THE DESCENT

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She had awoken, her long blondish hair curled beside her warm breath. As she had gasped over and over again for the same satisfaction that the others were given. She was given no word on whether she could awake or even die. She was told multiple times, over and over; ‘You will not leave this place.’ The words echoed in her encased mind. Her skull was covering up the words she wished to speak. Being held back for so long, is it any wonder why she couldn’t speak? Perhaps not. She awoke with her hands fiddling together whilst she smiled with her beautiful lips touching once more. She grasped her pillow with frustration and threw it to the other side of the room. As the pillow landed, the white door sealed with barbed wire had opened.

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17. CHAPTER 17

(THE DESCENT)

- CHAPTER 17 -

I’m being watched, I feel like the sane are the ones who are turning around the life of this world. Burnt down to the core of things? I just feel like the small spiders, the abdomens are larger in some corners. There must be a lot of web hiding underneath that creature, a ribbon, perhaps? Or, is it just the long legs that creep around the mattress of my bed? Nevertheless, I still stare into its eyes, the eyes were quite hollow, I’d tell myself to sleep, and then surely it would just go away, right? Not quite. I had to take medicine, pills, I even ended up bringing harm to myself, I don’t know, it smiles whenever I bring pain to the ones I love. There is no reflection to my shadow, then again, there is no infection across this arrow, an arrow I crafted in order to understand the simple directions in life, and here I am, here I stand.

- The Little Boy

The little girl spoke to her sister with joy in her heart, knowing that they could speak together, be free like they intended to be. It was all magical to them. Magical? Or is it just the twisted minds at work again? It is a surprise for them both, to be able to see the darker sides in each other. Those eyes stare at her, and her eyes just flicker on and off. The little girl thought that her sister had been staring into her eyes, but the reality soon became obvious to her; she was staring at the wound, The Top Hat Man had left for her, an heirloom, he would say to her. The voice would be quite calm, she imagined that the creature lurking in the shadows would step forward into the light. (Again) – And if that was the case, she’d face the mighty eyes of her nightmares, her own deformed things, places, people, all this in a dark room? It seems like the reality had flickered into differences between them. A shattered mirror is all that stood in her way, her sister did little more than pray.

A vestige, a reminder of who she once were before she became the lonely girl lost in a world of hurt. Her sister remained, her mother not so sure about, her father dying in the darkness and being forced to speak out mutters, and then the Top Hat Man claims the voices were just in her head. They are hurting her, and if they are hurting her? Well, it’s not a pretty sight to see. The Top Hat Man was little more than Death himself, he seemed capable of much more than the touch of death. Whether it meant a single tip would equal death to the ones it met in a violent situation, would it matter to them anyway? The little girl proceeded on ignoring the words flowing in her mind, the twisted connections between each bridge that led to another. She was confident, and she believed that each bridge was a wire locked into her brain; brining out signals and all kinds of misfortune to the ones she loved. Whether her brain was in pain, it was unsure to whether the creature was insane.

“Ahem, it’s come to my attention that your conversation has received nothing but a CUT.” It screeched from the darkness.

“Yeah? – And why is that?” The sister asked, unsure of why she was there.

“You tell me… you’ve been staring at those eyes, those eyes that seem too real to be true. Your story proves to be false. – I’d be a kind man, a kind thing, what is this? Third grade? Am I seriously talking to the ones that try so hard to be real?”

“Ignore it, it’ll go away. – ‘Sister…’ you know my name?” She whispered as she wanted answers from her family.

“…your name is special…”

She was unsure to why her name was so-called ‘Special,’ it’s a title for someone, she thought. It seemed more broken and slowly fading out of reach. Whether it was the bounce or the pain of it sinking in, it would never really add up in her little mind.

“I gave you a chance to see the world again, it was a lie, and I know that. Surely, you can’t see the winter ahead, the summer of dread, and then spring comes after, right?”

“Hang on a second, you mention my sister, and then you change the subject.” The little girl grinded her teeth together.

It smiled at her, looked at her with a serious expression on its face. Pointed towards the misshaped windows, it tried to speak to her through the mind of another mind. A memory perhaps? It seemed possible. The little girl was more lost in the facts that remained and were known as the truth. The truth hurts, let it hurt, sometimes lies can be more painful. She heard so many quotes, some she had heard before, and others just seemed to be distant memories that were actually locked away inside of a book. She remained calm, looking at the creature, trying to hide away the smug-face she wanted to show to it. It remained calm, looking at her with its pure dark eyes.

“Trapped and most likely suffering below, a thousand souls… no, millions! All of them screaming with their hands spreading out towards the out of reach terrain. They then just look so down and miserable, so much pain all in one place. That’s where your name comes from.”

“I don’t care about the name. My sister is here, let us be, please.” The little girl smiled.

“Entrenched in that mind wrapped in chains, I wonder why you haven’t spoke the truth since your struggle to humanity begun.” It scoffed. “Then, I look at you with the visions of a little girl, and I see darkness inside of you, a pool of death, I see a Well of Life, and you seem to be settling down in a little shack I call: ‘redemption.’

