Aezra’s Soul Realm
By Tiffany Cole
If I hadn’t closed my eyes, I would’ve known what it looked like to travel from one dimension to the next. It was a fairly smooth and
fast journey, except for the landing; I landed, hard, on my butt.

The pain instantly caused my eyes to jolt open. Standing up wasn’t particularly easy either. My legs were wobbly, and if I hadn’t
grabbed hold of a large gold pillar to the right of me I would’ve ended up right back on the floor.

My legs were still very weak, but I felt safe as long as I held the pillar tightly. Assured that I’d be fine in a matter of seconds, I decided
to focus my attention on my new surroundings. So far I had already noticed that the floor I was standing on was white with a long
black carpet in the middle; the pillar that I was using for support wasn’t painted gold...it was gold. Wherever I was at, it was extremely
expensive.

When I looked up my mouth flew open, and I was too immersed in the exquisiteness of it all to care. I was in a never ending hallway.
There were gold pillars evenly lined up on both sides of the hallway following the endless trail as far as my eyes could see. Behind the
pillars were extremely large pictures of various people’s faces. Some of them were smiling, most of them were frowning, but they all
looked rather sinister.

Creepier than that, they all seemed to be staring at me.

I tore my eyes away from them and looked further up. The ceiling was extremely high domed. The higher it got, the more colorful the
wall became. If my vision was a bit better I’d probably be able to see the abstract drawings as well.

Even more interesting than the sight of the pillars reaching up as high as the ceiling was the floating chandeliers. At first I thought they
were hanging from very thin strings, but all of the chandeliers were floating up and down in a fashion that was almost ghostly.
I turned around, expecting to find a door. Instead there was just more of the never-ending hallway. That’s when my amazement slowly
turned into fear. I realized that there were no windows or doors in this place. How was I supposed to get out?

Stupid Doceon with his stupid theories.

I’d have to do something if I wanted to get out of here soon. I let go of the pillar, balanced myself, and started to walk forward.

Hallways have to come to an end sooner or later...right?

I hadn’t worn the watch Caitlyn loaned me since I first met Alexander; there were, of course, no clocks hanging on the wall. This
placed seemed to be timeless. That annoyed me. My legs were tired. I knew I’d been walking for a long amount of time even though
the scenario never changed.

I knew for sure that the people in the pictures were watching me. A few minutes ago, I worked up enough guts to look at the pictures
again and I actually saw all the people in the frames turn their heads toward me, their eyes following my every step.

I haven’t looked at anything but my feet ever since then.

Soon I became aggravated and broke out into a run. I ran as fast as I could. The sound of my feet hitting the floor echoed louder
than life. I could feel all of the people in the pictures quickly turn their attention to me.

“Run,” whispered one voice. Than a chorus of different voices started whispering ‘run’ until the sound of my running and the sound
of their voices got much too deafening.

After a few minutes I stopped running. I bent over, hands on my knees. I was hardly able to catch my breath, but I knew I had to do
or say something to silence the voices.

“Stop it!” I screamed. “Running is pointless. This is pointless!”

My voice echoed throughout the hallway. It was so loud that I had to cover my ears. I had the urge to scream out to the voices again
in order to hopefully get a valuable response, but I was starting to get a headache from all of the loud noises.

Trying to look for a hidden door was even more pointless. Frustrated, I flung my fist at the nearest gold pillar. If I wanted help I’d
have to speak to the voices again. This time, though, I wouldn’t scream.

Putting my fear behind me, I turned to one of the pictures. I was sure that was where the voices were coming from.

“Carlie,” I said, reading the name at the bottom of the frame. “Please tell me how to leave.”

I could instantly tell what type of person Carlie was. She was a brunette with hazel eyes. When I said her name, she flipped her hair
back and smirked. She had perfectly manicured nails, immaculate teeth, and enough make-up to show she was set on glamorous. I
instantly regretted talking to her.

“Are you stupid?” she asked. “No one ever leaves Aezra’s palace; not unless she allows you to.”

I ignored her cruel question and tone of voice. “Where do I find Aezra?”

She broke out into a laugh. “You want to find Aezra? I think you’ve got it all wrong. Did she summon you?”

I nodded my head. She broke into a fit of laughter all over again. I was really starting to hate her.

“You see all these people in these pictures? They were all summoned by Aezra and they were all used and killed in the most merciless
fashion – she ate all of their souls.”

She moved closer to the edge of the frame, smiling at the fearful expression on my face. She ate their souls?

“She got me in 2003 right before she summoned that psycho murderer Isatis” – whoever ‘Isatis’ was, she shivered at his name – “She
changed the words around in one of my journal entries and I somehow ended up in an incinerator, where I slowly burned to death for
days. But there was nothing more painful than when she ate my soul.”

