Li stumbled as she hurried across the uneven terrain of the forest. A spiked tree scraped her shoulder and she felt tears well up from the pain. A glance at her arm and she saw blood trickling from the scratch.
"Mom? Mom! Where are you?"
She was cold. And afraid. Her jacket was soaked in rain. She knew she had to keep going. She had to find Mom. Dad had said so. The forest surrounded her on all sides. Dark, never-ending. They had always told her she should not go there. But when the bad people had come Dad had told her to run as fast as she could. That she would be safe if she found Mom. When she ran she had seen Dad get shot by one of the bad people. A towering figure in dark armor and a head adorned in strange patterns.
She kept moving. Over rocks and roots. Stumbling again and again. Crawling.
"Mom!" she cried again, tears streaming down her mud-covered face. At the sound of a branch snapping behind her she turned and saw her mother standing there, on the edge of the woods, smiling and arms outstretched. Spirits lifted Li hurried towards the familiar face. It changed as she drew closer. Tan skin fading into blue, long black hair giving way to alien crests. But it didn't matter.
She hugged Mom, and knew everything would be okay.
Li awoke in bed. It was a comfortable bed. She lived in a new place now. The trees were different here, and there was a huge moon in the sky. She liked to sit and look at it. She lived with Mom, and her friends. It was still dark, but before she could go back to sleep she heard a noise in the living room. Something moving. Skittering. Crawling. Nervously she slipped out of bed. The floor was cold. She snuck quietly towards the doorway, and out into the living room. Her eyes went wide with terror as she saw it. A huge black spider was crawling across Mom, who was sleeping on the couch.
Terrified that it would spot her she crept over to the kitchen and grabbed the largest knife she could find. She knew she had to keep Mom safe. Dad had told her that too. When she came back to the living room it saw her. Eight red eyes glowing brightly in the dark of the night. She couldn't let it hurt Mom. Summoning all her courage she charged at the monster, plunging the blade deep into its gut. It let out a horrible screech that bled into an overwhelming, booming metallic bellow. Everything turned silent as it fell to the floor, long legs curling up against its body. Mom awoke, startled, looking at Li with terror in her eyes. As Li looked down she saw her pyjamas stained with blood. Red blood.
Her gaze turned to the monster, but it wasn't there. Johnny was. He was lying on the floor, a pool of blood around him and a blank look on his face. The kitchen knife was sticking out of his chest.