A Mother and Her Shattering Son

Download the story for free on Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/939747

 

Chapter 1 – A Colorful World Filled with War

A world filled with dolls and crystals sounds like a place of wonder and happiness, but this isn’t so of this world. The Crystallis, who are dolls that originate from the crystal, became so prideful of their beauty that they were corrupted by it. Because of this corruption, they attacked the Flos, who are dolls that originate from the beauty of the world. The Flos are skilled when it comes to reasoning and strategy, however, the Crystallis excel in brute strength. The Flos and Crystallis have fought their war to a standstill and are still fighting a brutal world war that has ravaged this once beautiful world.

In all the chaos, innocents are naturally caught in the crossfire. Rosalia’s son, Rhodes, had been caught in an area effect spell that cursed him with decay so that his body slowly falls apart. Rosalia’s husband sacrificed himself so that the two could survive. Several other family members were caught in this spell, but enough managed to survive to fend off the invasion of Crystallis. A cure for Rhodes would’ve been easier to get back in the time of peace, but the only place in the world that holds the cure is in the center of conflict where both sides are constantly fighting each other day in and out, which is the origin point of both dolls. If Rosalia can bring Rhodes to the healing springs, then he can be cured. Despite being told the near impossible odds by repeatedly her neighbors, she goes out in the hopes that she can make it in time.

Currently, Rhodes has been falling apart but is in a coma-like state where he is vaguely aware of what’s around him. Rosalia has been carrying him on her back as she traverses the crystal forests. Since the world is at war, the vegetation in the forest has become hostile to everything that isn’t them as well. Rosalia has used a spell to make her left arm into a dangerous claw for self-defense.  Her right leg and left heel have become deadly sharp tools as well.

As Rosalia makes her way through the forest, she says to her son, “I wish you could’ve seen this forest when it was friendly. It used to shine more and give out delicious fruit. Now, everything here is dangerous, so we have to be careful.”

Rhodes whimpers a bit.

“Oh, I know you’ve been upset about me sacrificing pieces of myself so you can live. It doesn’t bother me, see? Each piece of me helps you continue living. Your mom isn’t upset nor am I weakened by it. I don’t need another eye if I can’t see you smile another day. Besides, even if we are separated, you will always have a piece of me with you.”

Rhodes reaches out for his mother’s hands. Rosalia pulls him around so she can hold him.

“Don’t you worry, my little prince. We’ll get you cured then we can live happily together. You’ll go to school, become a man, and maybe even get married. I’ll have to approve of your choice, of course, but then again, I shouldn’t be saying about that given the person I chose.

Or should I be blaming your father for choosing me? Who am I kidding? It was both our faults. We got into a lot of trouble the two of us, but it was worth it so you could be born. I just wish his relatives could accept our love for each other.”

A chiming in the forest gets Rosalia’s attention. She puts Rhodes behind her and activates a shield spell that creates a shell to protect him. Rhodes senses the danger as well and holds his hands close to his face.

“You’re going to be safe, my little prince. Nothing will beat me when your life is at stake.”

Shadows dart from hiding place to hiding place in order to get a good opening to attack. Since Rosalia isn’t giving them any opportunities, the Crystallis hunters attack her with one combined attack. The three jump up in the air and plunge their blades towards her. She blocks their blades as her claw arm turns into a shield. Since their blades are so heavy, she lowers herself then dodges to the side and uses her leg blade. It stretches out and cuts the heart core of two of the hunters, which shatters them. The last one manages to block the attack but is hit into a living plant that breaks the hunter into pieces.

The violence has made the vegetation in the forest extremely aggressive. The trees start uprooting themselves and attacking Rosalia. She defends herself as best as she can by leaping around while cutting down the trees and fauna. Since the forest itself is a constantly growing, old, and large entity, Rosalia stands no chance against it. Fully exhausted, she holds Rhodes as he cries.

“It’s okay. It’s going to be okay, little prince.”

A sudden realization then comes to her head.

“If violence is what upsets the forest, then maybe love can calm it down. How about a song? I was going to sing to this you later to lull you to sleep, my little prince, but it looks like I’ll have to now.

 

I know when to take it slow

And when to run at the speed of light

I know when to be patient

And when to act without thinking

 

I know when to smile

And when to cry

I know when to think with my heart

And how to always love

But I don’t know how to love like you do

 

When you love for no other reason than to love

When you love for no other reason than to love

For the sake of love

 

I know how to love when I’m loved

But you love even when you’re hated

I know how to love when the sun is shining

But you love even when the storms roar

 

I know how to love when I’m happy

But you love even when you’re in pain

I know to love when everyone loves

But you love when no else loves

How do you do it

 

When you love for no other reason than to love

When you love for no other reason than to love

For the sake of love?

 

Teach me how to love when I’m hated

Teach me how to love in dark times

Teach me how to love when I’m cold

Please, my love. Please teach me, my love

Teach me how to love for the sake of love”

Rhodes laughs and waves his hands around as if trying to clap. The vegetation and fauna of the forest go back to where they come from and rest. Rosalia breathes a sigh of relief then kisses her son.

“Did you like it? I hope you did. Let’s hurry out of here before more hunters come.”

Rosalia casts a healing spell on herself as she quickly runs to the fastest way out of the forest.

 

Chapter 2 – Causalities and Captives

Once she’s walked for a long stretch, Rosalia finally makes it to civilization though it is a bit small. It is a small village town that appears to have been recently affected by the war as people repair their broken buildings and homes. Destroyed crops are being plucked out of the ground as new ones are planted. Pieces of dying dolls are passed onto their families so they can continue to carry their family’s legacy while the enemy dolls are put together then wrapped honorably. Before, the Flos used to send carts of Crystallis doll shells to the enemy as a sign of respect for their enemy, but the Crystallis destroyed most of the carts because the Crystallis view the hollow shells of their comrades as useless and valueless. During these recent times, the Flos just bury the shells of their enemies in their own special grave site away from the graves of the Flos.

One of the normal civilians says, “I don’t get it. Why do we need to respect the bodies of their dead when they don’t do the same for their own? I’ve heard horror stories of what they do to the bodies of our soldiers. We should burn them all in a fire because that’s where their souls end up anyway!”

“Don’t be so disrespectful. I’ve heard dozens of reports that say some of the Crystallis travel over to honor their dead,” a relative responds.

“It’s just their pride that makes them do this,” a villager says, “Besides, we shouldn’t be like the savages.”

“You’re right. We should take the Crystallis that come over and hold them for ransom!”

“Stop saying and thinking such things! You’re no different than them if you truly think this way.”

Rosalia approaches the hateful person and says, “He’s right you know. We should find ways to love our enemies and be respectful to their dead. Being as evil as the worst of them is only going to make things worse.”

“Hmph.”

The hateful person walks away while their relative walks with them.

“We don’t see many understanding people like you around here. What brings you to our recovering little town?”

“I’m just passing through. My own little town was recently attacked by the Crystallis and my baby boy here was affected by a terrible spell. I have to get him to the springs to have him cured.”

“That’s a dangerous journey, but I won’t stop you from taking it. Some of our city guards would accompany you along the way, but whoever we have left are guarding us as we repair our homes and I don’t think we can spare even one.”

“I understand. I pray that your town stays safe.”

“You’re a strong mother. What is your name?”

“Rosalia.”

“Rosalia…I’ve heard that name somewhere before. You don’t happen to famous, do you?”

“If I was, I wouldn’t look like this.”

“That makes sense. Rosalia must be just a memorable name then. Is there a reason why you still defend the Crystallis even though they just destroyed your home?”

“Because they’re dolls like us. Even though they come from the crystal, we were still made in the same place by the same creator. We may think differently, but we’re still related, and our lives are both equally beyond value.”

“I see. Well, I’m sorry for taking up so much of your time. You can take some of our healing fragments to give your boy a little more time.”

“Thank you so much.”

“Don’t mention it.”

After healing Rhodes a little, Rosalia says goodbye then leaves the town. She travels down the roads as they should be safer than the forest though not by much. There’s still a chance the Crystallis might come down the roads or the forest might come to life and reach out to crush her.

