The harsh wind howled through the empty forest. Naked trees shook hard, some looking like they were about to fall.
I clutched the little silver pocket-watch in my hand, it felt hot in my palm in contrast to the freezing air. I squared my shoulders and took a careful step forward, only for the ground to crumble beneath my foot.
I frantically scrambled to keep hold of the watch and the ledge. My muscles strained against the unnatural pull of the hole.
Do not fear it. A calm voice whispered from the trees surrounding me.
Gritting my teeth I made a final, successful, effort to pull myself from the dark pit. Just as I stood on the solid ground the wind whipped through the trees, sounding like an angry screaming.
I ran my thumb gently of the eagle engraved on the front of the watch. I looked up at the sky to see nothing but black. No stars or moon. Just nothing.
“How is the forest so bright?” I hummed, my eyes scanning the surrounding trees. The trees were large, white birch trees marked with various colors of spray painted symbols.
You are seeing my light. The same calming voice mocked my tone from the branches.
“There is nothing in the sky,” I turned in the direction the voice originated from.
That is not a question.
“I apologize,” I bowed my head before speaking again. “Why is there only emptiness in the sky?”
I see your mentor did not want you to die.
“How do you know that?”
You play the game like an Aristocrat.
“What do you know of us?”
I know how often you fuss.
I frowned. The voice seemed to circle me, always gone by the time I turned, “Why am I here?”
You were invited near.
The watch in my palm burned against my skin. He was close. “You invited me to Hell?”
To see if you fell.
“You wanted me to fall in that pit?” The metal of the watch was so hot I almost dropped it, but instead I clenched my fist tighter.
You should drop it.
“You know I can’t do that,” I said through gritted teeth. “Where are you?”
I spun around and came face-to-face with a huge, black mass of shadows and smoke. The creature stood over her, the heavy wind changing its shape.
I clicked the watch open and felt my heart stop beating. My skin itched and my limbs felt heavy. I looked the creature in what seemed to be its face, “I have played your games. May I go?”
I clenched my jaw, “Send me home.”
The creature laughed as it moved closer. This must be troublesome.
“My mentor will come for me,” I warned, forcing myself to stand my ground.
I will not hear your plea.
“You cannot keep me here freak!”
Hunting demons is not for the weak.
“I am not weak,” I raised my chin. “I have faced scarier than you.”
You haven’t the faintest clue.
“I will not repeat myself,” I mentally counted in my head, only ten seconds left. “Send me home.”
Don’t you wish to stay and roam?
“No I don’t,” I braced myself for the shock. But before the last few seconds were up, a force slammed me back. The watch slipped from my hand and the creature lifted it, snapping it shut on the final second. “Please,” I whimpered, “just send me home.”
You are home.