Demiria – A Clouded World

6 years ago Demiria came to life on a trip around the English country side. Demiria is a realm hidden in Earth’s skies where the creatures we thought lived only in legend come to life. The waters of Demiria provide a looking glass to our world, but the only contact they can make is by visiting us in our dreams. Come back every Sunday as we release another chapter of Demiria – A Clouded World!

 – Stopde

CHAPTER ONE

Trapped

Damien inched closer to the brass replica of the Statue of Liberty’s face. Despite the fact that somewhere further along his teacher was no doubt wondering where he had gone off to, Damien couldn’t tear himself from this particular exhibit. Something about the face called to him, begged him to wait no matter how many people pushed in front.

 Soon a group of tourists shoved Damien aside before taking off as quick as they had come. Like a colony of bees they swarmed from exhibit to exhibit stopping only to take a picture or two. Only one other person stayed back to enjoy the beauty of the artwork. A woman stood so close to the exhibit that Damien could almost make out the reflection of her face against the metal.

How strange that he hadn’t seen her standing there before the group of tourists had barged through. It was as if she had appeared from thin air.

Damien turned his gaze to the ground and moved closer. “Pretty cool, huh?”

 The woman said nothing causing Damien to look up. A shiver slithered down his spine, as he caught a clear glimpse of her in the freshly polished brass. Even though it was distorted she seemed so familiar.

 “Do I know you?”

 Again. Nothing. Damien stared entranced by the woman’s hazel eyes reflecting against the exhibit. Unblinking.

 “Are you okay?”

 Noticing Damien’s gaze fixed upon her, the woman unclasped her tightly woven hands and let her fingertips graze the lips of the face.

 Damien gasped. “What are you doing? You can’t touch that!”

 The woman turned her head and smiled at Damien before shoving her hand right through the metal.

Damien wanted to speak, but his mouth refused as the rest of the woman’s body followed her hand through. He had seen this woman before. For weeks she had haunted his dreams. Hovering in the darkness, trying to talk to him – only no words ever came.

 Damien turned to the hall that had been crawling with people mere moments ago. It was now silent and empty. Not a single person in sight.

 There was no way anybody would believe what he had seen. He wasn’t even sure whether or not he did. So instead of trying to find somebody to tell, he moved forward, held out his hand, and poked the face himself. Like any other piece of metal, it was rock hard. Either this woman was a ghost, or he had gone crazy.

 Damien tried to think of a logical explanation, after all ghosts weren’t real.

“Maybe I should test the metal one more time just to be sure,” Damien said to himself. He swung his open palm towards the face. “See it’s –

 “Ugh,” Damien grunted. He peered down to where his hand should be. The color drained from his face. His left hand was stuck inside the metal.

 There was no need to panic. One of his friends had told him about situations like this. He was hazy on the details, and was pretty sure the chances were almost non-existent, but in rare cases one could pass through solid matter. Or it could have been that nothing could pass through solid matter, he wasn’t sure. Either way Damien decided to go with the fact that he was a rare case, an exception to the laws of science. With a sharp tug he attempted to pull his hand free. No luck. The metal refused to give an inch. It seemed that the harder he pulled the harder it pulled back.

 “Seriously?” Damien muttered. He debated yelling for help, except he was sure the security guards wouldn’t take to kindly to seeing a young boy with his hand lodged into one of their exhibits. And a call from an irate security guard would undoubtedly make his father overreact. It wasn’t as if the field trip to the Statue of Liberty was something Damien even wanted to do. He had faked being sick, but his father forced him out the doorway. “It’s your eighth grade graduation trip, you can’t miss it,” his father had said. So really it was just as much his father’s fault that he had somehow gotten his hand stuck in the exhibit as his. Still he was sure that when they brought in the fire department to cut his hand out he would not only become the brunt of every joke at school, but would be paying out allowances to his father for the rest of his life.

 Frustrated, Damien attempted to pry his hand free. As he pushed his right hand up against the face, the metal gave way once more, forcing Damien deeper into its unwavering grasp.