The little girl stood next to her sister, looking at her, observing her features; her eyes, her nose, anything that looked human to her. She wanted a chance to be with family and friends, she missed the ones she had forgotten about. It was a matter of time before she had to say goodbye to the ones that made her become ‘the little girl,’ she knew all so very well. Her sister had so much information for her, wanting to speak to her, hold her, just a hug that would last forever, it was obvious that these two were inseparable.

“Sis, I won’t leave you to view the end of… (Me) the end of them.” She cried.

“—‘Them?’ What do you mean?” The little girl could not listen to the same word again.

Her sister stayed strong, holding back the tears. “You’re better off knowing that our father will always love you. And me? Enough already, there is thin line between me and you. That’s all I can say to you, sis. We are both on thin ice, we seem to see each other differently.”

“It’s not winter yet. How can you say that to me?” She tried to hug her sister.

Pushing her away, she remained calm and unemotional. “There is nothing left here. You stand a chance, a chance to meet us again. I could stay here with you, but even then, you would just wish I had walked away.”

“Speaking the truth. She knows how to talk to them, how to hold onto them, but you? You are lost, little girl.” The Top Hat Man whispered.

Her sister pushed her one and only sister away from her. Slight tears rolled down her eyes, she looked back with hesitation, after that, she walked on further and further into the mists ahead. Several shadows followed her into the darkness. The little girl ran towards her, wanting to keep her by her side. She felt the connection, she felt her presence, and it all made so much sense to her, on why she has to be with her. ‘Family,’ it’s the word that came to mind. She thought about her family and it made her smile until she reached the Family Tree. Soon, she remembered the death of her father, and closed her eyes trying to block out the sounds she could hear. The shadows that followed her sister returned to The Top Hat Man with very sluggish movement to their floating and walking.

“Nothing. That slither up your back, it should soon bite back, and you will wrestle that thing between the twisted tree lines, and you’ll see a darker forest that remains to be unseen to them. Keep looking backwards and you’ll end up here, again. Twice, maybe more than that, there is no telling on what remains behind you. Your past is nothing to look forward to, and the future is just the end of you. You decide, you make your choices, I shall not stand in the way of a reckless little girl who had stumbled into a world of absurdness, and it would truly bring us to sadness.”

The little girl held her hand out, closing her eyes shut; she watched the Top Hat Man walk away from her. This was a breath of fresh air, to be known by someone and to be given the chance to actually be alone and think alone without interruptions. The Top Hat Man walked a few steps towards her, and said one final message that was only going to bring the fear of being alone back to her mind:

“You see, I can walk, girl. – It’s just you, now. Is that what you truly want out of life? A card that holds your freedom on the table for you? Or, do you wish to see that girl again?”

The little girl thought she had her mind set on a goal to be alone. The Top Hat Man’s words were just too convincing to throw away. She nodded with slight hesitation, she believed that the way back was to follow what it said to her. Being able to see that ‘girl,’ her sister, she thought to herself. It was a way to be with her again, and if that meant following this stranger; so be it, it was the chance to meet the one she loved most. Family was all around her, she believed that they had been watching her from above or below, either way, she smiled at the feelings inside her. Knowing that they could still be with her made her happy. She smiled and then followed the Top Hat Man into the opposing fogs, and only to be pushed towards her real goal.

After several hours of walking with it, she felt the urge to go back. The Top Hat Man stopped her from going any further, standing in front of her with its tall body structure blocking the shadows in the distance. The temperatures had dropped completely; cold winters had moved in, freezing anything that was in the winds paths. Chilling anything to the bone, the Top Hat Man whispered towards the little girl.

“…freezing cold… a compass, that arrow pointing towards the top, it just rings a bell.” It laughed. “North or South?”

She nodded at it and then shivered whilst speaking; “S-south”

“Very well. ‘South,’ it is. – Looks like the frozen landscapes are dead in the cold. That’s not all you will want to see; if you walk on the path your mind tells you, you will find what you wanted to see again. The ice trails are non-existent, and this cold weather? It’s not a winter to remember.”

She continued to shiver whilst walking at the speed of a slug, one foot in front of the other, she treaded through the snow that she could not see at all. Her feet were more buried in the mist than the actual snow itself. Feeling the need to sneeze, she held it back; walking towards the distant shadows and continuing to go south. Soon she was stopped by several dead trees with the mist becoming incredibly more opaque.

“H-hello?” She whispered.

No sound could be heard, there was nothing to see, either. The only thing that she could actually see was the dead trees with their bark being torn off by the invisible strong winds. Several screams torn through the atmosphere of the mellow quietness that once remained there. The little girl heard the screams coming from nearby the trees. Several more bark was torn off by the winds, forcing several screeches to erupt from the horizon. She reached the trees location and knelt down holding her arms together, forcing them to wrap around her body, wanting to stay warm, she fell, face first into the snow as the cold weather had finally begun to cause some kind of effect to her body.

