Welp, here we go:

Bittersweet Perfection

By: Lizzy Margaret

It's hazy, but I was in a city.

The buildings were made of shimmering glass with crystal detail. They came in all shapes, colors, and sizes and they glistened in the sunlight as I walked by. It was like a rainbow of glowing radiance.

The air itself smelt of fresh and crisp apples at the peak of its season but there were never any apple trees in sight. It was slightly chilly with the wind, but not cold enough for me to shiver.

When in the city, I walked around, as if on a mission, but I never knew where my destination was, no matter how hard I tried to think about it.

The ground I walked on was a combination of uneven cobblestone and crushed diamonds infused with glass to look like a tropical ocean, and how anyone could achieve the placid blue color was beyond me. It was smooth to the touch, like an almonds core.

I glanced around. The people of the city were in high spirits, laughing, singing, and talking so enthusiastically about anything and everything. Children played in the luscious green grass, flying kites and setting up a picnic. There was so much joy in the air, I could practically taste it. It was a refreshing taste, like sweet lemonade that puckered the tongue but went down smoothly.

My walk came to an abrupt stop as I encountered a small building with abstract architecture.

It reminded me of an ice fortress made of icicle spears and snow. The structure as a whole was a deep red that matched the ruby ring I wore that my grandmother once gave me as a child. Thick pillars of crimson cylinders started at the base of the structure and slanted together to create sharp spears, piercing the clouds.

The space it took up was no bigger than the size of an elevator lift. It was so much smaller than the other tall skyscrapers within the city, yet it was the most impressive structure there. People stopped walking and looked at the building as if it were a castle, holding unobtainable regency and I could have sworn that some people bowed slightly before continuing with their agendas.

The small fort looked threatening yet welcoming all at once and I couldn't help myself. Curiosity consumed me as I walked inside.

I was almost knocked off my feet at the sudden decline of stairs that greeted me. It looked dark as I glanced down the steep staircase but dim red lighting seeped from the crimson walls and illuminated each stair enough for me not to trip. I followed the stairs before approaching a hallway that was the same scarlet shade as the fort's exterior.

Brightness glowed off the walls with no true source of light as if one constant bulb was just splattered all across the walls behind a thin layer of scarlet fabric, tinting the space a light red. It was such a strange feeling, going from a colorful city above me to such a deep, dark, morbid hallway that looked to be fit for a more hellish location.

I followed the hallway with narrow, glowing walls until my feet started to ache. When I stopped walking for a moment, I heard voices within the walls but there was no doorway or other halls extending in any other direction. I was completely alone.

So where were the voices coming from?

I picked up my speed, ignoring my aching feet and looked all around me as I went. The faster I moved, the louder the voices got. They were muttering nonsense. Words I couldn't understand were pooling into my ear drums and hammering against them until it made my skull throb.

I rounded a corner of the hallway and raced at an inhuman speed toward a door that rested at the end of the narrow space. It was a large wooden door made of dark brown material. A golden, seemingly freshly polished handle rested to the side of it as I gripped it tightly.

The moment my hand made contact with the door knob, though, the loud murmurs in my ears ceased to exist. The silence was a welcoming blanket that covered me and sent a satisfying chill down my spine. I took a deep breath in appreciation.

The door creaked open slowly and loudly as I pulled it open. Haunting creaks of rusty hinges filled my abused ears but I continued opening it anyway.

Darkness greeted my eyes. Pure, dreading, heavy darkness. My hands instinctively snapped out in front of me to feel for any obstacles in my way. My hands were barely visible only two feet in front of me and even the dim red lighting of the hallway barely let enough brightness into the room to see beyond the first two inches of space.

The ground was soft and I assumed it was carpeted. The hall echoed my steps with shallow 'click's, but it seemed the darkness ate up everything else; including sight.

I took two steps deeper into the dark room and tried to feel around for things inside. Anything that could help me figure out where to go from here. The darkness left an unsettling feeling in my stomach and my head was still pounding.

I wanted to leave; then more than ever.

I turned around on one heel, catching the slight glimpse of the shallow red lighting from the halls. I'd suffer through another hour of painful walking and haunting voices if it meant I could see sunlight again.

I made a dash for the door, and only being three feet inside the room, it was a surprise when the door handle, millimeters from my grasp, slammed shut on its own accord and somehow managed to push the meaty wooden door closed. A mocking 'click' confirmed my arousing suspicions of being a victim of the room's darkness.

I slammed my fist into the door. I needed to get out. My hands fogged into the darkness as the shape of them blurred into the darkness of the door. I couldn't see my feet, I couldn't even tell if my eyes were open or closed at this point either. Everything was just so damn dark.

My back pressed against the hard surface of the wooden door. I was facing the room and I couldn't even tell how big it was. I gripped its threshold and skimmed my hands along the wall, silently hoping, begging, for a light switch or some way to tell where I was and what kind of a place I was just locked into.

My stomach churned with fear and worry. Not too long ago, I was on top of the world, admiring so many breathtaking buildings, but now I was locked in complete and utter darkness. I felt nauseous just thinking about what was going to come next.

The worst part of the situation was that I didn't know what was going to happen next. There could be other people silently lurking in the darkness of the room and I wouldn't even know it. It was pin drop silent and I was starting to lose it. I clapped on occasion, just to keep myself calm and aware that it wasn't my ears that were losing life, but the cursed room I was concealed in.

I took a shaky step forward once again. It was clear that the only direction left for me to go was deeper in. I shuffled the soles of my feet close to the ground in case I stepped on or bumped into anything, but there were no obstacles in the room the further I walked.

I didn't get far since three steps after I start my cautious journey, my foot catches on something hard and sharp and I go tumbling to the ground. I slam my hands out in front of me. I didn't know what my foot hit but it was big, I didn't want it to hit my head or get some kind of severe injury. Luckily, my hands fell to the semi-carpeted floor as I take a deep breath to steady my breathing and my pulsing heart.

As I pulled my hands back to my face, a sickening sopping sound greeted my ears. My clapping ceased to exist as I pressed my hands together, feeling the thick and sticky substance sink into my palms.

I told myself it was water. I wanted to keep the sane half of my mind from falling over the edge, but my shaking body and rapidly beating heart betrayed my weak facade. I brought my hands to my nose. A metallic copper smell flooded my nostrils and a gagging spit rose through my throat. I could taste the heavy smell of it and it left me with tearing eyes. A piercing call was ripped from my throat as I realized where I was. Darkness was no longer an issue for me.

I looked around again. I couldn't see the walls, but I could feel them closing in on me. They were enfolding upon themselves at an agonizingly slow rate. I knew there was nowhere to go. Nowhere to run. It sounded stupid and weak, but at that moment, I stopped. I stopped panicking. I stopped screaming; I froze. What else was there to do? I couldn't escape the inevitable, no matter how much I tried.

The last I saw of my perfect city was darkness. A crimson darkness that sizzled at the touch. It was cold and haunting and never seemed to stop following me.

Now I can only see white.

Brightness seeps into my line of sight no matter how opposed I am to it and it is so overpowering, I can never swat it away.

I can only see white as my hands are in a lock by my sides and my back is cushioned against the walls around me.

That's all I can see.

Four walls with a padded surface and blinding white lights. My apparel matches the porcelain space as my hands are forced to loop my stomach tightly. There is no way to escape the overbearing brightness and sometimes, I feel like there is no need; I can still simmer over the memories I hold about my city, even if the thought is ripening into a bittersweet one.

There we go. Lemme know what you think!