The Heiress

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The Nightmare

I barely even look Bastian’s way as he drives further and further away from the house of my childhood. He didn’t even ask me if I wanted to go wherever the hell he was taking me.

Oh, my gods.

I’m in a car with a stranger driving who the hell knows where. That settles it. He’s a serial killer and I’m gonna die.

“Where are we going,” I ask through gritted teeth.

“You’ll know when we get there.” He gives me a smirk, glancing at me sideways before fixating his gaze back on the road.

“Dammit, why can’t you just tell me?!”

“And ruin the surprise? Forget it. Honestly, where’s your sense of adventure, Clumsy?”

“Oh, my bad. I forgot girls whose parents were just kidnapped and have no idea where they are love getting into cars with complete strangers with no particular destination in mind, hoping for the adventure of a lifetime.”

Notice the sarcasm dripping from my voice.

I look over at Bastian dreamily before fixing him with the best death glare I’ve ever bestowed upon a person.

“See? Now you’re getting the hang of this.”

Unbelievable.

Gods, I don’t have time for this! I need to find out who took my parents and why, but Bastian is making that damn near hard.

“Stop the car.”

“Oh, come on—”

“Stop the fucking car!” Bastian sighs before finally turning over and stopping at the side of the road. Anger and sadness bubble through me as I force open the car door and look around. I start walking in no particular direction, determined to start solving this mystery.

“Where are you going,” Bastian calls from the driver’s seat.

“Back to civilization,” I bark, not daring to look back at him. And away from you, I silently add.

Geez, when did it suddenly get so cold? I look down to see that I’m still in my bathing suit, goosebumps forming on my arms as the summer breeze starts to kick up through the trees. I really need to start preparing for things like this.

Yeah, because something like this is going to become a regular extracurricular for me.

“Get back in the car, Clumsy.”

“No,” I wrap my arms around my body and try to shield myself from the sudden chill. “Your driving makes me sick.”

“It’s not that bad,” he defends and I hear the car door shut.

I scoff, whirling back to look at him, but the sudden movement causes me to lose my balance and I end up tumbling over. My bare knees and palms hit the earth, bearing most of the pain and gaining cuts from the sticks and bramble underneath me. I sit there shocked for a second, but then start trying to get up.

“Oh, hey, let me help you with that.” Bastian offers me his hand and I look at it hesitantly. “It’s just a hand, Clumsy.”

Making a decision, I reach out and smack his hand away. “I’ll save myself this time, thank you.”

Bastian gives me my space as I get up, holding his hands up in surrender. I might’ve flirted with him and done some other questionable things with him, but I still don’t know who he is and refuse to fully trust him until I know of his intentions.

Gesturing to the car, he asks, “Now will you please let me take you somewhere? I promise it’ll help us find your parents.”

Great, he said the exact words that would bait me. But it’s not like I also have a gazillion other options or sources I can trust at this moment. “Fine, but no monkey business.”

“Fantastic,” he flashes me that dazzling smile and offers for me to walk ahead of him. I walk towards the car but then stop.

“Wait.”

“What is it?”

I gag and run behind a tree, pretending to throw up. “Your driving made me sick,” I whine and double over.

“Oh, whatever,” he scoffs. A small smile appears on my face as I straighten up and head towards the car. Another gust of wind blows through the trees, causing my body to convulse in shivers.

“Here.”

I look over to see Bastian holding out his shirt to me. Normally, I would’ve swatted it away, but the goosebumps on my arms were screaming otherwise. “But won’t you get cold?”

“Hell’s fire will keep me warm.”

Ahaha...funny joke.

“You just wanted an excuse to take off your shirt.”

He shrugs, not giving me an answer, and walks over to the driver’s seat. Once we’re both secured inside the vehicle, Bastian starts it and pulls away from the curb. We continue on the never-ending pathways of the streets, leaving everything that was ever familiar to me behind. The thought of abandoning all I’ve ever known freaks me out more than I’d realized, the reality of my diving into the unknown becoming greater with each passing second.

How could I have acted so rashly?

Why hadn’t I thought any of this through before gallivanting into an absurd adventure with some stranger?

Remember, Andromeda. You’re doing this for your parents. All of this is for them.

