Chapter One: The Reaper

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A harrowing screech echoed throughout the Graze family household.

Breakfast bowls were abandoned as Elizabeth's parents scrambled, trying to find a hiding space. The milk jug was knocked over, milk running down the table leg and pooling at the bottom. Elizabeth's blood ran cold. Her legs ceased to work. She sat at the dining room table, unable to move. Her parents hid underneath the piano, her father's arms wrapped around her mother.

Elizabeth was frozen. She knew that she needed to move. She just couldn't.

"Elizabeth, we need to get out of here," her father spoke, hushed and urgent. Her eyes were glued to the table in front of her.

This is just a dream... You'll wake up and it'll be over... Elizabeth wished, but she knew it wasn't true. The hairs that stood up on her body proved that this was real.

"Liza, baby. Come here, it's going to be alright," her mother's voice broke with each word she whispered. Elizabeth knew those words were a lie.

She opened her mouth to speak, but her voice caught in her throat. Her lip trembled. Elizabeth placed both of her hands onto the table, readying herself to run to her parents. She wanted nothing more than to be in the comforting embrace of her parents. That was the place where she felt the safest.

The screech echoed throughout the house. Closer than before.

Her breathing became uneasy and tears welled in her eyes.

In the moment, Elizabeth realised how old and tired her parents looked. Her father's face was covered with wrinkles, his brown eyes glistening with tears. His once black hair had started to fade to grey. His suit was now creased as he held her shaking mother. Her mother too, had tears sliding down her face and her short brown hair was a mess. Elizabeth could recall the last time her parents cried. It was at her last ballet recital, eight years ago.

The screech came again; this time they knew they would not be able to escape.

Elizabeth felt weak. Her head started to pound. She found it difficult to breathe. There was nothing they could do than to let whatever was going to happen, happen. Her eyes became foggy and her grip tightened on the table. Her veins ran hot, the sensation was unlike anything she had felt before. Her brown hair stuck to her forehead and the back of her neck as her temperature increased and she began to sweat.

"We love you," her parents said in unison. Elizabeth nodded, her bottom lip quivering.

I love you too were the words that were caught in Elizabeth's throat.

Behind Elizabeth, a tall figure slithered by, shielded by a deep red cloak. The Reaper. Not a sound came from him. Not the rustling of the cloak nor the sounds of footsteps. His hand reached into his cloak and he brandished a long black sword. He dragged the sword behind him, leaving a deep scratch on the laminated floor of the dining room and on the cream carpet of the living room. Even as the sword dragged along the floor, not a sound was made.

It emanated silence.

It headed straight towards Elizabeth's parents, not noticing her. It was as if she was no longer there. Elizabeth held her breath and caught the gaze of her father. He gave her one last look before closing his eyes tight as he released her mother, who clasped her hand in her husbands. Elizabeth's vision blurred and the sound of her father's scream resonated throughout the house.

His body cut in half. The sword went cleanly through his skull down to his groin.

Elizabeth sucked in her lip as she stared at her parents. Her mother pleaded rocking the lifeless and bloody body of her father in her arms.

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