Choose Your Own Adventure Part 5

Here we are on the fifth installment of Eva’s Story. For previous installments, go here. I invite you to share the story with your friends on your social media. The more people get involved, the more fun we have! Also, I would love to hear what you think of the story so far. Also, we need a title! Share your thoughts and title ideas in the comments with me!

Here we go:

compass rose on parchment surrounded by parts of Eva's riddle. I don’t answer, but he doesn’t stop. “When you gave up your freedom to save your father, you tied yourself to the book. If the book dies, you die. If you die, the book dies. I will warn you that you cannot kill yourself. Oh no. While you are not immortal, what you now possess is a close second. You can only be killed after you kill the purest of souls. Then you are welcome to do anything to yourself that you wish.”
I gape at the creature, my heart pounding. I can’t murder another person.

“Is there no other way?” I ask.

“You can choose not to murder the purest of souls. The evil inside you will grow, and you will murder far more harmless souls than you wish to. So you have two choices. Kill one or kill many…”My eyes fill with tears as I drop my head in defeat. “Where is this pure one? I can’t risk the lives of many to save one.”

“Perfect!” The horrid creature claps his hand in delight. My stomach burns, and I wonder if that last crust of bread I ate is going to come up. Still, I face him, bile still churning in my stomach. Somewhere beyond the nausea determination takes hold.

“I promise you,” I say. “Somehow, I am going to kill you. Before my life is over, I will end yours.”

“Yes, well,” he picks up the book and puts it in my arms. “Let me just tell you this isn’t the first time I’ve heard that.”

“It will be the last.”

“And I’ve heard that too. Here’s a clue to finding the purest of hearts.”

Cardinal is considered sin, and with cardinal, one is lost.

Yet Ordinal defies the ordinary, and when ordinary is defied, one is found.

In chaos, there is peace, yet in peace, chaos reigns.

Your heart lies somewhere without direction/

Chaos is the light that will reveal the map.

So seek what is unseen, hear what is unheard,

for until you lose yourself in these, you will never find

what can’t be found.

“In chaos there is peace, and one is found when defying ordinary? That doesn’t help at all.”

“Solve the riddle.” He waves his hand and the book opens, the riddle filling the first page. “I’ll leave you with that. Come find me after you’ve destroyed the purest of hearts, if you dare, and I’ll let you try to kill me.” He chuckles then disappears.

I study the words in the book. Cardinal is sin, ordinal defies the ordinary. My brain fires random thoughts. I’m nothing like ordinary. I’m a murderer. I defy ordinary by existing. Cardinal is sin. I’ve already committed sin. I am already lost. I’m lost, yet not ordinary. When ordinary is defied, one is found. Cardinal. Ordinal. Cardinal….

I squeeze my eyes shut, forcing my brain to make sense of the chaos. In chaos, there is peace, yet in peace, chaos reigns. I feel no peace inside my chaos. None. Thoughts fly faster. Cardinal is a bird. It’s more than a sin. But birds don’t get lost. They follow their inner direction. Birds follow direction. Cardinal is also direction. Ordinal defies the ordinary. Ordinal defies ordinary direction!

My eyes fly open and I flip the pages to the middle of the book, watching as my thoughts form a picture on the page in front of me. A circle leaks onto the paper, bleeding into the fibers. The circle is split into quarters with two lines. On the end of each line, a letter appears. N, S, E, W. Cardinal directions. It’s a compass rose.

I set the book on the ground, walking around and around it. Where is North?

“Point North,” I command the book. It rises, turning until the N points in a new direction. Then it drops to the ground.

“Okay,” I mutter. “Ordinal directions are not cardinal directions. They are the directions between.”

As I speak, more lines and letters bleed onto the page. Smaller lines that break the circle into eighths. By these lines the letters SW, SE, NW, NE rise.

Ordinal directions.

“Which one of these do I follow?” I pick up the book, studying the page. I know now to go in one of four directions, but that doesn’t help much.

In chaos there is peace, and chaos is the light that reveals the map. Chaos is the light. I glance at my hand. Magic shoots across the surface, arcing out and then in, swirling away before breaking into a million pieces, only to be absorbed into my hand once more.

My heart lies somewhere without direction. In chaos, there is peace.

Trembling, I bring my hand to my heart. The chaos stills, the magic absorbs into my body, and a warm trickle stems from my heart, pulsing in my veins, surging through my limbs.

When I pull my hand away, it glows with a strong light, no longer chaotic but peaceful. The magic churns inside me, tumbling into the deepest parts of my being. Trembling, I hold my hand over the compass rose. I can’t do this for long. I cannot control the magic inside. It’s growing, roiling, a colorless mass consuming me.

The moment the light from my hand hits the book, the letters on the page fade. All that’s left is NW. Northwest.

I drop the hand, exhausted. I know where to go. Slowly the magic seeps from my body, back to the hand, where it swirls and jumps once more. A constant reminder of the chaos I can create, of the destruction I am capable of.

Angry, I clench my hand in a fist, balling it under my shirt to hide the reminder. It does no good. Even if I can’t see the magic, I can feel it crawling over, under, and inside my skin.

Stooping, I pick up the book, slamming it shut. Whether I like it or not, I have to keep this thing with me. Before leaving, I glance back at my father’s body. Regret and sorrow prick at my heart. Without bidding, my eyes fill with tears. I miss him, but it’s my fault he’s gone. I realize I can’t just leave him. I have to bury him.

You must leave him. The words whisper in my mind, but they’re not my words. I clutch the book. Is it talking to me now?

“I can’t leave him,” I say. “He deserves to have his body honored.”

You will regret it.

“Why?”

Trust me.

“I don’t trust you. You’re the reason he’s gone.”

The voice in my mind chuckles. I am just a book.

“And yet here I sit having a conversation with you.”

Sometimes, what we perceive to be crazy, isn’t.

“Shut up.” I step toward my father, glancing at his still form. I won’t leave him this way.

Stop! The word shrieks and I buckle over.

“What?” I cry, clutching my head. It throbs angrily.

Trust me! Don’t do this. It’s time for you to leave this place.

“What will happen if I don’t?”

I do not read the future. I do not know. But danger is coming. If you leave, you may avoid it. If you stay, you will have to face it.

I gaze at the book, then at the body.

Do I leave his body open to become food for the birds?

Or do I ignore the book’s warning and face whatever danger it believes is coming?

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