(Trigger Warning: Violence, magical torture of adults, childhood trauma. This first post is Cassandra's memories of the night her parents were killed.)
There were sounds at the door, and then inside the house, just before the toddler found herself pulled from her bed, held in her mother's arms as the other woman cast a spell to make the girl's bed look like it hadn't been slept in and then rushed to the adults' bedroom. What was going on?
'Mu-..." A hand covered the girl's mouth before she could say anything else, the woman whispering softly while the sound of crashing and yelling continued from downstairs.
"Shhh, darling... Mummy needs to do something now, and I hope you forgive me one day. But they can't know you're here. Aunty Cate will come and get you soon, I promise," Confusion as her mother said something and used her wand on her while the woman began crying, and then suddenly the realisation that she couldn't move. And when she tried to speak, nothing. The girl now really began to feel scared as she was carefully wrapped in a robe and gently tucked under the large bed.
What was going on? The robe had fallen from where it covered her face and she could see the woman's feet moving to the door and it opening, before it was forcibly slammed open and there were more feet. Her blood ran cold with panic while she watched what little she could see, hearing a voice from the hallway.
"Looks like the kid's not here!"
"Where's the baby one then, huh? We're supposed to take all of your out,"Came a rough voice, and the girl wanted to wiggle around to see more, to know what was going on, but she couldn't do anything!
"I wouldn't te-... NO!" Her mother's anguished shriek startled the girl and then there was a thud near the bed, and the sight of her father lying on his front, his lifeless gaze staring at her, unblinking. Blood was running from his lips and the girl was trying to process what she was seeing while the world around her seemed to turn into a cacophony of white noise and the thumping of her small heart.
What was going on? Who were these people? Why couldn't she move?
And then a piercing shrieking broke through the white noise as the woman thudded to the ground beside the bed, twisting and thrashing about in agony. All the girl could do was stare though. Even when the woman's gaze met her own and the mother realised to her own horror that her daughter was seeing everything, she could only continue to spectate the grizzly scene from her hiding spot.
And then there was a final flash of something and the woman was as still as her husband. The feet of the strangers stomped around the house for a few minutes, before deciding that there was nothing else, and hurried out.
But the child was stuck there, paralyzed and mute, staring at the lifeless and bloodied corpses of her parents, still not quite understanding exactly what she'd seen - or what she was still seeing. Why wasn't her mother moving? And her father, why was he bleeding from the mouth?
The terror welled up within the child gradually. The mixture of the horror of what had occurred, as well as the sheer restriction. How was her aunt going to find her? She was trapped. Everything was restricting her and frozen and terrified, she screamed silently within her head...
Cassandra woke up screaming violently as a pair of hands gently gripped her shoulders. Unknown to her, she'd been thrashing and screaming in her sleep for a few minutes, until one of the other girls in her House had decided to try and wake her up. She pushed at the hands, and scrambled back on her bed, eyes wild as they darted around. Where was she? The room felt so small, the walls and ceiling closing in on her, and she suddenly pushed past the girl, as well as a couple of others, out into the hallway.
Glancing around wildly, Cassandra then followed her instinct as it led her through the corridor until she stumbled outside. It wasn't enough. She couldn't get any air, her breathing far to shallow and rapid and her mind still too foggy from the memory to realise she was having a hyperventilation fit.
She needed to get away from the building. The walls loomed over her, threatening to fall on top of her and squash the life from the redhead. She moved, deaf to any voices that might be trying to speak to her, unsure of where she was going as she continued running until her chest hurt, and she found herself in some kind of garden. She didn't care where it was. She was in the fresh air, and suddenly collapsed onto her rear, leaning back against a tree as she closed her eyes and pressed her fingers into the dirt either side of her, attempting to ground herself.
She wasn't in that place. She wasn't stuck under that bed again, staring at the dead bodies of her parents. She was fine. She was safe. The young woman tried to continue telling herself that as her head leaned back and she stared up at the stars, her eyes stinging with tears.
When was the last time this had happened? Why couldn't the memory just finally leave her alone?