Into the Big Wide World

Chapter 1 by Joana12 Joana12

Somewhere, there, in the darkest depth of Morgan's mind she heard it. A dull thud, a call. She didn't answer. It came again, several bangs breaking against her solitude. She breathed stale air but didn’t open her eyes. A voice pierced her aloneness; it cut through the silence like a serrated knife. "...Are you awake?" it asked. Then she had to answer. Her lids lazily opened to the dusky room around her. Not much was visible there, there was no light. She made out the silhouette of the warped and skeletal chair resting in the corner beside a stocky bulk. The chord too she recognized, if only because it seemed to choke her wrist. The voice came again, mimicking her maid and closest friend. "Morgan, are you awake? Open the door" it said.

"Yes" Morgan muttered and struggled to prop herself up. The bed beneath her was quicksand, and the heavy bracelet was all too eager to sink her into its inescapable pit. Morgan hurled herself out of bed. She thudded against the hard wood-floor in an uncontrollable sprawl. "Morgan!? Morgan are you okay!? Answer me!" Lucia panicked form behind the door.

"Yes" Morgan grumbled, her arms and thighs ached. Her knees were sore from the impact. The cool floor spiked her hurt, but she had no will to move. She unlocked the door and Lucia came busting in. Bright white light, bright as the sun, followed at the maid’s heels. She saw her ward, who had covered her eyes, and sighed in relief. "What was that sound?" She asked. Morgan paused "I fell" "How?". She didn’t answer.

Lucia pointed, and the big ball of bright white light followed her finger to the ceiling. Morgan hissed as every corner of her musky hideaway was bathed in brightness "What do you want Lucia". "It's your birthday, remember? Your 23 today. Well, tonight anyway" The maid smiled "I brought you a gift". "Oh" Guilt tinged Morgan's tone, and she was glad Lucia couldn’t see into her eyes "Thank you". She reached for the box in Lucia's hands. The raven-haired maid held it back "I have some conditions" "What?!". "You have to go to the Queen’s Birthday Ball" Lucia said, and offered her ward the leather envelope in her right hand. Morgan snatched it up angrily. She peeled back the top-flap.

Inside was a tarnished copper card around whose edges sprung the ears of a steel-grey ribbon. Silver sprinkles sprayed Morgan's palms as she drew it out. The speckles sparkled in the white light, while the words etched across it glowed ghostly pale. Written in black ink, they read:

You, The Lady Elwood, are cordially invited to a Ball in honor of her Majesty's Birthday

At her City Mansion, On September 5th and beginning at 8:00 pm

Morgan sighed and fell back into her blankets, casting the card far behind her. Its silver residue stuck to her fingers. "I'm not ready, not yet" She said, pinching the knots ringing her cotton bracelet. It became coated in the silver residue from her fingers. The knots bit into the skin of her wrist, but she was afraid to loosen them. Less she destroy it. Attached to the navy-blue chord was a cool golden coin from a far-off land. She didn't know which. "Then when?" Lucia asked. Her ward was quiet.

A sudden tension entered the air, preluded by Lucia's stillness and the breath freezing in her throat. It emerged as a low, guttural growl. "Morgan Phyra Elwood" came the archaic snarl, as the eyes of its voice glowed Hellenic purple. A grim shadow split her face in two. The bright bulb bound to the ceiling began to flicker in and out of its consciousness. Its pale, sickly light haunted the now harrowing room, washing Morgan in its struggle. "I have seen your future..." The words were lost to the screams of a phantom wind. "Lucia! Stop!" Morgan cried, backing away "Stop Lucia!". The flashing light broke over them like a caustic storm, but Lucia's eyes were always visible. They stared into Morgan. Gregorian mysticism construed her voice when Lucia spoke again. "Daughter of Alene, of Sampson, last of the woodlan-gak!" The maid gagged on her wards finger.

She fell back into the blankets; her eyes returned to normal and the winds died. The light stopped flashing and warmed. "That hasn't worked since I was twelve" Morgan said, wiping her finger on the sheets beside them. She climbed over her maid, who was cleaning the spittle from her lips. "One day I will be able to divine, I know it" Lucia said, then her features softened "Please go to the party Morgan". Morgan reached for the box and held it over her maid. She felt at the soft cotton ribbon tied around its mauve frame. It was blue, not baby blue, but dark immaculate indigo and seductively see-through. “Please?” Lucia begged. Morgan tugged on the neat ribbons tail and it collapsed in a bundle.

What is the Gift?

Want to support CHYOA?
Disable your Ad Blocker! Thanks :)