Solar Eclipse

I ran as far as I could away from that place.  I couldn’t remember why I was running, but I knew it was horrible.  Never looking back, I ran further and further until my legs physically couldn’t run any farther.  Scratches and bruises lined my arm, burning from the torture I had endured there.  I was tortured by the thought that somehow, as far as I ran, I would always end up back at that place.  My knees buckled, sending me forward into blackness.

When I woke up, I found myself in a storm-ravaged clearing.  My whole body ached, and my vision was blurred and hazy.  A head-ache emerged from the foggy depths of my mind, and with it, a memory.  Images flashed through my mind, like lightning, leaving me with one thought.  Solar Eclipse.  Those two words haunted me and when I thought the chain of foul memories had been buried in the ruins of my mind, the words would surface again, forcing me to cry out.  I relived the memories that were burned into my mind, exactly the way they were.

I heard footsteps coming from down the hall.  Into my room.  I cowered in the corner, shielding my eyes, as though I thought that if I couldn’t see her, then she couldn’t see me.  I was wrong.  The door flew open, revealing a woman in the clothes of a queen. I couldn’t see her face properly, though I knew it was filled with anger.  She dragged me off the bed by the hair and shook me, effortlessly, as if I were a doll.  Immediately, I bit my tongue to stop myself from crying out.  I knew that if I cried out, she would punish me more.  She was yelling at me, though I couldn’t remember why.  Slapping me, she told me how much of a nuisance I was, and how stupid I was.  I had never been told any different, so I believed her.  Tears streamed down my face, like they always did, unaccompanied by sobs…

A sharp whirring sound terrified me back to the present.  It hurt to breathe, and I knew that if I just sat there, I would die, either from starvation, or I would be killed and eaten by some sort of wild animal.  I didn’t care.  After all I’d seen, all I wanted was to die.  As I lay back down, I closed my eyes and waited for sleep to engulf me.

“The Solar Eclipse is soon,”  the woman said brightly, “I want you to get a good sleep.  Can’t have you tired for the big day!”  I had to reply politely.  I saw her face better this time, and she had deep blue eyes laced with malice, short, cropped hazelnut brown hair, and a minuscule, almost invisible tattoo on her skin in the shape of a crescent moon.  It was her organisation’s tattoo.  As hard as I thought, I couldn’t remember what her organisation was, only that it was powerful and very dangerous.  I stood there awkwardly, watching her eating breakfast, knowing that she wouldn’t get any, except for a small, rotten apple.

I was awoken by the groaning of my own stomach.  I noticed a bush near me – the only one not destroyed by the storm – had tiny, red berries on it.  I didn’t pause to wonder if the berries were poisonous or not, because my stomach growled loud enough for it to resonate around the clearing, sending flocks of birds floundering in the sky.  Before my brain could say otherwise, my hand grabbed a bunch of berries and stuffed them in my mouth.  Hours later, my stomach disagreed with them, and I spewed out a reddish mash.  Tears spilled down my cheeks for the next few painful hours, even more painful then when I hadn’t eaten.  The stomach ache brought back even more memories.  I tried to stuff them back, but my mind was overflowing.

“What is the Solar Eclipse, Mummy?”  I asked.  My mother replied, as gently as she could, in a voice filled with fear.  “It is an evil event.  You should watch out for the O’Prindio group.  They have tattoos, in the shape of little crescent moons on their forearms, and they look so horrible, it is beyond human understanding.  The Solar Eclipse is when they choose two victims, both children under the age of twelve and force them to stare at the eclipse.  This makes the victims go insane.  They then drain the victims’ power and use it for their own evil.  I promise I’ll protect you as best as I can from it.  She wasn’t able to keep her promise.  Later that night, two soldiers, wearing a crescent moon badge, barged into the tiny home.  The first one ran a sword into my mother.  “You have debts to pay.”  said the other, laughing harshly, glancing in my direction.  My mother didn’t make a sound, instead she used all her remaining energy to create a diversion.  I shielded my eyes as light filled the room, emitted from her very soul.  “What the-”  My mother gasped.  With her last breath she forced out a single word: “Run!”  I was sure there were many other things my mother wanted to say with her last breath, like, ‘I love you, I’ll be okay, everything will be fine.’  But she didn’t.  I ran, only to be caught by two burly soldiers, patrolling the town.  They knocked me unconscious with a sword’s hilt.  I awoke in a small room, with a window about the size of my hand, bathed in darkness.

If only I had run farther, that night.  Everything might have been fine.  Still feeling sick after the berries, I entertained myself by counting all the scars I had collected over the years, carefully contemplating each one, remembering how I got it.  A sudden sound disturbed my thoughts and I cried out.  I’m mad, I thought, I’m totally mad.  I made a list of all the things I was feeling.  I was hungry, mad, aching, sad, scared and lost. I knew I couldn’t live out here like this.  Of all the monster stories I had heard when I was a child, of all the tortures I had endured, this was the scariest.  This was no story.  This was my life.  There was no shelter, food, or any place to rest.  I was done for.

I was chained to the ground.  The ceremony had begun.  I bit my lip to stop myself from crying.  I wasn’t going to give her that pleasure.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a careless guard drop the keys.  I couldn’t move any of my limbs, but for once in my life, I was glad of the use of magic.  The Solar Eclipse only took the lives of magicians.  I willed the keys to float towards me, and unlock the manacles.  I was already half insane, so I didn’t think to free the other prisoner.  I just bolted.  The other prisoner was the weakest, so everyone was fixated on him, waiting to see when he would break.  It was too late when they realised I had escaped.  “You!”  someone shouted.  I didn’t remember my name.  No-one used it anyway.  

I wasn’t sure how many days or nights I had been alone in that little clearing, but whether it be the hunger, the berries, or my injuries, I didn’t live long.  One night, I fell asleep, and I never woke up.  Somehow I knew that I was to die that night.  I welcomed eternal rest.  Finally Free…

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