Kaleidoscope

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Two

“Let me go!!” Perry screamed at the thing dragging her back, deeper into the kaleidoscope. Her desperate, futile attempts to kick the creature’s claws away to try and escape from its hold made no impression. She took in the scenery of her surroundings.

Where was she?

She knew the kaleidoscope changed almost continuously. In front of her on the pink walls the butterflies were still smiling but behind her, in the direction the creature was going, was a dark and desolate blackness; cracked walls and skew paintings, dead plants and dust everywhere . . . The wooden floor was stained a dark red colour with deep scratch and claw marks on it. Something told her to get away quickly, very quickly. She did everything she could to break the grip, but nothing helped. She called Peter to help her, but her cries were only met by the sound of shackles and a manic laughter.

“Peter does not exist my dear,” a deep menacing voice said from behind her. “I AM Peter”.

With the heavy shackles around her ankles, she tried to stand erect. She was facing some sort of desolate throne room, the throne made up out of bones. She tried to see what was hidden by the darkness of the room when something on top of the horrible throne caught her eye.

A man sat there with a devilish grin and did not take his eyes off her. He was tall and slender, like a corpse that didn’t decay; his eyes glowing purple and his short silver hair shining in the dim light of the braziers next to his throne. He was dressed in a black coat with gold detail on the chest and black pants, his boots decorated with gold chains, semi-heeled and in polished black glove.

He got up from his throne and walked towards Perry with his cane. She looked at him, terrified as he came closer. “You cannot run my dear. Even if you tried.” He smiled, pointing at the shackles with his dark wood cane.

“W...Who ...” she stuttered.

“Who am I? Pralekai, the Black, at your service.” He smirked. “Finally, I found another one for my collection.” He turned away from her and walked towards the other braziers, conjuring fire from his hands to light them. Light flooded the room with a dim orange haze as all its secrets were revealed. The wall was stony and littered with overhead chains with shackles. Some still had skeletons in them, others were empty. Perry realised that Pralekai intended to keep her there. For ever!

Hoping she was wrong she asked: “What do you want from me?” hoping that she could deal with the answer.

“To warn you! Try to escape again, and you will end up like Alison over there.” He pointed to the decaying corpse in the furthest corner of the room. Perry was disgusted by the sight of the flesh rotting away from the very bones.

“What am I supposed to do here,” she asked nervously to her captor to which he smiled. “Now you are asking the right questions,” he said and walked slowly towards her, his boots echoing through the cavernous stone hall. He bent to his knees and grabbed her chin, his unkempt fingernails all but piercing her skin. “You, my dear, will just be,” he said with a grin. “You are free to roam my prison cell. You may help others escape before the darkness either kill or mentally ruin them but you, my dear, are not allowed even to try to get a glimpse of outside world. You will share in my misery for all eternity!”

He cackled as he made his way back to his throne. She stood up, her legs quivering from the weight of her shackles. “I do not understand. How is this your prison cell?” she managed, becoming less paralyzed with fear. “Another fine question” Pralekai answered, “I will tell you the story of how one mistake drove my fellow deities to imprison me here, but I think you need to learn a little bit more of my little playground.” He grinned again as he called a Vorgothian hound to him.

The grotesque beast walked towards his master who whispered something in its horrid ear. The beast contorted itself as it walked towards her. The same sounds Perry had heard creaking, breaking and crunching while she stood over Abigail’s lifeless body was now sounding right in front of her. The sight was horrible; with every twist and turn the beast’s black skin broke to litter the floor with millions of black and red crystals. As the beast finished its ghastly transformation, Perry, paralyzed with fear, gazed at it as Peter walked towards her, flashing that same revolting smile.

“What did you do to him!” she shouted in an anguished cry. Peter and Pralekai laughed in unison at her torment. Pralekai made a gesture with his hand towards Peter. “Perry, Peter was a figment of my master’s plan to keep you alive from the others. Remember the moment where he had the fire? Did you not see my master conjure fire from his bare hands?” Peter spoke with a wicked sneer and transformed back into the hideous creature he was.

Perry was paralyzed by the weird transformation she had just witnessed; then, out of the shadows, a skeletal figure emerged walking straight towards her. Broken shackles sounded from its feet and wrists as it neared her, the empty space where her left eye should’ve been, dark and empty, where the right one was blood red and filled with a murderous rage. Pralekai stood there and watched as the creature neared Perry, but he quickly grabbed her arm and dragged her back to the shadow she came out of a few moments ago. As he shackled the decaying corpse of Alison to the wall again smiled.

“I found her. And let’s hope she doesn’t end up like you.” He kissed her cheek and turned away.

“Don’t... please ... She’s too young...” Alison gasped and choked on the air he had given her soul once more. He turned his gaze back to her and with one terrifying swipe grasped what was left of her neck and looked deep into her empty eye sockets. “You will not tell me what I will or will not do!” he shouted in an unrelenting demonic voice that echoed through the room. He opened his mouth and sucked the life back out of her “That will keep you quiet for a while,” he snapped as he removed his hand from her decaying neck.

