She was only five years old, an orphaned little village girl taken in by an elderly couple whose children were long since gone. No one had ever told her about her parents, in fact no one really knew anything about her parents. Her mother had shown up in the village three months pregnant, and she had died the day after her daughter turned one. Until the young child had turned four she had been ferried from home to home until being taken in by that elderly couple. For the most part she was left alone, allowed to wander to her heart's content. She only had to be home in time for the evening meal.
This day was like most days as she wandered around the surrounding forest. Many times she had been warned of it, told to stay out or the monsters would eat her, but she was intrigued. Fascinated by the cool dark forest, she loved to wander and climb the trees, to watch the animals and wonder at the exotic beauty of a completely different world than the one she knew.
That day though as she wandered the animals were quiet. She didn't even hear a single song bird calling out. There wasn't even rustling in the bushes where the small animals played, yet she continued on oblivious.
She carefully climbed onto the trunk of a fallen tree. The end splintered and jagged where it had been ripped from its roots. Sitting with legs on either side she hummed a tuneless song swinging her tiny legs and watching the leaves of a tree as the wind blew through.
Hearing the sound of a branch cracking behind her she whipped her head around and peered into the dense foliage of the forest. Dismissing the incident as one of the missing animals she began to turn back to her tree watching, when a flash of silver caught her eye. There was no such silver coloring in the forest so the young child slid of off the trunk and began meandering towards where she had seen the flash. Suddenly, her world erupted in stars as a flash of pain erupted in her chest. The sky tilted and her whole world was turned onto its side as her tiny face connected with the damp soil of the ground.
A large hand pushed her over so she was looking up towards the sky, but an exotic face filled her vision instead of treetops and light blue. A man with shaggy silver hair leaned closer to her face, his eyes dark and dangerous staring into hers. A pained whimper escaped her bloody lips and the man's eyes darkened further. He lifted up a white dagger dripping with red and slowly reached out with his tongue before quickly swiping it along a flat edge. The child lifted a hand as if to fend off the man but cried out as she saw her hand covered in the same red liquid.
The sound of humans broke through the man's reverie, and he looked towards where a large group of men could be heard. Another whimper escaped the girl's lips as the terrifying man above her growled and bared sharp canines. He looked towards her and seemed to come to a decision. Taking his dagger in hand her smiled down at her, his eyes closed in a mockery of happiness, and he slit her throat in a quick motion. A single gurgle escaped her lips as her life blood soaked into the ground of her beloved forest.
There was the twang of a bow and suddenly the murderer jerked forward as a cough ripped from his throat and blood from the arrow sticking out of his chest dripped down onto the body of the young girl he had just murdered. He fell forward and covered her body with his own, their blood mixing together in an indistinguishable pattern of red.
The group of men that had sent the arrow through the stranger's chest slowly walked towards the bodies. One brave hunter reached down and pulled the silver haired man over onto his back. The hunter quickly backed up before exclaiming with pride, "It's a fera for sure men, we got us a real life fera!"
An older man gripped the speakers shoulder, "Don't celebrate quite yet lad, it looks like the fera got himself a human first." Everyone looked towards where the body had been a moment ago and saw the tiny form that had been covered. All of the men bowed their heads for a moment before approaching the body. They recognized the body of the young girl as the orphan child that lived in their village. The older man reached down and lifted the small corpse. "Let's go boys. We need to return the girl to her family, and give her a proper funeral. Leave the fera, we'll scavenge from him later and then burn the godforsaken body."
One man stooped down next to the fera corpse and picked up the dagger. He hefted it in his hand and then looked towards the rest of the group, "Let's take this dagger with us and bury it with her body. It's only fitting that the weapon she was killed with stays with her so she may carry it with her into the next life and defend herself from the spirit of her fera murderer." The rest of the men nodded their heads in consent, and the group began the trek back towards their village.
When they finally did reach the village the men lined up in two rows. A sad procession holding the body of a girl that died far before her time. Villagers who recognized the corpse gasped and covered their mouth as tears fell unabashed down their faces. She had not been the most loved person in the village but still, seeing the mutilated body of a young child whom they knew was enough to bring some to tears. One young boy ran towards her house to fetch her adopted family.
Soon all the people had gathered together in the village cemetery where her body was laid down until a coffin that was small enough for the tiny corpse could be made. The group of men that had gone out hunting together related the story of how they had seen the stranger with a weapon and shot an arrow at him. How they had discovered that he was one of the hated fera, and how he had murdered the young child.
Unbeknownst to the villagers who were completely focused on the tale being told to them strange changes were slowly occurring on the corpse of the young child.
A blanket was laid over the body and the villagers began heading back to their homes, many giving their condolences to the weeping couple that had lost their adopted daughter. The cemetery emptied out and the gate was shut. The sun began to dip below the horizons, and villagers started preparing for bed. All the while something strange and otherworldly was happening right under their noses.
A few hours after the sun had set the corpse of the child was nothing like it had been. In place of the brown mop she once had on her head there was now hair past her waist that was the color of her murderer's hair, an unearthly silver. Her skin had become pale where before it was golden from playing in the sun. Blunt nails of a child had been replaced with longer, tougher, sharp claws. Finally, peeking out from her lips, pale with death, were two small, but sharp, canines.
For some time nothing else happened until the moon reached its zenith. Then as the deep orange of the harvest moon shined down into the cemetery two small frightened eyes opened, and she breathed.