The Prophesy Tower. Chapter 48. Write a Novel Challenge 2020.
After discovering the truth about the prophecy, Isla, desperately, tried to keep her composure. Adrenalin seared her body like a river of fire, every vein scorched as her nerves threatened to immobilize her in panic and fear. She rapidly searched the room for a hiding place, any hiding place, to ensure that no one else would find the blueprints, or find her, in the Library. If the Queen ever thought, even for a second, that Isla knew too much, she knew her death would be at once cruel and merciless.
Knowing the risk she was taking, the thought of what the Queen could do made Isla shiver.
Her mind raced.
Initially, she could not process the revelation she had discovered. Deep down, she knew that she had to stop the prophecy from happening but rebelling against the Queen was something she was not ready for; she dreaded all the consequences that would follow if she were to fail.
Attempting to calm herself, she let her mind wander to memories of her childhood. Memories of her mother. Isla didn’t quite know why her thoughts drifted to this place inside her head but, at the same time, she knew that reminiscing would provide her with the short-lived distraction she needed to feel at ease – her mother was and always has been a pillar of stability inside her head. Throughout dark times, she would cling onto those memories. She needed now to be calm and pull herself together. Her survival, and those of many others, depended on it.
She looked back to the time, long ago, when she had been just a normal girl with an almost tragically mundane life. She would trade anything in the world, now, for the mundane life that she had then with her loving mother. Those years were the happiest she had ever been. They were also the ones she thought of as “the calm before the storm”, although in hindsight the storm would have been better described as a blizzard.
Isla knew that during her childhood, in order to survive, she had no choice but to block out huge chunks of what make us all human and that sense, in all of us, of a higher purpose. In so many ways she had become an assassin of the soul. Her father had been absent from the start of her life’s journey and she knew he would never come back. Isla started to recall peaceful events in her early childhood. Memories of being tucked into bed by her mother and helping her with trivial tasks like preparing the dough for bread and chocolate cake, things we take for granted as the trappings of childhood, now seemed overwhelmingly important. She could not allow her sense of mourning to overwhelm her, but she missed those days terribly.
Too late she realized that allowing herself to look back had been a mistake. The floodgates opened and memories forced themselves on her. Now the memories were black, the light of cookie dough and hospital corners extinguished.
She remembered returning home and noticing what felt like glacial temperatures throughout the house, every room so cold it made her shiver. She had frantically searched around for her mother, with cries filled with agony and sorrow.
After a couple of minutes that felt excruciatingly like weeks, Isla found her mother. Dead.
She was in her bedroom. Her body was unnaturally blue and icy cold to the touch. The first few seconds were silent. Isla could not believe that her mother was dead. Or was it that her mind could not handle that and had momentarily shut itself down? But no mind is strong enough to shut out grief for anything longer than the seconds needed to stop you completely, irretrievably breaking. The next few seconds saw silence replaced with deafening cries and wailing that was never loud enough to express the acuteness of her pain. After that, she had screamed with a voice full of rage, a voice that she never knew she had. She sobbed until there was nothing left, using her remaining strength to say a single sentence to her dead mother. “I love you, no matter what.”
It was then that a stranger had appeared at Isla’s house.
Still suffering, she noticed someone had come to the bedroom door. An elegant woman that introduced herself only as “Orla”. She also mentioned that some people called her ‘The Queen’ but at the time Isla dismissed it as an irrelevant lie.
The Queen told her that she came to her in her time of need because she was special. The Queen had never elaborated further. Isla had stayed grateful, and obedient, to a presence who had come to her when her world had been crushed of all meaning and hope.
And then things changed.
She found out the real reason her mother died. Who could ever forgive the person that killed their mother?
To this day, Isla would never reveal her mother’s name. It is her only to keep her mother’s memory safe and distance herself from the pain she felt as a child, the only way to stop the return of a level of pain and loss that would surely break her. But, deep down, she knows that she still feels the sorrow of losing her mother in every action, every moment. It has made and makes her who she has become.
The feint sound of footsteps behind her crush out her memories in an instant.
Her eyes blink open and she returns to the present, looking for a hiding place for the blueprints. Her eyes traverse the bookcases but, before she can move, the sound of someone approaching grows louder. Too late. They are behind her. A part of her is petrified, terrified of facing who, or what, waits for her if she turns around. Nervously she tries to think of an excuse to explain, to justify, why she is in a place she knew she should not be. She gulps and stands, stock still, in utter silence. She tries to turn around but is immobilized in blind fear, rooted to the floor.
A voice from behind her calls out. “Isla.”
Isla’s face froze.
In an instant, she had recognized that voice.
She knew exactly who it was – and what was coming …
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The Prophesy Tower – A Novel.
To read Chapter 1, click here.
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To read Chapter 48, click here.
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