New Awakening

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
Akiko wanders away from home after getting in a fight with her older sister. She finds herself in an unknown place with the stuff from legend and myths, with no recollection of how she got there or who she was before the argument.

Submitted: August 31, 2013

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Submitted: August 31, 2013

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A pinprick of light swam in the darkness before Akiko's closed eyes. She knew she wanted the light, but her limbs felt weak, heavy, and no matter how hard she tried to reach for it, she couldn't swim up threw the blackness that was her world. She knew it was a bad thing that she couldn't move, but she couldn't remember why...Her last memory was of Lissa yelling at her to get out of the house. She'd ran into the forest near her home and...and..what had happened? she couldn't remember. She couldn't remember why Lissa had yelled at her, either. It all seemed so far away and unimportant. Something tingled at the back of her mind, though, like an annoying itch that you couldn't reach, and would not go away. It was somehow necessary that she pushed up threw the blackness and scratch at the itch, to remember what it was she was doing. It was so comfortable, though. The darkness was nice, too, so different from the bright lights of the city that she'd always hated. It was calming and cool against her skin, enveloping her in a cackoon of tranquility.
No, she thought. No, this isn't right. I can't move. I can't move.
The darkness around her suddenly begin splitting, individual shadows forming into vaguely humanoid figures that surrounded her, their too thin arms reaching for her. The pinprick of light still hovered above her head, and with new found desperation she reached for it with all she had. Her fingertip touched it, and suddenly the shadows were gone, the darkness was gone, or at least replaced with the more normal darkness of night.
She lay on her back on what appeared to be thick grass. She ran her fingers threw the lushness of it, then suddenly sat up with a start. She was in a clearing. Trees surrounded it, their trunks too close to be normal. A single path lead off into the distance, no other ways threw the trees visible. The grass beneath her was perfectly trimmed, the color that of well cared for lawn. A perfect circle of stones was in the center of the clearing, a few feet from where she sat. Within the circle burned three fires, set in a triangular formation, somehow none of them running together. The flames of each fire were all different colors: red, green and blue. She leaned forward, to find that the fire gave off no heat at all.
Where was she?
She laid back down on the grass, rather content just to rest and reflect on her situation. For the strangest reason, it didn't bother her to be in a completely unfamiliar place, with a fire that was definitely not normal, completely alone in the middle of the night.
She closed her eyes and tried to remember how she'd got there.
Lissa, her sister, had been angry about something, so angry that she turned to her younger sister to take it out on. Something that never happened. The two of them were as close as sisters could get; telling one another anything and everything. But something had happened to Lissa when she was at work that caused her to be so hurt and angry that she couldn't handle it all on her own. Akiko, unfamiliar with this treatment from someone she'd always looked up too, took her words to heart.
"Get out, Aki. Just go. I don't want to see you right now, just leave me alone." There had been a look in Lissa's eyes that triggered Akiko's instincts, sending her out of the house without a backward glance or word. She had wandered for a while, confused and hurt by her sister's sudden change in attitude toward her.
That was her last memory. She had no idea how she got here, and she had no idea of what had happened before the encounter with her sister. Her life was a blank slate, as far as she knew, several thousand pages in and at the end of the page those few words written in fading ink.
She opened her eyes again and stood, gazing into the flames, her eyes flicking from one color to the next, trying to fathom such a thing.
There was nothing keeping her in the clearing though, and she was not tired. The path that lead out of the clearing was perhaps two feet wide, with a thick, impenetrable wall of trees and other plants on either side. It twisted and turned, sometimes zig-zagging back and fourth at random.
She suddenly looked behind her, feeling someone's eyes on her back. For a brief second, she saw the glimmer of the eyes, then they were gone. Thrice more this happened, before she reached another nearly identical clearing. Everything was the same except there were now two paths that she could take. She turned back once more, to find that the path she'd just walked threw was gone. She stared in abject wonder at the place where the trees had somehow grew in the space of a few heartbeats, cutting off her retreat.
She stepped toward the other two paths, and with a flourish two bright lights emerged, one hovering in the entrance to each path. One was red, the other blue.
She could not see beyond the light. For some reason, the red lit path gave her a feeling of foreboding, perhaps because of what the color symbolized. The blue light looked much friendlier and cheerful.
