The Haunted Town

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#15 - Free At Last

“Simone, Simone wake up!!” Someone was patting her cheek. She groaned before forcing her eyes to open. She was still in the cave, lying down on the uneven cave floor with her head in Jenna’s lap. Jenna? What was she doing here? Simone sat bolt upright.
“Jenna.” She rasped. Her throat was dry.
“Hurry, do something.” Her friend pleaded with her and then looked at something behind them. Simone followed her gaze. Nathan. He was badly wounded and he could barely stand up. Quinlynn was unharmed. As the girls watched, she span on her heel and gave Nathan a kick which sent him knocking into the wall. Then, he did not get up.

“You’ve taken everything away from me. Juniper, Jordan and Sebastian. You killed them.” She was saying as she lifted Nathan up from the ground by collar of his shirt. He tried to pry her hand off himself but he was too weak. With Jenna’s help, Simone stood up and looked around to find anything, something to help Nathan. The dagger. It still laid in the center of the fountain. She had to destroy that. She jerked her head towards it, silently telling Jenna where to go.

“I don’t know what you see in these pathetic human beings or why do you even care.” Quinlynn was snarling at Nathan who had his eyes closed. He was in a lot of pain and somehow Simone felt sorry for him. With Jenna’s help, she rushed to towards the dagger. Their movement caused Quinlynn to send Nathan flying on the other wall while within a blink of an eye she was right in front of Jenna.
“And what do you think you are doing?”
“Stop it, Brianna.” Jenna said, caustiously stepping back from her.
“Stop what? Did you really think I would never find out about you?”
“Well, you didn’t. Not really which is why I’m here with most of my memories intact. At least the ones that matter.” With these words, Jenna pushed Quinlynn and ran towards Simone. Bracing herself, Simone stepped into the water of the fountain. It was cold but not cold enough to numb her body. Still, she felt pin pricks on her skin which was in the water. She gasped due to pain.

Behind her, she heard Jenna scream.
“NO!!!” Simone shouted when she turned her head to see her friend. Quinlynn had Jenna up in the air from her hair. Jenna was crying as Quinlynn laughed cruelly.
“You’re as pathetic as rest of your kind. Think you are the best?”
“Quinlynn!!! LET HER GO!!!” Simone shouted, clenching her fists. It made Quinlynn laugh even harder but she does let Jenna go. Simone’s friend landed with a thud on the floor and screamed due the pain caused by rocks pressing against her body.

“You think you can win? Do you even know how to destroy the dagger?” Quinlynn intoned as she walked around the fountain. She could not step into it, Simone realized.
“Nathan did give me overview of the curse. Only someone who cares about you can destroy it.”
“And you think you are the one? Who cares about us?” Quinlynn asked, bending down to pick up a pointed rock. She could not step into the fountain but she could throw something. With exact preciosn, she could even kill Simone without touching her. Without giving her any reply, Simone dived for the dagger just when Quinlynn aimed the stone where she had been standing. Her feet were numb. They could not move fast enough. No, it wasn’t just her feet. The numbness was travelling up her legs. Simone gave it all she had as she stretched her hand to pick up the dagger. Just when Quinlynn was about to target her again, Nathan threw himself at her. Quinlynn let out a inhumane howl.

“SIMONE HURRY!!” Nathan shouted. As soon as she touched the dagger, everything stilled around her. It was as if the time had stopped itself. Quinlynn was about to strike Nathan but she looked nothing more than a shadow. Nathan was about to throw his arms over his face and Jenna was struggling to sit up.

As Simone watched, shadows rose from the floor of the cave. One of them was larger and more menacing than the rest. Its eyes, they glowed red. Terror stabbed in Simone’s heart like a hot poker.
“Is it you who seek to destroy an ancient curse on this land?” She shadow boomed. Simone swallowed painfully, unable to look away from its eyes. Around her, everything was just dark. She could not see Jenna or the other two.
“Yes.” She croaked out the word.
“Why?” The shadow asked. Why? Simone pondered over the question. Wasn’t it because Nathan had pretty much ordered her to do it? No, it wasn’t only that. She wanted to protect the people of Elmdale from the monsters who had been feeding on them for centuries. But it wasn’t the entirely reason. She realized that she cared for Nathan. She did want to help him. Simone looked up at the shadow, directly matching his gaze.
“Because I care.” She whispered.
“Dip the dagger into the water of this fountain and recite these words. Chanomai daimonas, adetos tous. ”
“Greek.” Simone whispered. “Who are you?”

