WOW. Already the last challenge and let me just start off by saying how proud I am of my team. Last challenge we had several members include all 24 of the prompts and made a ridiculous comeback! Don’t count us half-bloods out of the race yet!
So, for this last challenge, since we haven’t pulled ahead completely, I’m going to do another brand new story, this time using all 27 prompts. So…yeah…brace yourselves 🙂
Daydreams and Bad Memories
It is cunning, they told us. It is brave. It is brutal. It is relentless. And it is hunting us, at least, that’s what they said. I never believed them. Never had reason to, that is, until he went missing.
Logan’s disappearance was all over the headlines. It was the talk of the town. The talk of the state even. And because of his disappearance, I finally believed in the faeries.
They were rumored to be giants of an almost translucent epidermis. Roaming the woods around the graveyard, devouring anyone who dared enter their domain, they were almost considered ghosts. But no one had ever seen them and lived to tell the tale, so I dismissed them as nothing but folklore.
The stories always started the same; No one ever comes back if they stray past the border, what lies beyond is unknown and deadly.
These stories were believed by everyone so intensely that a sign was even posted at the edge of the forest next to the graveyard. Here be faeries it read, for people believed that they inhabited the forest and simply hunted the graveyards.
This is where the term haunted came from; and unusually, most people associate the term to houses. But not all haunted places are houses, I actually know of more graveyards that are considered haunted than I do of houses.
But there is one spooky house in particular that has rightfully earned the title of Haunted House. It’s the house that Logan lived in. Well, the one that he lived in before he disappeared. It had locks on every door, and also on every door, were the words “The World’s Not Safe Anymore” on the inside and out.
Logan was one of the people who believed in the faeries. He called himself a Ferryman, telling me that Mirrors are passages to fantastic worlds, guarded by creatures called the Ferryman. I never understood that. Was he calling himself a “creature” and talking about actual mirrors? Or was it a riddle?
Mirror Lake is located not far from the Faerie Forest and is famous for being the shallowest lake in all the world. It spreads for miles and miles but only comes up to one’s knees, never drains, and never gets deeper. And at night, the most beautiful and exotic fireflies come from no where. It has always been a mystery.
One night, by only the light of a candle, I went to Mirror Lake thinking that Logan wanted me to go there. But when I got to the place that the lake was supposed to have been, I never found water. It was as if the lake had dried up completely, but I knew it was impossible.
Taking more steps as I spun around, confused of where I was, I felt myself falling. For a split second, the feeling knocked me off balance and I fell to my hands and knees. I knew I hadn’t stepped in a hole so I looked up in confusion; and my breath stopped when I saw daylight. I was in a warm forest.
I panicked and rolled away from the strange tree that was not there before and almost lost consciousness when I felt a wave of dizziness. Landing back on my stomach, I blinked a few times before I examined my surroundings. They had changed again. I was now laying on asphalt in ice.
My breathing sped up and I jolted to my feet. Once standing, I was back in the empty lake. I was freaking out so I ran. I ran straight towards the graveyard, my feet slapping the concrete path.
Suddenly, right in front of me on the path, a tombstone rose out of the ground. I slowed to a stop and read the words. “Here lies a man who was not of this earth” then below those words it had a name. Logan Johnson.
At the name, I startled out of my daydream. I was alone in the classroom, again. Logan Johnson. His name was always in my thoughts and in the center of my daydreams, but not usually in these types of stories. In fact, I had never had a daydream turn scary on me like that, they were mostly feel good stories that I wished would come true.
Looking down at my desk, I saw my writing assignment for the week. It was one sentence, “She needed a hero, so that’s what she became”. I rolled my eyes, it was so cliche. I hated these writing assignments because I knew I was so much better than what they allowed me to be.
“Since you’re still here and all, you wanna help me with my writing assignment?”
I jumped at the voice behind me and turned to see who it belonged to.
Logan Johnson stood in the doorway leaning on the doorframe, that stupid smirk that always made my heart jump, plastered to his face.
