Okay, so I couldn’t handle not posting a bit more of my new novel, Myth. If you haven’t checked it out yet, please do; you won’t be disappointed!
After I post this chapter I won’t post any more of Myth, because (obviously) someone could (illegally) steal it. Luckily they can’t do much with one chapter!
Here’s the rest of the chapter I posted yesterday.
It’s nearly impossible to fall asleep tonight. I keep sitting up in bed to check on the ring, as if I’m afraid it’s disappeared. It’s starting to drive me crazy; It’s as if I’m constantly drawn back to the ring when I’m not wearing it. I contemplate putting it on while I sleep so I might actually get some rest, but I’m afraid that it’ll irritate my finger.
I toss and turn until late into the night, fighting the desire to get up again. I try to think about other things. Summer vacation, my not-too-distant birthday, anything that might distract me from my longing…
I must fall asleep eventually, because what I see isn’t possible while you’re awake. I decide that I’m dreaming, but the creature that watches me is so vivid. He- I think it’s a he- looks down at me with beady black eyes, so cold and unfeeling that I can’t bear to look into them. His features are twisted in a scowl, as if he’s frustrated about something. His head is bald and shriveled like a grape that’s sat too long on the counter. His skin is grape-like as well, green and spotted with darker patches that look like shadows on his strangely sculpted face. He leans over me and only stares, his back hunched in an almost amphibious way.
I can’t seem to move. I’m locked in place, looking helplessly at the grotesque face that won’t go away. A numbness has taken over me and it seems as if the moment won’t ever end. The creature turns away angrily, letting out a small grunt and stalking from the room. I still can’t move, and after a moment I plunge back into unconsciousness.
The morning’s arrival gives me a sense of comfort, as if nothing bad can happen now that the sun is in the sky. Light floods through my window and spills across the tidy wooden floor, giving the room a warm golden glow. I feel strangely vigilant, as if I got all the rest I needed and more last night. Honestly, I feel more awake than I have in a very long time… which doesn’t make sense, considering my sporadic wake-ups last night.
I get out of bed and head to my closet, a spring in my step. I decide to look at today as a series of opportunities, like anything can happen.
Once I’ve gotten changed I skip downstairs, a smile on my face. I don’t know why I feel so happy, but I let the emotion stand. It’s not like it’s a bad thing that I’m in a good mood.
“Good morning,” I say in a singsong voice as I enter the kitchen. Mom looks up from cooking, and her sky blue eyes sparkle.
“Good morning,” she replies, turning back to the counter. “I’m making pancakes, eggs and bacon. How do you want them?”
“Today feels like a sunny-side-up kind of day, don’t you think?”
Mom turns to look at me, arching an eyebrow. “Well, you’re chipper this morning,” she says after a moment, eyeing me carefully.
I shrug, wishing that I could stop smiling. What’s wrong with me today?
Mom turns back to making breakfast, but occasionally peeks at me over her shoulder. “Where did you get that ring?”
“Ring?” I ask, my eyebrows furrowed. “But I left it…” I look down at my hand, and my stomach somersaults. I never put the ring back on last night… did I? I swallow, panic flooding through me. “I got it at that old shop in town. Thýella?”
“Thýella…” Mom repeats quietly. “Is that the little run-down place on the corner of Weston?”
“I went in there last week during my lunch break. Strange little place, isn’t it? And the owner… very weird.” She flips a pancake onto a plate and sets it in front of me. “The eggs will be done in a minute.”
“Thanks,” I mumble. The feeling of elation is gone, now, having been replaced by confusion. I pull the ring from my finger, which is difficult. It isn’t too tight, exactly, it’s almost as if a magnetic force is keeping my other hand from removing it.
After some effort I slide it into my pocket. “Do you mind if I go out after breakfast?”
Mom frowns. “I thought we’d have a girls day. Binge watch a show or two, eat ice cream…”
“Maybe we could do that when I get back?” I venture.
“Where do you want to go?”
I look down at my pancakes. “Thýella,” I admit.
Mom leans back against the counter thoughtfully. “I need to pick up some things from the supermarket. I can drop you off on the way and pick you up when I get back.”
I nod, relieved. “Alright. We can hang out afterward then?”
“Yes,” Mom says, coming over and flipping an egg onto my plate. “I don’t know what you see in that place,” she adds, and I don’t bother responding.
Nimuë isn’t in sight when I enter Thýella, so I decide to browse her selection while I wait. The ring feels like a weight in my pocket, and I try my best to ignore it’s presence. I find an aisle stocked entirely with decorated sticks and pointy hats, and another filled with orbs that light up as I pass them.
