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Monthly Archives: July 2014

The Fear Landscape Series: Anna

The Fear Landscape Series: Anna

Doors. Many doors. All around. Anna was in a circular room that was covered in locked doors. Frantically she ran from one to another, trying to knock as hard as she could to get someone to hear her. Minutes she ran from door to door, pounding her fist against each one, knuckles bleeding on her hands and getting blood smears on each door.
No one answered. “Someone! Anyone, please, help me!” Anna screamed as she pounded at another, her knuckles numbing at this point. “Please! I need help here!” Still no one came.
Anna went limp and leaned against the door, letting herself slide down it and to the ground, where she collapsed in a heap. No one could hear her. Or maybe they could. Maybe they just didn’t care.
So this was a fear landscape. This was what Anna had to go through. When she’d first heard about it Anna had thought it would be easy. Maybe even fun. Boy had she been wrong.
She hadn’t thought it would feel real. Not this real, anyway. Anna felt exactly like all of this was her only reality and everything in it was true, when all along it was just her own imagination.
“I don’t need help,” whispered Anna on the floor. “I don’t need their help,” she chanted as she rose. Shakily, she stood, clenched her fists, and bit her bottom lip. Her eyes went hard and she breathed in deeply through her nose. She didn’t need them. She didn’t need to knock.
Anna was thrown into the middle of a large courtyard, and many a family milled through, talking to each other and playing with their children. She simply stared me watched for a few wonderful seconds and breathed everything in. Perfection. Anna eagerly went to a group of small children in the middle who were playing duck, duck, goose and crouched down by them.
“Hey, guys!” she said excitedly. “Can I join you?” Anna started to sit when one by one all of the children glanced at each other and shook their heads.
“We don’t want you to play with us,” one of them said.
“You’re too old,” another piped up.
“You’ll only mess everything up,” explained another.
Anna was taken aback. Really? Maybe eighteen was a little old for duck, duck, goose, but usually she thought children loved being around older people who liked to play. “Oh. Well, ok, if that’s what you want,” she said, rising. She’d just have to find someone else to talk to was all.
Next Anna turned at a small group of girls her age whom she noticed talking about Joan of Arc, her personal heroine of history.
“Joan was burned to death wasn’t she,” asked one girl?
“Yes, she was burned for claiming godly powers,” answered another.
That’s when Anna decided to make her appearance. “Hey, girls. I noticed you talking about Joan of Arc. I happen to really love studying about her. What were you saying?”
The three girls exchanged glances before one finally rolled her eyes slightly and turned to Anna. “We were just talking about how Joan of Arc was burned at the stake after all she did for her country. But you probably wouldn’t want to hear about that,” said the girl.
“Oh, no, please go on!” Anna said. “Like I said, I really love Joan. Have you been learning about her in school?”
“Um, no, actually. It kind of just came up,” the first girl quickly supplied. “We weren’t really talking about her, specifically. Sorry,” she added at the last second.
“Oh,” said Anna. “Alright. Well, nice talking to you,” she mumbled as she walked away. The signs had been obvious; they wanted her gone. No one cared. No one cared what she had to say. No one cared about her.
Anna knew that was a fear of hers, of course. She just kind of liked to keep it down and buried. That was another thing about the fear landscape. She hadn’t expected it to look this deep within her.
She took a deep, calming breath. She hadn’t needed anyone’s help back in the room with the doors. She didn’t need anyone’s help now. She would be fine by herself. She’d done it for eighteen years, she could do it a little more. Anna knelt on the green grass and soaked in the sun. She was content here. Alone.
“Anna?” asked Elsa in the hallway by the two sister’s separate rooms. They’d managed to pass each other. How did they manage to pass each other? Anna was frozen to the spot until she could regain control of herself.
