Day 49 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Write a story where the narrator talks to the reader.
Shannon: Ah reader, I see you decided to come back for more. I’m happy to see you, but I must warn you this next part of the story is not for the faint of heart. Feel free to turn back now, before it’s too late.
As you remember we left Ashley, Peter, and Hunter in the woods, trying to find out where Megan had run off to hide. “Megan it’s not funny where are you,” Ashley called out into the silence, starting to panic.
There was no answer, so they all continued to shout her name, hoping she’d make some kind of noise. Though they were sick of her antics, they each secretly longed for her to jump out and attempt to scare them with her sloppy-drunk mindset. Yet no matter where they shined their flashlights, the forest remained still. Reader I don’t use that as a figure of speech. There were no animals scurrying around, not a single leaf was rustled, not even the wind was out that night.
I don’t know if you have ever heard that kind of silence in an unexpected place. Maybe it brought you peace, or maybe it put you on edge. See normally I think it depends on who you are and how embrace the unusual. I’m only a presence, so I’ve seen a lot, but I found myself just as terrified as the rest of them.
Suddenly all of flashlights flickered out at the same time, and in the pitch dark a distant sound was finally audible. It was eerie scratching sound that was getting closer and more aggressive by the second. They stayed silent, twisting and shaking their flashlights, too paralyzed to move in the dark without some light. The scratching reached their location before they could make any progress and the bone-chilling noise stopped. Then there was a scream.
We must first get some facts about this story I am about to tell you out in the open. The most important of these facts is that this story is not in my control. I have not chosen the ending we have been forced to endure in taking this journey together. I don’t want to tell this story any more than you want to read it.
The second piece that I am required by our bylaws to disclose is that humans were harmed in the making of this story… or the making of this life.
The last piece that we need to get out in the open is that I am an unbiased spectator. While I am not happy about some of the events that conspired throughout this story, I do not have a tie or favor to any one of the people involved.
Continue reading at your own risk.
An Innocent Observer
You can do this, yup I’m talking to you reader.
My dear reader, I do hope you will accept my sincerest apologies in not following up with this trying tale immediately after the events transpired. This week has simply been too trying a time to keep up with current events; though I am certain you wish to know of what happened to my little sister. I shall endeavour, in the strictest manner, to explain precisely what I did when confronted by my arch enemy (you must know I do not use the term lightly).
In the moments that followed Hugo’s dramatic entrance into the horrible little basement I was at first stunned, then concerned for Anise’ safety before I finally landed at furious. His kidnapping of the most important person in my life was not about to go unpunished but I couldn’t think where to begin. For the past several years, you see, I had been weaving an evil plot to be rid of the weather-centric scourge. However, when placed in a situation to do just that I was frozen in place; none of my elaborate plans had included the possibility of my sister learning of my misdemeanor.
As it was, I let him make the first move; he chose to speak of his plan like only an egomaniacal villain could. The plan was quite simple, though. He didn’t really want Anise’ powers (no great surprise there) but had attempted two methods of transference with little to no effect. From where I stood, practically quaking in my leather boots, I could see marks like lightning snaking their way up my little sister’s arms. I made a mental note to kill the bastard slower for hurting her in such an obvious way, but I was beginning to realize I was ill-prepared to take him on.
I must also let you, dear reader, know that I had been raised a pacifist; I didn’t want for any sort of violence ever so my aching to rip him limb from limb disgusted me more than I can describe. For the first time in my life a part of me had revelled in the chance to destroy the living being before me. Even when I was stuck in a one-horse town with this maniac I hadn’t truly wanted him dead by any means.
When I thought I could take no more of the suspense I whispered a charm to cut the lights, some sort of moonlight appeared to stream from a few glowing orbs (I haven’t been able to replicate them so I figure they were some form of dark magick even I can’t access) strewn about the room, but they resisted me. Hugo may be an evil genius but I’d outsmarted him before and figured I could do so again, easily. I was wrong, but what’re you gonna do?
My magick didn’t work and the idiot rejoiced in the chance to show me up; he had an enormous head, if you know what I mean. When the fire bolt (don’t know how he managed to create that) sailed just above my head I knew the task at hand was going to be more difficult that I’d anticipated. For a few minutes we exchanged bolts with little change in our resolve or stamina.
