Chapter 1 : The Asylum
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Darkness. It was everywhere; closing the mind and blocking her senses. She couldn’t see. She was blind, blind to everything. The darkness seemed to be growing, pulling her deeper into its black, demonic clutches, clawing at her. It wanted her to succumb, to cease her pointless struggling. She wouldn’t give up; she had to escape the darkness, it was the only way.
While she was blind to her surroundings, she was not deaf. She could hear the hushed murmurs of those around her. The slightest scuttle of a spider across the floor was like the banging of a drum. The wind was roaring, the rain pounding, the lightning shrieking. The sounds distracted her momentarily but then, those too, began to fade. Fading until they were no more. Where had the beautiful sounds gone? She needed them. She needed the comfort that they brought. She desperately needed them to stay in the present.
The woman tried to focus, determined to find something, anything, to cling onto. She needed to flee the deafening darkness. She tried to move, lifting a single finger. She touched her face, running the finger desperately over her eyes, clutching them, trying to hold them open. They were open, yet still unseeing. The woman felt a single tear stream down her cheek. She was crying. As soon as she realised this, she began to sob. The silence was still there, more suffocating now.
She continued to sob, but she could no longer feel the tears. Hesitantly, she attempted to raise her finger again. Nothing. She felt nothing. She was fading, falling further, deeper into the darkness. She was drowning in it, unable to pull herself to the surface and gasp for air. The darkness pulled her further under, suffocating her. She tried even harder to pull herself out, using the power of only her mind. She could not feel. She could not hear. She could not see.
The asylum was supposed to cure her, not rob her of her senses. She was not crazy, she had protested that since the moment she was admitted. Magic was not in her blood. She could not see ghosts. That had been her mantra her whole life. She had said it so much that she actually believed it. The things she used to see were dreams; they were not real life, she was convinced. The headless girl and bloody footprints were all nightmares. She did not deserve to be in an asylum, alone and without her senses.
Still, she continued to fade. She could no longer taste the mint in her mouth. That too, had faded into the darkness. Why did she continue to be pulled under? The darkness’ unyielding grip pulled, wrapping itself around her, coiling like a snake and gripping her mind. The darkness was trying to pull her mind under too. She would surely be nothing if the darkness succeeded. She wouldn’t let it. Her mind was all she had left. She needed to keep afloat somehow, keep one part of her above the sea of nothingness.
She tried to think, to remember, it was the only way. It was not possible, though; she couldn’t see or hear the memories. However, a faint scent of burning broke her out of her reverie. She could smell, there was still a chance that the darkness wouldn’t consume her. She sniffed hard, trying to warm herself with the odour. A crooked smile broke out on her face, but then it vanished, just as the smoky scent did.
There was nothing left.
A new sob, unfelt by her, ripped through the woman’s system. She tried feebly to fight against the darkness once more, but it was futile. She was fading further, drowning, gasping for breath. Cold encompassed her body, swallowing her fragile body whole.
Light burst through her senses like a beacon of home, overpowering the darkness. In that moment, her sight came flooding back. She could see the damp, cavernous walls of the asylum, witness the nurses bending over her, checking her temperature. She could feel them probing her mouth, smell the burning of incense from the candles. She could hear their frantic, worried conversation. Her senses had returned at last.
“Isabel! Isabel, are you alright? Can you hear me, Isabel? Isabel!” a nurse questioned, jerking her body.
It was the last thing she heard. Her senses lapsed once more, this time forever. She was gone. The darkness had won the battle; it had consumed her, eaten her alive.
Death had claimed another victim.
A/N: thank you for reading! Reviews and constructive criticism are much appreciated. :)