Ebony's Restoration

Ebony is a girl living in a small orphanage in Cambridge, England. With her dark and daunting past in her nightmares, she ends up losing herself and quite possibly her one true friend. When the nightmares come to life, will she continue running and lose who she is forever; will she be strong enough to face them and possibly see a glimmer of hope?

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1. Ebony's Restoration

Ebony was in the grassy green field, dancing in the dusk afternoon. Her warm smile and light hair matched the bright, sinking sun that was watching her. The autumn leaves were being carried away by the gentle breeze flowing through the air. The pumpkins in the field were showing off their beautiful orange skin.

     To Ebony, this autumn day was perfect. She kept on dancing to her heart's content. That is until she stopped when she could not see herself anymore.

     Was I really dancin' for that long? She thought.

     The sky was now pitch black. A murky haze blinded her from her surroundings. The moon was full; however, it was to no avail as clouds were blocking the moon's light. Ebony took a deep breath, before taking slow steps to the tree that held her backpack.

Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.

     That was the only sound present with every step she took. Finally, Ebony reached her bag. She turned on her flashlight, and she could finally see everything.

     Ebony looked around slowly and inhaled sharply in fright. Everything once so beautiful was cursed into a black twilight. The trees, once full of bright variations, were now dark and bare. The leaves of those trees were burned and broken. The gentle breeze was killed by a rough wind. The beautiful orange pumpkins were black, squished, and rotten.

     Everything once so beautiful and bright was now full of gloom, wickedness, and evil.

     Suddenly, there was a growl; followed by footsteps approaching.

Ba-Bump. Ba-Bump. Ba-Bump. Ebony's heart started racing heavily.

     What could be out there? What is coming? She wondered as the creature came closer. Suddenly, the footsteps stopped. Ebony sighed in relief, thinking the creature was gone. However, that relief was short-lived when she looked down and saw a large shadow. Ebony slowly looked up and saw a tall, pitch black wolf standing above her. It's shiny, black fur coat contrasted the red irises shining through his eyes.

     Ebony was frozen in pure horror. She could not speak, breathe, or even think properly. The gigantic and terrifying wolf was staring right at her, deciding if she will his next meal. Then the flashlight burned out, a shriek was heard, and Ebony ran for her life.

     The wolf ran after her at full speed, preying on her like a helpless deer. Ebony ran as fast as her short legs could, it was barely enough to keep herself alive. Streams of fear were flowing down her cheeks.

     "Help!" She cried out, but the only response was a growl from the wolf. She looked back to see how far away he was and instantly regretted it. The wolf was no longer a solid creature. He was now a phantom of the night. His red eyes glared down at Ebony, who was now running as fast as her heart.

     The wolf flew towards her and opened his mouth wide. His teeth clamped onto her neck hard and a vulgar screech could be heard.

     The wolf phantom disappeared into the mist when Ebony tripped and fell into a hole. Her scream echoed through the hole as she kept falling until she met her end.

     However, there was no end. She would forever be falling through the eternal darkness...

     Ebony's eyes flew open and she drew in a sharp breath. She laid there looking at the ceiling, trying to regain control of her shaking breath.

     That's three months of the same nightmare. I'm getting tired of this. Ebony complained in her mind. The springs of the bed wheezed when she finally sat up. Ebony looked around her room, searching for anything out of place, something to explain her repeating nightmare. However, there was not much to aid in Ebony's hunt. The full moon shined its silver light onto the stained, wooden floor; the sapphire blue curtains danced with a slight breeze that snuck through the window.

     Ebony glanced at her black, tiny, square clock revealed the annoyingly bright red numbers: 4:32 am. Ebony sniffed the stale, wet air and climbed out of the small bed. The pads at the bottom of her average sized, pale feet landed on the rough, dingy oak floor; her hands pushed up against the scratchy sheets. Once standing, Ebony shuffled her feet in the direction of a light switch. With the aid of the moon's light, she was able to avoid objects on the floor that could land her in the hospital.

     She finally found a lamp and turned it two notches to the right.

Click. Click.

     Bright, yellow light illuminated throughout the room. Ebony let out a breath of relief, one that she did not realize she was holding. Her green eyes had to adjust to the perky light before she could move again. Gripping the edge of her dresser, Ebony looked at herself in the mirror; her hair was a rat's nest. If she had not recently woken up from a nightmare, Ebony would have made a sarcastic joke about how awful it looked.

