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Rated: E · Short Story · Action/Adventure · #1963915
Angela wakes up because of the absence of noise. She realizes nothing's the same anymore..
Upside Down

The pitter-tatter of little feet in the hall normally woke her each morning. Today, it was the absence of it.

As Angela fluttered her eyelids open, escaping the night's strong grip as worry kept nagging at her, creeping up her whole body like an unwanted enemy and warning her mind with broken flashes of lucidity. Something was off and it was annoying her. Her brow furrowed as she slowly realized what was going on - or, actually, what was not. Quickly, not minding the dizziness of the sudden move, the brunette propped herself up on her bed with her elbows. Still, she listened closely for any sound at all... but nothing. Now, that was scary!

Angela didn't waste time and jumped out of bed, grabbing her light beige jacket and putting it on her yellow nightgown, already running outside her bedroom. Turning her head in every possible direction, her hair whipped her cheeks and neck. The 17-year-old felt panic rising as it changed her features. This wasn't normal! No, no! Confused at first, she finally decided to just run down the huge and long corridor to her left, desperately looking for any sign of life other than her own. Her breathing was getting raspier by the second, sweat beading on her forehead. This wasn't possible...

Usually, faeries, goblins, elves, and many other magical creatures bustled about the corridors. Every. Early. Morning. It had never failed - until this day. Even though it always made her grumble and sigh, Angela was now missing it cruelly, wishing harder than ever for the noise to come back. Yes, faeries. She lived in the Coven, an old but majestic abandoned building in Italy reconverted into a haven for all which that was magic. Angela was the only human allowed inside its doors. Why? She figured that due to technology, people believed less in fantasies, shutting out the real beauty of the world - no wonder why humans found it boring! Except for her: she was one of the rare who still could see them, and despite their fear and despise for the human race, the creatures had welcomed her with open arms (and wings), giving her a home after the tragedy.

The world seemed almost frozen, slowed to a frighteningly low speed, inducing a strange sensation of floating and wavering. Her heart thumped against her chest and the air barely seeped in to her lungs - perhaps the big lump of stress stuck in her esophagus blocked its full progression. She didn't even remember she needed to breathe.

Angela, as if suddenly given wings, sprinted down the wide and creamy marble stairs into a sober, yet impressive hall. Again, the same colour and material everywhere. The teenager quickly came to an abrupt stop when she noticed a feminine figure sitting on one of the (uncomfortable) rich-looking but plain benches in the middle of the room. The slender blonde slowly turned her face in her direction, her voluptuous heart-shaped lips curving upward with mischief, her thin and perfect legs crossed with her right hand gently cupping her top knee.

''Hello, Miracle,'' said the woman with a grin and a sugary tone of voice. A lock of her hair slid over her cheek, leaving to be seen a beautifully mystical elf-pointed ear.

But why would an elf be here at this hour? They never come down their 4th floor before noon... And who is she?

''That's not my name,'' Angela replied dryly, hands clenched tightly so as they were turning white, brow furrowed, she was nibbling at her lower lip out of concern.

''Oh yes, it is~,'' cooed the stranger before chuckling. The tall woman stood up, smoothing her light skirt. She shot the young lady a look of two-faced amusement and smiled before calmly making her way towards the huge wooden doors.

I really don't like her - don't trust her either. Really, who's she? Does she even think her acting all mysterious is gonna do the trick!? Hmpf.

''Hey! W-wait...!'' Angela exclaimed, trotting after the woman. ''I don't even know who you are! I've never seen you around here... nor anywhere, for that matter!''

The elf slowed down and put a hand on the right door, gradually and gently opening it as though she had all the time in the world - it was a fact, elves were stronger than humans, indeed! Turning her oval-shaped head only so slightly, she smiled crookedly, shadows playing dangerously over her face. ''Then, perhaps it is time you did...'' On this, the elf slipped outside the building, her chuckling still growing in intensity haunting the hall as it echoed against every wall like a disturbing mantra.

What kind of answer was that?!

Angela gasped then started running after her. Awkwardly, she pushed the door open wider - damn, it was always so heavy! - before freezing right outside the threshold, onto the top cement stair. No one. There seemingly wasn't any soul to be found within the small Italian village nor any hint that could prove a 30-year-old *welf had just exited the Coven. Gaping, with her breathing slowing to a more moderate pace, she stared straight before her in astonishment. For a town normally buzzing with activity, this sure was peculiar; not even a single sign of life! Nothing. A cold and dry breeze whistled past her, accompanied by an eerily shrill sound that whispered to her nothing good. She took in every piece of the odd scenery, now feeling completely unease about it all. Everything had changed by taking a turn for the worst; the houses appeared smaller, crammed together, falling into ruins, and also their colours held a much darker tone.

She trudged for a few feet and halted at the edge of the first step, her incredulous gaze fixed upon the empty narrow streets. The certainty that something wicked this way came had just established itself  in her whole being, like a dark shadow looming over her, creeping up her every bone and nerve.

What have I gotten myself into?

* welf: woman-elf

Catherine Girard-Veilleux

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