I’m so excited to be revealing this to you guys today! My debut novel, The Elysian Prophecy will be out Winter 2016. I’ll be revealing more chapters in the coming weeks – make sure you sign up for alerts at the bottom of this post so you don’t miss any!
Copyright © 2015 Vivien Reis
The darkness was on its way.
Her nose was the first to sense it, a burning wooden odor mixed with metal .
It melted into her muscles, starting at her chest and moving like a thick wave to her fingers and toes, finally reaching her mind and swelling there.
Just like it always did.
She welcomed Mundi’s darkness and the taste of it on her tongue. It would soak up the hazy fog, this Hollow all around her. Once the darkness was in her bones, she became a sponge. It would eat away at the fog and allow her to see again, however short that time was.
Mary constantly looked forward to Mundi’s arrival, but she had no way of grasping how long she had been like this, or even how long it had been since Mundi had come back.
The first day it had come to her, it had revealed itself as Mundi. She couldn’t remember it telling her this, but she remembered remembering it since her beginning.
Although a strange name, Mary had accepted the fact that this faceless person , someone whose gender she had never been able to guess, was to be called Mundi.
And so she did.
Save for her precious friend, no one ever visited her these days. Or nights. Or was it months? Years? It was no matter, though, because Mundi always came back to her.
Without this friend, her mind wandered the Hollow endlessly but never knew in which direction to go. She was lost or looking for something but she couldn’t remember, regardless of how hard she concentrated.
Mary only knew that she could never leave this emptiness, no matter how badly she wanted to. And somewhere deep inside of her, she knew that this was the way it had to be. This void was hungry and it was lonely, just like her. Once claimed, the Hollow would not let go.
As with each time, Mundi slowly granted her sight back to her. The veil lifted, Mary could now see the people that used to be her family – before they had disappeared from her life. Mundi would give her these visions, playing like films. If she focused hard enough , she could remember a time when she could control these images in her mind, like dreams. But these dreams weren’t lucid.
Her daughter, Abigail, was walking into the kitchen. Abi’s hair had grown since the last time she had seen her. Or had it? Mary couldn’t recall.
Glancing down, Mary noticed that she was sitting at the kitchen table, but somehow she couldn’t make out its features. Abi said something but her voice sounded like it was underwater. The words were muffled and echoed all around. Mary couldn’t understand them.
She could never understand them.
Mary felt a twitch in her body and then heard a shattering noise. It sounded wet but she couldn’t tell through the haze where it had come from.
Mundi hummed. It was pleased.
Now that it had finally come back to visit her, she tried to ask it a question. “Where do you go Mundi, when you’re not with me?”
“Mary.” Sing-songy, its voice stretched on and lengthened around her like it had traveled a great distance. “I have never left you.”
She struggled to envision Mundi based on the voice that she heard, but it only sounded hollow. “Why can’t I see you, Mundi?”
The response came and somehow she felt like she had already known the answer. “You do. I am all around you.”
This made sense to her. Without Mundi, the world looked like all the lights had been cut off, and all the people had gone to sleep. But she could never find these people, not even her loved ones.
And when Mundi went away she would wander, alone in the darkness again. Her belly twisted.
In an instant Abi was gone, and her son was leaving the kitchen to go upstairs. Where had he come from? Had he eaten his breakfast? He was always bigger than the last time she saw him, so he must have been eating well. But where was their father?
Her husband. His face dashed so quickly before her mind that she couldn’t pick out the tiny details of his face, the exact color of his eyes or the set of his lips. Mundi purred.
“Have you met my husband?”
“Oh yes.” The last syllable lingered on, even after Mundi continued to speak. “And I would very much like to see him again today.”
Mary paused, suddenly unsure of how to respond. A cautionary memory tugged at her, something telling her to say, “No.”
Her friend was usually only interested in her past memories. She never remembered these things herself, but Mundi would tell her tales of her life and she knew that they had to be true.
“What do you want with him?”
“After all of these years, do you really not trust me?” There was pain in its voice and Mary was afraid she was going to lose her companion.
“I’m sorry Mundi, I didn’t mean to upset you. I don’t know what I would do without you.” The dark part of her mind told her that she wouldn’t exist. That, somehow, Mundi was the only one that could ever see her. It was her God.
“Then we shall visit with him today.”
She nodded her head and in perfect time, too.
Adam had just come around the corner and the sight of him stilled her heart for a moment. A very primal part of her missed him. Without Mundi prompting her, she couldn’t put together the details of their shared life but she knew that she loved him. That feeling had never left.
Mundi turned and shifted in her mind.
“Are the kids at school?” The world had become crystalline to her for the first time in…Mary couldn’t remember the last time it looked this clear…She could see every detail to his face, the worn lines, the rough skin. He was the same man but something had changed.
