In The Sky (Chapter 3)

Chapter 3 of the branch movella competition, leading on from the winning Chapter 2 entry by hellohihi.


1. In The Sky Chapter 3 entry

Izalla shifted her weight onto her heels and curled her body tighter as she squatted on the beach. Staring at a bleak expanse of sand and sea stretching miles to the left and right, she was oblivious to the numb limbs which supported her wiry frame. Something had finally broken inside her, after countless times of pretending she didn't care about being forgotten.

She pushed rain-drenched strands of hair away from her face and blinked hard to stretch the skin around her eyes which had tightened with dried tears. Try as she might to be strong, anger had soon diffused into a dull ache of hurt and self-pitying. She hated her father for having the power to inflict this anguish, and more than that, she hated to admit to herself that she was this affected by it.

Izalla shook her head angrily. She tumbled back from her thoughts and into the present moment. She looked up into the sky in a sudden urge for distraction, having suddenly remembered the strange hieroglyph she had seen when on the train. But there were only wispy, fragile clouds which even she could find no image or symbol with, let alone a specific hieroglyph. Sighing in frustration, she unfurled her body and stood listlessly, swaying slightly as she waited for the feeling to re-enter her legs.

The waves lapped at the sand as Izalla turned her back to the ocean. She walked towards a path steeply ascending the cliff, which stood perpendicular to the flat beach. Breathing the cold, salty air revived her spirits and she lengthened her stride, following the path to the top of the cliff and from there across deserted fields.

Hours later she reached a village where she found a telephone box and phoned her mother. But when the line connected, she heard only a tinny bleeping.

"Hello? Mum?" Izalla frowned, and was about to hang up when a breathless voice came onto the line.

"Forget what you've seen, it's dangerous, dangerous!" The voice was hurried and urgent. "Forget what you know, Izalla!"

"Forget what?" cried Izalla, a terror creeping into her veins when she heard her name. "Who are you?"

A sudden, insistent knocking was heard on the telephone box door. She whirled around, the phone slipping out of her sweating palm. A boy about her age met her wild eyes calmly.


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