Chapter 11

Don’t Ever Change

The white motorcycle sped into the night. Bloodstorm drove down the secluded road that led to Shallow Creak.

Bloodstorm found the long ride down the curvy road meditative.

Her new bike felt like an extension of her body and she felt as if she was flying.

Her hat was securely tied behind her neck, which prevented her hair from flapping widely.

‘I could ask Salazar to make me a helmet.’ Bloodstorm thought.

A strange looking tree, with a branch that resembled a check mark, zipped past her. She rode on for a few minutes and noticed another tree that looked exactly the same. Ignoring it she continued ahead until another, similar tree zoomed past her. It was no coincidence that three trees happened to look exactly the same. Bloodstorm decided to pay attention to her surroundings instead of enjoying the ride.

As she drove on for a little while longer the ambience had suddenly become eerily quiet. A nagging voice in Bloodstorm’s head told her that something was not quite right, and then she noticed the same tree. She was now sure that she had been going down the same path over and over.

The road ended as she drove on for a while longer and she came across a small village. She sighed with relief.

‘I’ve made it to Shallow Creek’, but as she approached the village she saw a large hanging sign, ‘Welcome to the Village of the Lost’.

‘This isn’t Shallow Creek’, Bloodstorm frowned and drove off without stopping.

‘I must have taken a wrong turn somewhere.’ She backtracked down the same path she had come from.

A few minutes later she saw another village, but as she drove towards it she realized that it was the same one, and the ‘Welcome to the Village of the Lost’ sign was there to confirm that.

“What’s going on here?” Bloodstorm said aloud and, turning her bike around, decided to take a different path through the trees.

Alas, just as before, the same hanging sign greeted her.

After a few more disappointing attempts she decided to enter the Village of the Lost.

There were a few villagers working outside. They stopped working when they saw her riding through their village.

She came across a tavern and parked her bike.

The tavern was called ‘Forlorn’; a name Bloodstorm thought was very odd for a tavern.

As she got off her bike and placed on her hat, she noticed that quite a few villagers were watching her. Some were waving and greeting her with wide smiles. Many were muttering excitedly to each other, they all seemed very happy to see her.

Bloodstorm ignored the bizarre welcome and, walking up the steps of the tavern, pushed open its door.

As she walked in, the patrons stopped whatever they were doing and stared at her, and just like the people outside, they had huge smiles on their faces. Their stares continued for about a few seconds and then suddenly in unison all of them shouted, “Are you lost?”

Then they burst out laughing, Bloodstorm stood in the middle of the room, dumbfounded.

As soon as the laughter settled Bloodstorm walked to an empty table and sat down. Many men and women, mostly inebriated, surrounded her table. Few taking seats next to her.

“It’s been five years since we had a new resident in our village.” Said a man excitedly.

“I’m not a resident here, I’m just passing through.” Bloodstorm replied getting more confused.

Her statement prompted another tumultuous laughter.

An old woman replied through muffled laugh, “Once you enter this village you can never ever leave.”

Finally losing her patience, Bloodstorm angrily asked, “What’s going on in this village?”

Another man, who was not as drunk as his friends, answered, “Look, I’m very sorry this happened to you… as sorry as I am that this happened to all of us.”

Upon seeing that Bloodstorm’s confused expression couldn’t possibly get more contorted, he explained. “Every single one of us came here by mistake, very much like you did. I know this is devastating news but there is nothing any of us can do… and neither can you. My life was destroyed when I got stuck here; I haven’t seen my wife and kids for about five years… But what can I do? I can’t leave this godforsaken village… Listen, take my advice, forget about the life you once had and start a new one here. You can easily find some work in the morning and then you can come here in the evening to drink to your life away.”

“Yeah, no matter which direction you take to leave the village the road switches around you and you end up back at this village.” Another drunk interjected.

Bloodstorm was finally beginning to understand. All these people were trapped here.

The atmosphere in the tavern was starting to bring Bloodstorm down so she decided to leave. Maybe, once outside and away from the commotion, she could think of a way to get out of the Village of the Lost.

As Bloodstorm exited the tavern she was greeted by a large group of villagers.

