Chapter 1:



     The aroma of our mom's famous apple pie wafted into the dining room as my sister, Celia, squealed with glee. Today is Celia's birthday, and she's turning 10. This was a very special birthday; she was not expected to live this long, so we had to make it extra special. Celia could hardly contain herself as our mom cut a big slice and plopped it down in front of her, her blue eyes wide with joy. Instantly, Celia shoved bite after bite into her mouth, swallowing before she even chewed. Bookmark here

     "Have we been starving you?" Our mother asked between laughs, cutting a slice for me as well. Bookmark here

     Before my mother could serve me a slice of the sweet-smelling pie, a loud, gurgling screech emitted from outside of our home. I felt the blood drain from my face; that was the sound I've always dreaded. I had heard about the Corrupted many times before. They were evil souls, set on killing whatever life they could find. I made eye contact with my dad, before he quickly rose out of his seat and began to search the house. Bookmark here

    Father scrounged through our closets, cabinets, and finally, his room. He brought out with him planks of wood, nails, a hammer, and an axe. Silently, he handed mother some of the supplies, before turning to me. Bookmark here

    "Remember the plan," He briskly commanded me before going to the nearest window in the house. I nodded and grabbed Celia's hand, leading her to our bedroom whilst mother stayed behind with father. A barely audible whimper came from my sister as tears started to fall down her face. Shutting the door and locking it behind us, we began looking for heavy objects around the room to use as barricades.
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   "It's going to be okay," I whispered to her, giving her a small hug before swiftly moving to peak out of the door. I could see my parents hastily boarding the windows with wooden planks, looking out for any sign of the creatures. Bookmark here

   Suddenly, our mother's scream pierced the air as a slimy, slender arm reached through the small opening in the boards. She recoiled and held her charred face, looking desperately at our father. He grabbed her arm, pulling her back towards him and held out his axe in the other hand. Bookmark here

   Silently, the creature slid the rest of its fluid body through the crack. Once it was through, its form grew and grew until it was towering over our parents. My heart stopped as it seemed to fix its hungry gaze on them. My dad attempted to hit it, swinging violently, but it swiped right through the monster. Bookmark here

   The monstrosity begins to twist violently and screech. A chorus of screeches responded as the house began to rumble. Creatures outside slammed their bodies against the house, splintering the barely plastered boards that covered the windows. My mother rushed upstairs to the two of us and grabbed both our wrists tightly. My sister's eyes were red and puffy while I struggled to breathe. Mother yanked us through the upstairs corridor and to the back staircase, which led to another exit from the house.
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   "Run," Was the only word our mother demanded before turning back to the house. After taking a second to process what had unfolded, I grabbed Celia and bolted out the door, running as quickly as I could through the forest.Bookmark here

  In case of an emergency, run to Flusstadt, the nearby town and ask for the Corrupted Prevention Corps. I remembered the words my father had told to me and headed West, where the sun was just setting below the trees. Bookmark here

   After a little bit of running, Celia fell to the ground. Her chest heaved up and down, and she began to cough uncontrollably. She clung to my leg as she whimpered, then whispered, "I'll just slow you down. Leave me and return with help. Please, I can't run any longer!" Bookmark here

   "No, I can't leave you!" I cried, attempting to hoist her back up. She persisted, weakly flopping on the ground and crawling to the nearest tree. As much as I hated this, she was right; she would just slow me down. Another shriek sounded through the trees and I forced myself to go.
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  Without looking back, I ran and ran as far as my legs would carry me. The adrenaline kept me strong until I finally saw the huge stone walls of Flusstadt in view. A nearby guard saw me and raised an eyebrow, clearly startled by a random young girl running at him from the woods.Bookmark here

  As soon as I got near enough to the guard, I collapsed. My lungs burned and my legs felt like they were being ripped to shreds. The guard hoisted me up, leading me into the village where a few other guards saw me and began walking me in an unknown direction. My throat burned, and all I could do was look behind me at the forest getting smaller and smaller, and my family getting further and further.Bookmark here

 After being laid down on a cot, I finally found the energy to speak. "I need the Corrupted Prevention Corps. My family was attacked and I was told I needed to come here!" I said in a panic, attempting to sit up straight.
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  "How long ago was this?" A deep voice sounded from behind me. I spun around quickly and saw a tall man with a scruffy brown beard walk towards me, his hand on the gun in his pocket.
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  "Just now! My cottage is deep within the woods, northeast from here. It's huge, you can't miss it! Please, you have to help them.." I begged weakly. The tall man and the guards who brought me in exchanged looks and then quietly began discussing amongst themselves. I felt the blood drain from my face as the shock started to wear off and I realized the severity of the situation.Bookmark here

  "We're sending a troop to investigate the situation. There is no guarantee that they'll get there in time," said the tall man very bluntly. His words stabbed my heart and I let out a loud yowl of sadness. The tears came rushing before I could even register that I was crying. I felt myself sinking into the cot, the light around me slowly fading. The last thing I saw was the surprisingly calm face of my sister as she rest against the tree, knowing that would be the last time we saw each other.
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