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The Mirror and The Rose

By @Jaylee Feminore

Dark Memories

“You should not go, we will find another way,” Zune voice echoed in my mind as I continued my rough climb up the cobblestone walls.

My hands and legs (along with most of my limbs) were burning as if they were ablaze. I gritted my teeth, suppressing the growing pain, I had to keep going. Just as I thought my legs were going to give way, my hands rested upon the smooth wooden outline of a window and I sighed in relief.

With my last scrap of strength, I hoisted myself onto the small open window, resting at the ledge. Surprisingly unlike all the other windows, I had stopped to rest at, this one was open. That was already a warning not to go inside, not that I was planning to anyway. The third floor was the study and probably the most active room, it was too risky.

From this spot, I could see the large overview of Ruben. The houses and buildings closely packed together looked like a clump of darkness, rising and falling in the navy blue sky. The only things that stood out from the darkness were the spider-like branches of the willow trees. It always amazed me how scary and ghastly they could look at night yet calming in the morning.

Just then, wind crashed upon me scattering my frop of hair onto my face for almost the hundredth time today. Around this time of year, the winds in Ruben were usually still and the rain was light and infrequent. But all through my journey, every way I turned, the wind seemed to be blowing in the opposite direction as if warning me not to come here but I could not give up on Zune cause he never gave up on me.

Not to mention, the rain was pouring heavily.

I hoped the rain would have stopped before I got here, but it was still drizzling. It made the already sharp cobblestone walls slippery and even more dangerous to climb. But it still beat going through the front door… I frowned at the thought, if anything the front porch was the worst place in this house. I took one more look at the endless night sky, spotted with a few stars, taking a few more deep breaths. This was the last window before the final climb to the top, I needed all the rest I could get.

After a few slips and one too many close calls, I was finally able to make it to the wet ledge of the top floor window. I jumped through the large open window and silently collapsed on the ground in pain and exhaustion, cradling my right hand. It was severely bruised just like my left hand but it had a nasty scratch across the palm. It was small but it stung a hundred times worst than its size.

“It’s a trap,” I remember Zune saying before I left. His words kept echoing in my mind all through the trip. Maybe it was my brain’s way of telling me to go home or it was just my inner coward speaking. I already knew it was a trap, that part was obvious, she was one of the only sorcerers I knew that could make purple ivy potent enough to make someone sick but there was no way I could just sit there and do nothing while Zune was so sick. His skin looked ghostly pale, he could barely move without help, he was not talking much and he was not smiling.. at all. 

He tried to smile to convince me he was okay, okay enough for us to travel to Ebony. But it did not look like his smile at all he looked as if he was twisting his face in pain. As much as I never wanted to come back to this place again, I knew Zune could not hold out for that long, we would not make it to Ebony in time.

He looked so sluggish and out of it, which was the total opposite of him. It was worrying to watch. I missed his bright smile and that glow that radiated off him, that glow that managed to cheer up everyone around him, even uncheerful me. If anything, I was usually the downcast one and although I never told him, his bizarre cheerfulness and his bright smile drove away the dark thoughts building up in my mind. But most times his cheerfulness was just annoying.

After catching my breath, I stood up from the dusty floor and fisted my right hand. The stinging had calmed down a bit but it was still very much there. I sighed, a stinging hand was the least of my problems now.

As I walked further and further away from the open window, the moonlight pouring softly through the window was fading. Now that my adrenaline had died down from scaling the walls, my nerves began to kick in and it finally struck me what a horrible idea this was. My hands that were stinging before, went semi-numb and were trembling as I walked down the dark halls. They brought back some dark memories, memories which I had buried so deep inside me.

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