As my thoughts begin to clear, I notice that the civilization around us has slowly started to disappear little by little. The presence of houses and buildings have disappeared as we continue towards who knows where. Up ahead, the old cemetery that rests just on the outskirts of town comes into view, making me fully aware that we’ve reached the edge of its borders. As soon as we reached the edge of the city, Bastian floors it and I have to grab a hold of my seat just to keep from shooting forward into the window.

Well, gods, I knew there probably weren’t any cops around, but that didn’t mean he had to go nuts on the gas pedal!

“What are you doing?! Trying to kill me?!” My grip on the black leather seat tightens as the speed of the car increases with each second. Oh, this takes me back to physics...

I hate it.

He gives me a knowing smirk. “Maybe.”

My eyes focus once again on the road before us. As we speed ahead, my very thoughts start to run wild. Oh, gods, why had I been so stupid?! He took me all the way out here just so he could kill me without any witnesses! I literally walked right into my own death trap! Why hadn’t I listened to my dad who warned me about these kinds of situations?!

I just couldn’t help it, dammit! He was so fine!

My dad would’ve scolded me at that logic.

This is it. This is my end. My life is over before it even began. Again!

I’d like to say it’s been fun, but I wouldn’t want to lie on my deathbed.

Ha! See what I did there?!

Gods, even when faced with death, I can always count on myself to make me laugh. I’m gonna miss me. She was a real go-getter.

Great, now I’m tearing up.

Just as I think Bastian’s about to stop the car once more to plunge a knife riddled with poison through my body, he surprises me by doing a ridiculous u-turn and heads back towards the city.

Is this guy bi-polar, or what?

Kill me without witnesses, kill me with witnesses. I mean, make up your damn mind because I have just about had it!

As we continue to gain speed, I realize now that I can no longer see the road or trees ahead of me. Something I hadn’t noticed before is now blocking all of that from view. Swelling before the approaching car, a dark vortex swirls violently as it threatens to consume everything around it. My eyes widen, and I grip Bastian’s arm.

Okay, this is not how I thought this would go.

This is a whole other level from where I thought this was going to go.

“What the hell is that?!”

He doesn’t answer me. Instead, he keeps heading straight towards it. As much as I yank at his arm and try to get him to deter from this path, I know that it’s all in vain. All of this crap had to happen in just one day and that one day just had to be my birthday.

If I ever survive this, I’m getting my own freaking TV show.

I close my eyes as we jump through the hole, reliving every single moment of my life leading up to this tragic moment.

My ninth birthday, when my dad bought me the bicycle I had been eyeing for months. My fifth-grade recital, when I had puked in front of everyone including my three-year crush, Blake Quill. The first and last day of middle school, both of which ended with me punching the school bully in the face for saying some snarky ass comment about me being a mixed child. The first time I entered high school, and almost set off the fire alarm because it was a dare from a stupid and cute upperclassman.

Hey, I was impressionable back then!

Or how this morning when my parents told me they loved me, and then this afternoon when they totally crashed my entire world with the truth. I started today feeling like the luckiest girl in the universe, only to come to the conclusion that I might be the one with the worst luck.

How did my life actually end up like this?

The car begins to jolt violently, but not loudly enough because over it I can hear Bastian laughing maniacally.

Wow, I sure know how to pick ’em.

He looks over at me, his eyes bright and wide, a grin like the Cheshire cat plastered on his face. Okay, wow this guy might be hot, but he is definitely insane and that’s a rule breaker in my book.

Okay, it’s really not, but he’s the exception.

My body is practically embedded into my seat as I will all of this to be a dream. I’m not jumping through a portal with a total stranger. My parents were not taken, and I am not the daughter of a freaking god.

When I open my eyes, everything will totally be back to normal. I will be in my room, with my mom downstairs preparing breakfast, and my dad sitting on the kitchen stool watching her as she works.

Everything will go back to normal—now.

I slowly open one eye to see Bastian looking down at me with a smirk. Somehow, I’d ended up all the way down in my seat, my fingers digging into the leather armrests. I open the other eye in order to get a better look at my surroundings.

I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.

Well, we were never in Kansas, to begin with, but that’s beside the point.

