Elodie – The Netherworld

NEITHER DEAD, NOR alive, Elodie’s ghostly existence didn’t require nutrition like her human body did on Earth. There were no books to read, no people to interact with, and nothing to do but wander the vast desolate lands of the Netherworld.

Thunder roared above, echoing through the vacant surroundings. What Elodie didn’t yet realise was that the landscape reflected her projected feelings. She felt alone, bleak and out of sorts, and in turn, her surroundings were barren, dark, and full of hopelessness. The opposite of being locked in the cell of a prison, Elodie was left to roam the vastness of her mind as far as her eye could see, with nobody to guide her.

Magic in the Netherworld was much stronger than in any other realm, and certainly stronger than where Earth. In comparison to all of the other realms, Earth contained a minute amount of magic, and was of the few relatively ‘untouched’ dimensions still out there. What magic did exist on Earth did not originate there.

Elodie stopped to assess her belongings. She knew enough to know she needed a plan before continuing on the treacherous journey. She dropped her sack onto the ground, a pile of dust swirled around it as it landed with a thud. Her long, dark red hair fell in front of her face in chunks as she kneeled down beside her possessions. She pushed the hood of her coal-grey cloak back from her fair-colored face, and it slid down the back of her head.

Lightening cracked in the distance, illuminating the skies if only for a moment. Elodie reached into her bag, and began pulling out the items one at a time. The first out was a plain-looking dagger. She remembered how terrified she was when she snatched it off a drunken man passed out on the cobblestone streets of Hazelton. She also remembered the desperation that drove her to take it in the first place. Being an orphan was dangerous business where she was from and protecting yourself was vital for survival. She placed the knife down beside her, systematically moving onto the next thing.

Elodie wrapped her long, calloused fingers around a worn piece of wood. She didn’t have to see this to know what she held in her hand. It was silly, really, but she’d treasured it since the day her cousin, Booker, whittled it for her. She could still remember how he smelled, his warm smile, and gentle touch. He was the only person in her life that resembled family, though he wasn’t much older than Elodie, Booker carried himself like an adult when they were children. Elodie stroked the wings on the toy horse, as she pushed the final memory of Booker’s limp body and lifeless eyes hanging in the town square. The king’s underlings made an example of him when they caught him fleeing the city to avoid going to war.

Where once tears would form, Elodie only felt the chill of the night air.  She’d never felt so hallow. All she wanted to do was cry, to show some kind of emotion, but nothing surfaced. Only memories void of feeling. Elodie looked to the midnight sky, into the abyss, and found herself wondering what to do next. Where would she go? What was the point? Why would she fight to get back to a world that had rejected her since birth? Her reality here was cold and brutal, but so was her life back at home. With Booker gone, and her uncle on his death bed, there wasn’t much left.

The third item to come out of her sack, a metal pendant with breathtaking mountains up its face, circled in knots. Between the mountain peaks sat a single, almost-glowing stone. Elodie ran her finger over the stone, remember the words of the white witch. The woman who’d sacrificed herself so Elodie could live.  The old woman’s words whispered through Elodie’s mind… You’re headed down a tough road, Elodie. One filled with trying times, and you will be stuck in this world between worlds, child. There is no guarantee you will ever get out. The scales may never tip in your favor. But you must remain strong, sweet one, and navigate using your head, not your heart. Fight hard and fast. Stand tall. Most of all, never give up.

The last few items fell as Elodie shook them from the bag, into the dirt. She glanced over the few pieces of spare clothing, worn deck of playing cards, handful of dried meat-that she tossed to the side, as there was no use for it here, the torn up old blanket she’d had since she was a child, and lastly, her dingy old water canteen. Another useless items, but she decided to hang onto it just in case.

A harsh wind kicked up, blowing Elodie’s cloak open. Though she didn’t need to eat, she still felt temperature, pain and fatigue. She was thankful for two things, at least, and that was that her earthen armor and trusted sword. Together, they kept her warm and protected. They were her most prized possessions, as they weren’t easy to come by.

Elodie gathered her items, placing them back into her sack.  She needed to get moving. So far she hadn’t encountered any other living thing in this new world, but she didn’t trust it would remain that way forever. With the landscape so barren, she had no choice but to pick a direction by random in hopes of finding something a little more comforting along her travels.

After a moment of careful consideration, Elodie began walking North… or so she assumed. Her inner compass had no real grasp of direction, though, so it was a total guess as to whether that’s where she was actually headed.

The further Elodie walked, the more desperate she became. She’d never seen such a place before. No water, a few decrepit trees, and no animals. The land carried on and on as a dusty wasteland. Bitterness grew inside her like a hunger that couldn’t be stopped. Finally, after what seemed an eternity, she saw in the distant skyline a single tower, black as the sky above her. The only reason she noticed it was because of the faint glimmer it held. Elodie had never seen a structure of that magnitude before.

