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As the door creaked open, a small hint of candle light peeked out.
"Why is it so dark in there?" Gabe asked, glaring back at Haim.
"The overhead light seemed to agitate her; she seems to like the candle light. The barrier shield can only be removed by Michael, but if you want, you should be able to cross in," Haim explained.
"Wait, what are you talking about? What barrier shield?" Gabe demanded.
"Michael thought it would be best if Sophie couldn’t leave the room in her condition," Haim said, attempting to delicately shed light on the reasoning behind the imprisonment.
"And a guard isn’t sufficient?" Gabe asked defensively.
"I just think Michael wanted to make sure she was safe," Haim replied.
Gabe hung his head; he had no words left to say. Part of him just wanted to close the door and walk away. To close the door on the entire situation Sophie was trapped in. Somehow, if he could close that door, perhaps everything would return to the way it was. Things could go back to the way they were over the summer when Sophie and he were happy and together, back to when Sophie was the light that made all of this worth it.
Gabe took another deep breath. He knew there was no going back, this was their reality now. He needed to go in and confront his fears, confront the situation they found themselves in. He had to be strong for Sophie’s sake.
As Gabe stepped inside he heard Haim interject, "Stay close to the walls," just before the door closed.
Gabe squinted, trying to readjust to the darkness. To the side, he saw a small table with a candle perched on it. Under his feet he heard cracking. Looking down he could see the floor was covered in straw. Gabe’s stomach twisted. He couldn’t stand the thought of Sophie being kept like this.
In the far corner of the room, Gabe saw a figure curled up in the corner. A pale blanket wrapped around them. In the dark, Gabe could not even make out the color of the person’s hair.
"Sophie?" Gabe spoke softly.
The figure trembled, but barely stirred at his voice.
"It’s me, Gabe."
Gabe watched, holding his breath as the figure slowly turned. The body moved in an almost unnatural way as it shifted and crawled slowly on all fours across the floor. When the candlelight at last fell on the figure, Gabe could make out the auburn hair of his beloved Sophie. Her hair was matted, greasy, and hung in her face.
Gabe saw her shoulders were hollow looking and her skin was almost glowing white. Gabe caught sight of Sophie’s fingers, her knuckles were bloody, and her nails cracked and peeling. Instinctively, Gabe fell to his knees and crawled to Sophie. Without even giving it a thought, he grabbed her hands and pulled them closer to the light.
"Oh Sophie, what happened to your hands?" Gabe cried.
Sophie jerked her hands from Gabe’s grasp. Arching her back she sharply hissed as she flipped her hair back and glared at him. Gasping, Gabe fell back on to his butt, crawling towards the door backwards on his hands. His beloved Sophie’s blue eyes were gone; instead a deep full blackness stared back at him. Her lips were dry, cracked, and appeared almost blue in color, at least at the places that weren’t covered with spots of dried blood. Unlike the skin on the rest of her body, her face her face was the color of ash. It was marbleized by black veins that crawled up her neck and splintered around her eyes, making them appear even more haunting.
"Oh God, Sophie!" Gabe shrieked.
"Hst!" Sophie spat and bared her jagged, sharp teeth at Gabe, the spaces filled with a rotting blackness. She hovered close to the ground like an animal.
"Sophie, please! It’s me, Gabe. Don’t you recognize me?" Gabe begged as he searched for any part of Sophie.
Blankly, the creature stared back at Gabe. There was nothing left of her true eyes, nothing of what they had been, nothing of his former love.
Prophecy (Book 3)
Prophecy (Book 3)