Chapter 4: The Long and Winding Road
I took a deep breath and opened the front door. I could feel my hair being tangled by the wind while my backpack hung low on my shoulder. Placing the key in the holder beside the door, I stepped inside my house, shoulders hanging low as I walked upstairs to my room. The sound of my mother’s steps make me stop near the top. “Hey honey, how was the appointment with the doctor?” She asks me, wearing a dirty apron and her hands covered by yellow cleaning gloves. My grip tightened around the strap while I crumpled the letter the doctor had given me with the other.
“Just a bad bronchitis. Nothing to be worried about…” I stammered as I covered my mouth with my elbow sleeve. As I move away my arm, I noticed some bloodstains painting my jacket. I smiled back at my mom before continuing toward my room. I could hear my sister typing away at her phone; as I walked by her open door, she was hanging upside down, probably texting to some friend. Her legs wiggled in the air while she giggled loudly. Since my room was directly in front of her, I opened the door and tossed my backpack to the floor. Closing the door shut and removing my jeans, I waddled toward my closet and quickly put on a pair of sweatpants.
My room felt empty and somewhat cold, the curtains drawn so light could barely pass through. I walked over to my desktop, bending over to boot up my computer before collapsing into my racing chair. As the screen slowly illuminated my face, I glanced down at the ball of paper containing the costs of treatment. However, I was in such an advanced state that it would just be a waste of money. I put on my headset, and my left hand placed itself at the corner of the keyboard. Taking a deep breath, I opened up my League launcher and slowly lost myself to the night.
The fire within me burned with so much passion, my heart seemed to be beating out of my chest as my lungs relentlessly breathed in. My eyes opened in a bolt, and I sat up straight with my whole body shaking. I didn’t move at all; I stared at the light purple curtains in front of me as my eyes slowly regained their focus. “What?” I said, crawling away and ending up banging my head against the headboard. I lifted my arms to rub the back of my head; as I did so, the bed sheet covers fell down to my waist. My body was dressed in a black nightgown, with most of the chest being revealed.
I jumped out of the bed, landing heavily on the cold wooden floor. “Ow!” I squealed as I slowly stood up. With my whole body seemingly rendered uncertain, I waggled and almost fell again, catching myself on the same purple curtains. I looked around, trying to identify the room I was in. I bit my lower lip, the grip tightening as I’d never been in such a room before. Massive would be an understatement. This was easily the size of a whole classroom, and with more space to spare. The bed I was in, likewise, could fit an entire family with comfort. Shades of purple painted the walls as a single lamp lit up the room. The decoration seemed typical of the nobility, including high end mirrors, shiny wooden desks and wardrobes, and even a hanging chandelier. I made my way towards the window, grabbing the thicker curtain as I stared into the distance.
Out of nowhere, the sound of breaking glass made me take a step back. For a second, what used to be a normal window was now broken, its shards scattered all over the floor. However, as soon as I’d blink, it would all be back to normal. I shook my head, feeling my hair moving with me. I once again tried to look out of the window, this time being successful at doing so. My left hand touched the cold glass as my eyes seemingly were glued to the image. A forest in the distance caught my view, alongside what seemed to be the walls of a castle. I was so high off the ground that I could even see the nearby town, or city, or whatever it was. Houses of all shapes and sizes, even some residential buildings and most likely business towers. A whole aura of darkness enveloped the place, yet it felt as if it was embracing me, welcoming me.
I took a step back, holding the curtain with all my might, as I turned around to look back at the room. “Where… Where am I?” I felt oddly at home. As if I’d been here before and this was where I came from. Yet it all felt out of place, even if I’d never set foot in this room before. A single object caught my eyes, a cradle. Standing alone with nothing else but a box beside the frame. I walked towards it, my steps echoing against the floor as I leaned against the wall. Using my spare hand, I grabbed at the edge and gave it a soft push. It slowly started to rock, a little melody coming from a speaker underneath the little mattress. While muffled, it was loud enough the help a baby go to bed.
