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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4. Four

They were jumping at me, running after me, snapping at my heels as I ran as fast as I could. I was fuelled by that unadulterated adrenaline again, my heart beating a thousand miles an hour, my breathing rapid and short.

I couldn’t scream, no matter how hard I tried. All I could do in that moment was run as fast as I could.

It was pitch black again and I was back in the forest, the tree’s branches whipping at my face and scratching my bare arms. Hadn’t I worn a coat? I thought I had but dismissed it as I focused my vision on the point of light between two trees.

One of the wolves managed to rip a scrap of denim off my jeans as they continued to chase me, not relenting from their furious run.

The light continued to get closer and closer as my feet pounded on the tightly packed soil, thudding every time my foot hit the dirt. Light blazed through the gap, even more fiercely than before, blinding me as I finally got bathed in its ethereal glow.

Then everything went black once more.

***

I shot up in bed, sweating, and my hair stuck in disorganised clumps to my damp forehead.

It was all just a dream. It was nothing more, nothing less.

My mind flickered back to last night, the image of that wolf staring straight into my eyes permanently etched into my brain. I read through my entry that I had written in a rush last night, recapping what had happened when I went down to the lake near midnight.

I put my cold feet on the floor, shuffling into my slippers as I headed for the bathroom.

I saw myself in the mirror, only just recognisable in my tired state. Sweat plastered my forehead, a few drops of perspiration slipping down the side of my boiling cheek. Small bruised bags had begun to form just underneath my darkened brown eyes, showing my exhaustion from a lack of good sleep and my escapade last night to the forest.

I sighed, splashing some ice cold water on my face, hoping to make myself look half decent for the day ahead.

“Here we go again.” I murmured to myself, scraping my hair back into a rough ponytail and pinning back my fringe. I wanted a clear view of Saff and Aaron’s faces when I told them about what I had seen last night and how we would go about discovering where these creatures were coming from.

I still wasn’t one hundred percent certain that there even was a portal, like Othello had mentioned, that led to a foreign land called Philia. It seemed to defy the laws of science and religion and pretty much every other subject that we were taught. Except English, but all those books that we read were all fiction or only based on events that had happened. At least that’s what we were told. Who’s to say there isn’t really a Hogwarts out there somewhere or that vampires do live in secrecy? It might just be that the authors that wrote those works of so called fiction have actually come across these places in real life. It is the common sense of the human mind that restricts us from thinking of the possibility that these creatures; these mystical lands and locations might just exist somewhere out there. Earth is a huge place; we can’t have discovered every single nook and cranny on it yet. There has to be something else out there that we have yet to discover that proves everything we know completely wrong.

This thought just brought me back full circle, making me face the fact that if all those places could exist on Earth, Philia could exist off Earth, out there somewhere on another planet or dimension.

I thought I had found everything I needed to until now, when I over thought everything and delved deeper into the possibilities of what everything could mean and how the different facts I knew added up so far. I had a lot to do still.

I would have to read the diary fully, to see if there were any hidden clues or hints as to how I could find the portal, if it even existed in the first place. There was still the possibility that Othello McCain was a delusional old man with some kind of mental disease.

I took a deep breath, trying to simplify things in my head to a basic equation but I just couldn’t. There were too many factors to consider at the moment to actually get anywhere and figure anything of any use out. 

My head pounded with all the work it was doing at this early hour, pulsing with a raging rhythmic force that almost drove me to insanity. I took the box of Neurofen out of the cupboard and popped one in my mouth, chasing it down with several glugs of cool, fresh water.

I almost ran into my room, chucking my uniform on after stripping down from my pyjamas. I lunged for my bag, just grabbing the strap as I lurched my out of control body through the door way and down the stairs without injuring myself.

Once in the kitchen, I snatched a bowl from the cupboard and poured some Coco pops into it, grabbing a glass, orange juice and milk as I dashed around in a mad rush. I picked up a carton, splashing it over my chocolate cereal, just to realise it was the orange juice. Luckily, I had only gotten a little in, so I just shrugged and picked up the milk, drowning the tiny brown puffs in the liquid white. A spoon found its way into my hand and I was shovelling the cereal into my mouth, robotically chewing then scooping another spoonful into my awaiting mouth. The orange juice was drained just as quickly, flowing freely down my throat in a matter of seconds.

“Bye mum!” I yelled up the stairs as I slammed the door closed and speed walked down the drive and towards the forest.

I was eager to see if there were any traces of what I had seen last night. From what I had heard from the diary, there would be no signs of the collection of creatures ever being there in the seemingly average park, but I had seen them with my own eyes. I knew they existed. Whether they were of this world or another, I had yet to confirm, but I just knew that this was going to lead to something new, something exciting and I could hardly contain myself as I ran down the pavement and towards the mass of autumnal leaves.

It was the same as it always had been at this time of year. The leaves lay undisturbed in their average carpet of an array of fiery colours. The scampering small animals could be heard rustling through the bushes that lined the path disorderly, dashing along tree branches and sending a few leaves soaring into the air in their path.

