Locked, in a cage like captured prey, in a country of isolation far North.
The country bore two families-the Hydes and the Wynns along with an ancient grudge that lasted for millions of decades.
Descendants were natural foes, destined to bathe in the blood of their rival.
Yet, the cycle was soon to be broken by two girls who dared to tread of the fearful passage of their death-marked friendship.
'More light and light, more dark and dark our woes' described their friendship to a T.
Alice Hyde was diagnosed with Xeroderma Pigmentosum (XP) since birth and thus grew up in a world of darkness while Claire Wynn was born blind. The two shared an affiliation for darkness and instead of hatred, friendship bloomed between the lonely individuals used as mere tools at their families' bidding. The two communicated through tapping their windowpanes at night, using a code they secretly came up with. This secret friendship was what they hid.
Yet, one cannot wrap up fire with paper. The truth was revealed when Alice's mother barged into Alice's room, having forgotten to mention something important. Alice was caught in the act and of course, Claire was not spared neither. The duo were punished severely and tension between the family grew as they accused the other for misleading their precious child.
It was what caused the date of rivalry to be brought forth to next week. That was the day where they had to kill each other.
As the days passed, Claire was becoming intensely worried. It was then she harboured thoughts of escape. Will Alice agree to this? That was the only thought she bore as she waited for night to fall impatiently. She would try and contact Alice to suggest this ridiculous plan.
Betrayal was not tolerated in their families. It meant that their heads would roll.
Upon nightfall, Claire tapped on her windowpane.
"Alice." She tapped slowly, alert and on guard in case anyone caught her in the act. Her heart palpitated wildly as she waited for a response. The atmosphere was tense. She tried again.
"Claire?" came a tapped reply. Alice jolted upright almost instantly.
"I want us to escape this accursed place. I want a future. I want to see this world. I want to leave." Claire tapped away, her fingers trembling with every alphabet she formed, "Together with you."
Claire finished and waited. Her fingers rested upon the cool windowpane. Was Alice considering her proposal? Would she agree to risking her life? With me? Questions ran through Claire's mind like a cheetah after a prey. She clenched her fists in anticipation of Alice's reply.
Alice hesitated. She thought of Claire's eyes that only reflected darkness. Biting her lower lip, she knew she had to make a choice. Their friendship would never be acknowledged here, no freedom is here. Nothing to miss, no lingering feelings resides towards the Hyde family.
"Let's go." Alice tapped back, agreeing to Claire's recklessly suggested plan after a long period of hesitation.
She was afraid. Just as much as Claire was. Alice pulled up the hood of her coat and clambered out of the window, treading quietly over to the Claire's room window. Claire was temporarily shocked but reached out her hand, groping for Alice's and climbed out without much fuss.
The two hugged, tightly, feeling the warmth of each other's embrace. It was the first time they had touched and met, without the talk of hatred, blood and murder. It was a silent reunion that required no words. The two then separated and held hands, walking. Walking an endless path without a predetermined destination.
They were an epitome of friendship.
Even as two brave ten year olds walked aimlessly under the blanket of glimmering stars that competed to outshine their peers, both were fearful of this new world that opened up to them. The night was their cover, the wind whispered sweet, coaxing words into their ears.
Alice was taken aback by the view outside of their homes. Lush greenery surrounded them, tall grass brushed against her leg and the wind was amazing, caressing her tender skin. The air was fresh and she exhaled, taking in the breathtaking scenery she had been oblivious to.
"It's beautiful. The outside world. Isn't it, Alice?" Claire asked, seeming to feel the difference.
"Yeah." A soft, gentle reply came from Alice in acknowledgement, "But, time..."
"What is it?" Claire turned to Alice, all ears.
"No, it's nothing." Alice mumbled as she sighed before plastering a smile on her face, "We're free."
Claire smiled as she nodded, the sound of their footsteps echoing in the dead silent night, "Where are we going?"
Alice, now, perturbed by the speed time had passed, replied, "The beach. Hasn't that always been your wish?"
Alice knew she was running out of time. She could already see the emerging rays of the sun appearing, threatening to take her life. The time of happiness between them was going to be over. The future Claire had wished for so strongly would not exist. Yet, why? Tears welled up in her eyes and streamed down from her face like a broken faucet.
"Claire." Alice tried to stay composed, "Even if I'm gone..."
"What are you saying, Alice?" Claire grabbed Alice's arms, her grip so tight that red marks were imprinted, "We're go-"
Claire paused. The truth had finally dawned on her. A warm touch hit her bare skin, marking the start of a new morning.
"No, Alice..." Claire tried to cover Alice from the Sun with all her might.
Alice's face was cringing in utter agony as the Sun's rays left burns in their wake upon her. There was no avoiding it. This was their limit;their end. She held back screams of pain, screams that wished to convey words of apology to the frantic Claire...
Apologies for leaving first.
"Claire." That was her last word.
Claire's future alone.
A thorny path of regret.
What will her future become?