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...

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8. Chapter 7-Robyn

A loud voice drags me up out of the clutches of sleep for the second time today. I groan and roll over, burying my face in the pillow. The voices fade away into the distance and I start to sink into sleep once more.

Suddenly a loud bang echoes down the corridor outside and around the room, a door being pushed open with enough to force to make a hole in the wall. That can only mean one thing.

My dad’s here.

Now there’s no hope of me getting anymore sleep. I know better than to delay the inevitable, so I sit up and rub the sleep from my eyes, stretching up to remove the stiffness from my spine.

I’m rising from the bed when he bursts into the room, striding along with his huge steps. He must have come straight from work as he is wearing a suit, the sharp, crisp edges slicing through the air as he moves.

He approaches the bed where I stand and glares down at me with his dark brown eyes, thick eyebrows pulled down so far that they almost meet across his brow. His eyes bore into mine, demanding an explanation without uttering a word; an example of how much authority he holds.

As I attempt to avoid his angry stare I see the young nurse from earlier hurry in, strands of hair escaping from the messy bun on top of her head. She stumbles to a halt beside us, looking a little flustered from having to run to keep up with Dad.

‘Sir, if I could trouble you to sign this form please, so that we know a family member has picked her up.’ She pushes a clipboard with a sheet of paper and a pen towards him, trying to force him to place his signature on the dotted line.

Dad, being who he is, completely ignores her and stays focused on me, still waiting for an answer. I refuse to comply, keeping my gaze firmly fixed on my feet.

‘Sir, really, I must insist that you sign this form!’

Dad sighs and turns away from me, towards her, glancing at her name tag before looking her straight in the eye.

‘Natalie, dear, do you know who I am?’ He questions her, his eyes flickering over her form once, judging her, before returning to her face.

Natalie stutters, visibly shaking as she realises exactly how much power my dad holds.

He sighs and shakes his head at her, tutting quietly. ‘Well my dear, my name is Jack Oakbow and I am one of the richest and most powerful men in the country.’

Dad’s not really one for modesty.

Natalie’s eyes widen when he tells her his name, revealing shock and a drop of fear. Obviously she’s seen his name in the paper or on the news at some point.

‘I-I’m so sorry, um, Sir, I didn’t recognise you. Of course there’s no need for you to sign this, erm, this silly thing, you can just take her and go.’ She stutters out, ending with a shrill laugh that is tinged with an edge of terror.

Dad nods slightly and then puts his back to her, dismissing her. She scurries off back down the corridor, probably off to tell all her colleagues about the celebrity in their midst.  

For a second I’m glad she’s gone, until I realise that I’m alone with my dad and, now that he no longer has to worry about public appearances, he can say what he wants.

‘What the hell do you think that was Robyn?! You know how hard your mother and I work to keep up public appearances and hide the fact that you can do nothing worthwhile! How could you let this happen when you know what is at stake?’

I keep my eyes locked on the floor. I know from past experience that looking meek and cowardly is the best way to deal with Dad when he’s like this.

Dad carries on, completely oblivious to me. ‘Our whole livelihood is on the line, and you decide to hang around with a bunch of misfits, whom I have told you time and time again will get you in trouble, and you end up here, in hospital. Why can’t you ever listen!’

He practically screams the last line at me, his face turning bright red under his tan. A bead of sweat slips down from his forehead, tracing a sticky path down his nose until it drips off the end and lands with a splat on the floor at his feet.

This is the time for me to apologise.

‘I-I’m really sorry Dad. I didn’t mean for it to happen, I just followed my instincts.’ I already know that, no matter what I say, he’ll still blame me.

‘Well, maybe you should think and use logic and common sense instead of intuition and luck!’ he shouts.

He is about to begin a new tirade when the door opens and Dr Smith comes in. I don’t think I’ve ever been so glad to see someone in my life.

He walks up to Dad and offers his hand. ‘I assume you are Mr Oakbow, Robyn’s father?’ Dr Smith asks politely.

Dad closes his eyes for a moment, obviously annoyed at the interruption, then plasters a fake smile on his face and greets the doctor, grasping his hand and shaking it firmly.

‘That is correct,’ he says, still smiling.

‘I’m Dr Smith’, the doctor says. ‘I’ve checked your daughter over and she seems to have no serious injuries. It’s remarkable really. I expected at least a couple of broken bones, but there’s barely a scratch on her.’

Dad nods. ‘I’m happy to hear that. May I take Robyn home now? She may be a little shaken up still, and it would comfort her to be in the safety of her own home.’

‘Of course Mr Oakbow.’ Dr Smith smiles at him once more, then turns to me.

‘Should you feel any pain anywhere, or if you get a headache, come straight back here. I’m convinced you are fine, but I must take precautions.’

‘Yes sir,’ I reply, and then Dad places a hand on the small of my back and starts to guide me from the room. Just as we reach the door, I look back at the doctor.

‘Thank you,’ I whisper, almost too quietly for even my own ears to pick up. Somehow, Dr Smith seems to hear me, and he nods at me as I am led from the room, a small smile on his lips.

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