A tall man with broad shoulders and strong arms, wearing a cowboy hat, was standing in front of the crowd. Four huge pit bulls were standing attentively behind him.

He approached her, “So, you’re the new addition to our wonderful and peaceful village? My name is Rex Gallows and I’m the law around here. I take care of my people and carcerate those who have trouble accepting the strangeness of our village.” Gallows said, “Hopefully you… will not cause any problems in our peaceful village?”

Bloodstorm understood at once that he was concerned about her many weapons and replied, “You have nothing to worry about, and I have no intention of using these here.”

“Good.” Gallows smiled and shook her hand, “If you need anything please don’t hesitate to ask.”

“Thank you.” Bloodstorm said.

“Believe me, you will get accustomed to this new way of life.” Gallows tipped his hat and walked away.

Bloodstorm returned to the tavern to get a room. It was evident that the villagers did not have any use for outside money. She had to work for the tavern owner in exchange for the room. She soon realized that many drunks in the tavern also worked for him in the mornings.

The tavern owner, Merle, looked delighted that Bloodstorm had chosen to stay at his tavern. He handed her the key to the room and as she walked to her room he said, “Try not to get lost.”

She got to her room, ‘2B’, It was a one-room bedroom with no windows. The washroom was in the same room and there was no kitchen. Over all, it was a very depressing room.

She sunk into the bed, trying to think of explanations as to why the roads and the passageways kept manipulating and bringing travelers to this village.

It was obvious that something unnatural was behind this and Bloodstorm knew that every unnatural occurrence had a strange purpose behind it, which once understood fully, would reverse a curse.

Soon, before she realized, she was asleep.

 

Bloodstorm, sensing an uninvited presence in her room, awoke abruptly. As she sat up she saw that the door was wide open.

A diminutive silhouette stood just outside her room.

It was a boy.

He looked like he was nine years old.

“You’re new.” He giggled.

Bloodstorm got out of bed, but as she did the boy ran down the corridor.

She ran behind him into the hallway.

As she exited her room, she was shocked to see that the hall went on forever.

Bloodstorm could see the boy running in the distance so she called out for him to stop.

The boy giggled louder and continued to run. Bloodstorm chased after him and almost caught up to the boy, who shrieked playfully and turned a corner. When she turned the corner as well, the boy was no longer there.

Another endless hallway greeted her.

She looked around. The boy had disappeared.

She tried to retrace her steps but the path she had just come from was also gone, the hallway was linear and boundless.

She waited for a long while, hoping the boy would return, but he did not. She decided to head back to her room but that seemed an impossible task.

Hallways would come to an end on their own, turning left or right, leading to more endless hallways. Every now and then boy appeared, but each time she chased after him he would turn a corner and disappear.

It took her the remaining night to find her way back to her room.

Once in her room, she collapsed onto her bed, suppressing the urge to swear out loud.

Though the entire night had been extremely frustrating, she did learn that a nine-year-old boy was behind imprisoning people in the Village of the Lost.

 

The following day, when Bloodstorm went downstairs to find out what kind of job she had been assigned to in exchange for the room, a huge crowd greeted her.

Everyone watched her with eager expressions.

“Well, how was your first night in our village?” one of the villagers asked.

“It was fine.” She replied automatically, finding their hospitable attitude very strange.

The puzzled expressions on their faces told her that they were not being hospitable but curious.

“Did nothing happen last night?” Asked a woman and Bloodstorm understood immediately.

“Did everything stay were it is supposed to?” Asked another man.

“No…” Bloodstorm shook her head.

Suddenly, the room was filled with laughter and cheer.

Turned out that the villagers, not having many means of entertainment, had gathered at the tavern early morning to witness the new addition’s expressions firsthand.

She described the night’s events to them and, when she had finished her tale, they laughed loudly. It was a dejected laugh.

“Do you know how infuriating it is waking up in the night to use the washroom and are unable to find it? Sometimes it takes hours before you finally decide to… do your business in the endless hall, only to realize that the toilet was behind you all along.” A villager told her.

“So everyone here has had a similar experience?” Bloodstorm asked.

To which the villagers collectively replied, “Yes, of course.”

