False Shadows (Tales From Jones Hollow)
Deep in the looming darkness of twilight, inside one of the several mid-range houses scattered about Keller Street, one of two occupants was moving about far later than usual. Bella Carson felt a certain… wrongness this night. As her father slept peacefully in his bed, Bella paced around the living room, not quite sure why, but positive that it made sense. Something was off. Her sister had been leaving the house rather late many nights over the last 2 weeks since they had moved to Jones Hollow, so she wasn’t terribly worried about her absence. She knew she shouldn’t be, at least. Her stress-laden mind made her weary and wary, and gave her strange visions of the night’s malice: Darkness swirled around her endlessly, dark figures that were not there crept about her, taunting her to come and play. Tonight was not a night for playing. Tonight was a night for caution. Tomorrow, a day for ferocity. At the moment, she could not begin to imagine the specifics of her circumstances, but a storm was brewing, and she was close to the center.

She listened to the serene symphony Robert Carson conducted in his slumber, finding it calming, but not nearly enough. The dancing darkness dared not desist as she dreaded her dear sister’s demise. She was suddenly jolted into reality by the piercing notes her phone emitted. It was her sister. Even as she heard her sister’s voice, it was like she wasn’t there at all. Just another false shadow dancing around the living room. She was, as Bella had assumed, relaxing at the grove on Mount Serin, scribbling poetry in her unusual style on the inside of one of her plentiful violet notepads. She always wrote of the strangest things, only held together under one grand theme: Duality. 

She’d penned Tales of war, and whispers of peace. The triumph of good, and the uprising of evil. The joy of life, and the pain of death. The immolation of beauty, and the rebirth from ash. Truly inspiring, insightful passages. And now they were over, she thought, though she wasn’t sure what prompted it. Bella’s sister said she had to go, and that she loved her. She even said there was someone else in the grove tonight, something she hadn’t seen before. This whole time, the darkness and the pain had been building inside of Bella’s confused mind, though she was certain she saw the truth past the confusion. The dread continued to crescendo to a climax, and then… Peace. Anger. Determination. Sorrow. Her Lily had been trampled, and someone was going to pay.

No sooner than she had this thought, she felt, as much as heard, a powerful clap of thunder, and it was like something had rushed out the atmosphere of the room to no place in particular. She heard the rain began to hammer down out of nowhere, and knew by the fading scent of her sister’s homemade perfume that she had been carried to whatever was next. She was safe, and the storm had begun.