Literary Fiction

The Dreamophile's Diary

By

This book will launch on Jul 18, 2020. Currently, only those with the link can see it. 🔒
Synopsis

The Dreamophile’s Diary is a unique collection of dark, fascinating and stimulating short stories inspired by dreams, penned by the author Shazrina. This collection comprises peculiar and intense stories, meant for those who are not afraid of stepping into the unsettling world of darkness. Each story in this collection brings an important realization to the fore, taking the reader on a strange journey, one that is both mysterious and captivating.

Darkness is Light




The darkness appeared to be never-ending. It was getting harder and harder to see. She would twist her ankle in one of the potholes if she wasn’t careful. The trees on the edge of the road were just a black mass now. It was crazy how the darkness changed things. The woods had been so beautiful when she had started her stroll hours before, the glint of the golden sun turning the leaves to fire. Now the trees loomed on the edge of her vision like a hulking monster, ready to swallow her whole if she ventured too close.

Something rustled in the underbrush. She yelped and jumped back. It was a rabbit that loped across her path three meters away. It stopped after crossing the road to look into her eyes before vanishing into the darkness.

She held a hand over her beating heart. It was ridiculous to be so afraid all the time. After all, what in the forest could actually hurt her? The squirrels? She nibbled a fingernail. There were other things in the forest though, weren’t there? Menacing things she hadn’t seen or met before. It was just like venturing into the deeper recesses of the mind, into the subconscious. You never know what you might find there. She let the thought pass as she peered into the darkness, sure she saw movement among the shadows.

She took a deep breath and moved on, gravel crunching under her feet as she continued along the path. The turnoff leading back to the main road must be around here somewhere. She thought she should have hit it a half hour back, but there had been no sign of it during that time. And now the darkness was settling in for the night with her still wandering in its shadows.

She glanced at the sky and saw the stars winking out one by one. A massive cloud was filling the expanse above her, bringing with it a biting wind. She pulled her coat more tightly around her and started walking faster, searching desperately for the turnoff. The air cooled more, the leaves rattling in the rising wind. Where was that road?

The first drop hit her square in the forehead. It was big and heavy and cold as ice. A second massive raindrop splashed onto her shoulder. She started jogging, raindrops pounding down around her and the wind howling through the trees.

A sign loomed out of the darkness, a sign that she was not familiar with. The sign read, “Woods Inn,” the peeling white letters painted on rotting wood. Her suspicion was now confirmed—she was lost. Somewhere in the darkness she had taken a wrong turn, and now she had no clue where she was.

Light shone out of the darkness a few dozen meters farther along the path. She moved closer, trying to gauge its source. It was a tiny, solar path-lighter. The charge it had received during the day was already starting to dim. She stooped to examine it, and noticed the gravel path that lay a meter or two beyond it. From the light of the lamp, she could see that it wound off towards the woods. It was probably the path to the old inn. She stood for a moment, the rain splashing down on her. If she couldn’t find the turnoff, it could be hours before she made it back home. Thunder rolled in the distance, and she made her decision. She turned down the gravel path, following the light into the darkness.

The path wound through the trees, the dark trunks a mere arm’s length away. She could feel the woods pressing in on her, the branches reaching for her with crooked fingers. Wet leaves slapped past her as she covered her head and blundered forwards.

There was a brief lull in the rain as she broke out of the woods into a clearing. A flash of lightning split the sky, momentarily revealing the silhouette of a building. She gasped with relief and rushed to the door.

The thought struck her as she reached for the knob that entering the building might be worse than facing the rain. She hesitated for a moment, but a gust of icy wind blowing through her helped her decide. She turned the knob and pushed.

The door swung open on squeaky hinges. Wind whistled through the doorway, raising clouds of dust and skittering leaves along the floor. She fought the wind to get the door closed before turning to face the dark interior. All was quite except for the faint pattering of rain and the distant roll of thunder. She stepped forwards into the darkness, her heart beating harder than before. Perhaps this wasn’t the best idea. She sighed. But she didn’t have much of a choice, not with the weather the way it was. It was either this or wandering in sopping forests for who knew how long with the risk of lightning strikes or becoming a feast for the wild.

A soft light pulsed ahead of her. She cocked her head, wondering at where the light had come from. She was sure she hadn’t seen it when she walked in. It illuminated a small lobby area that led into several other rooms. The light came from the room straight ahead. She moved forwards, placing her feet carefully and straining her neck to one side, trying to catch a glimpse of the light’s source.

She moved through the doorway into the adjoining room, entering what at one time must have been a large dining area. The light revealed several tables and chairs scattered around the room, most of them toppled and rotting.

It only took one glance to confirm that the source of the light wasn’t in this room. The light was spilling through a doorway on the side of the room. She took a deep breath and tiptoed in that direction, not sure why she was being so quiet, but terrified at the thought of doing otherwise.

The doorway led into a small room housing a staircase. The light shone through the doorway at the top. She frowned and looked behind her. The light no longer shone into the dining area. She sucked in a breath, her eyes widening as the realization struck her. The light was moving.

She backed away from the staircase. What had she done? She was a fool. Of course, someone else would be here. It was the middle of a storm, and this was probably the only building for miles. And who knew? Maybe someone had squatted here and made it their home. It certainly wouldn’t be surprising. She took another step towards the dining area. Hopefully she still hadn’t been noticed. The easiest thing would be to just sneak out. No confrontation, no danger, no regrets.

She heard a click behind her, then a scuff like someone was walking. It was coming from the dining area, and she was pretty sure it was getting closer. She glanced back towards the staircase. The light had mostly receded, leaving only a faint glow somewhere above her. She shook her head, but still started up the stairs. It was better to move toward a retreating unknown than an advancing one, she thought.

Aside from a few squeaky boards, she made it up the stairs in silence. The faint glow from the mysterious light disappeared around a corner up ahead. She shook her head again and followed the path it took, rounding the corner herself half a minute later. She felt better knowing where the light was, even if that meant staying close to it. At least this way she wouldn’t be surprised.

She passed many closed doors as she followed the path the light had taken, walking softly and keeping to the deeper shadows just in case the light bearer retraced his steps. The doors appeared to be old, and must have once opened to suites which bygone customers had booked long ago to escape the city noise and enjoy the peaceful wilderness.

She rounded another corner, and instead of seeing the glow of the light at the far end of the hall like she was used to, she saw the light spill through one of the doorways. She inched closer, listening for the slightest sound of movement. Everything was still except for the sounds of the weather’s attack on the old building. She paused just outside the doorway, her heart pounding. With a final deep breath, she peered around the edge of the doorframe and into the room.

