Inner truths – a fiction by Sophie Nguyen

My daughter Sophie (10 years old) shared with me her first fictional story below. This is her assignment at school. Let us know what you think.

Ugh, school, school, school, Avila thought, I wish school would be harder, I mean this is easy! Still, it’s extremely boring. Ring, ring, ring! Avila packed her geography notes and books into her satchel and left the classroom. She went to her locker to get her arithmetic books and her eyes turned towards a calendar showing important dates. One that stood out to her was August 17, her birthday. Just two more days then I’ll turn thirteen. She mused. She headed to class and finished the rest of her first day back in school. While she was walking back, she found that a lot of kids were spreading rumors about her.

“Did you hear that her grandparents died when she was 8? I heard she spent the entire semester crying in the bathroom!”

“Did you know that poor Avila’s notes and books were covered in tears ever since her grandparents died!”

Like anyone, she tried to block out what they were saying. Yes, she did lose her grandparents when she was 8, but she didn’t cry her eyes out in the bathroom, and there were only tears in her reading book! It caused her a lot of trauma and for 2 years and she even had to go to therapy! Her grandparents were one of the only things that brought her happiness aside from her parents, Cat (short for Catherine) and Daren, and when they died, she could not find any happiness in the world, not even her birthday made her happy anymore. To top that off, she started to fight a battle with her mind that her grandparents were still alive and her mind says they’re dead. It was something that occupied all her time. It started to slowly drizzle but Avila kept her head low and her thoughts blocked out the world. The rain slowly started to become bigger by the time she got back. The moment she entered the door, her dad rushed to her immediately and he was sweating as if he was out in the rain, his face was as pale as milk, and his face bore a sad expression.

“Avila, there’s something you should know,” he said with a sad tone in his voice. “You’re mom isn’t feeling well and she wants to tell you something that you alone need to know. She’s in the room at the end of the hall.”

Avila nodded and with that, he left for his office and could hear him sniffing as he left. She also started feeling tears rising but kept them from falling to the wooden floor. As she walked to the end of the hall, she found her mom on a soft cream-colored bed that Avila did not recognize. Avila’s mom’s face was paler than her dad’s and she looked frail and weak as she layed in the bed. Avila sat down and a single tear started falling down her cheek as she looked at her mom.

“What happened? Avila softly questioned, “ What’s with the new bedspread and blanket? Why did you become sick? How is it affecting you so much? Do you still have much time?”

“Well to start off,” she said quietly, her voice barely louder than a whisper. “I’m sick with stage four cancer, and you never noticed we bought a new bedspread and blanket. You were always lost in your thoughts and never noticed anything new. To answer your third question, I don’t know how this happened and why. It isn’t affecting me to the point that it can’t be cured, and I might have a few weeks or months. All of that isn’t as important as what I’m about to tell you-”

“How can something be more important than this!” Avila interrupted. “You’re really sick with stage four cancer and your words are more important than what’s happening?”

Avila ran to her room and even though her mother tried to stop her, she ran, with tears streaming down her cheeks so much that she could have flooded a valley with her tears alone. She locked herself in her room and went deep into thought. Now my mom’s sick and could die, just great, now I have another thing to add to my list of depression. She left work to pass the time but thought about the rumors about her, and when she looked down, her papers were covered in tears and she burst into even more tears. The room was so quiet only Avila’s tears could be heard, even the table light was dimmer than usual. No, this is a dream, when I wake up, Grandma and Grandpa will be right here with me. Mom won’t be sick, and my life won’t be like this, please. She imagined the fantasy she hoped she was in and blocked out the reality she was in.

The next day was the same, she would return to her neat and pretty house and lock herself up in her room after school. She would do her homework and think about her fantasy. However, everything was different on August 17. She went home exhausted and was surprised at the new colorful decorations. She had just remembered it was her birthday! Her dad walked out with a small pastel cake with her mom! She still looked frail but was in better spirits now. They sang happy birthday to Avila and ate the cake. The cake was soft and smooth, and distracted her from her thoughts. Straight after that, her mom collapsed on the floor, Avila and Daren rushed to her room and swiftly called an ambulance. They carried her away in the car and sped to the hospital.

While waiting, Avila prayed her mother was alright, she couldn’t lose someone else, not again. She was deeply reminded of when she was praying for her grandparents in this very hospital, only for the doctor to say they passed.

“Your mom is clinging onto dear life,” the doctor was explaining. “If you want to say anything, now is the time.”

“C’mon honey, we should at least say goodbye unlike last time.” Daren squeezed Avila’s hand softly and continued. “We should see her, and I’m sure she would want to tell you something.”

Time seemed to slow down as she walked down the haunting hall. Avila gently opened the door and had to look away. Her mom was lying in a plain white bed and looked weaker than ever. There were strange things going into her body which Avila guessed was the thing that was giving her strength to fight the cancer. Daren went in first and sat down on a stool next to Cat. Avila did the same, only more painful and slow. Cat first turned to Daren and gave him a loving, bright smile that could light the darkest rooms, but the smile seemed like it started quivering. She started telling him how much she loved him even if they weren’t together and how she enjoyed every minute of her time with him. Then, she turned to Avila.

“I’m sorry,” she said softly, “I know you wanted more time but the cancer is getting the better of me. I know you’re mad at me and I’m very sorry but there’s nothing the doctors can do to cure this.”

“I’m sorry I got mad at you the other day,” Avila burst into tears. “I didn’t care that you were sick and instead only cared about myself.”

“You don’t have to be sorry, I know that it was hard for you and I respect what you did. I want to tell you something before I don’t get a chance to say it after I…”

Avail gave her a reassuring look and nodded for her to continue with what she needed to say.