Rosalia says to Rhodes, “I’m glad the townsfolk didn’t recognize me. There would’ve been trouble if they did. Anyway, let me tell you more about your father since he won’t be able to tell you himself. He was a brave and proud man. He risked everything he had including his life to be with me since he was from a royal family. The way he loved people and nature was breathtaking. He loved being in love with everything and everyone so much that he wrote songs and poems about almost everything. It’s where I get my songs from.”

Ahead of Rosalia is an incoming band of Crystallis. They have a huge black bull under their control, which is a huge black beast with black horns, a white face, and red and black eyes in this world. It struggles against the control of its captors along with the other creatures that have been captured.

“Poor things,” she says to herself as she hides on the side of the road in a tree, “The raiding party is headed towards the town. They won’t be able to fight against the bull and the other creatures along with the Crystallis. I want to do something, but what am I going to do?”

Rosalia thinks of a couple of plans before deciding on one course of action. She throws two fire darts, conjured by a spell, at the chains that bind the bull to free it. Once it’s free, it puts the Crystallis into a panic. While the bull rampages about, Rosalia frees the rest of the creatures. Once she does, the black bull stares her down with its face in hers. Neither her nor Rhodes are intimated, and this silent show of courage gains Rosalia the respect of the bull and creatures.

A larger party of Crystallis that’s half the size of a legion then show up in the distance. This party was dragged ahead by the creatures, who were craving violence. Now that they’re free, they rage against their captors along with Rosalia. They destroy everything around them with the aid of the forest. Fauna and vegetation come to life as some of the creatures are shattered in battle. Despite the strength of the Crystallis, the numbers and overall strength of nature and Rosalia overwhelm them.

Once the dust settles, the forest closes in on Rosalia, but the black bull and leftover creatures silently pick up for her. The vegetation and fauna return to the forest and the creatures do the same. The black bull nuzzles Rosalia’s face and pets the top of Rhodes’ head, which makes him giggle. It then goes back into the forest while looking back at the two. It accidentally bumps into a large tree and gets slapped by it, which makes Rosalia laugh. The black bull then pays attention to where it’s going after one last look back with a smile.

Rhodes giggles again.

Rosalia continues on her way as she says, “See? Not all of nature is bad. Now, where was I? Oh yeah. Your father loved singing and making songs. Here’s one that I remember that he sang every other day.

 

I can’t be away from you any longer

But part of me still resists

I wish I was stronger

 

When we are together,

It feels like Heaven

When I leave you,

Part of me is left behind

 

You give my empty life meaning

I finally have a person who loves me back

You have woken me up from my foolishness

I know what I must do

 

Because I can’t be without you any longer

You are who keeps me going

You are who makes me stronger

 

I’ll endure all the hardships

Fight all the battles

And suffer the worst pain

Because I can’t be without you any longer

I am reinvigorated because of you

I am reborn into a new man ready to take on the world

Whatever you request, you will have

Whatever you command, I will obey

 

You say that you’re not worth it

That you’re not worth anything

But you’re worth more than you think

You’re my light that brightens up the darkness

 

You give my empty life meaning

I finally have a person who loves me back

You have woken me up from my foolishness

I know what I must do

Because I can’t be without you any longer

You are who keeps me going

You are who makes me stronger

 

I’ll endure all the hardships

Fight all the battles

And suffer the worst pain

Because I can’t be without you any longer

 

I will do all you want and more

My love for you knows no boundaries or obstacles

So,

Will you please be with me forever?”

 

Rosalia feels something watching her. She turns around to see the black bull watching her. It appears to have been attracted by her singing, but now it goes back into the forest as if it is embarrassed to be caught listening to her singing. Rosalia smiles at the creature’s cute nature despite its looks.

“Your father might as well have been a love bird for all the love he showed to others. He was more charitable and loving than his relatives to the point where people were wondering if he was an angel. I thought a person like him was beyond my reach, but when I showed how charitable I was when I gave away everything I had on me for a poor person he accidentally missed, he fell for me. Literally and figuratively speaking since he fell off his horse to kiss my hand. It was sad and funny at the same time, haha. I still can’t help but laugh when I remember it happening.

Still, your father did his best to impress me even though he did make a fool of himself a few times…okay, a lot of times. I felt like I didn’t deserve it especially since I couldn’t return anything on the same scale as him, but when I expressed my feelings about this, he said, ‘Don’t you worry. If you give me your love, then I will have something that is worth more than the entire universe’. I don’t know where he came up with his words, but he made me fall for him so many times because of them. Being without him is going to be difficult…”

Rhodes makes a whimpering sound.

“But don’t worry, we’ll make it through this. Your father is always with us in spirit now. Trust me.”

Rhodes giggles and Rosalia smiles as she wipes away her tears and continues traveling down the road.

 

 

 

 

Chapter 3 – Nature at its Worst

After a little while of walking, the road becomes lost as the surrounding environment is mostly destroyed with the flames of battle still burning.

“This must be where those Crystallis got their creatures,” Rosalia says to herself.

Because the Crystallis is known for violence and upsetting nature, both they and the Flos have developed their own spell that calms nature around them, so they can battle. This spell only covers the area of battle and takes a lot of energy to produce.

“This is probably why the Crystallis couldn’t produce another spell to protect themselves. Even if they could, the creatures of the forest weren’t giving them any opportunities to act anyways. You see, Rhodes? You have to respect nature otherwise it will turn on you.”

Further into the destruction, Rosalia finds a team of healers who are repairing the forest with their magic.

One of the forest healers approaches Rosalia and says, “Excuse me, miss. You should hurry along in a different direction. It only gets more dangerous from here.”

“I know that, but my baby boy has been afflicted with a spell that can only be healed at the springs.”

“That’s terrible, and you’ve been traveling on your own?”

“Yes, I have.”

“…I guess there’s no getting around it then. Lupin, send out a messenger bird to let them know this woman is coming with her child.”

“Alright.”

The doll conjures a dove made of light after speaking into his hand. The dove flies away in the direction of Rosalia’s destination.

“Thank you for your help,” Rosalia says.

“Don’t mention it. Just make sure that little one gets the healing he needs. I’m sure it’s been hard for you just getting this far. If the army near the springs can spare any troops, they should be meeting you halfway.”

Once they say their goodbyes, Rosalia keeps walking. The forest looks better as she journeys forward, but not by much. Crystal grass and foliage are growing at a fast rate because of the healing spell of the healers though it seems like something is wrong. The newly grown vegetation appears to know it was killed as it violently sways back and forth as if it wants to be reborn faster so it can obtain its revenge. Rosalia eventually meets up with a small group of Flos soldiers.

One of them says, “You’re the mother we’ve been looking for. It’s an honor to meet a woman who will risk her life and skin for her son.”

“Thank you for coming out to escort me. It’s been rough.”

“I can imagine. Let’s hurry along then. The fighting near the spring has calmed down for the past couple days so you should be able to bring your boy there with no trouble.”

The band of soldiers escorts Rosalia with her in the center to guard her against attacks from all possible directions.

A soldier asks her, “What’s your name?”

“Rosalia.”

“Hmmm. That name sounds familiar.”

“A guy in the town close to here said the same.”

“It’s a rare, but memorable name.”

“That’s because of a woman by the name of Rosalia was one of the reasons this war started,” another soldier interjects.

“Now I remember why that name is so memorable.”

Feeling awkward, Rosalia says, “But I’m not that Rosalia.”

“I wish I knew which Rosalia was that one so I could ask her what she was thinking. I’m not mad at her because I know that her action was only the straw that broke the camel’s back and nothing incredibly important on its own. Marriages between Flos and Crystallis aren’t as rare as they seem.”

“Still, she should’ve known better,” another soldier comments.

“It should’ve been a more private marriage.”

“How could it have been when she married royalty?”

“What happened to the husband anyway?”

“He was supposed to be hiding out with Rosalia, but I’ve heard that the Crystallis sent a group of its most powerful warriors to kill them and the word going around is that the husband is dead, but a number of people who were hiding out with him are alive including his wife and their child.”

Some of the soldiers start becoming suspicious of Rosalia and start looking at her funny.

She says, “But I’m not who you’re thinking about.”

A soldier says, “There’s no way this Rosalia is the one we’re thinking about. This Rosalia cares so much for her child while the other one was selfish. Do you really think that a peasant who wanted to marry royalty would risk her life this way?”

