THE PARTS MENAGERIE: YA Fantasy Feb 21, 2020 13:04:40 GMT -5
Post by liwayway on Feb 21, 2020 13:04:40 GMT -5
Cade’s bed had become a prison. Her eyes watered, and her breath came in shallow gasps as the smells of fire and brimstone invaded her nose. Even when she opened her eyes, her brain took too many long moments to differentiate the real from the nightmare. Her bedroom’s stone ceilings dissolved into an ash sky filled with smoke and falling flames.
She peered beyond dark clouds into the inky space where familiar, tiny circles of light appeared and disappeared at random. Her arms were lead as she strained to reach them. Portals. She didn’t remember when she had created them, but she had to get there. She had to leave this place. Tears rolled down the sides of her face as she helplessly watched them blink in and out.
Her soft blankets tangled around her legs. They smothered and trapped her as she thrashed from side to side. Her beautiful rugs, long acquired by the Assassin’s heir who had given her this room, became red hot rivers, once mighty mountains that had melted and scorched the already ravaged earth.
Anger surged through her when the whispers began, as she knew they would. Hushed words echoed in her ear. “Reflection,” they told her, like a wind cutting through the hostile landscape. “Find grace in the land of ice.”
She knew what the words implied, the task they challenged her to take on, but the voice sounded too suggestive and felt too much like a test to see what she could do.
Cade hated being used.
“Find grace in the land of ice,” the voice howled.
She squeezed her eyes shut. Opened them again. The charred corpses of friends and strangers, creatures and Demons, scattered the broken roads and gave birth to copious amounts of ash and dust. A scream escaped her, and finally, her sheets, soaked in her sweat, released her.
Shudders still wracked her body, and her heart pounded against the inside of her chest as she lumbered along the corridors of the Assassins Temple towards the dining hall.
Six nights of torment and fear left her haggard and grouchy at breakfast, so her best friend, Kalihan, asked her the same question he asked her every morning since the nightmares began. “Want to spar?”
Her answer had been yes the last few times. Today was different. “What makes you think I’m in any condition to fight?” She warily eyed her soupy bowl and picked at pieces of fruit while she briefly considered flinging them at him. Sadly, it would take too much energy to get a decent shot.
His sharp, argentine eyes observed her. “You say that, but letting off steam in the arena helps.” He pointed his fork at her. “Maybe this time you’ll get so tired that you’ll have no choice but to take a nap.”
“I have no more steam. Besides, I’ll win. Do you want to put yourself through that again?”
“That’s because you use your portals to cheat.”