Hey, y’all! So, I decided to change it up a little. I’m working on a new series called “Trapped” that I hope you will all like, and I’ll still continue the old series. It’ll take some getting used to, running two stories side-by-side, but I’ll manage. For now, enjoy the first part of the story!

(This started out as an attempt at a horror story; I don’t know where it went from there, but it’s not a horror story anymore..)

The girl flattened herself to the ground and crawled into the narrow space under the concrete slab. Twisting around awkwardly, she peered out of the opening, her blue-green eyes glowing faintly in the shadows.

A Darkness began to seep into the moonlight that pooled on the barren ground. “Where are you, child?” it whispered, calling to the girl. “I know you can hear me. You know you cannot hide from me. You can run, but you cannot hide. Come out and meet your fate…

The girl froze, holding her breath, as it passed her. A chilling cold descended on her, but she resisted the urge to shiver or back away further into the shadows. She closed her eyes, feeling the Darkness creep under the concrete slab, but it couldn’t find her, and moved on.

She waited a few moments, then dashed out again, darting among the concrete pieces. Once, a concrete structure had stood on this barren wasteland, but now all that remained were slabs of various sizes scattered across the plain. Nothing grew there, almost as if the Darkness had killed off everything as soon as it arrived.

As she slid off the last slab, she came to a wall that stretched into the dark grey sky, further than the eye could ever see. Looking up at the large purple double-doors that loomed in front of her, she raised a grey hand and knocked softly on the door.

After a moment, one door swung open silently. Glancing back to be sure the Darkness wasn’t following, the girl slipped inside, pulling the door shut behind her with a soft click.

“Any news?”

The question came from a black-haired boy with white skin and grey eyes, standing on a ledge higher up the wall. A spear was strapped to his back and a roughly hewn grey bag was swung over his left shoulder, hanging at his side. He held out a hand to the girl, pulling her up onto the ledge. As the sleeve of his grey shirt went up, the dull dark grey of a knife sheath poked out, strapped to his arm.

“The Darkness is still there,” the girl reported, adjusting the grey bag that hung over her own shoulder. “He almost had me this time.” She decided not to mention that it seemed to know her, calling her “child” as if they had met before; the Darkness could not tell the difference between the victims it captured, and it certainly could not detect age, unless it had been told specifically.

“Be careful.” The boy’s hands ran over the girl’s grey arms, running over the dark tattoos branded into her skin that extended from her shoulders to her fingertips. “You remember what happened to the last midnight sentry.”

“The Darkness cast her into a distorted reality that she never returned from, I know,” the girl sighed. “I do wish people wouldn’t keep reminding me. It’s not the best thing to think about when patrolling.”

“It’s to keep you cautious, Hope,” the boy pointed out as he led her up a series of ledges to a hole in the wall high above the ground.

“I’m plenty cautious!” Hope retorted, but her voice was still affectionate as she followed the boy into the hole and down a dark tunnel.

“Sure.” The boy grinned, taking her hand and leading her to the far side of the cavern that the short tunnel opened up to. A large fire blazed in the center, casting a dancing light on the distinctly purple walls. People of all different ages sat around the fire, chatting amiably, but most, if not all, of them were still in their teenage years. Some were passing around blankets and food, while others crouched in the corners, playing games of dice with seven-sided rocks.

Someone handed Hope a blanket, which she took gratefully and spread on her lap as she sat down next to the boy. Resting her head on his shoulder as they curled up together under the red-and-green plaid sheet, she stared into the depths of fire, where blue and white flickered every few seconds.

She couldn’t help thinking about the darkness again. If it knew her, it was a bad sign; any association with the Darkness could end in death in numerous different ways, or worse. No one ever wanted to be singled out by the Darkness, but for some it had been inevitable, written in the Hall of Fate, unable to be changed. Hope knew that, nearing her fourteenth year of life, she would be taken to read her Fate in the Hall soon, and she had been looking forward to it, but now she was scared of what she would find. Even though it had been almost an hour since she had hidden from the Darkness, its whispered taunts still echoed in her mind, haunting her.

You cannot hide from your fate, child.