I coughed and choked on my words. My eyes were red and sore from all of the tears rolling down my cheeks.
I had failed. Again.
Another day where I was not able to speak up about my feelings.
I cry silently so that my family doesn’t hear. They don’t need to worry about me. It will be better in a couple of days. At least, I hope.
I walk across my tiny room, to my desk. Where the tissue box lays. I grab one, hold it to my stuffy nose, and blow as hard as I can. My nose makes an awful noise. I pull the tissue away from my face, relieved from getting the snot out of my snout.
But, I don’t find snot on the tissue. I found glitter. Bright, pink glitter.
My mind fills with stress. What did I do? What did I do to get glitter in my nose? And how did I not notice it?
“I would throw that away if I were, glitter is quite the mess.”
I turn around quickly. The voice I hear is unfamiliar.
“Well, now you’re just getting it everywhere.” I laugh. I must be crazy. A boy, what I’m guessing to be my age, with red hair talks. His hair is long, and braided. That’s not the thing that is odd though, it's the fact that he has pointy ears, and a brown horn on the right side of his head.
“Who are you? What are you doing in my room?” I ask, panicking.
“The name’s Griffin. Nice to meet you. I’ve come to pick you up.” He said calmly.
“Pick me up? To where?” I ask, preparing to run out of my room in seconds and tell my family about the boy in my room.
“Well, that’s actually for you to decide. Don’t you recognize me, sweetheart? Gosh, I visited your dreams almost every single day.” He said, grinning.
My mind starts racing. I usually forget my dreams after I wake up, but now that he mentions it, I do remember him. A strange sense of nostalgia beams off of him. And I realize that I have indeed seen him. In my dreams. Me and him would go on adventures together and he would reassure me when I’m down that everything would be okay.
“You’re real?” I say, astonished. “Was I really dreaming then?”
“Well, yes. Clearly you were dreaming. Just like any other demon, I can go into people’s dreams.” He said, picking at his nails.
“That explains the horn.” I say, chuckling.
“Yeah, yeah.” He scoffs. “We have to hurry if we are going to make it in time.” He said, staring at me.
He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a stick. He waves into the air, and two doors appear on my bedroom floor.
“Pick one.” He said, putting the stick back. Rush went through me. I needed a break, and I did truly believe him. I knew him, and even if I was really crazy, I think it would be worth it.
Two doors lay before me. A lime green one, and a neon pink one.
I knelt down on the floor, and stared at Griffin before turning the handle. I’m going to pick the pink one.
I turn the handle, which just happens to be a skull. One of a very strange animals I’ve never seen before.
Warm air and mist comes up in my room, and I fall in. Wind gushes around me, and I see that I am falling. To the ground. I’m freezing in just my nightgown and I scream.
I see Griffin beside me, holding an umbrella. “Oh dear!” He shouts over the wind. “You didn’t pack an umbrella for the ride down?” He asks, staring at me in shock.
I return the stare.
“You’re crazy!” I scream. We will hit the ground soon.
“Thanks for the compliment!” Suddenly, Griffin flops back and wings spread from his back.
Brown and Black. Just like a hawk.
He flies over to me and puts me in his arms. He lands on the ground softly and safely.
He drops me and my bum hits the hard grass and dirt.
“Ow.” I mutter.
“Sorry about that. Next time you should bring your umbrella.” He says, his wings disappearing.
I don’t say anything.
“Well, now that we have landed, we should get you in your true form. It seems like you can do it yourself.” He says, sitting next to me.
“My true self?” I ask, still scared from the fall.
“Goodness, woman. It’s like you don’t know anything.” His words hurt me slightly. “Everyone has a true self! It’s you, but only in your true demon form.”
“Demon? I’m human as can be.” I spit back.
“Everyone has demons inside that they are hiding. Demons can be good things too. They can help you. Your true self is your best demon.” He nudges my shoulder. “Look at you, you're already transforming.”
I gasp and look at my hands. Claws. And my back. It feels fluffy.
My head hurts for a moment, then stops. It just feels heavier. I see the wings, close looking to Griffin’s, emerge from my back.
“Here you are.” He snaps his fingers and a mirror appears in his hands. He gives them to me.
I take the mirror.
It’s still me who stares at the other end of the mirror, I’m just so much more..colorful. I have hair that is now light purple, and my eyebrows too! My wings stretch far behind me and I have antlers too. They're not as long and pointy as Griffin’s, and I have more than one. I have three, to be exact. All of them being short and stubby.
I feel so much at ease. It feels as if I didn’t cry at all.
“Where are we?” I ask.
“The underworld, of course!” He shouts, grinning. Putting his hands on his wide hips.
“Am I dead?” I ask sarcastically.
He didn’t see it as a joke. “No, no.” He says quickly. “You’re here to meet someone.”
