Time passes slowly, from what Athens could tell anyway. There she stood, still at the top of that same hill, still staring down into the valley where all that she had known previously resided. The holes in the ground gave her shivers, but she also felt something else. Sure, there was fear tinged with a bit of panic, but something about those holes…
And then there was that breeze that seemed to come out of nowhere, where Athens could swear hearing a voice riding along it.
“What had it asked,” she thought, “Where are you, Athens?”
“I’m right here!”, she answered audibly, though with a heavy dose of sarcasm.
Had she been crazy? Then again, if she were crazy, then it was certainly justified, she’d concluded. Whatever this thing that had happened today far overshot any imaginative scenario she’d had as a little girl playing with her Lego building blocks.
“They never made a playset for this crap!”, she mumbled, then laughed in spite of herself.
She’d lost everything. Her dwelling. Her family’s dwelling. Her….
She stopped and closed her eyes as another breeze floated in from above her, and enveloped her. The warmth of the breeze felt like a cozy blanket, reminding her of the same one that used to comfort her as a child. This blanket had been hand quilted, she’d been told, by her great grandmother. It’d had pictures of stars and galaxies, and whenever Athens had snuggled up with it, especially at night, she had felt as if she were being transported to an entirely different world.
She spread her arms as a smile crossed her face. Suddenly the tragedy of the day hadn’t seemed to bad. She could rebuild. Yeah, she would have to grieve and mourn her family, and that would take some time, but things would be alright.
“I can do this.”, Athens said aloud as tears ran down her face for the first time that day. She said it again, and again, louder this time, until she was screaming it defiantly for anyone out there to hear.
During her declaration, a peace settled in her heart. It was only there for a moment before a cold dread crept up her spine, crawled up her neck, and took a strangle hold on her voice. For her eyes had opened, and she watched as a figure shrouded in darkness crept just outside of the opening of one of the holes in the ground. Even the shadow cast by this mysterious figure sucked the light out of the immediate area, leaving a large swatch of lifeless void. She watched as the figure raised it’s head, and even from this distance, she could see clearly that it’s pale eyes were staring right at her.
This time, the appearance of the breeze chilled Athens to her core, because cutting through it, right into the heart of her, she heard,
“We’rrreeee cooommmmmiiinnnng fooooorrrr yooouuuuuuu!!!”