A flash of lighting blinded her and she jerked her head back, the jagged afterimage stamped on her retinas. She blinked rapidly, trying to dispel the image. Her breath came in quick pulls as she stiffened a second time, leaning towards the doorway.

The room was empty except for a single desk that stood just under the only window in the room. On the desk lay a small, solar powered path-lighter just like the one she’d seen by the path. She moved closer to get a better look. A few splotches of oozing mud still clung to the spike the lamp had been imbedded into the ground with. The feeble rays were dim now. She clamped her hand over her mouth as the thought struck her: dimmer than they were before. In that moment, she was sure it was the same lamp.

Hello Miranda.

It was more a sound than a voice, wispy and terrible. It struck terror straight through her and lodged itself in her heart like a barbed spear. She spun around, fearing what she might see.

The doorway was empty. There was only the sound of the wind, rain, and her pounding heart to break the eerie stillness. She swallowed hard, fighting back tears. It had been such a bad idea to enter this place. She turned to grab the lamp, grateful for the light it would provide as she fled this awful place. The desk was empty, and the lamp was simply gone.

Something cold touched the back of her neck. She shrieked and jerked back, slamming into the wall. Something was there, she could feel it. Deep shadows swallowed the room in the absence of the lamp’s rays—and the shadows were moving.

She stood, shaking, paralyzed with fear. The terror in her heart told her she would never escape alive. This place would be her tomb, the end of her existence. And she would just stand there while it happened, frozen with fear. She whimpered, staring into that merciless darkness and letting her limbs go limp. Hopelessness consumed her entire being. She only wished she could see light one more time before she died.

A flash of lighting lit up the room, making it blaze like daylight. For that one moment, the shadows were gone and the room was empty. Something clicked inside her, and the paralysis fell away.

She bolted, flashing past the doorway and the rest of the doors lining the hall before she could form a coherent thought. And the thought, once it did form, was simple—run.

She flew down corridor after corridor, trying to remember what route she had taken to get to that terrible room. Tears flowed down her cheeks, smearing in the wind of her mad flight. She had to get out of this place, she had to find her way back into the open world.

All at once, the stairs were in front of her. She whimpered in relief and vaulted down them three at a time. She burst through the door at the bottom and into the dining area. Chairs and the remains of flatware scattered as she crashed through the room, desperate for the exit.

Her foot caught on something just as she reached the doorway to the lobby. She flew through the air and crashed to the ground, sliding in the dust and leaves. She grunted, struggling to rise. She glanced behind her, searching the darkness. Something filled the doorway she had just come through.

You think you can escape that easily?

She screamed and jumped to her feet, her only thought getting through that exit. She lunged towards the doorway, lowering her shoulder like a ram. Wood splintered as she burst through the door. She tumbled down the stairs, smashing her face on a step as she rolled. She clawed her way to her feet and lurched forwards, her pulse beating in her ears and pain throbbing through her shoulder and the bridge of her nose.

The rain hit her like an ocean wave, almost knocking her down. But she didn’t care. She took off like a drunk rabbit, her feet slipping in the mud and wet grass before she finally plunged into the woods. The darkness closed in on her again and those gnarled branches reached for her. But it didn’t matter now, not with that thing still back there somewhere. All that mattered now was getting away from this place as quickly as she could. She lowered her head against the reaching branches, and ran.


*         *         *


One soaked tree blurred into another, the pain of one cut from thorns merged with the next, each bruise from tumbling down hills and grazing trees in her flight feeling like the one before.

She had been running for half an hour, placing one aching foot in front of the other. Now she was empty. There was no more energy, no more tears, no more fear, no more purpose. Only cold, dull exhaustion. She dropped to the ground as the rain that had been pouring onto the earth for nearly an hour slowed to a steady drizzle. She allowed herself a tired smile. She had done it, she had escaped whatever that thing was back there, and now she was safe. Now she only had to outlast this hellish night and make it back home.

She closed her eyes, heaving a sigh. The jagged afterimage of a lightning strike filled her vision. Her eyes snapped open again. She hadn’t looked at the sky since the inn. How was she seeing this afterimage now? She closed her eyes again, letting the image float behind her eyelids. The image didn’t fade, but hovered there, clear and defined, pure white against the jet-black background. She frowned, wrestling with what this could mean.

A soft boom floated to her ears out of the darkness. She cast around, searching for the source of the sound. The rustling wind and patter of the rain made it tricky to pinpoint, but she thought it might have come from farther down the hill from where she sat. She looked back in the direction she had come from, wondering how much of what she remembered was truly real. The terrifying room had clearly been empty when the lightning strike had shaken her out of her paralysis. Had there really been anything there? Or was it just a paranoid imagination playing tricks on her?

With the slowing of the rain and the ebb of absolute terror came a sense of clarity. She sat with her back against a tree, puzzling through what she had experienced. The storm had been real enough, terrifying in its intensity. So had the inn, old and decrepit as it was. She wanted to believe the light had been real too, that she had followed it to the room and been met by…something. But then, why hadn’t she seen anything? Why had the voice she thought she’d heard sounded so much like whistling wind and rumbling thunder mixed with a massive dose of terror? And why had something so terrifying failed to follow her? Surely it could keep up with her if it wanted to?

The bark dug into her back, and she shifted uncomfortably against the tree, glancing around at the dark forest surrounding her. The thought of something out there somewhere looking for her wasn’t a pleasant one. Worse was the thought of it watching her now, just waiting for a chance to strike.

Her muscles groaned as she rose slowly to her feet. Best to keep moving either way. She had no idea what direction home was, but she certainly wouldn’t find it by sitting here. She started down the hill in the direction she thought the strange boom had come from, hoping it would lead her to a road or home.

It wasn’t until she had nearly reached the bottom of the hill that she saw the road. The sky had brightened since her rest, the clouds clearing and the stars peeking through. The rain had slowed to the occasional drip and the wind had died down to a mere whisper. The night was calm once more, and she was grateful. If she never went through another night like the one she had just faced, she would die a happy girl.

The road stretching before her was a narrow gravel affair with a ditch currently filled with water on each side. She recognized this road. Just up ahead was the turn off to the main road her home was situated on. She would be home in another twenty minutes.

She quickened her pace without even meaning to, a spring in her step as she crunched along on the gravel. After the scare of her life, she would finally be safe. She would see her mother at home and be able to talk out what had happened with her. Her mother always knew just what to do when things got unpleasant or complicated. She would help her understand what was going on.

