The shadows are their reality.

They have never seen the sun. They have never felt the wind. They have never heard the rustling of leaves or the falling of rain.

Yet they believe that they are fully aware of the world around them.

The children, grandchildren, and even to the fifth generation know no different. All they know is The Cave. All they know are the shadows presented to them, telling them what the world is and is not.

The Girl is the first and last to discover the truth.

Squinting at the sun, The Girl breathes in the hot air and feels the warmth just barely reach her skin. There are so few places that the sun's light reaches, and one must take advantage of every pocket of warmth. The world is a cold, dark, and damp place; it's not often one gets to bask in the light that almost never reaches the ground. Unfortunately, these opportunities to feel the sun never last for more than a moment.

Without a word, a large boy pushes The Girl out of the circle of sun. She makes no sound as she falls to floor. All she does is rise to her feet as she watches other large boys fight each other over this small patch of warmth, hungry for the sun's light to touch their translucent skin. They are all pale, even The Girl. They are the only white in this black world.

Black, white, and red are the only colors. Those brought to this place – "prisoners," as they are often called – make claims of there being many, many more colors. However, they are mad. Everyone knows there are only three colors. These "prisoners" speak only of things that nobody has ever seen.

They make claims that the trees are not trees, and that the birds are not birds. Everyone scoffs at the madness. If the outline on the wall isn't a tree, then what is it? If the black spot that moves across the rocks isn't a bird, then what else could it be? Nobody understands their words, but that's only because none could ever understand the words of a fool.

Looking for something to do, The Girl wanders through the halls. Every day she and those around her look for something, anything to do to pass the slow-moving hours until the sun goes out. Some people move boulders around, others stared at their companions, and kids would sometimes kick a stone around. If you weren't basking in the sunlight, you were finding any other type of activity to keep you occupied.

"I tell you, this is never going to work."

The words stop The Girl. Following the voices, she makes her way to a pocket in the wall. Her heart constricts in her throat as she spies two demons speaking in the hole.

Demons are neither white, black, nor red. They are something else altogether, like something that tries to be a color but isn't. Even the whitest among them are too dark, and even the blackest are too light. Their skin glows as if there is a sun inside their bodies. Some even have spots on their face. They are the ones who bring in the "prisoners." They are the ones that bring madness into this place. The demons are the rulers of the world, and no compassion exists within them.

Too scared to run, The Girl listens to the conversation.

"Without an any form of education," the first is saying, "no one in the damned place would know what it is we are offering them. The descendants would consider these instruments of evil."

The second says, "If he can't read, then he can learn. I spent the past seventeen years educating our youth; teaching a descendent shouldn't be any more difficult. All that is needed first is one to be open minded enough to give this a chance."

"But what if none of them are willing to open themselves up and to challenge the very things they know?" the first asks. The second doesn't seem to have an answer. "This project will fail, and everyone will go on about how they told you that this was a bad idea."

Without another word, a demon stomps away from the opening. He sees The Girl, who scurries away at once. Continuing his way, the demon doesn't turn around to look back. The demon walks as if there is no reason to look back.

Breathing heavily, The Girl watches the demon's retreating figure. When it has faded away, The Girl peers closer to see if the remaining demon still there. Her heart hammers in her chest as her thoughts screaming how bad an idea this is. She should turn around and run away, but she can't. Too strong is the desire to see the other demon, to know what "instruments of evil" are hidden just out of sight.

The back of the other demon is facing her. He's too busy pulling the instruments off the shelfs and putting them back in a different order. This demon is by far the thinnest and whitest she has ever seen, but he's still far bigger and darker than every natural thing in this world. However, what interests The Girl isn't the demon. What really catches her attention were the instruments that lined the very walls. She inches closer, the closest she has ever come to a demon.

If they were weapons, The Girl couldn't figure out how they were meant to hurt her kind. They were nothing more than perfect shapes – similar to the shape of the trays that is used to carry food. Except these items were far smaller than the trays, and a lot thicker, too. They came in a variety of height and thickness, all of them black with three white edges. Other than to throw at them, The Girl couldn't figure out what purpose these items might fulfill.

The Girl jumps when the demon cries out in surprise. He drops one of the instruments, and it opens up right in its middle. The white fluttered like nothing The Girl has ever seen before, but even stranger is the markings. Black marking covered the white. Why? It doesn't make sense to cover white with black.

