Locked

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One day, a girl set out to college. She did her major in Procrastination and a minor in Introspection. She found what she was good at and where she had to struggle. She searched for the reins controlling her life and stumbled across things like “post-modernism” and “existentialism”. There were others in the same hunt, torn by the same questions, doubting every step.

All the while she was handed skills that were supposedly the key to success. She focused on sharpening the ones she found fun, and the ones she thought she might need to survive.

Then one day she pondered the meaning of success. What was it? Why was it so important to get it? What would the key open?

The homework piled up until it was sticking out of her bedroom door and she sat defeated, head in hand, waiting for the rain to wash away her stress. Questions and doubts about everything popped into her head.

A few deadlines and nights of high speed typing later, she still doesn’t have too many answers. But she knows she’s never going to know what the key is until it opens something.

Signed,

Me

The Witch’s Trial

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It had been created especially for her when she had come of the age to actively enter the world of magic. The years had not changed it one bit. An ever pristine mirror that held truths and power she had defiantly dared to dream of, it was the bridge and barrier to the apex of her strength.

She had been a Practicing Witch for over 6 years now and she knew the day had arrived; she would be tested as a witch and a person, to be sure power was not falling into the wrong hands.

She could allow no one in her company while she faced this ancient rite of passage.  Anything else could cause the spell to go awry. If she failed, she would not be remembered. That was one of the merciful magics of the mirror- no one in her Circle would have to be heartbroken or miss her.

She held it up before her, feeling her pulse make erratic jumps. The cold metallic frame lent steadiness to her fingers. Suddenly, she felt something seize her mind. Questions and thoughts were eerily voiced by the mirror. She responded, quick and honest. There was no jarring red light which she had been told to expect in the event of an unsatisfying answer. No, she was passing with a beautiful monochrome of colours.

She twisted her hands tighter around the edges, staring deeper into its preternatural reflections with every passing second. Memories of her ancestors began to flit across the glass and into her soul. In a matter of minutes she knew how to tame a Chimaera, how to teleport back and forth from far ends of the universe, and how it felt to carry the weight of the world in the event of an impending Apocalypse. In that long, drawn out instant, she Knew.

Power surged into her fingertips as she struggled to hold onto the mirror, feeling the fire that burned so many sisters who came before her. She knew the second she released it, the transfer would cease, and she could never hope to gain more from its swirling depths. Despite the pain, she gripped it closer; she could feel the victorious end creeping not too far away.

 

Signed,

The Invisible Invigilator

A New Mask

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In his case, the step off the ledge was a bullet, soon to be embedded in his brain. Torn between wanting to live this life and leave it, he knew that whichever side he chose, the other side would lurk.

Day and night, he wore a mask of light, although the darkness was as much a part of him as the other. The shadows that played in the dark sometimes too closely resembled the rays of light, until he was left not knowing which were his reasons to stay.

To shed the mask, he searched for a way. But, was forced to explain himself at every turn- the whys and hows of his behaviour. Though he hurt no one, no one but himself.

He hesitantly put away the trigger and summoned his demons. They stared him in the face as he gave them a good hard look. They weren’t a danger to him as long as he watched them, he realised. And he knew there was only one way they would never leave his sight. After a long thought, he decided they would make up his new mask.

They would be his shield and his strength. There would be no more expectation of light, and if it did sneak in, he would enjoy it. But, for now he’d enjoy the dark. It meant something different to him than to others, he finally admitted.

After that, he never saw another day. Only the night. And something about it just felt right.

 

Signed,

A Fellow Goth

Which watch will take you where?

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Two weeks in the desert is over-estimating myself, thought Jackie.

Never again, she swore, draining her glass of salted water with a pinch of lime juice.

She plunked herself on the carpet, ready to examine the fruit of her arid labours. A pocket watch partly obscured by its cover rested on the two pencils she had used to pick them up.

Jackie knew the dangers of fiddling with objects found in deep crevices or buried under sand. Objects that were meant to be hidden. She knew them well. They had taken her to places in her strangest dreams and coldest memories, but she had always found a way to return.

It fed her curiosity with all things paranormal, to dabble in the Bewitched Watches, and she had barely an opposing thought. The price she paid was the uncertainty of where and in which when she might wake up next, close to which terror-striking creature. Part of her thrived on the same danger, and she called to that part now, to shed her doubts, raising her hand over the watch.

Her last watch had been of a silver-ish hue, guarded by the tangled mass of a snake. She thought she knew which creature guarded this one.

“Take me where you will” she whispered, lightly resting her fingers on the ribbed cage of its cover for a brief second.

The ribs turned darker and began to move.

Click. The black scorpion raised its stinger, opening the watch. Jackie jumped back, holding the chain. The scorpion hopped onto the floor and scurried away. Three blinks later, Jackie found herself staring at a very different world.

From the edge of a high cave she saw hordes of giant creatures with human faces, large scorpion-like pincers and stingers, strutting between boulders that littered the gray landscape.

This watch may have taken things a bit too literally, thought Jackie, overcome with a feeling of dread.

 

Signed,

The Omniscient Watcher

The Visionary of a Post-Apocalyptic Era (#38 picture it and write)

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It was barely a week after the Apocalypse had destroyed most life on Earth. The ground was scorching in scattered places that had come to be called Hotspots. The survivors did not know where they could safely walk. So, they didn’t.

The weeks that passed drained their food and water, and nothing new would grow. Smoke rose from the land, adding to the people who felt lost. Everyone stayed sequestered in their cities and villages. The thirst drove a few to wander, and burn, when they stepped on a Hotspot.

One day, the people glimpsed a man who had ventured far beyond the city limits. Their warning cries were either unheard, or ignored. By now he had stepped on the unstable bridge that bordered the next city. In the middle of particularly thick smoke, he disappeared.

The people who had witnessed this soberly gathered the rest of their group to see who was missing. The realisation hit them sorely even though they barely knew him. At this point, any person lost was another step towards extinction. They sadly pondered how far he would make it.

***

A handful of days dragged on, before the bridge felt more footsteps. This time there were dozens of sets and the familiar one felt heavier. The sun hit its peak, as the man returned, weighed down with food and water, followed by what resembled a marching line of people.

As they got closer they looked like they were doing a slow, synchronised dance, each one just a little later than the person in front of them. Their path zigzagged across the bridge, but stayed connected. They eventually arrived at the debilitated doors of the building where the city’s people were huddled, most of them at the edge of dehydration. The man dropped the produce and refreshments before their feet, and though he couldn’t see their half-deranged smiles of gratitude, he felt their relief in every other sense. For the first time in a long time, he did not feel like he was missing something, being blind.

He had not felt more lost when the smoke had risen. After knowing darkness and loneliness all his life, he could finally “see” something the others couldn’t. The nearly imperceptible whistling of a Hotspot at close range.

 

Signed,

A Survivor