“Elsa! I, I didn’t, expect to see you here!” she started. Anna winced at her own words and clasped her hands behind her back.
Elsa Rose an eyebrow and kept her mouth in a thin, straight line. “We live in the same house,” she reminded her sister.
“But it’s a big house!” Anna argued weakly. They hadn’t crossed paths in weeks. Why now? Because this is your fear landscape, Anna reminded herself. A landscape, a lie. Not real. That’s why she had run into Elsa now. Because she was scared of her.
That hurt. As much as she really loved Elsa, Anna was scared of her. She always seemed, so… mature. Like she was centuries old, even though there were only four years between them. And it’s not like they ever talked or anything.
“It is indeed,” Elsa nodded slightly in agreement with Anna’s assessment about the size of their palace.
She could do this. She could do this. Anna smiled wider. “Well, nice catching up with you!” she said, practically running to her room and shutting the door behind her. Anna looked through the keyhole to where Elsa was still standing in the hallway, looking to where Anna had gone.
She sighed, and walked to her own room, and locked her own door. Elsa was back in her room. Anna wasn’t sure if she was happy about that or not.
Anna sat hard on her bed. How would she conquer this one? It wasn’t like she could just waltz into Elsa’s room. Or maybe… It was Anna’s imagination landscape. Maybe…
Anna slowly opened up her door and snuck back into the hallway. She walked up to Elsa’s door, and, biting her bottom lip so hard she drew blood, opened it.
Elsa wasn’t in her room. It wasn’t even Elsa’s room. This was a completely different room. Her parents’.
“Anna. What are you doing here?” asked her father with a sigh.
“Um, I just…” stumbled Anna, unable to explain herself.
“Well, if you don’t know, then why don’t you follow your sister’s example and go find something worthwhile to do,” commanded her father.
What? Now her parents didn’t love her either? No one did! No one loved her! They were so caught up in Elsa and specialness and Elsa’s problems that no one cared about her! Anna ran out of her parents’ room and rammed herself against the wall so that she could lean on it. She had to get past this. She had to. Anna concentrated, and told herself that it wasn’t real, none of it. Not real. Imaginary.
The confines of the palace raced towards Anna as fast as the wind roared around Arrendelle during a storm. The beautiful tapestries and artworks on the walls disappeared until all that was left were six dark grey walls squeezing against her. Anna couldn’t breathe.
“No!” she screamed. “No! Please! Help me!” Anna pleaded to the air, hoping against hope that the walls would recede. They didn’t. Anna pushed against them with all of her might, but she couldn’t get the walls to move. She was trapped. And alone. And very, very scared.
Breathe, Anna ordered herself. Breathe. She pressed a palm to her heart. It raced along at speeds she knew her heart had never reached. Breathe. Slowly, best by best, Anna’s heart slowed and her breathing became regular. The walls receded. And Anna was left in her worst nightmare.
She thought she’d seen it all. Apparently she hadn’t. Two years after her parents drowned at sea, one year before Elsa was to be crowned queen of Arrendelle, a strange winter had taken hold of the tiny kingdom. Many perished that winter, in the snow and the cold. Including Elsa.
So Anna really and truly was alone. She’d been alone before, maybe, but there was always the chance Elsa would rekindle their friendship. There was always a chance things could get better. Now there was no hope at all.
One more time, Anna slid down her bedroom door after having locked it from the world. She was still dressed in black from Elsa’s funeral. Anna gnawed on her lip again and let the tears fall.
There was no hope for her. For Arrendelle. For anyone. There was no hope left in the world. And simulation or not, that wasn’t too far from the truth. How much hope did Anna really have left, even in the real world? Why did she bother holding on anymore?
Anna breathed in until her diaphragm couldn’t hold any more air, and held it there. She held on because she had hope. Because there was always hope. Because hope was not a thing that could be taken away. Anna released the air from her body, and stepped into reality. She had passed her fear landscape. And maybe she was better because of it.

