The iron gates creaked eerily as she entered the Valley of Shadows. Slowly descending into the haunting abyss of death, she wove through an endless sea of gravestones until she found the one that bore her name. Fighting the fear that threatened her resolve, she took the shovel in her weary hands and began to dig deep.
A veil of darkness overtook the evening sky, and thick fog blurred her vision, but she did not stop until her mission was complete and the last vestiges of her old life sealed permanently beneath the earth’s surface. Leaving her grave clothes behind and wearing the armor bestowed upon her by the King, she turned toward the dim moonlit path that would finally bring her home. But the invisible paralyzed her from moving forward.
Cold hands reached from the barren earth below, pulling her helplessly toward the grave. Struggling to break free from the grip of death, she came face to face with the corpse she had buried minutes ago. It was her mirror image, only it reeked of her old habits and selfish ways. As she clawed against earthen soil, the lively corpse fought relentlessly against her—seeking to drag her into the eternal shadows.
Though she cried for help, she was certain no one could hear—and that she was meant to fight this battle alone. Weariness set in, but just as her vision threatened to give way to impending darkness, the fog lifted and the stars illumined a cross in the distance. With her last remnants of strength, she broke free from the grip of death and ran to the cross, clinging desperately to it.
As the corpse descended from the shadows, she remembered the book the King had given her. Holding it to the light, she cried out the words from the pages: “Behold, I am a new creation—the old has gone and the new has come!” Light penetrated darkness, and the corpse let out a hideous shriek, retreating to the grave, defeated at last.
Finally free from the clutches of death, she walked the narrow path that led home. Dawn broke forth in the horizon. As she turned to say a final goodbye to her old self, the grave was silent.
Flash Fiction by j.e. fernandez