Every ounce of Elodie’s being told her to turn around, to head back the direction she’d just emerged from, but a strange pull kept her moving forward. Almost like she had no control of her actions. She stared at the building, mesmerized.


Author Notes

5 Comments for “Elodie – The Netherworld”

Roxanna Andrews

says:

Another well done story. I do hope there is more as I would very much like to find out what the tower is. Really well written, kept my interest from first word to last. Rox

says:

I like the name given, The Netherworld. Does not appear much exists, yet, in this desolate world. BOO is new to this episode but I like the connection between the planet and her emotions. What Elodie didn’t yet realize was that the landscape reflected her projected feelings. She felt alone, bleak and out of sorts, and in turn, her surroundings were barren, dark, and full of hopelessness. Roam the vastness of her mind. A concept I never really pondered. I suppose that if we got a big imagination our world is much bigger. You got an abundance of raw imagination, it appears. Let BOO read on… I am relatively new to this site. A wandering ghost. I like how you talk of magic in the Never world and how it differs from earth. BOO likes supernatural. Constructing a supernatural novel, myself. Lot of good stuff in this chapter I really like and enjoy. Is intriguing and has grip, story draws you in- deep, inside the Keep with mystery and suspense. Like how you show & tell – what a wicked spell. She dropped her sack onto the ground, a pile of dust swirled around it as it landed with a thud. Like the pile of dust. Another treat, the hood of her coal-grey cloak… a very imaginative way to express a color. cobblestone streets of Hazelton. This gives it a medieval feel, a kinda spooky one like being on streets of Jack the Ripper. Some more good show. Rather than simply saying grabbing a piece of wood you add some character to the simple act Already see you got avast knack of words but a special talent with expressing your thoughts. BOO just jumped into this book,not sure what I missed but this chapter is better than the published book I am reading and more interesting. Not sure if this goes as a review so i can post? Greenhorn BOO is. The daggers interest me, King Tut was buried with a dagger and sheath enclosed in his tomb but was no ordinary dagger. It had high amount of nickel that can not be found on earth, extraterrestrial in a nature,from a meteor that hit earth. From the gods. I wondered if this dagger had extraterrestrial elements like King Tut’s dagger. Not from earth but from Neverworld’s solar system? Here first day but enjoying this. Guess I need to backtrack to see what Elodie looked like and her background. Maybe in a character list. Maybe that name has a special meaning? White witch must mean (gut) good witch. Oh, gut means good, a word from the vocabulary of the German Amish. Deutch. Now, I see why you live in a big universe in your head. Maybe our imagination is our limit to possibility. Will have to rewind to the beginning to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Learning to navigate this site on earth day, one. No water. Maybe the water is hidden beneath the crust, not visible. Usually a planet needs H-2 – O, to create an atmosphere and terraform a planet. Maybe are secrets to come. …and you will be stuck in this world between worlds, child. Maybe like purgatory? A reflection of a world, like a mirror image? BOO will need to read again. Maybe a six star rating is what this deserves. Saw no SPAG errors. Core of the story is fantastic and the prose pulls you in like gravity. Best read I read in many moons. BOO~

RissRyker518

says:

Intriguing to say the least, Anisa. This story drew me right in. What is that tower?? Hope there is another part to this! One question: Did you mean to say “certainly stronger than where Earth.” ON Earth?

Raymond Tobaygo

says:

Good morning, Anisa

Good tight, write. The images of Elodie’s world and the experiences and challenges she must face were spot on. The sensations she was experiencing for the first time gave the reader a “real feel’ for her world.

What Elodie didn’t yet realise was that the landscape reflected her projected feelings. She felt alone, bleak and out of sorts, and in turn, her surroundings were barren, dark, and full of hopelessness. Great sentence and imagery — sets the tone for the entire post. Enjoyed.

Question: Would there be directions such as north or south in this surreal world?

observations:

Being an orphan was dangerous business(,) where she was from and protecting yourself was vital for survival

The third item to come out of her sack, a metal pendant with breathtaking mountains (up) (on?) its face, circled in knots.

Elodie ran her finger over the stone, (remember . . .remembering . . or.and remembered ) the words of the white witch.

She glanced over the few pieces of (spare clothing, (a) worn deck of playing cards, (a) handful of dried meat (-)(that) she tossed to the side, as there was no use for it here, (and) the torn up old blanket she’d had since she was a child, and lastly, her dingy old water canteen.

Finally, after what seemed an eternity, she saw (,)in the distant skyline(,) a single tower black as the sky above her.

Take care and stay safe,

Ray

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