“He only visits when you’re new. After a few weeks he stops.”

“Yes, but the endless halls continue appearing for as long as you live.”

“Our bodies have become conditioned to sleeping through the night and leaving everything for the morning.”

“Who is the boy?” Bloodstorm asked.

“His name’s Kevin.” Another added.

“Who is he?” When no one had given her more details she asked again.

“I think by now you would have figured out that he is the reason we all remain lost.” A man replied.

“He likes to play games.” Another woman said, “Playing tag especially, but you always it.”

“Does anyone know who the boy is? Does anyone know why he chooses to keep us prisoner at this village?” She asked but the silence that followed gave Bloodstorm her answer.

“Have none of you ever tried to ask him why he has kept you trapped here?” Bloodstorm asked and once again was answered with silence.

“How could we? One would have to catch him first, and no one can catch him. Many have tried.” A villager said.

With their entertainment obviously ruined, the villagers dispersed and left the tavern.

 

That night Kevin visited her again.

The door to her room was wide open and the boy sat on the floor in the hallway, his head resting on his knees, waiting for Bloodstorm to wake up.

Kevin was gingerly rapping at the door.

Bloodstorm sat up in her bed and asked, “Hello, Kevin?”

Kevin watched her for a few seconds before saying, “Hello.”

“Tell me about yourself. How are you able to change and manipulate hallways and path?” Bloodstorm asked.

Kevin shrugged, “I don’t know.”

“Why are you keeping all of us here?” Bloodstorm inquired, “The villagers want to leave. They want to return to their families and loved ones… Don’t you think they should be allowed to leave?”

The boy shrugged again, “I don’t know.”

Then Kevin stood up quickly and ran down the hall, Bloodstorm jumped off the bed to chase after him but remembered that that would be pointless, so she closed her door and went back to bed instead.

 

The next day, at the end of her work shift, Bloodstorm made her way back to Forlorn. She could not wait to bathe off the dirt and animal feces. Her duties for the day were to harvest the crops and feed the livestock.  Her white clothes seemed to be filthy beyond repair.

As Bloodstorm was walking, an older woman yelled out to her, commented on her dirty clothes and waved her to come closer.

Bloodstorm approached the woman, who had a huge basket of dirty laundry before her.

“I can wash your clothes if you want.” The woman offered.

“I would appreciate that but I don’t have another set of clothing.” Bloodstorm explained.

“Many of us have come to this village with only one set of clothes. I could find you a dress… you seem about the same size as my granddaughter. I could get my granddaughter to bring it to you at the tavern.” The woman said.

“Thank you… is it possible to get a white dress?”

 

After Bloodstorm had bathed she handed her dirty clothes to the girl, who had brought her a clean white dress to wear. With the white dress on, she finally looked like she belonged in the village.

Later that night Bloodstorm waited for Kevin’s visit. The door opened and he stood in the same spot, just outside her room.

“You didn’t try to catch me last night.” Kevin said, a little annoyed.

“I was very tired… and I am very tired today. Why don’t you come in? We’ll chat and we could become friends.” Bloodstorm smiled.

“Friends…” Kevin mumbled and shouted angrily, “You want me to start trusting you so you could leave me here to rot!”

“What? No! I just want to know you better.” Bloodstorm called out but the boy had already run down the hall.

 

Next morning, as Bloodstorm was about to leave the tavern to start her shift, Merle said, “Miss, a moment please.”

He hurried towards her and handed her a note, “Its from the Chief. Said it was mighty urgent.”

Bloodstorm waited until the tavern owner made his way back to the bar before opening the note.

‘Meet me at my office as soon as you can. Chief Rex Gallows.’

“How do I get to the Chief’s office?” Bloodstorm asked Merle.

“Just head east until you see the tailor shop then take a right. You know the Chief’s office when you see it.” He said.

Bloodstorm followed the directions and arrived at the Chief’s office. It was one of the biggest buildings in the village.

There were five peace officers in the office. They greeted her with big smiles as she walked in.

“I’m here to see Chief Gallows,” she informed.

“Just straight down here. Follow me please.” Gestured one of the peace officers and led her to Rex Gallows’ office.

