Locked Shadows

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There’s nothing but fog surrounding me. Where was I?

A shadowy figure appeared next to me, which, surprisingly, even with the fog, I could see his form well enough to know that it was an adult man with a very thin yet masculine physique. The man thumped my back rather harshly, and my spine began to shoot with indescribably gigantic pain. It was until then I realized my back was cut open, and more pain began travelling down my body. I felt the man’s hand dig into my flesh, and I gnashed my teeth, doing my best not to scream at the anguish I was suffering.

He finally stopped, and slowly took his hand out of my back, and instantly, I began to feel my puncture close up. Nourishment flooded out the sudden pain and my body instantly felt better. The man, with clenched fists wet with crimson stains, walked over in front of me and opened his left palm and showed it to me. In his hand was a silver key the size of my pinky, with an hourglass as the head. The edges were caked with my blood.

I almost fainted with shock at the sight of his red hands holding that key. “Calm down, Miss Jaclyn. You will not die. Normally under abnormal circumstances you would die if this key was taken out of your back.”

“Wha-what do you mean?!” I stuttered, panic-stricken, grabbing the key from his hand. Immediately, my hand glowed with a blue light and pain shot from my back yet again.

“This key is your life. Be careful that you do not lose it or that your body is pierced with this key in your hand. Your life will end slowly and painfully if you do…this is a Keyper’s destiny…”

I jolted up from my bed, which I had a dim memory of. A minute ago I was in Melanie’s Buick trying to stay awake from the long trip back home from that spring…

I looked on my bedside table and saw a syringe and sleeping pills lying on top. I quickly leaped out of the covers and scanned for fingerprints with a UV pen that I got as a gift from Melly.

It’s strange. When you’re so close to a best friend, you know so much about them. Even their fingerprints. Funny, huh?

It’s quite ironic for me, especially to see her prints on both the syringe and the bottle of pills. How could she though? Of course, I can’t assume that she was the one who drugged me, but if not her, who else?

I scanned the tools again, looking for a possibility of additional fingerprints. Melanie had no reason to drug me. I was sure of it. I mean, sure, I acted strangely when I saw the star, but was that a logical reason to drug me? Outrageous!

Speaking of that star…

I looked out from my window to see the star still twinkling in the bright morning day. Impossible! Even in the broad day this thing still glows brighter than the sun?!

A sudden knock on my door made me jump. I quickly returned to my bed and pulled the covers to my face, pretending I was asleep.

My mother’s voice filled the room. “Jaclyn? Jaclyn, are you awake? Your lunch is getting cold.”

“Mmmph, murrumph, murmumph,” I puffed with my pillows muffling my voice, “Yursph, murmph, urmph phumumph.” I put my head up on my pillows and repeated what I said. “Yes, mom. I’m coming.”

The door opened, and my mother came with a tray of soup, a small bread roll, and a cup of lemonade. It was a small meal, which got me wondering if it was really to trust after knowing Melanie probably drugged me.

“Hey, Mom,” I began, looking at my bowl skeptically, “What’s with the soup?”

“Oh your friend brought it for you after you went cold in her Buick,” she answered, grinning, “Such a shame it would go to waste if you didn’t eat it all!” With that, she strutted out the room, humming a melancholic dirge as she lightly shut the door.

I shuddered under my covers, letting the dirge sink in. I took the soup cautiously and felt the bottom of the bowl, which was slightly warm but not warm enough to show indication that it was freshly cooked from a pot or even microwaved. A twinge of suspicion ran down my spine, and I decided to set aside the soup. I grabbed the lemonade off of the tray and took a small sip.

Something got into my throat and made my mouth and body feel violently sick. I drank more of the liquid and felt it run down my body, until I realized that despite its sweet lemon taste, it wasn’t what I thought it was on the outside.

The lemonade was drugged as well. But it was too late for me to try to find the antidote, if any existed and was near my grasp. My body felt warm, and I tried moving with no avail. Was I paralyzed?

I never got to answer that question.

When I finally opened my eyes, I was in a hospital bed, an IV on my right elbow and a yellow wristband on my left hand. My whole body began to itch, the warm hospital sheets making contact with my skin. Long, brown tangles of my hair were tied up in a neat bun. I sat up from my bed and gazed at the clock.

12:40. A.M. or P.M.?

“Ah, Miss Miranda, I assume you’ve been well. How have accommodations been?”

I abruptly jolted my head to the direction of the voice. A tall, masculine man with auburn hair uniformed in a doctor’s coat smiled slowly at me and walked over to my bed.

“Dr. Waurika,” he said, showing me his ID, “I’m your…let’s call it ‘psychologist, ’” he stressed, his fingers motioning air quotes, “So, to begin, do you feel well, Jaclyn?”

“Y-y-yes,” I stuttered in reply at a loss of words, “I’m fine, Doctor.”

“Excellent. May I proceed in inquiry?” He took out a clipboard and pen from his pockets and stared at me right in the eyes.

Slightly disturbed, I shifted a little to the left of my bed and nodded.

“Wonderful. Let’s start with your dreams,” he began eerily, still staring straight at me with his menacing eyes, “Tell me. What was one of your recent dreams?”

Should I lie to him? I wondered, I can’t talk to him about my dreams…he’ll think I’m crazy…

“Oh no, I will never think you’re crazy,” he said, smiling a little curtly at my direction, “Dreams are of the essence. They’re mysterious things. Even the adults like us dream the preposterous. Go on. Don’t be scared. Tell me.”

“Oh…um well there is one dr-”

The doctor held up his hand and stared at me yet again.

“I know exactly what you’re going to say. Don’t speak another word.

“Tell me…Do you know what a Keyper is?”

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