“That Rosalia is probably hiding herself with her husband’s riches ten feet under,” another soldier adds.

This relieves the tension in the group as Rosalia quietly breathes a sigh of relief.

“Hey, I don’t remember the forest being this big when we first passed through here.”

“Yeah, you’re right. Be on your guard.”

The soldiers unsheathe their weapons as they move slower while paying attention to everything in their surroundings. A large tree then falls on them to separate the group before fighting against the group to further separate them and push them into the incoming hordes of fauna and vegetation. The group gets separated further as the creatures of the forest break the group apart to make them easier to shatter.

The black bull from before comes to rescue Rosalia as it charges through swarms of creatures. It gives Rosalia enough room to breathe. Since the black bull is dangerous, the forest uses its connection to the creature to try to bring it under its control. The bull’s mental strength is weak, but it doesn’t give in to the forest’s influence, however, it can’t completely control itself, so it smashes everything around it in the hopes that Rosalia won’t be one of them. Unfortunately, Rosalia is hit while using the bull’s rampage as a chance to escape. She is hit into a tree but manages to get away from it before it can shatter her.

Rosalia is surrounded by fauna and vegetation while she is heavily injured. She is trying to heal herself, but she can’t do it fast enough to the point where she can run fast or leap into the air. The forest appears to be livid because it was burned and torn down. Singing looks like it won’t help this time, so she grips Rhodes and covers him as much as possible as a single fauna approaches her with its blade-like arm out ready to strike.

The anticipation of it kills her, so she brings her head up in time for the fauna’s blade to enter her missing eye. Since a doll’s shell is mostly empty with the only thing in it being its core, she feels no pain.

Rosalia says, “Shatter me, but spare my son. Please, save his life when I am dead.”

The fauna pulls back its blade again then brings its blade down on Rosalia’s neck but only makes a small crack on her neck. This supreme act of true love calms down the forest and it gives Rosalia respect that few dolls have. The creatures and fauna bow to her and let her walk away. Despite walking away with her life, she’s still injured and is slowing healing herself. Rhodes senses his mother’s injuries and cries for her.

“Don’t worry about me, my little prince. I’ll be fine.”

He continues to cry.

“Shhh.

Don’t be upset

I am here

Don’t be afraid

I’ll always be with you

 

Look at me and see my smile

I am telling the truth

You can always trust me

 

We’ll always be together

No matter the distance

No matter what happens

Even in death, even when I’m gone

We’ll always be together

 

Your weakness means nothing to me

You’re stronger than the tallest mountains

Braver than the mightiest heroes

No matter what happens, I will always love you

 

We’ll always be together

No matter the distance

No matter what happens

Even in death, even when I’m gone

We’ll always be together

 

I may not always be next to you

You may not always feel my presence

But our bond is permanent

Nothing can break it

I’m always here

I’m always with you

Forever and ever

Just look in your heart

And you will see me, always with you”

 

Rhodes has fallen asleep with a smile on his face. Rosalia smiles as well as she’s finally healed herself enough to numb the pain as she continues on to her destination.

 

 

 

 

Chapter 4 – Hunted for the Crime of Love

Rosalia’s healing magic allows her to be mostly healed, however, it and the previous battles have exhausted her. She collapses from exhaustion, but she makes sure to have Rhodes on top of her, so she doesn’t suffocate him. Sensing his mother’s unconscious state, he cries out for help and receives it not long after. Rosalia is taken to a relief camp where victims of this violent war are taken to be healed and to be helped. She awakens in a bed just in time to overhear a conversation between two Flos.

“She’s definitely the Rosalia who married that Crystallis prince. Several people have confirmed it.”

“But is she everything the rumors say she is? The soldiers that carried her here said that she’s been sacrificing her life to save her son and that she gained the respect of the forest. How rare is that? Even our best mystics can’t manage that.”

“We have to keep her here. Even though she has her sympathizers, there are still people who want her dead, shattered into pieces then throw into fire.”

“What about her son?”

“They don’t care as much for him. There are some that say Flos and Crystallis relationships and their children are illicit, but this is a mindset that has only popped up recently.”

“We need to get her to the springs, or her boy is going to die. How are we going to proceed with this?”

“We aren’t that far from the main army camp near that location.”

“That doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy going through the crowds then going through the dead lands to get to the springs.”

“We’ll have to do something and quickly. We’ve healed her son, but that doesn’t mean that we’ve given him time we can waste.”

“Excuse me? Can I see Rosalia?”

“Who are you? Are you a relative or a friend? Hey, you can’t go in until-hey!”

A loud knock on the window close to Rosalia startles her. When she looks over, she sees a Flos civilian with a weapon.

He breaks the window and says, “Die you cursed woman!”

Rosalia dodges the man’s attacks as he enters the room as she says, “I didn’t do anything to you!”

“You were the final nail that started this war! My family is dead because of you! They died in Crystallis territory. Who knows what those cursed dolls did to their remains?”

Rosalia tries to cut the arms off her assailant to incapacitate him, but she accidentally cuts his head off as well. The man swings around violently while screaming out in bloody vengeance. Something shakes the building she’s in until it breaks into her room. It’s the black bull from before.

“Aren’t you a sweetie for always coming to my aid?” Rosalia says while petting it, “Now, come on. Let’s get out of here!”

Rosalia takes Rhodes and put him on his back with his shield protecting him as she gets on the back of the black bull. Several Flos attempt to shatter Rosalia by throwing spears, hammers, and swords at her.

“Kill that woman, but don’t hit the baby!”

“Cut the legs off the black bull first!”

The Flos then try to take down the black bull, but their weapons bounce off its thick skin. They then get on horseback and chase after Rosalia. She knocks them off their horses as she protects herself and her child from her assailants. The black bull swipes at them to shatter several off their horses.

“We can’t do anything! Pull back!”

“You’re under arrest!”

Rosalia looks back to see a few guards arresting the people who were attacking her. A guard waves at her and she waves back as a sign of thanks. Even Rhodes waves back with a smile.

“Okay, big guy. We need to get to the springs. Can you get us there?” Rosalia asks the black bull.

It smiles and snorts in response as it goes faster.

“Woah! Easier there! We don’t really have anything keeping us on you.”

The black bull wants to be careful but can’t because it senses danger ahead of them, so it charges ahead faster.

“Be careful! Are you trying to knock us off? What’s got you riled up?”

A barrage of various kinds of magical arrows comes raining down upon Rosalia. The black bull covers Rosalia as it turns over on its side to take the arrow barrage. A group of Crystallis assassins then appear out of the shadows.

“It seems like she came to us on her own. That’s good,” one of them says.

The barrage of arrows has temporarily incapacitated the black bull, which leaves Rosalia open for attack. Fortunately for her, the forest is on her side and a tree’s vines block the assassins’ attacks. It then comes to life and shatters her attackers and uses its healing magic on the black bull.

“Thank you,” Rosalia says to the forest as she gets back on top of the black bull.

She rides off to her destination, which should be close now.

She then says, “You heard it, my little prince. You’re the son of royalty and a peasant. The son of a Flos and Crystallis. I didn’t think our love would be the final thing to push our people into war because our love was pure, but that’s what happens when people hate each other. They use every excuse they can find to kill the people they don’t like. Don’t be like that, my little prince. Learn to love everyone around you. It doesn’t matter if they hate you. Always wish the best for the people around you because if you aren’t willing to love them then who will? Everyone makes mistakes, so be willing to forgive them and you will always be forgiven.”

The black bull then senses something and charges ahead. It takes Rosalia and Rhodes to a cliff where they see a large battle between Flos and Crystallis soldiers. Dozens of dolls are shattered while others suffer in pain as they’re carried out by their companions and healers.

“This fighting has to stop.”

The forest heeds Rosalia’s plea and moves to stop the fighting. Unfortunately, the fighting and suffering make nature violent as it fights back against those who fight its restraints. Even the black bull is itching to join the fight, but Rosalia calms it down by calmly rubbing the back of its neck.

“The forest might be in a rage, but since I have its respect then a song could calm it down. This song is for, my little prince.

 

I close my eyes and see

A world that’s beautiful and filled with glee

Even in the dark and gloom

A place past all of the doom

 

Everyone has lost hope

They think I’ve lost my mind

But all they do is mope

Are they blind?

