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Chapter 18. Write a Novel Challenge.

Chapter 18. Write a Novel Challenge.

by Valeria AwadaJune 23, 2020

What was happening to her?

Neina’s entire being pulsated once before falling numb, speckles of dust and dirt clinging to her clothes and skin – or was she clinging to it? If she thought about it, the riverbank represented a cruel irony; she had quite literally hit rock bottom. Despite everything though, a taught wheeze escaped her, a cheap imitation of what should have been a laugh. The vanity of her own fleeting existence seemed glaring against the backdrop of what she could only assume was another part of Mors world.

Neina had to get out of here, but she knew she wanted answers too – answers to why the fates of Isla and her mother were seemingly intertangled with one another, causing the death of the latter, as well as answers as to how and why she was constantly being transported to what looked like a deranged parallel of her own world. More importantly, Neina ached to be ignorant of all she had learned, to be back in the false normalcy which she had managed to successfully construct following the death of my mother.

There were no signs of a tunnel, so the only way out was up. Neina stood up, a shot of pain rushing up her spine, and contemplated lying back down, simply allowing her body to erode with the stone beneath her. A minute past, then another. Looking around the walls of the cavern, she began to notice that the effects of time and the elements had failed to touch the stone the way they had the ones beneath her, giving them an almost artificial quality.

Write a Novel Challenge Chapter 18 illustration of a strange lock set deeply into the rock

Slowly, her legs began to make their way towards the wall. On closer inspection, it seemed to glow, reverberating a faint humming sound that pleasantly filled the air around her. Reaching out her hand against the wall, Neina found an indent in the stone shaped like a lock, with the key on the floor next to it. She reached down to pick it up and quickly realized her first mistake as the walls start to cave in, the air growing heavier as the humming became louder and louder. Her tongue lay glued to the top of her mouth, throat constricted as her lungs made a desperate attempt to push as much oxygen into her as they could.

As the walls got closer and hotter, pain seared through her abdomen like a branding iron. She tried formulating an escape plan, but her mind conceded to the torment and futility of her situation, unable to form a single coherent thought. Her fingers jumped sporadically, as if in spasm… she couldn’t for the life of her fit the key in the lock.

Neina stumbled as she tried to avoid the falling rocks, but lost her balance, legs folding into one another. Her bowels suddenly churned.

Oh God, don’t let this happen… not now

Fighting the urge to vomit, the key dropped from her hand, lost under the rubble. This was hopeless.

Against her better judgement, Neina’s body curled into something fetal, something primeval, all the while the pain and the heat continued to burn and radiate.

The walls began to ripple, the intense heat dissipating. Neina began to open her eyes and, while she found herself still covered in dust, she was no longer trapped, but instead standing in the office where she used to work. Isla briskly made her way past her without a second glance; ‘doesn’t she see me?’, she wonders.

Isla’s hair is done up and her face looks younger, softer than it did a day ago. Neina looks around, trying to find Frankie. However, the longer she walks around the office, the more she realizes the discrepancies between this place and her office building. There is nobody here she recognizes, save Isla, and even she looks like a snapshot pulled out of one of her mother’s old photobooks. In place of smartboards there are chalkboards, instead of laptops, there are large computers.

Where am I? 

At this point, Neina is certain that nobody could see her, so she followed Isla into a large conference room. The room was virtually identical to the one she was accustomed too, with bookshelves lining the walls and a large table taking up most of the room. However, what was weird was that everything, including Isla, was slightly translucent, almost like if she looked too hard, it might all disappear. Walking towards Isla, her legs froze, as a shadow emerged from the door.

It was her mother, no doubt about it. The woman had the same heart- shaped face, almond- shaped eyes, and, yet, her face was softer, her features less sharp. What stuck out the most was her hair; it wasn’t ‘kept under control’ or ‘ordered’, but, rather, it was curly and wild – and beautiful. Her mother walked up to Isla, an air of superiority trailing behind her, despite her youthful appearance. Isla closed the door and all Neina could do was listen to their conversation, hoping to find some answers.

“Isla listen to me, it’s not safe. There’s a reason why I never told you, never told anyone, about it.”

About what? What was my mother talking about?

“How could you not share the glory, share the honor, you have been prophesized, with your best friend. We were sisters, now I barely recognize you.”

Honor? Prophecy? Attempting to follow the conversation was a struggle as all she could think about was Isla’s chant: ‘You are the one who shall impede on my power, the heir to my own flesh.’ What did she mean by ‘her power’? Did she mean the power that comes with the supposed ‘glory’ Isla accused her mother of keeping for herself?

Neina tried to move closer to the two women as their voices became hushed, but accidently knocked over a plant pot in the process. Isla and her mother suddenly stopped their conversation as their eyes darted up, looking straight at her, instead of through her.

But they couldn’t actually see her… right?

© and 2020. All rights reserved.

For further information on the Write a Novel Challenge by and, please click here

To read Chapter 1, click here.

To read Chapter 2, click here.

To read Chapter 3, click here.

To read Chapter 4, click here.

To read Chapter 5, click here.

To read Chapter 6, click here.

To read Chapter 7, click here.

To read Chapter 8, click here.

To read Chapter 9, click here.

To read Chapter 10, click here.

To read Chapter 11, click here.

To read Chapter 12, click here.

To read Chapter 13, click here.

To read Chapter 14, click here.

To read Chapter 15, Click here.

To read Chapter 16, click here.

To read Chapter 17, click here.

For further information on Jumeirah English Speaking School (JESS) Dubai – Arabian Ranches, click here

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About The Author
Valeria Awada
Valeria Awada is 18 years old, Lebanese and a student in Year 13 at Jumeirah English Speaking School (JESS) Dubai - Arabian Ranches. She writes: "I enjoyed reading the fantastical elements featured in the last chapter, so I decided to continue on from that in the beginning half of my chapter. My hope was that I was able to tie in several previously mentioned themes, such as the prophecy, as I thought it would be interesting to explore them further. Moreover, I wanted to delve a little more into the backstory of Isla and Neinas’ mother and I hope the next author will be able to carry on from there."

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