“I-I-I can’t help you.”
“Why not? I’v read your stories, they’re pretty darn amazing. I could really use your help.”
“B-b-because, you know who I am. I can’t help you.”
“Look, I don’t care about all that family feud business. You’re good at writing, I’m bad, I need help and I need it by this Friday. You’re the only one in this class that I’m interested in asking for help from.”
“Okay. What was your assignment?”
He walked over and laid the picture on my desk. It was a girl reading to a very pretty dragon in front of a huge waterfall.
“Where do you wanna start?” I asked, suddenly aware of how close he stood to me.
“I don’t know, can you start it the way you started your story of the girl with the blue butterflies? I really liked that one.”
My mouth fell open, “You read that one?”
He smiled, “Yeah, I did. Wasn’t supposed to, but I did anyways.”
I shook my head and let the matter fall, “So like I opened my butterfly story? Like with her talking to the butterflies? Except with a dragon?”
I grabbed a pencil and wrote down on the paper he laid in front of me, “She called out his name in the silence like he would actually hear, like he would actually care.“
“That can be from the book she’s reading to the dragon right?” He asked, surprisingly being able to read my mind. I nodded.
“Cool, make the book she’s reading be medieval with bows and swords.” Again I nodded and added.
“Peeking around the house with bow in hand, she watched his fading figure disappear from view, longing to bring him back.”
“What’s this?” he interrupted my train of thought, holding a box.
Recognizing my *supposed to be* hidden memory box, I turned red and answered quietly, “It’s my memory box.”
“Why does it say ‘bad memories’?”
“Because most of the memories are bad.”
“Can I look in it? Or do you want me to put it back?”
“You can look in it. I don’t care.”
The first thing he pulled out was a picture of me and my two sisters. I was in the middle, not looking very happy because I hadn’t wanted to take the picture at the time.
“Why is this a bad memory?”
“Because both of my sisters died.”
“Oh. I’m sorry. I didn’t know.”
I shrugged. “It’s okay, ya get used to it after a while.”
The next thing he pulled out was a jar half-filled with that sour sugar powder that I used to love eating.
“Sour sugar? Yes.”
“How on earth can that be a bad memory?”
“That jar was the first thing I ever stole. It was so easy that it started a chain reaction and eventually, before that jar was ever gone, I ended up in jail for a whole 3 days. It was torture.”
He just blinked and set the jar down on the desk.
The next thing he examined was a piece of paper that had the two sentences that often haunted me written on it. She leaned over the edge of the roof and inhaled deeply. The air was more fresh up there and the moon and stars seemed brighter and she finally looked free.
After he finished reading it, he looked at me and raised an eyebrow, expecting me to explain.
Sighing, I gave in to his wonder, “That was what ran through my mind 3 seconds before my sister fell off the roof. She died that night. She was really sick and never got to do anything; I talked her into getting on the roof because it would make her feel better. And I was right. But she died.”
His whole demeanor changed and he set the box down.
“Ashley, you’re amazing. I know you probably don’t realize it because of how clouded your mind is, but you are. To anyone who would ever look in that box, they would think everything was fine and dandy and that you have tons of amazing memories and you know what? You do. Yes they seem to end badly and its okay to be sad, but if you focus on the good part of those memories, instead of the bad, I bet you’d feel better.
The picture of you and your sisters; look at their facial expressions. You can see how much they love you and you can feel their feelings of the moment.” A weak smile grazed my lips as I studied the picture.
“The sour sugar; come-on you’ve got to smile every time you imagine that amazing taste!” The smile grew and I turned away to stifle a giggle.
“And that memory of your sister, finally feeling free. Yeah, it may rip your heart out every time you think about how she died, but if you remember what you wrote down; that she finally felt free; that you helped her do something that she loved; that will make you smile.
Don’t dwell on the bad Ashley. Live off the good!”
With tears in my eyes I looked back at him and threw my arms around his neck. He really had no idea what his words had just freed in me.