I posted Betrayed as the prequel to Infinity without even realizing Infinity wasn't up here yet! Oh, I'm stupid… And by the way, I haven't forgotten about Mercy. Well, I have. Sort of. I just remembered it now. An update is in progress. Yay. But anyway, I present to you a story from a concept that's been in my head for ages. Fiction lovers, aspiring authors, and dreamers of dreams everywhere, I present to you Infinity.
As Claudia ran farther, the living trees around her were slowly replaced with withering ones. Before she knew it, she was in a dead forest. It was like she was getting closer to something. Something that was killing them. But she didn't have any time to think about that now. She had to keep running. Something was after her. She didn't have time to get a good look at them, really. She wasn't even sure she saw them. But she felt them there. She didn't know what they were or what they wanted. All she knew was that she had to run. But it looked like she wouldn't be able to do that much longer once she saw the towering wooden gate covered in thorny vines, seemingly a thousand miles across.
Claudia was now cornered. And she could now see someone running towards her. She tore a piece of the vines off of the gate. The thorns would make nice weapons. She knew she couldn't win this, but she refused to go down without a fight.
Claudia dropped her weapon as the figure got closer. This wasn't what was chasing her. It was a boy with jet black hair, probably about a year younger than she was. Without a word, the boy took Claudia's hand, turned the other way, and ran.
"We're going towards them!" Claudia told him. The boy shook his head.
"Where are you taking me?" Claudia asked. But the boy said nothing; he simply kept on running. Claudia ran with him, desperately hoping that he was saving her life.
Claudia found herself in total darkness. She heard birds chirping in the distance. At first she thought that this was where the boy may have taken her. But soon it came to her.
It had been this way ever since Claudia was three years old. Eleven years later, she still hadn't gotten used to it. She'd just woken up from a dream, where, as always, it was different. Every morning, Claudia would forget the way things were in the real world. She was blind.
It was an odd experience, wandering around in broad daylight and then waking up in pitch black. Having to learn how to be blind all over again. And odder still were the dreams she would have. For two months now, she'd been having that same dream every single night. Every time Claudia fell asleep, she'd be hunted down by seemingly no one, and then supposedly rescued by the boy. Not once did he speak to her.
Claudia wasn't an idiot. She knew that when someone had the same dream over and over again, it meant something. But was there any way she could figure out what her dream was trying to tell her? It wasn't as if she knew anyone who could interpret it. Claudia's mother was overprotective. And when the blindness took its toll, things only got worse. Claudia never left home without her mother, meaning she had to be home schooled. Being home schooled meant less opportunities to meet other people. That in itself was a problem, but in Claudia's case, the worst thing about it was that no one could explain the dream to her.
Claudia sat up in her bed and put her feet on the floor. Birds meant morning. She had to get herself out of bed before her mother did it for her. Claudia felt around for the radio and turned it on to find out what time it was. An eerie kind of song finished playing, and an announcer said it was 7:45 in the morning. Normally Claudia would go right back to sleep as soon as she found out it was this early on a Saturday morning, but not this time. She was in no hurry to go back and be chased down again.
I wonder if Dad would know what it means, Claudia thought to herself. But there was no way of knowing. Claudia was only a month late to meet him. There was an accident… It wasn't something Claudia liked to think about… She'd seen pictures of him years ago, but by now she'd forgotten his face completely. She wished that just once, she could have heard his voice. Claudia never forgot a voice…
But he was gone. And whenever Claudia tried to imagine him… She couldn't.
"I'll be back in an hour to take you home," Claudia's mother said for at least the fifth time.
"I know," said Claudia not so patiently.
"If you need anything, they're all doctors!"
"I'll be fine, Mom."
"Just stay right in that chair the whole time and you'll--"
"MOM!" Claudia interrupted, quickly regaining her normal volume, "This is a hospital. They have safety precautions here for people who are trying to get hurt. And you know that job you have? You should go to that now."
"Right, I'm leaving now," said Claudia's mother, also for the fifth time, "And all the phones here have Braille writing on them, so call me if you need anything!"
Claudia gave an exasperated sigh. Surely not all mothers were like this. This time, though, she really did leave. Claudia could tell by the odd shuffly footsteps that belonged only to her mother fading away in the distance.
This was one of the only times that Claudia was being left without someone officially supervising her. She had taken some of her schoolwork with her, but she knew she wouldn't get anything done. She'd just sit there, hoping and praying that Jerry would wake up.
Jerry was one of the only people that Claudia really knew outside of her family. In fact, Claudia had known him all her life. In a way, he wasn't really outside of her family at all. Right now Jerry was in his early twenties. But when they'd met, Claudia was just a baby, and Jerry was barely ten. He'd been taking care of her all her life when her mother couldn't… Like her father would have. That was why Claudia could never imagine him. Whenever she tried, all that came to mind was Jerry.
There was a time, though, when Claudia wanted no connection between the two of them. That was when she found out just what the accident was… Jerry was involved. He was just a kid; it wasn't really his fault, but… In a way, he caused it. And Claudia had hated him for it. A few days later, Claudia's mother had practically forced her to confront him. They were walking outside, and Claudia had gotten upset and run off… It had turned out it was right in the middle of the street. Jerry had pushed her out of the way of a car and taken the hit. Claudia was fine, but for the past two months since that had happened, Jerry had been in a coma.
Sometimes she heard the doctors saying that Jerry may be in a permanent vegetative state. But Claudia refused to believe that. Every day, she would come and sit by his hospital bed, hoping that the constant beeping of the heart monitor would be replaced with his voice. But two months had gone by. Still he slept. Still Claudia couldn't tell him she forgave him… And she couldn't ask for his forgiveness in return.
At first Claudia tried talking to him. But after the sixth day, it hadn't changed a thing. So she'd just sit there, trying to think of what she would say to him when he woke up. So far, nothing could really make up for how cruel she'd been to him.
An hour passed. Claudia waited for her mother to shuffle up to her, flooding her with questions like, "Did you get up without me?" "Are you broken anywhere?" "Did you need any help from a doctor?" et cetera. But five minutes later, no one came. Usually Claudia's mother would come a half hour earlier than she had planned, because she'd be worried about some random thing that no one else would ever have thought of. But this time she was late. Claudia stood up and put her books together; her mother was probably stuck in traffic. Claudia would have liked to stay with Jerry a while longer, but that wouldn't help him. So she'd wait for her mother outside. This would be a good way to prove that yes, she could walk down a hallway, press some buttons on an elevator, walk out the front door, and sit on a bench all by herself. This wasn't something Claudia's mother had quite grasped.
Claudia had been to this hospital many times before, with and without someone guiding her. She knew it well enough to find an elevator easily. But after pushing the button a few times, a voice behind her told her that it was out of order.
"You'll have to use the stairs," said the woman, "Do you need any help?"
"Thanks," said Claudia, "I'll be fine." Claudia appreciated the kind offer, but it was a little irritating to have people helping her with everything. Luckily the woman didn't protest. Generally, hospital people understood these things. Claudia took hold of the handrail and made her way down.
One slip of the foot was all it took.
As Claudia felt herself tumbling down, she prepared to return to her forest again. She was certain she would be there for a while.
Little did she know there was so much more to it than that.
It's always difficult to get someone's attention with the first chapter… My brother says it worked, but perhaps that's because I already explained the plot to him as soon as I got this idea… Do you have a good idea of what's gonna happen next? I'll give you a hint: The last line of this story is not just going to be "And then she woke up." That'd be really disappointing.