In an attempt to see the markings more clearly, The Girl creeps forward. Closer inspection reveals the distinctiveness of the markings. It's almost as if they were put onto the white for a deliberate purpose.

"Why, hello there."

The Girl sucks in a breath. Ever so slowly, she looks up to see the demon looking down on her. In her desire to better see the markings, she forgot to be weary of the creature that might want to reclaim its instrument.

Looking over The Girl, the demon asks, "What is a small thing like you doing here?"

She should have run away. She should have screamed in terror. She should have cried. It didn't matter. Any one of those things would have saved her life.

As she directed a pointed finger to the instrument, she answers with a question of her own. "What do all those markings mean?"

Astonished, the demon looks between the girl and the instrument. Speaking slowly, the demon says, "Those markings are letters, and the letters make up words."

The Girl screws up her face in confusion. "But words can't be seen. They can only be heard. How can those markings be words?"

It's with careful, precise movements that the demon picks the instrument up. Even more carefully, he offers it to The Girl. He leaves a great distance between them. Scaring away the child by coming on strong would take this plan nowhere. If this girl was to learn, she has to accept the offer with her bare hands.

"Why don't you see the words for yourself," the demon says.

With movements slower than any of the demon's, The Girl steps forward, reaches out, and accepts the instrument. She opens it and stares at the soft interior with the strange black markings. Hesitating only once, she reaches out and strokes what the demon calls words. The black and white is softer to the touch than The Girl imagined. Looking closer, The Girl is consumed with the overwhelming desire to learn what they mean.

"How can I learn to understand words I can see?" The Girl asks.

Soft smile upon his face, the demon answers, "It won't be easy, and it will take a lot of time, but I can teach you how to read."

That was the beginning of The Girl's downfall. Every day, The Girl spent the endless hours with the demon as he taught her how to read the markings in what he called books. He was right when he said that learning would not be easy and would take a lot of time, but The Girl was persistent. Soon the minutes, hours, and even the days themselves began to go by faster than they ever have before. The more words The Girl learned, the more she pushed the demon to teach her to read longer, harder words from bigger, heavier books. When she learned to read with little to no help from the demon, The Girl spent her days nestled in a corner of the pocket, book in hand.

What The Girl read inside the books was like nothing she had ever experienced before. Each time she began to read, The Girl was transported to a whole other dimension. In her books, the sky was endless. The sun warmed everything. There were more than just three colors. Blue, green, violet – how The Girl wished she could see them. With each new book, her imagination grew, but her imagination was still limited by what she did not know.

What is a dragon?

What is snow?

What is singing?

What are animals that one can touch?

What are rainbows?

As she works up the courage to ask the demon her most desperate questions one day, she shrinks back in fear of the demon from all that time ago walking back into her pocket. Not wanting to be seen, The Girl tries very hard to not make a move. Even her breathing is kept as minimal as possible.

"My, my. You seem oh so busy at the moment. Shall I come back later?" the demon asks, his voice dripping with something The Girl never heard before. Using what she had learned in books, she labeled this way of speaking as sarcasm.

"You are not interrupting anything," the demon who had taught The Girl to read answers as he puts away the books The Girl had read and left out the day before. "How can I help you, Lumiere?"

Lumiere? It is a new word to The Girl. She sounds it out in her head and then whispers it to herself. Since it seems that her demon called this unexpected guest Lumiere, The Girl assumes that this is the new demon's name.

"I wanted to see if you project was failing just as I suspected it would." Lumiere picks up one of the books and inspects it with mild interest. "From the looks of it, I was right. None of those pathetic animals would dare show interest in a place like this. Literature is beneath them." Lumiere slams the book down and sniffs. "You had a year to prove us all wrong, and you failed to do such. I guess it would be best if you just cut your losses, pack up, and leave here. You've been missing the sunshine. Any longer down here, and we won't be able to tell you apart from them."

It is true that the demon looked less like a demon. His skin became whiter and whiter with each passing day, and the more The Girl got to know him, the less he seemed to be like the demons she always feared. If she was being honest with herself, she didn't know why she still called him a demon when it was clear he was just like all the kind men in the books he gave her. Maybe he, like the men in the books, had a name just like them, too.

"I wouldn't say that this experiment was a complete failure." The man gestures to The Girl as she watches with frightful eyes. "This one has spent the past year learning to read, and even now she still spends her days with her nose buried in a book. She is the perfect example that there is hope for those who were born here."

Lumiere looks over The Girl with what she believes is best described with a hawk's eye. Finding what he was looking for, he sneers at her and turns away.

