound which appeared to be a gunshot, from a distance and it seemed to be arising from the direction we were coming from as I looked back I became apprehended with fear, I glanced at my mum, and her face manifested to be even more horrified, she suddenly snapped out of her trance and took my hand firmly as we sprinted through the dark alley which was leading to a place we knew nothing about.
Unexpectedly we arrived at a crossroad, we were caught up on which direction to go. As I looked back again I knew that whoever it was that shot the gun was catching up on us because I could hear the sounds their running feets made, splashing through puddles of water as they advanced towards us.
I gazed back at my mum and to my dismay, it surfaced that she didn't know what direction to go, but she held me firmly and we sprang towards the road at our right.
This was not a surrounding we were familiarized with, although we had been living in this city for some days now, we were not yet generalized with the structures of the road as we had only moved into the city a week ago.
The light around the streets was dimmed and did not illuminate the paths properly.
We continued running but abruptly heard another sound of the gun being shot and this time it appeared closer than ever, Nevertheless, my mum held me tighter than ever as we accelerated our steps.
We got to a confined area of a small shadowy partition between two buildings which was extremely dark and led to a different avenue. We stopped and then my mum stooped to my height as she moved her hands to my face and stroked my hair, placing it behind my ear, I noticed her eyes were teary as she tried desperately to suppress them.
" My ba...by ". She said as her voice broke."
"I'm so sorry, I want you to know that your dad and I love you so much and will always be with you". She said with her voice which was breaking and barely audible as she tried to format the words.
" Mum what's going on". I uttered as tears rolled down my eye.
"Nothing is wrong honey, it's just that your dad and I have something we need to take care of and I need you to be a good girl for mommy and do what mommy says, can you do that baby?". She asked as she wiped away the tears that continued to stroll down my eye with her thumbs.
" Yes," I said as I struggled to control the tears flowing from my eye.
"Mommy wants you to run through this narrow alley between these two buildings and I need you to continue running as fast as you can and don't look back no matter what happens okay baby, can you do that for mommy".
"Yes, but mommy I want you to come with me so we could go meet daddy".
" Mommy can't come with you now, I told you didn't I? your dad and I have something to take care of respectively before we meet, and after that, I'll come to find you, it's just like playing hide and seek".
"Are we playing hide and seek mommy"? I voice as I hiccuped in between the formation of words.
" Yes, honey that's exactly what we're doing so....". She couldn't finish her words as we heard another gunshot.
"Run, Serena, run". She said as she pushed me through the small spaced alley and I turned and started to run.
I ran and ran and ran and refused to look back as she had told me, cold rain showered down heavily and I heard a loud gunshot followed by a growl and I couldn't help but glance backward, even if it was just for a few seconds, but my eyes widened with what a saw.
Two men in black masks surrounded my Mum, I shifted my gaze back to her as she fell to the ground and looked lifeless drenched in her blood.
I watched as my Mum's body fell to the ground and gasped, covering my mouth with my hand.
Tears streamed down my face like an endless waterfall.
Even after killing my Mum they still weren't satisfied, they looked around as if in search of something, or someone.
" Dude, what the hell?"One of the men scolded as he turned to his accomplice."Why did you just kill her we could have had some real fun with her."
" Where is she? we've got the husband and the wife, the only person left is the little girl."The other man questioned, ignoring the statement of his accomplice, he blew the tip of his gun as if there was an invisible smoke in it.
A sob escaped my lips when I heard that they had also killed my Dad.
No, I didn't want to believe it, I couldn't have lost my parents.
"She is just a little girl with little legs, she couldn't have gone far,"
I quickly hide in the shadows, hoping they wouldn't notice.
I placed my hands over my lip with tears running down my eyes.
I heard one of them sniff the air.
"Ah, I can smell her, she's not too far." The man sniffling the air muttered as he laughed like a maniac."Hello, baby girl, I know you can hear us, why don't you come on out so we can play huh?"
