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I remember that frightful day as though it were yesterday yet I was no more than a mere child when my life almost came to an end. The fragility of life comes all the more apparent when something as simple as getting separated from my mother for a few hours nearly caused my existence to cease. I was alone that day with only my wits to help me survive as I wandered alone within Vampire Valley.
It began with the inevitable panic as I rushed around frantically calling out to my mother hoping she was within earshot.
"Mummy!" I screeched at the top of my voice causing my throat to become sore, "Mummy!"
The darkening sky above appeared to spin and my breath grew shallow while I tried in vain to attract help. I was already light-headed due to panic. The dirt ground beneath my ragged boots crunched while the bare trees above offered no protection against the elements. My shoulders hunched from the cold and it was sure to rain as the grey sky darkened further.
"Mumm..." I yelled before stopping mid-sentence hearing a rustle within the thicket.
Could it be my mother? I wondered. Is my ordeal over? Am I rescued? Maybe it was something else, perhaps a monster on the hunt with me as its prey. I didn't want to wait around to find out if I was being stalked so instead ran as fast as my legs could carry me practically slipping against the loose ground. My breathing was fast, my belly ached with each breath, but it was essential that I did not slow, even for a moment, until I reached somewhere safe. I could feel raindrops already starting to fall.
I ran on and on, as fast as I could, but could still hear sounds behind me. The sounds of breathing, the sounds of snapping twigs and the sounds of snarling creatures. The sounds echoed throughout my mind, causing me to feel giddy, filling my head with extreme panic, and it wasn't long before they surrounded me. I could see nothing, just the trees among the darkening sky illuminated by the full moon. But I knew of the reputation of Vampire Valley and the monsters lurking within the darkness. They were ruthless hunters and could be hiding all around me luring me into a trap.
I collapsed in a heap with total exhaustion not being able to run any further while panting heavily trying to regain my breath. I sensed movement from behind but the moment I turned and saw nothing. The fear of being followed diminished only to be replaced by sensing more movement from behind. My imagination was playing tricks upon me but my eyes were not so easily fooled.
The sound of a bird swooping from the thicket both startled me and filled my heart with relief. I clearly wasn't being stalked but within a flash my imagination took over again and I wondered as to what had startled the bird.
With just a hint of a smile of relief I spotted my eye on a dilapidated shack among the trees, not long for this world but sturdy enough for temporary shelter. My ankle twinged as I jumped to my feet but ignoring the pain I hobbled as fast as I could towards the shack practically diving inside. Swiftly I slid across the creaky wooden floorboards then huddled in the corner hugging myself for warmth and to self comfort my shattered nerves.
It wasn't long before the sky darkened further, causing the already crisp air to bite, as nightfall fell. The rain poured heavily tapping against of what remained of the tin roof of my shelter, yet it barely covered the sound of my own breath that croaked with each inhalation.
My ears were poised listening intently at the sound of something approaching but with the sound of the pouring rain ricocheting from the dilapidated shack it was difficult to know whether it was my imagination playing tricks again. Maybe I had been lured into a trap after all for there was no escape from my present location.
It took me a while to reach the conclusion that it wasn't my imagination and footsteps were actually making their approach. I held my breath while my body shook as I saw the silhouette of a figure standing within the open doorway. It was difficult to see clearly within the partial moonlight. It was a woman wearing Victorian clothing shaking raindrops from an umbrella as she entered. The stench of death oozed from her pours filling the shack with the aroma of fresh blood. The woman looked down at me, grinning widely, revealing her razor sharp fangs that appeared to glow within the near darkness.
"Mummy!" I called out jumping to my feet and rushing over to her.
She hugged me tightly as tears fell from my eyes. I was safe once more.