Dark brown eyes peered from with the dried brush pile. This was his hiding place. His secret place where no one could find him—except those who knew he was there. He had to stay quiet, had to keep his little sister, Zelie, quiet and stay hidden.
His neighbors had gone crazy. Desperate, Emanuel crawled out a small hole in the wall of his house, tugging Zelie out behind him, determined to escape from their screams demanding for their death. Emanuel couldn't understand what they did wrong...to have their deaths demanded in their own homeland.
Darkness slowly fell and he lifted his little sister's frail body. "'Manie?" Zelie muttered her voice weak.
"Shhh, I've got you. It's time to play a game." He whispered, pressing his lips against her small ear.
"But it's dark out...it's time for sleep."
"I know, but..." Emanuel paused, his mind was racing. How could he explain this to such a little girl? "But tonight is special 'cause you slept all day."
"Okay," Zelie breathed, snuggling closer to Emanuel's thin form. "What game are we playing?"
"Remember the game I taught you last week, were you hide and I find you?" He paused and she nodded her white teeth bright in the darkness. "It's like that, 'cept we have to move around while we're hiding."
"'Manie, I can't move that fast though." She whispered, and Emanuel grinned.
"We're a team, so I'll hide us, okay?"
"'Kay, so what do I do?"
"Just stay quiet." Emanuel whispered, smiling as his sister snuggle deeper against him.
Tenderly, he wrapped her emaciated legs around his waist before holding her close. He could hear his neighbors still seeking them.
The blood lust was still taking its course.
It was bad enough that his family was granted limited rations to survive, but now, the call for blood... That thought brought shivers down Emanuel's spine as he began to carefully run along familiar paths. He had to find a place to hide. They were going to survive somehow.
Focusing on each step, Emanuel ran, frantically trying to think of one place that might be safe from his approaching neighbors.
In that moment, Emanuel's foot landed wrong, and the siblings took a tumble. Frantically, desperately, he ignored the pain, pushing himself back up and gathered Zelie into his arms again, looking over his shoulder, hearing the yelling drawing closer. Emanuel knew he couldn't out run his neighbors; not with his ankle throbbing with each heart beat.
Desperately, Emanuel propped himself and Zelie backward, deep into the brushes, praying that they were deep enough so that they were hidden. Lights bounced passed them eerily, mimicking their owners' movements.
Screams filled the air, calling for spilt blood. They were lost to the blood lust.
Emanuel curled himself tighter around Zelie, determined to protect her, at all costs. He moved his mouth in a silent prayer, begging God to protect them.
The screams echoed through out the moonless night. Slowly, the minutes ticked by and Emanuel watched the sky slowly change from black to pink to blue.
Emanuel had finally allowed his body to relax for the first time in days, until he heard soft unfamiliar voices whispering path side.
"Do you think the children survived?"
"Their neighbors didn’t cut them down last night, so there’s a chance."
"Yes—if we can find them, maybe..."
The voices paused and a hand cut through the grass and a smiling face greeted Emanuel and Zelie.
"C'mon you two, lets get you to safety."
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