Shadows of Darkened Time

In a world of Shadows, Alexander and Suzan find themselves on a quest to stop what this world has become. Through their journey they will stop at nothing to see the end of this, but first they must solve three riddles and learn the deeper meaning of the Song of the Corrupt. Approximate word count: just over 4,600 words.

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3. Chapter 2

On a cold, bitter night, three members of the family of Austin stared into the river that ran alongside their house. Although they haven't seen the water in a state other than murky in many a moon, it still gave them a small piece of joy to imagine it as the brilliant blue it once was. Each Thursday, the mother took her children there, in order to give them a little bit of what the world was once like: that it was pure and peaceful.  

The younger daughter looked at the river with bright eyes. The elder sister looked at the water with wistful eyes. As for the mother...her gaze was dropped to the ground. She had her head bent and her forehead creased. The world wasn't the same without the light. If it was still there, there would be no need to go to the river. The mother, Andrea, blinked, and tilted her head towards the sky. 


The eldest daughter turned around, and sidled towards her quietly. "Mother..." She didn't reply. Instead, she gulped and let out a shaky breath. "Mother, there's nothing you can do."

"But Suzan, I could've done something. I could've stopped this from happening," she whimpered softly. 
"No one could’ve predicted The Evil One coming, Mother. You did nothing wrong. No human did.” 

Suzan looked into her mother’s hollow looking eyes for a few moments and saw the sorrow in them. "We don't know for certain if anyone of them has died," she murmured. Suzan tentatively put a reassuring hand on her mother’s shoulder. At first Andrea tensed. But then, she rested her own hand atop of Suzan's.  For a moment they stood in silence, with only the hum of the cicadas in the background.

Then, Eliza, the younger daughter, tugged on the hem of Suzan's skirt. "Suzie..." She smiled at her little sister, and crouched down so she was level with her. Eliza took hold of her hand, “I’m cold...”  “Mother...I'm cold..." Suzan looked up at her mother with a small smile playing on her lips.

Andrea bit her lip, giggling a little while Suzan answered, "Yes, I'm getting a bit cold myself. Come along, back to the house."

The three of them exchanged amused glances, and headed off down the trail to their home. Eliza had been scooped up by Suzan, as Andrea was slightly behind them. Her feet dragged a little, and she had wrapped her shawl tightly around her shoulders.  Suzan didn't know what else to do, except leave Andrea with her own thoughts for the time being.

After a few minutes, they'd reached the conker tree that grew outside their house. Eliza raced down the little path that led up to the porch with the little brass key that unlocked the door in hand. Andrea and Suzan wearily followed.  Both of them were worn out from the walk, and worn out from being in their own little worlds for far too long. Before she passed the tree, Suzan picked up one of the conkers from the ground. It was still in its shell, so it prickled a little to hold.  She quickly shoved it in her thickly lined coat pocket. This gained a curious glance from Andrea, but, Suzan simply gave her an innocent smile before heading into the house.

The three bustled into the kitchen and all of them were thirsty for a glass of water. After they had been refreshed, they headed upstairs.  As Andrea got Eliza ready to go to sleep, Suzan read a note which had been placed on her bedside table. She presumed it was from The Rebellion, since the right hand corner of the paper was burned to signify it was an authentic letter.

She scanned the letter lazily, figuring she'd have time to read it thoroughly in the morning. But then her eyebrows raised, and her heart beat quickened. Swiftly, she put the letter back on the table, and hurried towards her drawer, picking up her backpack on the way. Erratically, Suzan stuffed basic necessities into it, whilst her brain was processing the full extent of the meaning of the letter. Her heart ached slightly with what she was about to do, but knew it would all eventually be for the greater good.

At dawn, Suzan quietly slipped downstairs, fully equipped for the journey ahead. Before she went to the door, she placed the conker and the conker shell (though slightly brown now) and a note beside it on the kitchen table. Then, with a shaky hand, she let herself out of the house, and headed down the path.

You must've been wondering why I picked this up. I wanted to show you that in every bad thing, eventually good things can grow.

 

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