 

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So Sorry!

So sorry there isn’t any Fear Landscape this week guys. Last night I got back from a youth camp and, even though I’d meant to make one up last night, I was simply too exhausted. I’ll have one next week. Anyway, sorry about that. I’ll be looking forward to seeing what you think of next week’s Fear Landscape!

With love in fandom,
Marie

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2014 in *Le Personal

 

The Fear Landscape Series: Sherlock

The Fear Landscape Series: Sherlock

Sherlock stood in the entrance hall of his Mind Palace. This was his fear landscape, his greatest test. Prove he was not afraid of anything, and the simulated landscape would release him. Sherlock was confident that he, of all people, would have little to worry about.
“Sherlock!” shouted a voice from a room far away. The voice was panicked, but that didn’t usually worry Sherlock. Nevertheless, Sherlock began to sweat and immediately broke out into a run in the direction of the sound. He could only focus on one thing.
He had to get to John.
“Sherlock!” John shouted again. Sherlock raced to the noise, but every time he thought he was getting close, the sound would take another turn and he’d run down another hallway. It was likely he wouldn’t get there in time at this rate. But no. No, failure wasn’t an option. He had to get to John. That was that.
At long last, the sound came closer and Sherlock slowed. All of the doors were closed. And there was no way to tell which was the right one.
Sherlock turned his head to quickly inspect each door. Obviously not the six closest to him. Walking down the hallway, Sherlock deduced away every option until he came to the last one. Of course it had to be the last one. As if he had time for that.
He opened the door. A sharp bang. John fell to the ground.
Sherlock attacked his murderer and killed him. In one leap Sherlock was next to John and begging him to be alive. “Wake up, John, wake up!”
“Sh-Sherlock?” John whispered shakily.
Sherlock’s heart lept into his throat. “Yes! John, it’s me.”
“Always remember, Sherlock. You did this.” John lay limp in Sherlock’s arms. Dead.
No. It couldn’t be. He couldn’t be dead. Sherlock tried to stop the bleeding and every other form of revival he could think of, but nothing helped. It wasn’t that he couldn’t be dead, Sherlock realized. It was that he couldn’t not be dead. He took a bullet to the chest at point blank range. Of course he was dead. And it was all Sherlock’s fault.
Even John had said so. Sherlock crouched still as a stone over John’s body, listening to the sound of his heart and wondering why it was so fast. Oh, right. This was an emotion. Sherlock sighed. So he did hsve emotions. He’d thought the landscape would be easy for him. Instead, Sherlock stood and walked out of the room. Out in the hallway, he calmly waited for his heart rate to go down. When it finally did, Sherlock was brought to the next fear.
He was at the hospital. Getting some kind of bad news. Sherlock payed attention. As the doctor said the words Sherlock’s brain started to spin and only a few of the words entered. Inoperable. Deep. Intracranial pressure. Terribly sorry. Options. Arrangements.
He was dying.
He had a brain tumor.
He was going to die of a brain tumor.
“How long do I have?” he asked. Dying. He was dying, this minute. He’d known he wouldn’t live to an old age, doing what he did, but he’d always figured it would be a bullet or poison or something. Not this. Not his own mind turning on him.
“A month. At the outside,” the doctor said.
Sherlock stood and began to stride out of the room. “Thank you, doctor. Come, John,” he said. But then he looked over. John was not there. Right. John was dead. John couldn’t be with him now.