Rex was seated at his table, perusing over some files. His four pit bulls lay on the floor beside him, unleashed.

As Bloodstorm approached his office the pit bulls stood up alertly and began to growl angrily.

“Ah, you’re here. Excellent.” Rex looked up at her, “Thank you Bellaby.”

Bellaby gave Bloodstorm a slight bow and went back to his station.

The large dogs continued to growl until Rex sternly looked at them. The dogs stopped growling immediately and obediently sat down.

“Sorry about that, thank you for arriving promptly.” Rex smiled, “You look much better in a dress… much less intimidating than your other outfit.”

“Thank you.” Bloodstorm said, returning the smile.

Rex watched her for a few seconds before turning his attention to some records on his table.

“Every new arrival needs to be added in our records.” He said, brandishing the records file, “So as soon as I take down your name you can go about your business.”

“My name is Emily.” Bloodstorm said, almost automatically.

“Ah, Emily. That is a wonderful name… Do you have a last name to go with that?” He asked.

“I… I don’t remember my last name.” Bloodstorm replied.

The Chief said, scrutinizing her, “Please, take a seat.”

Bloodstorm pulled up a chair and sat down.

“So… Emily, with no last name… Can you tell me where you came from? Or what you did for a living?”

“… I don’t remember.” Bloodstorm said.

Rex Gallows’ demeanor slightly changed, “Come now, you expect me to believe that you walk into our village, dressed like a cowgirl that’s ready to go to war, and that you don’t remember why? Can you at least tell me where you were heading?”

“I don’t see how that matters anymore.” Bloodstorm said.

“I guess it doesn’t, but I can’t have you walking around my village carrying weapons, for all I know you could be a psychopathic killer.” The Sheriff joked.

‘You have no idea how right you are Chief.’ Bloodstorm thought.

“I want to keep this as friendly as possible. I want your life here to be a welcoming one… I really can’t have you walking around the village carrying weapons. You’ll have to surrender them to me.” Rex said with a tone of finality.

“My weapons are safely locked in my room.” She said, a slight frown appearing on her face.

“Most of them, yes, but what about the two guns you have strapped to your legs.” Rex said standing up slowly.

‘How the hell did he know that?’ Bloodstorm thought, her frown deepening a little.

Bloodstorm knew that the five peace officers had been alerted to take action incase she refused. Even the pit bulls were ready to pounce at her with one word from their master.

If she chose to kill the six men and the four dogs she could successfully perform the deed within minutes, but that was not who she was anymore. Bloodstorm would not willingly murder the innocent. She unabashedly lifted her dress up to her thighs and, unholstering her guns, placed them on the Chief’s table.

“Thank you.” Rex Gallows smiled and sat on his seat again, “Of course, I do not mean to keep your weapons. Once you have earned the title of a trustworthy member of our community I will personally return them to you.”

Bloodstorm stood up, “Is that all?”

“Bellaby!” The Chief called out.

Bellaby appeared within seconds, “Yes, Chief?”

“Accompany me to Ms. Emily’s room at Forlorn. She will hand over some weapons to bring back to the office.” The Chief said.

“Yes, sir.” Bellaby said.

“I knew you were a sensible woman. I’d hate to have you locked up in here with some of our foolish inmates.” Rex smiled.

Bloodstorm hated parting with her weapons but she did not know how long she would be trapped in the forsaken village, so she obliged to the Chief’s order.

 

They reached Bloodstorm’s room at the tavern and she handed Bellaby all her weapons.

Rex’s dogs were waiting outside Bloodstorm’s room.

Once Bellaby had securely placed the weapons in a leather case he headed out the door and Rex followed.

As Rex exited the room he turned to Bloodstorm and said, “I understand you might be a little annoyed that your weapons are being confiscated. It’s evident that you are extremely fond of your weapons as they are custom-made.”

Bloodstorm was a little annoyed but she was not dependent on the weapons, even without them she was capable of causing major harm. Plus, she felt that she could trust the Chief.

“Listen, I know that someone like you is not built to perform menial tasks in a village but I promise you that you will get used to this simple life.” Rex said.