Sitting up straight, I look around to see if maybe now is the point at which he kills me. Outside the window and surrounding the car, a garden, unlike anything I’ve ever seen in my life. Bushes of every kind of flower imaginable decorate the garden with their bright and vivid faces, sporting a dazzling center that is both abnormal and beautiful.

Wait... are those—

In the center of each flower sits different jewels, each matching the petals of the flowers. Every single one of them had a gem, gleaming like their own mini suns. This could not be real.

“Welcome to Hell.” Bastian spreads his arms wide with a cheesy comical smile on his face.

Hell?!

“You took me to Hell?!”

“Thought you’d be right at home.”

Okay, now’s the part in the story where I strangle him.

Just kidding, although I wish I wasn’t.

To say Hell isn’t at all what I was thinking is an understatement. When I pictured Hell, not that I do it very often, I’d thought it’d be like something out of a 1950′s movie where everything was black and white. I also thought everything would be gloomy and depressing with a bunch of souls wandering aimlessly around.

To say the very least, I was wrong.

Everything is painted in vibrant colors, hardly any black and white to be seen. It’s like normal colors, but more intense like I can actually feel them. I know, it sounds weird, but this is a weirder experience.

The sky is still blue like any normal sky, with no clouds and no sun, but everything is still bright like there is one. The soil is rich, permeating the air with sweet perfume. The willow trees dance graciously in the wind, adding a more surreal feeling to the place.

“Quit gawking, you haven’t even seen the inside yet.” Bastian grabs my hand and yanks me over towards a big mansion that I hadn’t even realized was there before. The mansion is composed of light grey stones with a darker shade for the shingles of the roof. The enormous windows were framed with a silver rim. Honestly, it was something out of a catalog for the most expensive places to live.

Bastian continues to pull me along to the two double oak doors shielding the rest of the mansion from the outside world. Standing in front of them, I feel so small and insignificant, especially with the mansion giving off a dauntingly beautiful vibe. With one big hand, Bastian pushes one of the huge oak doors open.

I wasn’t ready.

What is this place?

“Hades’ mansion,” Bastian says as if he can read my mind.

The ceiling practically touches the sky with big windows that trick you into thinking you’re actually up in the clouds. Chandeliers hang from the ceiling, sprinkling the grey hardwood floor with tiny rainbows.

Originally, the mansion had obviously been done in neutral colors, void of any pop of color. However, once seeing all of the decorative pieces that give it a home-like feel, I could tell my mom must’ve been down here to redecorate. I knew for a fact my dad didn’t have a single interior designing bone in his body, hence all of the neutral colors. My mom was kind of like the splash of color he needed in his life to make it interesting.

Gods, I miss them.

I’m too busy gawking at the inside of the place to really pay attention to anything going on, completely unaware of the feeling of Bastian pulling us both in the direction of the kitchen. We walk past the kitchen and towards the hallway straight across. Suddenly, we end up in front of a dark oak door with painted purple orchids and an asphodel flower in the center. “This is your room. I’ll be the third door down the hall if you need me.”

Hold on. How the hell does he know about this place?

“Care to explain yourself?” My hands are fixated on my hips and I stare him down with a suspicious look.

“Not really, no.”

“How did you find this place?! Have you been here before? Why do you think this is my room? And how do you know the third door down from this one is a room?”

“So many questions. You’re a curious one, Clumsy.”

No, I’m a cautious one, but I doubt he’d know anything about that.

“Look, I’ll explain everything in the morning. Are you hungry?” I shake my head ‘no,’ having lost my appetite right after my mom’s phone call. “Okay, well, for now, get some rest. You need it after the day you’ve had.”

I swallow at his words, the bile rising in my throat threatening to choke me.

You need it after the day you’ve had...

Unable to form any words, I nod before stepping inside the room. Not bothering to turn on the lights, I wander aimlessly around the room with the light from the windows. It’s massive, to say the least. Looking out one of the windows, I notice how it’s already become a breathtaking navy blue in the sky, the illumination coming from the flowers from the garden. Their petals become iridescent colors, like they’ve captured the moonlight within them and now exude its powerful light.

As I step closer to the window, my leg brushes against the comforter of the bed next to me. The canopy bed sits in the middle of the two windows of the room, but it barely makes a dent in the size of the room.

