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Chapter 42. Write a Novel Challenge.

Chapter 42. Write a Novel Challenge.

by Samhita RoychoudhuryJune 27, 2020

Sinking into her chair, Neina willed herself to stop her tears. All the screaming, all the pleading, and all the crying, wouldn’t help her take her stand against them. Neina knew she couldn’t beat them at their sadistic games–they were far too superior to her.

Staring blankly at the two cards on her desk that ruined whatever else she had left in her life, Janus’ words returned to Neina.

“You’re asking all the wrong questions. All that matters is what’s happening right now, and for you, that means surviving”.

Squaring her shoulders, Neina realised that she was right where they wanted her to be. Fighting her way through the three challenges to survive her gunshot wounds. At least, with that purpose, she was able to complete her tasks. Though the hardship that primed her to fulfil a prophecy Neina wanted no part of still loomed over her.

It was futile to seek this prophecy, for she refused to believe in the fate that would define her, much like society did with her. The only reason Neina was curious about the prophecy was for the link it had to her mom. Neina couldn’t help but wonder now about what she was fighting for each time she went into Mors World. Was it for her friends– her family?

No, Neina thought, it was for normalcy. For answers. She would rather know the complete truth than go back to living a life built on deception. This game had never been fair but it changed now; new rules, new secrets, and new players. Janus may not be the ally Neina thought she could rely on, but she realised the truth to his words. She knows as little now as she did before all this, and little knowledge is always too dangerous.

This time she would ask the right questions. Instead of asking why Charlotte did what she did, it was time for Neina to question how Charlotte did it? The fact that Neina was never once suspicious would mean that there were clues there that she’d need to trace back.

From the 4 years in the Architecture BSc programme in Bath to the 15 years of their career, there were two decades of memories they shared. Only now, she knew that Charlotte spent it all lying, observing, and studying Neina and her life. Two decades of scheming before Charlotte orchestrated Neina’s introduction to the Mors World, but why now?

Standing up, Neina picked up the two cards from her desk. She absently wondered who sent them and how it went unnoticed by Isla and Janus, when she had an epiphany.

Neina couldn’t control going into the Mors World, but whenever she was there, she lay unconscious or asleep in this reality. It was as if she existed in both dimensions simultaneously and would experience her consciousness drifting between them. While Charlotte may be far more proficient, it was a possibility that she left her body behind and vulnerable too. A possibility which meant that Charlotte would’ve left unreasonable excuses to cover for it, in the past.

Pacing the floor, Neina tried to remember their history. She remembered how it felt like fate from the very first moment their friendship clicked. Especially when her mom died, despite now knowing Charlotte’s involvement in it, Neina couldn’t ignore the comfort she received. With her dad estranged and her fiancé, Archie, abroad on business, she was all alone to pick up her broken pieces. She was hurt more than she would like to admit with Archie’s absence, and with the moral support from Charlotte, Neina was able to ask for some space away from their engagement.

Archie– Charlotte wanted Archie out of the picture, away from her plans. Charlotte made Neina think she wanted this space from Archie. Why didn’t she see it before? The arguments they had, as severe as they’d become, always felt oddly scripted and resolved themselves better than they should. Was every moment with her then, in fact, only a manipulated and calculated result of an ongoing and scheming trust-building exercise by Charlotte? What little Neina believed in fate ceased as she realised that she had been very cleverly set up.

Tears threatening again, she reached for the cardigan she hadn’t realised was on the handle of her chair. Slipping it on, she started to stuff the cards she was still holding into her pocket until her hand met with a small object. Taking it out, it was the same 1.5 carat, round cut, platinum band ring she had returned to Archie. Archie… the cards, the cardigan hiding the ring… was Archie a part of this too? Was Archie trying to reach out and help Neina? How much did he know? Was that why he made himself scarce after her mom’s murder? Did he have something, know something, that would explain the reason why Charlotte wanted him gone?

Glimpsing down at the words on the cards, it all became clear. It was never about her or her fate. It was about something that she was a part of, not something that was a part of her.

The prophecy that was supposed to be her life’s purpose wasn’t a prophecy of fate. It was the Prophecy Tower, a project that would become her life’s biggest accomplishment. A project that everyone around her was so adamant should involve Isla alone. They wanted Neina, and even Archie, as far away from the development of Prophesy Tower as they could get them. This had been the project that Charlotte had encouraged Neina to pursue. The project in which everyone in her life was somehow involved. Everyone who eventually appeared in the Mors World. The Prophesy Tower project was like the work of a puppeteer, one that skilfully controlling her and the lives beyond her own.

“I’m the mastermind behind it all.

It’s your turn now to take the fall.”

The words from the card jumped out and taunted Neina. If she had not been too engrossed in the personal pronouns earlier, she would have figured out the implications of the “all” and “your turn now”. She had allowed herself to become distracted. Now it was all too clear. There was a reason why Charlotte had involved Neina after 19 years. It wasn’t her saintly patience because Neina wasn’t her only prey. Neina was just a part of a bigger plan, a plan that may very well have started two decades ago, and it was her turn to play her part in it now. She couldn’t find her way out because she wasn’t the lone prisoner she thought she was. She couldn’t distinguish reality from illusion because everyone around her was equally lost and confused.

Neina always wondered why Charlotte never applied for a position in the same firm as her.  Yes, of course, it made sense that she would not want to work at the same firm to avoid being linked in her murder. But there was something more at play here.

It was this project. It all started and ended with the Prophecy Tower. The project her firm claimed the majority of the rights to. The project that despite all the mind games, was going to be built.

There was something about this tower. Some reason why they needed everyone under their control. Some plan, some desperate need, something she was missing and, if she was right about all this, then it was far worse than anyone could imagine. She both hoped that she was right and that she was wrong.

Neina knew that the barren premise of the Prophecy Tower held the answers – but they were the answers they wanted her to hear. She knew it was time she went looking for the answers that they did not want to reveal.

With her hand clutching the ring for dear life, she walked out of her office, looking for … him.

© 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.

To read Chapter 18, click here.

To read Chapter 19, click here.

To read Chapter 20, click here.

To read Chapter 21, click here.

To read Chapter 22, click here.

To read Chapter 23, click here.

To read Chapter 24, click here.

To read Chapter 26. click here.

To read Chapter 27, click here.

To read Chapter 28, click here.

To read Chapter 29, click here.

To read Chapter 30, click here.

To read Chapter 31, click here.

To read Chapter 32, click here.

To read Chapter 33, click here.

To read Chapter 34, click here.

To read Chapter 35, click here

To read Chapter 36, click here.

To read Chapter 37, click here.

To read Chapter 38, click here.

To read Chapter 39, click here.

To read Chapter 40, click here.

To read Chapter 41, click here.

To read Chapter 42, click here.

For our independent review of the Universal American School in Dubai, click here.

For the official Universal American School web site click here.

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About The Author
Samhita Roychoudhury
Samhita Roychoudhury is sixteen years old, Indian and a student in Grade 11 and Universal American School in Dubai. She writes: "I’m in awe of the countless writers and the concept of this project uniting us in creating this whole fictive universe that we can step into. I can’t begin to express my gratitude for this opportunity. I hope I did justice to setting the tone for Neina’s intelligence and individuality. With her epiphany and resolution closing the last chapter, it was almost too good of a chance to pass up on clarifying some of the queries the readers may have, tie up some plot points together, and build the framework solidifying a purpose or an intent for this section of the book. I’m beyond excited to see how the story unfolds and I wish the best of luck to the next writers in line!"

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