What The Shadow Takes

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"Emmy, who did you say was taken by the Shadow?". "Oh, my mai... sister. My sister. May. That's her name". "Do you have any family left to go to?". She sat and thought about it awhile. "No, actually. But I can't stay here". "Well, can I at least get to know you, Emmy?". "Ok..." She said wearily, "but only for a little bit". "So... how old are you?". "Sixteen thought my birthday is in a few weeks. What about you?". "Eighteen. My birthday was a few weeks ago". We went on like this for a while. Her favorite flowers are light purple lisianthus', her favorite color is Indigo, and she has no siblings. "Wait, I thought you said you have a sister?".
Her eyes went wide then she said, "Had". "Oh, sorry...". "It's fine..."
She looked like she was thinking hard about something. She looked up. Then she said,
"I should tell you the truth".

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1. Princess Emily

Emily

I was in my old bedroom when I saw it. A Shadow-like thing slowly creeping up and taking innocent, harmless people. They looked horrified... then peaceful--needy maybe. Obsessed. It was as if they wanted the Shadow, needed it to live. It just took them. One minute they are there, the next... gone. To who-knows-where. I was so distracted by watching the others that I didn't realize that it was getting closer to me, too. It came to me... slowly circling me as if it was deciding whether or not it wanted to take me. Then, the Shadow took the form of a person. It came and touched my cheek... it seemed to say 'I love you' and 'I want you' and 'come to us' and 'come home' all at the same time. I was crying...because I recognized this person... this was my mother. Then I woke with a start.

"Princess! What's the matter?".

It was my guard at the door that was asking me. I must have been screaming again and he heard. Or maybe uncontrollably crying. He was a new guard, so I supposed he would have to get used to it.

"N-nothing. Just a b-bad dream. I'm fine n-now".

"Okay, my Princess," he said with weary eyes, "but it is almost time to wake up anyway... I will go get your maid".

My maid, Mary, is my most trusted friend. She is the only one I still talk to about the Shadow.

"Thank you," I replied.

When he left is when I saw the Shadow again. I called it the Shadow. As far as I can tell, I'm the only one who sees it. It takes people somewhere... maybe even kills them. No one knows for sure. Everyone in Terre thinks of it as the "Invisible Plague".

It has taken so many. My parents were taken by it when I was only an infant. They were coming to check on me because I was crying. They came into my room, and that's when I first saw it. The Shadow slowly circled them. I started to cry some more when I saw it, then they were gone. Just gone. I remember that day as if it were yesterday. Ever since then, I see it coming. Calling for me in my dreams... taking away everything that I have. Like Kairum... a voice whispered in my head. I shook my head to clear it. Just then, my maid entered my room.

"Good morning, princess. Would you like some elixir?".

Ah. The elixir. It's supposed to get rid of my nightmares, or my "hallucinations". Everyone in the palace thinks I'm crazy ever since I told them about the Shadow.

"Yes, I would love some."

I hated the elixir, but it made everyone happy when I drank it. After it was gone, I asked for something I don't usually ask for.

"You know what, I think I want to go into town today". I rarely wanted to go outside, but today felt special somehow.

"Of course," she said with surprise, "I will get everything prepared for you, my Lady".

I expected her to be surprised, but she did not appear to be. She soon got everything, including me, ready to go. Because I don't go outside much, and for security reasons, I don't wear very expensive clothing. I wear much of what everyone else wears. Brown cloth. I look ordinary enough, anyway. I look at myself in the mirror. Dark brown hair, blue eyes, light skin. And so, for the first time in years, I go out onto my planet, Petit Terre.

 

Petit Terre is a small planet divided in two. One side is the Royal Family of Terre, the other, Royal Family Petit. Hence the name, Petit Terre. We have a wall separating both sides, and we have no idea what is on the other side. We are not allowed to pass the wall. It is very tall and somewhat intimidating, but it's also beautiful. It is made of Diamondite, the strongest material ever. It glitters and shimmers in the sunlight. From the palace, I can see it very well.

"Where would you like to go to town, my lady?".

I tell my maid to just call me Emily, but she never listens. My maid, Mary, is my most trusted friend. If I ever lost her, I don't know what I would do.

"Um... how about the bakery? I feel like some sweets right now."

Mary looked at me with a playful expression. We used to love coming to the bakery, usually, it was the one in the palace though. We always ate a strawberry rhubarb pie.

"You always want sweets, my lady," she teased.

"Yes, as I always will," I replied happily. "Right up until the day I die!"

The town was made up of mostly small houses, with a few businesses to keep the town running. They were just kind of scattered everywhere. We have a few lakes, some rivers, a small mountain. My town is small and beautiful. Peaceful. We were almost to the bakery when I first noticed it. I froze. It stopped. Then it came towards me.

"No... stop. Stop!"

"Miss? What is it?" Mary asked.

I looked at her with terrified eyes, and realization dawned on her. "Where?" is all she said. At this point, it was within reaching distance. It swirled over...

"Mary... it's above your head," I whispered frantically.

I was frozen with terror. This was exactly how it happened the last times... Then she was gone. I screamed, I think. I was frozen. All I could think was HOW could I let this happen again? HOW? I'm sorry... I'm so, so sorry... Then I ran.

 

Ky

I was walking to the bakery when I heard the scream. They were common in the village, usually because someone realized that the invisible plague had taken one of their loved ones. It always made me think of my nanny. She has been with me since birth because my parents were gone. Nanny didn't talk about them much. I was down the street from the bakery, when a young woman ran into me.