As she stepped threw it she found herself frozen. It bathed her in a blue glow and something rippled threw her body, the urge to run, to flee, to hide. A deep male voice that sounded as much inside of her head as outside murmured: one. you have two more chances, then the light was gone.
Behind her stood an impassable tree trunk, its edges touching the walls that spanned ahead.
There was no sign of whoever had spoken. She shivered, her light T-shirt and jeans suddenly seeming too little for the cool night.
There were no stars above her, no moon. Darkness pressed in on every side of her, the trees now feeling more like menacing monsters than innocent plants. She began to walk, tripping ocasionally on a root, her hands outstretched, blindly feeling for trees, sometimes missing and getting hit with branches that should not have been there. More than once she was sure she touched something that was not a tree, something that felt too warm, too alive. As she walked farther, noises began to come to her, growls and grunts, rustling of leaves, crunching of sticks beneath heavy feet or paws. Cries of anguish and fear that sounded all too human drifted on the slight breeze.
She slipped on something wet, falling to her knees, not for the first time. Her hands slid in the wet substance, and every one of her instincts screamed for her to get up, move, run.
Something or someone was behind her. Her eyes were slowly being accustomed to the darkness, only enough to let her see a few feet in every direction not blocked by trees. She didn't want to look back, but morbid curiosity and terror forced her head around to meet the blood red gaze of something that might have once been human.
Now a good foot taller than any ordinary man, muscles too large and bulging to be normal. Claws at least six inches long grew from the tips of its webbed, furred hands, the entirety of them soaked in red. She looked at her own hands and saw they were covered in crimson as well.
It took a step nearer to her, and she was instantly forced into action. She screamed and ran, crashing into trees and other things. Hands reached for her, claws and fingers grasping and tearing at her clothing, each time she managing to break free. Claws raked down her back, tearing her shirt into shreds, forcing pain to blossom into being within her.
She saw light up ahead, the path coming to an end? She broke threw the spiderwebs and leaves, to find herself in a dead end. Lissa was tied to a tree, blood soaking the pretty yellow sundress she wore. Her hair was soaked in it, her mouth was gagged. There wasn't a spot on her body that wasn't covered in deep gashes. She was struggling weakly, her eyes fixed on Akiko.
Akiko screamed again and reached toward her. Just before her hands touched the ropes binding her wrists, her body morphed and twisted, turning into a second one of the humanoid creatures.
She turned back, to find the exit blocked by the one that had followed her.
Both lunged at the same time, fangs flashing. Just before they sunk into her neck, killing her as she stood hopelessly, helplessly between them, she was thrown threw the air, her body as light as a feather.
Howls carried after her as she flew threw the air.
Then she was in another clearing. Three paths lay before her: red, blue and green light flickering.
She fell to the grassy floor, shaking and sobbing with utter terror and hopelessness.
"That won't do you any good, girl," said someone. She was on her feet in a heartbeat, whirling to face the speaker. A young man with jet black hair and bright blue eyes stood a few paces away, his hands clasped behind his back.
"Are you one of them?" she asked, her mind still on her sister...what was her sister.
"They can't talk, that's how you know. Name's Devin. I was sent to help you."
"Where am I?" she asked, sinking back to the ground, fingers curling around the grassy stems that grew up around her.
"You're in what we like to call Dehai Ariah. You know all those stories you got told as a little kid about faeries and magic, elves and vampires and all that? Well, welcome to dreams come true, kid. Every story that gets written about that world of fantasy nobody thinks is real? Yeah, they create it by imagining it. When you think up a senario, in this world, somewhere it comes true. Somehow, people end up in here on ocasion. We've got a new leader, you see. That you humans don't have control over. He hates humans, because you're destroying our world. So, when one of you walks in, he puts you to a test. If you fail, well you die. If you succeed, you get to go home, simple as that. It's rather brilliant, really. You have two more paths to choose. This one, and the last one. If you had chosen the red path last time, you'd be out of here. When you choose the wrong path, it doubles. So, if you choose the wrong one here, you'll have eight paths to choose. Not choose from, to choose. You have to choose correctly twice more though to get out of here alive. The first path where there was only one was a free one, go team. If you choose wrongly twice more, well, nobody's going to get to see your pretty face ever again. It's rather confusing, isn't it?"