We can live in a better world of our dreams

 

Every day I push ahead

For the dreams in my head

The dreams that keep me awake

That keeps me going

To bring you a place to keep your love glowing

I’ll build you a place

That is perfect for your smiling face

Each part of it is made to make you happy

For those gloomy days

 

Everyone has lost hope

They think I’ve lost my mind

But all they do is mope

Are they blind?

We can live in a better world of our dreams

 

Every day I push ahead

For the dreams in my head

The dreams that keep me awake

That keeps me going

To bring you a place to keep your love glowing

 

No matter how small

No matter how tall the obstacle

I will be with you through it all

Nothing will be impossible for you and me

To make the world I see in my dreams

To make the world I see in my dreams

Every day I push ahead

For the dreams in my head

The dreams that keep me awake

That keeps me going

To bring you a place to keep your love glowing

 

Together we’ll make this world anew

Everything I do is for you

Know that our dreams will come true

Of The World I’ll Give To You

 

I am going to make sure you live in a better world, my little prince. A world of happiness, love, and peace. It’s going to happen one day. Just you wait and see.”

The forest successful restrains both armies and transfers its calming feelings to the soldiers who retreat with their wounded and shattered brethren. Some even help their enemies gather their bearings. As Rosalia smiles, parts of her son start to fall. A branch from the forest heals him, but his condition has worsened.

“Don’t worry now, my little prince. We’re almost there.”

The black bull sprints at full speed to the springs, where a massive battle larger than this one is about to take place.

 

 

 

Chapter 5 – A Mother’s Duty

Even before reaching the area around the springs, Rosalia knew she was going to have a tough time. The forest around the around is completely dead. It senses that Rosalia will need help, but it’s too weak to regrow anything and all the nearby fauna and creatures are still recovering. Broken siege weapons and the shattering pieces of soldiers litter the ground. The stench of death is pungent in the air and the sounds of despair and anger echo.

Ahead of Rosalia is a large Flos encampment that has been made into a miniature castle with a wall and various small guard towers around it. The fighting has gone on for so long that you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking this encampment was a small town for how large it is. There are other encampments like it around the springs, but this one is the command site and the largest. Rosalia heads into the camp once the guards recognize her.

A Flos commander meets up with her, and says, “You’ve come a long way through dangerous obstacles to come here, Rosalia. It’s impressive for a mother with a past such as yours.”

“I don’t think you want to cause me any trouble.”

“Oh no, we don’t harbor any feelings of hate towards you. We just want to get your son to the springs. I don’t even think what you did counts as a crime that we can punish.”

“Good. Do you have a plan? My son doesn’t have long.”

“Yes, but it’ll be messy. I think it’s best if you stay here.”

“I have my black bull and the forest can come to my aid. I can come with you.”

“Can’t you command your bull and the forest to protect us? Why do you have to come with us?”

“I’m a mother. I’m supposed to protect my child.”

“I see. Since it doesn’t look like I can change your mind, we’ll start moving out.” The commander then turns to his soldiers. “Come on, men! We don’t have much time!”

The forces of the Flos start deploying and put protection mages around Rosalia so they can form a shield to protect her. The other encampments deploy their forces to attack the Crystallis ahead of time to clear a path for her. Once they head out, they see the Crystallis army heading for them. Both armies converge on the springs in the middle of the battlefield as their siege weapons launch their barrages on both sides. The battlefield becomes a violent mess of soldiers as Rosalia makes her way to the springs. The shield protecting her is quickly destroyed and the mages who made them are taken out. Other Flos soldiers come to her aid, but they have to engage with the Crystallis in order to protect her and aren’t able to stay by her side.

A barrage of fireballs land near Rosalia, which knocks her off the black bull. The area around her is mostly clear and the springs are in sight, so she makes a run for it as the barrages continue to rain from the sky. The black bull sees that one of them is about to directly hit her, so it leaps out to protect her from it, but is shattered into pieces.

“Thank you,” Rosalia whispers as she runs with everything she’s got.

The springs are only steps away when an arrow barrage comes down upon her. Most of the arrows manage to hit her and pierce through her shield. The last arrows pierce through her core, but she manages to put Rhodes in the springs.

“I love you, my little prince,” she says as she shatters.

As Rhodes lays in the springs, his body not only heals but he is also transformed.

Crystal robes made for a king, eyes like the moon, hair as red as fire, and doll shell like the finest porcelain. Since Rosalia’s death, the forest has gone on a rampage. It breaks through both the Flos and Crystallis forces to the springs where it mourns her death for a few seconds before focusing its rage on the Crystallis army.

Rhodes then says to the forest, “No. Do not do this. Spare them. My mother wanted a world of peace and love, and that is what I will give to her.”

Seeing that the forest has trouble controlling itself, Rhodes begins to sing a song to calm it down. Rosalia and his father join him in spirit to strengthen his song.

 

“You might be weak

But you are also strong

You might be angry

But I’ve seen you happy

You might hate

But you can love

 

And because of this

 

You are everything to me

You are all I’ll ever need

Even when the world is falling apart

Even when life takes its toll

You will always be my everything

 

 All the wealth

All the diamonds in the world

Everything in the universe is nothing compared to you

 

Your value is limitless

Nothing is worth exchanging for you

If your life were in danger, I’d give my life so you could live

 

And because of this

 

You are everything to me

You are all I’ll ever need

Even when the world is falling apart

Even when life takes its toll

You will always be my everything

 

You are everything to me

You are all I’ll ever need

Even when the world is falling apart

Even when life takes its toll

You will always be my everything”

 

The forest calms down and releases energy that calms down everyone on the battlefield. The springs burst forth and showers the battlefield. There is no longer any hatred between the two armies. No one feels like fighting anymore and the two sides come together and apologize for what they’ve done and promise to stop fighting. The vegetation around the springs spring back to life as love being is spread. The springs themselves begin to spread throughout the world because of the sacrifice of Rosalia and shower the world with its calming waters.

Rhodes hears in his head his mother’s voice that says, “The war will end very soon. I told you that I would make sure that you would live in a world of peace, happiness, and love. I may not have expected it to be this way, but I know you’ll be happy and safe. Find the love of your life and don’t let them go.”

“I will. Thank you, mom.”

 

The End

The Disease Killing Me is You

Download the story for free on Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/938592

 

Chapter 1 – Infected with You

Ah! Where am I? I’m strapped to a bed in a dirty hospital room. There are flying roaches in the room that crawl around and come in through the holes in the walls. My head feels so light. I don’t remember what happened before I got here. I don’t remember much of anything in fact. What’s my name again? I think I see one of those papers that they use for patients over there on the wall near the door.

There are various sharp surgical instruments around me that are already bloody. I’m afraid to think about what they did to me if they already used it on me. I have to get out of here, now! I bite through the leather straps and manage to break them apart. I didn’t know my teeth were so strong, but they also feel weird when my lower teeth touch my upper. Once I’m free from the bed, I touch my teeth, and the bottom ones are sharper than my top ones. They’re so sharp that they feel like mini shark teeth. Did the people who took me here do this?

Where did my hair go and why is my skin is white? My body feels so ruff and looks weird. It’s so cold in here and these white patient pants. I have to find a way out of here fast before someone finds me, but first, my patient records. Hmm. The only thing on here is my name or…is this my name? My name is supposed to be, Bianco? I don’t have a last name it seems. There’s a page here for surgery plans and treatments done, but it just says that the basic surgery has already been done. Now I want to know more. What did they do to me?

I’m not sure if I want to stay to find out or just leave and have someone fix me. There’s no use staying in here, so I leave the room and find myself in a narrow hallway. The gurneys take up almost all the space when I walk past them. I’d hate to encounter something here. It’s like I’m walking in a closet. I see other people in other rooms, but they’re locked. The people in there are more restrained than I am with a muzzle on their face. It looks difficult to breathe in that. Maybe some of these people tried to escape and this is what happened to them. Now I really can’t afford to get caught. Wait…I hear someone calling!

It sounds like a girl. I go to the source of the sound and see a girl who is strapped to a bed. She looks like I do except with bandages covering her chest. There’s something familiar about her, but I can’t place my finger on why. She just seems like someone I know. Her room isn’t locked for some reason, so I instinctively go into the room and begin to unfree her.

