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12+ Mature Content

Walking Estranged Lands

by avianwings47


The boat jolts with the soft sound of wood scraping sand. I open my eyes and sit up from the boat. I’m here. I take a tentative step out of the canoe, eyes wide and irises dancing.

This is not where I’m supposed to be.

The once blue skies have turned orange with a storm like Jupiter. The sandy tan shore has withered, leaving ashen gray in its wake. The trees are dead and lifeless, with no more colorful leaves decorating their branches. And when I look back, the clear waters have clouded with mud and algae.

This is not the Isle of Reverie.

A coldness envelopes me, and my vision spins on a slanted axis. I don’t know where I am. I do not recognize this place, though it feels all too familiar. I frantically turn about, calling out for any soul who might be here.

My boat is now gone, and I hope it will return in three days' time, as it always does. I wonder if my boat will really come back for me. It abandoned me in this strange, tainted land. Maybe it would rather not return.

But now, I have nowhere else to go. I cannot stand here, frozen until I am saved. So, with one last glance at the water, I walk along the shore. The sand sifts through my sandals, catching underneath my feet. I yelp as the specks cut my heel. The sand is sharp like glass.

I nurse my injured foot, wiping away the blood-covered grains, hoping it hasn’t dug its way into my flesh. I retreat to the safety of the forest, where it is easier to tread.

The lifeless trees paint my heart blue. I run my hands along the ridges of their trunks, thinking of the trees of my own island. I wonder why my boat has brought me here. It must have been a mistake, I am sure.

A foreign noise startles me from my thoughts. I snap around, glancing warily around the thick forest. Only silence follows, but I do not let my guard down. After long moments of stillness, I convince myself I must be hearing things. I continue on, caution embedded in each footprint.

Only when I hear a distant chuckle do I freeze, one foot suspended above the earth. I don’t dare move a muscle or release a breath. Not when this bone-chilling resonance keeps getting louder.

A soft wind passes my ear—an exhale—and the laughter is silenced. My skin prickles and shutters, but I remain still.

A blurry figure comes into focus from the shadows of the trees. Still frozen, I take in its appearance as it approaches.

The figure is not a gruesome sight, no. I would call him beautiful if anything—such a strange thing, for someone to look beautiful in lands as ugly as these.

Sharp, angular features construct his face, with deep crimson irises adorning pale skin. His long black hair flows elegantly through the air, even though the sky is still and quiet. There’s an elegance about the man that seems… alluring.

And it terrifies me.

He walks with dignity, emerging from the shadows with amusement tugging at the corners of his mouth. The edges of his clothing waver and twist like smoke with each step he takes. Like an illusion, his image seems to flicker if I stare too long.

I lift my chin once he comes close enough to see the small gesture. I feign confidence, though my knees feel weak and my vision swims. He can not see how petrified I have become, how lost I am.

He stops but a meter away from where I stand, looking me up and down with analytical eyes. “You do not recognize this place,” he states. His voice is deep, gravelly, and… enchanting.

“I cannot recognize a place I have not been to.”

The man smiles cruelly. The smile doesn’t last for long before a restrained chuckle escapes his lips, low and menacing. “Look around. Isn’t it familiar?”

I narrow my eyes. Familiar? These estranged lands could not possibly be familiar. But something inside me pulls my eyes around like a puppy on a leash, forcing me to really look at the place.

I see what I saw before; dead trees, rusted clouds, sand like glass. But then I notice a small marking on a nearby tree. My marking; the one I had engraved so long ago to claim this island as mine.

And now it resides here.

“W-what have you done? How are you here?” I sputter.

That manic grin returns to the man’s face. “Oh, Angel. I cannot go anywhere without permission. Shame you don’t remember letting me in.”

“Do not call me ‘Angel!’ You’ve no right to be uttering such words, nor any right to be here at all!” I shout, anger seething under my skin like a kindling flame.

The man scoffs. “Would you prefer I call you darling? How about honey or sweetie pie? Oh! I have the perfect idea: Sunshine!” The man drops his pseudo smile, replacing it with a nasty scowl. “Do not pretend you have any sort of control here, child.”

“I do have control! I created this place, and you destroyed it! You deserve nothing other than hatred and… and… a life of horrors!”

The man strides toward me in a blink, suddenly right in front of me, leaning down close. “Oh, but Angel,” he brings up a hand next to my face, poised to snap. “I am the horror.”

I am plunged into darkness with a sharp click, falling helplessly through an empty expanse.

I hit something solid and end up flat on my stomach, quickly recoiling from the pain. My lungs plead for air, but my body does not cooperate, only supplying small gasps unsuited for breathing.

