Hush Now, Don't You Cry
The house was small, small and sparsely furnished but strangely welcoming to the five men who sat, crowded around the hearth against the bitter cold that had settled over the city as soon as night had fell. A girl who had introduced herself only as Sandra was smaller than most of them - regrettably not Frank - with freakily dark eyes that seemed to sparkle with a whirlwind of emotions every time she glanced at them from where she sat at the desk by the closed velvet curtains, her quill scratching away at the parchment infront of her. She was freaking Mikey out and the rest of the band could tell, the silence was killing them all, the silence that had only been broken by introductions and drinks since they had entered the house. She had silently sat down at the desk after getting them a warm cup of something they couldn't identify and now they were almost scared to break the silence.
Ray piped up first, shattering it and voicing all of their thoughts "Sandra," He said in a monotone "We don't know where we are."
She turned her dark eyes on them and tilted her head slightly "What do you mean you don't know where you are?" She asked slowly, with a look that dripped 'why the hell are you here then?'
Ray looked at the others who were all staring blankly and uncomfortably down at the threadbare rug that had been thrown over the flagstones. "Seriously...this is gonna sound stupid but we don't come from around here we just...well found ourselves here." He looked annoyed "Look I dunno but now we're stuck here and Gerard says there's some psycho coming to kill us and maybe before we die we could find out where they're gonna bury us."
"Well you're all Mr. Optimism." She sighed, and then smiled at him sadly before answering "This place doesn't really have a name but a long time ago it was beautiful, full of children laughing and flowing riches and joy like the fountain in the square. The pilgrims called it the 'Breathing City' cos that's what it did - it breathed. Then about eight years back the Empress appeared. No one knows what she's really called but she had horrible amounts of power. She blackmailed the officials into leaving then silenced the city. Literally, the only people you'll ever see here are shades...I was away in the forest when she silenced it so I came back to find -" She cut off as big, almost steamily opaque tears began to roll down her cheeks. Ray stood up and walked over to her, the others following until they made a semi circle around the weeping girl. Ray reached down and put his arms around her quaking shoulders "Shh." He told her quietly "Shh, it'll be okay. We'll help you, won't we guys?"
He looked around at the others and was very glad she had her head buried into his jacket and so didn't see how sceptical they all looked.
'I'll help,' He thought to himself 'I swear I'll help.'
"Mama." It wasn't a plea, or a question or just simply even a statement instead it was almost a cry of outrage which was so unlike the normally quiet and reserved child Kaela had been brought up to become. The lack of respect that Melaina sensed in her daughter's voice confused her and also flared up her already burning temper.
"What is it Kaela?" She asked sourly, attempting to keep her temper, she was having a bad day after nothing that she did or said seemed to be going her way and her nine year old daughter's nagging wasn't making it any easier.
"Mama stop it." The next was a command, hard and thrown with venom at her mother, venom a nine year old should never know how to hurl. Kaela didn't fiddle with the hem of her long sleeves as she normally did, showing she was nervous either. She seemed to be completely sure in what she was saying and that, coupled with a startling naivety for a child who had seen as much as she had was making her brave.
"Stop what Kaela?" Her response was icy cold and dared her to stand up against her mother's obvious power. But for once, Melaina was almost waiting for her daughter to challenge her, wanting to see what power the little girl possessed.
"Stop hurting them." The child's hands cupped a flower, a pristine white chrysanthemum but one of its petals was dying, crumpling up on its self and fading into a nasty shade of grey.
"Who is that for Kaela?" Her mother asked sharply, glancing down at the flower in her daughter's pale hands; she hadn't known that the child had any idea how to protect people like that before.
"It's the black haired one, the older one. The one with eyes like me." The little girl told Melaina defiantly, her little head held high, black hair flowing over her shoulders and down her back, merging with her velvet dress "And you've hurt him because it only fades when you hurt them."
"Why are you bothered Kaela?" The woman asked her daughter harshly, in what was almost a whisper "Why should you care what happens to them?"
Kaela looked her mother straight in her stormy blue eyes and said quietly "Because you care, and if you care they'll die. But if I care they'll live."