Pain has the disappointing inability to pass. It may reduce, it may subside but it never really finishes. You may forget, but pain never really leaves. Its burning imprint searing your mind every once in a while. But pain fades. And that is enough.

She was running. Away from the inky darkness progressively approaching her. Darkness was all she registered. She was too busy running away from...from...what was she running from?

Twigs sharp as blades tore away at her exposed arms and face. The cut burned for several moments but her fear dominated the pain.
She was clawing through the thick growth. Then She saw a light. The thing that she was trying to reach. Ecstatic with relief she cried out.
With stumbling steps she rushed forward. Then the most terrible thing imaginable happened. At the last moment she fell into a pit of inky darkness and the sound of her pitiful scream echoed throughout the land.
She was falling down...into this weird pit. Like 'Alice in Wonderland'.

Then her mother's smiling face appeared. 'Tea's ready, darling. How about you wash up and then come down?'
She nodded.

A sudden thought crossed her mind, she turned away but the house was bathed in darkness.
'Mum?' she asked tentatively. 'Are you there?'

'Of course not, honey.'

'Mum? where are you?'

'Nowhere dear. I'm already dead.' her mother answered with a cackle.

'Mum? No! Please! Stop! Mum, where are you? ANSWER ME!' her scream echoed as she ran out the front door.

Then the scene changed again. She was standing in this forest clearing. The evening was bathed in this odd orange-ish hue.
'Mirana...mirana...here darling...I'm right here...no...No...PLEASE...MIRANA...SAVE ME!...mirana...MIRANA!...don't leave me!'

The voices were coming from all around her. The darkness seemed to scream.

The voice had been caressing at first, then slowly it had morphed into the shriek of the haunted and in the end it had been almost accusatory.

She cupped her ears with her hands and told them to stop. They did, but then continued with haunting laughs.

This continued for what felt like all of eternity. Her parents shouted terrible things. Things she knew she wouldn't forget till her dying day.

It felt like she was stuck in a limbo.

Then it all stopped suddenly when a rooster started cuckoo-ing. Even that somehow sounded like the desperate cry of the dying.

At first she was puzzled by her surroundings. Maybe the next part of her torture would be in this place. Then almost comically she was jolted into reality by the sound of the cuckoo clock. Apparently she had been drooling over the kitchen table.

Six chimes. Six deaths, she thought absently, and almost immediately felt sick.

Six chimes...For some inexplicable reason she felt as if she had missed out on something.

Six chimes...six times...six deaths...in six lines...troubled by sick rhymes...six chimes...maybe she WAS going crazy...

Then suddenly every thing clicked into place. Cursing in colourful language, she grabbed her jacket and quickly ran to the garage.

Nearly slamming her red convertible Mercedes into the wall, she hurriedly reversed.

'Hey! Stop!'

Running towards her swiftly was one of her childhood best friends, Hunter.

Mocha brown hair, hazel eyes, good looks in both the classic and cheesy romance novel way, probably the only guy in the world who wouldn't mind if she set fire to him. One of those impossibly nice people who are in other words too damn good to be true. But if you ever offended someone he knew...well, then god help you.

Whereas she wouldn't have called him my brother, she wouldn't have had picked anyone else in a jiffy.

That was if, of course, Vivienne was already present. Vivienne, her other part. They had been best friends since she had punched her in 3rd grade because she tried to tease her and Julian.

Apparently she had been the only one to stand up for someone. Huge molten mercury eyes that seemed to be several thousand meters deep, Ash coloured hair, beautiful in the dark way, wide of cheek and pointy of chin, Vivienne Rayne was a force to be reckoned. Highly inexpressive, unless with her closest friends, Scalding with her comments, and of a highly neutral appearing disposition, she was one of those people who seemed to have something running around their minds all the times. And she was the one true love of one Hunter Bryce, but apparently denial was considered best these days.

Swiftly, Hunter jumped over door and slid neatly into the passenger seat.

'Show off.' she muttered.

'Ya know ya like it...' he replied while wiggling his eyebrows suggestively.

Barely suppressing a smile she smacked him on the back of his head and drove on.

Probably breaking a thousand traffic rules. She arrived at the beautiful building breaking her best time by 5 minutes.
Hurriedly she rushed out of the car and ran towards the orchard.

Madame Elisa DE Benedetti's academy for musically talented children was nearly impossible to get into. One of the oldest and most renowned academy's in the world, one had to be either exceptionally talented or extraordinarily rich to get in. The younger Thayer had both covered. By the murder...death of her parents, Mirana Thayer had inherited all the wealth, thus getting her younger sister in wasn't a matter of concern. Both sisters were unusually gifted but only the younger Thayer had decided to pursue the musical dream. Mirana had been too busy trying to fulfil her parent's wishes of their eldest going into medicine.

Laying in the grass and braiding flowers into her hair, was Charlotte Thayer.

Charlotte Thayer was a child of incredibly sweet disposition. With hazel eyes on the verge of gold, platinum coloured curls and gentle features, the angelic aura was completed. And to add to the effect, she had the voice of an angel and fingers that deftly played the piano.

One more, Mirana Thayer was struck with the difference between them. While Charlotte Thayer had the looks of an angel, Mirana Thayer appeared much darker.

With deep auburn hair, Cerulean eyes and generally sharp features, Mirana Thayer had the looks of her mother's classic Italian beauty with a twist.