As the pain subsides, I slowly rise. The darkness still envelopes me, though it seems kinder here, more solid, concrete.

Strange sounds surround me, a cacophony of dread. I take tentative steps into the gloom, wary of what I might come across. A loud cry startles me into whipping around, and when I do, I gasp.

A small girl is chained to the ground, thrashing against the metal links binding her there. Her wrists and ankles are rubbed raw from her struggles.

The child snaps her head up, fear embedded in her drawn brows and wide eyes. She’s the perfect picture of terror.

And she wears my face.

I slowly back away as the girl struggles against the chains, screaming—pleading to be released. I’m tormented by her voice—by my voice—ringing in my ears and reverberating through the emptiness.

I cover my ears, about to turn and run, when my back bumps into something. I jump around, and the screaming is suddenly silenced. The strange man faces me yet again, his lips contorted into a cruel smile.

“This is only a glimpse into your fate,” he whispers. A forceful push on my shoulder sends me stumbling through the darkness again.

Distorted, glowing eyes follow me as I fall. Their edges are sharp and heavy like a child has scribbled them all across the walls. They watch with judgment, mocking and scoffing at my very existence. They make me curl in on myself, ashamed of who I am.

This time, I do not hit the ground. Instead, I am simply suspended in the air. Suddenly, I am watching myself from afar. I’m no longer in my body, but I am amongst a crowd of spectators. We watch as my limbs are moved about with strings. My lead falls to the side, a faux smile straining my face.

I am a puppet, being moved for other’s entertainment.

The image before me twists and turns until I’m submerged in a dark liquid, striving to reach a surface that does not exist. My lungs burn, my joints ache, my bones shiver from the cold. I swim and swim and swim until my body cannot keep me afloat.

I hear another click, and I am back on the black-sanded beach, facing the stranger once again. My legs feel shaky, my heart even weaker. I fall to my knees and will the tears stinging my eyes to stay put. I will not let them fall, no matter how far I have already plummeted.

“Just let me have my island back,” I plead, voice quiet to prevent the persistent tears.

“This isn’t your island, Angel,” the stranger’s voice is calm, void of any sympathy. “It’s mine now.”

This time, I do let the tears fall. The loss of my own dear creation is a death worth grieving. I meet the stranger’s gaze and scan his hauntingly beautiful features.

“At least allow me the liberty of knowing who you are,” I whisper.

The man laughs. “Who else would I be, other than Shame?”

And with that, chains wrap around my limbs, dragging me to the darkness once again.

“Goodbye, Angel.”


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Stickied -- Mon Feb 05, 2024 7:30 am
avianwings47 says...



Me, personifying emotions? Never! What do you mean this is super similar to my other story? You're crazy!

Sooo... this story turned out way darker than I had intended. (Like, way darker) I do want some reviews on it, though, so tell me what you think, specifically points of confusion, because I'm not entirely sure this story makes sense. Nonetheless, please enjoy!




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Mon Feb 05, 2024 2:33 pm
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AmayaStatham wrote a review...



Salutations, curious mind!



Amaya here, ready to dive into the pages of this intriguing story. 📚!

Buckle up, 'cause we're diving into my review magic! ✨

The Good Stuff:

First of all, let's talk about the parts that really rocked!

This seems like the beginning of a very intriguing story. You have a strong start with an interesting concept and two amazing characters already.

The boat is a funny way to start the story and adds even more mystery to where she is. The fact that this story is written in the first person point of view, makes it even more interesting for the reader to figure out themselves what’s happening. Great job there! Horrors are usually better in first person’s POV.

Angel and Shame are two opposites of each other, while Angel has lost her memory, Shame is taking over her island. Angel is being “attacked” by Shame and while she’s pleading to get her city back, Shame is ruling her.

The moment of her getting out of her body and looking over her crying self, makes her aware of how grave the situation really is.

Areas to Improve:✒️

The following suggestions are merely to help you improve on your writing and not to offend you in any way. Feel free to skip these suggestions, if these are not what you aim for.

Over here, I think that it’s a little unclear what is actually happening. My question is, “Has she cut her feet or not? And is it bleeding or not?”

Because, you mentioned “the specks cutting her heel” , but then you also mention “it bleeding” and “she hopes it hasn’t dug a way into her flesh.”

I hope you understand what I mean over here, perhaps try and read it over again.

But now, I have nowhere else to go. I cannot stand here, frozen until I am saved. So, with one last glance at the water, I walk along the shore. The sand sifts through my sandals, catching underneath my feet. I yelp as the specks cut my heel. The sand is sharp like glass.

