In The Darkness

What she would find that day would change the world she lived in. Ancient pages would show her things that no one would ever believe and lead her to a land beyond her home town of Lockley.
Louisa McCain discovers an old diary in her basement, that tells her of a fantasy land that she could only dream of. She slowly gets entranced by the idea of the beyond, the potential that it holds. She becomes obsessed with finding this place called Philia, frantically scrambling to put together the clues and find the portal.
If she does, will it all be what she imagined or will she be plunged into a world that she wishes she'd never found?

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18. Eighteen

“Where are we?” I asked, not recognising any of our surroundings.

“We’re taking a detour.” Xander grumbled, craning his neck to try and see over the hill in front of us.

“Xander, this is going to cause more trouble than it’s worth.” Justin said seriously, clearly not supporting Xander’s decision to take us to this hill.

“I need to. We need to. We need to know what’s going on and how close the battle is and how prepared the troops are and-“

“So this is Alkatar hill then.” I deadpanned, not expecting to be taken here.

“Yes, Louisa, it is. This is where all our troops should be and the battle-“Xander was shocked to silence by the view from the top of the hill.

Blazing fires licked at the sky, built of numerous different objects, some that were unrecognisable from the bonfires damage, but some that were clearly human figures. Clashes of metal echoed around the valley, coming from every direction and rocketing off the hillside, creating the deafening cry of battle. The grass that was once emerald green was now stained burgundy in the firelight, becoming redder by the minute as more and more soldiers fell to the ground in their final defeat. Angels soared around, slashing their swords this way and that to send their enemies to the death. Werewolves raced around, pouncing on the backs of the angels; tearing out their wings with their teeth and claws just to throw them into the sparking bonfires which soared higher into the sky with every new piece of fuel it ate.

“I need to get involved now. Things aren’t looking good. Justin, get down there and wolf up. If you find Alex or Sam, tell them I’m there helping out and that I got Louisa home.” Xander shouted.

“But you didn’t!” Justin yelled back.

“Lie then!” Xander bellowed before descending the hill and into the madness, transforming effortlessly into a chocolate brown wolf before ripping a wing off a nearby angel’s back. The angel screeched in pain, its eyes holding rage for the wolf that had attacked him as he slashed at the creature.

I averted my eyes from the battlefield, not wanting to spot anyone I knew being massacred among the many that already had been.

“Are you going to be ok?” Justin asked. I looked into his eyes, concern radiating from them.

“Go.” I said over the battle cries, “They need you down there.”

He nodded his head then darted into the crowds of fighters, joining the brawl that would inevitably end in one triumphant side.

I stood by on the hill, feeling powerless, at a loss. I couldn’t do anything but just stand here, and I didn’t like that one bit. Xander was right, I had been right in the first place, saying I was at least partly to blame for this war, so therefore, shouldn’t I be fighting in it too? I wasn’t one to stand on the side-lines whilst I watched people die for me and the mistakes I had made. I had to somehow get involved.

The only problem was I had no weapon. Then, I remembered. I had the dagger tucked into my belt loops, plastered in the dried blood of an angel.  I slipped it out, turning it over and over in my hands, then gripping it tightly in my right hand. I tested a jab, aiming for the air in front of me.

I could do this. I would not wait like a stereotypical woman for the men to come home from war. I would get involved with the war and get stuck right in the heart of the action. I had never fought before, but buried deep inside me, I could feel the instinct there. It was telling me to get out there and defend the people I had become to know as friend and save as many lives as possible. I was not afraid anymore. Death did not scare me one bit. The only idea I was afraid of was losing the people who were my friends. They had helped me, so now was my time to help me.

A battle cry flew out of my mouth as I charged down the hillside, my feet pounding against the dirt as fast as they could. I flung my dagger to the right, plunging it deep in an angel’s chest, not feeling any mercy for the creatures that were murdering my friends. It screeched in agony, a painful high pitched sound, and then dropped to the floor as I ripped my dagger out of its chest, leaving a gaping wound that bled out onto the grass in a flood of scarlet.

I continued in my path to the centre of the battle, leaving a path of destruction in my weak as I got into the rhythmic routine of stabbing the dagger into the chest of the flying beasts, and then tearing it out. Carcasses lined my path, marking where I had been and the danger I was.

“What are you doing here?” A voice yelled from over my shoulder. I jabbed my dagger into a chest to see Alex brandishing a sword and battling with an angel, “Xander said he had taken you home.”

“He lied.” I shouted, wrenching the blade from the chest of my next victim.

“Why did he do that?” Alex asked.

“I don’t know. I guess he just saw the battle and decided to join in.”