Perry watched him in fear, wondering what ‘Alison’ was and why she begged him to release her. Tears filled her eyes as she stood paralyzed, muttering “who was Abigail… why did you bring us here?”. Pralekai stood there, laughing at her silly question. “Well my dear, I need to feed my Vorgothian hounds something” he snickered and lit up the cages behind her. The hounds were busy tearing flesh from bone, feasting on the soft meat that was. Perry felt her stomach turn.

The wooden door slammed shut and, with a faint click, locked itself. Perry banged her fists against the dark wood. “Let me out!” she shouted non-stop, agonised and fearful. Her fists grew sore as her banging gradually slowed. Every hit against the door stung her tender flesh. Wiping the tears from her cheeks she looked around her. The wood was a soft burgundy colour, the walls painted a shade of a dark purple. Framed notes, drawings and other forms of art adorned the walls. There was no bed but a comfortable chaise next to a bookshelf.

On the other side, near another dark wooden door, was a black desk with a small desk lamp illuminating an open notebook. She walked towards it and sat down, unsure why she felt so safe. Turning the pages of the notebook and reading some of its contents she was startled by footsteps coming from behind her. Quickly she turned around to see Pralekai sitting on the chaise, smiling a less threatening smile. “You do not seem very frightened now. Do you like your cell?” he asked, gesturing with his cane.

“My cell?”

“Well what else do you humans call it?

“OH...a room?” she muttered in fright.

“Well then, do you like your room?” Pralekai asked irritably.

Perry didn’t reply and took the notebook from the desk. “What is all this?” she asked. Pralekai sighed. “I am not the devil nor a saint, Perry. What you saw before you were dragged before me into my throne room is just part of what our nature is.

“My name is Pralekai the Black, the deity of darkness. The place where we are is almost like purgatory . . . but for another kind of . . . human, I suppose.”

He smirked and stood up.

“You’re here by my doing. You will never leave; you will soon learn why but if you are a good girl, I might grant you a vacation on the outside.” He opened the door that Perry was convinced had been locked by the creature.

“Pralekai, wait.” He turned around.

“Yes?”

“You can conjure fire, right?”

“Much more than that, actually”

“Could you conjure up something with your magic so that I can write in this book?”

She still feared Pralekai, but she thought she had her own devious plan to escape from this haunting place. Pralekai smiled and from his coat pocket produced a piece of the broken which table Peter had used as a sword. It burst into flames.

“That’s a sick joke. You mock my request”. He handed the charred piece of wood to her and she took it, afraid of his to anger but was amazed when the charred wood disintegrated into ash in her hand. Pralekai laughed in her angry face and pointed to a black wooden pencil in the palm of her hand. Perry looked at the pencil in disbelief.

“That is why you are here. What I destroy, you will create.” he whispered and left the room. His last haunted her for hours after he had left. She left the pencil and notebook untouched on the desk afraid of what might happen if she dared sketch anything.

Suddenly she heard a child screaming loudly. She ran out her still unlocked room. In the distance down the corridor she saw a little boy running away from the approaching darkness.

The kaleidoscope was changing again. Perry was determined not to allow the kaleidoscope to extinguish another life. She ran to the boy and grabbed his arm. She knew how to get out and she was set on getting him out. The boy screamed in fear as they ran deeper into the darkness. She stopped where the kaleidoscope grew smaller and pushed the boy in front of her.

“Crawl,” she said softly. The boy refused. “Crawl or you’ll die!” She didn’t want to shout but she did. The boy started crawling. The walls grew closer and the ceiling got lower. Finally, she could see the exit and pushed the little boy through.

He was out! He was safe!

She stood there and gawked at the outside world. The kaleidoscope was there outside . . . somewhere . . . green grass and lots of trees; not a house in sight or a child’s laughter to be heard. She hoped no one would find it here. She breathed in a little more of the fresh air and then turned back.

She didn’t want to anger Pralekai, or even try to see what his wrath would be after her attempted escape.

She went back to her room to find Pralekai speaking from the door. “Well, well. You helped that little boy escape and you didn’t even try to join in his freedom. I’m impressed.” he smiled as he walked towards her and took a strand of her blonde hair in his hand. “Perhaps I should show you what your good deed did?” he smirked and grabbed her by her arm. His nails slightly pierced her skin as he forced her to follow him to his throne room.

He led her to the wall next to Alison’s corpse and pressed his hand against a slightly lighter coloured stone than the rest. Suddenly dust and a loud screeching sound came from the wall as it moved aside to open a doorway to another room.

Perry did not want to go inside; what she saw was too horrible to behold. She tried her best to break free of Pralekai’s grip but the more she struggled, the more his nails dug into her flesh and the more blood seeped down her arm. He pulled her into the room and a disgusting odour filled her senses. She almost gagged on the stench as it clawed through her sinuses.

Pralekai laughed at her disgust and dragged her further into the room. The floor of red crystalline shards crunched under his footsteps. She looked around the room as her eyes welled with tears when the shards cut her legs and hand, but also because of what she saw in the dim light

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