Chapter 33. Write a Novel Challenge.
‘I suppose that’s up to you’. How was that helpful at all? She was confused and lost as it was, but everyone speaking in riddles just added to the chaos that was bubbling inside of her.
Neina felt her stomach drop as she sunk below the silky cushioning of sand. She plummeted downwards, dizzy and growing more and more unaware of what was going on. Her experiences in the Mors World plagued her mind. She was there to find answers to the puzzle she was embedded in, but everything felt wrong. Like she’d been turned and flipped inside-out and spun around multiple times. Everything had changed.
That was the problem. She felt weak and cowardly, a world away from the feisty, happy, adventurous girl she once was. Her confidence in anything but architecture was slowly spiralling downwards; to say she felt a shadow of her former self would be an understatement.
But she supposed that was the whole point: she completes the puzzle, completes the tower and ultimately completes herself.
As a much-needed distraction, she embedded herself into a pile of papers. Wielding her pen, she planned out the prophecy tower. Unique arches and twirls. Windows that would glisten like a lake on a bright summer’s day. Floors upon floors of shiny marble, with sleek black walls and ceilings to give the illusion of the night sky. An array of silver, blue, black. It was beautiful but also mysterious, like it had a story to tell.
“Neina.” The sickly voice of Isla filled her ears. “You’ve been here for hours, pretty much everyone has gone.”
Neina looked out of her floor to ceiling window that gave a picturesque view into the London streets below. She’d fallen so seamlessly into her work that she’d let the hours fly past unknowingly. It was pitch black outside, save for the few street lights that dotted the pavement. She caught sight of her reflection in the window, she looked horrendous; like she hadn’t slept or eaten in years. As she looked from the window back up to Isla, she quickly saw her reflection change, glimpsing platinum hair.
Drowsily Neina replied, “Oh, I’ll just pack my things and go.”
“I’ll wait for you downstairs, ok?” Isla wandered out the room. She was being suspiciously nice Neina thought, as she gathered the last of her belongings, and shovelled them into her bag.
With the Argyle scarf in her hand, she got into the elevator, descended to the ground floor and headed towards the large entrance. Along the walls was an ensemble of images, relics of past and present architects, photos of buildings and their designs. A few brisk steps later and she met Isla by the doors. They pushed through and happened upon the pavement. It was a pleasant evening, despite being extremely dark – and the temperature was comforting.
“I guess I’ll see you tomorrow then…”
Neina turned and began wandering down the street. Almost immediately she felt the icy clasp of someone’s hand on her forearm. It was the kind of cold that freezes instantly. It felt like death. Neina shuddered, but the grip tightened and Isla materialised in front of her. If looks could kill, Neina would’ve been dead.
Isla’s platinum blonde hair, which had a strange red tint, swayed around her face like a halo. She seemed to glow, as though she was draped in ethereal light. The piercing scent of lilies surrounded her. Suddenly, Neina felt a frenzy of eyes surveying them. Like ants crawling up and down her back. There was nobody here, it was imagination, right? Or was there an army of angry, monstrous, green-skinned demons which Isla had summoned from Mors World? As hard as she tried, she couldn’t separate her mind from reality. Mors World seemed very real to her, it was the place of nightmares. But also the land of truth. Going to the Mors World just a few more times would be inevitable in finding out what happened to her mum. But the thought of it made her feel sick.
Neina’s arm was beginning to turn purple, from Isla’s squeezing, icy hand.
“I got rid of your mother, now all I have to do is get rid of you.” Isla’s words felt like daggers penetrating her ears.
“What are you talking about, my mother was murdered by someo-”
“The prophecy killed your mother… there could only be one…”
Isla’s words flew over her head and the grip tightened. Was Isla real? Or was Neina insane? It was hard to tell. Isla cackled and began to chant even louder.
Janus’s words earlier echoed in her head and she began to realise that it was only real if she allowed it to be.
It was in her head.
It was her imagination.
It was her job to stop it.
Tears spilled from Neina’s eyes as she struggled to gain control of the situation. Feebly, she reached out a hand and, with the inkling of power she had left, picked up one of the many broken bottles that lined the street. She swung it at Isla. A red slash, one that clashed with her cool, calm, pale facade, now decorated her face. Vibrant blood began to drip down her cheek onto the pavement. She stopped, stunned and shocked. Neina blinked and, suddenly, Isla was gone.
The foreboding feeling that she was being watched was gone too and Neina found herself lying on the floor shaking. A pool of icy sweat surrounded her petite frame and a deep purple bruise was beginning to form where Isla had held her.
The familiar aroma of water lilies greeted her as she looked up to see Charlotte standing in front of her. It was still dark, but the pleasantness of the early evening was gone and replaced with an ominous humidity. She surveyed her eyes upwards, noticing the startled, yet bewildered look on Charlotte’s face. Then, she saw something much worse.
A luscious ruby liquid was spilling from a gash in her cheek.
Drip, drip, drip…
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To read Chapter 26. click here.
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To read Chapter 31, click here.
To read Chapter 32, click here.
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