In the Midst of Lies
a dystopian tale
The outside world was unknown to her, but she could see a glimpse of it through the window in his room. Although the small amount of natural light bleeding through was skewed by the vibrancy of the stained glass.
Each day oozed a palette of colors in hues of green and blue and purple as the sun chased the horizon. But Vaya wasn't there to admire the view of some stupid hell-hole she'd never set foot in.
No, she'd snuck into Jami's sanctuary to lift the universal key he'd taken from her last week, because screw him and the righteous horse he rode in on. That key was her salvation. He had no idea what she had to deal with.
Older brothers could be such dicks, and she was certain he was the worst of them all. Not only was he older than her by 5 minutes and never let her forget it, but he'd also been recently anointed as the new Supreme Watcher of the Stained Window of the Holy Order of the blah blah blah and 'Rules' was now his middle name.
The title was so obnoxiously pretentious, it matched his personality perfectly.
Well one thing was for certain, Jami was going to regret messing with her. She had plans for him. But first she needed to find that key.
Her brother was a stickler for protocol but clever, he was not. She checked inside the ornate wooden monstrosity of a desk that sat dead center in the room, but found nothing inside the drawers.
She shifted her focus, feeling around the underneath, and...
Her fingertips wrapped around the familiar metal just as a door opening echoed down the long hall. Crap. She tugged hard, pulling the key free and quickly shoving it down her wrappings.
She didn't really care if her brother caught her as she'd never been afraid to stand up to him, but the sound of the Administrator's voice just about broke her. Vaya's muscles locked up tight as sweat beaded on her brow.
She could feel a panic attack squeezing her chest like a vice as the memories of him began to swallow her whole.
Ethan's advances had started off as nothing more than a concerned mentor, but behind closed doors, soon became ugly and abusive. Vaya tried telling her parents and Jami, but none of them believed her. The Administrator was a god to the community that could do no wrong. They probably thought he shit rainbows.
Only a few moments passed while she struggled to regain her sanity, but they felt like so much more. Her brain felt foggy as his voice drilled into her head. 'You need to act more demurely. Be less outspoken. You'll never get a husband unless I train you the right way to behave. I'll need to be very thorough of course.'
Just his voice made her physically ill, never mind his touch...
No! She had to pull out of this. Doing nothing would only result in her being snared in his sick games again, and that was not going to happen. She drew in a deep, cleansing breath then snapped her head up and surveyed her surroundings.
There was literally nowhere to hide in this space as the desk and chair were the only items in the room. Only one way in via the door which was now not an option. She looked around frantically until her eyes came to rest on the swirling colors of the stained glass window.
She couldn't...could she? Only authorized personnel were allowed out there in the Midst and that was all of two people. She had no idea what lay beyond the limited view she could see.
Jami's sudden burst of laughter startled her into action. They were getting too close.
No time to think this through.
Vaya silently flipped the secret latch and slid the middle panel of the beautiful glass along its invisible tracks, then eased her slim frame over the sill until her feet rested on a patch of gravel. With shaking fingers, she pushed the window back into place causing the latch to make a firm 'click'.
With one final glance, she took off running.
* * *
What the hell was she thinking? Oh god, why did she do these kinds of impulsive things?
Vaya was a smart girl, sometimes too smart for her own good, and yet here she was out in the forbidden Midst with just the clothes on her back and a key that only worked on the other side of the stained glass. She didn't even have shoes on!
They got in the way of her sneaking around.
So far, the Midst was nothing like she was told it would be. No real shocker there as clearly the Administrator couldn't be trusted at all. It made her wonder what else he was lying about? How else was he manipulating their community? He was really a despicable man.
All her life, she'd had the stories of how the people of the Midst were barbaric savages shoved down her throat. The city and the surrounding land were burnt shells. There wasn't enough food or clean water outside of the compound they lived in. Leaving was not an option.
Lies. Lies. Lies.
Vaya needed to sneak back in somehow and warn her family.
Sure things weren't amazing out here. After she'd scrambled to get away from the Administrator, she'd run blindly through the area, weaving around nearby buildings. Most were in disrepair and seemed abandoned, but the further she got from the compound, the more life she began to notice.
Gaunt faces peered out at her from buildings that were in slightly better condition, but no one accosted her. In fact, the moment they saw her, they seemed to fade into the background. Eager to stay in the shadows and out of trouble.
Vaya kept going, further and further, curiosity taking over and found a small clearly wealthy space with tall towers and high fences. On the other side, she could see people dressed in what looked like fine clothing. Some were laughing, others were poised over small tables laden with food and drinks. Still others were strolling along deep in conversation.
Never in her life had she felt ashamed of her appearance, but at that moment, she felt like less. And that pissed her off.
Who were these people? Why did they have more? What was her community even about?
Oh, she was definitely sneaking back in now. The Administrator had some answering to do, and so did her brother. Jami had to know about this. He was the only other person approved to 'brave' the Midst.
But first she needed to do something even more important–find shoes or a covering for her feet as they were starting to throb now that the adrenaline had worn off. She could feel all the cuts and bruises beginning to form, and they hurt like hell.
She also realized that she stood out like a sore thumb in the drab purplish-brown sack she was told was the nicest fabric around.
It was painfully obvious that she'd been brainwashed by the elders of the community. Vaya's cheeks burned with the embarrassment and humiliation she felt at being so utterly deceived.
It never occurred to her that her own parents would lie to her to this magnitude. She rebelled, quite a bit more than they would like, and had an inquisitive nature but somehow that had never lead to her questioning their entire way of life. Only the bits she found restrictive. And of course whatever that douche canoe, the Administrator, wanted her to do.