“Thank you so much for freeing me!”

“You-”

“But now, you have to help me escape, and it’s not going to be in the way you think.”

She’s smiling at me in a weird way that I don’t like. She starts feeling my arms, chest, then face, which gives me a strange feeling. Part of me feels comfort while the other feels uncomfortable. Her hands are cold as if she doesn’t have any warmth in her body.

“What are you talking about?”

“We have to become one. I have to be a part of your body.”

“What? Why?”

“Because your body is the only pure one here. I know that everyone else here is infected and in need of treatment. There’s a system in place in this hospital that doesn’t allow unclean souls to leave here. I need to be a part of your body so I can leave.”

I push her away.

“You don’t need my body. I’ll help you find some other way to leave.”

“There is no other way.”

She’s climbing all over me now.

“Get off!”

I throw her off me and run out the door.

“You can’t escape from me!”

I run through the narrow hallway and try to find an exit, but every door is locked. The girl chasing me can climb on the walls, so the narrowness of the hallway benefits her. She touches me and grabs at me while I navigate the uncomfortable hallways while giggling.

“Such soft skin. Such a warm feeling. I must have you!”

“Stay away from me!”

I need something to defend myself with, so I run back to my room. Ack! She on my back again then crawls to my front and makes me collapse on the bed.

She says, “You are mine. Don’t deny it!”

“You don’t own me! Agh! Stop biting me!”

She’s bitten my neck and arms with her sharp teeth. They feel numb and weak now.

“Struggle again and I’ll impale your arms to the bed. Just relax. This will only take a minute.”

“What are you going to do?”

“We are going to be one.”

“No, stop!”

The girl then uses the syringe on her head to suck out what looks to be parts of her brain then injects it into the hole in my head. Her body then shrivels and fades into dust. My wounds are healed, and I don’t feel a scar or any residual pain from her bites. My head feels normal, so what happened? Did what she do fail? If it did, then it’s going to be a pain to get whatever blood or brain that she injected into my head.

Huh? What am I feeling now?

AHHHHHHH!

What was that screaming in my head?!

ARRRAAAGHHHHH!

The side and back of my body are expanding and changing. What’s going on?! It’s forming into that girl. So many thoughts and memories are pouring into my head. Are these hers? How is this even happening?

ARRRGGHH!!! Yes! Finally!

What did to me and how are our thoughts connected?

I’m part of you now, so we both can escape this asylum, but we have to be quick about it because the human body isn’t mean to be like this.

What do you mean?

Us being together like this will kill us if we don’t escape to safety.

That’s just great.

Don’t lie to yourself. There’s a part of you that wanted to save me. The memory as to why is hard to remember, but you know it’s there.

Why should I trust you?

You know all my thoughts. You know when I’m telling the truth and lying as I know yours. I know a little more than you do but not enough to give you a clear idea as to why we’re here.

My left arm is fused with your right arm and I can barely move it.

I think we can move it together if we both want it to. Let’s try it.

Woah!

It’s so strong that we punched a hole in the wall.

Wow. Can we do anything else?

I don’t have my legs. Let me have control of us. Come on, trust me. Here we go, we can climb the walls and ceiling when I’m in control, but I can’t control your legs to walk or run. It’s kind of weird but I think we can get used to it.

It’s just kind of weird? Do you even realize what’s happening?

What do you think or rather what do you think I think?

Don’t even phrase it like that. You just confuse me. Did someone just unlock and open a door in the hallway? I hear a dragging sound in the hallway.

There’s nowhere to run. We better be ready to fight.

I guess it’s our only option. Here it comes! It’s a person. A woman with a long body and long black hair with six arms and hands on the bottom of her surgeon’s dress.

Watch out. She has a surgical tool in each of her hands along with restraining chains.

She’s smiling at us for some reason. I think she’s giggling. What’s it with crazy people and giggling?

Hey! I’m not crazy.

“I’m so glad you managed to merge with Bianco, Bianca. The two of you were always inseparable, so it made sense that you would end up together like this.”

I said I’m not crazy.

Whatever, we’ll talk about it later. She’s talking to you. Say something.

“I get what you’re saying, but you knew I would merge with Bianco?”

“I told you how to and you told me you would do everything you could to do so. The determination in your face was so precious and cute. Your love for each other put my relationship to shame.”

“I barely remember you. Who are you?”

There’s something about her that’s familiar, but her appearance and my memory prevent me from remembering who she is.

“I’m Bianco’s mother. I know my appearance may shock you, but I had to do it to help you two continue living.”

She’s your mother? Your memories seem to want to think so.

I guess so.

“What’s going to happen to us now? Can you tell me everything about what’s going on?”

Hey, you used my mouth to talk, Bianco.

How did I do that? I guess I can if I imagine talking from your mouth.

“That’s interesting. My son’s voice came out of your mouth, Bianca. Does that mean that Bianco was talking, or did you manage to use his voice? There are so many things to test out on you.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“I’ll explain after the next surgery, but I’ll have to sedate you first. Give me your arm.”

“No! Explain everything to me first.”

“There’s no need to. You want to live longer, right? Then give me your body so we can mold it into that of an immortal being!”

“Stop! Get away from me!”

Let’s escape from her, Bianca. Hurry and crawl on the walls!

Okay!

“So you can crawl on walls? You two were always so athletic, but you better listen to your mother.”

Let’s get out of here! I keep throwing gurneys at her, but she keeps cutting through them.

What about the doors? Let’s rip one off then throw it at her.

Here we go.

“What strength just from one arm! You remind me of one of your favorite comic book heroes. I hope you’re not planning to use that on me, but then again, I’d love to experiment to see what my new body can do, so throw it at me if you want!”

“If you want it, then take it!”

She caught it and it pushed her back some, but she’s tearing it apart. Hurry through the exit!

I’m on it!

She’s really moving fast towards us now! Come on!

Shut the door on her and break the lock!

Right!

There we go. Now she can’t exit the door. This one appears to be stronger than the doors that held the other doors.

“I’ll get through this eventually and catch up to you two. That, or your father or your parents Bianca will get to you.”

Ignore her, Bianca. We must find a cure to our condition and a way out.

We can do it if we work together. Our memories are coming back to us now. We used to work together a lot. Do you think we can do it again?

You know what I think.

Then let’s do it.

 

 

 

Chapter 2 – Still Burning for Love

The rest of these corridors are just as cramped as the ones we came out of. It’s like this place is meant to be filled with obstacles to stop people from escaping. Some of these rooms have people in them.

Maybe we should free them?

I don’t think so, Bianca. We’d just attract more attention to us by our “parents”.

Why do you say it that way?

Because I’m still not sure if our parents are the ones after us.

We heard your mom speak. She may look different now, but her hair, face, and voice are what we remember them to be. We’re remembering now that our parents are experts in the medical field.

Yeah, I’m remembering that they were surgeons and doctors who were specialized in different fields.

Your mom said she wanted to make us into an immortal being. Why do you think that is?

I’m not sure, but we may find out later. Also, you’ve seemed to have gotten sane after merging with me.

Yeah, I don’t know what I was thinking before, but you have to admit that this is kind of cool. I know you’re in disbelief but isn’t this kind of what we’ve always wanted. The memories are coming back to me now of times when we would spend entire days by each other’s side.

I don’t think this is how we imagined our future would be at all. I’m sure you’re wondering what I am.

Can we ever be together again?

I don’t know. I barely remember what our life was like together. I don’t even know if you’ll go crazy like you did before.

I understand. I’ll try to prove that I’m in control now.

Speaking about control, do you see that up there past all the floors of cells? It looks like a person in the control room controlling everything like an orchestra. Is that-

My dad?

He looks like he’s noticed us. He’s speaking into a microphone.

“I’m so glad you too came here. Your friends and our family have been waiting for you.”

“Dad, what is going on?”

“This is all for your immortality. All of this.”

“What are you talking about dad? This isn’t making any sense.”

“I told you I’d do anything to make you live forever, Bianca. You probably don’t remember it, but it is every father’s duty to make sure that their child lives as long as happy as possible. The others and I are making sure that happens. If you want to learn more, please make your way to me. I’ll be happy to answer your questions.”

