Soul of Flames

On the edge of the reality we know, there exists a pathway that conceals a realm far more extraordinary than any have dared to imagine. In this realm, a war is raging. And one girl is at the centre of it all. Yet, to fight the suffering, she must learn to accept a heritage that could send the life she knows up in flames. One way or another, she is about to discover that, sometimes, giving yourself to the flames can unlock your soul...


4. Chapter 3-Robyn

I walk down the narrow pathway towards the drama studio. It is situated in the old section of the school, first built sometime in the 1700s. It was originally used as a chapel, but sometime during the early 1900s it was transformed into a school. No one really knows why, and no one really cares either.

Well, except me. I took one look at the majestic building and knew that I had to learn everything about it. Its architecture is extraordinary. Arching beams soar overhead and carved oak panelling lines the walls. Once, many years ago, I know that these solid fittings were carved with ornate images from eras past.

It was this that inspired me to dig into the beautiful building's history. I spent hours in the library, also housed under the old slate roof, scouring the books for some hint of carvings that have been lost. What I really wanted was to talk with the people who once lived on the land that my school sits upon. However, that was a little difficult, considering that all who had lived then were now dead and buried.

So I stuck to the books, reading page after page of ancient script hidden within dusty tomes, frantically searching for some clue, a mere hint as to what lies under the layer grime and dirt.

I only ever found one line, in a book that must have tumbled down the back of one of the many shelves in the library, which alluded to the mysterious history of this ancient building. 'The scripts pertaining to the historic chapel that resides on the modern school Silver Tree Upper School's grounds have been removed from this library'.

That was it. No reason why and no note saying where they had taken the books. From the way the words were written, I suspect that the writing was removed centuries ago, which means that the chances of me finding them is slim to none, a whisper in the turbulent air that I have barely a hope of discovering.

I was forced to give up, which is something I hate doing as it feels like I am relinquishing what little control I have. I'm not a control freak, but I won't just quit if I find something difficult. If I did, then I would never have even have attempted half of the things I have accomplished. It may not be noticeable, but I will always finish what I have started.

Which is why, although I may have given up for now, whenever I get a chance, when I hear a murmur that could lead me to my goal, I will snatch it, latching on with a firm grip and not releasing it until I have fulfilled my desire for the information that I crave.

I am still deep in my mind, in the midst of my musings, when I hear a squeal echo down the hallway. 'Robyn! Where have you been? I've been looking everywhere!' That is all I can make out before I am crushed in a massive hug.

'Hell, Em, you're like a grizzly bear when you attack people like that'. I smile as I extricate myself from Emily's restraining arms. 'And I doubt that you seeing me again after, what, fifteen minutes is really exciting enough to warrant such an energetic welcome'.

‘You know, she might actually be right this time Em. I mean, who would want to see that ugly face again?’ says a voice from behind Emily. I peer over her shoulder to see Matt smirking at me from his position leaning against the wall.

I’m about to make a sarcastic reply, but Em interrupts. ‘Who wouldn’t?’ She exclaims loudly, her powerful voice combining with the echoes of sound, making my ears ring.

‘Tone it down a little; are you trying to turn us all deaf?’ I say, glaring at Em, who gives me a cheeky grin before scampering off to talk to Cherri in the corner; or, more accurately, talk at Cherri-she’s so shy that she hardly speaks, and up against Em...let’s just say, it’s going to be a very one way conversation.

I turn back to Matt, who shakes his head at me. ‘Haven’t you learnt yet Robyn? You have absolutely no chance of stopping Em’s insane chatter, so you might as well give up now.’

Matt’s casual statement strikes a blow deep in my chest. ‘You’re one to talk! Aren’t you always trying to best her with your sarcastic comments and witty humour?’ I snap. Normally I’d take it all in stride, but today’s been a bad day and I can’t deal with Matt’s sarcasm at the moment.

I’m just about to scream at him, but I feel a warm pressure on my shoulder, halting me mid-thought. ‘Now guys, let’s just calm down a little and think this through,’ a voice at my shoulder says in a calming tone. ‘We don’t want to be too hasty, do we?’

As always, Luc’s voice makes everything easier, lifting a weight off my shoulders that I didn’t even know was there. ‘Sorry Matt,’ I sigh, ‘I’m on edge today’.

‘That’s alright. Just try not to do too much snapping, deal?’


Together we turn and walk onto the stage in the theatre. Someone has turned on the dimmer lights at the top of the seating area but left the rest off, casting the stage in shadow.

‘Alrighty then!’ Luc walks in behind us, followed by Cherri and Emily, and claps his hands together like he’s about to introduce a show. ‘Let’s get practicing!’

We all set to, scrambling to find the scripts and get the set ready for rehearsals. I begin to make my way up the black stairs at the back of the theatre, running my hand along the cold metal railing. The chill seeps into my hand, causing a shudder to run up my arm. The darkness that coats the stage seems to increase in density and size, gaining shape and form, until it begins to spill over the edge, trickling along the floor towards me.

Fear envelops me, my muscles seizing up in panic. I stare at the encroaching shadow, willing it to stop, to retreat back to the dark abyss where it has come from. Still, it keeps creeping forward, ever closer to the set of stairs that I stand on. When it reaches the bottom step one long, slimy tentacle sneaks over the rim and begins to wrap itself around the silver banister.

In a blind terror, I spin and bolt up the stairs like a rabbit startled from its den. My path curves and out of the corner of my eye I spy the tentacle straining to reach me, coming closer and closer to my ankle.

I force myself to sprint faster, racing up the stairs faster than I have ever ran before. I reach the sound box at the very top of the theatre and run in, slamming the door behind me. My brain is hyped up, all my senses on overdrive. My heart races. I can hear it beating in my chest. Dum-dum, dum-dum, dum-dum. Too fast.

I force myself to stop and stand still as a statue captured in stone. I am still tensed up, my fight or flight response active. I take in a deep breath and hold it, focusing on the air in my lungs. I exhale, closing my eyes, and then breathe in again. In. Out. In. Out.

My pulse rate calms, and I am able to think clearly again. I open my eyes, blinking in the sudden brightness. The lights are on, the stage and staircase lit up with a blaze of light. I smile and shake my head, laughing at my own stupidity. I’m afraid of shadows now am I?

Suddenly the door bangs open, thudding against the wall. I jump back into a crouch before realising that it is Matt who stands in the doorway.

‘What are you doing Robyn?’ he asks me, taking in my crouched posture and wild eyes. ‘I mean, we all know you’re crazy, but we didn’t think you were a raving lunatic!’

I laugh and stand, waltzing over and lightly jabbing him in the arm. ‘Well, if I’m crazy and you hang around with me, I’m pretty sure that makes you crazy too.’

‘Good point. In that case, my mental friend, should we descend from the asylum to instruct our friends in the methods of madness?’

‘I think we should,’ I reply, and Matt takes my arm and pulls me out the door, away from my delusions of living shadows. Honestly, I can be stupid sometimes. Shadows can’t be alive.

Can they?

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