“Oh shut up Carlie!” screamed a male voice from across the hall. I turned to his picture, happy to be speaking with someone else.
“You deserved to burn. Your vanity was sending you straight to hell anyway,” the male continued.

She snarled at him. “Don’t speak church boy. If it hadn’t been for your jealousy, maybe you wouldn’t have killed”—

He quickly interrupted her and turned his attention to me. “If you want to see Aezra, all you have to do is call her name. Usually she
comes to you, but I don’t know your situation.” His voice got quiet. He stared at me, withdrawn. “Be careful though; if I hadn’t
stumbled upon Aezra’s Journal, than my soul wouldn’t have gotten tainted. I’d be in heaven right now...”

I waited for him to say more, but melancholy took over his expression. I put my curiosity aside. He told me what I needed to know.
That was all that really mattered.

“Thanks...um...Jacob,” I said.

He continued to stare off into the distance.

I turned away from his picture and looked forward. Did I really want to see Aezra – the ‘person’ who had eaten the souls of
everybody in those pictures?

In the end, I realized that I didn’t have a choice. I was either going to spend the rest of my life walking through this hallway, hoping
Doceon would find a way to get me back out or call for Aezra. I chose the latter.

“A-Aezra,”I called.

For a moment nothing happened. Than the hallway began to shake, and the floor in the front of me split apart.

An enormous black and gold...door flew from out of the large crack and nearly rose up as high as the ceiling.

At first I wondered how I was supposed to open the colossal door (there was no handles), but as soon as the crack in the floor
disappeared, the door opened on its own.

Hesitantly, I stepped through the entrance.

I felt extremely small. The room was large and ominous. The floor was a mixture of black and white tiles; the walls were pitch black;
there were various chandeliers hanging a couple of feet above my head.

None of this held my attention like the throne that reached up to the ceiling. It was completely gold, and there wasn’t a ladder
anywhere in sight. It would be time consuming, if not impossible, for a human to reach the top of the throne within one day, but
Aezra wasn’t a human. If she was (and I highly doubted that) she was a particularly vicious human.

I could feel her presence in the room. I knew she was sitting atop that throne, but I was just as scared to see her as I was eager. A few
minutes were wasted on me staring at my feet. Finally, Aezra spoke, and when I heard her voice I felt instantly compelled to stare at
her, to see who – or what – had consumed my body with fear over these past few days.

“Are you not Alecia, the savior of the supernatural?” she asked. Her voice was strict. Because of that, her question came out more like
an announcement. I instantly nodded my head in response, taken aback by how submissive I had become. Her presence was both
comforting and horrifying at the same time.

I really did need glasses, but even from my limited vision I could see that she was beautiful – much too beautiful to be human. This
was the same caramel skinned woman I saw smirking back at me on the cover of Aezra’s Journal. I could have never guessed how
stunning she would look in person (possibly because I never gave that much thought).

Her hair was a mixture of brown and black. It flowed past her shoulders and to the top of her waist, where it sat there perfectly
straight and shiny. Her eyes seemed to be an odd shade of gray.

Just like Isaiah, she had a skill for pulling off the whole royal look (Than again, she was on a throne). She wore a bright purple, 1900
Victorian-style dress. The bottom looked extremely uncomfortable, and I wasn’t sure how she was able to sit in it. It was very puffy. In
contrast, the top of the dress was a tight corset that didn’t give justice to her breasts at all (I couldn’t help but notice. Corsets can make
seemingly breast less people appear to have lots of cleavage, but Aezra was nowhere near breast less in the first place). It didn’t take
me long to realize that she was wearing the same dress from the cover of her journal.

I was instantly taken away from my thoughts by a sudden eruption of chatter. So much for thinking Aezra and I were the only ones in
the room.

I could hear fragments of conversation (they were all talking about me and my title as the savior); I could feel the presence of other
people walking past me. I just could not see anybody. This freaked me out. I was locked in a room with a soul eater and a group of
souls. There was a very high possibility that I would not leave this palace, or book for that matter, alive.

“Silence!” demanded Aezra. Everybody in the room abruptly got quiet. I couldn’t help but give her full attention. “We must bow to
our goddess.”

I was definitely not expecting her to say that, but I wasn’t complaining. If she was a worshipper that meant she was less likely to kill me.

The gust of air that accompanied the souls as they walked past was eerie. I soon found myself freezing with nothing to cover myself
up with.

Aezra stood on her throne, her dress looking a lot more unruly, and it occurred to me that she was going to jump. Somehow I
managed to forget that Aezra was not a human. I panicked. Jumping off of anything that high up was suicidal, and I did not want to
see the outcome.