While I’m sure some of you, readers, would greatly enjoy a full account of every shot fired on either side, a detailed spreadsheet of what types of magicks was used and what we broke during the scrimmage I don’t have the time to review it all. You’ll understand fully what I’m referring to after this harrowing tale is done.
After I deflected a particularly nasty hex I dove under the whispering books table to hide and quickly discovered some of the volumes he had were from the library (how quaint). From where I huddled I had a perfect line of sight to my ever-sleeping sister and the frustrating barrier around her. Scanning the nearest book (a tome which now sits on my shelf) I found a deflection charm that just needed a power source to work.
I know it may seem like cheating but I took a few ingredients to make a spiritual battery: a jar which I emptied onto the floor, some rock salt, a dash of ocean water from a can beside the other books, a butterfly’s wings and created an eternal flame before sealing it up. Hugo seemed to be slowing down by the time I righted myself because his spells were becoming pathetically less precise in both conjuring and direction. As I waited patiently for him to make a direct hit I prepared to deflect the shot.
When he finally sent a fireball at me, I made a swishing motion and the jar glowed brightly. Now, my reader, this next sentence may sound a wee bit harsh, but it was necessary, I assure you. I directed the ball at my sister and watched as the force field sputtered, showering her in sparks and electricity.
There was a moment, here, where I thought Hugo might do something drastic with Anise freed but he didn’t seem interested. Actually, as soon as he realized the field was down he ceased his barrage of fire entirely. Not knowing what his plan was, I stood up and peered around the room; it was empty save the decimated tables. In a moment I’m going to describe something a little odd, and while you likely won’t understand until I explain, I assure you this is precisely what happened on that evening.
Without thinking about where this egomaniacal idiot had gotten to, be it hidden back in the wall or halfway around the world, I began feverishly flipping through the pages of the same tome from before. Though its pages were weathered and water-stained, the spells were very ancient and powerful; perfect for defeating my arch nemesis. I finally found the spell I wanted, Ut Celare Virtute, and began to assemble the taxing ingredients and ritual.
Reader, I should give you an in-depth history lesson on the roots of modern magick but I don’t have the time to write it out and you, quite frankly, have better things to do. Instead I’ll give you the short version. Or, rather, I shall relate to you the medium-length version of a most complex tale; only enough for you to understand what I mean by my actions. Magick is split into different types; spell magick, elemental abilities, potions and concoctions, and deity magicks. There are, of course, different ways to describe them, as well as some variation in the tellings, but that is the gist of modern magick.
The magick I performed that night, which is too complex to bother explaining, was of a long-dead practise which requires a working knowledge of every type to complete. After about half an hour I had created a new jar of materials you would shiver at and was about to imbue it with the magicks I had destined for it. When the ritual, which involved elaborate sigils and a terrifying number of candles, was completed the jar was sealed shut.
I nearly collapsed from the effort required to create such pure magick but that didn’t matter much. What did matter was waking my little sister from her deep sleep and getting her, plus the deceptively heavy jar, out of this hell-hole. Sucking in the horrid air I walked purposefully to the couch and crouched quietly.
Peacefully slumbering, Anise was an angel but as my fingers gently touched her skin a scream ripped through the air, knocking me backward. To this day, my poor reader, I don’t know what he did to her, nor how to reverse it. All I can say with certainty is that I cannot lay a hand on my sister’s skin lest it cause her immeasurable physical pain. When she finally calmed down, I handed her the jar carefully without telling her a word about its contents and begged her to flee to our fortress.
Even though I was careful not to touch her I could tell there were some left-over psychological effects to this hex and she eyed me warily. She didn’t say a word to me when she passed and snuck out of the basement. After I heard her slam the door with such force the rickety house shook it was my turn to leave, well feign my leaving. I was just picking my way through the debris when I heard a rustling noise behind me and felt something hit my back. Following that all was blackness.
Now, this last time, dear reader, I must beg the faint of heart to read no further. The next few paragraphs may show Hugo’s true colours but they are by no means summery; his are the murky, stormy shades of indigo and grey that haunt my dreams to this very day.
You have been warned.
