This story is by Kashvi Kapoor and was part of our 2018 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
I woke up to hear knocking on the glass. I thought it was the window but the knocking sound came again and I realized that it was coming from the mirror. This time I woke up completely and looked around the room. The bed beside me, on which Anna slept, had not been laid on as Anna, who was my flat mate, was at her friend’s house.
I sauntered over to the mirror which was at the farthest corner of the room. In the reflection of the mirror a hazy figure could be sighted. It was behind me. I looked behind me to see a tall shadow looming over me. It said in a rather rasp and hissing sound,
“Hayley…” It knew my name. I was utterly terrified of the creature. I looked down to avoid its gaze when at the floor I saw something.
At the floor was a weird object. It was a box, ornamented with glittering gems and gilded, it was beautiful. The shadow was peering down at me and I glanced at its face. Its emerald eyes was the only feature which was distinguishable, rest all of it was black. The room wasn’t as black as the shadow. His eyes seemed to be cunning and somehow harmless.
I silently took a deep breath before I stooped down to pick up the box. The shadow didn’t react in any way so I thought that it was fine. He was just standing there and looking at me with his sparkling green eyes.
I was compelled to open the box but I had my doubts. How was I going to tell Anna if anything would happen to me? Anna would not like me to leave the flat without her knowing so I left a note. Anna was like that, worrying over petty things. Another interesting thing is that we both look alike. People would often get confused as to who was Anna and who was Hayley.
The box in my hand started shaking vigorously and now my curiosity had aroused. I opened it.
The next few moments had utterly deranged my mind. The night was becoming more interesting as the box acted like a teleporter. The shadow which was in the room was also here and assimilated into the ground. It started to slither away and I followed it through the streets of Paris, the place where the box sent me.
The shadow led to a house which was at the corner of a street. The house had nothing special but still it was intriguing. Its magnificent look was finished with a garden in front of it which seemed as if it had been taken out of a fairytale.
“It is grand, c’est oui?” I looked over and there she was.
She looked like me. Her sophistication was attractive and her eyes were alluring. I had my suspicions of her being my mother but she showed no motherly affection towards me. So naturally I had my doubts.
I stared at her and looked around to see the shadow. He was there but now had transformed into a normal man.
“Now that you are here you must do exactly as I say.” The woman said. When I asked her who she was she told me that her name was Mariam. The sternness in her voice wasn’t natural. It seemed as if it was forced out of her. If she was my mother she gave no signs about it.
“You expect me to come here and follow your orders?” I asked Mariam. When she said that she did, it irritated me. I wished I could just run far away but the lady had a ghost at her beck and call.
“You have much to learn about our family.” She turned away and started to walk. She beckoned with her hand to follow me. I had no intention of following her but I reluctantly abided.
She said that our family specialized in hunting down demons from dimensions beyond our realm. She said all of this with a poker face. I was beginning to wonder whether she was a robot or had all her emotions snatched.
“What do you need me for?” I spat at her and looked scornfully in her eyes.
“You need to do to the land of imagination, Lamart, and you need to bring me Alastor, the most cunning monster in the entire world. Adrien would accompany you.”
I took a wild guess that the shadow-man was Adrien.
“If you could shape shift why did you come in form of a shadow?”
“To test your bravery and see how much fear you have. If you had fear you wouldn’t be here.” My mother said.
“Why can’t you go to catch Alastor?” I asked Mariam
“I have lost the power of imagining.” She said. I went out and wondered how to complete this task and how I had agreed to it so quickly?
Adrien came out with a bag of supplies and the box was in his hand. He opened it and took my hand and we were teleported to the land of imagination. At first it was all black and then scenes started to come and the view was unimaginable. How ironic!
I asked Adrien about Alastor to which he said that he was a manipulator with the greatest imagination which was why finding him would be difficult. He stated that he could be recognised with the sword tattoo on the small of his back.
For days we both wandered. And over the hours we developed a friendship. Adrien was continuing to figure out how to find Alastor. At first I wondered if we were in Lamart then couldn’t we imagine ourselves in front of Alastor. It was a possibility because right now my head was spinning with all the searching. What I didn’t realize was that I had started imagining. In the black, I saw Alastor manipulating people with his powers making them do things they didn’t want to do. It was confirmed when the small of its back was noticeable and I knew who it was.
The following day I said to Adrien that I had found Alastor. He was perplexed and stated that for years he had been searching for him and I had found him in hours. I didn’t know whether to take it as a complement or as an accusation.
That hour we went back to Paris, to the street where Mariam lived.
“Why is it necessary to catch Alastor?” I asked Mariam when she reached to meet us.
“He has destroyed dimensions and has caused uproar all around the universe. He has slaughtered people and monster hunters so naturally he needs to be caught. Have you captured him? “Mariam asked. I took my time and took out the handcuffs Mariam had given me for capturing Alastor. I rolled them around in my hands and within a fraction of a second I cuffed them to Adrien’s hand.
“Now I have caught him” I said. Adrien looked at me with a confused face. She wasn’t looking confused so I assumed she knew after all she was being manipulated. Her eyes changed colour which confirmed that the spell was lifted.
“It was easy when you know the rules. I just had to imagine Alastor in front of me and there he was, in his real form.” I smiled at Adrien and he glared at me. It all made sense.
Just as the stars were aligned, the reason was to be aligned. I asked Adrien as to why he had done all this he said that Mariam was the most powerful hunter and by defeating her he would be at ease. He resisted a lot when Mariam was holding him and it needed some extra help for which other demons came. They were good so no problems. And then Adrien asked a question
“I couldn’t manipulate you, why?” He roared at me.
“Don’t the rules say you can manipulate those who have magical blood?”
“Sorry to inform you but I have a friend called Anna who is the actual daughter of Mariam. She and I look alike and she wasn’t there in the room. Your best bait against Mariam was Anna and you took me.. It was sheer luck.”
Adrien was fuming with anger when Marium blasted him into pieces. I turned towards her and asked whether she was planning on to tell Anna the tale. She smiled and said no. Her existence in Anna’s life would only cause the heavens to fall, she didn’t want that. She was quite happy knowing her daughter was safe and sound. She also told me that she knew I wasn’t her daughter but kept on the act for the sake of capturing Alastor.
I smiled at her and she returned it with a smile. After that I was transported back to my flat.
I had an adventure, I caught a terrifying beast, I think I deserve a good night’s sleep.