Chapter 28. Write a Novel Challenge.
The shocking, deep toned, hoarse voice made her think that she was hallucinating, but she entirely regained consciousness to understand that it was actually Archie. She was in a state of perplexity, not knowing why he was here and whether she was actually supposed to forfeit the project she worked her heart and soul on, to Isla.
“Hi Neina. How are you feeling?” queried Archie.
“I’m alright,” replied Neina, though confused. She added, “Look, no matter what you both say or do, this project is one I will never proffer, you will have to do so over my dead body.”
Archie chuckled, “I was never going to ask you that. I know the amount of daily grind you put into this and you deserve this more than anyone.”
For the first time, in several months, Neina finally came across someone who understood her worth. Someone who knew the effort she had put into her work, the hardships she endured day in and day out – and knew that she had survived a life that most others would not even imagine. A feeling of bliss and contentment seeped to her very bones; happiness and joy overflowed, emotions guttered through her mind and brought about a reflex to do something more.
As Frankie and Archie left, someone else seemed to approach, and, without surprise, it was Isla.
“So, heard your little conversation. I don’t care about this project or any other. All I care about is finishing YOU,” threatened the devilish voice.
“Wow, why am I not surprised? Try all you want but I won’t give up any time soon,” responded Neina. Right then came in Charlotte asking, “Umm, whom are you talking to?”
That was when Neina came to her senses and understood that there was no one other than her in the room at the time.
“I-I-Isla, she was right here!”
Charlotte laughed and replied, “You need to get some rest.” She left and shut the door close.
Neina closed her eyes, visioning the stars shining in the bewitching sky. Dreaming of her mother by her side, her family and friends all there to support her and wrap her in a cocoon of comfort. As she fantasized deeper, thinking about the extended family she had always wanted to have, she found herself propelling from one world to another.
There she was; in the world, she never wanted to be in – the Mors World. Usually, it came with a feeling of ramification. This time, she expected that it would happen.
Two old women approached with distressed, bedraggled hair, wearing black, crumbled sloppy hoods and holding lanterns in their hands.
“Come with us,” they murmered in adenoidal, croaky voices, prompting Neina to follow.
After a distant walk, they stopped in front of an old and rusty citadel. It seemed filthy and very similar to those haunted houses you see in the movies – and overall out of place. The two decrepit women stopped and routed Neina to the inside of the shanty-looking building and left the place as Neina walked in.
As she entered, she saw someone, the very someone she wished to see every day; someone who was always by her side during the light and dark, someone she saw leave this world right before her eyes. She saw her mom: as pulchritudinous as ever, beaming with light and ecstasy. Her alluring blue eyes, glowing skin and just the brightest smile on her face made Neina distrust her eyes. She approached her closer, going in for a better look!
“Neina! Neina! Wake up, we have to go,” insisted a dulcet voice.
Waking up in astonishment, she looked around and saw the figure of her mother to be found nowhere around. “Where are we going at this time of the day?” lazily asked Neina.
“Work of course! Where else?” replied Charlotte with a laugh. “You wanted to go back to work. Now what’s happened?!”
“I’m just a little rusty. I’ll be fine,” responded Neina.
Around ten minutes later, waiting for a cab in the early hours of a Monday morning as people thrashed the streets around her, a kind man, possibly in his thirties, walked directly in front of Neina.
“Where would you like to go ma’am?” he asked.
“The Chelsea Design Harbour. Please make it fast.” stuttered Neina as she realized that she was now running late.
On her arrival, the receptionist gave her a nice welcoming smile. “Glad to see you back Neina.” As she went further, she saw everyone mumbling in delight to see her back. Well! Everyone except one person; Isla.
As she walked towards her workstation, Archie approached her. “Great to see you back. Why don’t you get working on your project, The Prophecy Tower?”
“Yeah, sure I will.”
She gathered her papers only to be stopped by Isla. “Liked my little visit the other day? I would’ve called but I like to approach my enemies directly.”
“So you were there? HOW?”
“I can get in and out of rooms without notice. It’s just one of my powers. You know something else! I’m good at taking care of my business and I don’t mean your little Prophecy Tower project. I mean taking care of people like you. Don’t worry because I won’t hesitate to take care of you, the same way I did with your mom.”
Neina sighed in disgust.
“Well anyway, glad to see you back, bye,” she left.
Neina walked to her office with a cluster of papers and a face of utter dissatisfaction. She sat on her brown leather chair, forced her papers onto her table and laid back, thinking about what Isla was planning next. Most importantly, she thought about why she was doing all this. Thoughts ran through her mind as the adrenaline pumped through her veins. Her heart was pounding faster – and faster. She tried to calm down but her emotions wouldn’t let her.
“Hello!” buzzed a soft voice. “Sorry to disturb you, but are you Ms. Neina?” queried the person.
“Yes, Can I help you in any way?”
“I’m Alice. I work for the Regent Street St. James’s Post Office. There is a package for you.”
Neina responded, “I’m sorry, but I’m not expecting any package.”
“Well, I don’t know about that, but this is supposed to be delivered to you and I’m just doing my job.”
Neina took the package and examined it from the outside before checking inside. It was wrapped in brown paper and sealed tight with paper ribbons stretched tautly around it. Mysteriously, on top, there was an extremely rare Penny Black VR stamp.
After a quick and thorough examination, she opened the package to find….
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