"She is a fifth descendent," Lumiere tells the man. "I can't deny that she shows interest in your books, but there's no way she would leave here for the Above. The Cave is too ingrained into who she is and ever will be. You might think you have progress, but when the real test comes, she will shrink away and never want to so much as look at another book ever again. Mark my words."

With the corner of his eyes, the man looks at The Girl, sees her clutch the book to her chest. He notices how she watches with full attention, processing every word exchanged between them the best that she can.

"She is only a child," the man finally says. "She has a long way to go before she can decide if she wants to go Above. Until then, I will not and cannot label this project a failure. Give it a few more years, then you can make your final judgements."

Shaking his head, Lumiere replies, "I can't believe you are pinning your entire life on one child. What are the odds others will follow her lead? Are you really okay with giving up your life Above for one pathetic child?"

The man stares at Lumiere, his face the most serious The Girl has ever seen it. "Even if only one life is saved, that in and of itself is the reason to not give up. I may not be able to make a difference in the world, but to this little girl, I can make all the difference in her world. As long as she still holds on, I won't give up on her."

Lumiere sneers. "You're a fool."

"If that is the price I must pay for this cause," the man smiles, "then I will gladly pay it."

Without so much as another word, Lumiere spins on his heel and stalks off. The Girl holds her breath as she listens to Lumiere's retreating footsteps. She waits for a few minutes after the sounds have faded into the darkness before she gets up for her place on the floor and approaches the man.

"Why does so much of what you're doing depend on me?" The Girls asks, cutting straight to the point.

For a while, the man doesn't answer. He looks around as if trying to find a distraction, looks at his feet, and then sighs. Finally, "It is not fair for you to live in this place." Before The Girl can ask what he means, the man continues, "This world you know so well is nothing more than a hole in the ground. The Cave, as it has come to be called in the last century. Its purpose is to house the worst criminals in the world, but when this prison was formed, no one stopped to think about what would become of the offspring of these criminals."

The Girl didn't say anything. What could she say? Everything the man said was the very madness she was warned against as a child. Yet she couldn't understand why he would lie to her. If what he said was true, then there was an endless of supply of questions The Girl had for the one who taught her that words could be seen.

"The books," she says slowly, "they speak of a world I cannot imagine. They talk about things I know nothing of. If where we are really is beneath the earth, then is that why I can't understand why the sky is said to be blue or how the road stretch on forever?" The more she said, the more The Girl realizes that it must be true that where they are is just a cave. Many times books would have their characters hide in a cave, and the caves were always described similar to the world around her. As much as she didn't want to admit it, this world really is a cave no matter how crazy it sounds. "Why did you teach me how to read?"

"I didn't know how else to start." The man shrugs and offers The Girl the softest smile. "It was never right to leave children to live in a place meant for criminals, but nobody acted to take the newborns from their parents and raise them Above. The result is that many children were born, raised, and died here. Children such as yourself have had family in this Cave for generations. There were those of us who fought to free you who did nothing wrong, but how could we ever convince to leave the only world you've ever known in favor of one unfamiliar?

"That's why I volunteered to start a library down here. It was my hope that many young people would have open enough minds to learn about the things I brought with me. I would teach them how to read, and if they were intrigued by what they learned, they would continue to consume book after book. Soon their hearts would be filled with the aching desire for adventure like the characters in the books. When they learned of the Above, they would be ruled more by curiosity and wonder than fear. They would risk everything for this world. They would go to the Above, and they will be freed from the sins of their fathers.

"Except none have dared learn what secrets these books have. None showed interest in the written words and what they mean. None would ever learn or accept the opportunity to go Above." The man looks directly into The Girl's eyes. "Well, none except you."

It was as if the world is pulled from beneath The Girl's feet. Her knees give in, and she falls for the floor. Fortunately the man catches her and helps her back onto steady feet. Regaining her balance, The Girl asks, "Will I be going to the Above? Will I leave here for a place I can't even imagine?"

The man holds The Girl by her shoulders and looks her directly into the eyes. "That is a choice you have to make for yourself. However, you have no reason to worry or fear right now. You cannot make that choice yet."

"Why not?"

"You are too young. Although I do not know for sure, I believe that you can't be older than fourteen. Tell me, do you have a mother you go home to every night when the 'sun' is put out?"

Nodding, The Girl says, "Yes, I do. I also have a father and a baby sister."