“Your grandma and grandpa taught me this before they died. Their last words to me were “You need to accept some of the most tragic things in life, it’s okay if you can’t get it quickly but if you never move on in life, you may never get the chance to experience some of life’s most beautiful things.” Those words were what helped me and now I pass on these words to you Avila. You know I would never leave you but fate sets it so that you can learn and thrive in your own life instead of a tragic loop. I love you as much as your father and you will always be the thing that makes me smile.”

At that moment, Cat’s heart rate grew to a very high number and her expression showed a strong struggle. Avila started feeling a wave of strong emotions, she panicked for her mom, she felt scared, and most of all, she started feeling angry at the world. She felt pushed into a dream that felt very real. She saw all her memories and ideas she ever thought of, but then, five dark orbs appeared and turned into terrifying creatures. The first was blue with a sad face etched on its face, the second was red with a displeased expression, the third was black and looked as though it had never been happy, the fourth was a dull light purple that was frightened for life,and the fifth was a dark green with a loathing expression. They all towered Avila and unexpectedly, the fourth orb grew larger and larger as she became more scared.

“Who are you?” Avila gulped, “Why does this place seem so real?”

“We are the orbs of your dark feelings,” the third orb explained. “This is your brain.”

“Then where’s my other feelings, like happiness and love?”

“We have consumed them just like we will to you.” The fourth cried. “Your nice feelings tried to surface on your birthday but they failed!”

“What do you mean by consume?” Are you gonna take control of me, cuz If you try to, I will pack a punch.”

“We are much stronger than you are, your dark feelings have already started to consume you and now we can do it quickly…”

At once, they pounced on Avila and she couldn’t hold them, the emotions were too strong for her like they said. The orbs cackled as Avila’s soul was turning dark. She struggled and tried to think happy thoughts but she couldn’t. The orbs were nearly done and Avila’s breath started to slowly stop and darkness covered her brain, and her thoughts turned red…

Somehow, Avila had arrived in another dream but her surroundings were all white. She found herself in a very clean house that looked like her own. She walked around and was shocked to see her mom sitting on the couch. She was relaxed as she sat there looking out a window. Avila thought it was also going to be white outside but found the most beautiful sunset with a million stars shooting down like beams of glory. Avila’s eyes welled with tears as she watched it.

“What is this place?” Avila uttered.

“This is the Soul World. This is the place where souls go before they move on. This dimension sends you to the place you most desire in the world.”

Thoughts started whirring in Avila’s head. “I thought my soul was consumed by the orbs. That would mean I don’t have a soul anymore.”

“You’re forgetting one thing, when I told you to accept your tragedies, your soul slowly started to heal as you heard those words and that is the very thing that brought you here. I know you’re still strong enough to fight so you should go back. There is no backing out now. You are stronger than you imagined, but you just don’t see it.

“But I don’t want to go,” Avila sobbed. “I want to stay here with you.”
“I’m soon going to see your grandparents and I’ll tell them I saw you.” Cat slowly started fading away, leaving a trail of golden dust as she left. “Show the darkness who you are…”

With that, she faded away, and once again, Avila felt herself being pushed back to her mind. This time, it hurt a tremendous amount and the orbs grew bigger and started consuming her once again but Avila thought of her mother’s last words to her. Show the darkness who you are… That moment, light started to surround Avila and she gave the orbs a strong punch. She felt better and started throwing a few more punches at the orbs. They grew smaller with every punch but threw powerful ones of their own at the same time. Avila started growing weaker herself and the orbs took advantage of it. They weakened, and weakened her and soon started consuming her again but with one blow, Avila pushed them away. She gathered every ounce of strength and released it with one fatal blow and the orbs dissolved into black dust. Avila’s vision started blurring and she fainted because of an enormous loss of energy. Everything went black and for the last time, she felt the familiar pushing sensation in her…

She found herself in a hospital room and Daren was staring at her with a very concerned look on his face. He rejoiced at the sight of her awakening and gave her a very tight hug. He then started explaining what happened while she was dreaming. Daren explained that when Cat was struggling, she had collapsed and hadn’t woken up so they checked her pulse to make sure. The saddest part was when her mom passed while Avila was sleeping. She hadn’t had the chance to say goodbye. Daren told her that she was sweating and struggling while she was sleeping. Once Avila relaxed, she started explaining how she was battling with her dark emotions and how she met her mom which was combined with a lot of “Really?”, “How!”, and “Woah” from her dad.

The next few days were very similar to when Avila’s grandparents died. Avila didn’t go to school, her dad would make funeral arrangements, and it would be very somber. The only difference was that it was just Avila and her dad who prepared. There were many friends along with Avila and Daren at the funeral and it overall was really sad. There was not a dry face in the crowd but Avila especially, felt a bit of her old self return but when she felt it, she would just remember her mother’s last words. When the funeral ended, Cat’s friends gave the father and daughter their love to Cat and how her loss was a great tragedy.

After the funeral, Avila went back to school and her ordinary life as a teenager. People still mocked her but some sympathized with her. Avila tried her hardest to not return to depression and soon she started accepting it. Every time she thought of her grandparents or her mom, she would think of her grandparent’s words and her mom’s and that would make her feel better and relaxed.

One day, Avila had finished her homework and decided to take a walk in the nearby park. The sun was starting to set but Avila still kept on going. She found a nice hill with an amazing view of the sunset. The green was soft and she rested on it. There was a single oak tree and the green leaves gently flew down by the soft, warm breeze also blowing Avila’s hair. The sun slowly set and the view was a beautiful gradient from blue to orange with the sun in the middle. The full moon arose and stars could be seen on this day. Thoughts disappeared from Avila’s head and soon the only thought Avila had left was: If this is counts as an adventure, what would my next one be?

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