Chapter OneCold winds blew over the tall grass of the wide yard. Dancing through the trees letting out it's soft whisper of lullabies. It was always the same sounds though. Moving away from the window, Engel made her way back to her bed. The other kids ran about the room, either playing with toys or chasing each other.
"It's the same each day. I don't know how much longer I can last." She grumbled. Binx had turned his dark blue gaze to her, grinning before he flipped the blanket over his sister. "Then quit being so whiny about it and let's go explore!"
Engel pulled herself from the blankets and glared at him. "We already have seen all of the farmhouse as well as the field and forest. There's nothing else." She plopped back down, rolling over to avoid her brother's gaze. Shrugging, Binx moved away from her to join the others in a game of tag around the room. Kota looked up from a book he was reading.
"Come on Engel, maybe looking again won't be so bad. You never know..." He looked out the window at the gray skys and dull landscapes.
"There could still be anything out there that we can't see."
"Or- there could be big smelly monsters who want to eat up all of us!" Binx chuckled and chased around the other kids making growling sounds, pretending to be a monster. Engel rolled her eyes, but acknowledged Kota's words. Sitting up, she trotted over to the door of the room. "Alright fine, but remember we can't let Mother Rose find out or she'll-" The blonde was cut off when she looked up to meet with a pair of cat like amber eyes.
"Or she'll what?" Mother Rose smiled sweetly as she entered the room. All the kids stopped what they were doing to face her. She gave her usual motherly grin and moved her gaze to make sure all were paying attention.
"Today is a special day my dears. It's once again that time for the Doctor to visit you all."
Engel cringed. She hated the Doctor. Once every month, a strange man in a white coat that Mother Rose referred to as "Doctor" would make the children go through a difficult test of strengths, smarts, and athletics. He then would select one of the children to return with him for more testing. He would never return with the ones he last took.
"Aww, but I don't wanna take those dumb test!" One of the kids complained. An uproar of more complains and whines joined in. Mother sighed and hushed the children. "Now now, you know the rules." She turned to leave the room. "Hurry up and get ready, the Doctor will be arriving soon."
Engel held her gaze on the door for a while more before turning to her brothers. I know something isn't right about the Doctor. What if it's one of us he ends up taking away this time?"
"Don't be silly, we always pass the test each month. We'll be fine." Kota smiled softly before going to the shared bathroom to brush his teeth. Binx leaned against the wall. "Even if one of us gets taken, the other two will come look for them." He smirked and poked Engel. "What's wrong En? Scared that the monsters will get you?"
"For the last time- there's no monsters!" She growled, but her gaze returned back to the dull landscape outside the house. "But...I do believe there is something out there."
The children lined up along the yard. The first test was an inspection of speed. Engel was proud of her ability to run. She could outrun most of the other kids in a race, so this test was never a problem for her. Looking at the gray sky, she began to wonder if there was ever a sun behind all those gloomy clouds.
"Begin!" A loud boom sounded as the race had begun. Engel took off, Binx and Kota close behind her. The three made it past the field and to the woods. Going as fast as she could, Engel leaped over boulders, roots and stumps. 'Almost there...Just a bit farther-' Just as she neared back to the yard, a dark figure had caught her eye. It's shape was slightly morphed and looked unnatural. As soon as she turned her head to look at the odd creature, bright yellow eyes pierced into her gaze. An odd hi-pitched squeal, as if an animal had been getting strangled, cracked into her mind. Holding her head, she burst from the forest only to lose her balance and fall into the soft grass.
"W-What was that thing?"
The next two test came and went, but Engel's mind was still locked on the disfigured shadow from earlier. 'Could that really be a monster?' She thought, then shook her head 'No...you're just letting Binx's stupid stories get to you.' looking over the heads of the other children, she watched as the Doctor had made his monthly selection.
"You all did very well as always. But of course only one of you have gained my interest." He pointed to a small girl, Charlotte, and beckoned her to come forward. Giving a friendly smile, he knelt down to her height and congratulated her. Kota stiffened, while Binx looked away. Both boys knew as well as the others that Charlotte would never return after they took her away. Engel clenched her fist. As soon as the ceremony ended, she pulled the boys behind a wall. Her blue eyes stern. "We have to follow them."
"What?! Are you crazy En? We'll get in trouble!" Binx stared at his sister in shock. Kota agreed with him, shaking his head. "We can't just sneak out and follow where they go."
"You wanted an adventure right? Well, let's go on an adventure!"
Under the cover of the darkened night sky, the trio made their way to the Entrance Hall of the orphanage. Step by step, they followed within the shadows as the Doctor led Charlotte into the dark forest. The group walked for a while, and it seemed as if there was truly nothing there until they approached a large stone wall that reached up to the sky. A gate was built into the wall, and there stood two cloaked figures. Engel gasped as she saw the same yellow eyes that she had seen in the woods that morning. Holding back a scream, she led on as she and her brothers watched from the bushes.
"A fine one indeed." One of the cloaked figures spoke, his voice raspy as if he had inhaled smoke all his life. The other held out a hand towards Charlotte. "The sacrificial ceremony shall now commence. Thy dwellers of the dark, enjoy this offer." As soon as he had finished his words, the gates opened, and a large dark beast emerged. It had arms all around its body almost like a spider. It's head bearing a large gaping void of knife-like teeth. Faster than a bullet, the beast leaped and grabbed Charlotte. Her terror filled screams broke the silent dark night. The beast began to rip her arms apart from her torso and dig it's sharp teeth into her stomach as it feasted.
Engel backed away from the scene. There was no way....It couldn't be....
This was not just an orphanage....It was a farm to feed the beast of the shadows.
One of the hooded figures glanced in their direction, causing the trio to freeze. As he began to approach their hiding place, Kota took action and grabbed his siblings before running as fast as he could through the darkened woods.
"What the hell was that?!"
"I told you there were monsters!" Binx exclaimed as they charged through bushes and plants, breaking out into the open yard of the farmhouse. The trio finally stopped to catch their breath. Engel looked back at the dark shadowy landscape.
"I think this place has a more dark secrete than we thought..."