The smog hid all signs of the forest. Spikes of nausea attacked her stomach. Dizziness swayed her head. If only her blade shining by her feet could cut all this nonsense away but a sword was worthless in this battle.
She gritted her teeth, fighting back the urge to plead, beg for it to stop. Begging would only enforce her fear. Instead, she screamed, “I’ll stab my own eyes out before granting you the satisfaction of destroying me.”
Out from the rolling smoke slithered a massive snake, its diamond-shaped head at eye level. Yellow eyes pierced her, bringing a chill to her chest. It hissed in her face, its forked tongue tickling her nose. A putrid stench of death gathered by her nostrils.
Her heart beat so fast she feared it would be heard. She buried that thought and bared her teeth. She hissed back, making sure to show her set of choppers. She once saw a small mongoose kill a vicious snake. Used its teeth to shred it apart. Surely she could do the same.
The snake shoved its eye near hers, examining every inch of her soul. She held her stare. A tinge of fear rose at the thought of what the snake might find within. What ever happened it couldn’t locate weakness or else that would be the death of her.
Furry spun in the snake’s gleaming eyes. It was ready to devour her strength. A thread of fear lingered, waiting to consume her. One slip and it would be over. Fists clenched, she numbed her anxiety, forced it into the hidden recesses of her heart.
Then, she finally felt it. What she’d been waiting for. A peace cloaked her as her muscles loosened. When the snake couldn’t find what it was looking for, it lowered its head like a submissive dog. The snake’s yellow eyes dimmed. It kept its head bowed, and slowly backed away, avoiding eye contact.
A violent wind blew through. Her vision spun out of control.
Lilhart opened her eyes. She was back in her cottage home, seated in a chair with her brother hovering over her, stunned. It worked. She dropped the empty vial and it clinked on the wooden floor. Challenge completed.
“Woah. Did you do it?” her brother asked, pressing her shoulders down to encourage her to remain seated.
She grinned. “Yes, I’d say so.”
He released his grip. “So…what was your obstacle?”
“Confronting the lies of fear.”