Loreley, Episode 6: The Valley of Shadow

Previously…

Loreley jumped into the vortex that Simon said not to jump into.

Loreley, Episode 6: The Valley of Shadow

The fluorescent lights flicker.

Simon looks up from the coffee splattered documents he has spread out in a chaotic web on the Formica table.

Something is happening.

Something is wrong.

He reaches across the table and grabs his courier bag from the empty banquet. The bag is lighter than it should be.

“Fucking Loreley!” He mumbles, quickly stuffing the loose papers back into the grease-stained manila envelope.

Meanwhile…

Loreley is flailing, being sucked upward like a rag doll in a hurricane.

The howling is maddeningly loud and the darkness is despairing in its depths.

Foul, slimy, stinging things slap at her face and arms. Crawly skittering things scratch at her skin in the darkness, but breathless, she can’t scream.

She is being spun around and flipped through icy currents of rancid slime and walls of flicking black flame, as choking oily, sulfurous smoke stings her lacrimating eyes and chokes her lungs with thick black soot.

Somewhere inside she lets go and finds the space to pray. “Please goddess, if this is how it ends, please grant me grace.”

A dim bubble forms around her and she’s able to take a single deep, hungry breath before the bubble slams face first into the side of a jagged cliff.

She grabs onto the rough craggy surface and clings for dear life as she tries to get a sense of what’s around her.

She only feels the cliff face towering above her to where the sky would be, and far below, she hears fierce waves smashing furiously against the rock.

The screaming winds try to rip her from the cliff face.

In the distance, she hears a familiar voice. But it can’t be-

“Loreley! Dammit to fuck! Loreley!”

“Simon? Simon! Simon! I’m over here!”

The cliff face seems to flicker and glow as if lit by a torch from behind her.

“Loreley! I’m here.”

“Simon, I’m scared.”

“That’s appropriate but no time for it now. We have a car coming to pick us up in a couple minutes.”

“Simon! Help me!”

“Loreley, I need you to trust me now. Just let go and come to me.”

She turns away from the cliff and sees Simon hovering in the air a few meters away, reaching out a hand.

“Just let go and come to me.”

“I can’t!”

“Loreley! You can! You can do this! Also, do it quickly! I can’t stay in here very much longer and I think you really don’t want to miss this meeting. Come on! On three. One… two…”

Loreley screams something that starts as a battle-cry, turns into a whining simper in the middle, and ends in ultimate triumph as she finds herself walking across a bridge of solid air to Simon who takes her hand with what she thinks is a glint of approval in his eye.

She collapses against him as they float upwards inside a golden sphere. She sobs with relief.

“I hope we don’t miss our ride due to this little misadventure,” he grumbles, looking up at the golden cord the bubble is following through the turgid sky.