The Prophesy Tower. Chapter 44. Write a Novel Challenge.
“Janus?” Her eyes widened as he placed a hand over her mouth, silencing her. His eyes were wide, his pupils darting across the room with every passing second. He leaned in and whispered to her “We need to leave. Now. You go first, I’ll catch up.”
She shook her head violently and he sighed. He took his hand away from her mouth, immediately regretting it as she exploded into a cacophony of shouts.
“You-you traitor! You just left me to die! No, you tried to kill me! You absolute, utter-” She was cut off by Janus’s hand silencing her once more.
“Be quiet, you imbecile. I’m not supposed to be here. Just trust me.” He looked far worse than when she last saw him. A large scar covered his cheek, and his hair was matted and slightly wet.
Was that blood?
Neina’s head was flooded with questions, but in that moment, her instincts took over. Every ounce of her being wanted to tear Janus apart, to scream, and yet she didn’t. Somewhere in her head, a small voice urged her to trust him.
“Please?” He looked desperate. He cautiously removed his hand from her mouth, but no words escaped her lips. She sighed dejectedly and nodded. Janus smiled a genuine smile, the first she’d seen in what felt like years. She stood and left the café, the notecard tucked into her pocket. As she stepped outside, the bell on the door rang softly. She stared down at the ground, trying not to attract any unwanted attention. From ahead, a horrendous discordance of sounds erupted. Her head jerked up, and she silently cursed. The connection to the Mors World had gotten so bad she could barely tell when she was transported any more. The sky was a shade of red not unfamiliar to Neina, the same shade as her favourite wine. As she stared up at the sky, she spotted what had made the sound in her peripherals. It looked like a heap of pulsating flesh, veins and muscles writhing grotesquely. She looked towards it, and it was gone. Her eyes scanned the horizon, looking for any sign of the beast, but none arose. She glanced back at where the monster last stood, and gasped. For a second, she saw it, but only out of the corner of her eye. Then it dawned on her.
“And I thought this place couldn’t get any stranger.” She whispered to herself.
“Figured it out yet? Took you long enough.” She scowled and wheeled around as Janus sauntered out of the café. His old attitude was back, nothing like the pleading mess she saw in the café. She nodded.
“It’s only visible when I’m not looking directly at it.” Neina announced. Janus chuckled and smirked.
“Smart girl.” Neina rolled her eyes. “But maybe don’t call him an ‘it’. It’s a little rude. After all, he is our ride.”
Neina snickered. “Yeah, right.” Janus looked at her disapprovingly. “Of course. Why wouldn’t HE be our ride.” She placed her head in her hands and sighed.
Janus took her hand and Neina recoiled at how cold his hands were.
“What’s wrong? Come on, we’ve got to get moving.” A quizzical expression took over Janus’s face.
“N-nothing. I just don’t remember your hands being that cold.” Janus laughed, his shoulders moving up and down heartily. She smiled briefly, but a strange feeling filled her body. She shrugged it off and followed Janus. As they drew closer to the fleshy beast, it began to morph. She could barely watch the mass writhe and wriggle as it morphed into something she recognised; a New York taxi. She smiled and Janus opened the door for her. She could now openly look at the taxi without any problem. She sighed as her body sank into the leathery seats. Janus chuckled and closed the door, replacing the sounds of the outside with eery silence. The taxi began to move, and she looked at him witheringly.
“So, where exactly are we going?” she asked, realising that she had just gotten into a taxi with a traitor.
“A safe place. The Tutumni has been corrupted, so we can’t go there anymore.” He sighed, looking away wistfully.
“Yeah, corrupted because of you.” She rolled her eyes.
Janus looked confused. “No, it was Janus’s fault.”
Neina’s head turned quickly. “Huh? But you are Janus, right?”
His eyes widened for a second before he nodded. “Ha, yeah. Sorry about that.”
Neina stared at Janus, before scrambling back in fear. “You’re not Janus.” The phrase repeated itself in her head.
Janus smiled. “What do you mean? Of course I am.”
She shook her head. “You slipped up. Took on the wrong attitude. In the café, you were… different. Not like Janus. You realised your mistake and changed your act. But the laugh. That’s not how he laughs. And the speaking in third person? All wrong.”
Janus, or, rather, the replica of him, laughed. The wrong laugh. “Wow, I thought you would have realised sooner. But I always was smarter” he said, pulling a limp hand up to his hairline before snagging something. The hand jerked downwards, and Janus opened, like a zip. The two halves of him fell away, revealing the face that Neina had spent most of her life with. Charlotte laughed again, the laugh that seemed so alien to her now. Neina scrambled to find the door handle, only to come up with nothing. She was trapped. She peered out the window and saw that the ground had disappeared. They were driving through the sky, and Neina was doomed.
“You never fail to disappoint me. I thought this would be more fun. I do love a good chase.” Charlotte smiled. The only thing Neina could think of was how much her personality had stayed the same throughout the time she had known her – and her many her incarnations. Even in evil, she was still energetic and lively. As Charlotte rattled on about ‘the chase’, Neina’s head spun as she tried to plan an escape. Her architectural brain measured distances, checked doors and planned routes. And then it came to her. She tensed up as she punched her hand through the window and grabbed the car handle from the outside. She could barely feel the shards of glass embedded in her arm as the door swung open. She wrapped her arms around Charlotte, embracing her. And with one movement. She ejected both her and Charlotte out of the door. As they fell, Neina felt Charlotte panic.
“Neina? What are you doing? We’ll both die! You can’t do this!” Neina could hear the terror in Charlotte’s voice. Charlotte didn’t want to die either.
Neina tuned out Charlotte as she reminisced on her life. She opened her eyes as she realised every good memory, every achievement, was because of Charlotte. Even though it was all fake, it felt real. And Neina loved Charlotte. She had scripted Neina’s whole life and made it …. amazing. Neina closed her eyes tight and pulled Charlotte into a tight hug and whispered two words before they both hit the ground.
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The Prophesy Tower – A Novel.
To read Chapter 1, click here.
To read Chapter 2, click here.
To read Chapter 3, click here.
To read Chapter 4, click here.
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To read Chapter 39, click here.
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To read Chapter 44, click here.
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