The tall buildings in this part of the city cast long shadows giving her the perfect cover to slink around. She did not want to be noticed quite yet.
Rounding the closest corner, Vaya stumbled upon exactly what she was looking for–some type of wagon with bundles of material. She found a soft blue cloth and made quick work of finding pieces to wrap around her feet. Then she found a dark brown, rougher type to wrap over that, hoping it would give more protection.
With that dilemma settled, Vaya took a moment to get her bearings. She vaguely remembered the direction she'd come from and started out at a fast walk, hoping to make it back before nightfall.
No sooner had she passed through a large deserted courtyard, did she stumble upon a grove of trees. TREES! Oh the lies kept piling up. 'We must protect the compound, this community, with our lives. It's the only place that trees and grass still grow. The savages will come for us. We must be ready.'
Vaya stood with her mouth gaping open in awe. And was promptly caught off guard as a gloved hand stole across her throat, squeezing tight.
The unwanted pressure felt all too familiar and became the last straw in this shitastic day. She snapped.
And it was so freeing. Like she was floating. All the expectations placed on her. The abuse she'd taken. The lies she now knew. They all drifted away as pure rage took over. She would no longer be a victim.
She let her body drop like dead weight and heard a cry of surprise as she slipped from the hand at her neck and then threw a hard elbow back connecting with soft tissue. Twisting quickly, Vaya came face to face with her attacker and froze.
A slim, dark-haired girl stood clutching her gut and wheezing slightly.
"I. Didn't. Expect you to. Hit me. Like that. Nice moves," the girl sputtered out.
"Well, you did grab me by the neck," Vaya huffed, not at all sorry for defending herself. "Why'd you grab me anyway?"
The girl seemed to take a few deep breaths and then straightened to full height, revealing a heart-shaped face with blue eyes and a small upturned nose.
An exact match to Vaya down to the mole above her upper lip.
"Holy shit!" they both squealed at the same time.
"You look exactly like me," the girl said in wonder.
"No, you look exactly like me," Vaya deadpanned. "How is this possible?"
"I have no idea. I didn't know who you were when I grabbed you. I received a report that a Thiever was trespassing in the Grove," the girl whispered, drifting closer to Vaya with her hand upraised as though to touch her.
"Well, it's a good thing I have all the answers then, isn't it sisters mine?"
Vaya and her twin jumped and spun in sync at the disruption. A tall figure emerged from deep within the forbidden trees. Jami.
"It seems we have a few things to talk about, but let's move somewhere more comfortable first, shall we?"
The eerie smile on his face melted away as his arm raised, revealing a shiny piece of metal in hand.
Her twin's mouth rounded in an 'O' as recognition dawned. She dove for Vaya trying to knock her to the ground, just as a feathered dart pierced Vaya's neck.
A cold sensation spread quickly through her system as she slumped to the side. She always said older brothers were dicks.
If you liked this story, please check out this action-packed adventure story with a not-so-spy like spy!
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!
Easy to read and follow
Well-structured & engaging content
Original narrative & well developed characters
Compelling and original writing
Creative use of language & vocab
On-point and relevant
Writing reflected the title & theme
Zero grammar & spelling mistakes
Heartfelt and relatable
The story invoked strong personal emotions
Expert insights and opinions
Arguments were carefully researched and presented
Niche topic & fresh perspectives
Awesome story 👀💬😉❤️
I hope there is a part 2 (maybe more). Excellent storytelling.
This is a compelling read, now I need part two.
Great story telling, great read
The emotions in your story are so vivid they trigger my own. <3. Whether it be heartache or warmth, you always manage to capture it so beautifully. And the way you keep your readers on their toes... *applause* I LOVE that I never know what to expect with your stories, and I always crave more.
are you going to continue it. i have to many questions I want answered,
Omggggg! It ended. No it can't end just like that. Oh nooooo! I need to know what's going on! My head is about to burst! I was so immersed in the story and I was frantic when it ended. This is a fantastic story! Hoping for part 2!
Great read. I liked the use of imagination to keep the reader guessing.
This is amazing, Heather! Thoroughly enjoyed. Loved the idea about the twin! I also really liked the "tone" of this...you could feel Vaya's vibes, like she was kinda sassy. Loved it! Also really loved the name Vaya :)
Wonderful story!!! Loving it!!!💕💖😊
Fab story. Finding your twin would be an absolutely mind ****! The rebellion in oppressive society is thoroughly fascinating. It defo does beg to be expanded. 👍👍👍
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Twins fascinate me. Wish I were one of two. Wonderful story. One of those needing a part two.
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Absolutely excellent, I did get round to it. This is wonderful
You write like me! Love the story!
I need a second part for this, Heatherrrrrrrr....🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰 Great writing. ❤
You definitely need to continue this story! Enjoyed and ❤️
Ohhhh I love me a good separated twins story, I would def follow Vaya and her sister on their journey to overthrow the creepy cult, and happily live more in this world as a book or series. You’re such a freaking fantastic storyteller!! *chants* Give us books, give us books!
Ooooo. Netflix should hire you. 🥰
Loved the intensity especially of her escape. Nice ending too. ❤️
This is fantastic. That ending though, aaaahhhhh. Love it.
Such a great & twisted story! I loved it - and would love top see it extended. :)
Dang it! What about the key?! LOL This is one of those things that makes you one of my favorite writers. Your female leads are strong, but still women, and cunning! I hope there's more to this. 😉