Chapter 1

Trapped In Her Mind

"I don't belong here."

Lex had her eyes squeezed shut tight. A warm breath of the air brushed across her cold lips, which she quickly bit down on, feeling the skin squeeze under the strength of her jaw. She had curled herself into a ball on the bed, her long arms wrapped around her knees. Locking her fingers together tightly, she pulled them close to her chest. Her head fell against the bed rails behind her, digging into her neck and making the position uncomfortable. Despite this, Lex refused to move. She refused to move because she refused all this to exist. She refused to be where she was.

And if she kept her eyes closed, maybe it would disappear.

In her mind, she opened her eyes. Her arms were still wrapped tightly around her knees, but as she gazed upon her new location she felt her body relax. She took a deep breath as her shoulders dropped, her arms unlocking from their stiff position. Around her, she felt the groves of the tree bark support into her back, much more comfortable than the bed rails were.Her toes uncurled themselves, then dug into the ground, feeling the cool texture of the wet dirt and grass between them. She looked out at the forest surrounding her. The trees were knitted tightly together; an endless wave of thick trunks. Lex's eyes followed up the winding bark in front of her and up to the sky. Bright green leaves layered themselves over one another, making it almost impossible to see what she knew to be a cool, pastel sky. A breeze swept through the forest, twirling leaves melodically into the air. Lex smiled, pulling herself to her feet. Her bones creaked throughout her entire body as she moved, as if she had been sitting against the tree for years. She started to journey through the forest. Twigs and thorns dug into the soft skin of her feet, but this didn't bother her. She walked in a never ending path through the trees, the scenery surrounding her appearing not to change. It was like there was no end to the forest; a continuous loop of the same trees over and over.

Lex decided she wouldn't mind being trapped here forever.

Very slowly, the sun sank in the sky. Already, the sun had found it difficult to peek through the thick leaves and crowded trunks, but now it was down right impossible. Darkness filled the forest, causing Lex to strain her eyes in order to see where she was going. It never occurred to her to stop walking and rest, or to find some place to sleep. She wanted to walk forever, and even if she didn't care to, she doubted she would be able to stop. It was like she was in a trance; her legs moving without her telling them to, as if controlling themselves. It was as if the forest was controlling her, deep vines hanging from tree tops attached to her limbs, moving her like a marionette.

The forest seemed to now be alive with sounds. During the day, of course, there were sounds as well. Leaves tumbling, birds chirping peacefully. Now, the sounds of midnight creatures cut through the darkness to find Lex's ears. The sound crinkled and creaked, sending shivers spiralling up and down her spine.

She heard a whoosh through the trees. She froze in place, not daring to breathe. As her ears strained, the creatures of the dark silenced, as if they knew she was listening. Lex knew it wasn't simply a night creature that had made the terrifying sounds. She had her those sounds millions of times before.

The Monster.

The Monster has been in everyone of Lex's dreams since she could remember. It never struck at her, tortured her, or even touched her. She always woke up before that.

She had done all she could to rid herself of The Monster, but it was waiting for her every time she closed her eyes. Every night as Lex returned to her bed, The Monster was there to terrify her the same way it had when she was only a child. Lex had tried convincing herself that The Monster wasn't real, like her mother had always suggested, but it was no use.

She pushed through the forest as the sounds resumed. She heard The Monster moving swiftly closer to her. After a long time of listening to its sickeningly close movements, Lex couldn't keep her calm facade. She broke into a run, pushing her body through the forest, not bothering to worry about where she was going. She didn't care, as long as it was far away from The Monster. She willed her legs to move faster, but soon they began to move too fast. She tripped and fell into a tangled mess on the ground. Lying on the ground, her limbs a sprawled mess about her, Lex felt defeat. She no longer had the energy to run; she couldn't even crawl. She signed her fate, realizing that she was going to die. Her heart pounded in fear, loudly booming in her ears. She could no longer hear the mischievous night creatures over her heart. Lex's hands flew to her head, trying to block out the terrifying sounds of death. Her heart continued to beat faster and faster, like a train nearing the crash. She don't know what inside her head thought it would be a good idea to open her eyes, but she looked up to see the familiar foe looming over her. She saw its dark, swirling clouds. They seemed to move close to surround her in entirety. All Lex could see was the black grasp of the Monster. The only relief from the dark was the Monsters white, hollow, pitiful eyes.

As the Monster neared, Lex's closed her eyes and screamed.