Chapter Five: The Hollows

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A part of me relaxes knowing that it's an announcement. I don't know why I keep thinking the worst about Val, everything is okay. Except it's not, not really. A mandatory broadcast is never a good thing, but at least I know that my family is safe. For now. 

                "An announcement from King Edric. Long live the King!" The announcers voice raises an octave as the King's coat of arms switches to a large screen with the King standing in front of it, an evil smile on his face. I slide onto the couch with a groan; Dad wheels up besides mom and takes her hand in his.

                "Hello Kingdom of me." The King greets with a chuckle. He thinks he's so clever but really he's just a tool. "I am very happy to keep hollows out of my Kingdom's walls, and as long as everyone follows the laws there is no danger. However, there have been many who have disrupted our calm lives."

                The video flashes to some shots of today's right riot and for a second I think I see myself darting along the edge, but then the scene changes and the sparks of spells fill the screen. The spells are wild, shooting out with no real directions smacking people down, burning them. Dozens of people fall to these spells, but I know there were more that don't. Not one shot shows the downed knights. Perhaps our King does not want everyone to know that he lost men.

                They will though, gossip gets around and today's events are juicy. And there are plenty of witnesses, three of which are right here.

                  "An altercation outside of my castle walls today took many unnecessary lives. As you can see the guilt parties were quickly dealt with." The King's voice somehow sounds stern and gleeful all at the same time. The video takes a turn down a street that holds a couple of rioters on one end and knights on the other and a single dark blue van. Our dark blue van. And then the van explodes in tiny flaming pieces.

                "THE VAN!" My mother screams walloping Grant across the back of the head. She continues screaming at Grant; I'm pretty sure the only reason she's not going after me is because Val is between us and she wouldn't want to hurt company. She is so loud that I have to lean in to hear what King Edric has to say next.

"To the West End Witch..." Val gasps loudly before her hand clamps over her mouth as the scene switches once again, this time outside the Kingdom's borders. "I will find you, and I will punish you for your crimes against the King and all those who come to you will be punished too."

                His voice fades out and the room is silent as all of our eyes are glued to the screen. It's not like we've never seen this kind of the thing before, it's a specialty of his. However, it is more horrifying when you know the person. The farmer, Henry, is tied up to a pole with a dark greenish light hanging above him. He's not the only one out there; there are three other people too but unlike Henry these people are not tied up. They try to run but run into an invisible barrier; the King would never let his prey run away. They start banging on the barrier, begging to be let out but we all know there is no hope.

And then the first hollow enters the ring.

                Hollows. The main reason why people are happily locked up inside the Kingdom's borders. They are terribly skinny creatures, with dry discolored skin stretched over their limbs. Their eyes are sunken deep into their faces glowing in the darkness; the teeth sharper than their long nails. If a Hollow sinks its teeth into your skin, it's all over for you. They say the bite causes your soul to bleed out, leaving your body an empty shell. But it's not exactly empty is it? It can move, and it must think and feel to survive, right? There's a rumor that there's a cure but that the King reserves it for himself and his royal guard. 

                "What is happening?" Val interrupts her eyes wide and frightened. I want to tell her to look away but I know she won't listen to me. Perhaps this is something that she needs to see. Maybe it will strengthen her resolve to defy her father.

                "People who defy the King are fed to hollows as punishment. Haven't you ever seen an execution?" My father asks curiously, but then a female scream erupts from the television speakers and all of our attention is snatched back.

                In my head I'm thanking for this interruption. I need to keep Val and her identity a secret just a little bit longer. The less my family knows the better; I've already put them in so much danger by bringing her here.  I will do everything in my power to keep them all safe, and I know the power to keep them safe is hiding in that grimoire.

                When I look back to the screen the first person is down, writhing on the ground holding a hand against the bite wound with blood pouring out of her neck. For some reason, the hollow springs away knocking into another person and easily taking them down. The person's arms flail as they try to push the hollow off of them, but it is no use. Once a hollow has you they don't let go, except for the first person. The girl with the bite will become a hollow as soon as she finishes bleeding out, for some reason the hollows have decided to turn her instead of make a meal out of her. No one knows why they do this; my father thinks that it comes from a rooted desire to keep the species alive.

I think they are just crazed creatures with no real reason for anything they do.

                More hollows enter the ring ignoring the young women dying of a bite and going after the last one who is still running in terror. Instead of taking him down it's like they start to play with him. They get close, almost grab him and then let him escape, just barely. After he narrowly 'escapes' the fourth hollow he trips and before he can get up the hollows converge on him.

                I guess my father's right. They have to have more brain power than I gave them credit for to do something like that. 

                "Poor Harry." My father whispers regretfully as the hollows finally advance on him. "It's never easy watching these killings, sometimes I can't help but wonder if the world would be a better place if the rebellion took over."

                "Paul, don't tell me you are thinking about joining." My mother scolds him. By the strange look on Val's face I know that it is not my father we should be worried about. Her eyes never leave the screen until it goes black.

                This chapter is little shorter than the previous couple. But it has served its purpose. If you like longer chapters don't worry the next one should be a bit longer.

                So what do you guys think of these hollows? I'd personally never like to meet one.

                As usual if you enjoyed hit that little star at the end. J Every vote makes my day!

                Now that we have five chapter we will be updating once a week (occasionally there might be a surprise chapter of course) on Friday's, early afternoon Eastern time zone. :

                Until next time

                -Charlee

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