Chapter 19. Write a Novel Challenge.
“It appears as if we have an unannounced visitor at our board meeting. Please, don’t be shy, come in, come in.” The singsong voice of Isla echoed throughout the room. Though her tone appeared to be cordial, the words were dripping with unmistakable malice.
Neina unfurled from her hiding place, from the safety of the dark shadows at the edge of the room. She dejectedly approached. When would she learn that this hell on earth, ‘Mors World’, was created to destroy every ounce of humanity she possessed? Even now she could feel it being ripped away from her by an invisible, imposing, undefeatable force, getting stronger with every step she took towards the figures in front of her.
When she heard the hurried footsteps and voice coming from behind her, Neina stood, stock still. Confusion enveloped her. “Stay where you are!” The familiar voice urged, rushing past her towards the others. “They can’t see you Neina; only I can.”
“Pay close attention.” she warned, “What I am about to say to them is of vital importance!”
The anxious woman, with closely cropped hair as red as a desert sunset, scurried past Neina and towards her waiting audience. As she did so, the waft of her perfume was so recognizable it instantly took Neina back to the day she first introduced the same perfume to her best friend Charlotte, who now stood before her, engulfed in a heated discussion.
Neina knew she should be listening, but she was powerless to do so. She had definitely understood that the information she was about to hear was pivotal, yet something from within seemed to block out all sounds around her. Instead, Neina instinctively turned her face to the direction of the windows.
There, eerily watching her, was a ghoulish looking soul, with a face caked heavily in dirt and grime and bedraggled hair that lay in inescapable knots around its head. As it blinked, so too did Neina, whose mind started racing, trying to make sense of what she was seeing. She lifted a hand to her face and so did the ghoul. It took her only an instant then to comprehend that the figure staring back at her was indeed herself! Morosely, she noted how her eyes that used to gleam like morning dew were now pools of darkness, drowning all signs of light in their path.
As unwelcome tears trickled down her cheeks, she realised she was but a mere husk of her former self. “What ever happened to me?” Neina wept, and her mind was transported to an idyllic time in her life, long before all this disaster unfolded. Back to a time of blissful normality.
She reminisced of the time when her life seemed to truly take off, when she was aged just 18 and at Bath University studying architecture. This was when Neina first met Charlotte, who soon became her best and most loyal friend. Together, Neina and Charlotte were an architectural ‘dream team’, constantly creating unique ideas for designs, which greatly outclassed their peers. After graduating with First Class Honour’s Degrees, the two set off for London, an architect’s paradise. Neina was swiftly offered a job at a large, prestigious firm, ‘Delavive’ (by her future fiancé Archie). Charlotte meanwhile, worked for an equally successful company, ‘Damac.’
On her first day at work, a unique pen was bestowed upon Neina. The illustrious pen was a Mont Blanc Fountain, with an ornate inscription along the barrel. It read “Sic Itur Ad Astra” a Latin phrase meaning “reach for the stars”. The gift was unquestionably thoughtful and was the main inspiration for Neina’s later grand design.
Before long, Neina was commissioned by the firm to design a building unlike any other. Located in the heart of the bustling city, the iconic ‘Shard’ was to be the crown jewel in all of Neina’s achievements. She was even given the honourable task of laying the first brick at the start of construction. It was clear to all that she was truly at the pinnacle of her career. The much anticipated opening ceremony some two years later was the most memorable moment of her life. Right by her side, supporting her all the way, was Charlotte, beaming with pride at her friend’s incredible accomplishment.
It was at this momentous event that Neina presented her loyal companion with a luxurious plum, purple perfume bottle, the very same they had both desired at university but were never able to purchase due to its astronomical price tag.
“Siempre Toujours!” Charlotte gasped ecstatically, grasping the bottle tightly to her chest. She tenderly peeled back the delicate perfume packaging and sprayed herself generously with the aqua blue liquid. The familiar scent of water lilies elegantly rose up into the air, the majestic aroma filled her nostrils with its sweet smell. From that moment on, Charlotte was captivated by the fragrance and went nowhere without it. It became her trademark, with many friends often commenting that more often than not, she could be smelt before she was even seen.
Neina was suddenly jolted back to reality as an ear splitting scream filled the room. Nothing could have prepared her for the sight that met her eyes. She only wished that she could unsee it.
At the speed of light, Charlotte raced towards Neina and grabbed her frantically by the arm. “Run Neina, run like your life depends on it. Because it does…”
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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.
To read Chapter 18, click here.
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