A Demonic Shadow

Rhilia Noth. A not so young girl who was raised to believe she was human. When her life is flipped upside down by a mysterious stranger, Rhilia descends into Hell. Literally. Told she is a princess of a universe she never even knew existed, Rhilia finds it hard to believe anything this stranger is telling her. Until he reveals he is her real father. Forced to adapt to this new world and the creatures in it, Rhilia struggles to keep her mind together. When an unknown entity, dubbed 'The Shadow', decides to ravage her kingdom, Rhilia must team up with her brother and her father to fight off and ultimately destroy it. But will she be able to master her powers in time? Or will The Shadow consume her world and the people she has come to love?

(Rhilia's name is pronounced Ri-lee-ah)

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1. Strange Beginnings

Air...Why couldn't she breathe? Her eyes darted around frantically. Water. She was surrounded by water. Above her, beneath her. It was everywhere. She looked up and saw thin trickles of light. The surface! She clawed and kicked, trying to reach it but she did not move. Suddenly, a hand shot down to her and she grabbed it without a second thought. She was being pulled up. Her saviour had finally come! She looked up to try to find the face of her rescuer but was greeted with nothingness. A glint of red appeared in the distance and as she neared it, she realised it was mask. A gold mask with a grimace rivalling that of the grin of the Cheshire cat. She desperately tried to pull away from it. But to no avail. She was getting closer...closer...

Rhilia shot up in bed and slammed her hand on her heart. It was racing. For the third night that week she had had the same nightmare. It was starting to become a routine, waking up at ridiculous o'clock in the morning in a cold sweat. Rhilia shook her head and looked at her bedside table. Eerie green numbers from her digital clock told her that it was 3:47am Saturday. There was no way she would get back to sleep now. Looking around her room, Rhilia smiled and started to relax. There was no water here, bar the glass of water on the bedside table. No evil masks with horrifying grins trying to grab her and pull her off to god knows where. No. Here she was safe. Her room was her haven, filled with books and posters of people she admired and adored. Sometimes when she would wake up she would sit and stare at the posters until she convinced herself they would smile at her.

Tonight was not one of those nights. Rhilia was restless and couldn't stay in her bed for much longer. Not with the memory of her nightmare still fresh in her mind. She flung off the duvet and swung her legs over the bed. For a moment she was scared that the masked man would snatch at her feet and take her away, but she laughed quietly at herself for being so stupid. It was just a silly dream, nothing more. Rhilia stood up and walked over to her window, drawing the curtains back slightly to let some of the moonlight in. She moved backwards and sat on the edge of her bed with her back to the window, keeping her eyes on the bedroom door. For some reason she was convinced that it was going to open, but it didn't. Her imagination was really playing tricks on her tonight. Perhaps a walk in the garden would make her feel a little better, after all her parents didn't mind her going out at night. Rhilia tip-toed to her wardrobe and opened the door very slowly, otherwise it would creak and wake up her mum and dad. She pulled out a random hoodie and put it on. It took a little while for her to find her slippers but she eventually found them hiding behind her bedside table.

Creeping out of her room and closing the door quietly, Rhilia walked silently down the stairs and into the living room. She nearly jumped out of her skin when she felt something furry brush against her leg. Luckily for her, it was just her kitten Hex and not some scary monster. Hex purred and gently nipped her ankle.
"Oh, you want to come out with me? Alright then, but don't go too far." Rhilia whispered and picked Hex up. She made her way to the back door and found the keys in their normal place, on the counter next to the fruit bowl. The moment she unlocked the door and opened it, Hex had jumped from her arms and ran off to his favourite place under the rose bushes. How he didn't get hurt by the thorns, Rhilia didn't know. She stepped outside and inhaled deeply, taking in the scent of the night air. She loved it at night. The way that everything seemed to take on a dark yet beautiful charm made her skin shudder with delight. Rhilia closed the door and made her way into the garden, heading towards the garden swing near the back wall. She would often come and sit out here at night, or even during the day if she felt like it. It was her place of solitude. A place where she could be with her own thoughts with nothing to distract her...Except, of course, her cat when he decided to nip at her ankles for no reason whatsoever.

"Hex! Stop that, it hurts." Rhilia whispered angrily and picked the kitten up, sitting him on her knee. But Hex had different ideas all together. He jumped from her knee onto the swing, slipping a little on the new material, and proceeded to tug on Rhilia's sleeve. Rhilia set Hex down on the floor and watched as he scampered off behind one of her mother's cherry tree's. They had only been planted a few weeks before and were still tiny so Rhilia was able to see Hex's tail flick back and forth while he tried to drag something out. She decided to help the poor creature before he hurt himself and hurried over to him, reaching around the back of the tree to pull at something large and maybe metal. Rhilia stood up once she'd dislodged whatever it was and examined it closely. Hex meowed at her feet and nipped her ankle twice, trying to get her attention. But Rhilia was fixated on what she held in her hands. It was a mask. Not a metal one but a gold one. With a rather disturbing grimace.

"N-No. No way, this- How the hell is this possible?!" Rhilia's voice wavered and she began to shake. She gripped the mask tightly and flung it as hard as she could over the garden wall. "Stay away from me. Do you hear me? I don't know who or what you are, but stay away from me or I'll kill you!" Rhilia said with a raised voice at, well, nothing. There was nothing in the garden with her apart from Hex, but for some reason she felt eyes on her. Rhilia picked up Hex and ran back inside of the house, locking the back door and putting the keys back on the counter, next to the fruit bowl. She ran quickly, but quietly so she didn't wake her parents, up the stairs and into her room. Closing the door quietly, Rhilia put Hex on her pillow and closed her curtains. Whatever weird trick was being pulled on her was not a funny one and it was seriously freaking her out. She kicked off her slippers and took off her hoodie, before climbing into bed and letting Hex snuggle up close to her neck. It took a while before she eventually drifted off to sleep. But the last thing she remembered thinking of was how the same mask she had dreamt of had ended up in her back garden.

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