Lilac Forrester of Clintly looked around her room. Trying to make sense of the world. Her clothes were strewn across the floor and photos were hung limply in groups on the wall. The only thing was that they weren't of her. Her hair was not blonde and her eyes were not a misty green. She had tight ringlets and mousey brown hair. With pale blue eyes and ivory skin. She looked up from the map she was holding. Hands trembling as she tried to make out the runes scrawled beneath it. They were of ancient writing. She gasped as she read through them. Then again and a third time. Trying, no, willing them to be different. Willing them not to be what she thought they were. But it said it plain as day. You have been replaced. She dropped the map and the glass shattered as Nadia Pipong crashed through her window. Tears leaked down Lilac's face as Nadia rushed to her. Time was not a relevant thing where she was staying. It never had been. She had been locked up in her imagination. Deliberately. Everything that happened had happened in her mind. Nothing was real. Not one bit. Nadia was even in her head. She had been claimed insane and they had shut her out of the real world. But Lilac knew the real reason. She had discovered magic. The flow that bought life to everything. And they didn't want her knowing.
She had been picking flowers when a beautiful force had breezed through her mind. She had collapsed in the sun and enjoyed it. Suddenly her vision had blurred and she could see the real world. Not the one that the government advertised. Not the one that everyone knew. Her one was filled with laughter and happiness.
Lilac was teleported back into her mind. The pictures on the wall were fo the person that had replaced her in the real world. People didn’t want others getting suspicious. They had made a copy of her. But she would show them. She would show them all. She clenched her fists and looked at Nadia who was now staring at the map. Nadia couldn’t speak, she could only indicate using hand signals. Her tanned skin reflected off of the mirrors surrounding Lilac. The mirrors wee to remind her that she was not her self anymore. She would never be the same again. Meals did not matter here, neither did eating or sleeping. Time was a big black void. She didn’t try to keep track of it. It would never succeed. Lilac fell onto her bed and patted the place beside her for Nadia. She pulled out an old, crinkled photo. It was of her and her family. She had been around nine. She was holding her little sister’s hand and her dad was smiling. Her mum had taken the picture. She smiled sadly remembering the day well. She put it back in her pocket. She wasn’t supposed to have it.
Every day was the same as the last. She’d wander around the empty streets trying to find someone who wasn’t of her imagination. Trying to find a way out. Nadia never came with her for these walks. She wasn’t permitted to leave Lilac’s room. And even though Lilac would never admit it. She felt grateful for that time alone. She could do anything she wanted and no one would judge her. Pulling a cloak around her shoulders she headed out and downstairs toward the centre of the Clintly.
Reaching the old and sturdy building, Lilac felt a cool breeze rush past her. Te spirits were here. A smile erupted from her face and she rushed to follow the small wisps of blue that flew through the city. The spirits gave her updates on the real world. Whether she made up the spirits or the updates she did not know. But each day she would wait for them to return with news. She sprinted along behind them. The city in her head was filled with colour and images of the things hse loved. A poster of Taylor Swift hung down a bright alleyway. Lanterns hovered above street lights. It really was a place of wonder. If only she wasn’t trapped there.
The spirits stopped beneath a large oak tree and began to retell the vents of the day. They spoke in an ancient tongue. Lilac didn’t know how she understood them But she knew that they were helping her. Keeping her from going insane with boredom. The smallest one was called Silvy. Her whisper of a blue form hung loosely around her and specks of silver glinted in her short hair. Alvia was the eldest. Or so lilac guessed. She had the biggest wisp and a part-human face. The middle wisp was named Melva. She had a smaller par human fac but it still peeked through. Lilac didn’t like to think about why they had human faces. She just hoped that they hadn’t once been human. Just like her. Their ancient voices lulled her into a trance. Each note a lullaby
Today all is well
Your family have made themselves happy
The replacement you is settling in, no one suspects anything
But beware lilac Forrester
For soon enough it will be too late to escape
The last line sent shivers down her spine. They had never said that before. The wisps disappeared and Lilac stumbled back through town. Music was constantly on. She could never live without it. Birds flew around the streets but they were automated. Their songs were robotic. Nothing changed or altered them. After spending so long in a place like Clintly, Lilac often wished she’d lived her life better. Even if she had just had one true friend. Or maybe even had an unforgettable experience. She had never even had her first kiss. She was but 16 when she was taken She had no idea how old she was now. Days ticked by nothing ever-changing. Lilac didn’t know what to do. She tried writing her thoughts out but no one would read them. Nadia just said what she wanted to hear. Not what she needed to hear.
Lilac reached her apartment and opened the door. Inside was a boy around her age. His hair was messy and his eyes were wild. This was new. Lilac pushed past him thinking it was just her imagination playing tricks on her. Then he spoke. Nothing she created could speak.
She spun on her heel and looked him dead in the eyes, her curls bouncing up and down from the motion.
“Who are you? And what are you doing here?”
He rubbed the back of his head sheepishly
“Please don’t hate me, I heard your wish before,”
“What wish?” She said running through a list of possibilities in her head.
“You wished for things to change, didn’t you?”
Lilac nodded slowly and she felt Nadia stand beside her. Nadia clutched her hand and Lilac squeezed back.
“Well, now things can change, take my hand,” He offered out a tanned hand to her, “you have to let go,” She gulped and slowly took his hand, leaving Nadia in the dust. She turned back to see Nadia. She was no longer there. All that was there was a cold echo of what had been. Tears seeped into her eyes and she turned to the strange boy.
“What are we doing?’ She said between sobs
“We’re going to change things for you,” He grabbed a crystal out of his pocket and pushed it into her hands. She grabbed it and held it tightly to her chest, “what is it?”
He stared at her with hurt in his eyes. Then slowly he whispered one word. So silently that she only just caught it. It sent shivers down her spine and she screamed as the crystal heated up inside the palm of her hands. He had said what Sylvia always said. He had said eternity.
“No!” She shut her eyes tight as a blinding light engulfed her. Her body shifted and hs could no longer feel the ground. Her fingers crumbled around the crystal and she let go of it. That boy had been Sylvia. She could see it in the wisp’s face now. Did that mean? She gulped as she turned to look in a mirror that had magically appeared. All that remained of her was a blue thread. Her part human face echoed through the silent room. She screamed internally but all that came out sounded like an angel’s song. She was wisp. Sylvia had tricked her. Or that boy had tricked her. Nothing made sense anymore. All she knew was that she would be there for eternity. Serving others as the wisps had served her. Her non-corporal body shifted and teleported to someone else’s mind.
Their city was different from Clintly. Big wrought iron gates stood outside it and a faint glow came from within. A wooden structure. She gulped and slowly flew over to the middle of town. Tears sprang to her strange eyes as she saw who she had been chosen to serve. She couldn’t bring herself to look at the person standing below. Their gaze was all too familiar to her. She turned away and flew back out of the city. She reached a border and pushed, trying to gt back. Back to the real world. Her body ached from the effort. Lilac placed her wisp hands on her hips and glared at the barrier shielding her. It didn’t budge. She fell down. Defeated. Locked in a world where she was serving. Locked in a world that wasn’t hers. Locked in a world where nothing was real and nothing made any difference. Locked in a world for all eternity. With no escape.