More time passed as her vision returned to her. The mist had become a little less with the fogginess slowly fading away in the distance. She could actually see her feet and hands, this made her feel relieved that she hadn’t had lost them after-all. She pushed her hands against the thick snow and raised her body into the air, trying to stand with steadiness, not wanting to lose balance or even fall back into the cold snow.

T-this is test, it has to be this m-must be the final floor. Her mind could not settle on an explanation to why the floor she was on had become so dead and frozen over. The screeching and screaming had stopped, as no more bark remained on the dead-looking trees. She could see now see the snow falling, heavier and heavier it became. She raised both of her hands in front of her eyes and could see them perfectly. Smiling, she tried to stay calm, but the sound of silence (whatever that may sound like) was just causing her to freak out and feel more intimidated.

“H-help me…” a muffled cry came from behind her.

She stuttered, trying to remain calm and relaxed, she swirled round with slight movement to her feet. She looked at where the voice may have come from; she could see more dead trees and several snowmen. These snowmen were not fully in view, blurry around the edges, she moved a little closer to them. Deep breathing had occurred to her, trying to regain her breath, it was becoming more difficult to survive the cold weather. The muffling continued, she placed her two hands one of the snowman’s head, as she could see several patches of snow falling off where the smiley face sat. Staring at the snowman’s head, she crushed some of the snow with her hands. Feeling even colder, she tried to stand up for longer and longer, trying to keep her balance for as long as she could.

“A-are you okay?” She whispered.

The muffled voice returned; more pieces of snow dropped to the snowy ground. “You m-must not look inside of me…”

The little girl heard the words perfectly, the silence atmosphere really helped her understand the voices around her. Crystal clear, it was as if these muffled voices wanted to be heard. Crushing more snow in her hands, she felt something warm slide down the tips of her ice cold fingers. Feeling grossed out, she stepped back in shock. She looked down at her fingers and focused on her finger nails. The warmth of whatever may have slid down her fingers had frozen solid to her skin. She looked at it and tried not to hurl.

“I-I told you… d-didn’t?” The muffled voice sounded in pain.

“No, why, why are you doing this to me!” She screamed at the sky above.

“It won’t get any easier, y-you wanted me back, a-and you got it.”

What remained inside the snowman-like structure was what the little girl wished to have never witnessed at all in her life. Drooping to the side of snowman’s body was nothing more than her sister’s skull. The little girl felt so much anger inside of her, it managed to keep her a little warm too. She punched the snowman’s body out of frustration and ignored the cold tingles that were within each slash into the snow. Her sister remained alive, but she knew deep down that their time together was limited.

“I k-know this is not how you want to end your own sister…” she whispered in pain.

“B-but you have no choice. I wish I could choose how to die, how to leave you behind. I p-promise you, I would never ever hurt you! N-not l-like this…”

She watched her sister’s eyes freeze, the skull was slightly melting inside of her shell. Frozen blood that wanted to ooze out of her mouth had collided with her teeth, freezing inside of her throat. Causing serious pain to her, she tried to speak but couldn’t. Her sister was dying, she could not just let this happen. Due to the cold weather, the ice cold temperatures, there was no chance of getting rid of the snow and ice around her body. There were no tools in sight, nothing that she could use to break her free.

“I’m sorry, sis. I-I’m sorry!” – “I just want you back, and this is why I can’t have you back.” She cried in her own arms.

Rising out of the snow was no other than The Top Hat Man himself. Looking quite pleased with himself, he looked at the little girl feeling no remorse to his actions. It was proud of what it had witnessed, and was even less emotional to the sight of the sister dying in a gruesome way to go. Showing no emotion in its face, it stared at the little girl and then spoke with several screeches interrupting some of its words:

Look at that, it’s a sad way to go, but it’s always kind to let them go.” It grinned. “Deep concerns, sad memorials, it would make this world feel so much more alive. This part of the world is already dead. Look into her eyes and you’ll see what she had witnessed in this world. Death. That’s funny, isn’t it? Ha, ha, it’s a wonder to why you chose ‘South,’ I mean, North would be so much more interesting than south. If only you could see what I could’ve witnessed in the North. Let’s just say; there would have been so many tears, and so many more goodbyes for you, my child.”

Dropping to the ground, she couldn’t move. Little to no strength, the cold had weakened her immensely.

“Running in the spring, dashing in the snow. I love winter so much! That does not change the facts that you have just seen something so awful. The difference between me and you is this: You are sick, tired, wanting to keep Family. As for me, I am Family. I am also the one who must end everything that once remained as ‘Them,’ it would be a pity to see it all fall apart in front of these very eyes. Farewell, little girl. Until our next encounter, I’ll be sure to keep you entertained, I’ll be sure to give you peace with the ones you love so very much

She had fallen asleep. The little girl remained still, not knowing what was going on around her.

She had fallen into a heavy sleep...

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