When I awoke I was in what could only be described as an electric cage, minus the physical bars. I am certain the voltage was perfectly adjusted to knock me out, but not kill me; however I wasn’t sure and didn’t feel like testing that theory. Instead I watched as Hugo strutted about a room with windows and neatly-set tables lining the walls. Though I couldn’t actually see outside I knew we must be somewhere high up, otherwise he couldn’t create enough energy to power this field.
Something you already know about me is that my magick is different than most and I use that to my advantage at every turn. When I tried to use my power, though, I found it sorely lacking in the volume to get rid of the cage no matter what charm I tried. Hugo chuckled as I whispered my silly incantations over and over, while he worked away at some devious plans.
There was not a scared bone in my body, reader, when he turned to look me in the eye. Storms twisted in his eye as he blew the roof clean off the room and smirked maliciously; the roiling clouds mirrored his dark iris. Have you ever actually heard maniacal laughter? Positively bone-chilling is all I can say of it. His dramatics got the better of him as he cackled into the night sky, doing his best supervillain impression.
When he was finally done with the theatrics he stood before the first table; a tome was open to some form of Latin I couldn’t read from that distance. As he began to recite the magick I could feel the energy changing in the air and stood firmly against it. Even now I can recall, in perfect detail, the incantation he used when the bolt struck the cage.
Within seconds I was a crumpled heap on the floor, writhing and shrieking in pain. Hugo just continued as I felt the electricity surge through me, attempting to stop my beating heart. When he was certain the spell had done all it could the words faded from my mind and the convulsions gradually ceased. Though I could still feel the effects and tasted metal in my mouth I felt alright.
Hugo was suddenly standing over me, the cage having been destroyed in the event, admiring his work. A few shocks shot through me as he tested his handiwork; a seed-sprouting spell I learned as a child and became quite adept at. Funnily enough, poor reader, that was one of the only things I could do with my own element other than speaking to the plants themselves. Nothing happened to the shiny black speck in his pale hand and, over the course of a few minutes, he grew furious all over again.
By the time I realized he was no longer guarding me it was too late for me to escape, even if I could stop shivering with electricity. He was already reciting the next spell; this one was far worse than the first, in my opinion. As his voice echoed in the heavens the eleven elements offered their help to steal my power and encircled the psychopathic sorcerer. This is the part that keeps me up at night. Just remembering the natural magickal elements being used for such torturous ends shouldn’t be possible.
The first ball of radiant light was alabaster, lux, and drifted gently toward me. It moved easily from side to side, a trance beginning to take hold in the far reaches of my mind until I could no longer hold a thought steady. Unfortunately I can’t begin to describe what I saw, but I will try to convey the horror it bestowed upon me. All around I could feel my world burning to ash, nothing was left but me and my infinite power; I had to be rid of it to be at peace. There was blood in pools all around and screams from people long-dead who couldn’t find their way to heaven. Light was trying to force me to give up my magick through guilt but I wouldn’t let go.
Angrily, the little ball floated back to Hugo and disappeared. My dear reader, that was only the beginning of the spell created to steal one’s will to live. Suddenly the light was hovering before my eyes; flora, my own element. If I had reached for it I’m sure it would have run back to its master but I was too exhausted. Instead, it made its way to my hand and wormed its way under my skin with great difficulty. I held back my tears but I could hear my own screams echoing in my mind.
Pale lime lines laced their way up my arms, tearing flesh and bone as they went until they reached my lungs; I could feel the tendrils carefully winding around the vital organs mercilessly. They crawled their way through my veins and I bit my lip hard enough to feel a gush of metallic blood flow over my tongue. Just when I expected them to pop my lungs they receded, ripping through my body and landing just out of reach in a dripping pile on the floor. I tried not to look, I swear, but it was like a horror film and I couldn’t pry my eyes from the horrid mess.
With the green ball a defeated mass a sunlit yellow ball crept forward and hovered above me for a moment, obviously thinking about how best to break me. As the aer element got closer I held my breath; I didn’t want to be known as the one who was killed by air. It abruptly dashed forward and entered my chest, moving around for a few seconds, before settling in my heart. Then, I felt my body lifting gently into the air while I simultaneously became entirely invisible like fine glass.
