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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9. Chapter 8-Robyn

Dad drives the car up the long, gated road to our house, pulling to a silent halt just in front of the large front doors with heavy brass knockers mounted in their centres.  Looking up at the ominous opening that has kept me trapped for so many years sends a shiver down my spine, and I avert my gaze.

To the left of the house, down a straight, wide pathway, are the gardens, all arranged in a perfectly symmetrical pattern: rows upon rows of expertly trimmed rose bushes intersected by more pathways, circles of pansies and carnations in full bloom, all creating a riot of colour against the grey stone of the large house.

There is even a fountain down there-right in the centre-made of sparkling white marble with cherubs holding drawn bows perched on each layer. From the arrow tips clear water pours out that glistens like diamonds in the afternoon sun.

On the opposite side lies the overly-big garage; although its size is proportionate to the ridiculous amount of vehicles my family own, ranging from top of the range motorbikes-with paint so glossy you can blind yourself looking at them-to the fastest and most expensive sports cars ever made.

In case you’re wondering how on earth we can afford such a majestic place, let me explain. My family are one of the richest and wealthiest in this part of the city-all due to my father’s business-hence the extravagant manor standing before me now.

It’s most kids dream to live in such a huge house, but I don’t see the blessing of it. To me, the opulence is just a way to make up for the complete lack of character that most of the people dwelling here possess.

In my opinion, it would take a fool to be taken in by the glamour. You only have to look just under the surface to perceive the truth, to push aside the veil of light and wonder to see the thick shadows underneath.

The lion head knockers bare their teeth at anyone who dares to even glance up the drive way, the brass taking on a crimson hue. The colour of the flower beds fade away against the sheer expanse of bleak, dark stone that makes up the house. The clear water of the fountain becomes as hard and cold as ice, its sharp edge slicing through you, numbing your brain.

That is how I see the terror that I live in, that I have to come home to everyday. But even that pales in comparison to the beasts within.

I know that every teenager thinks that their parents are evil, demons in disguise, existing purely to prevent you from living your life to the full. In my case however, this is true. Well, almost true.

Before I can lapse into an internal rant at my infuriating family, my dad comes up behind me and pushes me towards the front door. ‘Come on Robyn,’ he mutters in my ear. ‘There’s no point in stalling. It will happen either way.’

And so, with his hand forcing me roughly forwards, I manage the few steps from the car to the door. There I stand, in the shadow of the entrance, shivering in front of the solid, ten foot high doors of doom.

Out of the corner of my eye I see Dad handing over the car keys to a valet, before striding up to stand slightly behind me on the top step. I can just see his glare at the edge of my peripheral vision, spearing me with his eyes.

I sigh, knowing that he will make me walk in before him, offering me up as a sacrifice. However, I refuse to just back down, as usual. Instead I stand there, waiting for him to move past me and open the door, protecting me from the onslaught within.

Of course, it doesn’t happen. He leans in again, whispering ‘As I’ve told you before, I’m not going to help you. You have to learn to accept responsibility of your own messes.’

I bite back the retort I long to utter-I know it won’t help-and take a deep breath. This is always the worst part, the waiting, not being able to see what’s behind the door. Going blind has always been one of my greatest fears, and it really shows when I have to stand out here.

It’s not the darkness that comes with losing your sight-unlike most, I’ve never been afraid of the dark. It’s more the deprivation of one of my senses, like losing a part of myself, that terrifies me the most. That feeling that, no matter how hard you try, you can’t regain your sight, and you’ve lost some of the world you live in every day.

A cold trail starts to creep up my spine at the thought of going blind, much like the sensation from earlier, at the drama studio. I can feel myself beginning to shut down, drawing into my shell to protect myself from the outside world and all the horrors that it holds.

Quickly, to avoid the pain that waits for me in the depths of my mind, I push open the door, rushing forward with more eagerness than I have ever had when coming here before.

As I’m moving too quickly to stop myself (which is a common occurrence) I crash straight into my mother, almost knocking her down due to her skeletal frame. I feel her collar bone pressing painfully into my cheek and abruptly pull back, nearly tripping her again.

Luckily, Symon is standing at her elbow, and he catches her before she can hit the floor. Being a gentleman, just like he always is around her. Seeing her standing beside his muscular build makes me realise just how much thinner she is now than in the last family picture, taken almost a year ago.

I don’t understand her need to keep losing weight. Can’t she see that she looks emaciated, wasted away and malnourished to the point where she doesn’t look quite human anymore?

But then, I suppose all anorexics are like that, only seeing the few remnants of fat that cling stubbornly to their bones, until they are forced away by lack of eating. I think there must be some deficiency in their brain, a loose connection that warps their view so that they see the exact opposite of what they truly look like.

That must how my mother’s brain works, if she thinks she looks obese and ugly. In reality, she is beautiful, the kind of beauty you would find in a supermodel. She has straight blond hair, cut so that it just brushes her chin and, coupled with her ice blue eyes, gives her the frigidity of an ice queen. Her complexion is flawless, pale skin unmarred by freckles or spots and her naturally thin frame gives the impression that she has just stepped off a catwalk. So you can understand why I’m confused by her choices.

While I’ve been locked away in yet another internal monologue, Dad has walked around me and now stands next to Symon, with his arm around Mum’s shoulders. My little sister, Ashley, has also joined the gathering and is clinging tightly to Symon’s hand.

They stand there silently for a moment, just watching me, waiting for me to make the first move. At this point, I just want the whole ordeal to be over.

So, reluctantly, I say, ‘I’m sorry.’

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