vi. twisting fate

16 4 9

"Jenna, wake up, babycakes! Your alarm went off half an hour ago!"

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"Jenna, wake up, babycakes! Your alarm went off half an hour ago!"

    Harlow's honeyed tones rang up the staircase, creeping under the thin space between my bedroom door and the scuffed hardwood. Pulling me from my restless slumber, it wove though my muddled consciousness, falling somewhere between dreams and reality.

    "Jen-na! Don't make me come up there and tickle you out of bed!"

    I groaned, somehow knowing I was being threatened — however sweetly and lovingly it was — and rolled over to hang an aching arm from the side of my bed. My sleep-crusted eyes blinked open a slit, struggling to slide into focus.

    Sunlight streamed in through my open curtains, accompanied by the telltale chorus of songbirds elated from a break in the rain.

    A heavy stomping of stockinged feet on the stairs brought my mind sharply to life.

    "Okay, I'm up, I'm up!" The words tumbled from my lips in a panicked rush; my minds eye was conjuring images of buckets full of water and ice, though I knew Harlow was more likely than not stood on the bottommost step, flailing her feet against the wood in amusement. Knowing I'd jump like a tiger whose tail had been trodden upon. Too lazy to make the actual journey up the stairs to wake me.

    I rolled onto my back with a gusty sigh, wishing I'd had about ten more days to sleep before I needed to tend to my daily duties of school and work. Maybe Harlow wasn't being lazy. Maybe she was being very, very smart.

    As I let my eyes slide shut — one more minute, that's all ... just to wake up properly — a sudden assault of fiery insistence blared through the space inside my skull. I cried out, falling out of bed to crash to the floor, my head pressed tightly between my two hands. Pain lanced through my body as the alien sensation burned through my mind.

    The stone flashed through my thoughts. Where had it gone?

    Forcing my eyes open and trying to think past the barrage of pain, I scanned my room for the Seed. It lay upon my bed, shimmering from just under the folds of my faded pillowcase.

    I pushed my legs under me, struggling to my feet with a whimper. Reaching out to grasp the icy cold stone in my palm, the fire instantly quelled and I collapsed to my knees. My breath came out in ragged gasps, tearing through my lungs as if I was inhaling campfire smoke.

    What. The hell. Was that.

    A less urgent, yet still foreign, tugging pulled my thoughts out of focus again. There was no pain this time as it swirled through my skull, but I had the sensation of thinking through jelly, as if time had slowed and my heart beat at only half the speed.

    An image of my front hallway, of the front door hanging slightly ajar, and a shimmering darkness spilling through the crack. I found myself on my feet, with my hand on the cold handle of my bedroom door, as the image faded away.

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