As soon as Sherlock was out of the room, he leaned his back against the hospital wall and pressed his palms to the wall. His head he tilted up, and his eyes he closed. He was dying. True, everyone was always dying. But his death was more imminent now. And he would have to face it alone.
Sherlock cupped his hands and held them to his face in an attempt to stop the emotions. It didn’t work. He knew that the only way to get past this was to stop letting emotions take hold, but the funny thing about emotions is they don’t do as they’re told. They aimlessly scamper all over the body, affecting everything in their path.
There wasn’t really any way to take control of the situation, so Sherlock chose to focuse on his heart rate again. For minutes and minutes he stood there, breathing in, breathing out. He didn’t really have a brain tumor. This was a simulation. Breathing in, breathing out.
The hospital disappeared and a very familiar room in his Mind Palace took its place. “Why are you here,” Sherlock snapped. He could already feel his skin heating up and his muscles tensing all over his body.
“Oh, Sherlock, don’t be so obvious,” Moriarty said from the other side of the small, padded room.
“I’m not afraid of you. You’re dead.”
“That’s not why I’m here,” Morarty sang tauntingly back. “I think you know, don’t you, deep in your heart, Sherlock Holmes. I tried to tell you back on that roof.”
“Told me what?” Sherlock shouted. He didn’t want to believe anything Moriarty told him, but he already had an idea of what Moriarty would say. And that… And that Sherlock knew already.
“You’re me,” Moriarty whispered. “You’re me.” Moriarty broke out in laughter and wouldn’t stop. Sherlock tried to regulate breath and calm his heart, but he seemingly had no control over his own body.
He wasn’t Moriarty. He wasn’t. He couldn’t be. But, maybe he was. He’d been denying it for so long, but really, what was the difference between them? Sherlock had fixed on an answer to that long ago, but that answer gave him no comfort now.
The difference was John. John had made him better. John had made him human. And because of John, Sherlock was no longer Moriarty.
But now John was dead. And already Sherlock could feel his hold on the Moriarty inside of him slipping. Without John, he’d become Moriarty.
He was not about to let that happen.
“No,” Sherlock said simply.
“You can’t fight it, Sherlock. I am you. And you are me,” Moriarty whispered.
“No. I am not you. I will never be you,” Sherlock repeated.
“Why ever not? You can’t fight instinct, Sherlock Holmes, you can’t fight who you really are.”
“No. This is not me,” Sherlock held.
“Then what do you think it is?” asked Moriarty.
“A choice,” Sherlock said. The world around him turned a pristine white and he was dropped in the next part of the landscape. The morgue. And everyone was there. Even John.
“John? Molly? Gary?”
“It’s Greg,” Molly corrected.
“Greg. Mrs. Hudson, what are you doing here?” Sherlock asked incredulously.
Molly spoke before Mrs. Hudson could answer. “You’ve been keeping things from us.”
“Well, yes. I’ve always kept things, from all of you.” It was never a good idea to give any one person too much information. Didn’t they all know that.
“You were supposed to tell me everything,” stated John.
Was he? Should he have told John more? “That’s beside the point. Why are you all here? What’s going on?” Sherlock tried and failed to keep the subtle feeling of panic out of his voice.
“You’ve been keeping secrets,” Mrs. Hudson said.
“You threw yourself off a bloody roof!” John shouted.
“I did that to protect you!” Sherlock yelled at them. “I did it for all of you. I had to keep it a secret!”
“I think you should go, Sherlock,” Molly said, pointing to the door. Sherlock stood in shock for only a moment before turning around, and, holding his breath, walking out the door.
He was back in the real world. Alone, far, far away from London, the morgue, John, or 221b. Sherlock closed his eyes. It may have only been a simulation. But how many of his fears could become truth?

