They have all gone into the Jungle, and have not come back. Their bodies are here, walking, sitting, breathing, staring at nothing because they cannot truly see. But they are gone, and I am alone and afraid.
Hands reach for me, nearly covered in hexagonal patches of black material. I turn, staring up into my mother’s empty black eyes. I duck and scurry out from beneath her hands, running down the stairs to the glass doors that look out on the Jungle.
They all gather here, staring at the Jungle with their empty eyes. Mom, dad, and the three other adults who came with us to Farethraun Jungle. A dark figure emerges from the greenery. They all stand still, tracking the figure with their eyes. As it walks through the door, I see that it is completely covered in the dark, hexagonal scales.
I am no longer afraid. No light reflects off of the figure. The scales on the others begin to spread, creeping out across their faces. Those are little details; I am paying them no attention. Only two things matter: the figure and the Jungle.
I am walking towards the Jungle, with the figure behind me. The others simply stand and watch. I am in the Jungle now, following the dark figure down an old path. The dark figure blends into the shadows under the trees. Dead leaves litter the ground underfoot. Wet brush slaps at my hands as I reach out to the sides of the path, but the leaves beneath my bare feet are surprisingly dry. Behind me, now running, it reaches out as if to touch my shoulder.
But no matter how fast I run, how quickly I dodge, the hands grab me. I am carried, screaming, back, back, back to the Jungle. My parents stand, stone-faced, eyes black as I am forced into a padded chair and a sheet is thrown over me. Angry, frustrated, defeated, I have no choice but to submit.
"Hold still," says my mother. "It won't hurt."
The figure collects her cutting implement and moves towards me. Snip-snip--and I watch as bits of my glorious hair fall to the floor.
Opening: Fiona Green.....Continuation: khazarkhum