Despite herself, Bloodstorm smiled. Knowing full well that this was not possible no matter how hard she wanted it to be true.

“Have a good evening,” Rex tipped his hat.

“I was wondering if you could give me some info on Kevin.” Bloodstorm asked, “You must have a dossier on him.”

Rex remained quiet for a while, simply gazing at her, “Ms. Emily, I have four, extremely well-trained dogs. Even with their discipline, speed and agility they have been unable to catch the boy. I understand that you think you could but believe me when I tell you we have all tried. We have even made elaborate plans, yet we have been unsuccessful. He cannot be caught. Forget this undoable task and live you life in peace.”

“Please, I just want to know.” Bloodstorm said.

Rex sighed, “Very well… but it is a fairly long tale and I do not mean to retell it in the hall.”

Bloodstorm stepped away from the door, indicating that he could come inside. His dogs dubiously followed behind.

“I’ll meet you at the station.” He called out to the waiting Bellaby, who nodded and was off.

As Rex walked in, Bloodstorm closed the door. He sat down on a chair and waited for her to sit, and when she did, he began, “About forty years ago, a family of three came to this village; back then this village was known as Dunchar. Mr. and Mrs. Petersen seemed like people who had become sick of the city life and had decided to bring up their son in a peaceful place. Soon they had purchased one of the houses and everything seemed to be going great. According to the reports the Petersen’s were wonderful and friendly people but in less than two weeks, they had left without notice… Those were simple times and the people here were simpler.

‘Many months had passed until the landlords, now sure that the family would not return, decided to resell the abandoned house.

‘The Petersens had not brought a lot of furniture with them, so the place was pretty much empty anyway. As the showing for the house began an unfortunate young woman, who decided to check all the closets in the house, including the cellar, found the skeletal remains of little Kevin Petersen.

‘It was later discovered that the boy had been screaming and weeping for help… until his death.”

“That’s horrible. Why was he abandoned by his parents?” She asked.

Rex Gallows simply shrugged, “There are many disturbing people in this world that do unimaginable and horrifying things… Since then the villagers knew that they were being punished by Kevin’s spirit for not saving him.”

Bloodstorm sighed. This was not the answer she was hoping for. Any reason why a parent would abandon their child could in turn help her understand why her father had abandoned her.

“Imagine being alone in the dark for all that time… not knowing why you were locked away and abandoned…” Bloodstorm said softly.

“I met Kevin when he was alive. I played catch with him… I was two.” He told her.

She did not realize that she had been silently staring at her hands for a long while. Finally Rex broke the silence, “I’ve wanted to ask you the moment I saw you…?”

Bloodstorm looked up at him. He looked as if he was a little embarrassed.

“Yes?” She asked.

“How is it that your hair is so red…? I have never seen that shade of red on a woman before. Is this a new fashion trend in the cities?” He asked.

She shook her head and quickly changed the subject, “Are you quite fond of dogs?”

Rex Gallows’ face brightened, “Yes I am, I don’t know if you’ve noticed but pit bulls in particular.”

He petted the dog closest to him, “This one’s Champ. He’s an old guy… almost nine. That one hiding behind my chair is Bear, the biggest, but also the biggest wimp. Those two still standing at the door alertly are Bella and Big Blue… They have never been like this before. Something’s gotten them spooked.”

He looked at Bloodstorm.

“Perhaps they need some food.” She said, quickly realizing that the dogs might be sensing that she was not human.

“Perhaps…” Rex Gallows said.

Soon, a waitress had brought them food and Rex shared some his funniest and most memorable experiences at the village.

“It’s starting to get a little difficult keeping the villagers from rioting. People want to leave and they need someone to blame. Sheriff Bauer was a great law enforcement officer until his mind snapped and he began rallying people to burn the village down. He believed that, once burnt, they would be free… Sooner or later everyone loses it.”

“How about you?” She asked him.

“Me? I have been living here all my life and not once have I had the desire to leave. I am content with what I have. Everyone respects me and lets me keep this village at peace.” He told her.

“But would you feel the same if you didn’t have this power and respect? Would you then want to leave here as well?” She asked.