What do you think, Bianca? Is it a trap?

Maybe, but we won’t know until we get to him.

This sure seems like a trap. Do you see all the microphones and cameras around us? The cells around us are also open and close enough for the people in them to reach through, or can we call these people now? Look at how deformed and mutated and deformed their bodies are. They look like us.

We aren’t-

You know we are.

“As part of your gaining of immortality, I will have to bring my test subjects into the mix. Do not worry about being harmed. I can put you back together if anything bad happens.”

Was that supposed to make us comfortable? A few of the cell doors are opening. Be careful. There are people reaching out at us and there’s barely any room to move. Ah!

“Get off!”

Their cold hands drive chills up my spine.

“We must have your skin!”

“Help us leave by being one with us!”

“He’s mine! Hands off him!”

I’ll keep them away with our heavy hitting hand. Just try to stay away from them, Bianco.

Okay. It’s really tough to do so especially when they grab ahold of me.

Don’t worry about them. I won’t let them take you.

‘I’ll be yours forever.’

‘And I’ll be yours forever and ever.’

Did we just remember that? I wonder why we did now of all times.

Tense situations tend to make your mind work overtime is what I think my parents said once. Hurry and head up the stairs. I hear the cell doors opening.

Why does this place look so simple and yet, it’s like a maze?

I guess it’s because our parents want to test our abilities.

Well, screw that. You know what I’m thinking?

You don’t even need to ask.

Then let’s break through these walls! We’re taking a shortcut.

Get out of the way! Or get a face full of our fist!

There we go. We’re almost to your dad.

“That was an impressive display of power you two. A bit messy and unexpected, but these are great results. Your combined strength is amazing, and you have good coordination. I guess we should’ve expected this considering how in tune you two were previously.”

We’re here. The door is solid, but we can force it open.

“Dad!”

“Hello, Bianca and Bianco. I’m glad you made it here. The others you saw weren’t able to coordinate with each other like how you can despite how much testing they were put through. So, a personal bond is what affects coordination, huh?”

Is he really writing notes on this?

Dad always liked keeping track of interesting things. It’s no wonder why he’s in charge of so many cells with different kinds of people in them.

“Oh! I’m sorry. Now, you wanted to know more, right?”

“Of course we do! What the heck is going on?”

“Ah! Your voices combined when you shared a major concern. I’ll have to write that down later. Anyway, we, your parents, have used this old asylum as our secret experimental facility to help you two live forever together. We couldn’t bear to lose another life in our line of work. In reality, doctors don’t save lives, they just extend them. Everyone eventually dies, and we didn’t want that to happen to you two, who were always so energetic and full of joy, so the four of us have done this all for you.”

That explains a bit more, but not enough.

“Why did you have to involve other people in this?”

“Because we needed test subjects before we experimented on you. Who knows what could happen on our first attempt? First, we kidnapped people close to us then we took our neighbors, then whoever is in the area of this asylum. You don’t have to worry about them. Once you’re perfected, they will share in your gift and so shall we.”

Ah! We’re caught in chains. How did my mom sneak up on us?

“The test you put them through was decent, Rosso, but I don’t think they’ll need anymore. I need to make sure their decay lessens or stops entirely.”

“You worry too much, Violet. We can always bring them back.”

“We thought that about so many of our patients, but how many have we actually saved besides our kids? There’s no such thing as worrying too much when it comes to preserving life.”

We have to escape while they’re busy talking to each other. These chains are so tight. I barely have enough room to move. If we could only have enough room to make our strong arm break the chains. Huh? Do you hear that?

Look! It’s the other people!

I’m not sure if this’ll be a good thing or bad, but it definitely feels bad.

They’re loosening the chains. We have to put up with it for a bit-Whoa!

“Stay away from my children!”

“Be careful with them, Violet!”

Does my mom really need to fling me around to keep me away from these people?!

No, this helps way more! We can move our arm!

Come on, keep breaking the chains! There we go!

Run!

“Get them, Rosso, while I keep these subjects away!”

“No, let’s see what the other tests can show us.”

“This is our children we’re talking about! Get them!”

“Fine.”

Hurry, he’s after us! Your dad has way more arms than my mom does, but are those robotic arms? He’s controlling the cells with them-Watch out!

Give me control! That was close!

I think he’s controlling these traps with his arms too.

I’ll need to control things from here.

Okay, I trust you.

These traps are everywhere. On the walls, floors, and ceiling.

It’s a good thing you’re so quick on your feet and arms then. There’s an exit over there! Watch out!

I’m not that quick it seems. I should’ve known that there would be a trap at the exit.

“You’re amazing as always, Bianca. I know it was you controlling both of you because I know that athleticism anywhere.”

“Fix us, dad, or let us go.”

“I will fix you, my loves. I’ll cure you of your mortality.”

“What you’re doing is wrong! You have to stop.”

“I’ve told you before. I’ll do anything to see you happy. Death brings only sadness and grief. I’m making sure that death never has its effect on you. I promise.”

‘Your sun is always going to shine.’

‘I’m going to make sure you’re never going to suffer.’

‘My love for you conquers death.’

Our parents always did tell us things like that.

“I love you, dad, but I’m not going to let you do what you want.”

This trap is easier than it looks to break. Why isn’t dad chasing after us?

Remember he said he wanted to see what the other tests can show them?

There’s going to be more awful sights like the ones we just saw then. I don’t know if I can take it.

It’s going to be fine because I’m with you, Bianca. I promise you that we’ll make it through this one way or another.

Thank you. I needed that.

I know you did, and I didn’t need to read your thoughts to know.

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 3 – Fractured by Desire

I don’t think it helps to remember what could happen next, Bianca.

I can’t help it. This place has messed up my head.

Our parents have messed up our head. I still can’t believe they would do this.

What are we going to do if we manage to escape?

We’ll figure it out when we leave.

Can we even get back to normal? Our parents are the ones who put us together like this, and we doubt they know how to put us back together. I bet they won’t even try to put things back to normal.

You never know. We may change their mind.

It’s only a slim chance.

We thought there was no chance that something like this would ever happen to us especially by our parents. Maybe we could bring them to their senses. Part of their conscience has to realize that they’re doing the wrong thing.

I hope you’re right because I’m starting to lose it, and what I’m seeing isn’t helping.

This looks like where they do experiments on people.

Look at all those things in the vats. Are those even people? I can’t tell.

I’m sure we’re going to find out soon enough. Did you hear that noise? It sounds like one of the vats opened. Something’s moving around in the dark.

If only we only had night vision.

It’s fine. We have each other. All we need to do is be careful-

Watch out! Got it!

See? We can do this, Bianca. More vats are opening.

It’s so dark here. Is it just darker in this area or did someone dim the lights?

Knowing doesn’t matter. Just concentrate. There!

I got’em! I didn’t realize I could see out of your eyes if I concentrate.

I didn’t notice you did that. This is good. We can make it through this. More vats are being open. It sounds like way more mutants are coming for us than we can handle.

I’ll climb up so we can avoid them. We can crawl across the ceiling to avoid fighting completely. The only problem is that we don’t know where we’re going or if they can climb onto the ceiling.

Don’t worry about it. Just stay calm. Right. Here we go. Which direction should I go in, Bianco?

Keep going straight like I was. We have to be near some kind of exit.

I can hear them clanging on the metal bars.

We got this. We just have to be extra athletic and switch control. Here we go.

Ahhh! You barely caught the metal bar with your feet.

It was close but at least we avoided the attacks and got rid of a few. Here we go again.

Okay, okay. I’m ready now! Get back down there!

Catch the bar!

I got it!

Great job! I think I see a vent over there. We need to swing a few times to get to it. If we can get to it, we can escape.

Let’s do this.

One.

Two.

Three! We made it! Hurry! They’re coming in! Break the vent. Let’s bend the metal. There we go. We’re safe. AHHH! Stupid things won’t give up! Get off!

They’re stronger than they look if they can punch through the vent. They must be big jumpers too. Ah! There’s too many of them!

Can I stop getting grabbed at for once?!

I don’t blame them.

Not now! We have to find a way to get out of this mosh pit and back to the ceiling.

“Let us touch your warm body!”

“Give us your warmth!”

“Let us bond like you!”

“We want that bond!”

“Give us your touch!”

