Aias and Abi woke to the sound of cluttering that night. "Darling, what time is it?" Aias mumbled as he turned on the light and stretched. Or that was what he was going to do anyways. The ear piercing scream his wife made when the light flickered on made him look at the most horrifying thing he had ever seen in his life. Two black forms were huddling against the light in a corner of the room. They had bright white eyes that seemed to almost pop out of their ugly faces, like deformed people made out of smoke.

"To all the gods, what are they!" Abi screeched while holding onto Aias for dear life. Said husband was frantically looking for something to defend himself with, as the demons in the corner were slowly preparing themselves to attack. How could they have come into the house so silently? And how did they get here? The 'Dome' was closed off, and all the animals were held in the Forbidden woods and the walls around it were surveilled!

He settled for the standing lamp in the corner of the room and flung at the creatures with it, but to no apparent avail. When he swung at them he went right through them, and they seemed to recompose afterwards. "AIAS DO SOMETHING!" His wife screamed in terror. "Then what do you suggest I do, hm!" He bit back. "I don't kn-" Their argument was interrupted by one of the two demons suddenly speaking. 'Ccrysssssstal?' They both shook at the vile sound the creature made. "What do you want?" Aias asked. 'Give usssss the cryssstal.' it spat. Both Abi and Aias were dumbstruck, they knew of no crystals. "D-do you want my j-jewellery?" She proposed. One of the demons began to laugh, "We don't neeeeed your jewellery. We want the crysssssstal."

Suddenly the other one began panicking. "He's getting angry! Give us the crysssstal, now!" it said, pouncing upon Aias. "I don't have your crystal! I know nothing of it!" The creature looked at him through its bulging eyes critically. "And the ladyyyy…?" it asked, signing his companion to take hold of Abi. "I- I have no idea!" She all but sobbed. "Is there anyone elssssse here that might know?" Abi's mind raced, not her child, not her child! Aias beat her to the punch, "No, we're the only ones living here." "Then… we no longer need you."
They shared one last look that screamed terror.

Esra stretched as she woke up in the morning. She had dreamt something different this night, though the man was there again, this time asking her where she had hidden a diamond or something… It was a bit hazy, so she couldn't quite remember. Her feet tiptoed over the wooden floors to her parent's bedroom. She often pounced on them when she woke up before them and they would cuddle in bed. She already looked forward to it. She silently opened the door , only to see something no child should ever see.

Her mother and father sprawled over the ground, eyes wide open in terror and flesh ripped. The blood had almost reached the door. She walked over to her mother pretending she wasn't gone, tears streaming down her face. "M-m-m-m mommy? M-mommy?" But she received no answer. "D-daddy, m-m-m-mommy isn't an- answering me… D-daddy? DADDY?"
Silence.
"DADDY ANSWER ME!" she screamed, shaking his body. "DADDY! IT'S GOING TO BE OKAY! REMEMBER? DADDY! ANSWER ME! ANSWER ME! DADDY!"

Miro Dithlai had just taken a seat in front of his television to watch his favourite afternoon show when suddenly an intermission came. "Why does this always have to happen on my show?" He sighed in defeat.

Last night a couple was brutally murdered in Fedlister in the north of the 8th district. Aias Ylling and Abi Grethled. Neighbours said they heard nothing, and no weapons were found. The couple left behind a little girl of 8, who was found screaming by the neighbours in the morning, covered in blood. The police are investigating the murder. The mayor has asked for heightened vigilance. If you know this girl or if you have seen anything suspicious, please contact the police.

There is also a traffic problem in the…

Miro looked at the screen in disbelief, not noticing his cup had slipped out of his hand and crashed to the floor. He then regained himself and shot out through the door.

He came to the house of his student, a white tent, police wagons and an ambulance made the scene even more horrifying than he would have thought. He stopped the nearest police officer. "Do you happen to know where I can find the daughter? Esra Ylling? She is a student of mine." The police officer looked at him sceptically. "I'll go verify that first, your name please?" "Miro Dithlai, she is in the 5th year at the Fedlister neighbourhood school." The police officer disappeared for a while and came back smiling. "Ok Mr. Dithlai, follow me." He followed him into an ambulance where a few women were talking outside; he overheard the conversation a psychiatrist was having with an officer. "…probably never talk again, with this much damage to her nerves." "Who will adopt her then? She has no family save for her late parents!" The psychiatrist shrugged helplessly. "She will at least be in shock for some time, if not years." They continued to look at the little girl sitting in a chair, wrapped in blankets, the occasional smudge of blood still covering her face and hands.

