Once upon a time there lived a girl made out of paper. She had puzzled her village when she was born, but over time they realised she was just like any other child, apart from one curious quirk.
Paper Girl did not hold a memory, and she would forget everything every morning she woke up.
To remedy this, Paper Girl’s mother lovingly painted colourful patterns on her daughter. She would explain what each pattern meant, and every morning when Paper Girl awoke, confused and scared, she would look at her colourful patterns and remember everything.
Before long, Paper Girl was covered in intricate patterns, swirling and flowing all over her body.
When Paper Girl turned 16, she learned a terrible secret. Her village was captive to a beast called the Mowz- a terrible monster that spread sickness and darkness wherever it went.
It transpired that every full moon, one adult from the village was being sacrificed to the Mowz, to prevent it from devouring the whole village in a heartbeat.
Paper Girl was furious when she discovered this, and confronted her mother. With trembling hands, her mother told her she had been chosen as the next sacrifice, and had to leave Paper Girl forever.
That night, PaperGirl drew a single red dot on her right hand, to remind her of what her mother had told her.
The next day, PaperGirl slipped out before sunrise and set off to find the Mowz herself. It was her heart's desire to save her mother and free her village from this terrible curse.
Her journey took her along many perilous paths, through icy mountains and sweltering abandoned mines.
Whenever the cold was too vicious, or the heat too suffocating, PaperGirl fixed her gaze on the red dot on her hand and continued with a steely look on her wrinkled paper face.
Before long, she found the Mowz’s lair, and slipped inside. Her heart hammered against her paper chest, and her breathing was ragged. With shaking knees but shoulders pinned back, she entered the Mowz's inner-sanctum.
There, she confronted the beast and offered to trade places with her mother. The beast drummed its fingers, with a pinky larger than all the mountains PaperGirl had just climbed.
It deliberated and then a sly grin spread across its face. The Mowz promised it would spare Paper Girl's mother, but only if it was allowed to take another soul instead.
This shocked Paper Girl, who immediately declined, yelling at the Mowz for thinking she would put someone else in such danger.
The Mowz growled and lunged at Paper Girl, who dodged out of the way with the agility of a girl who could dance on the wind, and taking a moment to steady herself, she stiffened her fingers and leapt at the Mowz, slapping it straight across the snout.
Being made of paper, this gave her Mowz an almighty paper cut, and it shrieked in annoyance as Paper Girl bounced on the balls of her feet with a determined frown on her face.
The Mowz snarled at Paper Girl’s courage, and vomited darkness, engulfing her in a gloopy, black tar. He then scooped her up and ate her with a deafening roar.
Paper Girl landed in the Mowz’s belly and desperately tried to wipe the thick darkness from her, but it was to no avail- she was ruined.
Knowing the full moon was approaching, PaperGirl tried desperately to crawl up the Mowz’s throat to freedom. But every time she tried, another gushing river of thick darkness drenched her, sending her tumbling back down again.
Exhausted, Paper Girl passed out, and woke up the next day, stained in the Mowz’s thick gloop. Without her colourful patterns, she remembered nothing.
She became confused and fearful, whimpering quietly to herself as she gazed around her terrible prison, rocking forwards and backwards slowly as she hugged her trembling knees.
However, Paper Girl did know she was trapped somewhere terrible, and she started clawing desperately at the walls of the Mowz’s stomach. Suddenly, something caught her eye- a red dot on her right hand, barely visible amongst the smattering of darkness.
She gasped and let out an anguished scream- she had failed her mother.
It was at that moment Paper Girl did something she’d never done before. She sat down and cried. Uneven sobs at first, but eventually a crescendo of grief overtook her and she wept openly, shaking uncontrollably.
Suddenly, a truly amazing thing happened. Paper Girl’s tears started washing away the darkness covering her, the thick, sticky tar melting away in a small puddle at her feet.
After a while, Paper Girl was as good as new, and she stared at herself in disbelief.
She frowned and all her memories started flooding back. Her mother, all the villagers who adored and protected her, the sunset every night by her window, the first spiral pattern her mother had carefully drawn on her palm.
As her tears came into contact with her patterns, they started glowing brightly, the reds, greens and yellows all illuminating her prison with a blinding light, polishing her memories to perfection.
Paper Girl raised her hand and realised she was glowing brighter by the second. She heard a roar and noticed the walls of the Mowz’s stomach were festering and bubbling.
The light from her tear-drenched memories were burning it alive from the inside.
Suddenly, the Mowz screamed in primal rage and exploded with a soul-splintering BANG.
Paper Girl stood there, glowing as defiantly as ever, the remains of the once feared Mowz around her feet, puddles of darkness scattered around for miles.
Paper Girl made her way home, her mother running to greet her with tears streaming down her face. Everyone in the village was shocked that someone so wafer-thin and fragile had shown such resolute courage.
From that day on, nothing evil ever ventured near the village, and Paper Girl realised there is strength to be found in being vulnerable, and that no darkness can ever defeat memories forged within the heart.