Along the walls are different photos of me, my mom, and my dad. Some of the photos I recognize, but there are others I had no idea were even taken. Walking over and careful not to trip on anything in the partially obscure room, I carefully examine each photograph as much as I possibly can with their shadowed faces.

My favorite one is with my mom and I smiling in the back as my dad tries to figure out how to take the picture with a confused look on his face. He’d gotten a new phone and wanted all of us to be his lock-screen, but didn’t quite know how to make the magic happen. That was a great day.

I wish I could go back to that day.

I wish I could go back to any day other than this one.

After a long attempt, I finally find a dresser sitting in between two doors. My best guess is one is the closet and the other the bathroom. After finding an old The Killers t-shirt and shorts, I open each of the doors to find the bathroom. This time, I do flick on the lights and gasp when I notice my reflection.

Yikes, I look like a train-wreck.

Dried mascara rivulets decorate my cheeks and my eyes are red and puffy from all of the crying. On top of that, my once put together hair is now a complete and utter mess in every direction, completing the look. I’m surprised Bastian didn’t even mention it because I look horrible. Maybe he didn’t care, or maybe he thought I’d be angry that he’d let me walk around looking like that.

But I didn’t care...

Because the way I look at this very moment is only a fraction of what I’m feeling on the inside.

I strip off my bathing suit and Bastian’s shirt, tossing the suit in the corner and carefully folding the shirt. Splashing my face with water, I do my best to get rid of the makeup and evidence of my tears. I wipe my face on a washcloth, looking down at the made-up face I accidentally created with my makeup on the material. Staring once more at my reflection, I take in my bare face and still red eyes. I already knew there would be more tears to come and their timing would be unpredictable.

Tossing the washcloth in the corner as well, I exit the bathroom with Bastian’s shirt in my hand. Placing it into the dresser, I turn away after pushing it shut and walk towards the bed before plopping head first on it. It isn’t until my head hits the pillow that I realize just how tired I am. Everything that’d happened today has completely drained me in every aspect. My eyelids immediately close, sleep approaching fast.

But as soon as reality turned off, the nightmares turned on...

***

Distant screams pierce my ears, making my blood curdle. The voice sounds distant and yet close; different shrieks, but the same unified voice.

I hear the sounds of glass and wood breaking, the sound of bones cracking. I can feel the terror of the moment even though I can’t see it.

Something oozes down my face, dripping onto my nose and my lips. I reach my fingers up and touch the substance, bringing them back to my eyes to get a look.

Blood.

Another scream breaches the stillness, and finally, something appears before me.

Visions of my mother’s lifeless and bloodied figure lay in front of me as I hesitantly approached her. I reach a hand out towards her cheek but quickly shrink it away. The hand is not my own, but that of a little girl’s.

Reaching out once more, the hand appears again and I realize it’s the same size from when I was a little kid. Touching my mom’s bloodied cheek, I look into the shards of glass around her body and confirm my suspicions. The set up is identical to that of my now destitute house. I look back at my mom, tears filling my eyes.

“Mom,” I say weakly. “Mom, please wake up.”

But she doesn’t. Not even the slightest movement like a flutter of her eyelashes or a small lift of her finger. Nothing.

A sob wracks my body and I’m barely able to hold myself up. This can’t be real. This can’t be.

I hear a sharp intake before a death grip is placed on my arm. Startled, I snap my head up to meet my mother’s wide gaze.

“Andi,” she breathes and for a second, joy sparks through me as I see my mom alive and well. But then her eyes sharpen and her mouth curls into an unnatural smirk.

“So, this is the famous daughter of Hades, hm? Honestly, I’m kind of disappointed. I thought you’d be more--intimidating. Well, beggars can’t be choosers and you do have your mother’s looks. You are definitely a creature of beauty. I can sense a very strong spirit in you as well.”

My mom reaches her other hand up to run her fingers through my hair. “A shame I won’t be able to see that spitfire nature take root. I’ll have to take everything from you in order to gain what I want. And that includes your life.”

I gasp, unbelieving of the words coming out of her mouth. “Who are you?”

My voice is harsh, but it’s shaky as well. My mom—who I’ve come to the conclusion is not my mom—laughs boisterously as if I just told some hilarious joke.