I heard their footsteps drawing closer, and I closed my eyes, hoping it was some kind of bad dream.
Why? why couldn't I wake up from this nightmare?
I thought about my Mum and my Dad.
'We promise that will always be with you, my dear.
Their words echoed in my mind.
If they promised to always be with me why did they leave me?
I instinctively opened my eyes, moving my hands from my face only to see a pair of red eyes staring down at me, the owner having a menacing smile on his face, with clearly visible and pointed canines.
"Now let's play."
I screamed at the monstrous sight in front of me and I quickly stood up, staggering backward, before I turned around and ran through the shadowy partition.
"F**k, it's too small, and narrow."
"Then let's follow the other way she wouldn't be able to get far with those legs of hers."
I heard the scary-looking men express when they saw me running, I shifted my gaze forward, not bothering to look back.
I ran into an open street, everywhere was quiet, and I didn't know where to go.
I followed the road, running as fast as I could even when the rain showed harder.
"There she is," I heard one of the men voice out as they drew closer to me.
I had only glanced backward for a second but when I shifted my gaze forward again, all I could see was a bright light.
Then I gasped.
I quickly sat up from my bed and tried to steady my heartbeat.
I was soaked in sweat even when I left my window open.
A sigh escaped my lips in frustration.
"These damned nightmares again" I mumbled as I ran my hands through my hair.
I stepped out of the bed.
Why did these nightmares have to haunt me almost every time I close my eyes?
I glanced at my wall clock, it was already 5:03 am, at least I wouldn't have to force myself to go back to sleep like I usually did when I had such nightmares only to wake up in the middle of the night.
I walked towards the door leading to the balcony, and with a light push, I opened it.
I closed my eyes when I felt the wind, and a tear suddenly slid down my face, but I quickly wiped it off as if afraid that someone would see it.
"Mom, Dad, I'm trying,"
When these words left my lips, I felt my heart tighten, the pain was struggling to get to the surface again.
I tugged my hair behind my ears.
At this point, I couldn't help but wonder if these dreams were my punishment for all that I had done, all that I had caused, for lives that have been lost, the ones yet to be lost, and the ones that were already at risk.
It was all because of me, my very existence was a threat to others, if only I could disappear.
Would everything finally be okay after that? maybe it would, maybe it wouldn't, well I don't know, but I do know one thing.
If I disappeared, I wouldn't have to feel, bear, and carry on living with all the guilt and nightmares that hunted me.
I shook my head.
I couldn't disappear now, not after all the sacrifices that have been made, I need to be worth it, but why don't I feel worth it?
My phone suddenly rang, pulling me from my thought.
I walked back into my room wondering who it could be as early as it was.
But I only had a limited number of people in mind.
I glanced at the caller ID and it was none other than Stacy, my best friend and only friend for the record.
At first, I thought of ignoring the call as I was not in the mood to speak to anyone but then after much deliberations, I answered the call.
"Hey what's up?"
I heard Stacy inquire from the other line with her usual enthusiasm.
"Nothing special, same as usual" I replied, pausing slightly before I continued."But you already know that."
She chuckled in response.
I tried to match her vitality.
The last thing I wanted was for Stacy to bombard me with questions about my mental health or sanity.
Stacy has such a perceptive that she could sense the slightest change in a person's attitude.
"What if I say I have a remedy for all that boredom."
"Am I supposed to be interested?"
"I don't know you tell me."
"What if I say no?"
"Why would you say no when you've not even heard what I wanted to say."
"Let's say I have a good guess, clubbing"
"Well at least it's still similar, and I seriously can't believe you'd try to lure me with that, I mean what are we, twelve? It's not as thrilling as you think it is to me."
"What could be more tempting than a great party, filled with good liquor, hot boys, and good music?"
"Hmm let me see maybe being responsible for a whole race,"
"Well, would you look at that, look who's all grown up" Stacy teased"Come on, you know I'll need a drinking buddy, and whether you agree with me or not you need this, don't make me beg, so what do you say, are you coming or not?"