Happy Thanksgiving everyone! May you have a cozy, well lit place to hold up against the these growing winter nights. As for me, I’ll enjoy some homemade pumpkin pie.
Apparently, I really suck at this NaNoWriMo thing. It’s almost the end of November and I’ve barely written a thing. I’m really trying to improve, I swear! Hopefully, this installment will make a good peace offering.
“Wuh-we’re trapped!” Eva cried. Distressed, she sped to the jackal’s side, terrified that they could become separated. She felt like such a chicken clinging to him at the first sign of trouble when only moments before she had thought about ditching him.
“Anubis, what’s happening?” she asked.
“There’s no need to panic,” he said with slight annoyance. “It’s just a minor hindrance you’ve built yourself. You just need to solve it.”
“Solve it? I built it?” Eva asked. She studied the walls with a quizzical look. Was it just her, or were the walls closing in again? Perhaps she was claustrophobic after all. “Why would I stop myself when all I want is to get out and go home?”
“I’ve seen this quite often,” Anubis explained with the assurance and ease of an expert. “It’s almost always because a soul is not ready to face their demons. We may be stuck here for awhile until you are.”
Eva spun to face Anubis directly. “Uh, hello! I’m on a deadline – literally!” she said, “I have to be ready now. Just tell me what I have to do!”
“I commend you for your determination,” Anubis said, “but it’s not that easy. Generally speaking, souls don’t like to confront their darker qualities. They either pretend these aspects don’t exist, or try to excuse them somehow.”
Eva could feel her frustrations rising to the surface again. “What’s your point?” she asked impatiently.
“My point is that you’re afraid of confronting something about yourself; something that drew you here to begin with. You must acknowledge that there is something dark in your nature.”
Eva was about to object to his suggestions once more, but stopped as she knew that arguing with him wasn’t going to solve anything. Denial was the problem here; acceptance meant progress. Yes, she was young and committed no major sins, but that didn’t mean she hadn’t made mistakes – even if she couldn’t remember what they were. She started to feel her curiosity winning out in her mind. What offenses, if any, could have brought her here? What could she possibly be afraid to find out?
“I’m not scared Anubis,” she finally said, “Arriving in hell should be like when the police arrest someone: I should know the charges against me.”
Anubis smiled. “Perhaps that will offer some answers” he said, pointing to a spot behind Eva with an outstretched paw.
Eva followed Anubis’ direction to find a dark spot on one of the bricks in a low section of the wall. Crouching, she saw that it was something legible. Two words: ‘Destruction Ice’ written in shaky pencil writing.
“Well, that’s fan-fucking-tastic…” Eva sighed. “Just what the hell is ‘Destruction Ice’ supposed to mean anyway?”
“I assume you will be finding out shortly,” Anubis replied with a casual shrug. “It seems to be your only clue.”
“Whatever,” Eva said as she turned to reexamine the etched brick again. She started running her fingers over the stone, trying to determine what to do next. As the pencil-lead letters smudged under her fingers, Eva thought as hard as she could. Slowly, it started to dawn on her that the phrase was a familiar one.
“Isn’t this supposed to be part of a poem?” Eva thought aloud, “I think it also talked about fire.”
“I believe I know the one you refer to,” Anubis said, “Written by a poet called Frost wasn’t it? It’s a good, well known one; often taught to students.”
“I guess…” Eva lamely replied. She really couldn’t say. English was her worst subject in school. To her it had always been a bunch of fake characters spouting the opinions of dead writers that didn’t matter anymore. The living, breathing people in her class always had more important things to say anyway. Still, recalling those few details had surprised even her. If they were a part of this puzzle they probably meant something important. If only she could remember what it was about!
Anubis spoke as if reading her mind, “I suggest you think about what it means to you.”
Eva almost squeezed her eyes shut trying to draw out the distant memory. “I remember…she said it was supposed to be about emotions…Like being hot-tempered was what we think of as the most hurtful, but to be cold and indifferent to people can be just as-”
Her train of thought could not be finished as the scribbled brick sunk deep into the wall on its own, and the entire brick edifice came crashing down.