-1All's Fair In Love And War

The summer evening air was still, the windows wide open in the hope that it would tempt a non existing wind into the small stuffy room. Soft bird song drifted through the window and around the bare room. A bed, a desk and a chair, all stood in the room, but no personal items, or photographs that could have told you about the occupant of the room were on show. It was an empty shell of a room.

The owner of this room was currently lying on the bed, her head buried in her pillow, that did not reflect her personality in anyway with the plain white bedcover. She was pretending to be asleep because of the old nun sitting in the straight backed chair opposite the bed. The nun was cross stitching a blue and green design on black cloth that was slowly taking the shape of a bird, slowly humming an old tune under her breath.

The occupants name was Lana Arkanfire, and she had lived at Dawnsbrooke Home For Children since she was 2 years old, and she was now 15 years old. She was a pretty girl, with silky jet black hair which hung in beautiful bouncy waves slightly past her shoulders. Her smouldering chocolate eyes and dark lashes complimented her bronzed satin skin to perfection. She was wearing a pair of low slung light blue jeans and a pink vest top under an open black shirt. A small silver cross lay nestled in the hollow of her delicate throat, the hot metal causing her light discomfort as the bright sunlight lay on her face and throat.

She cursed under her breath. She had wanted to get out of the orphanage even if it was just for a little bit, seeing as it was such a wonderful day, and she hardly ever got to go out on her own, a taste of freedom, without the other younger children tagging along. So she had told the nuns who ran the home that she had a headache and was going to lie down for a while. But unfortunately for Lana, Sister Greta, an old strict nun had insisted to come along and look after her, so to avoid conversation with the old nun she had pretended to fall asleep. But now she regretted that choice too.

Her face was squashed against the warm pillow, and her arm was crushed uncomfortably underneath her hip, but she didn't dare move in case the num started up conversation about God and what was wrong with the world. Even though Lana had been raised by nuns she did not believe that a God could exist and bring such pain and suffering upon the world, like the death of her parents.

Even though she barley ever talked about her parents the memories she still had were painful for her. Of course she wouldn't tell the nuns that she didn't believe in God. They would wash her mouth out with soap if she even suggested such a thing. A thing they had already done several times, a thing which Lana was in no hurry to experience again.

Being the oldest child at Dawnsbrooke it was quite humiliating especially as it happened in front of the other children. Who laughed. Then teased her about it for days after. Yeah. Not fun. She had been like this for the past hour. Lying on her bed doing nothing. She would have thought the nun would have left by now. Anyway it was too late to go anywhere now. Still Lana would have preferred to be alone.

Suddenly a faint voice could be heard calling, "Sister Greta! Sister Greta!" The nun sighed slightly and placed her needlework on the desk. Padding softly on her worn feet she walked to the door trying not to disturb Lara, opened it and slipped out, closing it softly behind her. As soon as she heard the door close Lana sat up, shaking her aching hand where she had been lying on it and rubbed her red cheek. She ruffled her hair slightly, as it was flattened on one side.

She stretched slowly then reached under her pillow and pulled out a picture, tattered and faded, and creased. She stroked it softly tracing the long gone smiling faces of he parents. Her mother, tall and slim, with Lana's chocolate eyes and heart-warming smile. Her father, the same jet black hair as Lana, the same strength in their faces and the same button nose. And then her in the middle, her hair in pigtails, wearing a pink dress no more than 2 years old. Her parents arms were wrapped around her, and Lana thought she had never seen a more loving family. But this life had been cruelly torn from her.

How cruel, for a little girl of 2 to listen to her parents die, not knowing that they were dying, but the sounds that had come from their mouths had terrified her and still did to this day, tormenting her worst nightmares echoing in her mind . And even when she awoke in the darkness, her sweat making the thin white sheets stick to her body she could still hear the shadowy remainders of those shrieks and she lived the nightmare again for a few brief minutes. During this time she would cower under the covers straining her ears listening for any noises that meant her parents killers were coming for her. But of course they never did.

Then she would relax slightly and drift back off to sleep and have no more nightmares, just normal dreams where she was in a world made of chocolate or something and in the morning she would barely remember the nights events. But occasionally the nightmares would be so vivid, so real, she could taste them, smell them, feel the hot stuffy air of the church on that day. And her memories would come to life and she could not wake up.

The church was huge. Bigger than mummy. Bigger than daddy. Bigger than the house. Lana had never seen anything like it. She craned her little neck upwards looking at the big pictures of people on the curved ceiling and then fell backwards onto her bottom. She wailed slightly, her cheeks going rosy, her bottom lip quivering. It was hot and stuffy inside the church and it was making Lana slightly cranky.

Her mother suddenly came over and scooped her up planting a large kiss on the girls cheek and she giggled cheekily smacking her hands together. Her mummy tightened one of the pink ribbons tying her hair into little bunches, and then smoothed out the wrinkles in her pink dress. Up ahead there was large sculpture of a man with his arms out. He looked sad and Lana didn't like the statue, it scared her.

"She's getting tired," remarked her mother to her father who was standing at the base of the statue doing something on the floor. "I'm almost done I just-" Lana yawned and missed the last of her fathers sentence. Her eyes were drooping slightly. Her mother placed her on the floor and she tottered over to her father, sticking her head under his and smiling.

He smiled back then returned to what he was doing. His hands seemed to be stuck in a large stone, but he was moving his hands through the stone as easily as you could through the air. Lana turned to her mother who was standing in the middle of an aisle between pews, looking up at a stained glass window depicting a man bowing to another.

Slowly a gentle breeze began to fill the church and Lana's mother slowly turned to face her father. "They're here." she said her eyes turning black. Lana watched her father pull his hands out of the stone, and he ran over to Lana and grabbed her as the wind began to get stronger. He struggled over to the statue of the sad man and placed her inside a small cupboard just below his legs. " Stay here," he told her "And whatever you do, do not make a sound. Shhh baby! Understand Lana? Shhh!" He kissed her on the cheek, leaving a faint smell of Lynx Africa and shut the doors leaving a faint line of light on Lana's face.

Suddenly the church was filled with shrieking wind, bangs, shouts and crashes. Then the shrieking began. It was her mummy, and it shrieked and howled, louder than the wind, cutting into the very core of Lana's head. And then came another, the same if not worse and it was her daddy. Lara pressed her little fists against her head but kept quiet like daddy had told her to. Suddenly all noise ceased. The wind stopped. The shrieking stopped. And then came a noise which chilled the little girl to her bones. A laugh. A deep, menacing, soul draining laugh.

The little girl struggled not to cry and wet herself. There was suddenly footsteps in her direction, slowly, slowly. Suddenly there was a loud bang as a door was flung open and the footsteps disappeared and were replaced with a slow pad of heavy feet and then someone said something, and then Lana could hold it no longer. She began to cry, big fat tears rolling down her face, wailing, louder and louder.

The pad of heavy footsteps increased and suddenly the line of light on Lana's face disappeared, and the door was wrenched open. A woman with an old face looked at her kindly, picked her up and carried her down the aisle, amid the carnage. As Lana looked back at the statue, she noticed under one of the pews, a delicate hand, clasped in another. Then she left the church forever.