Something crunched in the gravel behind her. She spun around, staring down the road as far as she could see. There was nothing there but gravel, weeds and leaves. She swallowed a lump in her throat and started forwards again, her own crunching footfalls sounding like gunshots in the stillness.

Another boom echoed through the night, closer this time. It came from somewhere ahead of her. After another moment, an orange glow lit the horizon over the treetops, reaching into the blackness. It was somehow as dark as the night, a flame that gave no light. She shivered and stared, not able to comprehend what she was seeing, and feeling terrified by it without knowing why.

She pressed on, feeling the pull of home with each step. She would be safe soon. She just had to keep moving and keep her fear in check. There was nothing here that could harm her. She clenched her fist and walked with a stronger stride, her feet pounding into the gravel—but her lip was quivering.

The gravel behind her crunched again. Her heart pounded in her chest, and she let out a gasp as she sagged forwards, with fear coursing freely through her. She was so afraid of being afraid. So tired of jumping at every sound and every oddly shaped shadow only to discover every time that there was nothing there and her fear was completely unfounded. She sighed and turned to look once more upon an empty road.

She froze. The road wasn’t empty. A dark shape stood out against the lighter shade of the gravel. It didn’t move toward her, but seemed to oscillate where it stood, the edges of its form merging in and out of the lighter background.

She took a step back. Maybe it was a bear, or a fallen tree branch. She took another step back. Maybe it was just a homeless man looking for shelter on a dismal night.

Hello Miranda, it said.

And before there was another sound, she ran.

Heavy footfalls pounded the gravel behind her as she sprinted along the road, her legs moving faster than they ever had before, fueled by terror. As the footsteps drew closer at an unnatural speed, she knew this was no man, even as she heard heavy breathing behind her. This was something else, something beyond words. The terror that knifed through her was far from natural, and it was this being, this thing, that was causing it.

Something cold touched the back of her neck, and she screamed again, long and loud, the full power of her fear expressed in that shrieking note. She was beyond fear now, beyond reason. She ran because that was all she could do. All she knew was that she had to be home. Home was where she would be safe, where all her troubles would end. She bent her will to the task of squeezing an extra measure of speed from her burning legs. She surged forwards, only to have the ice touch her neck again. She stifled a second cry and pounded onward, the turnoff just ahead.

Something grasped her leg and she tripped midstride. She careened forwards, crashing to the ground and skidding in a spray of gravel for several meters. Pain exploded through her as dozens of cuts and scrapes opened up all over her body from the tearing gravel. She gasped and tried to rise, but something pushed her down again. She squinted through gritty eyes, trying to see her enemy, holding up her arms to defend herself.

A low chuckle emanated from the darkness.

You are pathetic Miranda. A meek child.

The voice seeped into her, the discordant notes souring the air and striking her eardrums like nails on a chalkboard.

You have no power. You are meant to be my slave.

A dark shape moved towards her. Gravel crunched ominously as with slow steps, the creature moved ever closer. Darkness filled her mind, pain and fear fighting equally for mastery within her stricken brain. She stared as if she were dead, her mind numb, her body a mass of cuts and bruises as the Thing stepped forwards and stood three meters away.

Thinking that she could make it if she tried, she glanced toward the road, gathering herself for one final run. The house would be close, just after this final turn, only a few hundred meters away.

I own you Miranda. I will always own you.

She jumped to her feet and dashed away, limping painfully on a twisted ankle, but this time, she did not care. She kept telling herself that after she rounded this bend, the house would be just ahead. Mother would be inside and Mother would protect her and give her the strength she needed to overcome this horrific enemy.

She rounded the bend fully and swathe straight main road that led to her house. She could see her house up ahead, a lantern burning in the window. A silhouette stood between her and the light, with her hair blowing in the soft breeze. It was her mother, tall and strong and beautiful. Capable of fixing any problem and protecting her from any evil.

Miranda raced towards her, reaching out as her sobs racked her body. She had seen so much, and she could finally see some hope, some relief. Now everything would be alright.

A huge hand slammed into her back, sending her crashing to the ground. She sprawled on the road rolling and kicking.

“Mother!” she screamed, striking out and trying to catch another glimpse of the house. “Mother!”

She rolled to her feet again, staggering towards the point of light up ahead. Something dark floated just off to the side. She lurched forwards, her lungs burning, and kept an eye on the dark shape moving parallel to her on the edge of the woods among the shadows. She turned back towards the house…and jerked to a stop. The house was gone, and she stood on a path foreign to her. The small light twinkling before her was the solar path-lighter, laying on the ground where she was sure her house had just stood.

The full realization of what had happened struck her, and she dropped to her knees. It had been an illusion. An elaborate show to get her to hope, to get her to believe. And now the illusion was gone, replaced by reality. Her mother wasn’t here to protect her this time. She was on her own.

She gazed at the small light as the dark shape moved towards her from the side. There was no sound of footsteps crunching on gravel now. The Thing only floated, moving ever closer.

It entered the feeble ring of light cast by the lamp. The light illuminated something dark and flowing, but somehow transparent at the same time. A strange robe, the folds moving on their own, regardless of the wind.

She let her eyes travel higher. Crooked fingers tipped with claws poked out from cavernous sleeves. She looked higher still. Hidden within the cowl of the robe, she could just make out a pair of red, staring eyes. Miranda shuddered. It was a hellish thing, a specter, a demon from another dimension.

It floated forwards towards the weak light and hovered, the light between them. With a slow movement, it extended a gnarled foot and pressed it onto the small lamp. There was a crunch and the lamp was crushed to fragments. The light went out and darkness once again reigned.

You are my slave Miranda. I am fear itself, and I will consume you.

She quivered, her will crumbling. What could she do against such a monster? But she would not die, not while she could still run.

She stood, tensing her muscles to sprint away. Wind exploded around her, the force of it sending her staggering. She fought to stay upright, but it pounded into her, driving her to her knees. Her coat flew off, whipped away into the hurricane.

There is no escape from me, Miranda. I will always find you.

She crawled forwards, with one hand and knee in front of the other as rain gushed from the sky like the ocean emptying.

A pair of clawed hands gripped her arms from behind. She shrieked at the pain as the claws bit into her flesh. The hands threw her to the ground and grabbed her leg.

You will not run from me again. You know it in your heart. You will never dare to run from me again.

Miranda heard the voice thundering as the claws sank into her leg, the crushing fingers positioned on both ends of her femur. With one sickening jerk, her bone snapped. She screamed, the pain swallowing her whole.

