Umbra

Umbra: Latin for shadow, shade, dark, dust, ghost.
During a solar eclipse the world becomes the area of Umbra… the area in total darkness, but isn’t the eclipse what everyone wants to see, the rare beauty and intriguing flaw? The sun, necessary to the world’s life, completely hidden and everyone wants a bit of it, even though certain death would be imminent.
The earth is caught between the contrasting moon and sun… Will it go for the sun- survival, life, warmth- or the solar eclipse- chilled, different, and ghostly?
But of course, it’s not as simple as that, there are forces working against the world and things are not as simple as saying so.
Umbra…
What will she choose: is there a choice when it’s destined?

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1. Chapter One

 

The day was crisp and chilled, as dictated on the weather channel the previous night. Gracelynn could feel her legs rattle together as gasps of air drew into her bedroom through the cracks of her window.

Outside, she could hear the obnoxious chatter coming from the honking and revving vehicles, which, each morning, was her own personal alarm clock. The time this allowed her in the morning had become unwanted. She wasn't one for philosophy, or she was at least not as fond of it as she once was. The thoughts that slipped into the crevices of her mind recently involved blood, black, white and her father. Everything she didn't want.

She had grown a hatred towards herself since what happened with her father. A cut down her arm released the guilt she felt towards the situation. She pinched at the little flesh left on her stomach, repulsing her and forcing the fact she ate last night, into her mind. A scowl drew itself across her narrow plump lips and anger bled into her dewy green eyes.

Flipping the magenta bed sheets off of herself she took her emaciated legs and dragged them out. She hauled herself up catching a glimpse of her body in the floor length mirror. To herself, she looked horrendous. Not only did she think herself as fat, but she hated the mind and soul of the stranger before her. She knew the ritual to perform and headed straight to the bathroom determined to remove the poison lingering inside her.

"Here we go" She whispered, toothbrush in hand, glaring into the toilet bowl. She managed to get enough up to appease the monster, draining her mind.

However there was another demon, one that demanded the razor blade in the cupboard. As if she had no control over her actions, she took it out and, in a swift movement, drew blood of her right arm. She found it particularly sore, the blade was getting too blunt, she thought, and a hard breath drew in through her teeth. She tossed her head back and her jagged neck creaked in the speedy movement.

Pain is good. Pain is good. She kept to herself, as she blanked out to a dreamed up oblivion.

"Gracie, sweetie, is that you?" A voice croaked from the opposite room. Diana stepped out of her luxurious bed linen and swept round a bed robe to heat up her shivering body. Her eyes were partially closed as they adjusted to the fresh light surrounding her. The floorboards trembled as footsteps were placed upon them. "Gracie, are you up?" Her tone becoming more alert and concerned. "Please answer." She said before taking a gulp, hoping for the best as she stood before the bathroom door.

It wasn't that Diana wasn't worried about her daughter's recent actions, but it was her nature to be naive and pretend things were not happening. Will was the first point of concern. Six years Gracelynn's senior, he was her boyfriend. He's just a friend of hers, Diana innocently believed. Though that wouldn't be much of an improvement with the rumoured activities Will got up to.

This was one event Diana could not camouflage to her head. A lake of blood encased a Snow-White-like child, hair dark, lips red from ruby blood, skin ivory from the fainting.

Diana's reaction confused herself. Her teeth gnawed at her lip and her hands up at her forehead in sheer shock. A million and one things rocketed through her.

Gracelynn, who was lying in the fetal position, was then lifted up into a caress normally adopted by a baby. She couldn't have weighed much more than ninety pounds. Diana placed her upon the vibrant pink bed sheets as she wrapped the bandage material around the torn flesh.

"Ring a ring a roses, a pocket full of posies. A tissue, a tissue, we all fall down." She hushed, the words coming up as if she were vomiting knives, while looping round the material. Her child was fading in front of her. Ring a ring a roses had been Gracelynn's favourite song as a child; she just wanted that simple innocence to return to her.

Gracelynn drifted off into a dreamland, as if she were Alice exploring her LSD fuelled world. The most recurring of these dreams, or nightmares, was the memory of seeing her father for the last time. Everything seemed more poisonous and vile in her head while she slept. It was set in her house, however the walls appeared elongated and stretched. Time felt still and sickeningly slow as she observed. The walls would have splashes of blood decorating the fine Edwardian architecture and venomous insects crawled along the floor below her. They seemed to act as a conveyer belt dragging her to the steps to upstairs. The staircase also was distorted in such a way she felt intimidated, unsure whether or not she could climb.