Akiko just stared at him, slumping down on the grass near the fire. "You said you're here to help me."
"I can't help you choose the path, that's all up to you. I can help you avoid some of the more dangerous things out there, if you choose the wrong path. Note that the correct path might still have dangers, too."
"I just want to go home," she murmured.
"Then pick the right path twice more, and you can."
"How do I know which one is the right one?" she asked. Her back was bleeding, pain lancing up and down her body everytime she took a breath.
"Use your brain, you have one for a reason."
He walked away a few steps and sat down crosslegged.
She stared at the paths before her that she could take. The red this time shown brightly, the color reminding her of a warm welcoming fire that burned after a cold hard night. The green reminded her of life, of trees. The blue gave off a harsh, painful glow, and she briefly felt as though she were drowning as she looked at it.
She briefly thought back to the last path she had to choose. The red had looked hateful and terrifying, but had been the right path. The happy, bright and welcoming blue had been the wrong. Now it was the opposite. Her mind told her to take the blue again, because of how the pattern went the last time. She was terrified to step past that glow, though.
The red gave her the same feeling the first blue light had given her.
She stood, her legs feeling like jello as they tried to support her weight. She tucked her blonde hair back behind her shoulders and strode forward, toward the green path.
Devin was suddenly beside her. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath as she stepped forward, and into the light. She continued to walk with eyes closed. No voice stopped her, nothing froze her.
She opened her eyes to see not a path lined by trees, but a huge open field, sunlight shining brightly down upon it. Various creatures flitted, ran, hopped or danced threw the empty space, some of the combinations of creatures rather strange to Akiko.
"Good job," Devin said, linking arms with her as they continued to walk. "You figured that one out. Just one more, and then you get to go home."
A tiny white cat ran in front of them and jumped onto Akiko's shoulder, curling up and promptly falling asleep. She reached up and petted it briefly, gazing around in astonishment at the things around her. Centaurs, faerie's, elves, griffins and other things that she had no name for wandered about, some throwing her curious glances. She even thought she saw a horse with what looked suspiciously like a horn protruding from its forehead.
A few of the creatures came up to talk to Devin in various languages that she couldn't begin to comprehend.
"Devin," she said, "What would happen if I just stayed here? didn't continue on?"
"You couldn't. If you linger, you'll be kicked into the wrong path of the next choice clearing, like you were kicked into the last clearing before you died rather spectacularly. Never seen two of those things before, I was afraid and I was just watching. And you just stood there and took it. Didn't even try to fight them off. Brave or utterly idiotic, who can say? Though you did look a little bit scared, so I'm guessing you weren't feeling particularly brave. Still, you should've punched one  of them, or kicked, done something to defend yourself. Prince Charming won't come to save you like most girls seem to think at your age. Sorry love, but he got a little carried away with whatever her name was who lost her stupid shoe. Ah, here we are, good luck young warrior! Not much of a warrior actually. Just stood there and prepared yourself to die, no optimism left in the world, no hope."
He muttered to himself as he walked away to sit down in the next clearing again. Two paths lay before her this time. Black  and white.
It seemed like an obvious decision, she thought. Black was evil, white was good. Black was darkness, white was purity and light. It couldn't be so obvious though. But then they'd expect her to realize that it was obvious and think she'd choose the black, so they'd probably make the black the wrong path because her mind would tell her it was the right path. Circles and circles of this logic ran about in her head before she decided to sit down.
The cat was still curled on her shoulder, somehow managing to stay secure even though she was moving.
As she stood and prepared to take a path, after several moments of furious thought, her only comfort was that she wouldn't die this time if she chose incorrectly.
Devin got up and strolled over to her. She walked to the white path, stepping into the light, Devin close at her side. As she stepped into the light she heard Devin sigh, her first clue she was wrong once more.
Not only could she not move this time, but pain such as she had never felt coursed threw her body. It was as though someone were stabbing spikes threw every inch of every bone in her body, ripping and tearing to cause as much anguish as possible.
Two. The voice echoed in her head.
The light was gone and she stood in a dimly lit open space that seemed to strech forever in every direction. Shapes moved in the dim light, too faint to make out completely. Devin took her hand, twining his fingers with hers.
