Andrea Novis Episode 11
Copyright © 2015 by Michael Litzky
Andrea Novis awoke in light and gasped with relief.
When she had arced over the rim, she had seen that the hills leaned in around a maw which was filled with utter blackness. She had screamed with the horror of returning to darkness as she swept over the edge.
But she was in a soft, oddly familiar light that came from everywhere and nowhere.
Not moving her body yet, she chided herself gently: she knew how to exist in darkness. She should have begun her meditation practices the instant she saw the dark maw below her.
She lay prone on a bed of massive boulders and sharp crystals but she felt no pain. Her head was turned to the side and from the corner of her eyes she saw sharp daggers rising with a ghostly glimmer into a black sky.
Overhead there was no hint of the opening through which she’d come. From whence, then, came the light?
It was, she realized slowly, the same oddly familiar light which had come from the sphere. And seeing that light here and now, she immediately identified it.
It was the light she had seen in the dungeon cell.
But it couldn’t be. That light had been an illusion, the result of her total familiarity with every grain of the walls and floor and roof of her cell. She hadn’t really been able to see those things.
This light felt exactly the same, though. Her heart pounded as a realization hovered at the edge of her consciousness. If she were seeing by that strange light again…
Then she wasn’t seeing at all. She was actually in total darkness once more.
A small animal sound escaped her lips. She pushed herself up to sitting, looking wildly around.
She could see nothing. No boulders, no crystals, no daggers. There was nothing to see.
She nearly gagged with claustrophobia for a moment, feeling that stone walls were but a few steps away on all sides. The space around pressed in on her, packed unbearably thick.
Sternly she commanded herself back to stillness. Inside her heart was a pool of peace, a pool of light which had sustained her for nine months of darkness. After a brief, dizzying few days in the light, she was back in the heart of night, where she had always known she must return.
A long slow breath in, she commanded. And a slow release of air, and her horror and despair along with it. She focused on the image of a steady candle flame. She had chosen this fate. She had taken this danger on herself to protect Cassie and Roderick and the others, and to save an entire land.
Her heart beat steadily. Her breathing was slow and peaceful. At last, she allowed her hands to move carefully through the blackness. They encountered nothing. No walls, and also no tall daggers. Everything she had seen must have been complete illusion.
She strained to hear any sound that would give her an idea of how big a space she was in.
Something not too far off was breathing.
To be continued…