Nagrom spotted the orange winged beast in the distance. It was a swift one, but Nagrom was a sharpshooter, one of the elite. He never missed.
There were reports of children being stolen away from the town of Molenol. It was claimed that these colourful creatures were responsible for it. The claims were not from the best of sources, but there were mothers and fathers waiting for something, or someone, to pay.
As Nagrom watched the beast along the shaft of the arrow knocked in his bow, he felt a faint memory prodding the back of his brain. He couldn’t remember what it was, possibly some faint childhood memory. Even so, it made him feel pity for this beast. But what was that memory? Nagrom brushed the thought aside and brought his mind back to the task at hand.
The search for these creatures had taken them far into the northwestern regions of the discovered land. They had only found two, seemingly two girls, possibly mother and daughter, although with these demons it was impossible to tell, hidden in the Impenetrable Mountains. They had waited until daylight and had choked up their caves with smoke, forcing them out. The soldiers had discovered that the beasts could not see well in daylight, making them easier to shoot. The elder one, the assumed mother, was slow. She was caught easily, but the young one was another matter. None of the soldiers Nagrom commanded could hit her. But Nagrom was one of the best. He had taught them all they know, but not all that he knew. Brushing his shaggy red beard out of his face, Nagrom loaded, and fired.
Kara cried out. She had not meant to, but she could not slow her fall to the hard forest earth below. She sat up with an earthy taste in her mouth and spat out some dirt. The forest was quiet, but every small noise still made her jump out of fear. Every bunny hop and every deer chewing grass sounded like the trumpet of an elephant to her. Even in the bright forest, in every shadow the green trees made, she saw the soldiers. Her senses were on overload from nervousness.
Kara could not see in the day, so she relied on her senses to guide her. Her senses enabled her to sense movement, light, and strong emotions. In the daytime she could also hear very well to replace the missing sight. During the night she could not use her senses so she functioned like a human, although she was not one.
Kara looked like a human in many ways. She had never seen one, of course, but that’s what her mother had told her. She had arms and legs. She had a head with hair, straight red-brown hair that dropped to her waist, to be specific. She had a normal face, with a nose, mouth and green eyes that complemented her skin. Well, skin of sorts, her exoskeleton. Her mother had said it was like the things that made bugs crunch when you stepped on them. Kara didn’t much like being compared to a bug. Her exoskeleton was orange, so looking like a human ended there. The thing that really set her apart from humans, though, were her wings. They were a soft orange colour, and if you touched them they felt like velvet. They could be harmed very easily, though. Something as much as a scratch could hurt them.
A bunny hopped across the forest. Although it was only a bunny, Kara was still terrified, so she mistook it for something much larger. Kara screamed.
Kara, you fool! She reprimanded herself, as her senses calmed down, That must have drawn soldiers from miles around. Why these soldiers were after her, she wasn’t sure, but her senses told her that they meant no good, and she had to get away.
Kara let her senses reach out to her soft, orange wings. They were very fragile, and even a scratch could potentially harm her flight patterns. As her senses reached her wings, she felt something wrong. It was more than a scratch. Kara gasped. There was a hole! By what kind of weapon, she wasn’t sure, but she knew it hurt. She searched the rest of her body, but nothing had come to harm. It was hard to harm the body of one of her kind; as they were constantly covered in an exoskeleton. Everyone had different coloured ones. Kara’s was light orange, just like her wings.
Kara tucked her wings behind her back and began to run. She ran hard and fast. Even though she was not flying, she was still fast. Her senses had calmed down and she was able to sense people around her. People with bad intent.
The sharpshooters, thought Kara. But why are they chasing me? Why are they trying to kill me? Oh, if only mother were here. Or Uncle Cletus. They would both help me now.
Kara wished Uncle Cletus were there with her. She remembered how he would always come to her cave. It seemed that whenever her or her mother were feeling down, Uncle Cletus would show up. She knew it was impossible for him to know when they were upset. Or at least, she thought it was impossible. But then, there was that one day….
Kara’s thoughts ran their course, but they soon came to her mother. Kara’s thoughts became spinning chaos. I could have helped her! Was her first thought, but that was soon followed by, No, she told you to save yourself. Besides, if you had slowed down then you would have gotten killed too. Thoughts like these waged war back and forth in her brain. Finally, she could take it no more, and she burst into tears. Unlike a human, running while crying was no annoyance to her. It didn’t impair her vision because she couldn’t see anyways.
Finally, her senses told her that no one was around. She had lost them. Kara slowed to a walk and reached out with her senses to try to find a hiding place.
Her senses indicated a cave, not very good, but at least it might be dark enough for her to see. She tread lightly, using her wings to lift herself up over small bushes. Even if she couldn’t really fly, they still gave her a small amount of lift. Some pain came with that of course, but Kara could bear it.
Kara came to the cave and did a quick survey of the area around it. No one there. Good. She thought. She wandered slowly through the passage. While walking, her mind wandered back to the cave that she used to call home. Back to eating food by the fire while her mother told her stories. As a young child, she loved stories. Sadness overcame her as she thought of her mother. The sadness was followed by a need for revenge, followed by sadness again.
As Kara surfaced from her dark pool of misery, she realized she could see. Not well, but at least it was something. She moved farther into the cave and turned a sharp corner. The rest of the light disappeared. Seeing clearly now, Kara realized she had reached the back of the cave.
Kara sank unsteadily to the ground. She was tired and, although she was nocturnal, she had to sleep. It was coming on night now, and if she fell asleep she could risk changing her sleeping patterns. It was a risk she would have to take. But before she could fall asleep, the darkness brought new thoughts to her. Many thoughts. She thought mostly of her mother, which made her feel hopeless, hopeless and helpless. Kara cried herself to sleep.