A teenaged girl stumbles through the alleyway, red-faced and crying. Her hair sways lazily in disarray, the ebony strands obscuring her fearful eyes. She holds her wrist tight, arms across her chest as she trips again. The girl continues to stagger on, frequent glances betraying her unspoken terror. She has a small backpack, rocking and knocking against the damp, stained wall either side of her.
Although clearly afraid, she stops in a small alcove. The girl sits, presses against the wall and buries her face in her sleeves – trying to mask her sobbing. No one passes her; there is no one in sight. She examines herself, noticing a graze to her knee, where her battered jeans have ripped. Still no one passes. Shaking, the girl brushes aside her unruly hair to reveal her face. Her darting eyes are a mossy green, speckled with hints of hazel. She tries to keep her lips locked shut, but they still quiver slightly with each breath. Her jaw is fixed, to avoid any noise that may give her away. She has a small scar underneath her lip, the only unusual feature to be seen.
Her breathing begins to slow, and she cautiously gets to her feet, still pressed to the wall. A small necklace around her neck swings as she does so, the modest silver glinting in the moonlight. The twisting metal forms two bats, racing around each other in perfect synchronised turns. As she regains her composure, she gently rolls the pendant between her fingers.
The girl bites her lip and leaves the alcove, turning back the way she came. She lets out a gasp as she sees a man standing behind her. The girl dashes back to the alcove, but too late, she has been seen.
“Hello?” The man calls out, straining his eyes in the darkness, “Are you alright?” He steps forward, peeking around the corner to see the girl cowering in the corner, staring back at him in pure terror.
“It’s alright, I won’t hurt you,” He steps into the alcove and bends down, a single tear rolls down her cheek, she flinches as he wipes the tear away. She can see now that he is not a man, but a boy, not much older than her. His eyes look deep into hers in concern; she can see the deep blue within them. He glances at her knee and wrist.
“Are you hurt?” She nods her head jerkily, still not sure if she can trust the stranger. “What’s your name?” He asks gently.
“Ella.” Her trembling voice replies, almost too quiet to hear.
“My name’s Tom, why don’t you come with me and I’ll patch you up?” He smiles kindly, holding out his hand to help her up. She hesitates, but takes his hand and stands up. He leads her slowly down the alleyway, noticing that her hands constantly caress the small symbol on her necklace.