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Apartment building
Run (HftN)
Chapter information
Series

Hiding from the Night

Book

Hiding from the Night

Chapter

1

Written by

Humble Imaginations

Editor(s)

Humble Imaginations

Release date

9/26/12

Drip.

The drops of rain fell onto the wooden floor. Even though it was a little sound, the entire room was silent before. Not even the slightest sound had been in the room. Shui opened her left eye a bit after hearing the noise. The girl had been sleeping like a baby until that disturbance. Tearing off her wool blanket, which had been splashed with stains of food, she jumped up from her wobbly mattress, placing her sandals on. Taking a quick survey of the room---like she always did---making sure nothing was missing. The shades were there, also had been her piggy bank, which didn't held much, anyway. There had been recent robberies in the borough in the past couple of months. Though the thieves would steal, they would do it quietly, stealthy as if they didn't want anybody to wake up. Most of them don't do any harm to residents of the house they're stealing from, but there are those with evil minds...

Taking the thought away from her head, she made her way to her wardrobe, choosing the regular rags she wore everyday; a t-shirt, a coat, and her lucky moccasin-colored cap. she made her way out of her rustic bedroom and into the kitchen, where her mother, Muqin, had been preparing their usual breakfast: mush. They had lived in the poorest and most dangerous district in the City, and they couldn't afford much, but they had enough to eat.

Weixian, sitting at the table and licking his lips, had looked at his older sister. He smiled some more. Many people call Weixian silly and was a known prankster. He wasn't one to take things literally. Sitting down next to him, she buried her head in her arms, closing her eyes. She barely got any sleep last night, due to the sounds and yells of their neighbors, the Quans. Her mother was a gossip, and she had always complained at how Mr. and Mrs. Quan even managed to live together for 20 straight years.

"I'll tell ya!" Her mother said one rainy evening, flipping her hair off her shoulder. "I can't believe those two are still married! I know Mrs. Quan is a brave woman---" She stopped, waving her hand around, the other on her hip. "---But if I were her, I would run away from that house, and never look back!"

Shui's little sister, Younu, whimpered. "But they're married! Aren't they supposed to be together forever?"

Mother's face fell. Without response, she left the room. Only I knew why she had been acting that way. Weixian and Younu were too young to know the reason why. Shui remembered it as if it were yesterday...

There were many times Younu or Weixian asked why they didn't have a father. Like her mother, Shui didn't say a word.

As the aroma of the food came through her nostrils, overwhelming her, she grabbed the fork and started eating. Although her mother's cooking was never good---it was either over cooked or under cooked---it was the best and only thing she had.

Younu, known for being a heavy sleeper, walked into the room, yawning and stretching her arms. Everybody calls Younu "Little Shui" because of the resemblance, but Shui always disagreed. Younu hadn't minded. She actually liked being on the same level as her older sister, in either knowledge or even looks.

Younu crinkled her nose at the sight of the mush as she sat down next to Shui, already done with her plate. Shui ran to the door, grabbed her burlap sack which she called a backpack, and ran outside. She pursed her lips at the sight of the young waterbenders on the other side of the road, bending the rain water left on the streets. She was so jealous. Benders weren't usually tormented by the Triads, especially the Agni Kai's. The Agni Kai Triad has always been in the Dragon Flats Borough, stealing everything from nonbenders' households, and tormenting those with no money, no food, no bending.

Her grip on the sack tightened. Shui was rarely jealous, but this was no exception. Benders always had the upper power of the Borough. Especially when the Agni Kais came. It's almost like the Mayor didn't care about civilian problems.

Shui continued to walk to her school, her shoes shuffling on the concrete sidewalk, her shoulders slumped in hopelessness.

Her mother hadn't understood. She thought it was just a way of life---and they just had to understand that.

But that doesn't mean we have to accept it. Shui had always thought when her mother said that. But she never spoke it out, afraid of a lecture, something all her siblings feared. But then again, who didn't?

She felt somebody pull the hood of her red jacket, pulling her away from her path of the sidewalk. When she felt a big, meaty hand on her shoulder, she turned around to face the jacket challenger.

Shui was face to face with Hahn, a teenage boy thought to be associated with the Agni Kais. He was fearsome, with his 6'3 stature and muscular build, and that he'd beat a kid larger or smaller than (but there was always a very slim chance of a kid that was taller than Hahn) him to a pulp everyday. And all of them had been nonbenders. Some say he does it just to gain power, others say it was because he lost his parents in a fire and just became heartless.

