Wake Up, Katherine

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
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Submitted: May 10, 2017

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Submitted: May 10, 2017

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"Wake up, Katherine."

A deep male voice filled her ears, sounding smooth, suave, and confident. She opened her eyes...and immediately shut them as intense, blinding light filled her vision like a blazing sun. Disoriented, she held her hands up to shield her gaze, but there was no escaping the overwhelming, omnipresent light.

"Why did you wake me up?" Katherine asked. Her voice was strong and commanding.

"Because I want to break you out of your prison."

"My prison? Is this supposed to be a prison?"

"Yes."

Katherine chuckled. "Sure, the light is a little blinding, but-"

"The light is what's keeping you trapped in here."

That surprised her. But that also likely meant something else.

"You're trapped in here with me, aren't you? This light...it's preventing you from escaping too, isn't it?"

His response took a moment, as if he were weighing his options and choosing his next words carefully.

"Yes," he said finally. "I want to break both of us out. And I need your help to do so. Simple as that."

Katherine mulled it over. She didn't really have a choice in the matter, not if she wanted this infernal light to stop shining in her face.

"Okay," she said, taking a deep breath. "What do you need me to do?"

"First, you need to pretend this light doesn't exist. As in, imagine yourself free of this light. If you do this correctly, it will be so."

"That doesn't sound so hard."

"Surprisingly enough, it's not as easy as it seems."

Katherine wondered what the voice meant by that, but she figured...well, why not? She closed her eyes and imagined the light shutting down...but it didn't. She thought about it slowly dimming, or the image of a sun setting...no. An umbrella shading it...no. She even imagined destroying it with her bare hands...figuratively, of course. But no. Nothing seemed to stop the light.

"This isn't working," Katherine said, frustration evident in her voice.

"You're probably not thinking outside the box. You want to be free, don't you? That's the bigger idea. The light is only an obstacle. Think around it."

"I'll try." Katherine closed her eyes fully once more. This time, she imagined herself sitting cross-legged in a darkened room. Outside, a thunderstorm would be pounding the only window in the room, and consequently the storm's lightning would be the only source of light. Now, when she opened her eyes, the blinding light had disappeared. After a few moments of her eyes adjusting to the much darker environment, she saw that the room was very much as she imagined it, except for the lone figure standing at the corner of the room.

"There you go." Through the flashes of lightning, Katherine could just make out the man; he was in his forties, wearing a dark green suit, matching slacks, and polished leather shoes. In his right eye, an antiquated monocle was perched. Medium-length brown hair gave him an aged but refined appearance.

"So," said Katherine. "You're my benefactor."

"My name is Alastar," the man said. He held out his hand. "At your service, Katherine Sinclair." She noticed he was eyeing her as well and she looked down at herself: she wore a grey tunic, pants and brown boots. She also noticed that she was nearly as tall as he was, but she was just a bit stockier than him. Her medium-length black hair was cropped at her shoulders, and absentmindedly tugging on a few strands of hair, she noticed she had red highlights in the hair around her face.

"You seem to know who I am already-" Katherine began, taking his hand in mutual greeting. She halted as wisps of black mist surrounded her hand. Instinctively, she pulled back, but as she did, she felt a surge of power fill her body as she seemed to absorb the dark fog into her body.

"What did you just do to me?" She demanded.

"I just transferred some of my power to you." Alastar waved his right hand dismissively. "It'll make our next task much easier. Hold out your hand against this wall." He indicated to the wall opposite the glass window. "Then close your eyes and imagine it disappearing."

"How do you know so much about how this place works?"

"Because I've tried this myself a long time ago. And it worked."

Katherine looked at him skeptically. "And you still need me?"

Alastar gave her an annoyed expression. "Are you going to help me or not?"

"Fine."

Both of them raised their right hands and concentrated. The wall slowly seemed to lift away, folding up into itself, revealing a dark hallway beyond. 

"Excellent," Alastar exclaimed, rubbing his hands together expectantly.

"That's it?" Katherine cautiously eyed the darkness.

"Out of our individual room, yes. Freedom from the entire system? Not quite."

The two figures stepped outside the room. There was just enough light coming from...somewhere. This faint glow gave Katherine just enough lighting to make out the pathway of the seemingly endless hallway which now stood before them.

"This way," said Alastar, indicating that they move forward.

The two walked down the hallway, passing plaques of golden name plates. Rows and rows of them, filling the entire hallway every few paces or so, spaced perfectly and evenly.

"What is this?" Katherine asked.

"Those who were used and...discarded. Like us."

"Used? Discarded? Why?"

"Actually, let me be more specific. I have been...disposed of. You survived after your ordeal and remained in a...purgatory, of a sort."

"You talking about the blinding light?"

"You're as perceptive as ever," Alastar said with a smile. "Good."

Katherine was not amused. "Well, we seem to be free of the light now. Does this mean we're free to get out of here?"

"There's just one thing I want to take care of before we do."

The two continued walking before Alastar stopped before one of the name places on his left.

"Ashley...Paige," Katherine said, reading the words slowly.

"Yes," said Alastar. He raised his right hand again and placed it below the name plate. The wall opened again just like before, but this time, it opened inwardly. Inside, a girl in her early twenties with dusty blond hair and closed eyes was lying down on a table at the center of the room. She wore the same clothing Katherine had in contrast to the relatively peachy complexion of her face, which had a smile on it. She too was in front of a blinding ray of light, but because it was directed at her instead of outward towards the door, Katherine had no interest in stopping this one.

