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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11. Eleven

I awoke to a light flow of air passing my face, something that felt like a rope tied tightly around my waist. My head was facing the ground, flopping like a rag dolls. I felt like I had no control over my body, that it would have to stay limp for the rest of eternity.

My eyes flickered open to see tiny dots of light falling away beneath me, puffs of smoke floating lazily across the blackness that was all I could see.

Slowly, I pulled my head up, gaining control over my previously dysfunctional muscles. I fluttered my eyelids open and closed a few times, to dispel the dizzy feeling that was building a little in my head as the vertigo tried to take over.

Something kept brushing my ankle, light as a feather and soft as one too. My feet were bared to the world and its elements; the wind that came from some unknown source tickled my soles and rushed between each of my toes in thin channels of cool air.

The last thing I remember was being inside, almost dying from the energy transfer that had occurred between me and Zach. It all rushed back to me in an instant, my thoughts and contemplations, his tongue invading my mouth, unwanted and feeding from me. A shiver rippled through me at the memories.

I now regretted not going with my instincts and following my gut, like I had told myself to do since I had suppressed it before. I should have pushed Zach away earlier than I had done. Maybe I would’ve been able to know where I was and how I got here and have some kind of point of reference.

A large building that was lit up by thousands of burning lights illuminated what must have been the ground below. That meant I was flying. That most likely meant that the rope that was secured around my waist was Zach’s arms. I shuddered again, not liking the feel of his body anywhere near mine. I never wanted to touch this angel again after how he had treated me. He had almost killed me! How could I forgive that? The answer was I couldn’t.

Solid earth met the balls of my feet, feeling like heaven compared to the emptiness I had been hovering in before. The short blades of emerald grass caressed my feet, spotting them with the dew drops they were burdened with carrying from the evening mists and rain.

A thought hit me at that instance, something I had completely disregarded before: where were my shoes? I looked over at Zach to see his hands empty of my footwear as he chatted idly with some dignitary and their food supplies. They all had their wings expanded out; creating a curtain of white that shielded them from anyone else’s view. I could hear the girls giggling inside the feathered tent that had been made, clearly still enraptured by their so called soul mates.

If they knew what I knew, I doubted they’d be so comfortable and giggly. I know I wasn’t anymore. After I had overheard that conversation, everything had changed, including me. I had taken life more seriously, realised it wasn’t all rainbows and daisies, there were thorns among the roses, whether I liked it or not. With something good, there was always a way to get hurt, be pricked by those lethal thorns that were hidden beneath the stunning blood red petals that were no longer enticing to me. I knew what lay beneath, that nothing was as simple as it seemed from the outside.

You can’t judge a book by its cover, I had been told multiple times by my mother as I scoured the library for a book, back when life was simpler and more easy going. I now saw the deeper meaning in that age old saying, that nothing could be judged from its exterior. Most of the time, the books with the simplest, most average covers were the best, and that applied t people as well. Some looked beautiful and good from the outside, but hid a darker, more sinister secret beneath that facade that they put up on the exterior, and vice versa, of course. Not everyone was evil in the worlds that existed, there had to be good to counteract that darkness, to balance the scales of light and dark.

Their wings all retracted again, revealing the group of average looking girls chatting within the circle of angels. There were seven angels and six girls, excluding me. They all seemed to be having a great time, laughing and chatting with one another. I wished I could be that care free, but it just wasn’t possible anymore. I had to always be on alert and ready for anything that could potentially go wrong.

Tonight, I had to look out for Xander, even though he had strictly told me not to. I would try and make it subtle, but subtlety had never been my speciality.

Zach waved me over, beckoning for me to join the group of angels and humans. Oh, how I wished I could scream at the girls to run, run for their lives and get back through the portal and back to their families and friends that were sure to be missing them. But, as Xander had said, the cycle of life was being disrupted enough with me taking off and murdering an angel, never mind seven killings and seven escapees. That was sure to cause major disruption.

I put it out of mind for now, leaving it in a crevice of my awareness that I could easily access if necessary. I dove into the conversation with as much enthusiasm as I could muster, plastering a convincing smile on my face.