She lay on the ground, stringy hair in her eyes, wet shirt clinging to her bruised body, and her mangled leg clutched against her chest as she sobbed in pain. She was going to die here, and she deserved to die. She was just not strong enough. The Thing stood back, watching her. She could only imagine the smirk on its twisted lips.

A bolt of lightning split the sky, the explosion of thunder deafening. The lightning hesitated a moment longer than it should have, hanging in the sky for an extra second before disappearing into the night. The rain poured down by the bucket-load, and the monster stood to one side as if savoring its victory.

She closed her eyes, holding her leg, and felt her entire being consumed by despair. She was sorry she was going to die, and sorry it had to be this way, alone in the rain at the complete mercy of a monster with not a single option open to her.

She opened her eyes to the Thing standing over her, claws extended and dull red eyes spewing hate. This was it then.

She closed her eyes again, not wanting to know when the deathblow was struck until she felt the claws slicing through her neck. Then at least it would be over.

The lightning afterimage hung in her vision. It reminded her of that strange lightning she had seen a moment ago. It was wild and free and powerful. It wasn’t afraid to split the night and spread light when the darkness was all consuming. It spoke when it needed to speak, and everyone listened because it had proved its power many times over. Why couldn’t she be like lightning?

A blinding flash filled the sky. She jerked at the impact as a burst of raw energy coursed through her veins. She opened her eyes, the afterimage still there. Smoke rose around her. She blinked and raised herself to one elbow. A ring of charred earth lay around her. She glanced up at the specter. It stood a few meters away, patting its robe as wisps of smoke puffed up from it. She stood to her feet, unsure of what just happened.

She paused, and looked down. Her leg was strong underneath her. She examined her arms. They were smooth and cut free. She flexed her fingers and felt the bridge of her nose. There was no pain anywhere. She looked back at the sky, a huge storm cloud crackling above her. She looked back toward the Thing, and smiled.

It finished patting down its robe and floated towards her, claws extended.

You will die now, Miranda.

She stood her ground, looking right into those red, menacing eyes. “No, I won’t. You have no power over me anymore, Monster. You will leave me alone. I am not scared of you.”

The specter hovered closer, drawing back its arm.

You are wrong. I have always consumed you. And this time is no different.You will now watch how.

It swung the glinting claws at her, the wind whistling from the speed. She ducked the blow, stepping out of the way.

“You will leave me now, you monster. You will leave and never return. Or else…”

It let out a shriek like she had never heard before and lunged at her, a set of needle teeth flashing out of the darkness.

She spun away, batting the creature aside as she did. The Thing tumbled into the woods, shrieking in anger as it righted itself and came at her again.

She held her hand up as it charged forwards. It flew away from her as if struck by a giant hand and slammed into an invisible barrier before crumpling to the ground. It shook its head as if to clear it. There was something in those eyes as they stared back at her. Something she hadn’t seen there before now—fear.

She reached toward the sky, and the crackling in the storm cloud doubled in intensity. A jagged bolt of lightning shot down from the sky into her hand. It stood there, arching and spewing sparks and blazing in the night, not retreating back into the sky, and not fading in the least. It buzzed, one end crackling in her hand, and the other rooted in the sky.

“Leave now, Monster, or I swear I will blast you back to Hell where you belong.”

The Thing stared at her, red eyes looking at the determined set of her jaw to the crackling lightning bolt to the fire that now raged in her eyes, and back again. It seemed to have made up its mind. With a final look her way, it vanished into the night.

She stood for a moment longer, the lightning quivering in her hand. The darkness faded and the stars came out again, shining brightly in the night. The cloud disappeared, the lightning bolt in her hand stretching into the sky with no apparent end point. She released her hold on it, and it exploded outward in a shower of sparks, splitting the sky one last time with a flash and booming concussion that rolled away into the ebbing darkness.

She stood in the middle of the road, alone, her clothes torn and dirty, her hair matted, her hands shaking. It was over, finally and truly. Her legs felt like putty under her. She staggered to a tree, crumpled against its base, and cried. She had done it, despite having been so scared. She had faced the worst fear she could imagine, undergone the terror of a lifetime, and had discovered something she didn’t know existed. And now she was safe.


*         *         *


She jerked awake, tears still spilling down her cheeks. She caught herself at the end of a piercing scream.

Footsteps pounded in the hall, and for the first time, she realized she was home in bed, the familiar dolls stacked in the corner.

The door burst open, and her mother stood there, her eyes wide and her face frozen in terror. She rushed forward.

“Sweetheart, are you alright? I heard you screaming…” Her voice trailed off. Miranda looked at her, a smile on her little round face.

“I’m fine Mama. Don’t worry. From now on, I’ll always be fine...”

Her mother only stared before grasping Miranda to her chest and letting out a quiet sob. Miranda hugged her mother back, comforted by the strong arms that had provided so much strength and protection throughout her short life. But it was good to know that even when her mother wasn’t there, she still had the strength to stand up to her fears. She could still choose to not let them control her. It was a lesson she would never forget.


Of Heaven and Hell



You probably won’t believe me when I tell you I’ve been to Hell. And Heaven. You don’t have to believe me of course, but that won’t keep me from telling you my story.

I was just minding my own business when it happened. It was right after the incident in the coffee shop. The girl on the other side of the counter handed me my drink, and I took a sip to test it, like I always do. I could tell the moment it touched my lips that this wasn’t the way I liked my coffee. Someone had made a mistake. The contents came spraying out of my mouth in a mocha mist.

“What on earth is this?!” I said, wiping the fowl stuff from my lips with the back of my sleeve.

“It’s…it’s coffee sir,” said the girl, her eyes wide and mouth open like I was the stupid one.

I snorted. “The sludge I clean out of my sink drain tastes more like coffee than this.”

She stared back at me. Really, the nerve of this one.

“Sir, let me make you another coffee.”

I stared back at her. “If you knew what good coffee tastes like, you would have already made it instead of making an idiot of yourself.”

“I’m sorry sir. But you cannot talk to me like that.”

“Amazing…You know what? If I was your boss, I would ask you to get lost.” I leaned in closer. “Permanently.”

She swallowed and it looked like her eyes were watering. The tears, of course. No skin off my nose. She should have thought about her feelings before she made a fool of herself.

“Ah yes, the waterworks.” I shook my head. “My wife tries that on me all the time. I should try crying at the paper if I ever miss a story deadline. Maybe my boss will promote me instead of firing my lazy behind like he should.”

