~All in the Mind~
The monsters were only illusions in her mind, conjured by the hallucinogenic her captors injected into her to stop her from running away. She knew that intellectually.
But faced with sulphur hot breath steaming out of shadow matte muzzles filled with ivory sharp teeth, facts melted like ice under hot water.
She pulled her knees to her face and curled into the smallest ball she could contort herself into. It was hard to breathe, but at least this way she knew where all her limbs were. And the monsters wouldn’t be around forever. She just needed to wait it out.
“There you are.”
She thought her brother’s familiar voice was just another illusion, until his shadow wrapped around her like a blanket and pulled her out of the draughty room that had been her prison for the past day. The monsters followed, no less real in the safety of her home.
“I was careful,” she said as she pressed into her brother’s arms. She hadn’t known her latest clients moonlighted as kidnappers until they plunged the needle into her skin.
Her brother ran his fingers through her hair. “This one’s on me. I didn’t catch them when I did the background check.”
The monsters let loose a howl that raked freezing fire through her ears. She choked back a cry, as if her silence could hide herself from the figments of her imagination.
“Next time, I’m coming with you,” her brother said.
“What about your job?”
“I’ll figure something out.”
That would be nice. Despite the bad experiences, she still wanted to paint. If anyone could figure out a solution, it was her brother.
The monsters still prowled, but in her brother’s arms, it was easier to remember that they were just hallucinations in her mind.
Genre: fantasy, superpower, family