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An Excerpt from 'The Emblem'

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The hallway was empty. She slipped through the doorway and began to walk down the hall. The only sound she could hear was the soft patter of her feet. She reached a corner and paused. She pressed herself to the wall and peeked around the corner. No one in sight. She rounded the corner and continued walking. Thud. She froze. Her heart thumped madly. This is it, she thought. They’re gonna kick me out into the streets of gosh-knows-where-I-am and pretend it was all some big mistake. She slowly turned around. Not 3 feet from her face was a dead end…right where the wall used to be.

Blood pounded through her ears. I was wrong, she thought. They’re locked me up in a mad house and want to watch me slowly lose my sanity…whatever’s left of it.
Click.

She whirled around. A volley of arrows whistled towards her. She brought her hands up to protect her face and braced herself for the pain that would surely come. She waited. Nothing. She lowered her hands. The arrows lay in a charred mass in front of her. She began to run.

She sprinted down the hall and took a left, her mind racing. Why? What did they want her to prove? That she was completely lost? That she didn’t know what to do? And why the heck didn’t those arrows shred her to ribbons? Well, either way she was probably going to be dead in a minute or two. She stopped dead as the floor began to give way ahead. She looked around, then frantically made a right. Suddenly, a strong grip enclosed her and lifted her from the floor. She looked down and watched as vines encompassed her whole body, wrapping her like a cocoon. She began to mindlessly gasp for air that would not come.

Her vision began to go blurry. She couldn’t feel her arms or legs. This it it, she thought. I am going to die. She shivered. Who knew dying could be so cold? She tried to remember what the sun felt like. Warmth. She could feel the sun caress her icy fingertips. She smelled smoke. Her eyes flew open. Smoke? She looked down at her vine-encased body. The vines were smoking and burning against her bare skin. She imagined she saw flames creeping throughout the vines. She gasped and fell to the ground, landing in the heap of smoking black vines.

Her heart pounded and her head spun. She got up and staggered down the hall. Then the whole building began to tremble.

She screamed as the floor fell from underneath her.



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