Tiptoeing up the stairs, she knew what she was in for, yet every time she lived the event over and over again, memories came back like a tsunami on her conscience.

The door creaked open and all that was before her was an ebony liquid drip, drip, dripping down everything. The noose came down along with the body that had but dripping stumps for hands. In the corner came a light, she believed this was her saviour, someone who could help her from all of this. She assumed it was her friend Adrian but he wasn't someone she wanted to think about any more. She had Will now.

That's when the shriek came blasting out her lungs every time.

"Gracelynn" Diana's neck flew up to look at her daughters panting, trembling body. Her eyes were weak as she struggled to find meaning. Gracelynn could feel guilt balloon in her stomach, but this is what she wanted. Diana wanted to make her feel like the bad one. The one who was destroying the family. Guilt no longer took over her, but resentment.

Since her fathers death, Diana took part in late night rendezvous with men closer to Gracelynn's age than her own. How could she do that to her own daughter? How could she do that to her husband? Did she not love him? Does she have no moral responsibility, leaving her daughter alone to perish from the loss?

Everything seemed to rush into her mind.

"Gracelynn," Diana said, eyes still dripping, crossing over to the bed from the wicker chair. "Shh," she hushed, "We're going to get you help" Her arms reached out to take the hold of her daughter. Gracelynn however proved reluctant after her previous thoughts.

"No." Gracelynn leapt out of her bed and snatched up a handbag, her mobile, a jumper and jogging bottoms.

"Gracie, where are you going?"

"Away."

"To Will?"

"Who knows, you don't. You've not cared anything anything related to me since he died"

"Let's not ta-"

"Ha" A sarcastic snigger left Gracelynn "Sounds familiar. And that outlook got us in this mess, didn't it?" Too late. With her clothes now on, she left for the door and headed to Will's house. It might not be much, but it was a haven in comparison to the hell which had developed in her home.  

Outside, the sun was harsh as it crept up the London skyline and hit down upon Gracelynn on Bedford Gardens. Although it forced her weary chartreuse green eyes shut, there was little heat radiating from it leading to more involuntary leg chattering.

She could see as she walked along the street her precious breath chill as it turned to a cool smog. She found breath a funny thing as of recent, it meant she was alive. The Baltic weather confirmed this, it was reachable, visible. Tangible. The strange thing was though, Gracelynn didn't feel all too alive, as if her soul was drained from her, as her dad's was, with only her heart left to beat in an empty capsule.

"If this is what living is, what's the point?" She muttered unleashing another bout of breath. Few people were around at such an early time, but the fluttering birds appeared to be better company than any kind of human could.

She admired their freeness, how no power or knowledge could pull them down and prevent them from flight. It must be nice to touch the sky without the feeling of guilt. The guilty one, for leaving the world behind. She grumbled in her head. She rummaged around her flung together back to try to find her purse so she could take the tube. Nothing. Only her phone, an umbrella and a scarf was inside.

Gracelynn headed in the direction of Will's house in the east side of London, gradually slowing down as she managed to get further away from her house in Kensington.

She managed to reach Marble Arch where flurries of people congregated. The business people of the city centre seemed to share the same blank view of the world as she did. It helped her to feel as though she could merge into the crowd and prevent anyone from recognising her.

Flipping out her phone she prepared to call Will to arrange him to pick her up and take her on the tube. Her plan was to stay at his for a couple of weeks. She had done this before while Diana had been on a trip for an article she was writing. Although not fond of the attention seeking, problem-provoking people, Gracelynn enjoyed the comfort of a couple of close friends. She was sure Will would be fine with her moving in. He had already hinted wanting her to.

Lifting her phone to her ear, a nauseating, repetitive tone, indicating it was beginning to dial, sounded. She lifted her head up and found herself in a dumbing shock.

"You left school." A sallow voice said. The owner of the voice had heavy eyes, just as Gracelynn's were. "You can still talk to me, you know. We don't have to talk about last time." She noticed the speechless more as her jaw hung lose. She took the phone away from her ear and hung up just as she heard a casual "Sup" coming from it.

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