Agh! What is that loud screeching sound?

It’s driving away the mutants. It must be one of our parents making the sound. It stopped. The mutants are keeping a distance.

“I’m sorry that I tested you like how Rosso did, but I couldn’t resist.”

“Dad?”

Bianco, your dad looks like those mutants with those boils on his skin and the deformed way his face and body look.

“Remember when we used to mix different building blocks together to make our own creations, Bianco? Those were fun times.”

“We can have those times again if you put everyone back to normal and stop these experiments.”

“I can’t. We can’t. We’ve done so much. It’s too late to go back.”

“It’s never too late to go back, dad.”

“There is a point when it’s too late. Do you see all these people we experimented on? The authorities aren’t going to go easy on us. At least we learned a few valuable lessons. The bond between two people of the same sex isn’t the same between the bond lovers such as yourselves.”

“Please stop this! Take responsibility for what you’ve done. Look at how much suffering you are causing.”

“I…I don’t know if I can.”

“Ple-”

Why are we puking now?

I don’t know. I feel so weak.

Bianco…

Don’t feel scared. I’m still here with you.

“Bianco…Bianca…I’m sorry.”

“Please, dad…help us…”

“I’ll…try.”

Are you sure we can trust him? He’s injecting us with something. It could knock us out or worse.

I trust him. He’s my dad.

“Okay, that should slow down the decaying process, but I have to do something else to fix you. I just don’t know what.”

“Nero!”

Did you hear that?

It’s my mom.

“Violet…”

“I knew you would get them, Nero. Hurry, let’s bring them the main experimentation lab before they die.”

“Isn’t there any way to put them back to normal?”

“What are you saying? There isn’t going back to normal for them. Why would you want that? Being normal only brings death and suffering.”

“But we’ve done worse despite being abnormal.”

“We’re going to fix them and everyone we’ve experimented on.”

“How many people have we hurt because of these experiments? Hundreds? How many people have we disposed of? Thousands?”

“We’ll bring them back to life.”

“A human body is more than flesh and bone.”

“So, you’re just going let them die?!”

“I don’t know what I’m doing, and I don’t know if it’s the best thing to do, but it’s the best option that seems presently right.”

Your dad has a heck of a kick to kick us across the room like this. He’s fighting your mom and the mutants with that noise to aid him. I’m not sure how long he can last.

We have to help him somehow…Here! Let’s break this pipe and throw it at the vat near them. It should give my dad room to escape.

Okay!

“Watch out, dad!”

We hit the vat and it looks like we broke it. All of its liquids spill out onto the crowd. I hope dad is okay.

I’m sure he’ll be fine, but I’m not sure about us. Let’s keep moving.

Right.

But where do we go next? We can’t be fixed, and the only other option is to die. You can’t tell me to not worry about this! What do we do?!

We try to convince our parents the right thing to do one last time. If we can’t do that…do you really want to make others suffer so we can live longer? It’s not like we’re guaranteed immortality.

…You’re right. I’m sorry, but I don’t know if I can handle this.

You’re not handling this alone. I’m with you and I’ll always be with you because I love you, Bianca.

Bianco…I love you too.

I promised you once and I’ll promise you again. We’ll make it through this one way or another, but no matter what happens, I’ll always be with you and I’ll always love you. I am yours forever.

And I am yours forever and ever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 4 – So Far Gone with You Even in the Afterglow

We have to be close to some kind of exit. We’ve done nothing but pass by empty examination rooms and cell rooms.

Do you think that our parents are going to be waiting at the exit?

They have to be. They must know our condition by now. Are you still afraid?

No, not anymore. Are you?

Not at all. I never was.

You’re such a liar. I know your thoughts and feelings.

But you don’t know my deeper thoughts. I may feel scared and my imagination may be going off but that doesn’t mean I’ve let my fears affect me.

Yeah, yeah.

You know I’m telling the truth.

I know. It’s just that…we don’t have long.

You don’t have to remind me. I can feel my strength fading away by the second, but we don’t need to worry about it for much longer.

I know we’re physically bonded, but can you hold my hand?

I will.

Thank you.

I think that might be the exit over there.

It looks like one even though it’s messy with decaying furniture, desks, and chairs.

Even though no one’s around, this might be a trap.

You’re right, but what can we do about it now?

Nothing. We can only spring it then deal with it from there.

Nice plan.

Don’t even try to be sarcastic when I know what you’re really thinking.

Okay…let’s go. Come on. I can’t move without you.

…right.

There they are! They stepped out of the shadows as soon as we stepped into the room.

What happened to your mom and dad, Bianco? Look at them.

It looks like the chemicals in the vats fused them together.

“We must thank you for fusing us together, Bianco. We’re more in tune with each other like this than before with twice the arms and brains.”

“This isn’t what I wanted. This isn’t what we wanted to happen.”

“Why don’t you see that we’re trying to help you? Look at everything we did. We’ve risked everything we are so you could live forever.”

“Everyone who lives eventually dies. It doesn’t matter how much you try to fight it. It’s an inevitability. Besides, you get to live forever after this life anyway, and I’m afraid of where you might end up.”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about!”

The floor beneath us was a trap?

I’ve given up on expecting anything.

This place is dark like the experimental room with a low glow that barely lights it up. What’s going to happen? Ah! What kind of liquid did we get drenched in-AAHHHHAHHAH!!

“Now, you will truly become one. Please know that your mother knows best, Bianca.”

We’re one body now. Bianca, are you still here? Wha…urgh…what’s going on? We’re just one singular body now. What? How? It was something that your mom did to us that mutated us to be in one body. Oh wow. Why is your body the one we have to live in? Woman was made of the ribs of a man. Psh. Whatever. What’s going to happen now?

“This is amazing. They fused so quickly.”

“You did well, Verde. Let us fix their form before they start to decay again.”

I’m going to need your help again to climb out of here, Bianca. Wow, I feel so much more in control, but I can already feel this form begin to decay. We have more power, but we decay faster. Makes sense.

“Stop them!”

Look at how many people are coming after us. We have to bring this place down around us in order to have any chance at escape. We can throw the vats at the ceiling above us to collapse it. It’s going to hurt and everyone else may die, but it’s something we have to do in order to end this mad science experiment. I understand. They may be fast, but they can’t react as fast as we can.

Rah! There we go. Another couple of vats should bring the whole ceiling down. Here goes another one! Ah! They’re on us! That can’t stop us in our new body. There are so many pilling up on us…I don’t…no. We can do this! Rah!! Brace for impact…Is it over? Huh? The ceiling collapsed on us, but we barely felt anything-! We’re throwing up again. We have to quickly escape before our parents get us. Urk…

We have to dig our way out. Come on. We’re almost out of here. Ah! Mom…dad…

“Stay…Bianco and Bianca. We can-fix you.”

“Nothing was wrong with us to begin with.”

“Wait, you can’t leave…you’ll die…”

“It’s better than staying here. We hope you come to regret what you’ve done.”

“No…stop…”

Keeping going. We’re almost out of the rubble. Okay. Just one more push. Help me climb up this wall, Bianca. I got it. Do you think our parents are going to regret their actions? This place has thrown so many surprises at us that I don’t doubt it. Finally. The way out. The air smells different. Better than I remember it. That’s probably because we were stuck in a smelly place. Probably.

I don’t think we can go very far. I know. Let’s go underneath that tree. Okay. It is a beautiful day to look at the sky. Well…there goes our legs. Now our arms. At least we made it to the tree before losing them. I have you with me, so that’s all that matters. I love you. I love you too.

Bianco?

What is it?

Are we really going to be together forever?

I knew it was a fact even before now. I told you we would escape one way or another.

You’re right. I knew you would be, and I knew that I am yours forever.

And I am yours forever and ever.

The End

Immortalized in Death

Download for free on Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/929660

Chapter 1 – Die Forever with Me

Allie doesn’t live in anywhere special. The countryside she lives in isn’t known for producing the best crops or the best people, but it gets by. On one normal day, a strange girl with pink hair, white skin, and purple eyes showed up in a park while she was out. This girl has red bowie ties to hold up her pigtails, light blue eye linear, rosy red cheeks, and a pick schoolgirl dress with a red tie. The girl walks as if she glides across the ground and looks around as if she’s looking for a friend.