“Everyone, this is Louisa, my soul mate.” Zach announced to the group with great confidence. I saw one of the angels pressing his lips together, clearly restraining laughter, but I averted my eyes from him, not wanting to set him off laughing. That would give my game away.

“Hi” I said timidly, giving the group a small wave.

“Ok, my love, we have Michael, and his soul mate Cassidy,” Zach gestured to a tall blonde haired man and a petite young woman with curly blonde hair that was only a few shades lighter than his dirty blonde, “Gabriel, and his soul mate Kennedy,” a broad man with brown hair was put in the limelight, along with a slim, tall woman with wavy, brown hair with natural, caramel highlights, “Raphael, and his...soul mate Harriet,” the next two were complete opposites physically. The man, Raphael, had ebony black hair, cropped short and spike, and a towering broad frame. The woman, Harriet, had straight, platinum hair that went down to her waist in a cool sheet, like metal. She was petite and very slight, with piercing blue eyes that sent shivers to my core. She was the one human that unnerved me the most.

Zach’s introductions continued, but I didn’t pay close attention to them, as I analysed Harriet, thinking I had seen her somewhere before. I heard names and smiled. Uriel and Anastasia, Simiel and Lorna and Oriphiel and Celia were the names of the remaining pairings I had to be introduced to but I only just registered who was who.

Harriet...if only I knew her last name, maybe I would be able to put this icicle of a woman in place and recall where I had seen her before. I was sure it wasn’t at school or around town but I couldn’t be sure. I had a terrible memory for details like this.

Her icy gaze met mine, softening as if she knew what I was going through. Could it be possible that she knew her purpose? Zach had paused before he said ‘soul mate’ so maybe she knew her purpose, and possibly even accepted it for some unknown reason.

Then it hit me. She was the infamous actress Harriet Shaw. I had seen her in numerous films when I had been to the cinema back in Lockley with Saff and Aaron. I remember reading about her being addicted to drugs, cigarettes and alcohol during a dark time for her. The article reappeared in my mind, reminding me of what I had seen on the front of OK magazine a few months ago. The title had read ‘Harriet Shaw gone astray...again’. It had told of Harriet’s troubled past with her problems and how she had been pushed into rehab by the media and constant haggling. She had mysteriously gone missing on the night I had gone out to the forest all those months ago.

A new moon. It hit me that she must have followed Raphael here as her escape from the media and her hectic life as a Hollywood star. This wasn’t the escape she needed. I wanted to help her so badly, but knew I couldn’t upset the balance anymore by letting another human escape from their predator.

She had clearly shuttered herself from the world now; her eyes exuding a cold message that made me want to back up a few steps but I didn’t. I held my ground, staring back into her ice infused eyes, trying to tell her as subtly as I could that she shouldn’t be doing this, shouldn’t put herself through this misery and pain just to escape the media. From what I had experienced here, the media seemed like your best friend compared to these monsters.

Don’t get me wrong, there are nice people here as well, like Xander, but most of them are downright evil. Yet they still masquerade as the good guys. They live behind the facade of your friend, your lover, just to get what they needed. They were manipulative beasts, selfish in every sense of the word.

When you think about it, there were people like that back on Earth too. The only thing that was different was their motives. Humans were manipulative to get to the top, to trample on others for selfish reasons. These angels manipulated us for food, for survival. When you put it like that, it didn’t sound all that bad. It made them seem like they were just doing it for survival, like we do ourselves. Except it’s different than that, the way that they manipulated you made you feel like all the lies they told you were true. They also took the lies too far, making you feel like the only one for them, just to drop you down to the lowest point and make you feel used by dragging out the process.

When you see those documentaries where lions go charging after zebras, they don’t make the zebra suffer or slowly kill it in a torturous manner. They just go straight in for the kill. If they didn’t, the zebra could get away and the lion would go hungry.

I don’t think the angels actually realised that we were clever enough to figure out their plans. They underestimated us completely. They thought we wouldn’t, couldn’t, escape from them because we would never know what was happening as they slowly drained us of our energy.

