Hattu Makkalu

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Suruli found me some grey leggings, a long sleeved under shirt, and a dark brown tunic for me to wear. Then she set up a place for me to sleep in Śarat's room.

The room was covered by thick maroon drapes and then hanging beads made from painted clay. Inside were two hanging hammocks, one above the other, a shelf filled with precious stones and a table covered by some sort of board game.

I slept on the lower hammock with a couple blankets to use and fell asleep as soon as my head touched my makeshift pillow.

When I woke up I was in a pitch black room, candles surrounded me like in some sort of ritual. I heard chanting and the pounding of drums. Six figures in black hooded robes surrounded me outside the candle barrier.

Then a final figure stepped out of the darkness, Nisvārtha Shade, with his glittering violet eyes hungry for blood.

"I have decided what to do with you, Kendra." He said in that deep velvet voice. "And my Council agrees."

The figures threw back their hoods to reveal my mother and father, Jack, Sanna, Śarat, and Suruli. All looking at me with hungry eyes.

"What are you going to do with me?" I asked, my heart pounding in my throat.

Nisvārtha smiled a sickening grin and his body started to bubble and shift, his neck became longer, his body bigger, horns sprouted from his head, wings ripped from his back and a long whip-like tail came around and wrapped around my throat.

He was completely black and the only color were those terrible violet eyes that had now become slits. His face came close to mine and he bared his razor sharp teeth.

Eat you. His voice sliced through my mind and I screamed as he devoured me.

I woke up gasping for air, my hands around my throat, the blackness choking me as it covered my eyes and sent chills up my spine. I ran out of the room and fell to my knees near the low burning fire, holding my mouth closed to keep in the scream that was building from the horror of my nightmare.

This wasn't a dream. I knew that now. I was in this world called Avondale, with people who could turn into dragons and strange men who had to "deal with me."

I sobbed as I looked at those imposing wooden doors that held darkness and the estranged founder of this clan filled with misfits. They thought I was crazy, and maybe I was. They wouldn't believe that I was human...but maybe I wasn't. I needed to go home, but what if the way was closed like they said? What if I never got home?

That was too many "if's" and "maybe's" for me to be sure of anything.

"Kendra?" A voice whispered.

I must not have been as quiet as I thought. I looked up to see Sanna regarding me with concerned yellow eyes.

I wiped my eyes and scrambled up. "Sorry I woke you." I said, my throat still thick with tears.

"Do not apologize." He said and stepped closer. "Why are you crying?"

I wiped my eyes again. "I'm not, it's just the smoke getting in my eyes."

He frowned. "I heard you crying."

I scowled. "Well I'm not, will you just leave it?" My voice broke at the end and I felt more tears building in my throat.

Sanna pulled me into a hug just as I broke down again, stroking my hair as I sobbed unceremoniously into his bare chest. The music that identified as him played in my head.

When I finished he led me into his room and handed me a clean rag to wipe my eyes and blow my nose. Then left and returned with a lit candle to make the room less dark.

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