     Instead, Ebony grabbed her old hairbrush and untangled the chaotic mess of hair. Once satisfied with the average with her straight brown hair, the 5-foot 3-inch girl wiped away the leftover tears on her cheeks before grabbing her soft zebra-print blanket and tiptoeing down the rickety old staircase.

Creak. Creak. Creak.

     This was the sound produced as Ebony crept down the stairs. It was the only sound audible throughout the house and it terrified Ebony. The fleece blanket was wrapped tight around the girl's skinny frame, which acted as a shield to fight away any monsters that dared to go near her. Once at the bottom of the stairs, Ebony walked slowly down the hall towards the kitchen.

     Some would think that being downstairs in the dark wouldn't be scary, especially if they were guided by the moon's shine; however, they were not Ebony. They did not experience the horrible nightmare that replayed in the girl's subconscious. They did not experience her newly found fear of the dark. They did not experience her horrible life in a horrendously filthy and old and stale orphanage with only a blanket as her friend. They did not experience the betrayal that punctured Ebony's heart when her parents, lapped in cigar smoke and beer, dumped her in a mosquito infested right outside the crackled back door of this disgusting building they called an orphanage. They did not experience the isolating brick walls that Ebony unknowingly built around herself. They did not experience the battles Ebony has endured to survive.

     Ebony continued to tiptoe quietly towards the kitchen despite her skittishness of the dimly lit hallway. As she got closer to the kitchen, her nose could pick up the smell of moldy bread and old meat. The stench of the two combined was a substance that Ebony could not come close to describe. Her face scrunched up in disgust when she walked in. She stretched her arm out and flicked up the light switch, only to shriek. Five revolting brown insects visibly scattered across the floor, finding a new obscure place to hide.

     Ebony shivered in disgust "This is disgusting. Why doesn't Mr. Morfran ever take care of this place, so that it's livable?" She asked herself aloud, grabbing the dirty dishes from the messy table and placing them in the sink.

     "Because Mr. Morfran is always like that," a sassy voice simply said.

     Ebony turned around to fourteen-year-old Emily. She leaned against the doorframe with her fair arms crossed in front of her chest. Emily was wearing her usual gray tank top with blue pajama bottoms. Her wavy blond hair was down and framed her round face. Her deep blue eyes were filled with determination and light that should not be present in a dump like this.

     The girl came to the orphanage two years ago in 2013 after her father gave her up. Her mom and dad had divorced after Glenn, Emily's dad, came out as gay. In an immediate reaction, her mom Christine left both her daughter and ex-husband out of heartbreak. Glenn then got married to a man who he had been dating behind Christine's back for one year. He did not want to take care of Emily because he believed she would cramp up his rich living arrangements with his new husband in Paris. Emily had no family left over that would take her in, so her dad dropped her off here in Cambridge.

     At the beginning, Emily was completely drained of emotion. It was like looking at an empty shell. She was completely tense and high-alert about everything. Gradually, though, she became more open with the more time she spent with the other kids until her strong and bright spirit finally shined through. There were moments where she would be down or upset, but the majority of the time she grew confident and quite confident. When Emily first met Ebony she was shy around the brown-haired girl, quite intimidated actually. The fourteen-year-old was not sure if she should approach the quiet girl with daggers in her eyes. One day, though, it was as if someone had delivered a package of courage to her body; Emily advanced herself onto Ebony and began talking to her. In the beginning, Ebony believed the young teenager was an annoying nuisance who she did not want to be around. The sixteen-year-old attempted to shake the aggravating girl off her, but there was no avail. After 4 weeks of being joined to the hip, however, the annoying girl grew on her. They became friends once Ebony let Emily in; soon, they grew into best friends and never left each other's side.

     Ebony rolled her eyes at her best friend and asked, "What are you doing up?"

     "I couldn't sleep. I heard you come out and followed you. Speaking of which, are you up?" Emily challenged, walking deeper into the kitchen.

     Ebony quietly sighed, "Same. Since we're down here, want to get something to eat?"

     Emily shrugged with sass, "Sure, as long as it's edible." A tired laugh escaped her chapped lips as she leaned against the beige counter, having her bare feet press against the wood.