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2014 in *Le Fanfic, *Le Sherlock

 

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The Fear Landscape Series: Annabeth

The Fear Landscape Series: Annabeth

“Percy!” Annabeth screamed as she ran, stretching her legs and pumping her muscles as hard as she could and yet never gaining any ground. Percy to tried to run to her, but was only being pulled further back. Annabeth cursed the gods of Olympus. “If you take him from me again, I swear on the River Styx I will never forgive you for it,” she hissed at Hera. This was her. It had to be.
Sparing her terrain only a moment, Annabeth furrowed her brow as she realized that there was nothing around them. At all. Just blackness, all over. She looked back to Percy, stopped in her tracks, and screamed.
He was gone.
She’d turned her back for one second, and he was gone. Annabeth ran to where she’d last seen him and tore at the ground. It felt like kneeling on concrete, and yet her hands grasped at nothing.
After several minutes, Annabeth stopped trying to get to him. She crumpled in on herself and fell limp onto the black floor sobbing.
As a daughter of Athena Annabeth had thought she’d be better at this. The fear landscape. The ultimate training. A few of the Athena kids had gotten together with Ares and created it. And of course, like a fool Annabeth had been the first to volunteer to go through it.
Who knew what that serum did? This was an experiment! How did she even know this was the true simulation? What if this were real?
Annabeth forced her abs to stop contracting and shut her eyes. Breathing in, breathing out she regulated her breath to calm her down. Real or not nothing would be gained by having a meltdown.
Slowly, Annabeth stood and dried her eyes. If this were real, she’d have to figure out how to find Percy. If this were a simulation, if the serum had worked, she’d have to show the program that she could conquer her fear.
It took all Annabeth was to turn her back on where Percy and walk away, but she did. Calmly and decisively, she strode away from the area, trusting the invisible path she walked on not to falter. Annabeth walked away.
And walked into Olympus. All of a sudden the overwhelming blackness disappeared and was replaced by the golden grandure of Mount Olympus. Annabeth breathed a deep sigh of relief. The serum had worked. This was a simulation. And she had beaten her fear.
But why was she in Olympus? Unless… her second fear took place here. Annabeth shuddered.
Another person stepped before her and Annabeth’s gaze traveled from the woman’s shoes to her face. Athena, goddess of wisdom. And Annabeth’s mother. Annabeth cringed.
“Hey, Mom,” she said as nonchalantly as she could.
“Do not address a goddess that way,” snapped Athena in return.
Annabeth gulped. “Alright, Mother.”
“Well that’s slightly better at least.” Athena rolled her eyes. “It’s a start.”
Annabeth’s mind gnawed on the situation and weighed it from all angles, all the while panicking internally. She didn’t exactly have the best relationship with her mother. She hadn’t realized that the fear of her mother was so deep-set as to be in her fear landscape, but she had known about it. If this was anything like her nightmares, the situation was about to get a lot worse, fast.
“Were you watching when I volunteered to use the fear simulation serum first?” asked Annabeth anxiously.
Athena was skeptical. “I was. You volunteered first. It is not wise to trust the shoddy workmanship of other demigods, particularly any of Ares. You have acted foolishly, daughter, and it may well cost you before the end.”
Annabeth was afraid of that. But a daughter of Athena doesn’t fall apart at a little bit of criticism. “You may be right,” she said, posture perfect and voice strong. Mount Olympus faded away, and Annabeth breathed a sigh of relief. That wasn’t too hard.
She stopped breathing entirely when she saw where she was. A dark, dank forest. Alone. With spider webs all around her. The webs were like four walls that locked Annabeth in place. Despite herself, Annabeth was able to keep her composure. That is, until she saw the actual spiders.
Big, black, and fuzzy. And a lot of them. They covered each of the four walls of web and stared at Annabeth with their many eyes. She couldn’t take it. Annabeth screamed.
“Get away, get away!” she screamed, making shooing motions with her hands but not being brave enough to move them forward very much. “Get out of here! Go! Please, go!” The spiders were not in a cooraporative mood.
Shaking, Annabeth crumpled to the forest floor, hugging her arms to her body and not willing to move from the center of her prison. She had to get past it, had to get past it. Get past it. Conquer it. How could she conquer this?!
Once again Annabeth forced her breathing to become regulated. Her heart still sped, but the breathing was a start. She had only one choice; dive deeper. And in the case of spiders, Annabeth knew what that meant. She would have to run into them. On purpose.
