Inner Struggles

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Writers Rift


Stella suffers through the night, even the day. During the dark hours, she feels lost in a colourless world, but what happens when she finds something magical in such a place? A/N: Contest entry
for the Review Chain House.

Submitted: August 03, 2018

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Submitted: August 03, 2018

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Inner Struggles

White, that was all Stella saw, from the walls to the food that was given to her every day. Even the hair that fell around her sitting form was the colour of snow. To her, everything was a colourless pallet. With a simple glance, the painting was picturesque, showing people the beauty, they wanted to see. Those who looked harder, however, saw the cracks that lay hidden underneath. People try to ignore it, to see it as something more, but really, she knew better. She was one of those the world tore apart. In the darkness of her own room, she felt caged within her own mind. As she pressed her back tightly against the headboard of her bed, her gaze drifted to her dainty hands, pale like everything else she saw. In the silence, she wrapped her arms around her knees, rocking back and forth. Such a motion comforted her when she was unable to sleep. Outside, she was seen as weak, frail, inside, she was torn between what was real and what was not. Nightmares, that was what they called them, yet they felt so real.

Stella struggled with another restless night. The thoughts and unwanted memories eating away at her. People talked to her in a tone that was meant for the three-year-old, sweet and full of lies, hiding the ugly truth. She knew there was something wrong with her, yet they kept telling her it was all going to be okay. They gave her prescription, forced her to take it, but still, she refused to sleep. They said it would help her, but she knew better. They did not care. It was all lies, lies. In a world of nothing, she had lost hope to feel normal. She whimpered to herself. It was painful to think about, but she could not distract herself. Sinking into her bed, she lay there, staring up at the plain ceiling. Her big green eyes held so much sadness, searching for light within the darkness. Nothing, nothing but emptiness. Her side of the world had long since fallen asleep, yet she remained alert of even the slightest movement. A curfew put on the city kept all doors shut and locked. It was the only reason she was not out, walking in the moonlight to distract her mind. They say danger lurks at night, yet all she could hear was an owl hoot from outside her window.

Sitting up, she contemplated leaving anyway. Surely the curfew was just an overreaction, a precaution put in place after a few got mauled by a rabid dog. While the beast was never found, that was the rumours that had spread. The response to such an accident was insane and unorthodox, just because of a crazed animal on the loose. The chance of it showing up exactly as she stepped outside was unlikely, to say the least. She nodded to herself, deciding she was going to take the chance anyway. The feeling of being trapped had her on edge. Swinging her legs over the side of her bed, she stood up and sluggishly moved towards her closet. Pulling out some trousers and a plain t-shirt, she slipped them on as well as her shoes. She then grabbed her jacket before walking out the door. Her parents told her, never leave home without one. Maybe they thought she was prone to the cold and would get sick easily, but it had become a habit in time. Sneaking through the house, the last thing she wanted was to accidentally wake someone. Approaching the front door, she unlocked it.

Once outside, Stella could feel the brisk breeze brush against her pale skin. Wrapping her arms around her small body, her gaze surveyed the empty streets. She began to walk, the constant silence growing eerier by the second. She expected to see something, anything, but even the birds were hidden out of sight, like they knew something she did not. She stumbled, catching herself before she fell. She straightened up, exhaling a sigh. Before she continued on, she glanced around. A noise from somewhere caught her attention. It broke through the silence, clear as day, voices. Frantically searching, she still saw no one. Frowning, she began walking again, this time heading towards the sounds. She rounded a corner, freezing in her tracks. Her eyes fell upon an animal, with matted black fur, shiny like oil. Its big eyes were red, narrowed as it stalked its way forward. Baring its fangs in a snarl, the beast was larger than any dog she had ever seen, yet it appeared to be some sort of canine. It had its attention focused on its prey. Following its gaze, she noticed a man, cornered with his back against the wall of a building. With his arms raised, he was determined to fight. His eyes glowed a fiery orange-red.

Stella stared at the two, eyes wide in disbelief. Without a clue on what to do, she decided it was best to leave. Stepping back, she tripped over her own feet. Falling over, she landed on her back. She whimpered in pain, slowly pushing herself to sit up. Looking over at the two, she noticed their attention was focused on her. The man had an expression of shock, almost panic, while the beast turned to her. With no time to react, the animal charged at her. She curled over, pointlessly shielding her eyes. For a moment, she lay there, shaking uncontrollably. Vicious snarling filled the air, yet she felt no pain. Eventually, she chanced a look, lifting her head. The wolf-like creature was on the floor, another standing over it, baring its sharp teeth, blood dripping from them. It glanced up, over to where the man stood, then turned its head in Stella’s direction. Gradually, it began to change, its oily black fur retreating into its body, bones cracking as it turned into something almost completely unrecognisable from its previous form

Stella stared over to where the beast once stood. In its place, was a human, a man. He straightened up, turning to her. The only thing that remained the same, was the deep red eyes. With the back of his hand, he wiped the blood from his mouth. “Hey,” he began with a slight smile, looking down at her. He held out his hand. “Are you alright?”

Hesitantly, she took a hold of his hand and allowed him to help her to her feet. Her knees shook under the sudden shift of weight, so she held onto him for support. She remained silent, her gaze drifting from his dark red eyes to the man who still stood by the wall of the nearby building. Slowly, he began to approach and when both guys stood side by side, the one who held onto her, preventing her from falling, smiled. “My name is David,” he began and then gestured to the man beside him, “and this is Zach.

“Wha…” Stella tried to speak but struggled to comprehend what was happening. Her gaze flicked between the two, her mind reeling from what she had seen. Staring up into the eyes of David, she noticed they faded to a normal brown, while Zach’s had remained the same. She shook her head, wondering if it was all just another nightmare. It seemed too real though and they all usually ended the same, with her dying. That did not happen, however, for this time, she was saved. Looking at them, she began to see a little splash of colour in the plain painting she called the world. “What are you?” she finally asked, slightly afraid to hear the answer, and yet, oddly enough, these two did not frighten her.

David hesitated in answering. He glanced over at Zach. “He’s a phoenix,” Looking back at Stella, he smiled at her expression, mouth partly open in shock, “and I’m…” he paused, unable to continue. Something worried him like whatever he was about to say would send her running the opposite direction.

For a moment, she stared up at him, wondering what it was that made him so sceptical to tell her. “A werewolf?” she guessed. He shook his head. “Hmm,” she pondered, “a Hellhound?” It was something she thought much too farfetched, but what else looked like that. Ever since she was little, she enjoyed the fantasy world. Now that she was witnessing it first hand, she felt like none of it could possibly be real, a dream and nothing more.

“Actually,” David began.

“No way,” Stella whispered, her eyes wide in disbelief, “and you two are out here because?”

“Because,” Zach spoke up, “me and my brother here, came to take out a rouge Hellhound.”

“Brother?” Stella asked.

“Not by blood,” David replied, “more like a spiritual bond. We are very close friends, and have been ever since we first met.”

Stella smiled at them. These two were the real-life fantasy she wanted in her plain painting, the ones who can cover up the cracks no matter how visible. After their meeting, they kept in touch and with their support, she would soon learn that despite the troubles and nightmares, someone was always waiting for her. While she loved her parents, there was nothing quite like an escape from everyday struggles. They offered her this, and so much more. It was the start of something amazing, something she could never have imagined.


© Copyright 2018 ShadaStorm120. All rights reserved.

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