"And that is exactly why you cannot make the choice to leave. Not yet." The man stands straight and removes his hands from The Girl's shoulders. "You're still a child, and you have a family that will not be happy to see you leave them. Be honest, do they know that you can read?"

"I tried to tell them that I was learning to read the first day," The Girl says as she rings her fingers, "but they didn't know what I was saying so they told me to never speak such nonsense, maddening words again. They still don't know where I run off to every day. As long as I'm home before the sun goes out, they don't care where I am."

"But they will care a great deal if you don't come back." The man offers another one of his small smiles. "You will get to make that choice, but not for a few years. When you're eighteen, or as close to it as we can be sure, then you will be given the choice to either stay or go. Until then, continue to read my books. Build your imagination. Don't ever believe something just because someone tells you to; choose what you're going to believe and stick with it through thick and thin. Unless you truly search for what the world has to offer, you're going to miss all the best things in life."

When she can't find a response, The Girl nods to show that she understands. She doesn't know what she thinks. Although she's excited to think that she may one day see a world with more than three colors and a sky that never ends, the truth was that she was truly very scared deep down. There was no proof that what the man said was true, but she wouldn't know for sure unless she challenged his claims herself. Even though the man promises that The Girl has a really long time before she has to make her decision, she knows that when the time finally comes that she still won't know what she wants to decide.

Until then, she keeps reading. Taking the man's advice, she keeps building her imagination with the stories the books offer her and learning new things within them. After she has read everything in the library, she reads them again. And again. And again. With each read through, she learns something new. Each time she rereads an old favorite, she makes a new discovery inside the pages. No matter how many times she reads the books, they still prove to her just how big they are.

If the world she holds in her hand are so big that she never ceases to learn from them, just how big is the world Above?

The day she chooses comes too fast. Fear and anxiety consume her. Yet more than that, the hunger and thirst for adventure into the unknown hold her in an iron grip.

Before she leaves, The Girl kisses her mother and sister goodbye. Her father has long since gone, killed over basking in the sun's warmth. Nobody knows where she's going, and she doesn't try to tell them. Everyone around her is too close-minded to understand.

When she arrives at the library, it is already filled with demons. No, men. She is the one with the odd skin, not them. They study her, ask her about the books she's read and what she believes of her world, and they tell her that regardless of what choice she's made, she can always change her mind.

"I want to go Above," she swears.

The men look at her questionably. A fifth generation, but genuine in her desire to leave this God forsaken place. Those like her were the last people anyone expected to find.

Many who were born and raised in the cave witnessed The Girl escorted by the demons. The Girl's mother and sister cried, fearing only the worst. Some debated in their hearts to fight the demons and free The Girl, but none acted on it. They didn't want to become victims as well.

The journey goes on for what feels to be ages. It isn't long before the ground had an obvious incline, and The Girl's calves, not use to this angle, tighten in pain. Still the journey continues. Her heart rate increases, her skin sweats, and her legs cry in agony. She pushes through, terrified that she will be taken back if she complains.

Behind her every step of the way is the man who taught her how to read, who made all of this possible for her. He has changed over the years. His face sags, his brows heavy, and his movements the slowest they have ever been. Yet he encourages her just the same. The Girl loves the man for everything he has given her. Had she not found him that fateful day, where would she be?

She knows they are close when the man whispers to her "Close your eyes, or you will be blinded."

There is no hesitation to obey. The Girl closes her eyes, and a blindfold is tied around her head. She doesn't question it. She trusts the man and the others leading her out of the Cave.

"This is for your protection," one of the men says. He is the youngest, brownest of them all. "Your eyes have never seen the sun, so we must keep them covered until we can get you someplace where all the light won't damage them."

The walk lasts only a little longer. When the man says, "Prepare to experience what real sunlight feels like," The Girl knows she is only mere seconds away from entering the Above.

When it happens, The Girls feels it before anything else. Warmth, stronger than any she has ever felt in her life, embraces her everywhere all at once. This sun – the real sun – kisses her skin and sinks through her muscles into her very bones. As they walk, this warmth does not vanish. It is wherever they go, following their every move. If this is real sunlight, The Girl wonders how she lived her whole life without it.

Next to come is the smells. The cool, crisp air fills her lungs and overrides her senses. Each inhale is a deep, slow one. Although she is hungry to fill her lungs with as many breaths as she can in a short amount of time, The Girl forces herself to savor the very air. How could air be so cold? How could air be this clean? She may never find the answers, but for now, she is satisfied just to fill her body with air that could only be described as fresh.