“Well, that was stupid of him.”

“Yeah.” Alex glanced at my trail of corpses, and then looked at me, astounded by my progress.

“You haven’t been doing half bad, have you?” he smiled at me, victory clear on his face as he slashed at the angel attacking him.

“Not really, no.” I said, a smile breaking out across my face.

Alex’s face changed, his smile falling off his face, the happiness flowing off his features like a sheet of water. I turned to see what he stared at. I came face to face with a blade, as its cool silver stung a line into my throat, searing, blistering pain seeping out.

Everything else blanked out. Time slowed to an impossible pace. Only the icy blade and I existed, its razor blade pressed against my throat, threatening to kill.

“I’ve got you now.” The wielder of the blade sneered; gripping me around the waist and pulling me flush against his chest. “You’re going to pay for what you’ve done to Zachariel.”

My breath came short and sharp, my eyes glued to the sword and how close it was to deepening the scarlet line on my neck. I gritted my teeth. My eyes flickered everywhere. I searched for help; for rescue. All I saw was Alex standing there, eyes wide and unmoving from the sword at my throat.

I wanted to scream at him. I wanted to yell and ask what the hell he was doing, but it was too late.

Another blade swung, cleanly swiping across Alex’s neck. A thud resounded across the hill, despite the raging battle and cries of war. I couldn’t look.

“You’re next, princess.” My captor sneered at me, digging the sword a little deeper into my flesh.

“Simiel!” A familiar voice boomed through the raging battle, “Leave her alive. I want to keep her as...a bargaining chip.” He came into view then, a sneer on his face as Simiel removed the sword from my throat.

“It’s been too long, Louisa.” Raphael whispered in my ear, making me shiver, but not in a good way.

He began tugging me to a clear area in the centre of the fighting, where the land was raised a little to form a platform above the rest. All I could see was hundreds of blades wielded by fierce looking men. Interspersed between the warriors were the corpses of the fallen, some still taking their final breaths, some still and immune to the war that was raging. The clanging of weapons was almost deafening as the echoes of grunts and cries swirled around the battlefield.

I searched for the wolves that had done so much for me, hoping that it was only Alex that had fallen to the angels. I spotted Xander nearby, fighting viciously with one of Zach’s friends, his face spattered with a little blood. Whose it was, I didn’t know, I just hoped it wasn’t his.

I couldn’t spot any of the other wolves in the madness, but wished with all I had that they were surviving, if not for me, but for Alex.

“Angels!” A voice boomed in my ear, “Take flight!”

“Do you mind not deafening me?” I muttered to myself as an almighty whoosh erupted from the ground as all the angels soared up several meters into the air, leaving the wolves and the deceased on the ground.

Suddenly, a set of arms clamped around me and wind whistled past my ears as my feet left the ground.

My mouth opened in a soundless scream as the raging battle beneath me quickly shrank until the creatures below looked the size of ants. I tried to find Xander, Justin, Sam or anyone that I might know, but clouds obscured my vision.

I was sure that I had never seen clouds in Philia before; only flawless blue skies that stretched across the world in a sweeping arc.

But it didn’t matter that there were clouds in that moment, only that I was quickly losing sight of the ground and my ears were slowly, slowly contracting under the pressure of flying so high in the sky. The angels seemed to soar upwards with their deceiving white wings pushing the air down with each ferocious beat, pounding to the rhythm of some imaginary drum.

Then we stopped. We hung in midair in some strange cloud filled in between that I only saw once before when on a plane to Florida when I was six. The memory, full of smiles and laughter, collided harshly with the reality of the here and now. Seemingly magical puffs of white became suffocating as I tried to see through them to the battle.

“Let me go!” I screamed into the near silence, writhing around in Raphael’s arms.

“Why have you brought me a human, Raphael?” a voice boomed from nowhere, resonating a muffled sound in my head.

Raphael stood straight, his wings beating in synchronicity with the other angels as he clearly spoke “She is the murderer.” He bowed his head as a blinding light pierced the white void.

“A mortal has murdered one of us!” the voice grew louder and angrier as the light shone brighter and brighter still. My hand rose instinctively to shield my eyes from the glare as the voice grew louder and louder, continuing to growl angrily at the angels. The words spoken by this entity were a mixture of sounds and letters that I didn’t understand, but it was clear they were curses and angry orders from the thunderous roar that came from the air in front of me.

The air rippled with the echoes of the bellowing voice as silence slowly cloaked the group, clouds rolling beneath us and the light pulsing with steady white illumination.

“Go.” The light disappeared, leaving behind a throbbing blotch of colour over my vision that slowly dimmed away with each steady flash.

 

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