“Who?” I ask, surprised. Who on Earth would I meet here? But then again, I guess I’m not really on Earth anymore.
“Jeez, you’re one to ask lots of questions. And, for your information, I don’t know. You’re the one who sent me, so that you could find someone.” He says.
“But I didn’t do anything. I didn’t even know you existed until now.” I say, getting up. He does so also.
“Harsh.” He whispers under his breath. “And you did. You started crying and doubting yourself.”
I don’t answer him again, too confused with myself to even try.
“Know we better get you checked in. If you get lost, we won’t be able to find you again.” He said, too cheerfully.
I see him staring off into the distance. I turn around and see a huge, black building.
Bigger than the Empire State Building. I gasp, just like you would.
Griffin pats my back, directing me to the door. We walk to the entrance, the doors being made out of glass and steel.
Inside, there is only one desk and one person.
I turn around to see Griffin again, but he isn’t there. I look outside the doors, and there is no sign of him.
Hopeless, I walk to the desk.
A woman, most likely in her 20’s, sits there. Her hair is green, green. And is cropped like a 20’s movie star.
Mushrooms and fungus are growing from her hair and her ears. Did I mention her ears were pointy like an elves?
I clear my throat.
The madam looks up and whistles. Slowly.
“Wow-wee!” She says. Her voice sounds like a child’s voice. Not something I was expecting. “You must be new. You don’t look like the rest.” She says.
I ignore her. “Um, well, actually, you see.” I sigh and take a deep breath. “I have lost a friend. His name is Griffin, has red hair, and he is about ‘yay high.” I put a hand to my forehead.
“Haven’t seen anybody like that. You sure he isn’t imaginary?” She asks, pulling her hair out of her face. Her accent is rich and full of country.
“Imaginary? I haven’t had an imaginary friend since I was three. He brought me here. How would someone imaginary do that?” I ask, waiting for the answer I was hoping for.
“Well, darling. Imaginary people can do just about the same as me and you. Maybe even more.” She says, giggling to herself once again.
Not the answer I was hoping for.
“Well, now I’m in a real pickle.” I frown.
“Now, now. I can look him up in the system for you, if you’d like.” She offers.
“But, there must be thousands of people with the name Griffin! I only know his last name!” I counter.
“Honey buns, you have to be new! Everyone here has different names!” She says, giggling again.
“That’s impossible! There are too many people in the world!” I say it to myself, not her.
“Why, there’s only twenty billion people in the underworld!”
I don’t even try, instead I just walk out.
I hear her say, “I’ll put you in the system then! I assume your name is Stacy!”
How the heck did she know my name? Ridiculous.
I walk out to not find the beautiful flower filled field, but instead I find a wild jungle. And when I turn around, the building is no longer there.
I keep walking, yelling Griffin’s name. In my true form, I feel so good that I could never cry.
“Griffin, Griffin!” I yell so much that my throat hurts.
I hear gurgling in the distance, and freeze in my steps from horror. Who knows what might be in this jungle.
“Oh, I think someone is over here.” I hear a dark and scratchy voice say.
Two figures, a man and woman, jump from out of the bushes holding leather bags and clubs. No doubt about it, the figures before me are goblins.
I don’t have enough courage to scream.
Their green skin flaps every time they move. And they move closer to me. Their smell is absolutely awful.
“Hey there!” The male says. “Could you give us some coins? We seem to be at a loss.” He says, the lines at the edge of his mouth turning up.
“I-I don’t have any money.” I managed to get out.
“Oh, c’mon. Just cough it up!” He says.
I stand there for a few moments, when a strange sensation climbs up the back of my throat. The feeling being nothing close to good.
I feel the soft metal below my teeth and on my tongue, and I spit it out forcefully. Sure enough, three coins lay on the ground. I cough again, making sure there’s nothing else crawling up my throat.
My eyelids close down hard above my eyes and I swallow. It’s strange that ever since I have been here I have never had to go to the bathroom, drink water, rest, or eat.
I hear more rustling.
“Thanks, ma’am. It’s greatly appreciated.” The woman goblin says. I realize now that the rustling was footsteps.
I open my eyes after a few moments and see the coins gone. I blink tears from my eyes, scared of the world I am in.
And of course, when I do this, I am no longer in the jungle. I’m on a beach, with seagulls squawking and the ocean waves crashing near me.
The sand is very gritty, and is more big pebbles than sand. It hurts my feet.
“Griffin?” I yell. “Are you here?”
“You aren’t going to find anybody around here.” A voice says. An old lady, from the sound of it. British.
“In fact, I’m surprised you are here.” She says. “Why are you here?” She questions herself.
I turn in a full circle and find no one.
“Down here, dear.” It squeaks. She takes a deep breath. I look down and see a small human. A very small human. She has wings too, but they are silver and drenched with water. She is wearing nothing besides a piece of seaweed.