I was going to change that today. I was going to prove to them that we were a worthy adversary and that we weren’t just their prey, weak and small. We were predators too, in our own way, and we had tricks up our sleeves to use as well. They thought they could just pick us off like lions in their dens; that they could just pounce whenever they pleased and feed on us slowly; killing us softly without us even being aware of what was happening. How wrong they were.

I scanned the crowds of people that entered the extravagant building before us, idly meandering around the towering marble pillars. Most of the population seemed to be angels by the sheer quantity of pearly wings that blanketed the place, smothering the burning lights that were strung about the place. There was the odd person that had no wings, but most of them were the human prey of the angels that they followed, like lost puppies.

I had no idea where Xander could be. It didn’t seem like there was any werewolves there at the moment.

Suddenly, a surge of people made their way into the mansion, all heading in the same direction whilst chatting mindlessly. I was swept up into the crowd, as were the rest of the group I had been with.

The rush of bodies walked towards one large room in the mansion that was lit up like a bonfire, blazing with an unbridled light that nearly blinded me.

“Welcome” a voice boomed as soon as we had all entered the room, standing in formal lines, like soldiers waiting for war. I was just behind Zach who was on the front row, next to the angels I had been introduced to earlier. Harriet stood to my left, her crystal eyes faced forwards; blank and emotionless.

My eyes flickered towards her, hoping to get some kind of contact. I wanted to talk to her and figure out what she knew about this place. If she knew more than me, I could possibly gain more answers that could potentially help me escape. She had been here longer than me, so hopefully that meant she knew more too.

I gained eye contact with her, mouthing at her ‘we need to talk’ as soon as she had noticed me. She gave a subtle nod of her head, and then turned back to the front, an unreadable expression set on her face, cast in the stone of her skin.

I could never be that good at acting. I stood there, my foot tapping nervously and my lower lip being ravaged by my teeth. I let out a long breath through my teeth, trying to be as quiet as possible in the silent ball room.

“Welcome all, to this year’s official’s ball.” A voice boomed from the front. I expected applause to erupt from the audience, but everyone remained in their rigid rows, uniformly straight and unmoving. I copied their positions, trying to look like I fit in and didn’t know any different from the next person. I did not need to be picked out and scrutinized.

A figure appeared at the front of the room, encased in a blinding light that burned like the brightest of fires. I had no idea who it was, but it had to be someone powerful to put the room into an obedient silence like this.

I guessed it must be the leader of the angels and Philia. I doubted it could be anyone lower than that as Zach seemed to be pretty powerful himself.

“Archangels, step forward.” The voice commanded. Zach and the six other angels stepped forward, bowing respectfully to the blazing light before them.

“I want to speak with you seven before I begin the festivities. Please follow me into my private living quarters. Everyone else, please mingle whilst we are gone.” The light dwindled as the leader got further away, Zach and the other ‘archangels’, as the light had called them, following the light into some private room.

I guessed the light was male from its booming voice that echoed through the room, with its harsh tones. He didn’t seem like a benevolent leader for Philia and appeared the complete opposite of the inviting land.

Now was my time to talk to Harriet and look for Xander, I decided. It would be best to talk to Harriet first and then, if she knew anything extra, I could either relay that to Xander or get Harriet in on our plans to potentially help us.

Harriet had dispersed with the rest of the crowd. I had seen her walk off as soon as everyone had been dismissed by the leader, but I had no idea as to where she had gone. She could be anywhere among this crowd of angels.

I tried to look over the heads and wings, but could see no sign of her platinum blonde head or her shimmering black floor length gown. It was no use. I would never be able to spot her in this crowd. The fact that most of the crowd were blonde and wearing black didn’t help me in my search either.

I decided to venture outside, hoping to find her out there. It was quiet out here and gave me a chance to clear my head and order my thoughts. There was no sign of Harriet being out here, so I would have to go back inside soon before the leader got back, but I wanted to spend a minute to just collect myself.

 

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