     "You are certainly sassy this early morning," The older stated while she opened the fridge. The bulb inside the refrigerator flickered rapidly, creating a buzzing sound that became bothersome far too sudden. The only things that seemed edible were two brown eggs, multiple cups of Jello, grapes, apple juice, apples, and an unopened gallon of chocolate milk.

     "I'm sassy every day...," Emily expressed with a proud smirk, "...I just express it through my dazzling personality."

     The oldest of the two girls rolled her eyes with a snort.

     "You are very weird Emily," The older of the two girls retorted.

     Emily's smirk turned into a giddy smile and replied, "Without weirdness, life would be extremely boring. So, I take that as a compliment."

     She grabbed the apple juice from the open fridge and poured it halfway into a clear glass. She handed Ebony the glass before pouring the golden juice into a glass for herself. Once the apple juice was tucked away into the refrigerator, Emily leaned against the counter again and sipped her drink; however, Ebony just stared at the golden liquid.

     "Hey, you alright?" Emily expressed concern. Her friend kept staring into her cup for eternity, not hearing the younger girl. It was not until Emily waved her hand in front of the older girl's eyes when Ebony snapped out of her trance.

     "Wh-What?" The sixteen-year-old stammered. The younger of the two set her glass down and looked at Ebony with a cocked right eyebrow. "What's wrong?" Emily demanded sternly, wanting to help her friend in whatever way she could.

     Ebony shook her head and whispered, "Nothing."

     "It's not 'nothing', as you keep insisting this past year. Tell me what's going on. Whatever it is Ebony, you can tell me," Emily interjected, determination and worry leaking through her voice and actions; the girl crossed her arms and stood with her feet six inches apart while her face contorted a fretful glance.

     Anger began to fill the brown-haired girl's veins and she glared with frustration at her blond-haired friend.

     "I said it's nothing! I don't need you to be relentlessly worrying over a piece of crap like me! I am fine and I don't need anyone; I especially do not need you! Go away, Emily!" Ebony growled at her, eyes hot with rage, "Now!"

     Emily's blue eyes were blown open and her mouth was a thin line. She was stone still for a few seconds before she blinked rapidly, fighting off tears of shock and hurt that threatened to spill out. Her cheeks and neck contained a bright blush of embarrassment that was as red as a red sky at night. She took in a smooth, deep breath, but it was clear that she was rattled. Her shaking hands rubbed her eyes before nodding.

     "O-Okay, fine; I'll go. I-I'm sorry, I didn't mean to make you mad. I just don't like seeing my friends in pain, as you know...," the younger, more sensitive of the two stuttered, "...and wanted to see if I could help in any way. Again, I'm sorry, Ebony. I'll leave now." Emily then quickly scurried out of the filthy kitchen and up the rickety old stairs.

     Once the sound of footsteps climbing the stairs was gone, the only person in the kitchen stood on the sticky floor with her head in her hands. Her heart was filled with regret for yelling at Emily; the girl may be outgoing and strong, but she can easily become hurt sometimes when yelled at. Ebony was not even upset at her, more of the fact that she has not been getting enough sleep because of the nightmares. The oldest of the pair yelled at her for nothing while Emily was simply worried for her.

     God, I'm such an idiot! I didn't mean to scare and rattle her like that, I was only frustrated with my lack of sleep. She probably hates me now. She blamed herself. At this point, the girl wanted to crawl into a cave and hide from not only her nightmares but now the only friend she has. Ebony let out a frustrated groan and looked at the white clock on the beige walls: 5:05 am.

     Maybe I should change for the day, it's not like I'm going back to sleep. Ebony began walking back down the hallway towards the stairs.

Creak. Creak. Creak.

     She climbed the unsound old staircase again and reached her bedroom. Ebony threw her blanket onto the bed and opened the drawers of her dresser. Ebony grabbed dark denim jeans and a monochrome gray, half-sleeve shirt.

     After wiggling out of her plain red pajamas, Ebony hopped into her jeans first. While changing, her thoughts drifted off to her recurring nightmare.

     Why have I been getting this nightmare again and again? I don't understand. Is it too much to be getting full sleep here? Ebony reasoned while pulling over the gray half-sleeved shirt. She then yawned, eyelids threatening to snap closed. Her body leaned to the right, almost falling to her bed when she shook herself awake. Ebony rubbed her eyes furiously and she shook her face.

