Drunken by their l.u.s.t, the mercenaries forgot to close the door to the second cave. It didn't matter to them as the boy would still need to bypass them all if he wanted to flee. And they were sure a child wouldn't get far on this lonely mountain.
In the other cave, Nathaniel heard his aunt shout out loudly. "Please don't! Please don't! Don't touch me!"
With a pained face, Nathaniel forced his body to stand up, using the wall as a support. He didn't want his aunt to hurt. He wanted to protect her. His uncle told him that a man needed to protect what he loved.
After two steps, sweat soaked his forehead. One punch of a grown-up was already near the limit of what his small body could take. As if reacting to his pain, the blackness on his chest continued spreading.
When he reached the door, he paused, afraid of what he might see. How did they hurt her? Why was she sobbing so badly? And there were some other weird noises.
He gulped, taking all his courage together. He had to help his aunt! Slowly, he took the last step towards the opening. When he saw what happened inside, he froze. His eyes grew wide. Then, as if he had lost his mind, he ran inside, hitting the nearest kidnapper with his small fists. "Stop it! Don't do this to my aunt! Don't hurt her! You evil people!"
Shortly irritated, the kidnapper soon responded with a slap to the boy's face that let him spin around and fall. "Go back to your cave!"
But Nathaniel didn't hear that. His ears were tingling and the helpless rage he felt fed the dark beast inside him. He could feel it now clearly. There was something dark and angry in him, waiting to be unleashed.
Slowly, the boy climbed to his feet again. His red eyes seemed to glow in the dim cave. The wall behind him was moving. Or maybe it wasn't the wall, but a different darkness, eating up all light. How dare they do this to his aunt? How dare they hurt his family?
Although he didn't know what exactly they were doing, his aunt was n.a.k.e.d and crying. She had red bruises all over her body and the man were still groping and... hurting her.
"Stop", he whispered. Then louder, fueled by rage: "Stop! Stop! STOP!"
They ignored it. He could see their disgusting faces, their wobbling flesh. He heard their groans, and the sobs of his aunt. Hatred filled him. The darkness swirled and surrounded him like a black cloak. Only the red eyes were left out, making him akin to a demon.
Hidden in the dark, he walked forward, a strange confidence mixing with his rage. I'll kill them. I'll kill them all. The words repeated in his head like a mantra. The strange coat of darkness glided over the floor soundlessly, in contrast to the sickening noises. Slowly, he raised his arm, pure white in all the black, and pointed at the man who slapped him. He hadn't even checked if Nathan followed his command and was instead occupied staring at Nathan's aunt now, his arms moving in a frenzy.
Like an eager dog, the darkness jumped forward. It covered the man from head to toe. He didn't even have the time to scream. A second later, the darkness sank to the ground, but the man had... vanished.
Nathaniel wasn't surprised. He could feel what the darkness did, felt it's the impatience, too. It was hungry. After swallowing the man, it got even more restless, wanting to devour everything. He was ready to fulfill this wish. It matched his rage perfectly. Kill them, he thought. Kill all the bad people!
Like a big wave, the darkness washed through the cave, feeding on everything in it's way. Clothes and flesh were swallowed, bags, and people. Foremost people.
Though the kidnappers were captivated by his aunt, one of the looked up in time and saw the wave of darkness rolling towards them. "What the - "
But the darkness was too fast, covering them all in mere seconds. The only one that had time to scream was his aunt. And she still screamed, when the darkness sank to the ground and all the kidnappers were gone.
Hugging her n.a.k.e.d body, she stood there alone in the middle of the cave, her eyes filled with tears, fear, and confusion. "Wha...?"
When these eyes met the red one's amidst the dark, they trembled. She fell to her knees. Her whole body shuddered in anxiety, but the little Nathaniel thought it was the cold. With wobbling knees, he strode over to the second cave to get the blanket, but it had vanished in the darkness pooling on the ground even there. The wooden door, too, had been eaten up.
Unsure of what to do, he turned back, only to see the shadows hovering over his aunt like giant maws, ready to devour her. Shocked, he reacted instinctively. He treated the blackness like he would a dog. "No! Bad blacky! Come back here!"
Unexpectedly, the darkness heeded his call and came to his side, collecting around him like a black mist. He could feel that it wasn't satisfied. It was still hungry. Everything it'd ate only made it more hungry.
"Nathan?", he could hear the fearful voice of his aunt on the other side of the mist. "Is that... you? Are you... inside of that... thing?"
He nodded, only to realize that she couldn't see him. "Yes, aunt."
A sob escaped her. "Thank goodness! Nathaniel! Can you... come out of there?"
He wanted to, but the shadows didn't like leaving him. When he stepped forward, they followed. Even when he told them so, they wouldn't stay behind. He wracked his brain for a different possibility. Where did those shadows come from? Where did they stay before? He remembered feeling the darkness inside of him before it filled the air. Could it go back there? But how would all this darkness fit inside him? It seemed to have grown much larger with every life it took.
"Are you okay, dear?", his aunt asked. She seemed to be concerned for he didn't answer her. He heard how her teeth chattered and was reminded of how cold she must feel without clothes.
He didn't have the time to think for long, so he just tried it out. Stuffed that darkness back in. Reluctantly, it followed his wish, merging itself with him. Suddenly and unexpected, his legs gave in and his body hit the floor. He didn't even manage to stretch out his hands and stop the fall. Actually, he couldn't move his arms at all! The just fell limply to the ground, riddled with wildly pulsing black veins.
He heard his aunt cry out and suddenly saw her face above him. She looked disheveled and there were tear stains all over her face. With trembling hands, she cupped his cheek.
"You have to compel it!", she said anxiously. "Make it smaller!"
With great difficulty, he knitted his brows. His body didn't want to respond to him anymore, like the darkness was blocking him out. Suddenly, panic raised in him. He had seen what the darkness could do. Was it turning against him now? Would he die?
"Come on, dear!", his aunt urged again. "You're strong, so you have to fight it!"
He tried to follow what his aunt said. Compel it, compel... but the darkness was wild, unruly. It didn't want to be caged. It took all his afford to keep it under control. Sweat collected on his forehead. What damn dangerous darkness!
Occupied with his task, he didn't notice one tiny wisp of blackness slipping away from his attention. It was only as small as a needle tip, but it traveled all the way up to his cheek, following the allure of fresh flesh that touched his host's body. The allure of something to eat up and destroy.