Last to come was the sounds. The Girl did not react as well to them.

"What is that?" she demands, stopping in her tracks.

Irritated, some of the men try to force her forward. She refuses to budge, and they are forced to drag her along. It is the man who makes them wait so that he could speak to The Girl.

"That is the sound of birds singing," the man tells her. "Didn't you read in your books that birds can sing?"

For a moment The Girl shakes, but then she thinks about what the man said. "I had never heard birds sing before. I may have known that they sing, but how am I to know what the singing sounds like without having heard it before now?"

The men are silent. The Girl doesn't know what to think of their silence. Finally, "Come, we must continue. The walk to the doctor's isn't much longer. Once she finds some glasses that we can give you to protect your eyes from the sun, you can finally see what the color blue looks like."

Those words, that goal, is enough. Perhaps now some of her biggest questions could finally be answered. As she walked, The Girl listened to the birds. Singing may not be the word she would use to describe the sound, but it was still amazing nonetheless. She had never heard anything like it before and wants to listen to it as long as possible.

Suddenly, without warning, the warmth and air are gone. The air is stale, and The Girl feels a chill on the top of her skin. She stiffens. "What happened?!" she demands, panicking.

"We only walked inside a building," the man promises. "This is where the doctor will give you a pair of glasses."

"She needs to examine the child first," one of the men says. His voice is gruff but somewhat regretful. "Remember that this girl is a fifth generation: her body is designed to live in the Cave. Unless she's properly evaluated, we do not know if it is safe for her to live Above."

The Girl's spine becomes like iron. "Will I be forced to return to the Cave if I am not deemed able to live here?"

"As much as I wish to tell you otherwise, that is the case." The man sighs. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you before. However, regardless of what the doctor says of you, I will not have you taken back to that place until you have seen the sky."

The Girl ponders this before she finally says, "No. If I cannot live her, then do not show me the sky. I've barely felt the warmth of the sun and breathed the freshness of this air, yet I know I already can't live without it. To taste the sky but not be able to keep it . . . that would be a fate worse than death."

Nobody says anything. The doctor comes, introduces herself, interviews The Girl, explains what she's going to do, and then does everything she said she would. All the while, The Girl fails to register it. Too much is the anxiety that she would not be able to stay. She would be told to leave, told that her years of dreaming and learning were for nothing. Her heart constricts at this possibility. Death truly would be a preferable fate.

Neither the doctor nor the men tell The Girl the results. For a long while The Girl, alone and blind, waits in a small room. Then a familiar voice speaks to her.

"Want to finally see the sky?"

The Girl's heart leaps inside her chest and lodges itself in her throat. "Do I get to stay?"

A warm hand covers her own. "You will have to spend most days indoors with small exposures to sunlight until you get used to living Above, but you get to live here."

It's enough for The Girl to start crying. There would never, ever be news better than the news she received that moment. To her, the world had finally fallen into place.

The man leads The Girl outside and asks her to close her eyes while he undoes the blindfold. "The sun really will damage your eyes if they aren't protected," he tells her. "It may take years, if ever, for you to be able to go outside without them, but I suppose wearing glasses to see the world is better than never seeing it."

When the blindfold is removed, The Girl tries to close her eyes more than they already are, squinting to the point that her brows rest on top of her cheeks. As much as she loves the warmth the sun provides, she isn't too happy about how bright the sun's light is.

After something is placed on the bridge of her nose and she is told to open her eyes, The Girl nearly faints at what she sees before her.


Colors everywhere.

Far, far more than three colors as far as the eye can see.

The sky is infinite.

The world is without end.

The Girl covers her mouth and begins to cry again. She looks at the man as he smiles before her. He looks so different on the Above. Everything looks different. It's as if until now, The Girl had never truly seen anything before.

"Look," he said as he pointed at the never-ending sky. "You see that? This is the color blue."

"It . . . it . . ." The Girl weeps some more. "It is the most beautiful color I have ever seen!"

Again she cries, and the man has to bring her back inside. "You will be burned by the sun if you stay out her a second longer," he reasons with her. "Your skin has never touched the sun until today. The sun isn't very nice to those whose skin doesn't see the sun often."

The Girl learned quickly that the sun burning skin was no myth. That same day she snuck out to feel more of the sun's warmth and breathe more of the clean air. She couldn't sit or lie down without feeling pain for a week.

