Chapter 105

Blaze a path, my Courage!” Electric heat resonated through Andie’s arm and out the tip of her sword – shooting bolts of golden orange light that exploded like fireworks. Their embers formed burning platforms in the sky. “That should get its attention…” A supernatural fear surged through Andie, splitting open cracks in her confidence. Cracks for doubt to slip in through.
Was Dyllan really stuck in his own mindscape? And if so, was attracting his Nightmare really the best way to reach him?
Andie shook her head.Thoughts like this popped up every time she spent her courage, but it didn’t matter. This was the only plan she had… and she needed to try something.
She needed to focus.
“This could all go horribly wrong…” Andie let all her fear, doubt, and insecurity pool within her, then took a deep breath. “But so what!? I’ve already made up my mind. Good idea, bad idea… I’m doing this.” She tightened her grip on her blade, and leapt up to the first of the burning platforms. Then on to the next one. Then the next. Within seconds she was miles above the platforms of the mindscape.
It only took a few seconds more for Dyllan’s Nightmare to spot her and fire a barrage of bullets. Andie wasn’t easy to hit though. She used her sword to form new platforms as she dove down towards the beast, bouncing between them to weave between the bullets.
In what felt like an instant, Andie had closed in on her prey. The Nightmare swung its knife up at her, but with a single clean motion she parried the strike and stabbed her weapon deep into the beast’s wrist. Using gravity and her downward momentum, Andie dragged her blade down through the monster’s forearm – tearing it out at the elbow.
Andie glanced back to admire her handiwork. But instead of the glowing cracks she’d expected – instead of the brittle shell of cynicism giving way to the hope underneath, there was nothing but a hollow gash in the Nightmare’s arm. A gash that had already begun to heal.


A note from the author ninja:

We see the darkness as a powerful monster, but it isn’t.

No matter how beastly hate and fear present themselves, they are, in the end, weak. They are weak, fragile, bitter, and sickly.

No one with even a shred of hope has ever killed themselves. As long as there is a flicker of light, a tiny shard of something worth fighting for, humans will stand and fight for it.

It is only when we lose sight of the light completely, when we become convinced we’ll never taste even a spark of real happiness… it is only then that the darkness can truly break us.

Even then, all it takes is the smallest of embers to light the black oil of despair aflame, to bring hope anew.

Be the match that lights the fire in the hearts of the scarred, the beaten, and the afraid.

Some people have been burned by hope that dies too easily, and turn away from a light that seems too good to be true – but if you stand with them until the end, and choose your words carefully, they will almost always learn to hope again.

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