“Are you a pixie, or a fairy?” I ask, surprised at another magical creature.
She scoffs. “Those types of creatures are fools. I’m a nymph. Why do you think I was by the water?” She asks, glaring at me.
“Oh! Or do you not know that nymphs like the water?” She mocks.
“I’m well aware.” I say, looking away slightly.
I get straight to the point.
“Are you sure you haven’t seen someone? Maybe two people? I think I’m actually trying to find two people.” I ask, worried.
“People?!” She says, amused. “Have never seen one of those. But, I do know that the Demon Ball is tonight. Maybe whoever you are looking for is there.” She ventures, waving her hands around.
“And where can I find this ‘Demon Ball '?” I ask.
“In the water, as always. You just jump in.” She says. “You’re going to be late though. I would never show up to a party, especially the Demon Ball, late.” She purses her lips.
I cough and we sit there for a few seconds. “Well, I’m not you.” I finally say. “See you later...I guess.” I mutter as I start walking to the sea.
The cold water brushes up between my toes and causes them to get wet. I take two, no three, deep breaths and dive. Head first.
The water tastes like orange soda. It even fizzes and everything. Strange.
As I submerge, my outfit changes. I changed into one of the biggest dresses I have ever worn. It was light pink, purple, green, and blue. I had white fishnet leggings and white high heels.
Once I am out of the water, I can feel my hair. Big and up above my head. Ribbons hang from it.
I look around my surroundings. A gym, decorated in bright ribbons and balloons. Pop music plays in the background, ones that I have never heard and that are sung in a different language.
A boy, my age, walks toward me wearing an all yellow suit. He matches the decor perfectly. He has slick blonde hair. No antlers can be seen, but I do see the obvious tail that pops out of his suit. A lion’s tail.
“Would you like to dance with me?” He asks, looking straight into my eyes.
I feel bad. “I’m sorry, but I’m looking for someone.” I say, quietly and innocently.
“Who?” He asks, excited.
“Well, his name is Griffin-”
“Ah yes! He told me you would be here. He’ll meet you later.” He coughs, and before I can say anything, he says,”And, in the meantime, you could dance with me.” He coughs again.
I shrug. “Alright then.” I hope he isn’t lying.
He takes my hand, and I blush unexpectedly. None of the boys at my school would ever want to dance with me.
“Of course they would dance with you! And you should know that I am not lying.” I gasp, as he takes my waist and we start dancing.
He chuckles and grins. “I probably should have told you. I can read minds.” He said calmly.
I sigh. “Of course you can..” I whisper.
“You shouldn’t put yourself down like that. Sometimes your future husband is sitting right next to you.” He says.
I shake my head back and forth. “Things like that only happen in fairy tales. This is real life, we have to be realistic.”
He smiles still. “But, isn’t life a fairy tale? Heck, when I was alive, me and my wife had so many fun times together.”
“You’re dead?” I ask, amazed. He looks so young.
His smile still gleams. “This is the underworld, what would you expect?” He laughs to himself.
My eyes go wide. “How old are you?” I ask, afraid I might have asked too much. Apparently not.
“I believe this year I will be eighty six.” He says.
“Eighty six?! But, you look so young.” I say.
“Yes, but in the underworld you are your best self. At least, in your mind.”
“Is your wife here?” I ask, looking around.
He giggles. “Oh no, not at all! She’s still alive. I’m sure I’ll see her soon though. People don’t last forever.” He says, looking off into the distance.
The music ends. He walks away and waves “goodbye.”
“I bet you that Griffin is waiting for you!” He says, walking away even further.
He points to the ground. And there, sits the pink door.
I hear whispers and mutters all around me, and see a young boy walk up to me. He’s wearing blue trousers with a bow tie.
“For you, miss. You deserve it.” He hands me a key. It’s gold. And the handle, or the top, has a glowing red heart. Lined with gold.
I crouch down and put the key into the keyhole. Which just happens to be the skeleton's mouth.
It opens and the gust of winds surround me again.
“Goodbye! See you soon!” The boy says. I wonder if he is dead or not.
I jump in this time, not fall, and find myself back in my room.
“There you are, you sure took a long time.” A familiar voice says. Griffin.
I turn around and see him on my bed.
“There you are!” I yell, walking to him. “I’m sorry, but I don’t think I found the person I was supposed to find.” I say, defeated.
He doesn’t say anything.
“Griffin, do you have to go?” I ask.
“Yes, and I’m sorry.” He crosses his arms over his chest.
He unlocks the door as well.
“Oh, and Stacy?”
“You should know that you found the person you were looking for.” He says.
“But, who?” I ask.
“Why, you found yourself.”
Griffin went into the door and disappeared.
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