The Prophesy Tower. Chapter 52. Write a Novel Challenge.
They ran towards the light – and ran….. and ran. Exhausted, they slowed down, eventually coming to a stop as they realized they weren’t getting closer. It was as if they were moving in place, going nowhere except the starting post of an interminable race to the beginning.
“Why does it feel like we haven’t covered any distance?” Neina asked nervously.
Isla kept quiet at a loss for words. She didn’t quite know what to say or how to answer a question that had no logical answer.
Neina looked over her shoulder at Isla and saw that she had now lost hope. Isla’s palms were sweating and she was struggling for breath as if she were being choked. She looked again at the light and observed it, peering at it as if maybe there was something they were missing. Was this yet another puzzle, some new torturous challenge that they needed to complete before they would be allowed to escape?
Neina had little more time to think; glancing back at Isla she now saw a frail shell of a women, frozen to the spot, her mouth agape and staring into space as if set in stone. Isla was in trouble….
“Isla?…Isla???…. Are you alright? Please say something!”
Neina shook her desperately and stopped as she realized that Isla was trying to say something. Neina removed her hands and pulled herself to within inches of Isla’s face trying to decode the faint whisper coming from Isla’s mouth. But Isla showed no sign that she even saw Neina. Her eyes were immobile and unblinking. But it was Isla’s face that now frightened Neina. It seemed as though she was conversing with the devil himself.
Neina moved even closer putting her ear next to Isla’s mouth.
“I tried, I tried, I couldn’t… I’m sorry.”
Isla repeated these words over and over, her face utterly expressionless. It was as if Isla was in a trance, reciting words completely disconnected from her.
Suddenly Isla stopped talking altogether and, still gazing into empty space, started sobbing uncontrollably. Neina looked around making sure that they were alone. Was Isla seeing something she couldn’t?
“I tried… Please help me. I don’t know how to raise a child on my own… Mom, I need your help.”
Neina was confused, what child? Where was her mother? What was she not able to do? Why was Isla in this trance?
Isla’s eyes slowly shifted to Neina. For a fleeting moment it seemed to Neina that Isla had recognised her as she started whimpering and manically looking around. Neina reached across and put her hand on Isla’s shoulder to comfort her but Neina shoved it away aggressively, frantically asking,
“My mother… where is my mother????”
“I need to find her, she took my baby”
Neina tried reassuring her that it was just the two of them but Isla repeated the words over and over like a woman possessed.
Sudenly, Isla stood stock still and, with her hands trembling, pleaded “my baby” before dropped to her knees and descending into complete hysteria.
Neina was about to get on her knees to comfort her when she heard another voice that shattered her intentions.
It was so familiar but she could not remember where she had heard it.
“Neina… I’ll always love you, just because you wont be the youngest doesn’t mean we’ll stop loving you”
Absolute blackness surrounded her. It felt as if she was floating, yet, the air she stood on seemed solid.
She slowly started walking towards the voice and a figure of her mother appeared from the blackness.
“Don’t cry… I will always love you, not any more or any less than your brothers.”
A much younger version of Neina appeared next to her mother. She was crying. Neina remembered this day. Her younger brother was about to be born and she had been riven by jealousy at the thought that her Mother’s affection would be lost to her, transferred to this new invasive member of the family.
Neina kept trying to walk towards them but as before found herself standing still. As fast as she ran towards the figures, the faster she went nowhere, rooted to where she started. She was trapped at the beginning of a road that had no middle or end.
Isla felt an inconsolable sadness descend on her. The weight of her sorrow seemed just too much to bear as the last memory she had of her mother, the horror she felt at the sterile headline of an impersonal and invasive newspaper, seemed to burn.
As if divided from her Mother by eternity itself, Isla found herself calling out
Her mother’s figure looked across and the space between them started diminished. As she came towards Isla, it was her Mother’s eyes that terrified her. Their utter blackness, like hollowed out pits, returned Isla’s gaze.
Isla felt herself paralysed, her life ebbing away into the black, light-stripped nothingness at the floor of a dead ocean.
Wrapped in a blanket of navy blue, Isla was drowning, her breath fading into the silence of a cruel and unplanned death. Her eyelids grew heavy.
And then, all hope lost, she saw a figure reaching out for her. She had no life left even to recognise who had interrupted the ending she now welcomed. She had no fight left. She needed the pain gone.
But the beauty of the face before her shone like an angel. A remarkable peacefulness descended on her as her pain receded.
It was Archie.
She was hallucinating. Death she heard did this. There could be no way that her fiance could be here holding her in her arms.
But his beauty was enough to end any craving for death. She had to find her way back. She knew, at once, that it was happening again. This was not real. She was stuck in a realm of projections, hallucinations and lies, no matter how real it felt.
“Neina. Snap out of it. This isn’t real – and you know it. You need to get back to Isla. She needs your help. She needs you. NOW!”
Neina closed her eyes tightly, refusing to let herself be taken in any longer by the ghosts of a past being used against her.
When, finally, she forced them open, she was back in the castle.
Isla was nowhere in sight.
She heard a voice, a whisper…
“So easy to fool… just like your mother. Janus told me you were smart. I find that hard to believe. No matter the stakes, all you do is daydream…”
It was the voice of Queen Orla, elegant, soft – but with an edge of implied violence that was utterly terrifying. The Queen appeared from the shadow cast by the sculpture on the left hand side of the room, carrying a box.
Neina did not want to see what was inside.
“Maybe you’ve been too caught up in your own selfishness to remember, but I never forget the important part of the ones I love. I don’t care if you think I’m lying Neina. Believe it, or not, it makes no difference. I love you.”
Neina took a small step back, but found only a wall blocking her. Orla narrowed the space between them ominously.
Isla had nowhere left to go.
The Queen opened the box. Inside was the same, melt-in-your-mouth, chocolate cake her mom used to make.
The Quuen lit the candles and brushed her finger on the side of Neina’s face wiping away a delicate tear…
“Make a wish darling.”
Neina shuddered, but then squinted her eyes, trying to get a better look at the figure watching her from the corner of the room.
Someone was hiding.
Neina sensed that, whoever it was was, it was there to help her.
To save her.
The Queen followed Neina’s gaze, sensing the presence of another.
“Neina, only you can hear me. Don’t make it look obvious – I need you to stay calm. I’m going to get you out of here. Do you hear me? We are getting out of here.”
That voice. She knew it.
It’s not possible. Could it be?
It was the one person she knew she could fall back on.
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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.
To read Chapter 5, click here.
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To read Chapter 39, click here.
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To read Chapter 49, click here.
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To read Chapter 51, click here.
To read Chapter 52, click here.
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