Rex watched her quietly, “I… I have never thought of it like that before…”

“Listen Chief, is there any way I could get a house?” She asked quite suddenly.

“Call me Rex… Why do you need a house?” He asked.

“If I am to stay here forever then I would prefer not doing so in a small room at a tavern.” She explained.

Rex Gallows pondered, “There are a couple abandoned houses. In horrible conditions mind you. You will need to do a lot of repairs, which could take a few weeks. Perhaps some of the villagers might be willing to help you.”

“Could you show me these houses once you’re done eating?” She asked.

“Absolutely.” He replied.

A few minutes later, Merle knocked at the door and handed Bloodstorm her clothes, which had been cleaned. She put on her clothes before leaving.

 

Bloodstorm had chosen a one-story house. This was the only abandoned house that did not look too damaged, but it still required a lot of work.

She borrowed a sledgehammer and some tools from the local carpenter and began demolishing all but the outer walls of the house.

The racket she was causing intrigued the curiosities of a few villagers.

Soon a small crowd had gathered.

“You did all this by yourself?” A young man asked, amazed that a woman could achieve such a task.

Bloodstorm, covered in bloody scratches and dirt, took a moment from smashing the walls and nodded.

Soon villagers had started to help her as well. Many helped to take out the rubble.

As the hours passed, some began to question the logic behind removing all the walls in the house. Especially when Bloodstorm began to demolish the kitchen and washrooms.

Then she began sealing all the windows and the front and back doors. She thanked all who had come to help.

Many villagers kept asking her the same questions; ‘Why are you blocking all your windows?’, ‘Why would anyone in their right mind get rid of all the rooms in the house?’

When all the villagers had left, she sealed the last window and put all the extra doors into the walls. The additional doors seemed as if they could be opened but only led to a solid wall.

Once all the work was done she realized how tried and drained she felt. Starting to get dizzy and nauseous, she remembered that she has not fed for many days.

It was dark outside. This was the perfect time for her to go hunting for small animals.

 

It did not take her long to find a nest of wild rabbits. Soon her fangs had ripped through the unfortunate critters and she drank. Her body regaining strength as she drained the fourth creature, her senses were becoming aware once more and that’s when she heard someone behind her.

“I knew something was strange about you when my dogs didn’t trust you. Then you single handedly demolished the walls in the house without taking any breaks. It was also strange that no one in the village has ever seen you eat anything. I guess this explains everything.” Rex Gallows said as he hit her in the face with the butt of his rifle.

 

“We have all heard stories of demons that feed on humans’ blood but never before have I heard of one that feeds on the blood of rabbits.” Rex said to Bloodstorm when she came to, “Tell me, what kind of demon are you?”

“The kind that doesn’t feed on humans.” Bloodstorm replied.

She was locked in one of Rex’s prison cells.

“A demon nonetheless… I cannot have a monster residing in my village.” Rex said. His rifle aimed at her.

“I think I know how to remove the curse on this village. Let me out of here.” She said, “I will not harm anyone in this village.”

“You think I managed to keep this village safe for so long by believing lies.” Rex said looking at the prison cells around him.

Bloodstorm noticed the cells around her. Each packed with many prisoners.

Every prisoner in the cells was watching Bloodstorm and Rex. They looked weary and defeated.

“I had to move the prisoners from this cell to make room for you.” He told her.

“You have to let me go. I can remove the curse. People can leave the village and you will not have to work so hard to keep this village safe anymore.” She said.

“You think I’d want that?” Rex shouted, suddenly he was not a friendly Chief anymore.

He looked about hungrily, “I have worked too hard to build this life for myself. Do you really think I will let anyone take that away from me?”

Rex paced about as he spoke, his four dogs watching attentively.

It was getting late and she needed to be in her new home before Kevin decided to visit.

“I will ask you to release me one last time.” Bloodstorm sternly said.

“Or else what?” Rex said venomously.

“Or else this.” Bloodstorm said and in an instant bent the prison bar holding the door and swung it open.

Rex had not anticipated this and had not been prepared to shoot.

Bloodstorm knocked the shotgun out of his hands and kicked him.

Then she ran.

