Her father's plantation under attack, Natalia was forced to seek protection inside their family home. The fight had been going on for over 4 hours now, and still no word as to who was winning, or how her father was. Bodies from both sides lay strewn upon the land while the battle waged on, thankfully she did not recognise any to be her father's.
Fretting, she made her way up the staircase towards her bedroom, to her faithful companion and friend, Sahra. She needed someone to talk to, she needed to do something other than think about what was happening outside.
Suddenly the front door burst open with a bang! In stormed seven men brandishing guns and daggers, forcing their way into the house.
"Search the house - I know she's in here" drawled a man leading the gang, as he struck a housemaid across the face with the butt of his rifle. Very tall and sophisticated, with short dark hair, he seemed out of place among the other men behind him. "Bring her to me directly; do as you please with the rest!"
The remaining men sneered their accent to the command, breaking up to search the manor.
Natalia, who had moments before been about to descend the staircase, had managed to back away undetected - she had no illusion who the woman they sought would be.
Having been left a considerable amount of money from a Great-Aunt who had passed on some years ago - she was wealthy beyond means, even without being the Heiress to an enormous estate and many business investments her wealthy father had been involved in. They had also been receiving threats from an unknown source in regards to her father's and her safety in the past couple of months.
Natalia dashed for her bedroom, and sought Sahra out immediately. Hearing the commotion downstairs moments earlier, and now seeing someone approach the room, the attractive dark haired, olive skinned beauty inside the bedroom had grabbed one of the heavy crystal candle holders by Natalia's bed, holding it above her head threateningly. Seeing Natalia run towards her, she lowered the candlestick as she resumed breathing in ragged breathes again.
"Oh Natty, I'm so sorry - I thought you were one of them! What's happening? Where's your father?" Sahra whispered quickly, still struggling to get her breath back.
"He hasn't returned. I could not see him outside - I don't know where he is. Sahra - we've got to hide - quickly! They're coming for me!"
"Quick, follow me!" Sahra motioned to her, as Natalia followed as quickly and as quietly as she could, trying to gage where the intruders were.
Sahra led her down the hall, towards the servants’ entrance. Slipping through the entrance, they ran down two sets of stairs, heading in the direction of the cellar. Sahra pulled open the door, racing towards the wall on the other side, where concealed behind the shelves was a small grate in the wall. Bending down, she removed screws and the grate quickly as she motioned Natalia to climb through the hole in the wall.
Natalia had managed to crawl through the hole when they heard someone running down the set of stairs they had left moments before.
"Natty - you must get away - do NOT turn back for me! Leave. Leave while you can - get as far away from here as you can! Please!" and without giving Natalia a chance to respond, she pushed the grate back in, attaching the screws she had removed earlier.
Natalia watched in horror as she heard the door open. Sahra had quickly run off in search of a spot to hide, catching the attention of the two men who entered the room.
"Well looky what we have here" jeered the man who entered first. He was tall with short black greasy hair and a black moustache. Tweaking the ends of his moustache he elbowed his companion "looks like its play time for us, eh?"
The second man eyeing Sahra in the corner of the room sniggered "don't worry missy - we won't hurt you - if you behave!" and laughing as though he thought it a great joke. He was short and ruddy with a thuggish look about him, with stubby brown wavy hair and small beady eyes.
Natalia watched in horror as the scene broke out before her, unable to reach her friend and her voice frozen in fear.
Sahra made numerous attempts to get away from the men, as they beat her and laughed at her attempts to get away. The battle waged on until, finally, with no energy left in her to fight, Sahra crumpled to the ground. They ravaged her several times, right there in front of Natalia.
She was unaware how much time had passed on, when suddenly she heard another man enter the cellar - the man she had seen earlier giving the command to search for her.
The men quickly broke away from her friend, whose body now lay worn and lifeless as it slumped across the makeshift bed they had made out of a couple of wooden boxes. Looking sheepish, they did up their clothes as their leader glared at them.
"What are you two doing down here pleasuring yourselves? She hasn't been found yet! Get your worthless selves upstairs and find her! I thought I'd made it clear that she was the higher priority?!"
"Err... Yes boss. On our way" muttered the tall man, dragging his friend along behind him, running up the stairs before their boss could do the murder his eyes seemed to be speaking.
Looking first at the used body in the corner of the room and then with a quick survey of the rest of the room, he turned on his heel and followed the men out of the cellar.
Pain ebbed in every corner of her body... she had been paralysed in fear. Cramped in her hiding spot, unable to assist her friend or to revenge her. Somehow she must get away. She needed help... fast!