What Lies Beneath?

By Sam Schmucker (Sun Valley High School, Aston, PA)

“She’s back! I told you, Dexim.”

A faint, feminine voice rang in her head as if it had echoed out from the deepest river and up over the highest mountain.

“Well, if we don’t get her up and out of here Zyprex will find her, Manci.” This time the voice of a worried man came from the distance.

Helen finally had the strength to open her eyes to see who these strange voices belonged to. White light filled the space before her as the luminous sun shone through the morning sky. Her eyes adjusted to the brightness and she found herself lying naked in a field of magnificent wildflowers. Blue poppies littered the space around Helen, broken up by purple sunflowers as tall as trees. Beautiful, red dandelions the size of baseballs seemed to dot the field below the emblazoned orange sky. Where am I? Helen thought to herself sitting up in the middle of the field of flowers. “Moody Meadow of course!” said the female voice. “Remember?  Dexim brought you here to hide from Eskalith the last time.”

“Who’s there?” snapped Helen. “Come out and show yourself!”

Puffs of soft magenta and periwinkle smoke furled and spun before Helen’s eyes. The sound of a balloon being popped put a halt to the beautiful smoke clouds and all at once a white, translucent otter surrounded by tufts of the same pink and purple smoke appeared.

“Right here, Helen!” said the otter as cheerful as a child on Christmas morning.

Helen let out a little shriek and began to faint. “Get her Dexi!” the otter said with absolute concern. Just before Helen hit the ground a blue fox with the same ghostly look as the otter appeared out of thin air to break her fall.

“Manci!” roared the fox, “Why’d you go an’ scare the poor girl? And she doesn’t remember the last time!” The fox leaned on his front two legs to let Helen rest amongst the flowers. “She has no recollection of the kingdom of Narsad, or Sero and Zyprex, or the Door for that matter!” said the fox, scalding the otter.

“Well I didn’t know that you, you… oh Dexim I can’t be mad at you!” said Manci refraining from calling Dexim a name she would regret later. “You’d better get her up though Dex, the Meadow is going to change soon.”

“Right,” said Dexim.

The blue fox hovered his snout above Helen’s limp face and breathed a glimmering, white breathe into Helen’s mouth. Her eyes shot wide open followed by her body bolting upright as if she had been struck by lightning. Helen looked between the slender, sly fox on the ground and the beautifully bubbly otter floating above her. She sat for a moment just staring at the two of them when she finally asked “Who are you? And where am I?”

“My name is Dexim the fox and this is…” Dexim was cut short when Manci disappeared and reanimated herself in front of the fox, before Helen’s face and half-shouted “I’m Manci the otter! Dexi and I are arceations and you’re in Moody Meadow in the kingdom of Narsad! Speaking of the Meadow Dex, let’s get her out of here. The sunflowers are fading.”

“No!” Helen interjected. “I’m not going anywhere except home. This is a dream, a crazy, unreal, stupid dream.” Dexim and Manci exchanged looks of concern for this poor girl when  the Meadow began to change.

Tall, lingering willow trees crept up out of the ground to replace the wonderful sunflowers and soft black grass replaced the inviting poppies. A light breeze blew through the meadow taking with it the lasts remnants of color from the dandelions. Helen’s naked body had gone from warm and comfortable to cold and irritated.

“What’s happening? Where are we?” she questioned frantically before being cut short by an arrow piercing a soft spot between two of her ribs. Her eyes turned in the back of her head and bubbling white foam fell from her lips. Helen collapsed in to a pile of poisoned human flesh and bone.

“It’s Zyprex Dexim! They know she’s here!” shouted Manci. “We have to leave now before…” the otter was also shot with an arrow, one that made her translucent body frozen from death’s keen sting.

“Manci! Where are you Zyprex?” yelled Dexim in disgust.

One of the willow trees rustled and a cloaked figure fell from the highest branch. He wore all white and bore the number 400 across his chest. In his hand was an extraordinarily long bow. “Dexim,” Zyprex started “you ought to know by now that Lord Sero and I will always find her.”

“Until you no longer work!” snapped Dexim.

“No, no Dex. We’re the final answer.” Said Zyprex pulling a long knife from under his cloak and stabbing Dexim squarely in the chest.

***

Helen felt consciousness flood her body. She opened her eyes to a horrifying sight. Dexim and Manci we’re thrust over the shoulder of the white cloaked figure, limp with lifelessness. Helen let out a shudder which did not go unnoticed.

“Zyprex! The time has come,” said a deep, guttural voice.

“Yes my lord Sero, right away sir,” answered Zyprex in fear. He turned to Helen and picked her naked body up by the arm and led her to his master. Helen’s mind was numb when she looked from the ground to the ominous figure before her. Draped in regal ivory robes with the number 300 printed across the front was undoubtedly the one they called Sero.

“Helen Ross. You’ve returned to the kingdom of Narsad due to the former lord Eskalith’s inability to rehabilitate you. I, however, have that power. Zyprex, please lead Ms. Ross to the Door.” growled Sero to his servant.

“At once my liege.” answered Zyprex leading a confused Helen to an extravagant wooden door. The Door opened on its own letting out a bone-chilling breeze and the smell of disinfecting chemicals. Sero then appeared at Helen’s side speaking his final words to her

“You’re free,”he said pushing Helen’s naked body through the Door.

Helen stumbled through the Door and a white light filled her eyes.

White linen sheets covered Helen’s bare body. Bright lights and strange people surrounded Helen who could barely make out what they were saying.

“400 milligrams of Zyprexa doctor, followed by 300 of Seroque,l” said a female.

“Her response?”  A male this time.

“None yet sir, still waiting for her to wake up.” The girl again and at this Helen’s eyes opened to find a sight stranger than Moody Meadow. She was lying in a hospital room, surrounded by unfamiliar faces.

“There we go! How do you feel Helen?” said the same male voice.

“Where the hell am I?” Helen said in a weary voice.

“Carnegie Memorial Hospital.” Said the nurse “You’ve been suffering from schizoaffective disorder for several months now and I think it’s safe to assume the hallucinations have stopped.”

“Hallucinations?” questioned Helen.

“Yes ma’am. Why, what have you been seeing?” asked the doctor.

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