Heart pounding, I continued to rise until I could almost touch the clouds and Hugo was a dot on a circle. Just when I thought we could go no higher I felt something catch and I began to drop rapidly from the sky. My dear reader, you will never be able to fully appreciate the terror of not knowing whether you are actually in this plane or not at the same time as you are suddenly plunging to your death. But just as I was about to be a large splotch on the floor the ball of light stopped me in mid-air, exiting my body entirely.
Once safely on the floor, gasping for breath, I considered giving in but, you see, I couldn’t let him win. Instead, I chose to watch the next ball of light, orange for fauna, coming toward me like a train’s headlights; I couldn’t move but, gosh, I wanted to. It started leisurely at my feet, scratching like an animal would and slowly climbed up my leg. As it clawed, reaching bone occasionally, I closed my eyes tightly and willed it to stop without a sound.
When it bit into my thigh, tearing a chunk from my flesh, I cried out loud, hearing my own pain in the dreadful sound. I sucked in a breath and glanced at the blood-drenched appendage as orange light shone up my side. All along it bit and chewed and tore at my flesh, but all I did was scream; thinking back, it’s a wonder no one in town heard my wailing.
Eventually my ear-splitting shrieks must have scared the animal element away; it just floated away, leaving a bloody trail all over my body. Blood loss would have taken me, had Hugo not paused his spell, to cauterize the wounds he caused. It couldn’t have been, reader, more obvious that he wanted me alive.
Hugo got back to the spell and the lights spiralled aggressively around his head for a moment before they settled down; his power had grown since last we met. Floating woozily was a golden brown orb, barely glowing and heavier than the others, to the ground. It rolled lazily toward me and I would have laughed at the pitiful terra element had I not been in so much pain. As it finally touched my hand I felt the flesh hardening rapidly. Breathing became instantly more laboured and my heart couldn’t keep up.
My body was telling me I was dying no matter how hard I attempted to calm myself; I was turning to stone, my blood was calcifying in my veins and my brain was becoming deprived of oxygen. Now, unfortunately for Hugo, I passed out due to oxygen deprivation but he didn’t notice until the stone process was already reversed so he doesn’t know I likely would have given up the magick if I’d been conscious.
When I came to, the ignis orb was just beginning to lick my fingers, searing the bare flesh an angry scarlet. I don’t even remember if I made a single sound as the ball of flame burned along my arm, touching every inch of flesh it could find. There came a point I believe, my dear friend, that I became numb to the torture and was hovering just inches from my body. But as the ball scorched my cheek I was thrown back into the mangled remains of my body; as charred and bloody as they were.
With the fiery orb defeated the only one that seemed to suck energy from its surroundings made its way toward me; the black hole drew the very warmth from the air. As it touched my heart, working its magick so much faster than its counterpart, nox took every positive thought an emotion from my soul and replaced them with pure dread. I felt so cold in that moment that nothing you could say would give me any peace.
Around me swirled the world of woe, in greyscale, and quite nearly had me convinced nothing could make the pain disappear like giving in to the soul-sucking darkness. Thankfully, just when I thought I’d crack and give in to the despair, the orb gave up. It was as though I was influencing the elements to decide they couldn’t break me as I got to that point. But you and I know better than to believe in the fantastical, right?
Hugo made a dangerous motion and the silvery grey ball of half-light shot at me, stopping right in front of my eyes. In its shiny surface, my friend, I could see myself clearly; a terrified woman holding on to a life that was barely worth living. But that was just the remains of the last element holding fast to the darkest parts of my brain.
Focusing on the task at hand I let the magnetic, electric ball do its thing; shocking my entire system at odd seconds until I’d nearly lost consciousness again. I don’t think I could have spoken if I wanted to as the lightning continued to flow through me for what felt like hours, but was likely seconds. That ball gave up faster than any of the other did. They all knew, I think, I couldn’t be broken but they had an insane master at the helm.
I barely noticed when rain was pattering on my body, or when the snow covered every inch of bare skin, leaving angry red frostbite. Electricity rocketed through me but I was completely numb in the freezing rain. Hugo was shouting at the elements to try harder in Latin but they could do no better. When ice hardened around me; suffocating and freezing every cell I thought I was already dead until the whole shell melted away and I convulsed with freezing ice encasing my lungs.