"Whoa! Watch where you are going," I tell her.

"I... I'm so sorry, so sorry... I didn't mean for it to happen, you weren't supposed to be gone... the shadow has taken so much from me ..." she trailed off.

Wow. This woman was crazy. She kept talking about how someone shouldn't be gone, that 'the shadow' took them? Something like that.

"Hey, calm down. What's the matter with you?".

She had brown hair and blue eyes that were filled with tears. She heard me and looked up. She seemed to realize where she was and started bawling.

"Calm down. I don't want to make a scene!"

People started looking at us. She was delusional, so I grabbed her, and carried her to my home so she would calm the heck down and talk to me. Once I got to my home, I sat her down on the couch. I lived in a small home, just me. My nanny left, when I was about 16. Two years later and I still have no word from her. I looked at the girl and saw that she was asleep. Great. Just what I needed right now...

Emily

"My lady, this strawberry rhubarb pie is just delicious! You always pick the best ones". Mary was too kind.

"I know. But something feels off..." she said

"It's because you are asleep," Mary chided helpfully.

"What?"

Just then, the Shadow came and took Mary. So quick, so swift...

"NO!" I screamed.

I woke with a jolt. Then I realized... where in the world am I?

"Ah, you are finally awake. You have been crying and screaming for a good ten minutes," said a young man's voice that I did not recognize. He was standing next to where I had been sleeping-- whomever he was.

"Who are you? And where am I?".

I was very confused. I waited for him to explain.

"Oh, I was on my way to the bakery when I heard you scream, then you ran right into me and wouldn't stop crying and I didn't want to make a scene and so I brought you here and you fell asleep..."

He said in a rush.

"By the way, my name is Ky. What's yours?".

"I am Emi... Emmy. You can call me Emmy".

I don't know why I said that, but I knew to say my real name would make me look even crazier.

"Ok then, Emmy. What was wrong?".

"Um... my... sister, yes sister, she was taken by the Shadow".

Whoops. That just slipped out.

"The Shadow? What is that?".

Just then, I heard a ding.

"Oh, just a second. I will be right back".

A minute later he came back out.

"Sorry, I bake when I feel something wrong needs to be right... It's kind of weird, I know".

"Well it can't be as weird or as strange as the Shadows I see".

Then, for some strange reason, I told him about my Shadows.

"So, every time someone gets taken and you are near, you see the Shadow?".

"Yes. It terrifies me".

"I'm so sorry. That would be horrible".

Just then it looked like he remembered something.

"Hey, do you want some pie?".

"Pie? Really? It's like you already know me. Pie is my favorite! What kind is it?".

"It's strawberry rhubarb".

"That's my favorite!".

"Well then, I will go get it."

He left, and I started to feel something... It's like... oh no. No. I can not be friends with him. I shouldn't even be talking to him! The Shadow will take him if he is important to me in any way. I have to leave... now.

Ky

When I returned, she looked different. Weary. More aware of everything.

"Well, here it is".

She took some and ate it quickly. Then she said,

"I need to get back home. I should leave now".

I knew she should leave, but something warned me that she couldn't handle not being with her... sister, did she say?

"Emmy, who did you say was taken by the invi... Shadow?".

"Oh, my mai... sister. My sister. May. That's her name".

"Do you have any family left to go to?".

She sat and thought about it awhile.

"No actually. But I can't stay here".

"Well, can I at least get to know you, Emmy?".

She sat and thought about it awhile.

"Ok..." She said wearily, "but only for a little bit".

"So how old are you?".

"Sixteen though my birthday is in a few weeks. What about you?".

"Eighteen. My birthday was a few weeks ago".

We went on like this for a while. Her favorite flowers are light purple lisianthus', her favorite color is Indigo, and she has no siblings.

"Wait, I thought you said you have a sister?".

Her eyes went wide then she said

"Had".

"Oh, sorry...".

"It's fine"

She looked like she was thinking hard about something. Then she said,

"I should tell you the truth".

Emily

He looked surprised, then confused.

"The truth?".

"You probably won't believe me, but here goes. My name is Emily..."

"Ok?".

"You didn't let me finish. My name is Emily... Terre".

"As in... like the... princess... royal family Terre?" He stammered.

"Yes...". I said slowly.

"You are the Princess.".

"Maybe? Yes. Is that good? I know I sounded crazy when you first met me, but I swear I'm not. You can't tell anyone! I don't even know why I told you. You know what, never mind. Let's just pretend I never said that".

He just stared at me for a while looking confused. Then finally,

"But... but that's impossible".

"I assure you that it is possible".

"No... the princess is sick and can't ever go outside. You're lying to me!"

"Wh.. wh... What? Who told you that?".

"The Acting King Daniel Anderson. He made an announcement a few weeks ago when people asked where the princess was. He said she was sick".

Daniel Anderson. That wretched man. He was my father's favorite advisor and is acting as king until I am eighteen and can be queen. I don't know what my father saw in him.

"I despise that man".

Ky's eyes went wide.

"You do realize that what you just said is treason, right? Punishable by death?"

"What's he going to do, kill the future queen?".

I could tell he still didn't believe me. I don't know why, but I just really needed someone to trust me. I have no one left.

"Fine. You know what? Why don't you come by the Palace tomorrow morning and see for yourself".

Then I ran out the door and back to the castle.

 

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