She ran towards the exit but could not seem to find it. No matter which corner she turned she encountered another long hall, and for some strange reason Rex, nor his pit bulls, had chased or attacked her.

“Shit, not now!” She said, realizing that Kevin had found her.

She leaned against a wall and shouted, “Kevin, I know you can hear me, I need to get out of this prison. Come to my house tonight. It’s the abandoned one by the mill. I promise to entertain you whenever you want… if you want me to chase you all night I will.”

A corner suddenly appeared and she turned into it. She was confronted by a lot of hands protruding from the walls.

She was still in the prison.

A muffled, echoic bark filled the hall and one of Rex’s pit bulls unexpectedly appeared before her, it ran towards her and pounced but she ducked out of its way. She turned to look at the dog but it had vanished. Without wasting another second, she began looking for the exit through the changing hall.

Another pit bull appeared before her; too soon for her to react this time.

Champ bit her in the arm.

She kicked the dog with such force that it immediately released her arm.

Then Champ had vanished too. She could still hear the dog’s muffled yelps.

“Kevin, you have to let me out of here now. Come to my house and you can continue your cat-and-mouse game.” Bloodstorm shouted and, as she did, she noticed the hall turning back to normal.

Just as she had expected, the remaining pit bulls charged towards her, she kicked Big Blue in the nose and the dog howled as it ran away.

Bella grabbed hold of Bloodstorm’s thigh with her sharp teeth and dug in with so much force that Bloodstorm let out a scream.

Blood poured out as Bella continued to bite deep and shake her head violently.

Digging her fingers to pry open Bella’s jaw she took hold of the dog’s head and slammed it against the wall, only using enough force to daze her.

Bloodstorm looked around. There was still a fourth pit bull on the loose.

Then she saw Bear, watching her. He began to whine when she looked at him.

“You must be Bear.” Bloodstorm said.

Some of the prisoners had taken the cell keys from Rex’s belt and were frantically trying to escape. They had got hold of Rex when she had kicked him towards the cell.

Rex Gallows had been knocked unconscious.

“You said that you know how to remove the curse upon this village?” One of the prisoners asked.

Bloodstorm nodded.

“Then go. We will divert the other officers’ attention.” He said and the prisoners charged up the stairs, Bloodstorm behind them.

Since it was late in the night, only one officer, Bellaby, was keeping watch.

He was quickly subdued, “Sherrif Bauer! How did you escape?”

He was addressing the prisoner who had spoken to Bloodstorm.

“Do not worry, we will not harm them. Go and remove this dreaded curse.” Sheriff Bauer said.

She walked to the weapons cabinet and broke open the lock, then she pulled out her weapons and placed them in their holsters, and then she hurried to her home to meet Kevin.

 

“You are different than the others.” Kevin said, observing Bloodstorm.

He was waiting for her when she arrived home.

“Yes, I am.” She said closing the front door behind her.

“You were mean to those nice puppies.” He said.

“Those puppies would have ripped me to shreds if I hadn’t stopped them.” She replied.

Kevin shrugged.

“Do you want me to try to catch you?” Bloodstorm smiled and Kevin grinned widely.

Kevin giggled and ran towards a door; he jiggled the doorknob and swung it open, to his surprise he encountered a wall.

The boy was confused for a moment then ran to another door, pulled it open and again met a wall in front of him. He turned around to see Bloodstorm still standing at the same spot.

Bloodstorm could see the panic overcoming Kevin’s face.

“I know you felt lost when your parents left you in this village, I know that this is why you have trapped people in this village. You want them to feel what you felt. You want them to feel lost. You want them to experience the realization that they will never be able to see their loved ones.” Bloodstorm said.

“You don’t know anything?” Kevin spat and went to another door and it too opened to reveal a wall. “What kind of house is this?”

Before Kevin decided to escape through the front or back door she said, “Look around, you are trapped in a big room. There are no hallways for you to manipulate.”

Kevin ran to a corner and screamed.

“I am sorry to do this to you but I know you fear being inside closed rooms.” Bloodstorm said.

He crawled in to a fetal position and began to sob, “No, no…don’t leave me…here…you’re going to leave me here…all…alone.”