"Wrong, wrong, wrong. Akiko...you are insane."
They began to walk. Five minutes into the strange space she could not see any difference in the landscape.
Something twirled around her ankle, pulling it sharply from under her. She fell, and was dragged back the way they'd came. She shrieked, the sound echoing for what seemed an eternity, drawing the attention of the other creatures that lurked nearby.
Shadowy hands grasped her wrists and shoulders, pulling her away from whatever held her ankle.
Relief washed threw her, but was instantly turned to burning pain and renewed terror as she was lifted off of the ground. Where ever the shadow things touched her her skin burned. Fire licked up her wrists, up her torso from where one held her around the waist.
It was nothing compared to their laughter, though. The pain was forgotten as the shadows began to laugh, the sound pushing all of her thoughts out of her head. She lost all sense of direction, time, location and who she was as their laughter filled her head with madness that slowly crept into her very soul, contaminating it in inky darkness that slowly cracked it into so many broken pieces.
It felt as though her heart had burst into flames, the tendrils of fire licking outward from the central point of burning to infect every molecule of her entire body. Then she was falling, falling threw empty space, to land ith a thud on the ground.
"Spontaneous combustion! Your entire just spontaneously combusted! That was about the most amazing thing I've ever seen in my three thousand nine hundred fifty seven years of life! You exploded! It looked like shooting stars, granted they were bloody shooting stars, but they were shooting stars! i'd have helped you, but I didn't want to die, and I would have. You didn't, obviously. Spontaneously combusted, ah Akiko that was brilliant. Positively brilliant. Would you like to do it again?"
"Devin," she said quite calmly as she lay on the grassy ground, her limbs weak and made of lead. "I just want you to know. If I had a heavy object, I would be bashing it into your skull at this very moment, so hard that you will forget your name. And then I will do a lot of other extraordinarily excruciating things to you that my oh so innocent mind refuses to let past my lips. But believe me, I've got lots of things in mind."
"Do tell," he said cheerfully. "Get up, you've got one more chance. This thing still makes no sense to me..."
He began to ramble on and on about about paths and lights and fires. Something pricked her leg. She looked down to se the cat kneeding her with its tiny claws, looking up at her with bright green eyes.
She hugged the cat tightly to her, feeling the warmpth, the life within its tiny body.
There were two paths again before her. Red and green.
Neither light shown brighter or dimmer than the other. They were the exact same in luminocity and everything else except color.
"I give up," she said. "I give up." then she walked into the red light.
"Don't leave me," Devin murmured, touching her hand. "Please don't leave me in here, I'm so lost. I'm so confused, please don't leave me, Akiko. Please don't leave me."
He suddenly looked a million years younger. Just a boy afraid of his mother leaving him at school. Tears filled his eyes. "I've been here for so long, I don't even know my real name anymore. Please don't leave me."
It was then that she realized that he could not pass threw the final path with her. He could not re-enter the world, her world. He'd be forever stuck in this maze of paths and lights, forced to help every idiot who wandered in.
The most bright of lights can shine in the most darkest of places, if you choose to see them. The happiest of moments can occur in the saddest of ocasions, if you choose to look for them. You just have to look for the light in the darkness. The light that first shows up at the beginning of your path may look so, so much more different than what lies beyond it, and you might just end up finding something beyond that you will lose, but never forget.
Akiko walked threw the red path, all the while staring back at Devin who watched her with the hopeless expression of someone who knew there would never be hope for him. His world was his own. The kitten that had followed her sat at his feet, watching her with a tilted head and flattened ears

As she stepped out of the path to find she stood in the backyard of her house, something that he had said struck her.
"Well, welcome to dreams come true, kid. Every story that gets written about that world of fantasy nobody thinks is real? Yeah, they create it by imagining it. When you think up a senario, in this world, somewhere it comes true."
She walked into her house. It was empty of people, and she knew her family must be out somewhere, probably looking for her. She walked up stairs and grabbed the dictionary off of her sister's desk. Returning outside she stood for a long moment before there was a crack, a flash of blue light, and Devin stood before her.
Calmly, she stepped forward and hit him three times in quick succession upside the head.
"I keep my promises," she said. He just looked at her, one hand held to his head.
Then he began to laugh.


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