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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6. Six

It had been a week since that night in the clock tower. I sat in my room, alone, only the diary on my desk to keep me company. My mind kept playing back the night, like a movie trailer on repeat; it gave you enough to tell you what the film was about, but never told you exactly how it was going to end. In my case, it told me that the portal wasn’t in the clock tower, but gave me no clues as to where it could be.

I pushed myself up from my bed, wondering if I’d missed something in the diary. Maybe there was some hidden meaning of a page that I’d missed, but it was everything that I had seen before; words repeating what I already knew, saying that it opened on the night of the new moon at 11:08pm and that the clockwork held the key.

“But I’ve already tried the clock tower near the park!” I shouted to the pages, “There are no other options!”

I screamed in anger, throwing the book against my pale grey wall. The book fell to the floor with a resounding thump and lay closed, encompassed by cream carpet. The only difference to how it normally was, was a slither of paper peeking out of the back cover, revealing itself to me for the first time.

I charged over to the diary and tore the paper from the secret place in the back of the book.

My eyes scanned over it, barely reading what this man’s final account read.

“Ok, Lou, slow down. Read it word by word.” I told myself aloud as I began to read the article at a steadier pace.

Dear diary,

I believe this may be my last opportunity to write now as I believe I have uncovered the secret that I have been pursuing for so long now. The key to finding the portal to this world I have called Philia has been evading me these past few moons but now it has finally revealed itself unto me.

I have yet to interact with the creatures that visit from Philia but it seems they have noticed me. Today, I discovered a carving on one of the trees, near to the lake where I have sat for so many nights. It read ‘nature is the way, where the trees doth sway, by the water pure, in the...

No, it couldn’t be. The final few words of the quote were smudged and smeared by the water damage that the book had taken.

The article continued further down, so I continued reading, now lying on my bed.

Tonight is the night I will discover this new land. I will go to the spot and attempt to get through the portal along with all the creatures that are returning to their home.

I will leave this diary here as evidence of my research and the secrets that I have uncovered in Lockley. If there are more articles, I’m sure you will already know of me and my discoveries but if there are not...I will have left this world permanently to reside with God in Heaven.

Othello McCain

31st March 1787

It was clear that he never made it back. Whether he made it to Philia or not was another question that I would rather not face today, seeming as my mission was to go there myself.

My moon calendar indicated that tonight was a new moon, my clock that it was 9pm.

I stared at the quote and the smudge next to it, willing the words to be magically revealed to me so that I could know where to go to discover this mystical land that I have been striving to see.

I thought back to that fateful day that I discovered the journal. The first time I had been in my basement for years had led me to this fantasy place; led me to this isolation. It was such an ordinary day at first, but had twisted into something more that inevitably led to this point in time.

‘Nature is the way, where the trees doth sway, by the water pure, in the...’

What could that mean?

My head was pounding from all the thinking I had been doing the past few weeks.

“Hell, I need some fresh air.” I muttered under my breath as I decided on my destination; the park.

It was the only place where I could get peace and quiet; where I could be alone and ponder this new clue.

I walked the few minutes to the clearing that I’ve always loved, my brow crinkled in deep thought as the sun set over the horizon, leaving the shadow of the day to embrace the world in a monochrome grey.

The world was never black and white; I had decided that a long time ago. It would always be a combination of the two, never separate.

Finally, I reached the moss spattered bench. It looked as if someone had taken a paintbrush and flicked tiny pieces of moss onto it, leaving it with spots of the deep green spread about in a mismatched pattern on the flaking paint on the seat.

I sat down on the bench, placing my chin between both my hands and staring at the serene lake.

This place had never been the same as before I discovered the mystery of Philia. It was never lively and full of life but dead and silent. The place no longer had any soul for me.

My watch was the only source of light in this place, there were no street lights around you see. The digital numbers flicked over to 11:06pm. Where had all the time gone? I hadn’t even gotten anywhere with my thoughts on the new evidence either.

I sighed, wondering, like I had at first, whether the whole idea of a fantasy land called Philia was just a load of rubbish. It was more likely than it being real, that was becoming ever more apparent to me.

The leaves began to rustle in the slight breeze that had appeared. It had a sharp cold edge to it, chilling me to the bone. I tugged my cardigan around me tighter, and let my chestnut hair cover my ears.

I got up from the bench, finally ready to give up on my delusional dream of the fantasy world named Philia.

I glanced at my watch again as the time flicked from 11:07pm to 11:08pm. Oh well, I’m sure they’ll be other strange and wonderful things out there in the world for me to discover and then be dropped to rock bottom over again.

Hopefully it wouldn’t happen again. I told myself off for being so deluded, for believing what that batty old man had written centuries ago.

