When she opened her eyes it was to a world filled with tropical plants. Colorful birds flew overhead as they called to others that Penelope couldn’t see. She left the mirror to travel further into this new world. The brush grew thick around her ankles and she had to push some of it out of her way. She ducked under a large branch as she walked towards some unknown goal.
If she stepped off of some invisible path, the tattoo on her wrist knew, and then the red glow would start to fade. As long as it burned brightly then she knew she was on the right course. She stopped short when she thought she heard voices. She glanced at her wrist and bit her lip; to continue or investigate?
Her choice was made for her when she heard someone scream. She started running towards the next available exit. The beautiful day started to turn dark and the clouds seemed to turn to black and angry in a blink of an eye. Rain started to pound down on her and she could feel her heart began to beat faster. Penelope heard the scream again and she glanced back to see the clouds fall down between the trees and came hurling towards her.
Every cell in her body told her someone was sending men to take her back. That once they had her, they would discover her secret. If they should succeed then Raven would be lost.
They appeared like dogs from the shadows of the column of black clouds. Lightening shot out from the cloud and struck nearby trees as she ran. She could feel her throat fill with fear but she made herself continue. Thunder rumbled through the trees as men in black appeared with their dogs beside them snarling in the darkened forest.
She clasped her free hand over her wrist to hide the glow of the tattoo. She pressed her back against a tree to give herself a moment. She looked to the sky and closed her eyes. The barking and snarling seemed to be getting closer but the sound of thunder and the striking of lightning almost drowned them out.
A young girl sprinted past her and immediately Penelope started to run to catch up. She was fast, her small arms and legs were moving double time because of the fear. She stumbled and Penelope bent to help her up. She pushed back from her and let out a startled cry before Penelope could cover her mouth.
“If you scream you betray us,” Penelope said pulling her to her feet, “Stand up.”
She didn’t wait for the girl but started to run, the glow at her wrist was brighter now. She could just make out the glint of glass far off. She heard the little girl scream behind her and turned back just as a man in a black outfit picked her up by her throat. Penelope knew that nothing could be done for the girl but watching her be strangled and discarded like a broken doll angered her.
Foolish as it was, she came up behind the killer before he noticed and took his collapsible beating stick. She opened it up fully as he turned back to her. She heard the dog growl as the side of the weapon collided with the man’s face. She swatted the dog aside as she kicked the man in the side. He rolled over and she put her foot on this chest.
“You may be a predator but not all your prey are weak little girls,” she said before she brought her foot down on his face.
Turning her head to the sky she began to run again. Keeping the weapon with her, she never knew when it would come in handy. She felt the hand on her shoulder almost too late to bring up her arms to block. His fist collided at the center of her crossed arms and she was thrown backwards through the trees. She slid along the ground through the low brush as it swatted her back.
She groaned as she rolled herself over and began to crawl towards the mirror. She could hear him pushing through the brush, coming for her. She crawled into a clearing and relief flooded through her at the sight of the mirror. She pushed herself to her feet and stumbled through it.
Penelope realized instantly that she was underwater and there were weeds around her ankles. She had to push up from the bottom to make it to the top. She burst through the surface, sputtering for air as she bobbed back down. She began swimming towards shore until she saw the man.
He was dressed for war, and he held a sword in his hand. The reason she stopped and dipped down so only her nose and eyes were above water was the sword had blood on it. One second he was moving cautiously and the next he stumbled backwards with a spear sticking out of his shoulder. Another man appeared from the tree line with his sword over his head.
The first man pulled the spear from his shoulder and it dropped to the ground. His blood dripped onto the green grass, and even at her safe distance she could see the contrast. They had long swords, thin and deadly. Even with a wounded arm, as they clashed the first man held his own. She began to slowly move backwards, her arms moving slowly as to not be detected.
When she reached the opposite shore she crawled from the pond; she was slow and deliberate in her movements. She looked to the trees as she crawled towards them, the grass just below her shoulder. It gave her the chills; it was something from a nightmare. Behind her the second man was advancing on the first. The forest behind them was bright and cheery, as though the pond was the center and the two men were fighting for territory.
The first man stood about Penelope’s height and had thick brown hair. There was a scar along his neck and murder in his eyes. The second man had black hair; it was longer and was partially pulled back. His skin was darker and it too was covered with little scars. They were both battle worn men and both were out to kill their opponent.
The brown haired man was slowing with every strike from his opponent, and his blood splashed onto the ground with every swing. Penelope knew this would not last long, one would perish and the other would gain his victory. The black haired man was able to slice his adversary’s leg, and he fell to his knees.
“I will have my freedom,” he spat bringing up his sword.
Penelope stood, thinking it was done and that she needed to go to the next mirror. She glanced at her wrist and back at them just in time to see the brown haired man duck forward and bury his sword in his rival’s stomach. The skewered man looked as stunned as she did, as the man pulled the sword from his stomach and stumbled to his feet.
“You should not speak of what you have until you have it,” he said as he brought his sword back and sliced the black haired man’s head clean off.
Light appeared from the dead man and it was absorbed by the winner. He was still injured but somehow he seemed stronger. Penelope was up and moving along the forest’s edge, her entire attention focused on the dead man’s sword. The wounded man stumbled towards the pond. He walked right into it until he was knee deep and then he collapsed before splashing water on his wounds.
She crept from the edge of the forest towards the sword, her eyes never leaving the man. She was nearly there when he turned back. He looked as surprised to see her as she was to be discovered. She ran for the sword as he rushed from the pond. She had the sword in her hand as he came towards her.
“Raven?” He said looking at her hopefully, “is that you?”
She raised the sword, “You know Raven? Where can I find her?”
He pulled back, water and blood dripping from his body, “You are not her, but you know of her. What do you know of Raven?”
Penelope didn’t hesitate to respond although she was not consciously aware of the answer, “I am her sister.”
Chapter Four: http://wp.me/P3LyhT-1f