Bloodstorm realized that she was wrong in thinking that Kevin’s purpose for keeping everyone here was revenge. She finally understood that he had kept everyone here so that no one would ever leave him.

She approached the boy slowly, “I won’t leave you here, just let the other villagers go…and I promise that I will never leave you alone. I will stay with you forever…I promise.”

Kevin stopped weeping and looked up at her.

She hugged him as tears streamed down his cheeks, “You really won’t leave me?”

“No I won’t.” Bloodstorm replied sincerely.

Kevin hugged her tighter and smiled, “You are not lying. I can feel the truth in you. I will never be alone.”

Bloodstorm could feel the sadness that the boy had been carrying with him all these years. His heart was broken when the two people he trusted and loved, more than anything in the world, had abandoned him.

Tears continued to flow down his cheeks and he said, “Thank you.”

Then, while Bloodstorm was hugging him, he started to dissipate and within second had disappeared.

 

Bloodstorm was unclear about what had happened but soon realized that the boy’s soul had finally found peace.

All Kevin wanted was for someone to want him, for someone to want to be with him.

Bloodstorm sat on the floor feeling very sad, she could relate with him.

Her father had also left her all alone, and it was the question why a parent would leave a child that puzzled her greatly.

She had to know why. This was the reason she had been searching for her father. She needed answers.

She could hear a commotion outside.

Bloodstorm walked to the front door and opened it.

A huge crowd was gathered before the house. Seemed like all the villagers had come there. They watched her eagerly.

“I have informed everyone that you can liberate our village from this curse.” Bauer said to Bloodstorm, “I believe you because you were able to speak with Kevin and convince him. No one has ever been able to do that.”

Before she could answer, someone shouted, “She is a demon! Our village is not safe anymore!”

Rex Gallows pushed through the crowd with a shotgun, his four pit bulls behind him.

“But she hasn’t harmed anyone in this village.” A villager shouted back, “She can set us free.”

“She feeds on blood to survive, I saw her with my own eyes. Are we going to wait till she feeds on the blood of our children?” Rex countered, “How many of you have got the feeling that she is not a normal being?”

His last statement caused a lot of murmurs and most villagers agreed with Rex.

He got the rest of them on his side when he threw the remains of the rabbits, that she had fed on, to the ground, “This is her doing. We must put an end to her before she kills us all.”

Uproar began and the villagers advanced towards Bloodstorm.

The eager expressions of the villagers had changed to anger and fear.

“Kevin is gone, you are all free to leave the village.” Bloodstorm told them in a calm voice.

“She is lying to save herself!” Rex Gallows shouted back.

“Look around, all the paths from the village look different now.” Bloodstorm said.

The villagers looked around nervously, the paths leading out of the village did look different.

Bauer and some villagers ran to check the pathways.

It took a few moments until they returned, “She is telling the truth! We are free to leave!”

Every villager forgot about their fear and cheered loudly. They ran out of the village to make sure whether they could truly leave the village.

Many villagers shouted, “We knew she wasn’t evil!” “She is an angel!”

Bloodstorm walked up to the unconvinced Rex.

As she approached Rex, his dogs cowered behind him.

“You’re right, I am a monster, but I helped free your village. You should enjoy this fact and go see the world around you.” She said to him.

He was still pointing the shotgun at her. She snatched it from his grasp and threw it in the distance.

“How did you know that by making a huge room you could trap Kevin?” Rex asked Bloodstorm as she walked away.

“I noticed that whenever he visited me he would never step into the room. Then when you told me his body was found locked in a closet I realized that he was afraid of anything that did not have any windows and doors.” Bloodstorm explained.

“How were you sure this would work?” Rex asked.

“I wasn’t. How could I be?” Bloodstorm said and walked away, “Tend to your dogs… and start a new life.”

Bloodstorm got onto her bike and started it, then looked back at Rex and said, “Believe me, you will get accustomed to this new way of life.”

Rex Gallows watched Bloodstorm ride away.

She looked at the swinging sign ‘The Village of the Lost’ one last time.

“Rest in peace Kevin.” She said and drove away.

She rode off into the night towards Shallow Creek.