Abruptly, her cold hand shoots up to grip my chin harshly. The words coming out of her mouth are clearly not her own, but her body is no longer her own and she has no control over it. “You’re mine, little girl. I’ll destroy everything you love, letting you watch everyone die at my hands and save you for last. First, I will be the Underworld’s undoing and its savior, then, I’ll set my sights on Olympus. After that, Atlantis and the whole world will be under my reign until there is nothing left but my darkness. Humanity will end just like how it began: in darkness.”

I try to yell, to scream, anything, but my voice is nonexistent. My mother’s mouth falls open as a howl of laughter echoes into the darkness, and I suddenly plunge into its depth, chocking, and drowning in the black sea...

***

I jolt awake, my body completely shaking and covered in sweat. I can feel it trickling down my forehead and the coldness of the tears on my cheeks. Taking in several deep breaths, I try to calm myself down, but fail to do so. Finally, I throw off the blanket and get up, heading towards the door. I have no idea where I’m going, but I trust my feet will lead me someplace safe.

I end up in the kitchen, of all places, and begin to search the cabinets for something to eat. The cabinets prove to be bare, save for a couple of chip bags in the pantry. After checking the expiration date, I open a couple of bags and loudly munch on them.

In a time like this, I wish I had ice cream.

My mind is unable to focus on one thing in particular, so I sit there staring into space with a hollow feeling in my chest. That dream--nightmare--left my skin crawling and my stomach churning. Even the deliciousness of the potato chips starts to taste like cardboard as I think about what I’d seen.

Unable to eat another chip, I toss the bags in the garbage and turn back towards the hallway from which I came. I walk down the dark path, careful of my footing, and using my hand against the wall as my guide.

Strangely enough, I find myself purposely in front of a door that is not my own and push it open, walking towards the bed.

Why did I come here?

Carefully, I nudge the mattress and wait. After the third nudge, there’s a groan and rustling.

“Is there a reason why you woke me up so early in the morning?”

Yikes, he sounds cranky.

Sucks.

I wrap my arms around myself, feeling a little bit small under his sleepy glare. Damn, who knew his intense staring could be so belittling? “I—I couldn’t sleep. I was thinking maybe...”

What was I thinking? What did I hope to gain from coming to the bed of this stranger? Did I expect him to invite me to his bed so that I wouldn’t have to suffer these nightmares alone? So that someone could be there just in case I started drowning in that void land again? I sound like some little girl with her teddy bear and thumb in her mouth at her parents’ bedside.

No way. I can’t do this. Besides, something tells me that Bastian isn’t the cuddling type. “Uh, nevermind.”

I turn to leave with what little dignity I have left when there’s a deep sigh and whooshing sound. Turning back around, I see the covers pulled back, revealing the bed under the comforter.

Bastian is only in his boxers, leaving his bare sculpted chest on display to my eyes. I can feel them get slightly bigger as my eyes roam his chest. Sure, the guy had been shirtless already, but that didn’t mean I was ogling him before.

Bastian himself takes in a quick breath noticing my attire, drawing my attention to see as well. I immediately feel my neck and cheeks catch on fire. I glance at my shorts that now look ten times smaller and like underwear the longer I stare at them.

Shit.

I see Bastian’s gaze go over my legs and see his jaw tighten at the sight.

So, he’s a leg guy, huh...

“Your offer is about to expire.”

I quickly duck under the covers before this can become any more embarrassing. Gods, what is wrong with me? Get a grip, Andromeda!

Bastian’s chest rumbles against my back as he speaks. “So, do you sleep with every stranger you meet?”

I bury my face further into the pillow and dive under the covers, making a strangled noise. “Shut up.”

The sound of his laughter is what finally calms my nerves, and sends me into a tranquil quiet, no nightmares to be found.


Longer chapter today!

This is your official welcome to Hell! We’re so glad to have you here lol

Okay, question time.

Who do you think could’ve taken Andi’s parents? (I’ll give you a hint: he’s not very popular and very obscure ;)

What could Andi’s dream—er nightmare—have meant?

Predictions on the next chapter?

...let’s just say that Andi and Bastian will be having an unforgettable adventure in the next edit ;)

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