I got ready to close my eyes when I saw her step over the edge, but I realized she was falling slowly. Her hair was flying around her,
her eyes glowing purple. I watched her, in awe, as she floated to the bottom and elegantly landed on her feet.

“All hail the savior!” she demanded.

She bowed, and behind her the ghosts appeared in an ethereal blue glow and dropped to their knees, repeating ‘All hail the savior!” in
perfect unison.

That same unbearable feeling from when Alexander bowed down to me came back except this time the feeling was a lot stronger.

“Aezra, may I talk to you?” My voice didn’t come out half as strong as I thought it would.

She stood up straight, a relieved expression on her face. I got the feeling that she didn’t really like to bow. “Of course.”

She waved her right hand. Without question, the souls stood up and split apart, walking through the walls.

When all of the souls appeared to be gone, Aezra made a complete change in personality. Her shoulders loosened; she shifted her
body to one side, looking a lot less strict than before.

When she turned to me, she had an innocent look in her eyes and a seemingly genuine smile. “What is it that you want to talk to me
about?”

Not even her voice sounded the same. I’ve seen some pretty freaky stuff over the past few days, and I wasn’t exactly sure if I was still
talking to the same person. I was too busy trying to figure out what was going on to respond.

Either she could read my mind, or my confusion was just that obvious. She giggled. “I’m sorry that you had to witness that more...
overwhelming side of me, but if I don’t act like that when the other soul eaters are in the room, they’ll quickly become outraged. I’m
the longest living soul eater alive so the others look up to me as a queen.” Her smile turned into a frown. “You look completely
freaked out. Please talk to me.”

For a moment, I forgot why I was in the book. I said the first thing that came to mind.
“What’s a soul eater and why are you a worshipper?”

She looked insulted. “You must still have a lot to learn. We’re creatures of the night, just like vampires, except we don’t need the blood
of humans to live; we need their souls. I hope you didn’t think that vampires and werewolves were the only supernatural creatures.”

I did think vampires and werewolves were the only supernatural creatures. I guess this thought was also written across my face. She
looked at me incredulously. I changed the subject.

“Can you please get out of my mind? If you don’t, Doceon will never be able to help me.”

Once again, my voice came out a lot weaker than I expected. My words were so jumbled that I was surprised she was even able to
understand what I said.

“I am very sorry about that,” she replied. “I am bound to this book, and there are rules I must follow. Technically, you are still a
human until you get your glow. When you opened the book I had to summon you. The book won’t allow me to get out of your brain
unless you write in the journal; I’m sure you already know what will happen if you write. Even worse, I’d have to kill you before you
get your glow or else things may backfire on me and I’ll die.”

My eyes widened. This was a lose-lose situation. “There’s got to be another way.”
It only took her a few seconds to come up with another solution. “There is!” She exclaimed, clearly excited. “You’re the answer to my
riddle: ‘the redhead will open the door if you should follow.’ Now it all makes sense! I can temporarily leave the book as long as I go
with you. So what do you say?”

Her excitement caused her to speak incomprehensibly. I also wasn’t sure how breaking her out of the book was supposed to help me.
“Wait, what? You’re saying that if you leave with me your control over my brain stops? What will happen to the book if you leave?”

“That’s exactly what I said. As long as you’re with me, getting out will be easy; all we have to do is draw a door. As for the book...
nothing is supposed to happen while I’m gone. Isatis will temporarily take the throne, but the book’s spell won’t allow him to get out of
hand. What do you say?”

There seemed to be more pros to letting Aezra out than cons. Sure I had no idea what type of person she really was, but that was a
problem I could deal with later. Now I needed to get her out of my mind and find a way out of this book. She was offering me a
fairly easy solution, and I was going to take advantage of it.

“I say we leave as soon as possible.”

She smiled. “Let’s draw that door than!”

Aezra handed me a while chalk and I stared at it, flabbergasted. Why was she handing me the chalk? And where did it come from?
Things would be a lot easier for me if I was warned beforehand that ‘magic’ will be used.

There was an uncomfortable silence in which Aezra stared at me impatiently. I realized that she wanted me to draw the door. My
drawing skills were that of a drunken toddler, if not worst. Drawing a normal door was one thing, but drawing a magical door was a
completely different story.

Aezra was very eager to get out of the book, and I didn’t want to test her patience. Putting my trivial concerns behind me, I grasped
the chalk tightly and hesitantly started drawing on the wall (in hopes that the wall was where she wanted me to draw).
The effect followed right after I drew the crooked, circle doorknob. The drawing became immersed in a blinding white light, and then
the door was real...as though it had been there for ages.

“After you,” said Aezra.

The chalk was no longer in sight when I reached for the doorknob and pulled. I closed my eyes the very moment I could feel my
body being pulled forward by an invisible force.

Dimension Traveling.