Bianca Pritchard 2017
She felt her heart beat pounding in her chest, wind roaring in her ears as she fell. The formless cloaked figures loomed ominously above the cliff edge, watching her attentively. Their faces devoid of any emotion, their smiles wide, the ethereal forms barely visible in the sunlight. Her tattered sky-blue dress stained as blood oozed out of her cuts and wounds, the marking on her shoulder signifying royalty. The leader of the creatures craned its neck downwards as it spoke to its acquaintances, croaking out butchered English as it clutched the pocket watch in its hand securely, an insignia engraved on it. The creatures bowed down in adherence, the leader’s black cloak blowing in the breeze; the intricate patterns blazed golden in the warm sunshine. Her vision blurred as tears fell from her eyes, her hands clasped firmly in a fist, the cold chains bound around her wrists and legs tight against her slim frame.
Her head throbbed painfully as the incessant chiming of a clock resonated loudly in her ears.
She felt the creatures pierce her soul. Their eyes, unblinking as they penetrated her core. Searching inside of her for the last bit of hope that might have resided inside of her. She felt her hands shake uncontrollably. Her voice went hoarse as she cried out in pain; a deafening scream erupting out of her throat as the cloaked figures tore her soul apart.
She felt an overwhelming feeling of emptiness sink in. All of her apprehension, agony, panic, and fear vanished. Her emotions, feeling, and insecurities evaporating as her shredded soul began to dissipate into the air.
Her eyes clouded over, their hazel colour paled, becoming a dim, murky blur. The world around her darkened, colours faded to a bland, dull grey. Her memories became distant, unreachable. Her name, her father, the cloaked figures and her kingdom: forgotten. Her arm started dispersing, dissolving into a shadow like substance. She barely noticed as the tip of a cloak disappeared over the edge, the apparitions trailing behind the leader obediently.
Her jaw clenched shut as her body slammed into the freezing, murky water.
Everything was silent except for the repetitive ticking of the clock.
She squeezed her eyes closed as she was plunged into a black, endless abyss. She felt water flood her lungs, the stone heavy as she sank deeper into the frigid and icy water, blood flowing out of her wounds.
She felt herself close to unconsciousness; her head ached, throbbing as the monotonous sound of the clock vibrated inside her skull.
She wanted the pain to stop.
A soft blue glow radiated from her right shoulder and the emblem on the pocket watch. The black cloaked shadow dropped the glowing timepiece on the floor, distraught as its hand turned into a solid human fist. It screeched a harrowing sob, the followers watched intrigued as their leader collapsed on the floor, writhing in pain.
She wanted the ticking to stop.
The world began to slow, the brilliance of the light growing in intensity as she sank further and further.
She needed everything to stop.
The timepiece crumbled to dust, an unnerving silence settling over the world as the ticking of the clock ceased. She stopped sinking, her heartbeat had paused, her lungs froze, the pain disappeared, her body stiffened.
She had stopped time.
The wind had stopped wailing, waves had stopped crashing roughly against the shore, a dead leaf that drifted slowly to the shadow dappled glade paused, the fluttering of a bird’s wings halted mid-flight and her father and the formless creatures stood unwavering on the cliff. Everything was still, yet her consciousness continued to race as her memories and emotions returned.
Her name was Anne.
Her father was the leader of the shadows.
She was the Queen and last heir of the royal bloodline.
As soon as the hand on the clock unfreezes, her heart will beat for the final time.
She was going to die and she could do nothing about it.
She felt a sickening feeling settle in her stomach as she felt her the realisation hit her. She felt rising panic overwhelm her, she wanted to kick, to cry, to scream, yet she was stuck, unmoving, at the edge of death. No matter how long she waited, nothing was going to change. The setting sun was stuck in the sky, the towns people stood lifelessly, unblinking, and the sound of laughter in the air was replaced with a jarring silence. She hesitated as fear plagued her heart, death looming imminent above her. She willed for time to continue, and as a bright blue light faded, her father stumbled onto his feet, a blade of grass shuddered in the breeze, the moon hung above the ocean and the ticking of the clock resumed.