This is my audition for Nyx’s best friend! I’m in a rush and can’t do the italics/bold right now. Sorry about that!
“The plan is simple,” Nyx said, her emerald-green eyes shifting over the darkened hill, where icy moonlight glazed the graves. “Get in, save your true love, and get out.”
It was bitterly cold in the Garden of Good and Evil, but even as Lucea shivered against the freezing wind, she could only think of the name of the person she had to rescue. Farrell. She whispered it over and over again, silently, the name never leaving her lips.
Her fingers found the edges of a parchment note in her pocket, folded into the shape of a swan.
Town square. Midnight.
If you want Farrell to live, this is your one chance.
The two girls stood on an outcropping before a vast graveyard, rows and rows of mossy tombstones beneath a sky shining with stars. A star for every soul gone.
Lucea turned to her best friend. “It’s not too late for you to turn back. Nyx, your arm isn’t in any condition to handle more fighting.”
Nyx looked away and drew her black cloak tighter around her shoulder. The cloth had become wet and sticky, marred with a deep coppery stain. “I’ll manage,” she gritted out. “But you won’t, if you go alone.”
Lucea lifted her amber gaze to meet hers, and raised her chin. “Don’t worry about me, I can save Farrell by myself. You have to go back to school.”
Nyx still didn’t look at her. “We won’t be attempting anything else, we won’t go after his captor, and we’ll focus on staying alive – ”
“You were stabbed!”
“My mother stabbed me with Excalibur!” Nyx clutched her shoulder and fell to her knees, wincing. “I have nowhere left to go. Do you think my mother will let me waltz back into her school?”
Her friend said nothing, only stared at the rows of gravestones before them.
“Please,” she whispered, and her voice broke. “Let me come with you.”
Lucea shook her head, her jaw set, before kneeling beside Nyx in the cold, wet grass. She shrugged off the pearl-beaded cloak she wore over her white satin ball gown, tore off a strip, and wrapped it around the sword wound. The cut was crusted with dried blood, nasty and shallow, but she could see that the betrayal of the person who had caused it had hurt Nyx more than any steel blade could.
She let out a long exhale.
“Wait here,” she said finally. “I’ll be back.”
When she ran back to the outcropping, her chestnut-brown hair streaming behind her, she found her friend curled up against a boulder, staring distantly at the night sky with glassy eyes.
“I found it,” she panted, and Nyx gasped, startled. For a moment, the blonde girl only gaped at her friend, wide-eyed, as if looking at a stranger. “R-right.”
A strange feeling nagged at her. She gave her friend a long look, but then Nyx snapped, “Are we going or not?” and she waved her uneasiness away.
Fingers lit, they walked toward Necro Ridge to Vanessa’s empty grave.
On the other side, the villain would be waiting.
They emerged, dirt clinging to their hair and faces, on Graves Hill.
The two girls hurried through the shadowy cemetery, past torchlit gates groaning off their hinges and silent cottage lanes. How fitting it was that they would end up here, in the hometown Lucea had left behind and the place where Nyx’s mother had come from.
The town square was deserted when they ran in, the streets dark, the shops drawn with shutters. Not a sound, not one sign of life.
Lucea’s heart sank.
Immediately, Nyx drew her sword and tensed, scanning their surroundings. The shadows remained still, for no one had been waiting for them. Lucea fumbled for the note in her pocket, fingers desperately gripping the parchment. Panic raced through her, mixed with rage that stole the breath from her chest.
They couldn’t have lied.
Then where were they? Where was the villain who had captured the boy she loved?
In the distance, a bell tolled twelve times.
No. Lucea’s knees jellied, and she collapsed in the square, her heart wrenching. Beside her, her friend gasped. “Look up!”
Tears welling, she followed Nyx’s gaze to the crooked clock tower, its spire rising high in the air above the town. Then she saw the figure standing in the cupola. Silver silk flowed over them like a ball gown, and a silk mask veiled their features, beautiful and grotesque all at once. It took her a moment to realize that it wasn’t silk. It was made completely out of silver swan feathers.
The girls wheeled to each other, no words needed.
Nyx and Lucea sprinted for the crooked clock tower, racing up the spiraling stone steps, heaving for breath as they climbed higher and higher –
“Ah, you’ve finally arrived.”
They swiveled as the silver-clad figure stepped from beneath the dome, their swan gown floating elegantly in an ethereal breeze. They let out a lilting, musical laugh, as six more shadows appeared in a ring around them, all wearing silver hoods. They were trapped.
“What do you want from us?” cried Lucea, staring defiantly at the figure.
“My dear,” crooned the figure. They turned to the face the far side of the cupola, where a gold-haired boy was bound hand and foot, terrified eyes fixed on them. “Join my cause, and I will give Farrell back to your friend.”
Nyx snorted. Instead of lunging for the figure, she ran to Farrell and cut his bonds, but the shadows immediately leaped on her, and they plunged into duel. Blades clashed as they whirled around the dome, but three more shadows appeared… Four more… Within seconds, they had surrounded Nyx and held her at sword point.
Meanwhile, the others had forced Farrell to the very edge of the dome.
The figure turned to Lucea. “I hope you won’t repeat your friend’s mistakes. I’ll give you one last chance to change your mind.”
Lucea looked left, then right, her mind whirling.
On one side of the rooftop, her lover, hanging off the ledge, arms trembling with the effort.
And on the right, her best friend, cornered by the villain.
There must be a way to save them both…
But fingers are slipping, time is running out, and there is a clear choice that must be made.
After all, nobody can hold on forever.
“I’ll find a way out of this,” choked Nyx, shaking her head. “Save him!”
“Lucea!” shouted Farrell, fingers skidding over the edge –
Without thinking, she ran to the edge and thr.ust her hand out, their hands locking, as she pulled him up. Below, she could see the jagged stones that would have pierced his body.
“You made your choice,” came the voice behind her. Then a laugh, terrible and mocking.
“Luce – ” Nyx’s shout turned to a scream as a sword blade sliced her throat. Crimson blood bloomed on the edge of the blade, rose-red. Then she fell to the ground, her scream echoing off the stone.
There was something off about the scream. It was a witch’s scream, purest Evil, and from the skies, wasps and ravens swarmed down to attack the shadows, black as night.
“NO!” screamed Lucea, running to her best friend’s side. Anguish ripped her heart open as she desperately searched for a pulse –
She had killed her best friend.
But her features were shifting… her skin stretching… her limbs growing longer, her body transforming until it was not Nyx who lay there, bleeding, but someone else entirely. Someone with the same vanilla skin, gold-spun blonde hair, and emerald-green eyes as her daughter.
“Nyx – ?” Lucea choked, jolting back.
“ – is safe,” rasped Sophie, blood pooling on the stone floor, her eyes fluttering shut. With her last breaths, she mustered words –
“Tell Nyx I love her.”
Good job!!! I was definitely not expecting that ending!!
Subscribe for exclusive updates about Soman’s newest projects, the SGE movie, and more!