Chapter 43. Write a Novel Challenge.
Trust is a significant thing. To put your trust in someone is to allow them into your life, into the secrets held within the heart. A betrayal of trust is a gut-wrenching feeling. You realise that the person you have trusted has deceived you in an unimaginable way.
Charlotte, Neina thought, had been her best friend. Instead, Charlotte was the engineer of this operation. The administrator of the torment and heartbreak. At first her betrayal had left Neina in shock. But now she was seething. Furious that she had been so gullible. She was not going to let herself be a puppet to their scheme any longer.
She needed answers from the one she had put her faith and her soul in when she said “yes”. The one who had proved, throughout this ordeal, that he could be trusted. The one who loved her.
The lioness within her was going to start fighting back. She was more confident in herself than she had ever been before. Fuelled by her thirst for vengeance, Neina was ready.
Her eyes scoured the cafe around her. The sounds of people, of regularity, made her nostalgic for a different life. These people had no idea of the purgatory that plagued her mind and had done so for many weeks now. Normality, Neina knew, would never be something she would ever experience again.
The idyllic euphony of the familiar tinkling of the piano and the quiet chattering of people around her alleviated her stress. Letting out a deep sigh, neina shut her eyes her eyes and allowed herself to revel in the tranquil atmosphere that she knew wouldn’t come again anytime soon.
A soft fluttering in her ear provoked Neina to open her eyes. She frowned to see a butterfly in front of her, wings as pure and white as snow. But it was not the arrival of the butterfly that confused her; it was the oddly familiar presence it brought in its wake.
As it fluttered its wings, time slowed. As her eyes fixated on the diminutive insect, each moment that passed seemed to last not seconds, but years. The hypnotising pattern its painted wings created was spellbinding.
Neina stared at it for a moment longer, mystified, then forced her eyes to look away. She blinked once and it was gone. An expression of bewilderment appeared on her face, the vision of the butterfly already fading from her memories.
A soft rustling to her right snatched her attention, prompting her to find the source of the sound. It was yet another card, with the familiar small, black print. Neina was reluctant to pick it up, but her mind compelled her to. She found herself impulsively reaching towards it.
I see that you don’t want to play –
What a pity, I’m here to stay.
Your demise is my reward –
But I’m already getting bored.
So, let me start by saying this:
Your old life will be what you miss.
Your world took a cheerless path
As well as ending with my wrath.
Do you not enjoy the game?
Well then, that seems quite a shame.
This game will be full of death –
I know you’ll take your own last breath.
Neina’s nostrils flared in irritation. Charlotte was playing her mind games once more, but this time she wouldn’t let those words affect her. She was going to find the answers and confront the initiator of her turmoil.
Deep in thought, Neina didn’t notice the feeling in her skull. First it was a subdued ache at the back of her head. Then it magnified. She recoiled, bringing her hand to her head in a failed attempt to sooth the agony. A sharp stinging forced Neina to let out a cry as she buried her head in her hands.
Her shriek grasped the attention of the people around her. Some looked at the woman, baffled. Some got up, concerned.
“Ma’am, are you alright?” a stranger asked, reaching his hand towards Neina. However, Neina could not hear, nor see, anything from the real world as she felt her vision blurring and fading. It seemed as if a bubble was forming around her, drowning all sound and suffocating her. She gritted her teeth and closed her eyes tight.
A moment later, the feeling ceased precipitously. Haltingly opening her eyes, Neina flinched at the radiant, blinding light that greeted her. As it faded, she found herself standing on bedrock with molten, calescent lava surrounding her.
Neina started panting laboriously. Her eyes scoured the expanse around her in a despondent search for escape but found only lava stretching to the horizon before her and blurring across her peripheral vision.
The magma started to rise, slowly consuming the rubble underneath her. It started to inch closer to her feet. There was no liberation. This was it. This was to be her fate. This was to be her downfall.
The antagonising affliction she had become so familiar with returned, her body searing from a pain as intense as knives cutting into her skull. Letting out another spine-chilling scream, Neina blinked through hot tears only to find herself seated at the cafe where she had been taken. Perplexed, where there had been lava, her eyes now found only people seated at tables, eating and chatting with others.
Had they not seen it?
Neina’s mind descended into a senseless jumble of thoughts as she tried to register the banal reality surrounding her. It was as if nothing had happened.
“Neina,” a distant voice called out, snapping Neina out of her thoughts. She looked around the cafe, but saw no sign of the speaker.
“Neina.” It was much louder this time. She knew now for sure that someone really was calling her name. Was it the traitorous Charlotte?
She felt a tap on her shoulder. Neina nearly jumped out of her skin at the touch. Instinctively she spun her head around.
A strangled cry escaped her throat as her fearful eyes met the figure behind her…
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The Prophesy Tower – A Novel.
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