Chapter Twenty Three

I slowly woke up, fighting to keep my heavy eyelids open, “Where am I?” I mumbled, sitting up, despite the sharp pains in my head, “Ouch.” I groaned, laying back down and rolled my head over, eye level to the ground. Horror and shock ran through my tired body as I discovered myself among bodies and bodies.

As I composed myself, I noticed that the person next to me, a tall woman dressed in all white, was breathing, very lightly, but enough to let me know that she was alive. I slowly scooted closer to her, ignoring the raging pain in my head, and watched her. I stared at her familiar caramel hair and, in the dim light, I squinted closer at her. Another strong jolt ran through me as I recognized her- my mom.

My headache was pushed off as I shook her with a shaky hand, “Mom… mom? Mom, wake up. Why are you here? Mom!” I panicked, shaking her with both hands, trying to wake her.

But she didn’t stir and, when I stopped, the white sweatshirt lay limply around her just as limp body… wait, white sweatshirt? Only Ringmaster Officials wear those. My mom is wearing a white sweatshirt…

Before I could continue my thought, a painful headache ripped through my skull and I fell to the ground, both hands wrapped around my head. I struggled on the ground until it thinned out into a throb, what’s happening? My head’s killing me!

I crawled to the end of the room I was stuck in, reaching over sleeping people, while I also looked for someone who might explain what was happening.

I reached the wall and traced a hand along the cold steel, feeling for a door to get out. I quickly found one and pulled it open with my dirty fingernails. The door slid open without a sound, but it did shove people out of the way.

Before I slipped out completely, I took one last look at where I came from and saw my mom’s white sweatshirt, bright in the dark light, I’ll come back and find out what’s going on. I promise. I vowed to myself, walking out of the room but leaving the door cracked behind me.

I stumbled, using the cold wall to help me keep my balance, and continued to walk down the hall, what happened? I got hit by a Reaper… but before that, someone was talking to me, but who was it? Was that who brought me here? Why did they want me, I’m not even a real Ringmaster… And where is the sword I got? I had too many questions, but I particularly wanted the sword G had given me, wanting the safety of its heaviness in my hands.

I came to a fork in the hallway, and, without thinking about anything, I went down the right hall.

The hallway seemed to go forever, its long, white walls stretched on forever. I still had a heavy hand on the wall and my headache still pounded, making me weaker every second I kept walking.

As I was about to give up and return to where I had come from, I heard the sound of a door opening behind me. I slowly turned around, careful not to upset my head, and saw an elevator door open, and out walked several Reapers.

Fear made its way through my veins as I watched them hiss and snarl at each other, shoving the others out of their way to get out of the elevator. They hadn’t seen me yet, but I knew they would eventually, I was only a few feet away from them without a place to hide.

If I surrender now, they might be nice and let me go back to where I came from, the nice side of me thought, that’s being too nice! The other side scolded, I know what they’ll do! They’ll kill me! Kick their butts!

With what though? The singular question rang through my head, without an answer to accompany it.

But it was too late to think of one, as the first Reaper caught sight of me, letting out a loud screech and pointing at me, “You! How did you get out? You’re supposed to still be asleep!” Then it turned to its companions, “Well? What’re you waiting for? Get the girl!” It shouted.

The group of Reapers closed in and I backed up, down the hallway, “Stay back, don’t come closer.” I said, my voice wavering, much to my dismay.

They, too, heard the shake and smirked, “What’ll you do if we don’t?” One taunted.

I couldn’t think of an answer, and they knew it, getting closer and closer. I finally hit the end of the hallway, “Don’t come any closer.” I growled, my heachache getting even worse, beating inside my skull.

But the Reapers just kept creeping closer, and soon, they were an arm length away, I could see the black in their long, jagged teeth and smell the stench of rotting food on them, I gagged and pressed myself harder into the wall.

“Stay. Back.” I cried, holding my pounding head in my hands, another burst of pain rocketed through my head and bringing me to my knees. But, as I fell, I felt a burst of power surge through my body, pushing its way out.

Suddenly, my headache was gone, I looked up and, to my surprise, I saw that the Reapers had fallen down. They didn’t move as I crept past them and into the still open elevator, what on earth was that? But I had no time to think as the elevator slammed shut and I was rocketed up. My stomach dropped down and I gripped the cool rail, “Help!” I cried, squeezing my eyes closed and crouching to my knees.

Read on: Chapter 24


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