“We are the shadows bounded to this dagger. For centuries we’ve seen the demons raise our kin for their selfish purposes right from this fountain.” The shadow replied. His loss was evident from his tone.
“How?” Simone was confused.
“By throwing in the people they fed on as sacrifices.”

With these words, the shadows were gone. Dagger was warm in her hands and everything started moving again.

When Simone turned to look what was happening behind her, she gasped. Nathan was cowering on the floor, shadows streaming out from around him. Simone noticed mist too. It must be burning him, she realized. After ensuring that Nathan was as good as dying, Quinlynn headed towards Jenna. She had not seen what Simone was up to yet. Her back was towards Simone.

Simone looked at Nathan once more. His eyes were pleading with her to hurry. Mouthing ‘goodbye’, Simone plunged the dagger into the water. She heard a hissing sound as if it had been burning hot. Then she recited the words. The effect was immediate. Quinlynn screamed and rushed towards the fountain but she collapsed midway. She was withering in pain and clawing at her face. Around them, the shadows were screaming. Only then Simone dared to step out from the fountain. Jenna was looking around wildly, her face pale and eyes wide. Simone rushed to her friend and helped her up. Slowly, Quinlynn’s body began to disintegrate. Jenna pulled at Simone’s sleeve.
“What?”
“Look.” She pointed towards the fountain. The shadows were disappearing into it. A few feet away from the fountain, Nathan was awfully still. Simone ran to him. He was barely breathing and his burned skin wasn’t healing. Gingerly, Simone lifted his head into her lap.
“You’ve suffered enough.” She whispered to him. Strangely, a huge lump formed in her throat. Beside her, Jenna was awfully quiet. Slowly, all the orange glow was disappearing from the cave. The water was drying. Nathan’s body started to disintegrate as well.
“Oh God.” Simone cried softly.
“Thank....you.” Nathan said, his voice barely over a whisper. He could barely open his eyes. In them, Simone saw his gratitude towards her. Slowly and painfully, he raised his hand to touch her cheek. “Live....Happily.” Trying not to cry, Simone nodded.
“You are free.” She whispered as Nathan’s hand dropped and his eyes closed. Within seconds, his body turned into ashes in her hands and was blown away towards the fountain. Her hands were empty.

༼;‘༎ຶ ༎ຶ༽༼;’༎ຶ ༎ຶ༽

Simone woke up to the sounds of birds chirping and her brother banging on her bedroom door. Throwing it open, she scowled. “Are you insane?”
“You won’t believe it.” Jayden said, his eyes wide.
“Believe what?”
“This town is in uproar. About all the people who left mysteriously, everyone suddenly recalled that they were murdered. By whom, they don’t know.”

Simone swallowed and shoved Jayden out of the room.
“This town is weird.” She said before slamming the door close at his face. She rushed to the window and threw it open. There were birds chirping in the trees and squirrels climbed up into them. People were bustling about, looking confused or hysterical. With her heart heavy, Simone closed the window. Her eyes landed on the camera that was resting on her table. She hadn’t left it there.

“Hey.” It was Nathan in the video. Simone sagged down on her bed as she saw what he had left. “When you’ll be watching this, hopefully I’d be long gone. I sincerely want to thank you for helping me out and helping everyone out in Elmdale. I’ve lived for centuries and I’ve done every bad thing you can think of. But all is done and I can’t change it. Go to Quinlynn’s house. You’ll find a trapdoor in her living. It leads to a secret floor in the basement. I hope that you’d find some of the missing people alive. I really hope so. One more thing, thirty years ago there was this family Quinlynn murdered. Only six year old girl was spared. Her name was Sophie Throckmorton. I had given her to the old man you saw outside the town. I’m sure you must’ve seen him. Anyway, connect the dots and live well. Thank you, my friend.” Nathan ended with a wink. The video went blank and Simone realized that her cheeks were wet because of the tears. Outside, the clouds thundered in the sky. She jumped up in surprise when her phone rang from her closet. It was her best friend Nina from her old school. It was working. There were telephone signals all over the town. Smiling, she got dressed. It was time to visit Jenna and go on a rescue mission.

༼•̫͡•༽ 。・:*:・゚THE END 。・:*:・゚༼•̫͡•༽

So, it ended. How was it? I’d love to read your remarks about it. Was the ending satisfying?

Anyway, I’ve this crazy idea about writing the story on Nathan Woods / Trar’en. What changed him and how he became the person he was at the end. If you are up for it, do let me know ;)

Thanks for staying with Simone till the end ;)

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