This story is by Makayla Wheeler and was part of our 2020 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Fireworks exploded over the glass pen that retained Quinn and her twin brother, Ezra. The enclosure vibrated as the bright colored fire ruptured through the air. Ezra faced Quinn and inhaled a breath full of exhaustion. It filled his lungs as he shared her expression of concern. Ezra spoke while his bottom lip quivered, “this is our opportunity to escape, to be free.” The world needed them, and Quinn understood that, but by no means did she think it was ready for them.
She nodded, and her chest grew dense as she held her breath. Quinn gripped Ezra’s hand as she closed her eyes languidly. In one conjoined exhale, the enclosure built of glass shattered, hitting the ground loudly. This was the first time they utilized their imperiums ever since they were captured. Quinn and Ezra knew tonight was perfect for their escape. The fireworks would drown out the noise of the glass becoming one with the concrete floor. Ezra abandoned Quinn’s hand as his skin began radiating. He was overwhelmed with the breathtaking feeling of his powerful blood rushing to his hands. Ezra allowed reality to slip away.
Quinn remembered how it felt to live in a world derived with disgust, one that was full of misconceptions. The delusion existed that they were stigmatized as “Demons.” However, Quin and Ezra had the appearances of mortals. The loud explosions rocketed through the air, causing chills up Quinn’s spine, today was their independence day.
The next morning Ezra woke with a burst of energy. Being out in nature – away from the enclosure which held them for five months- was the most relieving feeling he had ever perceived. Just as he stood up, Quinn jumped to her feet and looked around, seemingly startled. “What’s going on?” She quickly peered towards Ezra, and then back into the depths of the woods as she put her hands into tight fists. He squinted in the direction her eyes traveled to, only to see the monstrous trees. Ones with branches that looked as though they could reach out and pull you in, making you disappear from the rest of the world. The fallen leaves and the smell of the fall air made it difficult to focus on what she was saying, “what are you talking about?”
She hesitated as she looked around, not knowing what to say next. Ezra watched her for a moment, confused as to why she was so jittery. Simultaneously, the sound of leaves and sticks crunching below something’s feet sounded in the distance and filled the woods with an eerie, dark presence. “How did you know something was coming?” He asked as he crossed his arms in exasperation.
“I had a vision,” she spoke with trembling lips. Saliva formed at the back of her throat as she suddenly became speechless. She choked her words out as if they were poison, “they’re here.” Was the only utterance that came out of her mouth before everything around them instantaneously became smaller and more encompassed.
“Who’s here, Quinn?” His words swiftly rolled off his tongue while the group walked out of the woods that surrounded them.“The seven deadly sins, sent from the devil himself,” she spoke with deep pain in her chest.
Ezra replied sneeringly, “you mean the devil wants us?” He laughed and peered at Quinn, “that’s rich.” Quinn faced Ezra, a disturbed countenance filled her face. Ezra knew she was serious.
Quinn took a deep lungful of air before the words could escape her mouth. “Pride, greed, wrath, envy, lust, gluttony, and sloth.” Quinn explained, “what a pleasure.” She offered them a sarcastic half-smile.
Wrath stepped in front of the group he led maliciously, “sarcasm was always one of my biggest pet peeves.” He spoke.
Pride focused on Quinn, peering into her soul, “the pleasure is all mine.” He spoke with an evil mocking grin. Gluttony cleared his throat as he faced the siblings, “First your parents, and now you guys?”
Quinn shared a brief glance of brimming pain with Ezra, “our parents both died in a car accident.” The words left his mouth as he quickly put the puzzle pieces together.
“No one ever told the Ericson twins the truth?” Envy spoke, “how adorable.” Lust smiled as he pulled out a long black sword, it appeared to be rusted at the ends. He touched the point of the sword and flinched at how sharp it was while the words evacuated his lips,“This is the very thing that sent your parents back into the ground, inside of a concrete tomb.”
Envy crossed her arms and made a face towards Quinn. “That is too bad, you could have liberated your life if you were normal.” She took a breath and allowed her eyes to become wide, “but you won’t get that chance.”
Gluttony stepped forward as he spoke, “now we’re here to finish the job.” He smiled while twirling his fingers around, “after all,” he said, “you are not creatures of nature, you are beasts.”
Quinn thought about the word “normal,” contemplating on what to answer with. She only had one thing in mind, “thank god we’re not.”
Lightning, created by Ezra, forced the trees around them to collapse, leaving a deep pit in the middle of where they stood. It looked as though they were positioned in the middle of the colosseum in Rome. Quinn closed her eyes and silently imagined a life of normalcy, one that would end in dying of old age. A family conceivably, but when she opened her eyes, she saw her family right beside her. Hand in hand, joining her in yet another battle. That is when she came to the realization that Ezra was all she needed.
Quinn and Ezra looked out at the sins at the same time and slowly took a deep inhale of the fall air. As it chilled their lungs, they quickly exhaled. Lust attempted to oscillate his sword just as the force of their breath sent the sins rappelling backwards. “Demon,” Quinn spoke. “That is what people think of us.” Ezra knew her heart was filled with enragement. He knew how bad she wanted to tear them to shreds, to make them burn. She released the grasp Ezra had on her hand and let out a bellow. One more deafening than anything anyone had ever heard previously.
This caused the clouds to clash vigorously, forming an opaque funnel. Ezra grabbed onto Quinn briskly as their imperiums became one. The clouds slashed through the ground, grasping trees in its invisible hands. Once finished ripping the bark off, the cyclone would spit them out, causing fire to spread around Quinn and Ezra. At that moment, the cyclone ripped the sins violently up into it as Quinn kneeled. The ground quaked and whined as she grazed it; slowly forcing open the gate to hell. Fire rushed up back towards her as she stepped away.
“Send them back to where they came from, Ezra.” She spoke with fire in her lungs. The evil inside her took over and her eyes went red, “I have no fight left.” Ezra closed his eyes and forced the tornado down into the gaping hole. When he did, Quinn moderately sank to her knees and took her final breath of air as she spoke, “I vowed to protect you when they died.”
Her body became limp as she collapsed into the hole along with the sins. It all happened in slow motion, and Ezra had no time to react. The only person he had known for most of his life was gone. Unable to bear the pain, Ezra walked himself to a nearby abandoned beach. He threw himself in the sand, his stomach took the blunt of the hit.
The air that had once filled his chest quickly escaped through his mouth. The feeling of the oxygen leaving his body was enough to take the pain away from him for a split second. As he gasped for a breath, the grief filled his heart all over again. When the exhale exited, so did tears from his already irritated eyes, caused by the fire from before. Lying in the sand, attempting to hold his breath, Ezra slowly cried himself to sleep.
The next day, Ezra awoke as he took a sharp breath. His heart rested in his stomach. His tears dried upon his cheeks. The image of her lifeless body falling into the fiery hole, flooded in, and made him sick. As he slowly trailed off to the edge of the ocean, where the sand meets the sea, he peered out into the distance. Knowing that when Quinn woke up, hell would not be able to hold her. No one could, and that is why he was going to find her. This was not over.