"Where ya going, kid?" He said smugly, smiling with pleasure. "Ya might wanna gimme all ya money, or ya might not have any when you get back home,"

Shui gritted her teeth, glaring at the boy towering over her. "I don't have any with me right now," She replied, squinting her eyes. She wouldn't let this firebender stop her from getting an education, even if the teachers never taught them anything useful.

A frown etched into his pale face. "I know ya lying kid,"

Shui stood her ground, glaring at the boy. His hold on her shoulder wasn't that hard. So she took off, dropping her lunch while scurrying away, her sneakers hitting the concrete sidewalk. He won't get me today! Shui thought with pleasure. But it wasn't until she reached the schoolyard that she noticed that her lunch bag was missing! Looking up, she saw Hahn holding the paper bag above her head. She jumped for it, but Hahn continued to raise it higher and higher.

"Give it back!" She replied with a fire in her blue eyes.

"Sorry, kid," He smirked, stuffing the bag in his coat, out of her reach as he walked off into the school.

Trying not to let tears stream down her cheeks, she clutched her sack and entered the school.


When Shui returned home, she ran to the bedroom and collapsed on her lumpy bed. She was always tired after a rough school day of being pushed around in a group of hundreds of kids, trying to make their way to class.

She clutched her empty stomach. It wasn't the first time her lunch was stolen. But her mother wouldn't return for another hour, as though she was helping kids at the local hospital.

Younu skipped into her older sister's bedroom, and nudged her shoulder. "Wake up sleepy head!" Younu squeaked as her older sister opened one eye, her lips formed in a frown. It wasn't the first time Younu noticed that her sister was having one of those bad days.

"What's wrong, Shui?" She innocently asked, sitting on her bed.

When her sister was silent, the grumbling of her stomach unveiled the truth. Younu brushed the strands of brown hair from her sister's face, revealing her tired eyes.

"Don't worry, Shui," Younu whispered in her sister's ears. "I'll make you somethin' to eat!"

Shui's eyes widened. She didn't want her sister to get around anything dangerous, even if she was a little annoying. "It's fine. I'll do it myself," Shui replied while getting up from the bed, still tired.

As she shuffled her bare feet to the kitchen, her shoulders rolled back, she heard a loud clamor come from outside. As usual, Shui only thought it was just the Quans' again, but then came another. Alert, she ran towards the window, opening the shades just a bit to see what was going on from the outside.

Her eyes widened in surprised as she saw the crowd of people running to the left of her building. "The Agni Kais'!" One woman shouted, her face covered by her cap. "They're coming!"

Those two words were only used as a signal of a Agni Kai raid. People say that they gather nonbenders up and take them to a camp far, far away. People say it's near Air Nomad territory, others say that it was in the Fire Nation, but wherever it is, the people taken never come back.

Things like these rarely happen, but when they do, there's only one place to.

She found Younu in her room, doodling on an old piece of paper. Once the young girl heard a loud slam and her sister looking as if she were having a heart attack, Shui said in a hoarse voice: "They're coming,"

Younu sprang up from her bed, leaving her drawing in her room. They scoured the entire place, looking for Weixian. Sadly, he was no where to be found.

"Shui," Younu snuggled into her big sister's coat. "I'm scared,"

"Don't worry," She patted her little sister's hair, her tears soaking her shirt. Shui never really acted sympathetic to her little sister, unless she was hurt or bullied.

"Where's Weixian?" Younu whispered as the walked out of the room, the number of people on the streets growing by the minute.

Her eyes widened as she let of Younu's pull and ran up the wooden stairs, each stair making a creaking sound as she walked up the staircase. Her eyes found Weixian, silently reading a book on his bed, laying on his belly.

"They're coming," Her skin was as pale as a ghost. Weixian laughed at his big sister.

"The Quans again? Is Mr. Quan gonna steal mom again?" He let his brown eyes fall to the book once again. Angrily, she stomped over to his bed, tearing the book away from his small hands. Wordlessly, she pointed outside at the number of people running from the Agni Kai's.

Weixian sprang up from his bed, scurrying down the staircase to see his sister, covered from head to toe in jackets.

"I wanna stay hidden," She whined. As her big sister held her hand. The three siblings were off on to the streets, trying to escape the horror that was behind them.

Although it seemed senseless to run, nonbenders of the Dragon Flats borough were poor and didn't have many skills or weapons at their disposal. All they could do was run.

And run.

And run.

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