The tears were actually streaming down her face now, and people were starting to mutter around me. I could feel the tide turning against me, just like it always did. I gave everyone a dagger stare before turning on my heel and walking out of the shop. The injustice in the world was real. I took a stand for my rights against the incompetence of an imbecile, and suddenly I was the bad guy.

I walked onto the street, the sultry summer heat hitting me like the Sahara. This weather was getting on my nerves. If it wasn’t freezing, it was blazing, and if it wasn’t blazing, it was raining. Good old earth with all its issues. I should’ve looked into relocating to the moon.

My pocket started chirping.

 “Yeah,” I said, putting the phone to my ear.

“Hey Dalton. How’s it going man?” It was Jack. He was alright in his own way.

“Oh, everything’s just dandy.”

There was a pause on the other end.

“Really? You sound upset.”

“Who, me? Oh no, I’m perfectly fine. It’s only that this day absolutely sucks, just like every other day I’ve ever lived.” I tossed the so-called coffee into a nearby trashcan and crossed the street. “And it’s only Monday morning, so it can only get better from here, right?”

He sighed on the other end. Oh good, another person who was disappointed in me.

“Listen man, I’m really sorry you’re feeling that way. I really hope something good happens to you to help you get some fresh perspective in life.”

           “Oh right,” I said. “Like what, having the earth swallow me whole and then being grateful I can feel the sun and wind on my face afterwards?”

           He chuckled. “Not exactly. I mean, the earth’s not going to swallow you whole.”

And of course, that’s when the earth swallowed me whole.

Darkness is Light



The darkness appeared to be never-ending. It was getting harder and harder to see. She would twist her ankle in one of the potholes if she wasn’t careful. The trees on the edge of the road were just a black mass now. It was crazy how the darkness changed things. The woods had been so beautiful when she had started her stroll hours before, the glint of the golden sun turning the leaves to fire. Now the trees loomed on the edge of her vision like a hulking monster, ready to swallow her whole if she ventured too close.

Something rustled in the underbrush. She yelped and jumped back. It was a rabbit that loped across her path three meters away. It stopped after crossing the road to look into her eyes before vanishing into the darkness.

She held a hand over her beating heart. It was ridiculous to be so afraid all the time. After all, what in the forest could actually hurt her? The squirrels? She nibbled a fingernail. There were other things in the forest though, weren’t there? Menacing things she hadn’t seen or met before. It was just like venturing into the deeper recesses of the mind, into the subconscious. You never know what you might find there. She let the thought pass as she peered into the darkness, sure she saw movement among the shadows.

She took a deep breath and moved on, gravel crunching under her feet as she continued along the path. The turnoff leading back to the main road must be around here somewhere. She thought she should have hit it a half hour back, but there had been no sign of it during that time. And now the darkness was settling in for the night with her still wandering in its shadows.

She glanced at the sky and saw the stars winking out one by one. A massive cloud was filling the expanse above her, bringing with it a biting wind. She pulled her coat more tightly around her and started walking faster, searching desperately for the turnoff. The air cooled more, the leaves rattling in the rising wind. Where was that road?

The first drop hit her square in the forehead. It was big and heavy and cold as ice. A second massive raindrop splashed onto her shoulder. She started jogging, raindrops pounding down around her and the wind howling through the trees.

A sign loomed out of the darkness, a sign that she was not familiar with. The sign read, “Woods Inn,” the peeling white letters painted on rotting wood. Her suspicion was now confirmed—she was lost. Somewhere in the darkness she had taken a wrong turn, and now she had no clue where she was.

Light shone out of the darkness a few dozen meters farther along the path. She moved closer, trying to gauge its source. It was a tiny, solar path-lighter. The charge it had received during the day was already starting to dim. She stooped to examine it, and noticed the gravel path that lay a meter or two beyond it. From the light of the lamp, she could see that it wound off towards the woods. It was probably the path to the old inn. She stood for a moment, the rain splashing down on her. If she couldn’t find the turnoff, it could be hours before she made it back home. Thunder rolled in the distance, and she made her decision. She turned down the gravel path, following the light into the darkness.

The path wound through the trees, the dark trunks a mere arm’s length away. She could feel the woods pressing in on her, the branches reaching for her with crooked fingers. Wet leaves slapped past her as she covered her head and blundered forwards.

There was a brief lull in the rain as she broke out of the woods into a clearing. A flash of lightning split the sky, momentarily revealing the silhouette of a building. She gasped with relief and rushed to the door.

The thought struck her as she reached for the knob that entering the building might be worse than facing the rain. She hesitated for a moment, but a gust of icy wind blowing through her helped her decide. She turned the knob and pushed.

The door swung open on squeaky hinges. Wind whistled through the doorway, raising clouds of dust and skittering leaves along the floor. She fought the wind to get the door closed before turning to face the dark interior. All was quite except for the faint pattering of rain and the distant roll of thunder. She stepped forwards into the darkness, her heart beating harder than before. Perhaps this wasn’t the best idea. She sighed. But she didn’t have much of a choice, not with the weather the way it was. It was either this or wandering in sopping forests for who knew how long with the risk of lightning strikes or becoming a feast for the wild.

A soft light pulsed ahead of her. She cocked her head, wondering at where the light had come from. She was sure she hadn’t seen it when she walked in. It illuminated a small lobby area that led into several other rooms. The light came from the room straight ahead. She moved forwards, placing her feet carefully and straining her neck to one side, trying to catch a glimpse of the light’s source.

She moved through the doorway into the adjoining room, entering what at one time must have been a large dining area. The light revealed several tables and chairs scattered around the room, most of them toppled and rotting.

It only took one glance to confirm that the source of the light wasn’t in this room. The light was spilling through a doorway on the side of the room. She took a deep breath and tiptoed in that direction, not sure why she was being so quiet, but terrified at the thought of doing otherwise.

The doorway led into a small room housing a staircase. The light shone through the doorway at the top. She frowned and looked behind her. The light no longer shone into the dining area. She sucked in a breath, her eyes widening as the realization struck her. The light was moving.

She backed away from the staircase. What had she done? She was a fool. Of course, someone else would be here. It was the middle of a storm, and this was probably the only building for miles. And who knew? Maybe someone had squatted here and made it their home. It certainly wouldn’t be surprising. She took another step towards the dining area. Hopefully she still hadn’t been noticed. The easiest thing would be to just sneak out. No confrontation, no danger, no regrets.

