Little did she know, this slumber would change everything. Her body laid at rest but her mind fell into a tumultuous scene. Tsula was walking through a fog which appeared to be in a forest. She didn’t recognize anything around her, not the sights, the sounds, or even the smell. She began to pick up the pace, hurried to get out of this place. She hurled all of her energy into moving forward but in her rush, failed to see the cliff in front of her. The soil buckled underneath of her feet as she tumbled downwards, barely feeling the way that the Earth was pummeling her body. Tsula landed with a hard thud, with grit in her teeth and dirt in her eyes. She could hear something, it seemed to be a faint drumming, shouting. The scent of smoke and sage began to envelope her. She tried to wipe the dirt from her eyes, but the dirt stung and scraped as she rubbed them. After a moment she was able to see but the details were still blurry. Tsula began to crawl towards the sound, hoping for someone to help her from her fall. She began the ascent up the other side of the pit, it was lower than her fall but her injuries proved to make it difficult. As she finally reached the top, she saw what the source of the noise and smoke. The man that she saw was a Shaman, a person regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of good and evil spirits, such people enter a trance state during a ritual, so Tsula was worried he wouldn’t be able to hear her. He wore a mask of bone and his body was painted red. She wasn’t familiar with this type of ritual. There were two other members with him, one looked up at the sky as played his drum to the beat of the Shamans words, words which Tsula had never heard and couldn’t quite place. The other member was a woman. She sat kneeling before the Shaman, head down, never looking up or speaking a word. Tsula managed to pick herself up and began to stumble towards the strange trio.
“Please, can you help me, I have fallen and am lost in these woods.” She continued to walk towards the Shaman, as he was clearly in charge.
Not a single person turned to look at her or acknowledge her presence. She knew she was hurt and it was possible that they had not heard her weak voice. She plead again.
“Please, my name is Tsula! I am lost and in need of help. I do not know where my tribe is.”
Again, no one responded. She stood in disbelief for a moment, but knew that when in a trance, you are often disconnected to the outside world. She walked up the the strange man beating the drum and reached out to touch his shoulder, hoping to gently pull him back to this plane. The only problem with her approach, was that her hand floated right through his flesh, as if he wasn’t really there. She stood, shocked and confused. She reached out her hand for a second time, only to watch it flow through his body, like it was nothing. Were they really here, or was she?
The music suddenly comes to a halt, all eyes on the Shaman. Tsula turns to witness a horror on her eyes, one like she had never seen. The Shaman was holding the woman by her hair, with a knife against her throat. She wasn’t screaming, or scared, but sitting complacently in front of him. Tsula screams out as he slides the knife slowly and her life force begins to rush out, into the palms of the Shaman. He kneels before her, letting the blood cover his body. Tsula drops to her knees, sobbing as she watches the ritual unfold. At that moment she is thankful that they cannot see or hear her cries. As the young woman’s body slips to the floor, he rises above her, shouting the words that Tsula cannot understand.
Suddenly, the fire raises up! The flares burn white and hot as the begin to spread and surround the Shaman. Tsula can barely process what is going on when a horrid ripping sound tears through the air around her. She cannot see where it is coming from until she lays her eyes on the body of the young woman. She closes them and opens them again, praying for a new scene, or to be back lost in the woods. Thick claws are ripping out of her body, through her throat, where the Shaman chose to take his sacrifice. A wretched being screams and claws it’s way out of her body, tearing her body in half. Tsula cannot move, fear freezing her body and her eyes. She recognized the beast as the terror that has taken her village. She watches as the beast seems to be listening to the Shaman, as if it was at his command.
“Is this what is happening? Has this Shaman summoned these hell beast, but for what cost? What reason?” Her voice sounds foreign to her as she speaks to herself. Everything she knows seems a lifetime away. Reality quickly comes crashing back at her as she sees the beast turn suddenly, looking straight into her eyes as if he heard every word she just spoke. He lunges over the fire, claws reaching out to take Tsula. She scrambles back to her feet to run as fast as she can, there is no way that she will be able to outrun this monstrosity. She turns her head as she runs, just in time to see it jump towards her, razor sharp fangs about to make contact with her delicate skin.
“Tsula! Tsula, wake up! Please, wake up, Tsula!”
Tsula opens her eyes, jumping up, fighting the claws that have grabbed her, but they’re not claws, they are just hands. She is sitting in the hut, surrounded by strange faces, all of them but one that she could never forget.
“Gawonii,” she pants, a look of worry covering her face, her eyes wide, “Gawonii, I know how this has come to us.” She then collapses in his arms, sobbing into his shoulder as she finally lets all of her pain and sorrow come to fruition.