Dear readers, tonight we get inside the mind of a seventeen year old girl, forced to participate in a deadly tournament – all to possess the Queen of Hearts card, the ticket to ruling her domain.
Why is it so dark? I thought. I-I can’t open my eyes… I feel so light… Am I floating? Where am I? Who am I?
“Neela,” a gentle voice answered, echoing within my mind.“Your name is Neela,”
Neela… Neela Blydes.
“Good. You remember your name.” the voice said. “Neela, I’m going to help you get your memories back, okay? A few questions should do it.”
“Don’t be scared. I won’t be telling anyone what you tell me. I promise.”
Then ask away.
“Alright,” the voice paused, as if thinking, “do you remember where you grew up? What was it like?”
Where I grew up… I wracked my brain for an answer. I grew up in two places.
Yes, I said. Up until I was five, I lived in a meadow area near the border of the Queen of Hearts Domain with my parents and older brother. My brother and I always played outside, and our father always gave us lessons on the wildlife in the meadows and forest.
“What about the second place?”
The slums… I spent the rest of my childhood growing up in a small clinic with my brother in the slums of the Queen of Hearts Domain. It was a dangerous place. Around every corner was a fight, and I had to go through some of my own in order to survive.
“Man… What made you want to live there?”
I didn’t want to. Never wanted to. I lived there because it was the only place I could go after people killed my parents and burned down my home.
“Okay, we won’t venture further in that direction. Let’s go a different route,” the voice said hurriedly. “How about this? Any favorite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?”
No toys, but, the corners of my lips tugged up into a small smile, memories, yes.
My father always brought home flowers for my mother at the end of every week. The way they made her smile… was angelic.
“That’s sweet,” the voice laughed a bit. “Neela, do you mind if I ask questions about the present?”
Go ahead. I’ll answer them the best I can.
“If you’re not able to, that’s completely fine,” the voice assured me. “Do you remember anything about what you’re doing now?”
No. Do you?
Can you give me a hint?
“Well… people love watching you fight in the ring.”
My head pulsed. An image of dirt and a cheering crowd filling the stands of an indoor arena flashed in my mind. I’m fighting in a tournament for the title of Card Holder of the Queen of Hearts Domain.
“That’s right. Do you remember what’s happened recently?”
The first half of the solo rounds are over, I’ve met the leader of the rogues, and Jacen… my brother… he’s… the blood…
“I guess you do remember,” the voice interrupted. “Let’s go into another direction, alright?”
“Do you remember how you felt about entering the tournament?”
You mean when I was forced to enter? I scoffed. I didn’t want to enter and be part of the slaughter that’s the tournament. Then… I realized if I won and became Card Holder, I could change how it’s all handled. I still hate it, but I view it as an opportunity now.Continue reading “Neela Blydes (of Red Blood, by Kaitlyn Legaspi)”