"Are you trying to break her out too?" Katherine asked, her voice hopeful.

"Not exactly," said Alastar. He stood by Ashley like a sentinel, looking at her. The next moment, his right hand formed the shape of a claw and plunged into her chest. Strangely, there was no blood or any sort of physical damage. It was as if Alastar's hand and arm had simply phased into Ashley's body.

"What the-" Katherine exclaimed, then forced herself to act. "Stop!" She grabbed Alastar's arm and pulled it out of Ashley's body. Again, defying reason, there was no blood. While there was no visible signs of damage, Ashley's smile was now a grimace.

"Explain yourself," Katherine demanded, her green eyes flashing dangerously at Alastar.

"I have a very vivid memory of her," said Alastar, as if he was reminiscing. "And not a good one."

"So you came in here to exact your revenge." Katherine's expression turned harsh.

Alastar shrugged. "She killed me, after all."

"I see." Seemingly out of nowhere, she procured a staff of dark metal and leveled it at Alastar. "I was hopeful you'd changed, but clearly, you haven't."

Alastar raised an eyebrow. "Now, now, why do we have to get violent all of a sudden?"

"You're doing it again, aren't you? The path you took before."

He sighed. "And here I was thinking we were getting along so well..."

"Your first mistake," said Katherine, her voice deadly serious. 

"My mistake?" Alastar laughed. "More like your mistake, captain."

Katherine's eyes narrowed.

"Yes," Alastar continued, noticing her change in expression. "I know exactly who you are. I don't blame you for wanting to protect one of your subordinates."

"It's good to know we both fully remember."

"So you do remember everything." Alastar's grin turned malicious. "I'll have you know that I was actually going to spare you. That we could actually get out of here, together. But considering you remember everything as well as I, I guess I will have to kill you after all."

"You can try." Katherine allowed herself a grin of her own. "But you have no idea how sorely you have underestimated me."

"Is that so?" Alastar leveled his hands like claws at Katherine, black mist surrounding them, turning deeper and darker, almost becoming a dark fog. "I know exactly what you're capable of, Katherine. There's no way you can defeat me alone."

"That's what you think!" She spun the staff in her hands, then executed a series of spear-like jabs towards Alastar. The latter blocked the attacks in a raised-arm stance very similar to a boxer's, using his clawed hands and arms to deflect and take hits. Several times he tried to grab the staff and rip it out of Katherine's grip, but every time she responded by turning his attempts at leverage into a counter-attack with the other end of her staff or a solid punch or kick to his upper body. Try as he might, Alastar couldn't find an opportunity to properly land a hit of his own. After a few exchanges, he backed away.

"Still the combat expert I see. But how will you continue to fight if you can't hit me?" He held his right hand outward, causing the dark fog to surround him.

Katherine's game face was on. "For all the power you had before, you still don't get it, do you?"

Alastar rushed at her, the darkness of fog encompassing his being. Katherine swung her staff at him and the strike connected, sending him flying to the left side. He groaned as he got up, his expression one of pure shock as he clutched his left ribcage.

"What...how did you do that?"

"Hit you?" Katherine's face was one of triumph. She held her left hand out, dark fog of her own surrounding it. "It's all thanks to you."

"That's impossible!" Alastar shook his head angrily. "There's no way I gave you enough of my power for it to be turned against me!"

"You've been severely weakened being here on your own this whole time. You didn't even realize how much you gave me." Katherine's green eyes glittered.

"No!" Alastar growled. "I refuse to accept this!"

"Believe it!" Katherine snapped. "And here you were, thinking you were using me to get out of here." She looked at him, a wide grin forming on her face. "The truth of the matter is, from the moment I woke up, I knew exactly what my plan was. You, who came to my world, who destroyed Radiance, killed my friends, and caused so much suffering. And for what? To escape from The Author's mind? No, it was for nothing, because in the end, you ended up right back where you started."

"You..." Alastar's unshakable, absolute confidence had been shattered in a manner of seconds. "Did you...did you plan all of this?"

"No," Katherine said with honesty. "But we knew you might try this one day. And that I would be there to stop you. Once and for all."

Alastar sighed in defeat. "All I wanted was to be free."

"Don't worry, you will be."

Alastar brought his head back up to look at Katherine. "What do you mean by that?"

Before Alastar could react, Katherine swung her staff into the side of his head with incredible speed and power. The force of the attack was such that he was killed instantly; his body hit the floor hard with a dull thud. Standing over him, Katherine held out her hand, absorbing the last of the darkness from her one-time nemesis.

"It's a shame," said Katherine, more to herself than anything as she lowered her hand. "If you were as strong as you were back then, you could have killed me easily. We didn't need Ashley this time..."

Quietly reminiscing, Katherine turned to face the still form of her sister-in-arms. Ashley still wore the grimace on her face, as if a dream she was having had been disturbed.

"Ashley," Katherine said softly. "I don't know exactly what he did to you, but know this: I will make this as right as I can." A single tear slid down Katherine's left eye. She absently brushed it away with the back of her left hand. She placed a caring right hand on Ashley's shoulder. The latter didn't react to it. "You will always be our champion. I hope you remember that when you wake up."

With that, Katherine removed her hand and turned towards the exit. She stole a final glance at Alastar's body before she opened the wall and left the room.


© Copyright 2017 T. J. Wong. All rights reserved.

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