Her breath is strong and the young girl’s torturous whimpers of fear carry along through the crisp air of the gloomy hour. The rugged roots are raised from the erosion of the clay and dirt grounds – she hops and zig-zags between the risen labyrinth-like roots and on through the dense green woods, frantically shuffling, in her Puritan-like, blood and dirt-stained white dress. She holds a bullhorn in hand clenched between her blood-stained fingernails.  

THUD! She trips hard – a sign sits above her head: Righteous – Est. 1666

            She looks down to her ripped open knee – the milk-white bone peeks through the pool of blood coagulating upon her skin. The girl quickly rises with adrenaline and runs away as shadows reflect off of the leering trees. Upon exiting the heavy brush, she severely pants while looking to several windmills slowly spinning to the sea breeze along with the vast ocean behind it and a decrepit lighthouse blocking out the slowly setting orange hued sun that mirrors itself against the rippled ocean like a beautiful desert illusion. Pain fills her and she grabs her neck, tossing her matted, dirt and blood-dyed hair to the side – two large fang holes pulse and ooze out viscous blood that steams as it hits the cool air. She hears rustling behind her and then quickly bolts down the sandy field to the coast. The windmills slowly and irksomely howl while the girl runs between them – it produces a warping sound as if time was going to stop – the anxiety it evokes is that of an old clock’s tick towards impending doom. As she runs towards the lighthouse the sand turns to tall seagrass but the girl barrels right through it, not caring what could possibly be in midst of it because what she’s running from is much more frightening. While nervously looking over her shoulder she nears the end of the grass – thump – and trips down into the dune, tumbling through the sand. She groggily rises and looks up to the shadowy tall grass and sees a horned animal mask peering through it as it gently sways in wind. She grabs the sand-covered and bloodstained bullhorn and continues to run to the lighthouse that sits on the cusp of the thrashing ocean.

          While running down the rubble path to the lighthouse her tethered shoe falls off but the girl’s moving too fast to even notice. She steps on several cracked shells and begins to leave a bread-crumb trail of blood behind. The young girl runs up the dauntingly tall and heavily chipped concrete stairwell to the top of the lighthouse – she looks to the faint light peeking down from the warped spiral staircase – nail marks paint the curvature of the walls along with dried blood. Her breath is so heavy that it sounds like she could exhale her lungs.

          Finally upon reaching the top she nervously exits, looking behind her to the darkened doorway in which she came while backing up to a rusted gate that is barely guarding anyone from plunging to the oceanic cliffs below. The sun now begins to disappear behind the lighthouse causing darkness to cast upon the poor girl’s petrified face. She sobs in fear – her innocence supersedes her need for survival in this tender moment – the poor girl’s barely even yet a teenager. As the casted shadow from the fading sun begins to slowly get thicker, the frightened girl stares to the dark doorway with nowhere to go – she looks behind her and down to the thrashing waves exploding upon the shore but then again looks back to that blackened stairwell entrance – her options are nil and tears begin to truly flood her.

Whoomp! Whoomp! Whoomp! She jolts at the loud siren – the noise carried echoes and gives bone-tingling chills.  A shadow appears in the doorway and out of it exits a black cloaked being. As this thing exits from the darkness and faint ambient light shines upon its shadow, beneath this drooping hood is the face of a lion. This mask is very old and leathery – it’s as if the skin has turned to petrified wood – the irksome definition brought on by the shadowy contoured face of the fast-fading sun provokes a sickness within the gut.

The young girl anxiously stares as the lion slowly exits. In the hand of this beast is the mask of a little lamb; its fibers are soft and pliable leather, fresh from a tender lamb’s body. The lion sluggishly walks to her, step by step, almost as if they’re teasing her with each pace – despite the opaque mask you can feel the euphoria that the young girl’s whimpers induce within the pure evilness of this soulless monster. She looks to see where she can run but she very well knows that there is nowhere to go other than down or around to the other side of the lighthouse facing the warped windmills. The girl runs to that very side and the setting sun reflects off of the metal fans of the windmill. Oddly, another door sits upon the other side, though she’s hesitant to go in – for where would it lead? The lion approaches on her right side, and then on the left abruptly appears another cloaked being wearing a horned ox mask. They both slowly pace towards her while the reflective sun shines upon the young girl’s innocent pale skin; her neck pulses with fear and exudes a trail of blood from her fang-like wounds. She clenches that bullhorn behind her back while the last of the amber sun sets upon the rippled sea – the windmill faintly bounces the deteriorating glow of the sun and the reflection dissipates as the clouds now quickly come in; darkness fills her body.

Standing on each side of her are the two masked beasts – they inhale her fear.

“Get back!” she screams. This doesn’t stop them from irksomely taking their time, salivating through their masks, step by step, closer and closer. She has no choice then causing her to run to the mysterious door to nothing but quickly comes to a halt. A peacock masked being appears with an array of deep and dark colors – she backpedals and is quickly lassoed by it. The thick rope gets pulled and tightens around her petite waist – she flails while blindly stumbling backwards to the edge of the tall lighthouse. The peacock ferociously pulls the rope, dragging her stubborn bloodied feet along the ground while its other masked partners watch and move in even closer. The gloved hands pull and pull the girl, reeling her in – she takes the bullhorn and stabs the peacock masked being in the side of the throat – a grunt echoes behind the mask. Blood violently squirts from an artery. The young girl stumbles back to the ledge and attempts to free herself from the rope while avoiding the lunging lion and ox but then falls over it with the rope still wrapped around her. The round of rope quickly unwinds – SNAP!  The rope gains tension – CRUNCH! The tortured girl hangs with the rope clenched tightly around her ribcage – a fractured rib protrudes from her white dress – the bone has splintered and the marrow within it immediately salivates its mineral-rich goodness. She hysterically cries, “Help! Help me!” The girl gasps for air while hanging and swaying off of the side of the lighthouse. Blood begins to drip upon her scalp and runs down the side of her face. She begins to get pulled back up to the top and anxiously cocks her head to see the 3 masks sadistically gazing down to her while pulling the rope, arm after arm. Blood continues to squirt from the peacock’s mask but it doesn’t slow them down, and only continues to shower the frightened young girl as she continues to flail and cry, “Mommy!” Her screams begin to loose vigor as shock dissipates due to pain and exhaustion. “Daddy!” she utters and sobs out.

She groggily weeps as the freakish masks stare down to her nearing body. They finally pull her up and over onto the lighthouse deck – vigor fills her once again as a final burst of adrenaline consumes her, provoking a fighting flail to survival. They attempt to pull her through the dark doorway but this little girl still has the fierce desire to survive, grasping her bloody fingers onto the door sill, digging her nails into the oceanic oxidized light blue-copper frame and then quickly disappearing into the black void along with the faces of the 3 torturous animal masks.

The young girl’s cries echo throughout the long tubular corridor of the dilapidated lighthouse – her frantic fingernail trail is now ingrained into the frame of the metal doorway and lined with a trail of blood to prove her desperateness towards living another day – but she failed.

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