     Come on now! Stay awake you retard! She yelled at herself, resulting in her brain snapping to attention. She walked along the creaking floor when she heard soft whistling.

     It was melodic, angelic, soothing and... a tad daunting.

     Ebony attempted to block it with her strong barriers, but to no avail, as her mind subjected to the whistling's comforting song. Ebony wanted to follow it, to walk into its lax embrace; she walked out of her room once more, forgetting her shoes. Ebony marched down the stairs and paced to the door before pausing. Looking behind her right shoulder, Ebony saw Little Emily asleep in one of the brown leather chairs. Turning towards her left, she witnessed a dark hallway of closed doors, each one containing a child of ages three to fifteen.

     Taking a deep breath, Ebony swept up the flashlight from the orange plastic bowl on top of the wobbly brown side table by the open door and walked out.

     Five minutes away from the house placed Ebony walking in the middle of the grassy fields of Cambridge, England. Bare feet met a melting pot of sticks, grass, and dirt that trailed on towards the forest 10 yards away from Ebony's current position. Her eyes flickered around the dark morning; her ears heard nothing within the air except the smooshing of grass.

     Ebony kept following the soft whistle through the night, using the light of her flashlight to guide her through the gloom of the night. The young teenager does not know why she is following the whistle. Maybe out of curiosity? Fear? Desperation? There was no answer to Ebony, only a solution to find the source of the sound.

     Ebony entered into the forest slowly, walking with caution. She smelled the air and felt somewhat relaxed at the scent of fresh rain from the storm of the previous day. However, this did little to calm the rest of Ebony's nerves. The forest looked nearly identical to her nightmare. It was dark, no light except the moon and the flashlight in Ebony's hands. The trees were dancing in the wind and the leaves were a mixture of green, yellow, orange, and brown. As she continued to walk through the forest, her feet could feel the rough texture of wood and the crunch of leaves. Ebony could even taste the clamminess of the atmosphere. Goosebumps rose on Ebony's skin, and not the good kind.

     Maybe following that whistle wasn't such a good idea. Ebony realized. Her feet turned around and were about to walk back to the orphanage when a howl rose into the early morning air. Ebony's brain blanked, and beads of cold sweat morphed onto her forehead.

Crunch. Swish. Crunch. Swish.

     Four paws trampled through different bushes and branches, pushing them out of the way with its large body.

Crunch. Swish. Crunch. Swish.

     The large organism was now five minutes away. There was no telling where it was coming from; Ebony had no time to run.

Crunch. Swish. Crunch. Swish.

     Three minutes away; her heart begins to race.

Crunch, Swish, Crunch, Swish.

Ba-Bump, Ba-Bump, Ba-Bump.

     Two minutes, green eyes dilate.

Crunch, Swish, Crunch, Swish.

Ba-Ba-Bump, Ba-Ba-Bump, Ba-Ba-Bump

     1 minute, pale knees buckle.

Crunch, Swish, Crunch, Swish, Crunch,

Ba-Ba-Ba-Bump, Ba-Ba-Ba-Bump, Ba-Ba-Ba-Bump

Swish, Crunch, Swish, Crunch, Swish,

Ba-Ba-Ba-Ba-Bump, Ba-Ba-Ba-Ba-Bump, Ba-Ba-Ba-Ba-Bump

     A gigantic shadow of a hound flew over Ebony's head, and Ebony screamed her heart out. The massive hound landed on a boulder and stared at Ebony with its burnishing red eyes. The human did not make a move; she did not dare to. The girl's heart hammered against her ribs hard, and her lungs expelled air quicker than inhaling. Green and red eyes stared at each other, analyzing which one will make the next move. The silence was thick, and neither of the two wanted to shatter it.

     Slowly, she bent down and grabbed the flashlight that managed to slip out of her hands. She slid the black switch up and shined the new light on the creature. It was the wolf from her nightmare. The glossy black fur balanced the glare of the red eyes. The paws were obscure, along with the fur, but they were mystically transparent. Moving up, Ebony's eyes caught sight of the sharp teeth that were faintly visible from the wolf's mouth.