Spotting the both of them, Charlotte strode towards them with a look of determination. Once more Mirana was struck by her beauty.

This was effectively shattered when she started screeching.

'Late! AGAIN! You had one job, Mirana! One job!'

'ONE JOB!? I am the legal adult here! I'm just 18 and I have to do all the jobs of two parents!'

'I'm just glad you finally remembered that you have a sister. It's your own fault really. You absolutely refuse to take help from others!'

Hunter, who realized that they were on the verge of a major row, thrust himself in front of Mirana.

'Lottie, cut your sister some slack. She was exhausted after med school. She'll make it up to you though...' Julian looked pointedly at Mirana. Sighing, she relented.

'Yeah, how do I make it up to you?'

Charlotte appeared to think for a moment but the other two already knew.

'Well...you could take me for ice-cream...that is if it's not too difficult for you...' She said with a twinkle in her eye.

Rolling her eyes, Mirana smiled and replied that no, it would not be too much trouble.

Pretending to be delighted, Hunter jumped around with Charlotte.

While driving, Mirana was once again assaulted by disturbing thoughts. It had been two years since her parents had been murdered because of some top secret work of theirs. Apparently seven people had been in on this and six of them were dead...

On their way, they stopped at Vivienne's home. Apparently she too had been one of those famous rows with her mother.

'No, mum. I will most certainly not get a makeover from one of your stylists. And, no, I don't want to marry Brett. I'M 18 FOR GOD'S SAKE!''

'But Vivienne, Brett is so handsome...and rich...'

'Mum...as much as it may pain you...these things don't matter to me...'

'But-'

'No. Just...no. Look, mum, last week it was Jayden, then it was Cameron, then Axel...trust me the list is long. I'm 18, mum, I'm in no hurry.'

'Vivienne we do this for you.' Her mother said softly, ' Mirana, what would you have done?'

'Urm...Mrs. Rayne we're getting really late. I'll...just...I would atleast give the guy a chance...'

Somehow this extracted 'HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME!?' looks from both Vivienne and Hunter.

Making a mental note to buy an extra large ice-cream, She shot Vivienne and apologetic look...and a smirk to Hunter.

Finally able to appease Vivienne's mother they left. And almost immediately Vivienne attacked her.

'DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHAT YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT?'

'Calm down. I wasn't serious...'

'That dude is creepy. I HATE him. He's so buff, it's scary. '

'Yeah. Buff guys are so weird!' Hunter said in a tight voice...and discreetly covered his taut arms with his tee-shirt.

'He openly told me that he has about a thousand girlfriends...'

'Bleh! Players are the worst...' Julian said. Mirana barely suppressed a smile.

'And he's some sort of 'Underwear Model'...' Vivienne said with disgust.

'Yeah! Underwear is stupid...' Julian replied lamely. This earned creeped out looks from all the women in the car.

'You know how we're such good friends that we share everything with each other...yeah, how about we stop doing that?' Mirana said with a laugh.

Hunter blushed. Vivienne smiled.

'Sorry...that came out wrong...'

'No kidding, Sherlock...' Charlotte said sarcastically.

After about 3 ice-creams each they decided to head back to the Thayer's home.

Something that neither of them knew was that a dark figure was stealthily moving away from the large group of soldiers. No one knew that this certain someone was slipping into the Thayer's home. No one knew what was about to hit them...

Sugar rushes, Mirana Thayer thought with a whoop, were the nicest and the worst things in the world.

Nearly killing her, the other three screamed.

'Did anyone tell you how beautiful your eyes are? The gold in the cerulean makes it look like an EXPLOSION! Oh MIRANA! You BEAUTY!'

They said in sing song voices and finished with sloppy kisses on her cheeks.

'Ooooh! MY TURN NOW!' Vivienne shouted.

'Has anyone told you how pretty your hair is? Its the colour of dying ash...black...but fading. And it smells like a heavenly mix of white ginger flowers and some citrus fruit...' Somehow the way Hunter said it made it seem like an actual praise rather than the goofy one.

What they didn't notice was that the whole street was completely black. The houses looked like empty cages.

Then Mirana suddenly drew in her surroundings.

'Hey! GUYS! Shut it!' She whisper screamed.

Then they understood. In a distance, there was a faint sound of wailing. Then a loud crash as if a building had collapsed .

The colour drained out of her face. Hunter, too looked creeped out.

'Hey Mir...I'm gonna go check up on Zoëy and my mum...'

Quietly he snuck out as they patiently waited for him. Meanwhile, more wails and more crashes...

Then Hunter walked back. Only by his footsteps she knew that something was wrong.

'They're not there! Mirana we have to leave...'

He jumped in and she drove to her own home.

'Okay guys...I guess we have to leave. Grab some bags and pack clothes, food and anything valuable. Vi, you can get your clothes from the guest room...Hunter you too. Hurry up.'

Rushing up the stairs, she ran into her room. When she turned on the light...she was assaulted by a mess.

Her whole room was destroyed. Her drawers had been emptied, Her wardrobe searched and her mattress had been thrown off the bed.

A strangled cry escaped through her lips. The album that she kept with various pictures of her parents had been torn through. Fingering the rumpled album, she was faintly aware of something heavy dropping down beside her.

Then a hand clamped onto her mouth and pulled her down.