Now, my dearest friend, I endured drowning last of all but, again, passed out from exhaustion and severe lack of oxygen. The next thing I knew, Hugo was standing over me with malice plastered on his features; nothing could have stopped him from exacting the revenge he craved. But instead he whispered in my ear asking why I would endure all that to keep my powers. He knew they didn’t mean as much to me as they did to him.
Attempting to laugh I grimaced and coughed, “I hid them away so you couldn’t take them.”
So that, my very dear friend, is what actually happened on that eve. We may have all survived but we shall wear these scars, both physical and psychological, for the remainder of our lives. Thank you for listening to my horrifying tale and I hope you never again must hear of something so dreadful happening.
– Lily Anne Heart
Created to Write:
Ah, hello. Back for another chapter, I see. Wondering, ‘Will it finally get better?’
Well, I can answer that for you right now. Nope! Not yet, anyway.
Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, Heather is finally at the Avengers Tower, and her friends are over. She needs someone to be with her constantly, you see. Not just for safety purposes. She is less likely to have a panic attack if she has someone with her. Since the Avengers are off on a mission, it is up to her friends to keep her company.
“…So, Heather,” August says, his throat closing up slightly from the idea, “when do you think you’ll come back to school?”
Heather flinches, not looking up from her plate. When she realizes that everyone is looking at her, she looks up a moment, then picks at her food. “Uh… never.”
Josh was the only one not looking at Heather. Instead, he was looking at August, because he figured his brother would understand Heather’s problem at least a little bit. He himself had been in a traumatic situation that took a long time to heal. Josh even suspects August still has healing to go through, whether he admits it to himself of not.
But now Josh turns to Heather, surprised at how she didn’t add a ‘maybe’ or ‘probably’ to the sentence. “Never?” he asks.
“School… school isn’t for me,” Heather says, “I tried three times. The first was a horrible loneliness, the second I got myself kicked out when my attackers should have, and then…” she puts her for down. “I’m not hungry.”
No one questions it. Nikki looks around the room, finding the curiosity to ask, “Where’s Veronica? Isn’t she supposed to help with… well, everything?”
Veronica is currently in one of the lower floors, talking to the guard that transferred with her. She’s had a crush on him for awhile, so of course, she neglects her duties to flirt with him.
“Jarvis? Where’s Veronica?” Josh asks the AI.
“On a lower floor. Shall I call her to your level?” Jarvis asks.
They do ask him to, not sure why. Veronica arrives just as they finish with the meal. Heather had pushed her plat closer to the center of the table, truly unable to find it in her to eat.
“Well look who shows up,” Nikki says. Veronica doesn’t look at her very long, then starts for Heather.
“You really should eat more,” she insists. Heather shakes her head, folding her arms over her stomach.
“I…” Heather hesitates. One thing she hates about being an ‘invalid’ as she considers it, is that she has to have help with everything. “I need to go to the bathroom.”
And I mean, everything. Nikki instinctively moves forward, the boy’s understanding as well, but not wanting to get involved. Veronica on the other hand, shoots a death glare at Nikki.
Nikki has seen worse death glares, but backs off. Heather doesn’t speak up. The fact that she needs someone for this is humiliating on its own. She wants it over and done with.
Veronica wheels Heather away, a face of triumph on her face. She closes the door behind her.
Josh and August are still tense about the subject, but Nikki is bristling calmly at the interaction between her and the caretaker.
“…She doesn’t even care about Heather,” Nikki says, plopping back into her seat.
“Why were you ready to-” Josh stops and looks down.
“I learned from the nurse who takes care of my grandma,” Nikki says, “I had to help some days when she couldn’t, and then again when she was in a bike accident. Plus, I actually care about Heather, unlike Veronica.”
“…We don’t even know her,” August says. He was trying to find something to rationalize to himself why he should stay distant from Heather, but he voices it as a whole to the situation.
His brother looks at him. “She’s still a friend.”
“A friend that is hurting, and we don’t know how to help her,” August bites back.
Josh looks his brother in the eye. August can feel the scars on his shoulder, side, and legs burn slightly. “We have a good idea. Tender loving care, Gus. That’s what she needs. That’s all we can do.”