 Logic started to fail him, and an explanation seemed more impossible with each passing moment. Perhaps now was the time to abandon reason and panic.

 “Hello? Something is wrong with your exhibit!” Damien called, but only his echo responded.

 “Great. This place is packed when I want it to be empty and empty when I want it packed.”

 Damien shook his head. Since pulling back wasn’t an option, he tried to push his left hand deeper instead. With relative ease his left arm disappeared into the face.

 “This is ridiculous! If I’m on a T.V show you got me good.”

 Damien waited, but again just his echo responded.

 With nobody around, it seemed that he had only one choice. If he couldn’t get out, maybe he too like the woman could go through. With a deep breath Damien pulled his entire body through the face. On the other side Damien found himself in a strange darkened hall with a single door at the other end. Careful to keep his balance in the darkness, he walked towards it. It took a few tries to find the handle in the dark, but eventually he was able to maneuver the door open.

 On the other side was a room no bigger than the apartment he called home. The stench of salt water filled the nearby air, and on the far side a small beaten down set of stairs ran towards a hole in the ceiling.

 SLAM!

 Damien turned around to find that the door, which he had hoped hadn’t locked behind him had disappeared. In its place were slabs of algae covered stone.

 “You’ve got to be kidding me!” Damien cried. He ran towards the wall and smashed his palm against the stone. “What’s happening?”

 By now the shock had worn off and Damien’s emotions began to race. For the first time, supernatural forces seemed like the logical answer. If the lady was real though, what did she want with him? Aside from admitting that he had gone mad, the most plausible answer that Damien could come to was that she had brought him here to tell him something.

 Nearby the faint sound of dripping water sounded against the stone floor. It filled the empty room with a gentle thud in time to the beat of Damien’s racing heart. Damien tried to yell for help again, but no matter how loud he yelled nobody seemed to hear. He called for his classmates, called for his teacher. Nothing. It didn’t surprise him though – the wall was too thick. Even when he pressed his ear tight against it the sounds of the museum’s visitors evaded him.

  Wherever Damien was, nobody was coming back for him. He needed to find a way out of this by himself, and the stairs he had seen when he first entered were his only chance.

 With bated breath, he walked towards the staircase. His body began to shiver from the mixture of fear and the cool mist that floated through the room.

 “Where are you?” Damien yelled. He followed the winding staircase upwards. Cautiously he tried each step to make sure the rotting wood could support his weight. Despite their ragged exterior, most of the boards seemed quite secure and didn’t offer him much more than an eerie creak as he moved between them.

 Glancing upwards, Damien saw a dim light coming from a room at the top of the staircase. As he neared the top step another thought crossed his mind. A man had appeared in his earlier night’s dream only to drive a blade through the woman’s heart. And if she was real, it seemed logical that he was too.

The knot in Damien’s stomach twisted so tight that he could barely climb the final steps that led to a small empty room.

 Damien screamed for help again even though he knew it didn’t matter. He had covered every inch of this strange room. Nobody was here. Not even the mysterious lady who had led him inside. Dejected, Damien leaned against the wall and stared up at the ceiling. Dangling a few feet above him was a small rope, hanging from a trap door.

 He couldn’t believe it. Luck finally favored him. It was a door, which meant that maybe – just maybe he had stumbled upon the way out. Damien took in a deep breath, and grabbed the rope. The door groaned momentarily before giving way beneath Damien’s weight.

 “Nooo!” Damien screamed. Water crashed down through the opening above, knocking him from his feet. It was as if the door had somehow opened underneath the Atlantic and the entire ocean was now trying to squeeze through it and into the tiny room. Desperate to stop the flow, Damien regained his balance and attempted to push the door shut. It was no use. The water was just too strong.

 “Help!” Damien screamed. The water began to fill the room below, clawing its way up the stairs. He flattened himself against the nearby wall. It was all he could do to try and stop himself from being thrown down the stairs by the current. Without a doubt the room would soon fill with water and he would have no choice, but to swim up through the trap door. Damien took a deep breath and prepared for whatever terrors lay ahead.

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