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Inspirational Suspense Mystery

Julian blinked awake to the hum of silence, surrounded by the monolithic shelves of the university library. The familiar musty scent of books lingered, yet the absence of the fluorescent lighting cast an unfamiliar pall over the room. Confusion gripped him; it wasn't like the librarians to a forget a student during their nightly rounds.

Rising from his scattered notes, Julian's gaze landed on a sliver of amber light seeping from a gap in the wall - an anomaly in the architecture he'd memorized over countless study sessions. Drawn to the light like a moth, he found himself standing before a door he could swear never existed, its presence as commanding as it was silent, with the word "Truth" carved into the lintel.

He hesitated but the allure of the unknown beckoned stronger than reason. The door creaked open to reveal a room awash in golden light, where dust motes danced around an enigmatic figure - a woman wearing a mask.

"Why have I never seen this room?" Julian inquired, his voice a mix of awe and trepidation.

The woman's voice was like a melody, at odds with the stillness. "You've walked past many times, but only now does your heart seek what lies beyond the surface. This is the reason you decided for the first time to not keep your eyes closed when feeling my presence."

Julian furrowed his brow, her cryptic words igniting a spark of defiance. "I've had no reason to seek anything else. I'm set to graduate with honors, and a promising career awaits. How could you suppose there was anything more I could be seeking."

Her masked face tilted in a knowing nod. "Yet here you are, seeking." She gestured to the room, lined with tomes bearing titles of philosophies and life's questions. "This chamber mirrors what you hide within. The achievements you chase - are they stars you wish upon, or merely the ones you've been told to reach for? Are they blessings or a fine to pay for the privilege of being part of this society?"

The question lingered, and Julian felt the stirrings of a journey not charted on any academic plan. Here in this hidden sanctum, his story of self-discovery began, not with a search for accolades, but for authenticity. As the mask of his own making began to crack, the true adventure unfolded - not in the light of day, but in the truth that thrived in shadow and silence.

The woman's gaze, though obscured by her mask, seemed to pierce Julian's facade. "This room, this truth, is not a distraction, but a reflection. You've been running a relentless race, Julian, but what is it you're running from?"

He stiffened, a familiar chill creeping up his spine - the same dread that visited him in the quiet hours between dusk and dawn. He had seen the monster before, not in flesh, but in the creeping shadows of despair that had once consumed his parents. It was a beast of profound sadness, an entity that fed on joy and left a hollow void in its wake.

The masked woman presented a mirror, its surface as dark as a starless night. "Look and see the beast's reflection. It lurks not only in the part but within you, its lineage marked by a lingering sorrow."

Julian peered into the mirror and, for a moment, saw nothing but his own eyes staring back. Then, as if emerging from the depths of the glass, a form took shape - a spectral creature with eyes like abysses. It was the embodiment of the depression that had claimed those he loved, its visage a testament to the legacy of pain they had unwillingly bequeathed to him. He realized how he had seen the same beast so many times before wearing a myriad of faces, but always with the same eyes. Those empty eyes that lived off of life and only gave back despair. They masked themselves with bittersweet melancholy, but they were more closely related to death and decay. Yet it was impossible to fully differentiate it from his own reflection, his presence did not seem to make sense without the addition of its terrible existence.

His voice trembled, nearly lost in the vastness of the room. "How do I fight such a thing?" Julian's question was a whisper of a plea, a fragile hope against a seemingly indomitable force.

"You cannot fight it with shields of pretense or swords of achievement. These are but fleeting defenses," she replied, her words threading through the air like a lifeline. "To confront this beast, you must acknowledge it, understand it, as part of your journey, not as the end of it."

Julian's reflection began to change, the monstrous shadow merging with his own form. The revelation was stark; the depression was not just a heritage but also a part of his being. It had shaped him just as much as his victories, perhaps even more.

"In recognizing the monster, you diminish its power over you," she continued. "Your true quest is not one of external accolades but of internal exploration and acceptance. Your parents' demise was not your doing, but the beast's influence is yours to temper."

The room seemed to breathe with him, the volumes of unspoken words and the weight of unshed tears. Julian understood that his journey of healing would not be a battle with a monster but an embrace of the darkness as a step towards the light.

He directed a last question at the woman behind the mask, "Why are you still hiding your face?"

"I don't want to cause you unnecessary pain. I still do not look similar enough to what you want me to be and it is not the right time for you to come to this realization."

As he stepped back into the library, the first rays of dawn cast long, forgiving shadows across the floor. Julian left the chamber with a profound sense of purpose. The monster of depression was part of him, but it would no longer define him. Instead, he would learn from it, grow stronger because of it, and maybe, just maybe, help others see their monsters not as ends but as parts of their own human stories.

November 05, 2023 20:07

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4 comments

Tom Skye
21:15 Nov 11, 2023

A powerful story about the horrors of depression. This was beautifully written and had some great language. This was a brilliant read. Thanks for sharing

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Aureliano Giano
01:44 Nov 12, 2023

Thank you so much for your kind review!

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Danielle Lesin
17:49 Nov 11, 2023

Your story "Julian" is captivating and beautifully written. The way you've woven themes of self-discovery and mental health into a mystical narrative is both imaginative and deeply resonant. The setting in the library and the mysterious room is particularly evocative. It's a compelling read that speaks to the heart of personal struggles, and Julian's journey toward understanding and acceptance is moving. Great work!

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Aureliano Giano
19:18 Nov 11, 2023

Thank you so much for the kind feedback!

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