Alright folks, it’s time for yet another Creating World’s Writing Challenge! As y’all might or might not know by know, this is the third (? maybe? I’m not actually sure??) annual challenge that Loren over at Let’s Be Lost is hosting. You can find my other challenge entries here and here (which you may want to read if you haven’t because I’m continuing the story here! Yay!) But now, without further ado, let’s get to the story! I was able to fit all three prompts in once again.
Tessa freezes on the spot, her hands clenched tightly and her breath coming quickly.
“How do you know my name?” She asks in a wavering voice. “Who are you?”
A boy about her age, tall and lean steps around her, coming into view. “That doesn’t matter.” He says, his accent impossible for Tessa to place. “All you need to know is that I’m going to take you somewhere. Somewhere …” She can see the hesitation his eyes before he speaks the last word, “safe.” He doesn’t say it like he believes it.
“Why should I trust you?” Tessa asks, her eyes narrowing.
The boy smirks in a way that makes it seem like he was trying not to. “You really shouldn’t, Tessa. But you don’t have much of a choice.”
She folds her arms across her chest, the notebook, the only link to her past, held tightly against her body. “I can very well just stay here in this … garden of silence, can I not?” She asks the question like a challenge, but the boy simply turns around and begins walking away.
“Only if you want to say hello to The Vengeful.” He says it as an afterthought, a simple statement that doesn’t really matter, but a shiver goes down Tessa’s spine. She isn’t quite sure why, but the words seem ominous, and a voice in the back of her head tells her that this boy is her only option.
She stands up, quickly dusting her jeans off and sprinting after him.
He glances ever at her slowing enough that she could keep pace, but doesn’t speak.
Silence, save for Tessa’s labored breathing, her body apparently not used to exertion, falls. Tessa suddenly feels the urge to make it, and opens her mouth to speak but the boy puts a finger over his lips and they continue walking in silence. They tread on through the forest in silence so complete that Tessa begins to wonder if she’s dreaming again.
Then finally, the trees break, and a building is revealed.
It’s lifted from the damp ground slightly, a narrow set of just a few stairs leading to a dark doorway. Clothing is heaped on the railing that surrounds a short balcony, if one could call it that, extended from the building. The entire thing sags, as if too tired to keep going.
Tessa feels a chill go down her spine and looks to the boy for confirmation. He glances back at her but his face remains neutral.
“This is a Passageway.” He simply states, “It isn’t quite what it looks like. We just have to go through the door and then …” he trails off, his eyes narrowing as a woman approaches. She’s stagging slightly, her eyes wild and her clothing ragged. “Let’s go.”
Tessa nods, and follows the boy as he mounts the stairs in one leap and stands before the dark doorway. He holds out a hand without speaking and Tessa accepts it, an eyebrow raised. He turns back toward the doorway and they both take a step forward into the darkness.
If she was asked to later explain it, Tessa could only say that the experience was bright. Very, very bright and blinding. She wasn’t sure if her eyes were open or not until she did open them, and realized it was much, much brighter than anything she previously thought.
They arrived. And the place is stark white.
White walls fill Tessa’s vision, brick after white brick building a towering building stretching into what seems like forever. She absorbs the image, sketching the awful vision into her brain. The endless light wears away at her nerves, until she’s brought back to reality be a tug on her hand.
“Let’s go,” the boy whispers, his voice echoing until infinity. Tessa nods and hurries off, one hand holding tight to the boy, notebook tucked into her waistband, and the other skimming the white wall. The endless white.
When she sees it she has to blink several times to make sure it’s not an image her brain conjured up. She tugs on the boy, “Look,” she simply says, and he turn.
Marring the perfect whiteness of the place is a simple phrase, drawn onto a single pristine white brick.
“Ask no questions …” he starts.
“and you’ll get no lies.” Tessa mutters. She turns toward the boy, her eyes wide, the need to know etched into her very being. “What does it mean?” She asks. He shakes his head, his eyes dark
“It’s just a phrase. People use it sometimes … a phrase. A way of calling out the government. That’s all.”
Tessa nods, not understanding but knowing that’s all the response she’ll get. She tugs on his arm, the need to leave suddenly the only thing she can think about, and they begin walking again.
They don’t stop until they reach a door.
The boy let’s go of Tessa’s hand and steps forward, pulling it open. He gives her a meaningful look and states, more than asks, “Ready?”
Tessa nods, swallowing hard. He quirks an eyebrow and gestures toward the door,
She nods again and steps forward into the darkness once more.
This time is different, the light isn’t so much blinding as pulsing. Then there’s the heat. It sears into her, until she can’t remember what it’s like to be cold. It burns, on and on, until she would do anything to make it stop. She can’t scream, her lips frozen in time, her body not responding to any commands.
And then it does stop.
She lands on her hands and knees, breathing hard. Her entire body is drenched in sweat, her throat dry and parched. Tessa gasps, trying to breathe, forcing air into her lungs.
It takes her a second to realize the boy is gone and she’s trapped somewhere dark. It takes another second to realize her notebook, the only link to her past, is no longer on her.
She scurries around on the floor, searching for it, pushing past the pain and ache in her bones to find the only thing that’s important to her.
She finds it, finally, in the corner of the room. Tessa breathes a sigh of release, as part of her being settles in, the feeling of something drastically wrong being replaced by peace.
Until she opens the cover.
The pages are burnt and to a crisp, sections missing and none of the text readable. Tessa freezes. It’s too wrong, too hopeless, that she can’t even process that it’s true. Anything that could tell her who she is or why she’s here is gone forever, burned up and torn apart.
She wants to cry, to scream, to pound on the floor, but the sound of voices catches her off guard. She stands up as quickly as she can, her entire vision swaying, and her body protesting.
She follows the noise, the sound of voices, and finds a door, which opens at her touch. Outside is a hallway, leading off into darkness, and there, just a few feet away is the boy, speaking with someone she can’t see.
“Please.” She cries out desperately, “Help me. I-I need help.”
He turns toward her, a surprised look flashing on his face. A few strides forward and he’s there.
“Tessa,” he murmurs, “it’s going to be okay, I promise.”
Oddly enough, Tessa believes it. Until the boy pushes her back a few steps and quickly closes the door. A heavy lock scrapes against the door, finalizing her prison. And just like that, Tessa is trapped.
Annnnd that’s all of challenge three! Thank y’all so much for reading and getting to the end! I hope you’re enjoying the story so far. If ya like, I’d be up for critiques so feel free to comment below. I’ll be back for another post on Monday hopefully but until then …
How do you like the story so far? Are you doing CWWC? Is Tessa a likeable character for you? What’s your favorite writing PoV to write? What about to read? Comment below!