He had aged.
“Yes. And I have to leave for work once I’m finished with this.” It was then that she realized he was holding a bundle of sopping paper towels. White fluid dripped on the floor as he rushed them to the garbage can. That absence of color, that white, was so stark that it stayed Mary’s breath as she stared at it.
She blinked, her mind still slow as it was in the Hollow. “What happened?”
“You -” He paused, his thinking line playing across his forehead. “It was just an accident.” His facial expression told the rest of the story. It had been her fault somehow. But she didn’t remember spilling anything.
Then Mundi began to whisper things to her. Things that made her hands shake and her throat seize. Something inside Mary stretched further and further away from her until she felt it shatter. Her husband was the one that had done this to her. He was the one that had put her in the darkness.
Mundi told her and Mundi never lied.
And now her husband was trying to take Mundi away from her. “You can’t have it!” All of the blood in her body rushed to her face, eyes bulging as she screamed. “Why would you do this to me?”
She grabbed the nearest thing and hurled it at him.
He dodged and then planted his feet firmly. “Mary.” His voice was stern and for a moment her resolve faltered. “I’m not trying to take anything. Sit down with me and we can talk about it.” His hand stretched out and Mary wanted so desperately to take it. Her breath was coming in rapid gasps.
But Mundi told her what he really meant. He hadn’t taken anything away yet. It had heard Adam talking about Mary and Mundi. It overheard him tell Abi and Ben just how much they needed to get rid of her only friend. He was jealous of their time together even though he never came to visit her anymore. He only talked to her when she was already talking to Mundi.
She seemed to step outside of her body then, as it lunged forward. Her mind pressed against the wall and a cool calm draped over her. Mary looked down and found there was nothing below her. It was as if she were floating, suspended in the kitchen with no form.
Her body had taken all of her anger with it, and Mary’s mind swayed staidly in a loll.
But her body was enraged. She could see its limbs trembling as it steadied itself. Her husband had been shoved to the ground, a force that was surprising from the tiny body.
And then the body turned to look at her. Its eyes were jet black and it grinned.
The body reached out and flung the nearest drawer open. Its hand came out clutching a large knife.
In her mind, Mary took a sharp breath to stop her body but it was already too late. It had leaned over her husband and plunged the length of the knife into his shoulder. One quick and rapid movement.
The knife had glided into his flesh so easily that Mary thought it was a trick of her mind. Until the blood began. It flowed up and around the knife, soaking her husband’s white shirt.
Her body pulled the knife out just as easily as it had gone in, only now it dripped a line of dark red on the clean floors.
And then Mundi was there, in her mind, comforting her as she watched the rest of the scene. This was nothing but another dream, it told her. When she awoke the next time Mundi came, everything would be back to normal. Just as it always was.
She watched as her body stood like a statue above her husband’s, so still it didn’t even appear to be breathing.
Adam clutched his shoulder, his eyes wide. Surprise and panic washed over his face as he comprehended what was happening. Mary felt something stir inside of her. It invaded her heart and then she could feel what her body felt. Control.
Her body had been waiting for this for a very long time. But now the time was just right. All of the waiting and the planning and the struggle and the fighting had all been worth it. It was finally happening.
Adam began to scoot his body backward, mumbling her name. Mary’s body cocked its head sideways like it was trying to comprehend a difficult problem. His palms slipped along the floor, making squelching wet sounds from all of the blood.
A wide trail of red smeared across the ground as he moved.
It was beautiful – like a large paintbrush dancing across the hardwood floor. Bright colors that she hadn’t seen in so long.
Her body moved with ease now, striding across the room to deliver another quick stab.
“Mary.” Red speckled his lips and he coughed, spraying it everywhere. She wanted to wipe those lips, to kiss them. He began to repeat her name over and over as her body stabbed him again and again.
But he kept moving. He had turned over onto his belly and was crawling across the living room, attempting to hide behind one of the recliners like a cowering animal.
Her body would stab, watch him crawl and then stab him again.
Mary lost count of how many there were.
She just wanted this to be over already. Mary was starting to imagine that this was real, her stomach pressing tightly against her throat. But it couldn’t be. Mundi had promised her as much.
Taking advantage of the fact that he was on his hands and knees, her body positioned itself over her husband’s, straddling him, and then drew the blade swiftly across his neck.
The paint on the canvas expanded . He collapsed onto his side and the pool began to spread wide around his body. His face had landed toward her, and she could see him gasping for breath like a fish. His hands tried to reach up at his neck, but there was no strength left in them. She’d expected more blood to pour from his neck but he must have bled out too much already. Time slowed as each spurt of fresh blood from his neck grew further and further apart.
When his face finally erased the fear, his expression looked almost peaceful. It was then she realized that he must be dead.
And it was finally over.
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