2000, late December
She couldn't believe it. Was it really him?
She had thought he was dead, turned into one of those horrible gargoyle-like creatures and then killed by other unaffected humans like her. But here he was, in the flesh, turned back into a human by some miracle. She felt as if the weight she had been carrying for years had finally lifted.
She hugged him tight, and promised never to let him go again.
As Anya walked out of the orphanage and into the village that night, she noticed an abnormal silence. It was quite odd, as the streets should have been bustling, crowded with people coming and going, queuing up for bread and soup. As she kept walking, towards the market where she usually got the food, she realised she was the only person on the street. The doors and windows of all the houses were shut tight, and the only sound other than her echoing footsteps was the wind, blowing with unnatural force.
She noticed a dark mist looming over the village. “That can’t be good” she thought, “I would do well to turn back”.
But despite the sudden fear that she felt, she couldn’t help being a little bit curious.
So she stayed there, frozen, until the dark mist developed into a dark cloud, which developed into a dark storm, which developed into a mini cyclone hurtling towards her.
That cyclone then started spinning so quickly that she couldn’t keep up with its motion. It spun and spun, and continued spinning for a few seconds, and then stopped and faded, as if it had been a dream.
But surrounding her were now hundreds of hideous winged creatures, growling and glaring at her with bright yellow eyes.
She ran to the orphanage as fast as she could, horrified to see that the door was wide open.
She rushed through the dining room, almost flew up the stairs, pushed her and Aleksei’s bedroom door open and looked around, panicking, expecting a gargoyle to leap out of the darkness at any moment.
But the only thing she saw was a young man, tucked into a fœtal position, sobbing gently.
As she approached him, she noticed he was trembling, as if he had just witnessed an absolutely terrifying scene. The boy, who had heard her footsteps, looked up and said:
“Anya, I’m scared”.
It was Alexei, who had been up in his room as the gargoyles had stormed into the orphanage. He had heard screams and roars and slashes and strange sounds, but had been too scared to come down to see what had happened.
The next day, Anya woke up to find Aleksei’s bed empty and cold. He had left a while ago, but why? She quickly put her boots and coat on, and hurried down the stairs, shouting out his name, an unpleasant feeling gnawing at her. He wasn’t inside, so she pulled the door open and stepped out into the cold. There were no footprints, but that wasn’t unusual: the wind had probably wiped them out quickly.
As Anya continued searching for her best friend, she spotted a stationary shape in the distance; as she got closer, that shape turned into the slim body of her friend. He seemed frozen; his eyes showed no sign of life, and nor did his body. As Anya, concerned, shuffled even closer to him and uttered his name, she gently grabbed his hand. Well, tried to. The problem was that Aleksei’s hand had somehow been turned to stone, as had his whole body. Anya realised that her best friend, her only friend, had just been taken away from her, and she hadn’t been able to say goodbye.
But as she cried, tears streaming down her frozen face, she heard a sound. It was coming from Aleksei.
As she glanced up, she noticed that his body was no longer stone. She was about to hug him, tightly, and tell him never to scare her like that again, when he started shaking, so hard that he appeared to be possessed. She watched, horrified, as two large wings sprouted from his back, tearing through his thin linen garment. His face shifted and before her now stood a gargoyle, its teeth bared into a growl.
She dodged its attack, and uttered a soft goodbye before turning back and running away. She knew she had no choice, but her heart felt like lead, weighing her down.
She did not look back.
2000, late December
Anya, now 30 years old, was one of the few unaffected humans left, the ones that hadn’t been turned into gargoyles. She survived by hiding from the creatures, never harming one unless it was an absolute necessity. She still thought there was a slight chance that Aleksei might still be alive and was somewhere out there, trapped inside a body that was not his own, ready to be freed. She couldn’t risk hurting her long lost friend, even if he was likely to be dead, killed by the other unaffected humans trying to survive in the face of adversity.
As she walked down the forest path that led to her shelter, she heard a rustling sound. She stopped and froze, and soundlessly pulled out her blade, just in case.
But the sound didn’t come from a gargoyle; it came from a young man who had been hiding in the bushes, spying on her. To her surprise, Anya recognised him. He had changed, but she knew she would’ve recognised him even if he had been an old man.
It was Aleksei. Aleksei, her long lost friend, who had found his way back to her.
After hugging him tightly, she stepped back to get a better look at him; his features were sharper, but his eyes were as bright as they used to be, filled with happiness.
“I finally found you”, he said.
Envoyé: 10:36 Tue, 14 March 2023 by : Rivron Martinelli Lucile age : 16