It was exactly as Othello had said, there was no sign that those mythical creatures had ever been here at all. It made me begin to doubt myself. Had it just been a dream of some kind? Was it just me hallucinating because the idea that these things existed had been planted in my head like a seed that had grown little by little each day?

No, I had seen those things with my very eyes. I had communicated with that wolf. I had even pinched myself to ensure that what I was seeing was real and not just my over-active mind. What I had seen that night was real; there was no doubt about it.

The images of the wolf flashed before my eyes, along with the view I had gained of the mer-person’s tail in the lake. Othello had seen those things too, or so he had written. I had also written about what I had seen as well and I had never written in my sleep before, so that just confirmed the reality further in my eyes.

I trudged through the rest of the park, disappointed that I hadn’t seen any evidence to prove what I had seen, yet I knew it was true. Those mystical beings did exist somewhere out there. Where? I did not know yet, that was another question I had to gain the answer to. Hopefully, Saff and Aaron could assist me from now on, help me gain more answers without adding more questions to my mountainous pile.

I ran through the school gates, their green metal slats a blur as I focused on my two friends talking to each other. Their conversation appeared intimate from a distance but I dismissed it, too excited about my news to pay any attention to what they were saying.

“Guys!” I yelled at them as I approached, catching the end of their conversation.

“So it’s a date?” Aaron asked, that look on his face that meant he was double checking a detail.

“Yes, Aaron. It’s a date.” Saff affirmed, a smile breaking out on both of their faces as they looked into each other’s eyes.

“Guys!” I said again. They turned to look at me, goofy grins on both of their faces. “I went to the park last night and guess what?”

“What?” Saff said in a daze.

“Snap out of it you two! I know Aaron has finally plucked up the courage to finally ask you on a date, and congratulations by the way for doing that Aaron, but this is important – revolutionary – news that could change our lives forever. It could change the world forever.” I rambled.

“Ok then. What is this ‘revolutionary’ news of yours?” Aaron asked, putting air quotes around the word revolutionary, mocking me for my excitement.

I shot him an evil glare, and then told them the tale of last night. “Well,” I began, “I went to the forest in Lockley park at the dead of night, like the diary told me to, and I saw the most amazing things. I had to hide behind a bush from these wolves, that I swear were too intelligent to just be wolves-“

“Wait, wait, wait.” Saff interrupted, “What you’re saying is, and please, correct me if I’m wrong, that there were werewolves in Lockley Park last night?”

“Yes! I think so.” I jumped up and down in my excitement, unable to contain the smile that burst out across my face.

“Lou, honey, I think you’re being delusional. Werewolves are only fictional. They don’t exist in the real world, Lou.” Saff said patronisingly, putting a hand on my shoulder.

“Stop treating me like a kid, Saff. And I did see them. I did. I did. I did! With my very own eyes. I also saw merfolk in the lake and one of the wolves looked at me.”

“Big deal. A wolf looked at you. Be happy that you weren’t shredded to pieces.” Aaron said sarcastically.

“Why don’t you believe me? The wolf looked at me, like a human would look at me. I could see feeling in its eyes, pure emotions. I even communicated with it. Well, kind of.”

“The reason we don’t believe you, Lou, is because it’s just so unbelievable that something like that could happen. Those creatures only exist in fairy tales and fiction, not real life.” Saff explained.

“I can show you if you want. At the next new moon.” Hopefully, I would have also figured out how to actually get to Philia by then as well, so I could take Aaron and Saff with me. This would be just great!

“Ok, Lou. You can show us then. If there is nothing there, you are letting us take you to the doctor to check that everything is ok and that you haven’t started to hallucinate or anything.” Saff said not wholeheartedly. She was obviously only trying to please me and make me stop rambling on and on about what I had seen. They both thought I was mental; that something had changed in me overnight that had caused me to hallucinate and make up strange ideas in my head. How wrong they were.

I was on the verge of discovering a portal to a new world where many amazing new species dwelled. This new information could lead the human race to new strengths, to meeting new life out there. I could offer us a bridge to new galaxies and planets, like our own. These foreign creatures may know more about life, technology and science, opening thousands of new doors to possibilities that no one would have ever even dreamed of. It was fascinating what this could bring to the world as I knew it. The possibilities were endless.

The day flew by, my head stuck in a daydream throughout all of my lessons. When the teachers called on me, I did not answer. I was absorbed in the thoughts of this foreign land that was out there somewhere in the expanse of space. I couldn't stop contemplating what it would look like and where it would be, how I would get there and the things I would see. If only I knew where the portal was located, I would be able to go there on the next new moon and go there myself and answer all these questions instead of having half answered questions and an onslaught of new questions.

I would have to look in the diary some more, analyse every sentence, to try and uncover the location and I would have to do it fast. By my calculations, I had just less than four weeks to put together the pieces.

I would do it. I could do it. I would not make myself look like a fool. I would prove to Saff and Aaron that I had seen what everyone thought was impossible. Philia would be discovered at the next new moon; it would be discovered by me. 

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