Chapter Nine: Running Nowhere

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The sunrise was captivating. Its golden rays stretched out, interlocking with the night sky.

"Iolla, come over, it's time for breakfast," I turned back to see my mother placing a sandwich on the foldable table. I walked over and sat down on a foldable chair, smiling at the sight of my parents commenting on the sunrise, my father joking along as usual.

Hold on.

The sky melted and hardened to form a plain wall. The foldable camping chair I was sitting on transformed into a cold, metal chair. I looked over to my parents, whose smiles were frozen as they faded away.

No, stay with me!

All went black, and only the voices' cries echoed, "Stay! Stay! Stay!"

No...

The next thing I registered was the sting on my wrists.

I looked down. Ropes tied my hands and legs together.

Ropes that ordinary knives can't cut through.

I was in a room, sitting on a metal chair. Realisation dawned on me. I must have been dreaming again.

Then, another thought hit me.

What happened?

All I could remember was crashing through a forest, my legs and arms stinging from pain, and a...

A masked person smirking at me.

I shook my head, trying to get the image out of my mind, and began to examine the room I was in. Since I was facing the wall and bound to the chair, I could barely even turn around.

Frowning, I pondered, what should I do?

An idea popped up in my head. Aha.

Taking a deep breath, I closed my eyes and prayed, come on, please work.

I waited a few minutes for water to be under my control, for the connection to flow through me, but it seemed so far away. I resisted the impulse to focus harder, and instead waited.

Nothing happened.

Strange, why does the water feel so far away?

"It won't work."

I jumped at the voice, losing my only connection to the water. Reflexively, I opened my eyes.

Only a metre away was a man sitting right in front of me.

The man was middle-aged but amongst his dark brown hair were grey shoots. Through his thinly framed spectacles were dark circles under his eyes. He probably doesn't sleep much.

Strangely, that statement did not seem to fit with his demeanour. The man calmly fiddled with a knife, tracing some symbols engraved onto the blade with a finger.

I froze. Was that act meant to intimidate me? If yes, he succeeded.

"What's your name?" The man asked, his gaze never wavering from the knife in his hands.

What?

Don't respond. He can obviously find out for himself.

Though that thought was true, so was another: What will he do if I don't respond?

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