The Hallway

Reads: 29  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 1

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Lia is a young woman living in a world where earth has collapsed, unable to support itself. She embarks on a journey that could hold the answer.

The Hallway, June 17, 2703 

It was all a bunch of mirrors. The hall was lined with them.

They reflected every fault, every miscalculation. Lia eyed them with distrust. The walls of the tunneling hallway were made up of smooth, cloudy glass that was lined with reflecting metal. As she moved farther down to passage, Lia’s own reflection shifted so subtly that her keen eyes failed to notice. The stormy gray rims of her mostly-blue eyes softened and soon disappeared, leaving her irises an electric blue. Her lips, persed with worry, slowly turned from their normal pale pink into a deep peach. Her cheeks flushed, and even her long, thinning blond hair seemed to grow thicker. 

Lia’s footsteps echoed through the long hallway, projecting themselves both behind her and in front. Her thoughts skimmed dark waters, before she quickly decided against thinking about what was to come. It didn’t matter now, anyway. She was too far from the entrance to head back, and besides, Jade should have blown up the doorway right after she’d entered. There was no turning back, so there was really no point of thinking about the horrors that might await her at the end of the passage. She would be deep into the Reipanas’ land by that point. She couldn’t even imagine what the worst might be once she was there, so she instead tried to ignore her possible impending doom. 

Her thoughts, however, strayed into the realm of the dangerous empire’s land and what they might do to her once they realized she was from Earth. The two powers had long since established a long-lasting feud. Lia’s left hand dropped to her sword, strapped to her right hip, and her right reached up to stroked her wooden bow as she rehearsed her speech for King Desiku, leader of the Reipanians. She would bow properly and say “Dearest Majesty, President Camila Mersc?s would like to request an assembly with you and your advisors. You see, Earth has fallen into ruin. The great cities once constructed by the ancient powers have been destroyed by the cursed plague-ridden peoples. Revolts have come to control all. She would pause to gather her courage, knowing that the words she would have to speak next were those that everyone and everything in the Earth she’d left behind would depend on, and knowing she if showed even the slight fear or suspicion in her voice, she would be dooming them all. The President has asked for such an audience with you, Great Majesty, to request aid with the rebellions and plague-ridden world we have come to know. And so, I beg of you, to please grant aid to us Earthians so our great empires may be once again a united whole. Earth can not stand without your aid. Lia hoped desperately that this would be enough. Jade had given her one final card if it didn’t but it was to be reserved until all else had truly failed. 

A shiver ran down Lia’s spine. She glanced behind her into the circling darkness before she could stop her impulses, and in doing so caught her eye in the mirrors. By this point, the shifts and changes in her reflection had become noticable, and her jaw dropped open in surprise. She was pretty in the mirrors. She touched  her hair that appeared to  hang long, full, and shiny. Her eyes were a bright, almost startling blue instead of their usual dull blue-gray. Her lips and cheeks had darkened in color, and even the dirt caked onto her face had somehow washed itself off.  Lia glanced down at her clothes. They were still scruffy and full of patches where she’d worn through the fabric, even though they looked almost new in the cloudy glass. How odd.

She continued through the ever-expanding hallway, the one that connected worlds. With every step, her nervousness grew until her whole body felt stuffed with anxious, gnawing energy. Hunger sank into the pit of her stomach, filling her as a warm stew would have once. Lia sighed, her thoughts drifting to her last memory of a hearty meal. It had been three years before her trip to the capital, before the plague had taken her parents and her siblings. Her mother had baked a whole ham, glazed with honey and apricots as it was a special occasion. Her sister, Natalie, had been accepted into the capital’s government as an apprentice and was leaving the next week. However, plague-virus had been released the next morning. Lia’s entire family had been taken. 

She shook her head, clearly the painful memories from her mind. This was why she had volunteered to be Earth’s ambassador. She had nothing left. Why not do something no one else would because of the risk when she had nothing else in her life?

Hours passed, and slowly, Lia’s legs began to shake with exhaustion. Her eyes started to sting, and her shoulders cramped with the weight of her backpack. Keep going she thought miserably, I need to get there. After walking a few more kilometers, her knees buckled out from under her and Lia collapsed onto the passage’s floor. Her face rested against the cool glass even as she resisted the temptations of sleep. I’ll need my rest if I’m to present President Mersc?s’s plea, she finally decided. She knew that she couldn’t continue like this, but Lia couldn’t live with herself if there wasn’t some reason for not pushing through. At last, she allowed exhaustion to claim her.   

----------------------------------------

The Hallway, June 18, 2703 

She woke in the now-familiar darkness, her legs aching and her head pounding. Lia jumped to her feet and scolded herself for sleeping so long. Continuing her trek through the mirror-lined hallway, Lia had begun to wonder again at what awaited her in the Reipana’s land. Would they be willing to help the President? Or would they imprison her and use her for target practice? What kind of food and dress would be customary there? Quite soon, Lia became lost in her thoughts. 

As she continued on, she failed to notice that her reflection in the mirrors had slowly morphed back to her original appearance. Her hair was once again thin and matted, her face streaked with dirt, and her eyes returned to their usual dull gray-blue. She walked on. 

Slowly, a door became visible in the distance. Propelled by the idea of a savior and rest, Lia felt a new rush of sudden energy. She reached the door, not noticing the dull throb coming from her head or the sharp pain from her legs. She had almost made it; it was almost over. And then she could move on. The metal knob twisted beneath her touch. She threw open the door and revealed Reipana.

----------------------------------------

 

The city shined, the bright light from the far-off sun reflecting off the many marble buildings. There were statues of gold and fountains sparkling with coins thrown in as wishes. Windows were lined with colored glass, sweet songs echoed from a charming temple, and the cobblestones chimed with hurried footsteps. The city appeared in perfect condition, and Lia’s hope soared. 

Until she looked closer and saw the hurrying citizens, all with their heads down and eyes flitting back and forth. That the once-beautiful marble of the buildings was filled with crackage. Beggars stood fixed on the street corners, and shady figures huddled in doorways. All others rushed past, rumbled skirts swinging, patched cloaks swaying. Lia’s heart sank back into its usual, miserable pit of despair. The mirrors had given the illusion of beauty, though the country had fallen into ruin. The Reipanians had tricked her, convincing her to think great things awaited on the other side with the morphing reflections.

Lia sank to the ground as cold realisation washed through her. Her long, taxing, journey had been for nothing. And, as her last spread of hope evaporated into the smog-filled sky, as tears fell from her scrunched-up eyes and splattered on the cobblestones, a single raindrop of pure, crystal-clear water fell from the sky into her tangled hair.

 

 


Submitted: April 25, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Arya Moon. All rights reserved.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments:


Facebook Comments

More Fantasy Short Stories

Other Content by Arya Moon

Book / Fantasy

Essay / Other

Poem / Poetry