The rain poured from the grey sky as lightning flashed and flickered through the clouds. Kalean trailed behind Gabe, Jack, and Meatloaf through what seemed to be a field of endless headstones with weather-worn, illegible engravings.
“Stay close, we won’t know where we’ll find our target since someone lost the trail,” Gabe chastised harshly through his combat helmet.
“I’m sorry,” she apologized over the sound of the rain that pelted thick green grass that the four of them trudged through, “I tried my best.”
“You tried your best?” Jack interrupted," what kind of excuse is that?" Kalean had no furthers words and simply resorted to clamming up in hopes to minimize the duration of the verbal attack.
“It was bad enough that you got yourself captured in those ruins,” Gabe continued, “Then only the next job afterward I find you drugged up and about to get raped by some douche bag. What kind of idiot do you have to be to take a drink from someone like that? Well? What do you have to say for yourself?”
“I-I don’t know,” Kalean stuttered nervously as she found herself unable to come up with any sort of defense under the pressure of the crushing words.
“You know, at this rate, we should just take the lass back,” Meatloaf suggested.
“What, back to EVO?” Jack inquired with interest.
“Sure, they’d pay good money for their lab-rat back, I bet.” Kalean stopped in her tracks when she heard the words from the dwarf’s mouth.
“What? How did you-… I never said anything about that! No, please don’t make me go back!” Suddenly the sound of an unusual shifting in the grass caught everyone’s attention. The three men drew their weapons while Kalean focused her will and tried to push the disruptive emotions from her mind to better wield her power. Something tore through the air, lacerating the girl’s forearm. Confused and unable to locate their target, they looked around frantically with their weapons following their cone of vision. Another rip tore through Kalean’s armor and across her abdomen. She felt a warm moisture leaking from the painful wound which lashed across her stomach. “Help me!” Kalean cried out as panic and feelings of helplessness invaded her mind.
A third whipping sound erupted from the air as a cord of barbed wire which outstretched from the ground pierced her bicep and wrapped around her just below her shoulder
“It’s the blood spirit!” Gabe exclaimed. Another strand of wire wrapped around her neck, it’s thorns breaking her skin and dragging through the first layers of her flesh as it tightened.
“Please!” Kalean begged, “get it off of me!” More whipping sounds were followed by a shrill cry of agony as more of the wires spouted from the ground and wrapped around her face, cutting out her vision as the tightening metal cords dragged their thorns across her eyes and leaving her blinded. Additional metal tightened across her mouth like a gag to prevent further speaking and pierced her other limbs, wrapping around her and dragging her to the ground. The men stared in horror as the girl writhed against the flesh ripping attack, uncertain what to do against an assault of such a nature.
“Run!” jack finally yelled. Kalean sobbed as she struggled fruitlessly against the constrictive metal wires as they began to pull her beneath the dirt, yanking her beneath it’s surface and muffling the sounds around her as the moist soil filled her mouth and ears. The girl could barely make out several gunshots and the screams of her friends as the blood spirit redirected it’s assault on it’s fleeing victims before her her last moments of consciousness faded away.
Kalean suddenly awoke and sat up in terror as she frantically inspected her arms for damage. A wave of relief washed over her as she found her sweat-soaked flesh to be intact and unharmed. There was no blood spirit, no graveyard, and no cutting words from the closest thing she had to family.
Just a dream. A very real, and intense, bad dream.
The girl looked around to see Scruffie who she’d woken up when she’d shifted her weight on the bed so suddenly. The tiny dog yawned and wagged it’s tail happily as it remained oblivious to the troubled mind of it’s companion. Kalean smiled at the puppy before standing from her bed and walked into the bathroom to look in the mirror.
“I have to change,” she sighed quietly to herself, “I can’t keep letting everyone down.” Kalean wiped the sweat off of her face and arms before becoming distracted with the familiar scars on her forearms. She traced the tender skin with her finger as she recalled the blood that once poured from self inflicted wounds before shuddering at the memory. Kalean flipped the light off and wandered back to her bed where she lie awake and unable to convince herself to sleep for fear that such terrible images may pervade her dreams yet again.