19: Dark Intent

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                                                                                     19: Dark Intent

(WARNING: There's a slightly gory scene in this chapter (yes, a little more gory than the usual). Just a heads up for my squeamish readers!)

"He found the blue light, and made her a signal to draw him up again." (The Blue Light, Grimm Brothers)


        “You're reading again?”

        I look up from the dusty book to find Death entering the library. This would be the third time he caught me sneaking away from lessons today to read. I drop the book with a loud thud before scrambling to my feet and curtsying.

        “I apologize,” I say quickly. “I just wanted to finish the last chapter of this book...” My voice trails off as Death picks the book up from the floor. He studies it with his invisible eyes, seeming intrigued.

        “Another fairy story, Zenobia?” He makes a “tsk, tsk” sound with his bony lips. It resembled the hissing of a snake. “You know these are stories for children, not young adults.”

        “I know,” I reply while straightening out my stance to face him. “I just enjoy them, that's all.”

        Death nods before holding out the book to me. I take it and clutch it to myself, grateful to have it back in my hands.

        “You may finish your chapter. After that, I expect you in the Candle Room so that we may finish up your lesson.”

        I give him a grateful smile before curtsying once more. “Yes, Death.”

        Death gives me his cracking version of a smile before he exits the room, leaving me to my book. Feeling like a happy child, I lie back down on the floor, ready to indulge in the fantastical adventures hidden in the pages of my book.

        I'm surprised when I flip to the place where I stopped. The page, once filled with bright pictures of smiling children and impish creatures, is now a sea of black. I flip the page, hoping that I simply misjudged the chapter at which I stopped. This page is also black. I flip and I flip, realizing with a sinking feeling in my stomach that every page is gone, erased by the blackness.

        My fingers are trembling as they grip the last page, ready to turn it over and reveal what's on the other side. I expect no different from the hundreds of other black pages, but perhaps this one stayed the same.

        I suck in a gulp of air before flipping the page over with lightning speed. My eyes widen as they take in the very last page of the book. I was wrong. This one's different.

        Instead of blackness coating every inch of the page, a simple phrase is written on it.


        There's a sharp blow to the back of my head and suddenly, I'm swimming in a sea of black pages.

* * *

        I wake with a scream.

        “The black pages, the black pages!” I hear myself crying over and over again until my rambling gives way to the sound of relieved sobbing. I'm not in a sea of black pages nor am I back in the Underworld with Death. I'm somewhere else completely and I can't say where.

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