Prologue 1 - Broken Promises.
As the full moon rose to its peak, filling half the midnight sky as well as illuminating the cobblestone streets with pale light, a chill began to set in over the relatively small city. Children wrapped in their blankets like a cocoon, huddled curled up to escape the cold, as the adults lit fireplaces as well as shut doors and windows.
The temperature was dropping.
Near the centre of the city, lay a small park, lined with trees, their overgrowth leaving an eerie shadow to descend upon the grass. An old, out of date playground sat in the middle of the empty field, its sign rusted and the paint scratching off of the picket fence that used to surround it. Near the edge, sat a small, awkwardly placed swing set. Like the rest of the playground, the paint had long gone, leaving a slowly deteriorating metal to rot in the open. Its ropes that connected the seat to the frame were thinning, as a layer of grime and algae ate away at the threads one by one. Seated on the decrepit piece of play equipment was the silhouette of a small child that had its face covered by dirty blonde hair, as if keeping something secret. The child looked to be no more than 7 or 8, and judging by the way its hair was pulled into neat pigtails as if to celebrate some special event, the figure was a little girl.
Another strong gust of frigid air blew the swing, along with the child as her small pigtails flapped in the wind. The rusty chains creaked and groaned in agitation at the sudden movement, as the child swung her tiny legs back and forth, in an attempt to regain at least a small portion of warmth. It was useless. Her skin still felt like ice to the touch, as most of her limbs had numbed hours ago. Her dull emerald eyes were fixed squarely on her lap, unmoving.
Every once in a while, she would lift her head as her eyes would brighten in determination, before she seemed to remember something, then proceed to drop her head once more.
It was a routine.
One that had been going on for almost 5 hours.
She let out a small breath of air, watching in fascination as it rapidly condensed into a misty cloud of white steam in the frigid air. She glanced over warily to the other side of the street, opposite the park, where flashing lights, loud music, and scantily clad women stood lining the streets. She dropped her head once more, as lies and broken promises from earlier filled her mind. Two main images were burned into her mind's eye, one of her father telling her to just 'wait outside for a minute', then one of his back turned as he disappeared across the street.
The child wasn't sure how many hours had passed since then, but she was sure that it was more than a minute.
She fiddled with the ribbons on her dress in an attempt to distract herself. It was now covered in a mixture of dirt, water and tears. Hours ago, it had been a bright yellow, and she along with her ribbons had shone as bright as the sun. Now, it was stained brown, and clung to her body and legs, as the moisture caused to fabric to stick to her skin.
She glanced down to her feet, glaring at the small party hat left abandoned on the ground.
Engraved with sliver lettering of her choice, were the mocking words of 'happy birthday'.
She almost cried.
If only that were so.