Francisca's Run

Francisca’s Run
By G. D. Talbot

            Francisca can only see darkness and then she hears her little sister screaming in the distance. As she focuses on the screams they become louder until they fill and hurt her ears. She opens her eyes as she sits up in bed and looks around her bedroom. The cross around her neck swings gently back and forth.
            Then she sees a shadow move through her doorway and out of her room. At the same time she hears her sister scream for help. She jumps to her feet wearing nothing but a t-shirt and chases after the sounds of her sister, until she is outside. People are running in a panic around her, all in the same direction. As she looks frantically around for her sister, one of the people bumps her. She turns around to see that Guanabara Bay is filled with a black fog and she cannot see the bottom of Sugarloaf Mountain. She then notices that the black fog is moving fast towards her and as it touches other people, they fall to the ground screaming in pain.
            Francisca turns in panic and as she does she sees her little sister being carried in the distance, in front of the panicking horde of people.
            Francisca screams, “Ana!”
Then she starts running after her, she pushes and shoves people out of her way. She tries to catch up and after a few turns she can’t see her sister anymore, and is now just following her screams.
As pain starts to cramp her feet and radiate up her legs, she can feel something wet on the bottom of her toes. She stops and looks down to see that her feet are cut, bruised, and bleeding. She looks around and sees a shop has shoes on a table. She grabs the shoes and starts putting them on. She sees the shadow of the shopkeeper move over her.
Francisca pleads as she finishes putting on the shoes and as she looks up at the shopkeeper. “I promise, I will return and pay you.”
Francesca’s eyes grow wide as he sees that the shop owner is reaching out and crying. She looks to see what he is reaching for and sees that a woman is completely covered in the black fog, not moving or breathing. It’s then she notices that the fog is encircling the shop owner, but not touching him. Then she watches as the fog does the same to her.
As she examines the fog by slowly moving her body towards it and watching it move away from her, she hears Ana screaming in the distance again. She swings her arms out to her sides, forcing the black fog to move completely away from her. Then she begins running after the screams again.
This time as she runs, she notices that other people are being devoured by the evil fog, but not all. The sadness from those watching their love ones dying and suffering is too much for her, and she starts to cry. Then the memory of Father Lucas the day before enters her mind. She remembers him telling her to keep to her faith. That she cannot save anyone but herself from evil.
As Ana’s screams get louder, Francisca turns a corner and screams back, “I will save her! I will protect her! She is only six!”
She then sees a cricket bat lying on the side of a building. As she runs past it, she grabs it, and continues on her way until she realizes that she is almost to the base of Christ the Redeemer. She stops and looks behind her to see that Rio is completely covered in a black cloud, and only the tip of Sugarloaf Mountain can be seen. She turns back around and moves slowly closer to the statue. She sees a black cloaked figure with long pointy fingers, holding Ana in one arm as he slowly moves his free hand over her body. He suddenly pulls his hand up and points his sharp looking fingers down at her.
Francisca screams, “NO!”
Then she runs at the cloaked figure, her cricket bat over her head. As she gets close, the figure drops Ana and starts moving away from her. He floats and glides with ease, and appears to have no legs under his cloak. Francisca doesn’t slow down and continues swinging at him until she finally connects, hitting him in the side. The cloaked figure grabs his side and then flies off the enclosed area, and into the air disappearing into the sky.
Francisca drops her bat and runs back to her sister. As she turns, her cross flips over and onto her back. When she gets to Ana, she stands her up and starts holding her.
“Are you ok, Ana?” Francisca asks as she pulls away just enough to see Ana’s face.
Ana only forces a smile out from behind her tears, as fear slowly dissipates from her face.
Suddenly a metallic ting sound fills the air from behind them, and Francisca can feel something gently touching the cross on her back. She stands up straight and turns around as her cross swings back to the front of her. She sees the cloaked figure standing there, pointing one of his fingers at her. Then the cloaked figure turns his hidden head to the side as he examines the cross around her neck. Francisca pulls Ana behind her as she slowly steps back away from the evil figure.
In a raspy, low, heavy breathing voice, the cloaked figure says. “Father Lucas was right. You can only save yourself, and no one else.
Francisca makes her hands into fists as she screams angrily. “Really, let’s find out.”
As she starts to run at the cloaked figure, the cloaked figure grows outward. As the black fog reaches him, he becomes one with the fog, as Francisca hears Ana screaming stop. Then everything becomes black around her and she is lost in the darkness.
Francisca wakes and sits up in bed. A loud voice starts to become clear and she can hear Ana saying. “Stop sleeping, I’m hungry.”
Francisca turns to the door in her room and sees Ana standing there impatiently tapping her foot on the floor, her arms crossed over her chest, and staring angrily at her. A beam of light comes from between the curtains on her window. Francisca squint her eyes as the beam reflects light off of the cross around Ana’s neck.
Francisca asks in a joking tone. “Is it time to make breakfast already?”
Ana answers as her scowl turns to a smile. “Yes.”
Suddenly the sound of people running by their home fills the room. They both turn to the sounds as they hear people screaming. “The darkness is coming, the darkness is coming!”
Francisca and Ana look at each other as Francisca jumps from her bed and moves towards Ana.
Francisca says panicking, “RUN!”

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