I briskly walked away from the clearing, wanting to get away from here and back home where I should be in my bed, warm and snug.

Then the ground shook a little. I turned back to see the ripples racing across the lake, the surface now shattered by the shudders that pulsed over the ground.

I stood at the edge of the clearing, debating whether I should stay and find out what was happening or leave and save myself from the catastrophe that seemed to be inevitable with the pure violence of the shakes.

At first, I thought it was an earthquake, but we never got those around here and the houses nearby were as static as ever.

My curiosity was piqued. I stayed to watch whatever was about to happen, wondering whether it would put my life at risk or not.

The shakes became more violent and a low rumble began deep in the earth. My heart began an uneven thumping, stuttering with fear and nervousness. I took a shaky breath and a small step towards the lake, hoping to see what was causing this quake.

Another step and the ripples on the surface began to blend together, creating small waves that crashed into the banks on all sides. The waves continued to rise, water sloshing over the edges and flooding over into the leaf carpeted ground.

Everything stopped. The waves calmed until they were merely lapping at the shore. The wind became a tiny whistle that flitted through the now fully bare tree branches, then calmed to nothing.

There was no sound; no sign of life. All was silent and lifeless once again.

I released the breath that I didn’t realise I had been holding throughout the storm, finally relaxing, thankful that the havoc had ended.

CRACK

Something exploded out of the lake, emitting an ethereal glow. It unfurled a pair of wings, emanating a blinding white-gold light.

I squeezed my eyes shut, not wanting to look at the creature in front of me.

“Hello” its soft voice came to me on the soft breeze, sending shivers up my spine. Its voice was so beautiful, almost lyrical in the way it said that one word. The creature sounded male from the baritone of its voice.

I slowly opened one eye, testing the brightness of the light. It had now dulled considerably, leaving me able to safely open both eyes and look at the creature in front of me.

He hovered above the lake, his broad shoulders expanding outwards into humongous, pure white wings that spanned almost the width of the whole lake. The light dimmed down to a rim of pure gold that outlined the perfect creature before me. His golden hair swept over his brow, dusting his arched eyebrows. The perfection continued, with his nose being pointed just so and the subtle high cheek bones that graced his symmetry. Then the lips, those lips that were painted a permanent, perfect rose and fell in a cupid’s bow that pierced my heart. His chin appeared carved by the heavens, chiselled into a strong, dominant jaw that completed the perfect picture in front of me.

I stood there in awe, not able to move a muscle, just wanting to stand there and drink in the magnificence of the being before me forever.

“Hi” I breathed, unable to say anything more to this angel that hovered above the lake.

More creatures came out of the lake, but they didn’t matter to me at all. All that mattered in that moment was the angel’s unyielding molten silver gaze that had attached itself to mine; communicating warmth and love that was so unabashed that it melted me to the core.

“You must be Louisa McCain. I’ve been waiting for you.” The way he said my name made it sound like it was the most important thing in the world; like I was the most important thing in the world. I didn’t even know this golden haired angel but he made me feel like a million pounds, more valuable than diamonds.

He stretched out his hand to me, never losing contact with my eyes, his lips quirking up into a slight smile, causing my heart to stutter. Tentatively, I reached out my own hand, which was tiny in comparison to his large one, a lump stuck in my throat.

I felt like pinching myself in that moment, certain that this would only ever happen to me in a dream; I was just Louisa McCain, average brown haired, brown eyed girl from a village in North West England, nobody like this would ever be waiting for me.

“Come with me, Louisa. Join me in Philia, the land I know you’ve been searching for.” He took hold of my hand, enclosing it in his and pulling me up so that my feet overlapped his.

I was hovering above the water with an angel, something I never thought would happen, even in my wildest dreams. His stormy grey eyes enraptured my plain brown ones, showing me emotion that I had never seen before; that I had only heard about in romance novels and films.

My common sense was telling me not to go with this stranger, but I couldn’t resist letting the shy “yes” leave my lips.

“Let’s go then.” He whispered, his sweet breath tickling my ear, “Escape this place and get to where we belong, in Philia.”

Slowly, we sunk into the dark waters below. Under normal circumstances, I would have panicked, I was never the best swimmer and was not the biggest fan of water but in this angel’s arms, I felt safe; cared for, even special.

“Hold on tight.” Was the last I heard, his lips like an anaesthetic for my fear, brushing against my skin.

I squeezed my eyes tight shut, feeling the moisture slowly soaking up through my clothes until it reached my chin. It flowed over my lips, then my nose, effectively suffocating me, yet I was still comfortable. It lapped at my closed eye lids, covering them then the top of my scalp, absorbing my whole body and taking me to somewhere else. 

 

 

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