The Protectors

Amela Robince, a once average 18 year old girl living in Spring Lake, Virginia. She has gone her whole life believing she was anything but interesting, and at the bottom of the list when it came to special. Suddenly, her life takes a dramatic turn when she discovers a mysterious ball of light in the woods near her house. She came in contact with this strange attraction, and since then, her new immortal life was anything but average. Sustaining new powers, with a new job to help defend the world against intimidating monsters with 7 other strangers, Amela has the world placed on her shoulders. Battling her way through the supernatural and attempting to resist the inevitable charms of fellow Protector Harry Styles, follow us on this incredible journey of love, loss, and crusade.

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3. Chapter 2

The trees were talking. No, not talking… laughing? What were they laughing about? These creatures were looking down at Amela, their rough wood surfaces carved with long, sinister faces of sad terror. The sky, if you could call it a sky, was all black. Usually the night sky would be a dark navy blue, with a few stars, or perhaps an endless amount of stars. This sky looked like a giant pitch black cover surrounding the trees and Amela; almost as if they were blocking her from getting away.

 Amela made notice of her surroundings, but her head moved in slow motion, as well as the rest of her body. The forest around her was blurry and incoherent. The trees surrounding her were bent low and observing, the deep faces they contained appeared creepy and depressed. Some looked even curious maybe as to whom Amela was, or why she was in their territory.

She tried to see beyond the trees. Maybe she was still in the woods just outside her house. All Amela could remember was blacking out after a painful explosion of light took its impact on her. She didn’t know whether it was the same night, or maybe it could have been a couple nights ago, considering the sky was pitch black and the trees around her were a blur of eerie expressions.

The trees were moving closer; their faces seemed to be just a few feet from her now. Some demanded for her to leave, others wanted to know who she was, asking in deep, slurring voices Amela has only ever heard in horror films. She felt like she was being suffocated. She could no longer see the pitch black sky that was just beyond the trees. Every angle she craned her head resulted in another maddening face engraved into the bark of a tall tree.

                “You do not belong here,” one tree-creature said, “Get out.”

The trees evil expression turned that more of, as if mad Amela couldn’t move quick enough to leave. There was nowhere for her to go though; the forest life has surrounded her almost like a tree-bark cage, subtly moving even closer than before. The longer she stayed, Amela knew, she would be suffocated and killed by these monsters.

They were getting closer; these sad and evil faces fixed through bark were advancing until they were inches from Amela. She couldn’t breathe, her throat suddenly closing, stopping the flow of air from her lungs. She grasped desperately at her throat, looking around for an opening of light through the trees to escape. Still moving in slow motion, it only made the faces enclosing on her even scarier, their low and inconsistent mumbles mixing with Amela’s desperate grasps for oxygen.

                “You’re too late.” The same tree told her. “You belong to us now.”

With that the creatures advanced until she was forced flat on her back. She reached one arm out attempting to push them away, but they were too strong, their trunks heavy and rutted. Amela’s eyelids drooped, and the last she saw was the daunting faces of her imprisoners coming forward to inhale her into a pit of infinite depth.

***

Sunlight shone through Amela’s eyelids before she opened them abruptly, sitting bolt upright in her bed. She was panting furiously, face matted with panicky sweat. Amela scanned her room hastily, confused as to why she was in her bedroom when she was just being suffocated by those horrifying tree monsters not even two seconds ago. Or… was it really two seconds? How long has she been sleeping? Daylight excelled bright, sunlight pouring through her window and casting a light haze throughout her bedroom.

Amela was still in the same clothes from when she went out to the woods to discover a strange ball of light. She was breathing heavily, trying to make sense of the recent blur of events. “What the hell happened?” she muttered to herself. She slowly swung both of her legs to the side of her bed, her shoes cautiously reaching the floor. Oh great, she was still wearing her shoes, getting dirt and leaves at the end of her bed and on the floor.

She attempted to get up from the bed, but at the movement of her back muscles working, a searing pain shot up through her spine. She cursed and slumped down, not daring to move her back again. Suddenly the memory of a horrible pain, like a sharp branch slowly cutting up her spine from last night came flooding back into her memory. She also remembered hearing a scream, but Amela didn’t think it was her who screamed, for she was in no condition to even breathe properly. Who was it? What was it?

Amela carefully stretched her hand towards her nightstand, reaching for her cell phone. She clicked the home button and the screen was bright, the time reading 7:23. 7:23.

With a quick burst of energy, Amela shot up from her sitting position, instantly regretting it because the terrible pain in her spine was now unbearable. She tried her best to straighten herself out, her hand grasping at her backside as if this would help the pain in some way. She stumbled over to her dresser and grabbed whatever her hands would allow her to reach. She didn’t know how she was going to take a shower, or even go to school, what with the pain in her back that made her barely able to stand up straight. But, Amela had to attend school today. She was running out of absences from skipping class too much, and her mother was getting pissed.

With a quick change of clothes and a brushing of the hair and teeth, Amela barreled down the stairs. She grabbed her backpack and car keys in a hurry and burst through the front door.

***

Having just made it to her first period class, Amela was panting as she slumped down in her seat, receiving a few curious glances from other students. The pain in her back had subsided only slightly, still faintly stinging. The teacher was going on about World War 3, but Amela’s current state didn’t care too much about learning the subject. She started to sweat, hastily matting her forehead with the back of her hand.

She suddenly felt weary and nauseous, her tired breathing echoing through her ears. The white board at the front of the class blurred with her vision. Amela abruptly got up from her seat, her chair screeching back, causing the class to glance back inquisitively. Their heads were distorted and frightening, reminding Amela of the faces she saw engraved in the trees from her previous nightmare. She stumbled aside to the center isle and towards the door, her teacher’s angry objections sounding distant and muffled.

