1. Uninvited Visitor
Someone was in Willow’s room.
If a single cloud had drifted over the frontage of the bulb like spring moon one second sooner, she would not have distinguished them against the hazy mist that shrouded outside in the darkness of dusk and the robber would have remained undetected. But it had. And she did. The silence in which they travelled noiselessly across the floorboards and how effortlessly they morphed into the shadows as if they were one and the same unnerved her. Their skill was unnatural – but a useful one. Catching sight of this devious crook had only been by chance; a lone breath of wind had escaped past the draughty, rusty door hinges, penetrated her room; and tickled her face by wafting loose hair across it. Suddenly uncomfortable, Willow had discreetly rubbed her eyes, instantly stirred from her troubled dreams and then the cloud (which seemed to be on her side) had floated by releasing a shard of light which exposed the thief.
Inching her fingers nearer to the icy hilt of the rudimentary knife, which was the only one in her price range that was slim enough to remain concealed beneath Willow’s pillow (although that was just a flimsy case filled with ancient newspaper.) Although she was an expert with the knife, she had had no proper training – so had no confidence in her skills; but stashing a weapon which was in arm’s reach before extinguishing the candle flame was normal practise, as Willow was dwelling in the confined space of an expensive yet dingy room in a fraudulent area of town. Renting the room out was high priced for what it was actually worth and the persuasive owner was not exactly sociable or pleasant to be around. However, despite only an amateurish wooden chair and matching table being the only thing besides her in the draughty room, it was home and had to do because no where else would take the few coins she managed to skilfully pinch out of rich people’s pockets as payment for rent - as they were also responsible and believed that if she was caught they would too be thrown into the gallows to feel the scratchy noose tightening around their neck.
Still keeping her eyes fixed constantly on the swift figure that appeared to have halted (again the target was stupefied at how advanced they were at unseen movement) Willow attempted to maintain her breathing at the average pace as if she was deep in slumber, although her heart was beating so intensely she was doubtful about the thief not being able to hear it.
With her heart in her mouth she yearned desperately for the robber to unpredictably reminisce the fact that they had the incorrect room and would simply depart without harming her. It was a feeble, pathetic hope which was short lived and instantly dashed as the noiseless crook continued progressing besides her makeshift bed.
By the light given off from the spring moon Willow could visualise the attacker withdraw their professional weapon from an obscured belt beneath their cloak, when the light glinted slyly off its polished, reflective blade. From the pose of their stance as they held their knife aloft she could distinguish that they were experienced and not used to failing in any mission.
They would not fail this one.
Although this appalling thought came into her mind she was suddenly unable of contemplating her position anymore as she froze in trepidation. As the unknown horror who would end her brief life this spring night slashed the ghastly weapon towards her heart, Willow’s exceptional self restraint gave out and she opened her mouth to scream…