“Come on and get me!” screamed Lymaka Nakuni’s little brother as he ran around like a gerbil on a spinning wheel.
“Stupid boy,” Lymaka whispered, and she took her umbrella and threw it at the little pest. She grunted with approval as it whacked him in the face, causing him to whine and whimper.
“Hey, why did you do that Lymaka? I’m telling mom!”
“Not before I hang you by that little neck of yours!”
“Oh yeah? Then come and get me!”
Lymaka’s little brother stuck out his wide tongue at her and ran away, disappearing behind a building, leaving Lymaka to sag with annoyance on the busy square. She dropped all of her bags on the ground and huffed. Idiot, she thought. She waited for a minute before she started looking around at all the people walking and the fancy shops surrounding her. She had never really seen this part of town until now. She had taken the bus through it, but people always blocked her view and she could never quite observe what was here. Today, the bus lines were being idiotic, and therefore she was walking home with her little brother.
“Gin! Ginneth Nakuni, get over here you little rat!” Lymaka called out furiously. “I most certainly will tell mother that you are trying to get lost!”
Gin peeked from behind the building where he had disappeared and his eyes grew wide. He then scampered into view. “No! No! No! No! No!” he yelped. “Don’t tell mom! Please? I won’t run away ever again!”
“I hope so,” Lymaka snorted. “Now get your bag. Let us go home because it will be dark by the time we get there.”
Lymaka and Gin walked side by side towards home. Their home was about two miles west in a small town neighboring this city. The road to their town went through a woodland area, a creepy, dark lair, a complete and utterly strange historical site where there were tiny buildings hundreds of years old. Lymaka did not like this place, not because it was a forest, because she loved forests and everything in it, but because of the odd people that might lurk here. Even when she was fourteen, beginning her commutes to her high school in the city, she imagined that she would one day be walking down this road in the forest and come across a dark, cloaked, seductive man, who would kidnap her and turn her into a slave or something terrible.
Lymaka was now eighteen and old enough not to be scared of things like this, but she still feared once in a while. Besides, why should she fear if she has her brave little brother revolving around her like a moon around a planet?
Lymaka and Gin walked on in silence. They were now proceeding into the gates of the forest. As they edged away from the city, they found that there was no other sound other than their own footsteps upon the gravel of the undeveloped road. There wasn’t even any wind rustling through the trees. Lymaka felt a creepy sense in her. There is no dark seductive man. I am becoming too lost in my imagination, she convinced herself with her mind. But her heart refused to listen.
Lymaka became lost in her thoughts and was not paying attention to her little brother, and therefore she noticed that he had run off again. When she looked around, finally realizing that she had been lost in her thoughts, she began to worry. She was not annoyed that her little brother for running off, but she was fearful. At first, she called out to him in a joking manner, even though her voice quavered.
“Gin! Come here now, for you know I will tell mom if you do not!” Lymaka called.
Silence answered her.
Lymaka was answered by silence again. She stopped walking and tried to hear something. She even held her breath to see if she could hear her brother’s breath. There was no other breathing. There was no wind. The sky was becoming darker and Lymaka was becoming tired, and fear was growing inside of her.
“Gin, come out. Please, where are you? Won’t you just come home where we will be safe?” she called again.
There was nothing else to be heard other than her own voice. She felt a strange sense of loneliness flood through her like a river. She felt like she was deceived, or perhaps she was the one who had deceived her brother. She had always loved her brother. Why did he want to run away? But Lymaka had second thoughts. Was her brother somehow kidnapped? She shivered. Perhaps her scared thoughts about this forest were true. Maybe there was a dark, cloaked, seductive man waiting to kidnap or rape someone. Scared and frantic, Lymaka called out again, turning on her heels and looking around.
“Gin! Where are you? Come on, give me some sign you are near!” she screamed. “Come on! Come on! Come on!”
She was close to tears, seeing that she had lost her own brother. Finally, she could not take the worry, and she ran off the road into the forest. “Gin!” she called again. “Stop doing this to me!” She maneuvered around the trees, tripping over vines and roots. “Please!”
Lymaka stopped to catch her breath, her hands grasping her knees tightly. Something caught her eye. There was a book on the ground, lying there mysteriously, wonderingly, and undoubtedly alone. She stared at it as if it stared at her right back. When she got enough air to breathe, she rushed over, picked it up, and stuffed it in her bag. That is when she heard a rusting behind her. She turned abruptly. She gasped.
“You!” she said.
There was a young man in a dark blue long coat holding her brother by the arms and by the mouth. He had a slight grin on his face, and he looked directly at Lymaka. He chuckled.
“Ah, I see who you were looking for now. Is this your brother?” the man said. His voice was dark and velvety and it gave Lymaka the shivers. Lymaka tried to calm down, although it was hard to. She needed to reason things out in a rational way and not act too barbaric.
“It is my brother indeed sir,” she said with a deep breath.
“You seem rather polite,” the man chuckled as he pushed down the struggling boy in his strong arms. “Would you like your brother back? I can make you a bargain.”
“No thank you. But you are certainly welcome to come to our house for dinner,” Lymaka said sarcastically.
“Is that so?” the man said scathingly, although in his eyes Lymaka could see surprise.
“Yep. And you can take all of our money and run, how about that? What is it you want from my brother anyway? What is on him that you could always take from me? Besides, I have more things than him since I am older.”
The man looked at Lymaka. He was speechless and Lymaka could almost see a big exclamation mark over his head. He then growled and let go of Gin and pushed him to his sister.
“You people have nothing,” he said in fury. “You have no souls that are of importance to me. I will leave now.”
He placed one arm behind him and one in front of him. The dust then began to swirl around him, and his image diffused into thin air. Both Lymaka and Gin gaped as the man’s harsh wind whipped around them. Then the man was gone. Gin was crying and Lymaka put her arm around him. She could feel his pain.
“You won’t tell anyone about this, will you sister?” Gin sniffled. “I don’t want you to.” And he buried himself in her arms. They hugged.
“I won’t,” Lymaka promised. “Although it might help if it bothers you too much. What did that man do to you?”
“Okay, okay.” Lymaka tried to calm her little brother with a faint smile. “But I won’t let anything else happen to you. Do not run away from me anymore, okay?”
Gin nodded. The two siblings walked the rest of the way home as quick as they could. The darkness was setting.
To be continued...