Night Terrors of the Darkest Kind
Fyora let out a scream as she was jolted from her sleep. Her back was as stiff as a board as she sat up. Her chest heaved with every pant as she felt the sweat rolling down her face. She slowly began to lift herself up out of the bed as her eyes adjusted to the faint lights of an Altadorian night filtering in through the window. With long, determined strides she made her way to the bathroom.
As she threw open the door to the bathroom and flipped a switch on the wall, her body relaxed slightly. Though there was no warmth emanating from the electric lights imported from Neopia Central, the comfort of the lights made her feel as if she had finally emerged from a cave into the bright sunlight. She made her way to the sink and stared into the mirror hanging above it. If she hadn’t been staring into that mirror every night when the terrors struck, she would be shocked at her appearance.
Her stately cheekbones had become hollow and her ivory skin had began to yellow and grey at the same time. The circles underneath her eye had begun to look almost as if she had been struck in the face. Her hands shook as she reached up for the mirror to open the cabinet it hid. Once it was open, she grabbed a bottle of tablets which King Altador had personally bought for her in Neopia Central. She closed her eyes as she opened the bottle and instinctively poured out the right number of pills. She popped them into her mouth and gently closed the mirror. With one hand she turned on the faucet and filled her cupped hand with enough water to send the tablets down her throat. In one fluid motion she pulled her hand to her face and almost threw the water into her mouth.
She slowly opened her eyes and stared at herself in the mirror again when it happened.
With neither a flash nor a dimming of the lights, The Betrayer was in the place of Fyora in the mirror.
Fyora let out a shriek as she backed away from the mirror.
“Oh Fyora!” The Betrayer cackled, “Taking tablets made for neopets? Is that what you are now? A neopet?”
Fyora backed up against the wall, pressing her palms against the tiles as if she would float into space if she couldn’t grasp on hard enough.
The Betrayer’s body materialized as she stepped through the wall and into the bathroom. The Betrayer smirked as Fyora began to slide down the wall in fear.
Her body was ethereal. Fyora could see the sink and the mirror even with the Betrayer standing before them. If Fyora were to reach out her hand to touch The Betrayer, she would feel nothing. However, when The Betrayer reached to touch her, Fyora could feel the pressure of her hand and the cold, icy feeling of complete and utter terror.
“Do you know what happens to a dark faerie when you leave them in darkness, Fyora?” The Betrayer moved in closer. Fyora’s body began to violently shake as her body began to chill. The Betrayer’s smirk became a maniacal smile, “Do you know what happens when a dark faerie can’t use their powers? They store their magic, Fyora. Their power grows and grows.”
Fyora began to scream as loudly as she could, praying that King Altador could hear her. Tears streamed from her eyes, partially from the terror and partially from the pain in her throat from long nights of screaming.
“Don’t you know where you are, Fyora?” The Betrayer cackled, “You’re hidden so no one can see you. No one can know you’re here.” The Betrayer put one hand under Fyora’s raised chin and whispered, “No one can hear you.”
Fyora jerked her head away from The Betrayer’s hand and continued to scream. The Betrayer backed away from Fyora and gently positioned herself so that it appeared as if she were perched upon the sink. As Fyora’s body began to warm, her screams slowly lowered in volume. Once her screams ended, she slowly turned her gaze to The Betrayer. Her expression of terror slowly transitioned into one of indignation.
“It’s not your psychosis, sister.” The Betrayer hissed, “I’m here.”
“How can you be here?” Fyora whispered, her voice hoarse, “You’re not here.”
“But I am, Fyora. Would you rather believe it to be psychosis? Would you really rather it be that?” The Betrayer cackled, “Imagine what all of faeriekind would say if they found out why you were hidden in Altador!”
Fyora stared down at the floor. She didn’t want to believe she could imagine something that would keep her confined to a cottage in Altador. She didn’t want to believe she could imagine something that would leave her completely dependent on the kind will of King Altador. But as much as she wanted to refuse it was in her mind . . . she couldn’t accept that The Betrayer could haunt her. She wouldn’t accept it.
There was a long, drawn out silence. Fyora’s ringing ears slowly adjusted to the muted sounds of nature. Her breathing slowed as she closed her eyes and focused on the hums and chirps of the petpetpets in the fields around her cottage.
The Betrayer slowly slid off of the sink and knelt so that she was at eye level with Fyora. Fyora’s eyes shot open to stare into the Betrayer’s burning red eyes. Fyora whispered, “Where are you?”
The Betrayer stood and turned towards the mirror. She looked back at Fyora over her shoulder and smirked. There was another long silence as The Betrayer tortured Fyora with anticipation. The Betrayer finally taunted Fyora with one last parting phrase, “Wouldn’t you like to know?”
The Betrayer looked back towards the mirror and walked back into the wall. As soon as her body had disappeared, Fyora collapsed.
Fyora felt a warm pressure on her shoulder as her body was gently shaken. She slowly opened her eyes to see King Altador kneeling before her.
He had turned off the harsh electric lights to let the morning sun shine through the windows. Fyora opened her mouth to speak, but the King shook his head and gathered her nearly skeletal body in his arms. He stood and made his way to the kitchen where he sat her down on a bench. Fyora thought about how just a month ago she would protest. She thought about how two weeks ago she’d at least blush. She simply stared at the window.
King Altador sighed and looked down at the modern kitchen equipment he had bought for Fyora. He wanted to cook for her, but he could barely understand how any of the machines functioned. Instead, he grabbed some bread and held it out for her.
Fyora reached out for the bread and gently took it. Instead of biting into it, she simply stared at it. After staring at the bread for a few moments, Fyora whispered, “Altador . . . You’re my only friend.”
Altador knelt down before Fyora so that they were at eye level. He never knew how to respond to that.
“I can’t be friends with a faerie, because I am their ruler,” Fyora slowly rotated the bread in her hands, “I can’t be friends with most Neopians for some reason or another. But you’re special. You’re King Altador.”
King Altador put his paw on Fyora’s shoulder and stared into her eyes. Fyora began to cry as she threw herself against King Altador. He reflexively wrapped his arms around her and sighed. He whispered softly, “She came back?”
Fyora nodded. She blubbered through her tears, “You’re the only being I trust to know this. You’re the only being I can ever tell. You’re the only being who will ever know this.”
“But what will we do?” Altador slowly began to rock Fyora in an attempt to calm her, “You’ve been away from Faerieland for a month now. It’s just getting worse.”
“When others are around,” Fyora whispered, “I only see her in mirrors. I only see her in puddles. I only hear he laughter. She can’t touch me. She can’t talk to me. She just exists, watching me.”
“Then you would want others around you?” Altador pulled away from Fyora to look into her eyes, “But you said it’s getting worse. She stays for longer each night. She feels more real each night. I understand that you want no one around you, Fyora, because they might see her. They might see you being tortured by her.”
“But you know, Altador,” Fyora buried her face into Altador’s fur.
There was silence as Altador stared at the wall, thinking. He whispered, “Where do you think she’d never find you?”
Fyora looked up at Altador, his stray hairs stuck to her face. She bit her lip and whispered, “Would you take me there?”
“I would take you anywhere to keep you safe, Fyora,” Altador whispered back.
“Would you stay with me there?”
Altador slowly nodded.
“We can run away to anywhere no one knows us, Altador,” Fyora finally began to smile, “And we can run and run until she’s gone.”
“Fyora,” Altador smiled brightly, his teeth shining in the morning light, “I’ve heard Kreludor is beautiful this time of year.”