"Esra, it's Mr. Dithlai here." He said as soothing as he could. She lifted her head, and his heart broke. Her eyes were red from crying, and at the sight of him her eyebrows joined and her eyes filled up with tears again. She said nothing, but just held out her arms. He took her into his arms and sat down in the chair, all the while stroking her hair and shushing her. "It'll be all right Esra, it will be okay." Strangely enough, that only made it worse, and she broke out into full-blown crying. The psychiatrist sat next to them. "The neighbours found her this morning, she was repeatedly mumbling 'It'll be all right' and 'answer me' up until 2 hours ago, when her voice gave out." He nodded gravely. "I heard you talking about her not talking ever again, and who would adopt her…" He paused for a minute, thinking if he really was going to make the right decision. He didn't have a wife to act as a mother for her… Shaking his head, he made his decision.
"I would like to adopt her."

The woman shook her head in disbelief for a moment, before smiling at him warmly. "You realise it will not be easy, right? She won't eat by herself for the next months, she will have to be fed by hand and force. And I don't think she will talk anytime soon." They shared a moment of silence. "I'll have to do my best, then." He said, smiling. The woman smiled back. "I'll come by on regular visits, then. My name is Bea." "Miro, nice to meet you."

"Esra!" Miro shouted from the bottom of the stairs. "Bea's here!" Tentative tapping of feet was heard on the top floor, and soon the girl with long white hair was sitting in the kitchen with Miro and Bea. "How is the progress with the nightmares, Esra?" She asked sweetly. The girl made a 'not much' sign with her hands and Miro explained. "She still wakes up screaming. Not every night anymore but still once or twice a week." Esra nodded. Bea looked at her papers and wrote a couple of things down. "I see eating is coming along pretty well, huh?" She said, practically beaming. Esra smiled back at her, she had tried to eat by herself as much as possible the last year, and now she finally began to feel hungry again. She liked the taste of food, Bea had said it was huge progress. Miro ruffled her hair. "Yup, she's doing her very best."
Silence fell upon them. "…and eeehm. You know… Talking?" Bea carefully brought up the weak spot. The girl looked at her hands from the other side of the table, shaking her head. She received a piece of paper and a pen from Miro -they had solved the problem the simplest way they knew- and started writing. She gave the paper to Bea, who read it aloud. "I try to talk, and I can say the words with my lips, but no sound comes out with it. Look." She looked at Esra's face. She was saying 'I can only do this' with her mouth, but there was indeed no voice to accompany it.
"I try to talk to her at least half an hour intensively a day, but we can't get any more results than this at the present time." Bea nodded. Miro had done as much as he could for Esra ever since he had adopted her. He was the perfect father, even though he seriously doubted himself most of the time.
Especially when Esra got into another fight at school.

"And the fighting, Esra? Have you learnt to control yourself a bit better?" Esra huffed, making a 'It's not my fault!' gesture, while snatching the paper back and feverishly writing on it.

I don't start the fights, it's always the boys teasing me with names such as 'Goddess' and 'poor little child' or even 'Teacher's favourite girl'. And then I ask them to stop and they begin acting stupid like 'I can't hear you!'. And then I get angry and they make it worse by saying 'Ooooh, the goddess is going to kill me, help!'

"And then you completely go berserk and kick the crap out of them." Bea said, putting down her glasses. Esra waited for a second before nodding slightly. "Look, you have been in the headmaster's office 12 times already, 11 out of 12 with bruises and cuts. And I don't even want to start on what the school nurse has told me about your injuries." Esra absentmindedly stroked her left shoulder, it had been disconnected four weeks ago after a fight with a last year student. She wasn't the one worst off though; he had 3 broken ribs, a broken nose and a concussion.
Bea looked at Miro "I know you are doing your best, but the self-defense classes probably weren't the best idea we've ever had, hm?' They both laughed, breaking the tense atmosphere.
"Well, I'm off then" Bea said, standing up and giving her friends a hug. "Try to keep out of trouble, Esra, you know how much Miro cares about you. Besides, I'd appreciate it if he wouldn't call me for every bruise you have asking if you are hurting yourself on purpose because you're depressed!" They both laughed and hugged again.

"I don't do that." Miro interrupted, his head redder than a tomato. "Of course you don't, Miro." Bea replied in a voice that dripped with sarcasm. He huffed. "Anyways, see you guys next month!"
"See you, Bea." Esra laughed in silence at her adoptive dad. "What?" She made a heart sign with her hands, and proceeded to hug herself while mouthing 'Bea, oh Bea!' "Oh shut it, you." He said, playfully ruffling her hair. That seemed to work because she ran away upstairs, protecting her head from any more ruffle-attacks.

Miro sat down in the chair he had been sitting in when he had seen the news that had changed his life, and that of his adoptive daughter. He had taken her into his house and cared for her as if she was his real daughter. At first Esra had nightmares every day, shooting awake in the middle of the night, screaming. She had slept in his bed until she reached her 12th birthday and he had decided that it had been enough and she really had to sleep alone. It had been a bit of a struggle sometimes but he was happy like this, with her, and the visits of Bea.

Now if only he could get her to talk.