SECOND CHANCE

This story is prompted by Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo Thursday photo prompt:  #writephoto.

After her failed outing Emme had been conciliatory, studying harder, practicing more, listening to her instructors. But she needed more. She approached her instructor. “Ora, I’d like to go out. I need to see my family, friends, Ben.”

Ora glared down her nose through her glasses at Emme. “Esmeralda, have you learned nothing?”

“But—”

“Silence child.”

“Yes, ma’am.” Emme turned and shook her head, then turned back to face Ora and sucked in a deep breath. “No, I’m not going to be silent. I need to get out of here. If I’m not ready to go on my own—”

Ora interrupted, “You’re not.”

Emme started again, “If I’m not ready to go on my own, then send someone with me. You could go, or Jadis. Call my grandmother. I need to get out. I’m going crazy.”

Ora stared at her. “Foolish child. The best way to protect you is to keep you here where our powers are strongest. If it weren’t for The Three you would already be dead. And everything we have done to protect you and to teach you would have been for nothing. Go. Don’t ask again. When you are ready, you may leave. Not before.”

Emme opened her mouth to protest, but Ora pointed to the door. “Leave now.”

Emme grabbed her books and stomped out the door as fast as she could. She would have to take matters in her hands. Again. This time she would be successful. The studying they made her do about the compound and the charms used to protect it gave her what she needed to get out.

She offered a prayer to The Three, for Good, Peace, and Light, everything they represented and hoped they would protect her. Surely, they knew she needed some freedom. It would take a little planning, but it could be done.

The next week passed without incident. No complaining, no asking to leave, being a model student. She hoped this would relax the stringent rules they had in place. They eased up a bit, but not enough. Another week should do it. Emme did all asked of her and a bit more. Helping in the kitchen and the laundry. It worked. They gave her more freedom at the compound.

Emme fixed her room and went to the laundry to help again. After she was done, she planned to leave. She took the robe she planned to wear and hid it in her bag. They all left together, but Emme stopped. “I forgot my bag. I’ve got to get it. Go ahead, I’ll see you later.”

She ran back to the laundry and grabbed her bag. Time for her to get out. Seeing no one, Emme pulled on the robe and headed to the compound’s hidden exit. It was just as the history books described. The foliage covered the staircase perfectly, hiding it from plain sight.

Down the steps to freedom. Emme looked around. All clear. She started down the stairs and a dark silhouette appeared at the bottom. Emme froze. This couldn’t be happening. Not again.

As she turned to leave, the figure disappeared. Her nerves must be getting the best of her. There’s nothing there. She ran down the steps and stopped. She needed to be careful before she left the grounds.

A laugh echoed in the stairway. “You got away from me last time, child. You will not be so lucky this time.”

Emme spun around but saw nothing. “Who are you? What do you want from me?”

A throaty laugh echoed the stairway again. No one can protect you. Tonight shall be your last.” She gasped for air before passing out.

This story is prompted by Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo Thursday photo prompt: #writephoto.

To read the entire Emme’s Destiny series, click here.

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