Yet as time passed, she could endure more. The Girl could stay in the sun for more than a few minutes without burning, and she no longer had to wear her glasses inside as long as the lights weren't on too bright. Her skin darkened. So did her hair. The spots she once feared on the demons began to appear on her face. She learned that they were called freckles. She really liked freckles and accepted their arrival on her face and arms.

Days and weeks and months passed by. The world Above still fascinated The Girl the way it did when she first exited the Cave. She still read and learned, but she now explored and discovered. This world she had spent years longing for was everything she hoped and dreamed and more.

However, something was missing.

Deep below ground, thousands of people do not know what they lacked. If they could feel the real sun and see all the colors, then they too could experience what has become her normal. They could be free.

Too caught up with her desire to go back and tell the others, The Girl writes a note for her caretaker, who had gone out to buy groceries, and runs off back to the entrance of the Cave. Even though she was freed from the prison, she was never taken far away. All this time she was kept in a small cottage in a nearby town out in the country. There are plans to take her to more populated areas soon, but she still has a lot to get used to and longer to wait before this project is deemed a success. She is a few weeks shy of being free for a year. If she doesn't go back to tell the others now, she will be moved away and may never get the chance to help her people ever again.

When she gets to the cave, the guards try to stop her. They recognize her and try to understand why she is in a big hurry to go back to her former home. She tells them her plan, but they seem weary. It isn't until the oldest of the guards says that if The Girl really wants to say Above, she will be back. None of them should force her to stay when she wants to go down – that had always been the agreement between The Girl and everyone here.

They let The Girl go, and she promises to be back before sunset. She runs downwards, stronger now after months spent running through leaves, snow, and scorching sun. The journey still takes a long time and exhausts her, but she isn't as weak as she once was.

Upon reaching the bottom, The Girl seeks out her mother and sister. She finds them outside their home, her old home. They freeze at the sight of the one who had been taken away from them so long ago that there were those that had forgotten it ever happened.

The sight of them breaks The Girl's heart. As happy as she was to be Above, she still misses them. Worse was how white their skin is, a white she once was. They were almost translucent. Seeing how unnaturally white they are reminds The Girl that she had to be examined before she could be allowed to live Above. Would her family be just as healthy to live there, too?

"You must come with me," The Girl says, her first words to anyone down here since she had been taken. "The sky is endless, the sun is warm everywhere, and the colors – oh, the colors! There are far more colors than you could ever see down here. Green, yellow, and blue. Blue! I know you don't understand what I'm talking about, but you must come. You must see what blue looks like."

Her mother and sister only stare at her in horror. A crowd has gathered. This is perfect, The Girl says to herself. I can tell them all about the world Above. Tell them she did. She spoke of all that had happened ever since she was a little girl who was learning how to read. She told them of the project to bring people like them to the Above. She told them of her experiences in the wonderful place that was too good to be true.

When she finished, she smiled at them. She couldn't wait for them all to ask her to take them to the Above. They would be free, too.

If only that is what happened.

"She is mad," they began to say. "We know what the sun is." One points to a corner of the rock, where a hot light emitted. Only now did The Girl realize that this "sun" was nothing more than a lit flame. "That is the sun."

"That is not the sun," she tries to tell them. "Look." Aiming her finger at the small shadow that flew by, she asks, "What is that?"

"A bird," is the immediate answer.

"No," she argues, "that is not a bird. That is only the shadow of one. Real birds are red and brown and gray, and they can sing. Birds can sing! Please, come with me so that you can hear the birds sing. If nothing else, follow me for the singing."

"The woman speaks nonsense," one says.

"She is a demon," says another. "Look at her skin and the spots on her face! No doubt she wants to lead us away so that she may feast on our flesh. If we trust her, we will be asking for our deaths!"

"No," The Girl tries to tell them. "I only want to help you. Please, trust me."

One man came forward, carrying a big rock. "The only good demon is a dead demon," he spits. The rest of them agree.

"Please, just listen to me! I only want to help you!" The Girl tries, but nobody is listening. Many find their own rocks. Others lead small children away. Even her own mother and sister abandon her, claiming to not know who The Girl is. "Will somebody please give me chance?" The Girl asks, desperate.

Nobody gives her a chance.

The soldiers react immediately to the screams, but they are too far away.

By the time they reach The Girl, it is already too late.

Out of fear of the unknown, those trapped in the dark world murdered the only one who could ever give them hope for a better, fulfilling life.