Chapter 3

Written by: SameerNagarajan

"And what have you brought me today, my child?" the voice floated into Diandra’s dream, incongruent with the old woman she saw  in front of her …  silky white hair, translucent face, malevolent expression. 

Diandra reflected on the voodoo experiments with the doll. Yes, it does look like Sarah, she thought and the old woman knew at once.  

And then the crone went on to recount stories of earlier lives. When she was a queen and Diandra the princess .. next in line to the throne, but upstaged by the King’s mistress! In another life, Diandra, the foreteller of the destruction of civilisation  but condemned to frustration and eventual death, as the Empress did not listen even as the floods came and washed away the city. And the spirit of the mistress, the empress and Sarah one and the same … and now, she, Adorna, had returned to guide Diandra to kill the spirit one last time, with the finality that would ensure Diandra’s success for all time to come. 

Sleep, my child, said Adorna, your enemies shall die. The first step is eliminating Sarah not just from the skating competition, but from life.

At the other side of town, the lights in the hospital had been dimmed. Sarah slept fitfully, the sedatives altering the nature of her dreams. She was skating in an ice rink. The venue changed to the Olympics. Then she was figure skating at the local rink with her trainer, Nigel, smiling and challenging her to do one step better. 

She tried harder, barely conscious that the drug was immobilising her. 

Down the passageway, the nurse continued reading her novel, checking the monitors occasionally. Everything seemed ok, she thought, and turned a page. 

The door handle to Sarah’s room gently turned and the door slid open. Sarah saw with absolute clarity that Nigel was entering. She couldn’t move or speak, but she was certain it was him. 

He sat next to her and his eyes conveyed profound sorrow, making her question. His lips formed the words Diandra’s little doll, and she understood what he meant. 

With a blaze of light behind him, he disappeared, but not before leaving a small pendant in her hand. It was made of copper and had a dull shine that was visible even in the dimness of the night light in the room. She turned it in her hand feeling the image and visualising the kind spirit it evoked. 

Nothing will happen to you, Sarah,  as long as … the words formed in her mind. 

Before the sentence could complete, she noticed that the door, which Nigel had shut behind him, was opening again. A breeze suddenly blew through the room despite closed windows and doors. She shivered lightly in fear as she understood what this might mean. 

As the door opened, she took in the malevolent expression, white hair and translucent face. 

And how are you feeling now, my dear? came the unsmiling question.

Comments

Oh my goodness. How spooky and wonderfully creepy. You build up the tension and puts focus on the doll which gives it a life of its own. And as for Adorna (what a perfect name!) and Diandra's former lives. They make a perfect back story and gives the next writers plenty to work with. The thing that makes this chapter really work is that I, as a reader, believed everything that happened on the page. That's masterful storytelling and characterisation.
Oh, wow! This serial continues to get creepier and creepier. I love it. And i love the idea of the protective talisman that Sarah recieves. Well done, Sameer. So what happens next, i wonder?
Thank you both for your feedback!