     Ebony panted hard and swallowed a lump of fear. Her mind worked in overdrive, thinking of any possible way she could escape the mortifying beast. Her feet involuntarily stepped back while the green eyes kept staring at the wolf in fear.

     Do not be afraid child, for I am not here to harm you. A deep, calm voice spoke into Ebony's mind. Confusion sparked in the girl's mind. She looked around, but could not find anyone nearby.

     If no one is here, who spoke to me? Ebony wondered. She then remembered about the dangerous wolf and snapped her attention to it, but it only made her more confused. The wolf kept his composure on the rock, not making a move towards Ebony.

     Why isn't that dog moving? Why isn't he killing me? Well, not that I'm complaining for the extra minutes I've got. She questioned.

     "I am not killing you because that is not what I do," The wise, deep voice confirmed. This time, however, the voice came from the wolf himself. Ebony's forehead wrinkled in confusion and her fear bubbled into anger.

     "What the hell?!" She yelled, "You just replied to me! How did you do that?! Is this some sick joke that the kids finally decided to pull on me? If it is let me tell you, it's NOT funny!" Ebony peered all over the forest, preparing for nine kids to jump out and laugh at her, telling her, "Just kidding!" After five minutes of looking, Ebony turned to the wolf and attempted to chew down the fear still existing in her. She squared her shoulders and glared at the wolf.

     "You can't be real, you're merely a figment of my imagination. My nightmare," She growled. The wolf leaped off the large rock and stood at her level.

     "I can assure you, Ebony, I am as real as the dirt you are standing upon. I have been with you ever since you were born. It is now, yet, that you have noticed my existence," The wolf whispered. Ebony blinked several times, processing the creature. When she looked closer, Ebony could now see the gray mist that frayed off the wolf's fur. This gave the wolf an extra layer of mystery, but also a new layer of creepy.

     Ebony took in a deep breath and enquired, "Who or what are you? How do you know my name? Why are you bothering me when I have done nothing to you?"

     The wolf observed Ebony with patience.

     "I have not come here to present myself as a threat to you, Ebony. I am Allister, and I have appeared to you now because you need help," Allister stated, "Tell me, why are you acting hostile towards my existence?"

     "Because you are the reason I am knee-deep in fear! You are constantly in my nightmares, torturing my sleep! You've drowned me in so much darkness that I can hardly breathe. My whole life has already been hell with no hope, but now I'm having a nightmare that won't let me enter the one place I feel safe. Do you have any idea how torturing it is pleading for it all to stop? How can you say you are here to help me when you have done the opposite for the past three months?!" Ebony cried. Her shaking legs finally gave out and she fell to her knees. Ebony gripped her brown hair in agony and sobbed in her heartache.

     Allister slowly strolled to Ebony and leaned down to her level. He stared at the crying girl with such care and sympathy that was a perfect contrast to his terrifying demeanor. He sat down next to Ebony and rested his massive headed gently on her head. Ebony's body tensed and she paused her crying to look up at Allister.

     "Why have you not killed me yet?" She whimpered, "You're a wolf, isn't that what you lot do?" Allister looked down at the broken girl and responded kindly, "It is not my purpose to kill you Ebony, nor is it my purpose to kill anyone. I am not a wolf, even though I may carry the appearance of one. I am a protector, a guardian spirit for those hurting. Being a wolf from your nightmares was the only way I would be able to communicate with you."

     Ebony stood up and eyed Allister with suspicion.

     "If you've been witnessing my entire life, then why did you decide now was the perfect time to talk to me?" Ebony interrogated.

     "Because you are losing hope. You have endured tragedies early on, you stayed strong through those tragedies, even if you never realized it," Allister admitted while gesturing for Ebony to walk with him, in which she obliged hesitantly, "For 11 years I have watched you grow up in that orphanage. I have watched you struggle with the grief and betrayal your parents abandoned you with like a never-ending battle. You never knew if there would be an end, but you kept marching on; you still had the fire in your eyes. Over recent years, however, you have seemed to have given up. That fight in your eyes has burned out. You succumbed yourself to the darkness that inhabits your soul. The nightmares you have been having are you letting the tragedies of your past keep you from seeing hope."

     Ebony turned her head to the midnight wolf, pain, and distress evident in her jade eyes.