I find the clothing rack I saw yesterday. My attention is drawn once more to the silver shirt Nimuë warned me about, and curiosity takes over. I take it, as well as some other articles of clothing, and head to the dressing room.
I shut the door beside me, and I’m relieved to find that there’s a lock. I set the pile of clothing on a chair in the corner and look into the tall, golden-framed mirror that hangs on the wall. My dark brown hair falls around my shoulders in gentle waves, framing my pale face and sky blue eyes that are identical to my mother’s.
First I try on an old fashioned looking shirt with ruffles at the sleeved and gold buttons down the front. I try looking at it from different angles, but I can’t seem to make myself like it. I usually like vintage, but this seems a little bit too vintage. I replace it with the silver shirt from before, unable to contain my curiosity any longer. I slide it over my head and pull it over my faded jeans, and it glistens as I look at it in the mirror. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen, and I can’t seem to make myself remove it.
I’m sort of… tired, I think, rubbing my eyes. Maybe I’ll just sit down for a moment.
I stumble into the chair in the corner and sit, my eyelids drooping and my arms falling limp.
“Open the door, Lenna,” A voice outside the room demands.
“Too tired,” I murmur, letting my eyes close. I feel a sinking feeling inside of me, like I’m drifting in deep water. It isn’t scary, but sort of calming, like everything is distant…
“Lenna Demetriou,” the speaker says again, her voice urgent.
My mouth is numb, and I can’t seem to move it to respond. After a moment the door flies open and Nimuë hurries inside, pulling the shirt over my head and helping me back into my own.
“What happened?” I mumble sleepily, rubbing my eyes again.
“Why are you not wearing the Ring of Dispel?” she asks sharply.
I can’t seem to focus. My eyes are blurry, and the numb feeling still hasn’t passed. “I came to ask you about it,” I whisper, shutting my eyes so the world will stop spinning. “I feel strange when I wear it, and I woke up with it on my finger even though I took it off.”
Nimuë sighs. “I told you, Lenna. The Ring of Dispel chose you.”
“I don’t know what that means!” I exclaim, the dizziness wearing off and making room for anger.
“I suppose now is as good a time as any,” Nimuë says, more to herself than to me. “Perhaps we can find a more appropriate place to talk.” She stands and gestures toward the door, and I follow her from the room.
She leads me to the back of the shop, and for a moment I think that we’re going to her desk. She stops at a curtain in the corner of the room that I thought was the wall and pulls it back, revealing a small room lit by hundreds of glowing candles. Incense fills the air, creating colored smoke curling up the walls like ribbons. The floor is decorated with plush chairs and beanbags, and I decide that the room seems extremely 60’s.
“Sit,” Nimuë instructs.
She takes a seat across from me and doesn’t say anything for a while. I grow uncomfortable under her gaze and begin fidgeting, picking at a hangnail on my thumb and glancing around the room as if I actually care to study the colorful decorations. All I want is answers, and I’m getting tired of waiting for them.
“I forged the Ring of Dispel in the early sixth century,” Nimuë finally says.
I stare at her blankly. “Can we just cut to the chase?” I ask, unamused by her joke. “I don’t have time for this.”
Nimuë’s eyes narrow. “Don’t be so skeptical, Lenna. I speak the truth. The ring in your pocket is a very powerful object that is not to be taken lightly. I told my husband that you weren’t ready. Of course, he never listens nowadays. He thinks he’s so much more powerful a sorcerer, just because he’s so famous…”
“What are you talking about?” I demand. I’m beginning to think that this lady is actually insane. “Do you want me to get a doctor?”
Nimuë practically growls. “What is it with you mortals? So cynical. So ignorant! If only you knew.”
I watch her rant with a weary frown. If I wasn’t so curious as to what she was saying, I’d be out of here by now.
“I don’t understand,” I say calmly. “Can’t you explain?”
“Like you’ll listen,” Nimuë mutters. She sighs. “Well, you’ll believe what I say soon enough, anyway. You’ll see what I mean. As long as you wear that ring.”
I swallow hard. I’d hoped to give the ring back to her so I wouldn’t have to deal with the temptation it brought. “I’m not sure I want to wear it.”
If I expected her to be angry, I was wrong. She smiles, a dull, unamused smile. “You don’t have a choice, Lenna.” Then she turns her eyes toward the curtain, her pupils dilating. “Come and talk to me again soon, Lenna.”
“But you haven’t answered my other questions.”
“You wouldn’t want to keep your mother waiting,” Nimuë says quietly, her eyes not leaving the curtain. I follow her gaze.
“But my mom is-” I stop mid-sentence as the sound of a horn beeping fills the silence. I turn back to Nimuë, my eyes wide. “How did you…?”
I freeze. Nimuë is nowhere in sight.