She made it out to the hallway, the echo of her heavy footsteps pounding through her ears. She got to the bathroom and threw herself into the stall, bending over the toilet and puking up the contents of whatever food she ate at Chastity’s. Was it food poisoning? Maybe she just ate something bad the other night. With a few antibiotics this would be over.

After throwing up for what felt like an hour, Amela slumped back against the stall wall, her body exhausted. She stared up at the incandescent lights of the ceiling, the brightness distorting with her tired vision. Suddenly her head began to throb, her brain feeling alert and aching. Amela grasped at her temples, letting out shrieks of pain as her mind felt like it was tearing to pieces, banging inside her skull over and over again.

 Every pound of her head shot another blur to her eyesight. As if the agony in her head wasn’t enough, her muscles began to ache. The ache quickly turned into a piercing agony; her muscles felt like they were convulsing and tearing apart. Amela screamed, but no one came. Had everyone disappeared? Amela screamed again as a plea of help, trying to get attention from one of thousands in this school. Someone had to have heard her scream; she wasn’t even that far away from a classroom.

She couldn’t get up now; there was no way to move because her muscles were paralyzed in pain. Agony shot throughout Amela’s whole body like the sensation of muscles on fire. Suddenly, the walls began to swirl. The shiny bright tile of the wall in front of her was moving, the tiles pounding like a bomb waiting to explode. The wall was going to explode. Beautiful.

But the wall didn’t explode, instead forming into what looked like a black hole. Amela was done trying to make sense of the situation; all she wanted now was for it to be over. The toilet had disappeared and the gaping black hole in front of her was swirling as if to hypnotize her. She saw faces forming in the walls of the hole, faces similar to those of the trees she saw in her dream. Their mouths were moving, and she heard the same haunting and eerie mumble from these faces as she heard last night from the trees.

The faces were growing from slow and depressed to evil and menacing, forming fangs and glowing red eyes. These paralyzing faces were now developing long cloaked bodies, stepping out of the black hole and towards Amela. They leaped at her, suffocating her to the point where she couldn’t breathe again. Skeleton hands clasped at her throat, cutting her off from air and making her lungs feel like they were about to explode.  

The bright lights in the background blew out, and darkness covered her and the faces like a sheet, those foreboding red eyes being the only source of light in this smothering space. The creature that had had its hands gripped at her throat bared its fangs and lunged.

As if a light switch had flipped on, the darkness disappeared. Amela was slowly gaining back her vision as the brightness of the girls bathroom was coming back into focus. There was no black hole, no hooded figures with glowing red eyes and fangs. Amela’s back was against the bathroom stall, her face and chest soaked with sweat. A drop of blood had fallen and stained Amela’s shirt. She reached her hand to her nose and pulled it back to find more blood. In the matter of recent events, a nose bleed was the least of Amela’s worries.

Her body was stinging, the after effects of her muscles convulsing and tearing. She sat up all the way and tilted her head back, not wanting to get more blood on her clothes. The toilet in front of her was splattered with puke.  

Amela slowly rose from her sitting position, grasping at the green walls that enclosed her, her muscles sore with feverish pain. She stumbled out of the stall only to feel that nauseated sensation again. Quickly she ran over to the sink and spewed even more contents. The thought that she still had anything to throw up was confusing. Was her body trying to get rid of a germ? But what germ could possibly cause her to see these hallucinations?

Amela stayed bent over the sink, careful to move in case she would vomit again. Her legs were still sensitive and achy, threatening to bring her to the ground if she worked them too hard. She slowly cleaned the blood and vomit off of herself, making her way towards the hallway. Amela hadn’t dared to look at herself in the mirror; she didn’t want to know her present state of attractiveness was at this point, which she was sure was pretty low.

Stumbling through the hallways, Amela had to get out. There was no way she could go back to class, still petrified of what just happened in the bathroom. She quickly checked the back pocket of her jeans, relieved she still had her car keys. She gathered enough strength to push the set of double doors leading to the front of the school open. The sunlight burned Amela’s eyes as she brought up her weak arm to shade her vision.

Where was her car? Did she even remember where she parked? She felt drunk as she clumsily went down the steps, gripping on to the railing for support. Her body seemed to be dragging her along the walkway to the side of the school, towards the senior parking lot. Her vision blurred and her muscles ached as she made her way around the bend, dodging through parked cars, edging nearer towards the tall woods. The trees looked like a indistinct mess from Amela’s view, but her body was edging her towards them for some reason.

Flashing her memory back to her nightmare, she was hesitant but could not stop. Her mind brought back the frightening images of the haunting trees, enclosing on her and suffocating her.  She thought she saw one of the faces from her dream outlined on a tree as she entered the woods, but when she focused on that tree, the face had vanished. What was happening? She didn’t want to be here, she wanted to be home. She wanted to get back in her car and drive, maybe not even to home, but to somewhere far away where she wouldn’t have to see these scary images anymore.  

 Birds chirped in the distance and leaves rustled underneath Amela’s feet as her body edged her deeper into the woods, her mind anxious. She felt tired, exhausted. Her legs gave away as her knees crashed to the forest floor, the rest of her body following. Sunlight and the canopy of the trees made patterns on her skin. She thought she heard voices; perhaps someone saw her stumble into the woods and was running to help her. Amela only hoped someone would find her until her eyesight blurred one last time before she dropped her eyelids and the woods turned to black. 

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