The creaking sound of the door opening made me turn my head toward it. A woman stepped in. “I should get this door oiled up,” she said softly before staring directly at me. “Oh… You woke up.” Beautiful was an understatement. This woman could make the whole world stop if she so desired. She had long and shiny black hair that fell below her waist. It seemed to flow with her movements, adapting to the light in order to produce a glow in it. Pale white skin, with sharp frames at her face, yet her complexion was soft and caring. Although she was surprised, you could see a clear look of happiness in her eyes. Smiling, her bright red eyes stared at me, lighting up my mind. “Hi there, Elizabeth…”
“E... Elizabeth?” I said softly, coughing as the sound of my voice still didn’t sound right in my ears. “Ma’am, I think you’ve mistaken me for somebody else.” I took a step back as I noticed her walking towards me. Something inside of me wanted me to go the other way, to approach the woman and be as close as I can to her. But I fought against these urges, afraid of whatever was going on in here. Sheer fear crossed my face as I glanced at the mirror, revealing a terrified girl. The same girl which I now took hold of her body. “My name is not Elizabeth…” I swallowed some of my accumulated saliva. “I am…” I began to play with my fingers, looking at the floor as the sheer image of the woman made me uncertain of my words. “I am…”
“Geoffrey.” She appeared in front of me, pulling up my chin, making me look back at her. Standing just a bit above my height, she smiled, a warm and welcoming smile that forced me to do the same as well. I looked away, the nervousness returning to my face. “You are mistaken… Your real name is Elizabeth Tenebris, and this right here… is your own room at our castle.” I stepped away from her, covering my eyes and falling down on my knees. “You are my daughter… The princess of the Dark Kingdom.” I stared down at my hands, and indeed shadows started to come out of them, as if they had a mind of their own.
“This… This can’t be…” I said, stammering as I got back on my feet. “I am Geoffrey!” I screamed, my body shaking as this aura of darkness enveloped my body. Afraid of my own body, I ran towards the door, my own feet betraying me as I tripped over myself. Shadows came out of my body, seemingly resembling those of scarves or pieces of clothing. I stumbled to stand up once again; this time a large hallway appeared on the other side of the door. A pair of maids stared directly at me, surprised and shocked at my appearance. Immediately they bowed as if they were in the presence of royalty. “No…” I mumbled between my teeth, running as fast as I could down the hallway.
A seemingly never-ending hallway, or was it just my mind playing tricks on me? Nevertheless, no matter how much distance I covered, I barely seemed to get anywhere. But at last, there was an opening, and I rushed inside trying to hide from the woman who thought she was my mother. I stepped inside, almost falling once again, and shut the door behind me. Taking a break, I rested my back against the door, breathing heavily, trying to calm down. It didn’t help that I’d apparently stepped into a meeting. Two men, both similar to one another, standing near a projection of a map. “Well, hi there…” the one on the right said. With grey hair and the stubble of a beard, he wore a brown trench coat while holding an umbrella in his hand. “I wasn’t expecting you here,” he said while rubbing the back of his head.
“Elizabeth… Are... are you alright?” the other man says, appearing much younger yet with a wise look in his eyes. Red, bright red as well, he smiled at me, lending his hand for support. His face was strong, firm yet gentle. Deep black hair reached his shoulders. A thin yet muscular body, underneath a white shirt and a pair of formal black pants. The suit hanging near a chair beside him. “Hi… Not sure if your mom presented me already, but I’m Vincent… King of the Dark Kingdom and your father. And this is…” My ears completely blocked any sound as I stood up from the floor by myself. Stepping away from the door, I found myself cornered by two other men. My vision went hazy; a shadow covering my eyes made me fall to the floor, passing out.
The blue victory screen brightened up my whole room. I sighed, quickly going through the after match stuff and ending up back at the party menu. I could hear my friend yawning over the mic. A loud yawn that would wake up anyone sleeping in the room, or in his house. I could see the name tag of my other friend appearing in the lobby; cracking my fingers, I quickly skim over at the results of the previous match. “Come on dude, don’t leave us waiting so long,” our other friend says, letting out a final yawn at the end of his sentence. “We always learn better when we get no sleep during the night.”
I can’t help but chuckle, my other friend doing the same thing. “No, guys… I’ll drop off for the night…” I could see him logging off from the game, and hear him typing at the computer. “You should do too, or else teach will get angry at us.” My other friend followed suit, he however logged off completely from his computer. “Well I guess he’s off. Either way, Sam, you should seriously take a rest, dude. That coughing of yours needs more than a single day in bed. Take care, buddy.” He ended the call, making me stare blankly at the screen.
I removed my headset and tossed it to the side. I let out a soft chuckle, rubbing my eyes and staring blankly at the screen. “Guess I should take a rest,” I said to myself before putting my hands back on the keyboard and mouse and waiting for a new game.
To be continued...
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