Today, however, I am all caught up. I went 200 words over my goal, actually, and finished more than an hour early! Yay! They say week two is the hardest...which up until today, I was definitely starting to feel. I think I'll make it out okay, though. Just keep encouraging me and praying for me, everyone. I certainly need it.
My goal for this weekend is to make it to 25,000 words (halfway!), which shouldn't be too hard seeing as ALL OF MY FRIENDS went home for the weekend and I'm stuck here without my car. So, I foresee a lot of writing tomorrow.
Anyway, here is your second excerpt from Chapter Four. I'm happy to say that I just finished Chapter Five tonight, so be prepared for me to throw some excerpts from there at you soon! And, as before, don't expect it to be perfect--it is just a rough draft.
Background: same conversation and setting as the last excerpt, except a bit further on. Riley has just been told that Shanely is to teach her about how they can see memories, and she and Sierrah are leaving to prepare for the lesson. Riley and Anthony are left alone in the room.
Sierrah rose and walked towards the door, taking Shanely’s hand and leading her into the triangular room. Anthony remained stationary, waiting for them to exit before he spoke again.
His before-lighthearted face suddenly looked sober with seriousness. Riley noticed that his arms were outstretched before him on the dining table, fingers interlaced like he belonged behind a desk at the bank. “I know what you saw last night,” he said evenly.
“Hmm?” Riley asked, appearing not to have understood him.
“Riley, how can we be honest with you if you are not honest with us?”
“Honesty should not have to be earned,” she grumbled.
“No, but it should be honored.”
Her seat was becoming more and more uncomfortable beneath her. She had lost track of how long she had been there.
“If you can’t admit to it,” Anthony said lightly, standing up, “then I don’t see any reason at all to explain it to you.”
Without another word, he gently placed his chair back in its appropriate place and fled out of the doorway. Riley followed, expecting to see the three of them in the next room, but it was completely empty. Looking across the room and into the adjacent hallway, she saw Anthony stride down the center of it, turn left, and vanish into a room beside where Riley had slept the night before.
She followed his tracks down the hallway, eager to confront him again. As much as she was beginning to despise him, deep down she knew that her stubbornness had gotten the better of her. She dreadfully needed answers; mostly, she needed to know that Cameron’s voice could not have been one of them. And if it had, she had to find how she could help him from whatever torture lay behind that thick metal door.
Halfway down the hall she passed the bathroom and Sierrah’s room directly across from it. A few more steps forward she shifted left, debated knocking, decided against it, and reached towards the handle. Before she turned it, she had a fleeting moment of anxiety and almost turned back, but then realized that she did not know where the others were. She turned the doorknob clockwise soundlessly, hanging on the thought of last night’s screams.
“Oh, Riley, that’s the wrong room,” whispered a joyous voice in her ear. She turned to see Sierrah’s deep red hair sprawled around her frame like a bushy lion’s mane. “Anyway, Shanely’s ready for you.”
The little blonde girl was standing a few feet behind them, swaying side-to-side to an inaudible tune. Seeing that they had finished speaking, she stopped, smiled brightly, and held out her tiny left hand to Riley.
Riley slid her hand into place, completely absorbing Shanely’s within it. “Where are we going, exactly?”
“A hidden room,” Sierrah said from behind her, “that we call the Progress Room. When you’re done, let me know so I can sit with you for dinner.”
“You’re not coming at all?”
“It’s not my place,” she answered.
Before Riley could question her further, Shanely pranced forward, tugging her along. They bounded forward down the endless hallway. Riley couldn’t help but wonder how anyone knew how to differentiate the seemingly identical rooms the further they traveled down the extended corridor.
Shanely stopped a few paces ahead, however, and lifted her head up to catch Riley’s eye. After exchanging a mutual glance, she faced forward, stretched out her right arm with her palm raised like a conductor of traffic, and together, they took another step forward. Instantly, the vision around them shifted. The long hallway morphed into a black wall masked in long cracks like a broken eggshell. The room was extremely condensed and completely void of any furniture or decorations, save a stone pedestal, roughly four feet off the ground, with another glass blue ornament resting on it.
The ornament, however, was not in the same flame-like shape that she had seen before. Emerging from the pedestal were two glass ribbons intertwining with each other like a rope and then separating from each other, extending pointedly in opposite directions. The same blue electricity flowed throughout all of it, illuminating the room with a cold, melancholic glow.
Shanely stepped up onto the stone pedestal, indicated to Riley to do the same opposite her. When she was in place, facing Shanely with the orb between them, Shanely held her index finger up to the tip of the ribbon.
“On the count of three,” she said. Riley nodded.
Her index finger hovered over the point of the ribbon, quivering slightly.
The two girls acquainted their fingers with the tip of the orb. Riley felt a zap like a jolt of electricity flow through her veins; her body was disoriented as the room disbanded around her. Nausea set into the pit of her stomach as though she was on the deck of a sailboat in a thunderstorm, though the whole experience lasted only a few seconds. When she became aware of her surroundings once more, she saw that she was far from the underground dwelling where she had been before.