She heard a click behind her, then a scuff like someone was walking. It was coming from the dining area, and she was pretty sure it was getting closer. She glanced back towards the staircase. The light had mostly receded, leaving only a faint glow somewhere above her. She shook her head, but still started up the stairs. It was better to move toward a retreating unknown than an advancing one, she thought.

Aside from a few squeaky boards, she made it up the stairs in silence. The faint glow from the mysterious light disappeared around a corner up ahead. She shook her head again and followed the path it took, rounding the corner herself half a minute later. She felt better knowing where the light was, even if that meant staying close to it. At least this way she wouldn’t be surprised.

She passed many closed doors as she followed the path the light had taken, walking softly and keeping to the deeper shadows just in case the light bearer retraced his steps. The doors appeared to be old, and must have once opened to suites which bygone customers had booked long ago to escape the city noise and enjoy the peaceful wilderness.

She rounded another corner, and instead of seeing the glow of the light at the far end of the hall like she was used to, she saw the light spill through one of the doorways. She inched closer, listening for the slightest sound of movement. Everything was still except for the sounds of the weather’s attack on the old building. She paused just outside the doorway, her heart pounding. With a final deep breath, she peered around the edge of the doorframe and into the room.

A flash of lighting blinded her and she jerked her head back, the jagged afterimage stamped on her retinas. She blinked rapidly, trying to dispel the image. Her breath came in quick pulls as she stiffened a second time, leaning towards the doorway.

The room was empty except for a single desk that stood just under the only window in the room. On the desk lay a small, solar powered path-lighter just like the one she’d seen by the path. She moved closer to get a better look. A few splotches of oozing mud still clung to the spike the lamp had been imbedded into the ground with. The feeble rays were dim now. She clamped her hand over her mouth as the thought struck her: dimmer than they were before. In that moment, she was sure it was the same lamp.

Hello Miranda.

It was more a sound than a voice, wispy and terrible. It struck terror straight through her and lodged itself in her heart like a barbed spear. She spun around, fearing what she might see.

The doorway was empty. There was only the sound of the wind, rain, and her pounding heart to break the eerie stillness. She swallowed hard, fighting back tears. It had been such a bad idea to enter this place. She turned to grab the lamp, grateful for the light it would provide as she fled this awful place. The desk was empty, and the lamp was simply gone.

Something cold touched the back of her neck. She shrieked and jerked back, slamming into the wall. Something was there, she could feel it. Deep shadows swallowed the room in the absence of the lamp’s rays—and the shadows were moving.

She stood, shaking, paralyzed with fear. The terror in her heart told her she would never escape alive. This place would be her tomb, the end of her existence. And she would just stand there while it happened, frozen with fear. She whimpered, staring into that merciless darkness and letting her limbs go limp. Hopelessness consumed her entire being. She only wished she could see light one more time before she died.

A flash of lighting lit up the room, making it blaze like daylight. For that one moment, the shadows were gone and the room was empty. Something clicked inside her, and the paralysis fell away.

She bolted, flashing past the doorway and the rest of the doors lining the hall before she could form a coherent thought. And the thought, once it did form, was simple—run.

She flew down corridor after corridor, trying to remember what route she had taken to get to that terrible room. Tears flowed down her cheeks, smearing in the wind of her mad flight. She had to get out of this place, she had to find her way back into the open world.

All at once, the stairs were in front of her. She whimpered in relief and vaulted down them three at a time. She burst through the door at the bottom and into the dining area. Chairs and the remains of flatware scattered as she crashed through the room, desperate for the exit.

Her foot caught on something just as she reached the doorway to the lobby. She flew through the air and crashed to the ground, sliding in the dust and leaves. She grunted, struggling to rise. She glanced behind her, searching the darkness. Something filled the doorway she had just come through.

You think you can escape that easily?

She screamed and jumped to her feet, her only thought getting through that exit. She lunged towards the doorway, lowering her shoulder like a ram. Wood splintered as she burst through the door. She tumbled down the stairs, smashing her face on a step as she rolled. She clawed her way to her feet and lurched forwards, her pulse beating in her ears and pain throbbing through her shoulder and the bridge of her nose.

The rain hit her like an ocean wave, almost knocking her down. But she didn’t care. She took off like a drunk rabbit, her feet slipping in the mud and wet grass before she finally plunged into the woods. The darkness closed in on her again and those gnarled branches reached for her. But it didn’t matter now, not with that thing still back there somewhere. All that mattered now was getting away from this place as quickly as she could. She lowered her head against the reaching branches, and ran.


*         *         *


One soaked tree blurred into another, the pain of one cut from thorns merged with the next, each bruise from tumbling down hills and grazing trees in her flight feeling like the one before.

She had been running for half an hour, placing one aching foot in front of the other. Now she was empty. There was no more energy, no more tears, no more fear, no more purpose. Only cold, dull exhaustion. She dropped to the ground as the rain that had been pouring onto the earth for nearly an hour slowed to a steady drizzle. She allowed herself a tired smile. She had done it, she had escaped whatever that thing was back there, and now she was safe. Now she only had to outlast this hellish night and make it back home.

She closed her eyes, heaving a sigh. The jagged afterimage of a lightning strike filled her vision. Her eyes snapped open again. She hadn’t looked at the sky since the inn. How was she seeing this afterimage now? She closed her eyes again, letting the image float behind her eyelids. The image didn’t fade, but hovered there, clear and defined, pure white against the jet-black background. She frowned, wrestling with what this could mean.

A soft boom floated to her ears out of the darkness. She cast around, searching for the source of the sound. The rustling wind and patter of the rain made it tricky to pinpoint, but she thought it might have come from farther down the hill from where she sat. She looked back in the direction she had come from, wondering how much of what she remembered was truly real. The terrifying room had clearly been empty when the lightning strike had shaken her out of her paralysis. Had there really been anything there? Or was it just a paranoid imagination playing tricks on her?

With the slowing of the rain and the ebb of absolute terror came a sense of clarity. She sat with her back against a tree, puzzling through what she had experienced. The storm had been real enough, terrifying in its intensity. So had the inn, old and decrepit as it was. She wanted to believe the light had been real too, that she had followed it to the room and been met by…something. But then, why hadn’t she seen anything? Why had the voice she thought she’d heard sounded so much like whistling wind and rumbling thunder mixed with a massive dose of terror? And why had something so terrifying failed to follow her? Surely it could keep up with her if it wanted to?

The bark dug into her back, and she shifted uncomfortably against the tree, glancing around at the dark forest surrounding her. The thought of something out there somewhere looking for her wasn’t a pleasant one. Worse was the thought of it watching her now, just waiting for a chance to strike.