That’s what she had to do, and Annabeth knew it, but honest to Hades she wasn’t sure she could. Knowing what to do and not instantly doing it was a new and strange feeling for Annabeth, but no matter how much she tried to prepare herself for walking forward Annabeth’s legs refused to move. She was stuck.
Percy wasn’t scared of spiders. He’d be able to do this no problem. Annabeth pictured Percy standing on the other side of the webs, arms out and smiling slightly lopsided. She couldn’t help but smile back. In small, minuscule steps, Annabeth edged closer to the webs. And at the last second, she ran.
Right into… a school building? This one—Annabeth had no idea what was coming. A school building? She was afraid of school? No, she wasn’t though. As the professor began his lecture and all of the students tried their hardest not to fall asleep, Annabeth strained to hear him. She didn’t get it. What was going on?
Had the simulation malfunctioned? Was this not a simulation at all, but real? What was she supposed to do? With the spiders Annabeth had known what to do but hadn’t wanted to do it. Here she really wanted to do whatever came next, but had no idea what was going on. She started to sweat as she thought frantically.
Wait. Annabeth raised an eyebrow. There was one thing she knew she was afraid of. And it might not be the point of the simulation, assuming this was a real simulation, but maybe it was worth a shot. Annabeth feared not knowing. Not having all the answers. And right now she didn’t have any answers.
How could she beat that? It wasn’t like she could invent problems that she knew she wouldn’t be able to solve. That ruled out that whole option, leaving only one. If Annabeth could show the machine that her heart rate was regular and her breathing normal, the simulation would continue on. But considering her heart hadn’t gone down to normal since the first fear, Annabeth wasn’t so sure that would work either.
One, two, exhale, one, two, inhale, one, two… Annabeth chanted as she breathed. Minutes past and all she did was concentrate on breathing, trusting that her heart would settle down in time. The longer the wait, the more Annabeth was afraid this wasn’t the right answer, and the faster her heart rate wanted to go. More minutes of breathing. Fifteen minutes. A half hour. And, finally, her breathing and heart were registered as normal and Annabeth found herself being transported somewhere entirely different. A place she was very familiar with.
Camp Half-Blood. Only it didn’t look like it normally did. Camp Half-Blood was in flames. Annabeth’s mouth literally hung open in shock, too taken aback to react in any other way. What should she do? What should she do? What should she do?
Annabeth grabbed a bucket of water and tossed it on the Athena cabin, but if anything it only made the flames stronger. Demigods ran around in all directions, and as Annabeth followed them with her eyes, she realized what was going on. It was a Roman attack. The Romans were burning her only home.
The other demigods had the battle on check, but no one was fighting the fire. The Greeks were just letting the Romans burn their home. Annabeth ran from the well to the cabins to the well and back again, but no amount of water seemed to help. By the time Annabeth had given up trying, the Romans had one. They’d left. And no demigods, save her, had survived. Bodies of those Annabeth had the honor of calling friend lay dead all around her, and the buildings were all burned to the foundation.
She tried to stay strong. She really did. When she walked past Chiron, and Piper, and Leo, Annabeth shook with the strain of not reacting, but managed to still stay together. But when she found the body of Percy, lying close to the Athena cabin, clutching Riptide, Annabeth broke down completely. Before she’d thought that the half hour just breathing had been a long time, but now time seemed to mean nothing. Nothing meant anything anymore if all of this were real.
Annabeth cradled Percy’s head in her lap and sobbed onto him, only stopping for breath, and then not for long. Simulation or not Annabeth knew that things could never be the same after experiencing this.
But, she thought, wiping her eyes and sniffing hard. This was a simulation, if the Ares and Athena cabins had been right in their calculations. So if she could just get past this, she could wake up. It was all a dream. Only a dream.
Percy wasn’t really dead. He was probably in the room with her when she went under. He was probably still there now. Annabeth laid simulation-Percy’s head back on the scorched grass and rose shakily. “This is a simulation,” she said. “This is a simulation!” she repeated louder. Her calm confidence paid off despite her inward doubt. Annabeth woke up.
There was a hand clutching hers. “Annabeth?” asked Percy weakly.
“I’m back,” Annabeth assured.
Percy sighed. “You really had me there for a second, wise girl.”
Annabeth smiled. “It had me half the time, too, seaweed brain.”

 

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