“For the past two weeks, there have been attacks on pet dogs 100 km Northwest of the city. A pack of wolves, each the size of a deer or larger, have killed several dogs and are proceeding Eastward. Witnesses claimed to see the pack following lone dogs and proceeding with their assault if its owners are not in the area. Reports say that–”
“Turn the TV off, Nirvana; it’s time to go to sleep. We have a long way to go tomorrow,” Mom said as she dried her hands off with a towel after washing the dishes. I glanced at the flashing red digits on the digital clock underneath the TV: it was 8:45 PM. I groaned.
“But Mom, it’s so early! I want to keep watching TV!” I turned to plead to my mother, but she shook her head in disapproval. Pouting, I raised my chin to look up at the TV once again; frames of red and blue images flashed before my eyes as I watched the big, bold white text march from one side of the screen to the other. The news reporter continued to give details about the dangerous beasts as I remained seated, listening attentively. I saw Mom shake her head once more in the periphery of my vision; she proceeded to turn the television off herself.
“Vana, you have to go to sleep now. We’re going to see Aunt Nora first thing tomorrow.”
I flinched at the sound of her name. I didn’t want to see Aunt Nora; visiting her meant seeing her children, and I loathed them with every fibre of my being.
Aunt Nora had two daughters — Mira and Lilith. They were 4 years apart, the oldest being Mira. Mira was slightly shorter than Lilith in height, and had shorter, dark brown hair. Lilith’s frame was thinner and she had longer, black hair. She also wore black, square eye glasses. But despite their differences in physical attributes, their personalities were exactly the same — ugly and rotten to the core. We came over to visit every week, and whenever we did, they always played tricks on me; trapped me in the most darkest, coldest bedrooms in the basement; rubbed hand soap on the doorknobs to prevent me from escaping; blackmailed me into doing whatever dirty work they needed to have done; even convinced me to run laps around the house claiming they wanted to “race”. I felt ashamed and angry after every ruse, yet I never failed to fall for them. It frustrated me to hear them snicker and slip a sly grin behind our parents’ backs, staring menacingly at me with their cunning, bright green eyes. I hated them, but I couldn’t do anything about it.
I sighed, and reluctantly stood up, making my way towards the bathroom to get ready for bed.
We left home an hour after sunrise, heading West towards our destination. My heart paced against my ribcage with every second, dreading the moment we would arrive at the household. My palms became sweaty and my thoughts were cluttered; I was anxious to see Mira and Lilith again, and we seemed to travel at a pace too fast for me to prepare for the battle that awaited. At last, we arrived, and I desperately wanted to run.
Trying to hide the terror I felt rushing through my veins, I walked indoors and saw Aunt and Uncle in the kitchen fixing up the dining table. They greeted me and urged me to eat, extending an arm towards the table with a variety of foods to feast on. I hurled some spaghetti onto a styrofoam plate, grabbed a cup of water, and made my way outdoors. Aunt Nora urged me to “play” with Lilith and Mira, who were both in their rooms. I flashed her the brightest smile I could manage and said “okay”, but internally, I was scowling at the suggestion. I didn’t care about whether or not she had a “playmate”; I certainly did not want to face them.
I settled beneath a large tree that protected me from the scorching hot rays of sunlight. The gentle echo of flowing water sang to me like music to my ears, coming from a narrow stream a couple meters away from the trunk of the tree. The warm breeze danced among the swirling leaves, carrying them as they jumped elegantly off of the outstretched arms of the trees and landed softly on the ground. I smiled at the calm, breath-taking scenery, and only wished to live a life as peaceful as this.
I ate my food slowly. It was rare to be in such a peaceful environment, and I cherished every single moment I was able to spend outdoors. I finished my food and was drinking the rest of my water. As I was gulping down the last bit, I saw a figure move in the corner of my eye; before I could react, I was knocked over from behind and fell face first onto the grass, spilling water all over my clothes and my hair. I let out a cry as a jolt of pain ran through my entire body, unable to stand up and regain balance. Laughter exploded from behind the trees as two figures emerged from the shadows. I cupped my forehead, dizzy from the impact of the fall. I gritted my teeth in anger; there, standing a meter away from me, were Mira and Lilith.
“Oops, sorry!” Lilith said and flashed an evil smile, cackling once again with her equally sinister sister. My fists clenched at the sight; they were merciless, bloodthirsty beasts. I turned away and whispered a curse, quickly wiping away the sudden tears that formed in my eyes in fear that they would take the opportunity to attack me once more. But luck was not on my side; they caught me in my moment of weakness.
“What is this? Tears? Are you crying, Nirvana? Hah!” Mira mocked, bursting in another fit of laughter with Lilith. They began to corner my strewn, weakened body laying on the ground. They were hungry for fear and bloodlust; their green eyes flashed with their sinister intentions like a warning sign as they zeroed in on me. My fists shook uncontrollably, fear taking over my body with every step, and my heart raced at the sight of their sickening smiles with canines sharp and ready to bite into the flesh of their prey. I felt sick to the stomach, the shadows of their bodies looming over me. They were now within arm’s length; this was it. This was the end. There was no one to save me from the inevitable bloodshed.
But I was sick and tired of giving in to them all the time. I was sick and tired of desperately running away from the monsters of their souls and the coldness of their hearts. I was sick and tired of hiding in the darkness in fear of being seen and brutally beaten by them, and I was sick and tired of succumbing to their ruses and threats every single time they had the opportunity to. Now, it was time for the hunters to become the hunted.
“Leave me alone,” I barely whispered; a silent threat carried away by the hands of the winds. Mira and Lilith stopped in their tracks for a moment, amused at my act of defiance, and snickered at my pathetic cry of rebellion. I clenched my fist, and slowly, I began to stand on my two feet.
“Oh? What are you gonna do now, Nirvana? Fight us?” Mira taunted and let out another irritating, high-pitched cackle. I gritted my teeth, letting out a low growl as I watched her take a step forward, aiming to shove my shoulder with her palm. I seized her wrist with a tight grip and yanked it towards my body. She gasped, shocked at the sudden action and stumbled forward as she was caught off guard. Her eyes locked with mine as she let out a pathetic whimper.
“Back. Off.” I threatened, staring her dead in the eyes as I shoved her, the anger built up inside me suddenly thrusting her with a force so strong she fell backwards onto the ground and rolled over. She let out a yelp of pain as she laid there, limp and unable to move, as Lilith immediately sprinted to her side to aid her older sister. I stood silently, watching the two females before me. Lilith helped Mira pick herself up, wrapping one arm around Mira’s waist while the other arm held onto Mira’s, hanging around her neck. Without any sympathy, I simply uttered one last sentence before turning around to exit the scene.
“Don’t ever come near me again.”
And so when the following week came, we woke up early once again to travel West of our home towards Aunt Nora’s where we would see one another once again. I walked into their household with caution, scanning my surroundings left and right with a keen eye for threats; and when my eyes landed on her two daughters, I grinned knowingly as they hid in the darkness and cowered in fear.