I nurse my injured foot, wiping away the blood-covered grains, hoping it hasn’t dug its way into my flesh. I retreat to the safety of the forest, where it is easier to tread.

~~~

This part Angel finds out that the island it hers, this is a great part no joke there. You did awesome!! I just think that you can flesh it out a little more, instead of three sentences with the graving only, try to add some more life to the scene.

Maybe some more descriptions or dialogue, a flashback is also a great way to show some of her past/memories of this island.

I see what I saw before; dead trees, rusted clouds, sand like glass. But then I notice a small marking on a nearby tree. My marking; the one I had engraved so long ago to claim this island as mine.

And now it resides here.

~~~

This is just a little nitpick, which is totally not necessary:

Over here, Shame is stating that Angel’s island is now his. I suggest you write, “This isn’t your island anymore, Angel,”

That way it emphasises the fact of her loss even more.

“This isn’t your island, Angel,” the stranger’s voice is calm, void of any sympathy. “It’s mine now.”


Nailed It!💐

Your title really stood out to me. It is a direct summary of your story, not entirely but it hints at mystery which drags Readers like me to it. Amazing choice!!

Walking Estranged Lands


Overall Feelings:

This was a nice read, very interesting and as you said, bone chilling also. I thought that it was kind of sad that she got stuck in the darkness, but it was an amazing plot twist. You have an awesome writing style which keeps your readers intrigued, with an amazing plot.

If this was not set as a short story, I would definitely recommend you to continue this novel if that’s what you wish of course. Because I think this concept has the potential to become something great, along with these amazing protagonists of yours.

Be sure to check out…📔🔖

Eleanor Kept Walking by @GengarIsBestBoy & The Marionette by the snow @foxfire

These stories also give off a horror/thriller vibe when you’re reading them. I was sitting on the edge of my seat while reading them, and while reading your story it strongly reminded me of these too.

I’m pretty sure you will enjoy them as much as I did. So feel free to drop by, leave a like if you like it or a review!

Have a nice day or night further! Keep writing! You are amazing!

Amazingly yours,
Amaya Statham
– Be yourself and keep writing! 📖🎉




avianwings47 says...


Wow! Thanks for the in-depth review! Your suggestions were very helpful, and I will definitely be using them when I go back to edit this story. I'm glad you enjoyed it!



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Mon Feb 05, 2024 8:24 am
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humblebard1 wrote a review...



Hey, Avian! This is absolutely amazing! The whole time reading that I felt immersed into the story and the deep connections to emotion, like, woah. Here are some of my thoughts.


As the Ballad Begins (first impressions)
The scene starts with the narrator on a boat coming to shore on what they think is the Island of Reverie they normally come to, but everything is dead and withered. A stranger greets them, haunting yet beautiful, and the narrator rises in anger; they soon learn they are but a puppet to this man. Out of interest, is this based on manipulation or something similar?


Little Ale Spills (what you could improve on)
There is a line that i had to read over a few times because it was quite confusing, but it was just a few letters- "I yelp as the spec(k)s cut my he(e)l". unless this is what you intended, then totally ignore this!


Enthralling Performance (best bits/lines!)
“Just let me have my island back,” I plead, voice quiet to prevent the persistent tears.
“This isn’t your island, Angel,” the stranger’s voice is calm, void of any sympathy. “It’s mine now.”
I love the fact that though he calls the narrator angel, he's treating them horribly, and showing no remorse. An interesting character, indeed.

"Distorted, glowing eyes follow me as I fall. Their edges are sharp and heavy like a child has scribbled them all across the walls. They watch with judgment, mocking and scoffing at my very existence. They make me curl in on myself, ashamed of who I am."
This reminds of a childhood nostalgia turned into a weapon against you; like your child self has come back to mock you cruelly for what you've become.

Bardic Inspiration (a few parting notes)
I love this work, and the possible meanings behind the imagery you use are really interesting and VERY deep. For me, the pace flowed well, not too fast, not too slow, and you used your characters and scenery incredibly well. Keep it up, as always!

-humblebard




avianwings47 says...


Thanks for the review! Now, I believe that anyone is free to interpret my writing as they please. If they relate to it in a certain way, then so be it. However, my inspiration for this story- put as simply as I can- is how shame can disconnect us from reality; how it can torment us and strip away positive feelings, replacing them with lies and the feeling of having no control.
Also, thanks for pointing out that grammatical error! I did not notice it at all! (And neither did Grammarly, apparently.)




the world (me) cries out for salvation (snacks)
— creaturefeature