Her muscles groaned as she rose slowly to her feet. Best to keep moving either way. She had no idea what direction home was, but she certainly wouldn’t find it by sitting here. She started down the hill in the direction she thought the strange boom had come from, hoping it would lead her to a road or home.

It wasn’t until she had nearly reached the bottom of the hill that she saw the road. The sky had brightened since her rest, the clouds clearing and the stars peeking through. The rain had slowed to the occasional drip and the wind had died down to a mere whisper. The night was calm once more, and she was grateful. If she never went through another night like the one she had just faced, she would die a happy girl.

The road stretching before her was a narrow gravel affair with a ditch currently filled with water on each side. She recognized this road. Just up ahead was the turn off to the main road her home was situated on. She would be home in another twenty minutes.

She quickened her pace without even meaning to, a spring in her step as she crunched along on the gravel. After the scare of her life, she would finally be safe. She would see her mother at home and be able to talk out what had happened with her. Her mother always knew just what to do when things got unpleasant or complicated. She would help her understand what was going on.

Something crunched in the gravel behind her. She spun around, staring down the road as far as she could see. There was nothing there but gravel, weeds and leaves. She swallowed a lump in her throat and started forwards again, her own crunching footfalls sounding like gunshots in the stillness.

Another boom echoed through the night, closer this time. It came from somewhere ahead of her. After another moment, an orange glow lit the horizon over the treetops, reaching into the blackness. It was somehow as dark as the night, a flame that gave no light. She shivered and stared, not able to comprehend what she was seeing, and feeling terrified by it without knowing why.

She pressed on, feeling the pull of home with each step. She would be safe soon. She just had to keep moving and keep her fear in check. There was nothing here that could harm her. She clenched her fist and walked with a stronger stride, her feet pounding into the gravel—but her lip was quivering.

The gravel behind her crunched again. Her heart pounded in her chest, and she let out a gasp as she sagged forwards, with fear coursing freely through her. She was so afraid of being afraid. So tired of jumping at every sound and every oddly shaped shadow only to discover every time that there was nothing there and her fear was completely unfounded. She sighed and turned to look once more upon an empty road.

She froze. The road wasn’t empty. A dark shape stood out against the lighter shade of the gravel. It didn’t move toward her, but seemed to oscillate where it stood, the edges of its form merging in and out of the lighter background.

She took a step back. Maybe it was a bear, or a fallen tree branch. She took another step back. Maybe it was just a homeless man looking for shelter on a dismal night.

Hello Miranda, it said.

And before there was another sound, she ran.

Heavy footfalls pounded the gravel behind her as she sprinted along the road, her legs moving faster than they ever had before, fueled by terror. As the footsteps drew closer at an unnatural speed, she knew this was no man, even as she heard heavy breathing behind her. This was something else, something beyond words. The terror that knifed through her was far from natural, and it was this being, this thing, that was causing it.

Something cold touched the back of her neck, and she screamed again, long and loud, the full power of her fear expressed in that shrieking note. She was beyond fear now, beyond reason. She ran because that was all she could do. All she knew was that she had to be home. Home was where she would be safe, where all her troubles would end. She bent her will to the task of squeezing an extra measure of speed from her burning legs. She surged forwards, only to have the ice touch her neck again. She stifled a second cry and pounded onward, the turnoff just ahead.

Something grasped her leg and she tripped midstride. She careened forwards, crashing to the ground and skidding in a spray of gravel for several meters. Pain exploded through her as dozens of cuts and scrapes opened up all over her body from the tearing gravel. She gasped and tried to rise, but something pushed her down again. She squinted through gritty eyes, trying to see her enemy, holding up her arms to defend herself.

A low chuckle emanated from the darkness.

You are pathetic Miranda. A meek child.

The voice seeped into her, the discordant notes souring the air and striking her eardrums like nails on a chalkboard.

You have no power. You are meant to be my slave.

A dark shape moved towards her. Gravel crunched ominously as with slow steps, the creature moved ever closer. Darkness filled her mind, pain and fear fighting equally for mastery within her stricken brain. She stared as if she were dead, her mind numb, her body a mass of cuts and bruises as the Thing stepped forwards and stood three meters away.

Thinking that she could make it if she tried, she glanced toward the road, gathering herself for one final run. The house would be close, just after this final turn, only a few hundred meters away.

I own you Miranda. I will always own you.

She jumped to her feet and dashed away, limping painfully on a twisted ankle, but this time, she did not care. She kept telling herself that after she rounded this bend, the house would be just ahead. Mother would be inside and Mother would protect her and give her the strength she needed to overcome this horrific enemy.

She rounded the bend fully and swathe straight main road that led to her house. She could see her house up ahead, a lantern burning in the window. A silhouette stood between her and the light, with her hair blowing in the soft breeze. It was her mother, tall and strong and beautiful. Capable of fixing any problem and protecting her from any evil.

Miranda raced towards her, reaching out as her sobs racked her body. She had seen so much, and she could finally see some hope, some relief. Now everything would be alright.

A huge hand slammed into her back, sending her crashing to the ground. She sprawled on the road rolling and kicking.

“Mother!” she screamed, striking out and trying to catch another glimpse of the house. “Mother!”

She rolled to her feet again, staggering towards the point of light up ahead. Something dark floated just off to the side. She lurched forwards, her lungs burning, and kept an eye on the dark shape moving parallel to her on the edge of the woods among the shadows. She turned back towards the house…and jerked to a stop. The house was gone, and she stood on a path foreign to her. The small light twinkling before her was the solar path-lighter, laying on the ground where she was sure her house had just stood.

The full realization of what had happened struck her, and she dropped to her knees. It had been an illusion. An elaborate show to get her to hope, to get her to believe. And now the illusion was gone, replaced by reality. Her mother wasn’t here to protect her this time. She was on her own.

She gazed at the small light as the dark shape moved towards her from the side. There was no sound of footsteps crunching on gravel now. The Thing only floated, moving ever closer.

It entered the feeble ring of light cast by the lamp. The light illuminated something dark and flowing, but somehow transparent at the same time. A strange robe, the folds moving on their own, regardless of the wind.

She let her eyes travel higher. Crooked fingers tipped with claws poked out from cavernous sleeves. She looked higher still. Hidden within the cowl of the robe, she could just make out a pair of red, staring eyes. Miranda shuddered. It was a hellish thing, a specter, a demon from another dimension.

