Blood, a lot of blood.

The smell of iron filled the air, the crimson colour bathing the entire town.

This was the new scenery of the valley.

The glass windows of the houses and shops that had made the valley so beautiful were all smashed, and the shards decorated the red brown earth.

Many of the shophouses lining up on the street had been forcefully barged into, their glass walls smashed, their open, unwary doors torn off their hinges. Their display cases that were so painstakingly cleaned daily were thrown across the room, and the pictures that had once hung on the wall had all crashed onto the wet, sticky floor. Black pools of blood had formed on the floor, and bloodied fingerprints dotted the walls. yet there were no bodies, no bones nothing but blood and memories.

The sturdier houses seemed to have survived the massacre, with its windows and mostly untouched, save for the deep red stain that had been splashed on them.

Looking through the intact window, he saw

A fireplace still burning, the kettle on the stove. The morning's newspaper pages were blown off the table, descending on the unblemished floor, partially covering the body of a unmoving cat. The cat was on all fours, its golden eyes bright and its tail upright, just about to leap off the ground. It was as if a film had slowed down and the entire scene was frozen in mid-frame, everyone waiting for the cat to leap.

But it never happened. every living thing in the house froze, their bodies still intact as if nothing happened, as if they were in a dream, not waking up. But their soundless cries echoed throughout the room, out of the window, into the night..

Ahead, the wind howled, sweeping the valley. Dark clouds obscured the moon-less sky, filling the silent world with the sound of silence. It filled his ears, his eardrums with the heavy, ominous pressure, and filled his mind with nothingness.

Instinct urged him that he had to get out of this place, stay hidden or be the darkness' next victim..

He couldn't bring himself to run. His knees were weak and staggering, his eyes hollow and expressionless, like a shrivelled kernel, about to be blown away by the wind

Then, like a miracle, a silver star shone in the dark sky, its light dim but steady.

It was like hope, and he walked towards it, like a starving man walking towards food.

Against the dark, the star seemed like a salvation and he reached out his palm to grasp it, to keep his salvation..

But it escaped him.

As he strided towards that seeming unreachable star, blobs oozed out from the dark liquid pooled around his feet, swirling around as if in a dance

Blue flames, faint and flickering against the dark, gathered around, encircling his feet. The flames formed a circle around his feet, and then more flames appeared and gathered around, forming another circle, and then another, and another, glowing softly while drawing in, closer, closer towards him…