     She disclosed, "I hate to break it to you, but there is no hope for me, whether I can see it or not. I'm too broken and infected to be saved." Ebony knew this Allister meant well, that he wanted to help her, but some things that break can't be fixed.

     Why can't he see that? She asked herself.

     "That is a false claim. Anyone can be saved; it is only a matter of letting people see your pain in order for them to help. Such as Emily for instance. She has become your best friend, and yet you do not want to let her in; this not only hurts you, but it hurts her as well because she cannot find a way to help you," Allister rebutted.

     Ebony stared at Allister in disbelief before looking at the ground in guilt. It was true that Ebony had been pushing Emily away lately, as evident by the way she yelled at the younger girl an hour ago.

     "You look so petrifying, yet you are the kindest, strangest, and most persistent creature I have ever met," The girl declared. Allister barked out a laugh and stood in front of her.

     "Thank you, Ebony. I have to leave soon, it is nearly dawn," He pointed out. Ebony looked to her right to see glimpses of the sun's rays peeking out over the hills of Cambridge, England. Birds began flying about, eagerly searching for their breakfast. The smell of rain was now gone, but the taste of moisture still filled the air. She turned off the flashlight, as everything was now visible.

     The teenager nodded in agreement and spoke, "Yeah, I've got to get back to the orphanage in time for breakfast. Plus, I don't want Mr. Morfran finding out I snuck away early in the morning. So I guess I'll see you around then."

     Ebony began walking out of the forest when Allister stopped in front of her again.

     "Ebony, before you go, there is something important I must tell you. While you have only witnessed the dark side of life so far, it does not mean that no light exists for you. It may be blurry to see, but everything will get better. All you have to do is believe, work hard, and not give up. In the end of all your suffering and never-ending battle, you come out stronger than ever," Allister finally stated before a small white circle appeared in the center of the dark fur on his broad chest. The blackness of his tail turned white, looking like a distinct ombre. His eyes reformed from an overpowering red to a pure, blinding white that shined throughout the entire hillside.

     Ebony took a few steps back and winced at the burning sensation of the light that consumed the wolf in front of her. The once solid creature morphed into a faded man with a white aura surrounding his figure. He was wrapped in white robes and his face contained a small beard. While there was no distinct color of his eyes, they were filled with trust and care. He moved towards Ebony and wrapped his arms around her. Ebony didn't fight the embrace, rather accepted it.

     "Sleep now Ebony, everything will be alright," Allister soothed, sending Ebony into a dreamless slumber.

     Ebony's eyelids fluttered open. She looked around to find herself in her room again. Her window was still open, but it was daytime. Ebony rubbed the sleep out of her eyes and carefully sat up. The springs of the bed creaked again, and the itchy feel of the cheap sheets still scraped her skin. The morning sun was out, watching families of birds fly through the air and flowers dancing through the breeze. The aroma of bacon cooking filled her nostrils and made her stomach growl for food. It was an ordinary Monday.

     She stood up from her bed and walked along the creaking floor to her jacket hanging off an old red rocking chair her grandmother gave her. She pulled out a mint and chew on it, savoring the cool, fresh taste that cleansed her breath and relaxed her tense shoulders.

     Maybe meaning Allister had been just a dream. Ebony thought. Before exiting putting on the jacket, Ebony froze. This was the first few hours of peaceful rest she has had in three months. She smiled at the realization. For the first time in a while, she could faintly see the light at the end of the tunnel. It was far away, but it was there. It will take quite of bit of healing, and some damage will be evident, but she can make it; it will just take one step at a time.

     Ebony heaved a small sigh and walked out of the room, walking down the rickety old stairs yet again. Her green eyes caught the bright blue eyes of her friend, who was looking at her shyly. The taller girl walked over to Emily and wrapped her in the tightest hug she had ever given.

     "I am so sorry," Ebony apologized with two silent tears slid down her cheeks. They slipped onto her chapped lips and made her mouth taste their salty flavor. She felt her best friend smile slowly against her shoulder.

     "I am too," She whispered, holding the brown-haired girl tighter. Neither girl moved from the hug until breakfast time was called. They released each other and crossed the stained, wooden floor to the kitchen.

     "So, let me tell you what's been happening lately...," Ebony told Emily as they sat down in the old oak chairs.

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