It floated forwards towards the weak light and hovered, the light between them. With a slow movement, it extended a gnarled foot and pressed it onto the small lamp. There was a crunch and the lamp was crushed to fragments. The light went out and darkness once again reigned.

You are my slave Miranda. I am fear itself, and I will consume you.

She quivered, her will crumbling. What could she do against such a monster? But she would not die, not while she could still run.

She stood, tensing her muscles to sprint away. Wind exploded around her, the force of it sending her staggering. She fought to stay upright, but it pounded into her, driving her to her knees. Her coat flew off, whipped away into the hurricane.

There is no escape from me, Miranda. I will always find you.

She crawled forwards, with one hand and knee in front of the other as rain gushed from the sky like the ocean emptying.

A pair of clawed hands gripped her arms from behind. She shrieked at the pain as the claws bit into her flesh. The hands threw her to the ground and grabbed her leg.

You will not run from me again. You know it in your heart. You will never dare to run from me again.

Miranda heard the voice thundering as the claws sank into her leg, the crushing fingers positioned on both ends of her femur. With one sickening jerk, her bone snapped. She screamed, the pain swallowing her whole.

She lay on the ground, stringy hair in her eyes, wet shirt clinging to her bruised body, and her mangled leg clutched against her chest as she sobbed in pain. She was going to die here, and she deserved to die. She was just not strong enough. The Thing stood back, watching her. She could only imagine the smirk on its twisted lips.

A bolt of lightning split the sky, the explosion of thunder deafening. The lightning hesitated a moment longer than it should have, hanging in the sky for an extra second before disappearing into the night. The rain poured down by the bucket-load, and the monster stood to one side as if savoring its victory.

She closed her eyes, holding her leg, and felt her entire being consumed by despair. She was sorry she was going to die, and sorry it had to be this way, alone in the rain at the complete mercy of a monster with not a single option open to her.

She opened her eyes to the Thing standing over her, claws extended and dull red eyes spewing hate. This was it then.

She closed her eyes again, not wanting to know when the deathblow was struck until she felt the claws slicing through her neck. Then at least it would be over.

The lightning afterimage hung in her vision. It reminded her of that strange lightning she had seen a moment ago. It was wild and free and powerful. It wasn’t afraid to split the night and spread light when the darkness was all consuming. It spoke when it needed to speak, and everyone listened because it had proved its power many times over. Why couldn’t she be like lightning?

A blinding flash filled the sky. She jerked at the impact as a burst of raw energy coursed through her veins. She opened her eyes, the afterimage still there. Smoke rose around her. She blinked and raised herself to one elbow. A ring of charred earth lay around her. She glanced up at the specter. It stood a few meters away, patting its robe as wisps of smoke puffed up from it. She stood to her feet, unsure of what just happened.

She paused, and looked down. Her leg was strong underneath her. She examined her arms. They were smooth and cut free. She flexed her fingers and felt the bridge of her nose. There was no pain anywhere. She looked back at the sky, a huge storm cloud crackling above her. She looked back toward the Thing, and smiled.

It finished patting down its robe and floated towards her, claws extended.

You will die now, Miranda.

She stood her ground, looking right into those red, menacing eyes. “No, I won’t. You have no power over me anymore, Monster. You will leave me alone. I am not scared of you.”

The specter hovered closer, drawing back its arm.

You are wrong. I have always consumed you. And this time is no different.You will now watch how.

It swung the glinting claws at her, the wind whistling from the speed. She ducked the blow, stepping out of the way.

“You will leave me now, you monster. You will leave and never return. Or else…”

It let out a shriek like she had never heard before and lunged at her, a set of needle teeth flashing out of the darkness.

She spun away, batting the creature aside as she did. The Thing tumbled into the woods, shrieking in anger as it righted itself and came at her again.

She held her hand up as it charged forwards. It flew away from her as if struck by a giant hand and slammed into an invisible barrier before crumpling to the ground. It shook its head as if to clear it. There was something in those eyes as they stared back at her. Something she hadn’t seen there before now—fear.

She reached toward the sky, and the crackling in the storm cloud doubled in intensity. A jagged bolt of lightning shot down from the sky into her hand. It stood there, arching and spewing sparks and blazing in the night, not retreating back into the sky, and not fading in the least. It buzzed, one end crackling in her hand, and the other rooted in the sky.

“Leave now, Monster, or I swear I will blast you back to Hell where you belong.”

The Thing stared at her, red eyes looking at the determined set of her jaw to the crackling lightning bolt to the fire that now raged in her eyes, and back again. It seemed to have made up its mind. With a final look her way, it vanished into the night.

She stood for a moment longer, the lightning quivering in her hand. The darkness faded and the stars came out again, shining brightly in the night. The cloud disappeared, the lightning bolt in her hand stretching into the sky with no apparent end point. She released her hold on it, and it exploded outward in a shower of sparks, splitting the sky one last time with a flash and booming concussion that rolled away into the ebbing darkness.

She stood in the middle of the road, alone, her clothes torn and dirty, her hair matted, her hands shaking. It was over, finally and truly. Her legs felt like putty under her. She staggered to a tree, crumpled against its base, and cried. She had done it, despite having been so scared. She had faced the worst fear she could imagine, undergone the terror of a lifetime, and had discovered something she didn’t know existed. And now she was safe.


*         *         *


She jerked awake, tears still spilling down her cheeks. She caught herself at the end of a piercing scream.

Footsteps pounded in the hall, and for the first time, she realized she was home in bed, the familiar dolls stacked in the corner.

The door burst open, and her mother stood there, her eyes wide and her face frozen in terror. She rushed forward.

“Sweetheart, are you alright? I heard you screaming…” Her voice trailed off. Miranda looked at her, a smile on her little round face.

“I’m fine Mama. Don’t worry. From now on, I’ll always be fine...”

Her mother only stared before grasping Miranda to her chest and letting out a quiet sob. Miranda hugged her mother back, comforted by the strong arms that had provided so much strength and protection throughout her short life. But it was good to know that even when her mother wasn’t there, she still had the strength to stand up to her fears. She could still choose to not let them control her. It was a lesson she would never forget.





About the author

Shazrina is the author of the amazon bestseller, ‘Fairy Tales from the World of Shazrina’ and 'The Dreamophile's Diary'. She is also a writing coach and the Director of Blissful Bookworms Pvt. Ltd. She eats, sleeps, reads a lot, and when she’s not doing any of that, she creates stories. view profile

Published on May 15, 2020

Published by

50000 words

Contains explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Literary Fiction

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