Being the girl she is, Allie goes up to the girl and introduces herself.

The girl smiles then says, “I’m Ellie. Do you want to be friends?”

“Okay! Let’s be friends!”

The girls quickly became best friends within a week. Ellie has a special ability to perform magic, which includes bringing plants and animals back to life and levitation. When other people saw her, they just assumed she was some kind of clown or performer because of the way she dressed. Allie thought more of her. The two of them were the bestest of friends in town.

On one day, Ellie asked, “Do you want to come over my house today? It’s tall, big, and a magical place.”

“I’d love to come over. Where is it?”

“It’s in the forest. You know you’re near it when you see the trees with the white leaves.”

“I’ll be there. Let me tell my parents first.”

Allie tells her step-parents about going over Ellie’s house, but she unintentionally leaves out the magical part of the house. Her parents trust their responsible daughter and let her go out. In the forest, Allie follows Ellie’s advice and finds the part of the forest with white trees. She’s never seen trees like this before. She hasn’t even heard of them being the area. Along with the weird white trees, there are flowers that grow on the trunk of the trees. The flowers themselves are pretty, however, they appear to have eyes in the center of them that follow Allie’s every move. She brushes this off as her imagination despite the lack of wind that could be blowing the flowers.

After going deeper into the forest, Allie finds a completely black and white house. The place doesn’t have many windows nor does the way to it appear to have been walked on recently. Wondering only about her friend, Allie knocks on the door while eagerly waiting. A noise inside that sounds like screaming makes Allie jumps, but then her friend opens the door.

Allie assumes the noise was the creaky door then says, “Hi, Ellie. This is a nice place you have here.”

“It’s great. I’m so glad you showed up. Come in.”

Once Allie walks into the house, her photo is taken by a creature with a camera for an upper body. It then crawls up to the ceiling before Allie can get a good look at it. She feels weak now as it feels as if all of her energy was drained from her.

“What was that?” Allie asks as she looks at her photo on the ground.

Ellie takes the photo from her and says, “It was just one of the many pets I have here. It snaps the photo of everyone who comes in here, so I have something to remember their first visit by.”

The interior of the house is nothing but black and white just like the exterior. Light can’t penetrate the windows, nor can it illuminate the dark spots within the building. The white lights on the candles barely light up the house.

“Do you have other friends?”

“I do.”

“Are your parents home?”

“They are, but they’re busy right now. Let’s eat lunch. They prepared it for us.”

“That’s nice of them. I can’t wait to meet everyone.”

“They’re excited to meet you too.”

Ellie opens the door to the dining hall. A large table is filled with various meats, fruits, vegetables, and desserts. The aroma from the room is intoxicating to Allie.

“Go ahead. Guests first,” Ellie says with a smile.

Allie eagerly steps into the room. The door slams behind her, and now the room seems much smaller.

“Ellie? What’s going on?” Allie says as she starts banging on the door. “Huh?”

The door feels like a solid wall now. Another large noise makes the room close in more. It’s obvious now that this is just an empty room and not a dining hall.

“Haha, you got me, Ellie. This is a cool magic trick you got. You can let me out now.”

The walls slowly begin to close in.

“You’re really starting to scare me. Let me out!”

No matter how much she pleads Ellie to stop the walls, she doesn’t respond.

“Please, Ellie! You’re my best friend, aren’t you?”

As soon as she calls Ellie her best friend, the walls stop. Allie sighs in relief only for her to be squashed in an instant.

“AAAAAAHHHHHH!”

Allie wakes up in a completely white room in the house. There are several other beds with children in them except these children don’t appear to be lively. They have white skin like Ellie, but their eyes are hollow with a permanent smile on their face. Allie is startled by this but is afraid to move because she is surrounded. The children go back to sleep, which makes Allie comfortable enough to get up.

When she enters the hallway, she finds more kids walking around from room to room. The hallway has candles with white flames on them to give it light. Hung up on the walls are pictures of children and young adults. It appears that their photo was taken by surprise, just like Allie.

She follows the children to a real dining hall this time with the food she previously saw. At one of the tables, she finds Ellie except she is all black and white and is wearing a striped schoolgirl dress.

Allie walks up to her friend and asks, “Ellie, what happened to you?”

Her friend turns to her with a frozen smile and says, “I’m always like this. I’m glad you asked about me first despite what I did to you.”

“What do you mean?”

“This house is ruled by mother who wishes to have all kinds of children for herself. She immortalizes them in death so no one in here can truly die. I’m just her favorite puppet that she uses to lure in people. What you saw of me was nothing but a hollow shell that I possessed.”

“Why is she doing this?”

“She wants to keep as many children away from death as possible even though she technically kills you when you first came in.”

“I actually died?!”

“The body that you came in with did. Your blood is tied to the picture that was taken of you. If you can get that and destroy it, then you can escape, but if you die after that, your soul belongs to the master of the house forever.”

“Who is the master of the house?”

“He is the one who gave mother her power. All I know is that you should watch out for the black cat in the house.”

“Where can I find my photo?”

“Deep within the halls of the house, but various traps will try to kill you. I don’t say this to everyone, but be careful, Allie. Dozens of kids have tried to escape, and no one has escaped. Most give up before they reach their photo. I think you should just accept your fate and stay here. We have friends, food, and loving parents.”

“Loving parents don’t kidnap the souls of kids. I’m going to leave here and go back home.”

“Go ahead and try Allie. I’ll be waiting for you at your bedside.”

Allie walks out of the room and wanders the house until she finds her way to a large art gallery with various pictures in them. These pictures are of other children, the black and white children, and creatures, one of which is the creature that took Allie’s photo. Now that she has a better look at it, she can see that the only color in it is the red in its eye.

Wandering through the art gallery, she finds that some of the pictures move by themselves as if people are trapped in them. A closer look reveals this to be the truth with people screaming in them in bursts as if they were in Hell. Above these pictures are the caption “Naughty child”. A snake-like creature with barbed wire on its body catches Allie’s attention as it goes from one picture to the next. She cautiously walks through the gallery, however, she doesn’t pay attention to the art and gets ensnared by the barbed wire snake and is taken into a picture. The barbed wire strings her up in a tight photo frame and cuts off her limbs before cutting off her head.

“AAAAAAHHH!”

“Welcome back, Allie,” Ellie says with her frozen expression. She waits for her friend to catch her breath before asking, “It was painful, wasn’t it? All of the ways you can die here are painful.”

“It doesn’t matter. I’m going to escape here no matter how many times I die. Why don’t you join me?”

“I gave up years ago.”

“Years ago? How long have you been here?”

“I don’t know. Maybe a generation or three of kids? Anyway, I’m glad that you thought about me. Most usually hate me once they know what I did to them.”

“I don’t hate you, Ellie. I want to get us out of here.”

“You can try all you want. I’ve given up already and accepted my life here.” Ellie holds Allie’s hand. “Please. You’re the only one here I care about on the same level as mother. I don’t want to see you suffer.”

“I won’t. Have a little faith in me.”

“I don’t know what that’s like.”

“Then you’re going to see.”

Allie gets up and goes through the art gallery again. She finds the picture of her death on the walls, which plays it repeatedly. The feeling it gives me makes her sick, so she turns away from it and hopes that nothing like that ever happens again. This time through the gallery she manages to avoid the painting creature. Unfortunately, she doesn’t find her photo in the room, so she goes to the next one.

The next room has a collection of dolls in them. They are all posed differently with some squirming in place with blood leaking out of their eyes and the cracks in their skin. Not wanting to take any chances with these dolls, Allie moves around the room carefully to see what they will do. Oddly enough, nothing happens. When Allie moves to the next room, she exits out of the closet that was in her room.

“What?” she says in a surprised voice.

Ellie, who is still sitting by her bedside, says, “You made it through the first set of rooms. I’m surprised you made it past the doll room.”

“I wasn’t going to take any chances there. I moved as carefully as I could, and I always had my eyes on them.”

“That’s probably why. They’re set to attack anything that moves and they also respond to not being looked at. If you want to go to the next room, you have to go back through your closet. Why don’t you take a rest? You have all the time in the world.”

“I guess there’s no harm, but no funny business.”

“Oh, there won’t be.”

 

 

Chapter 2 – Teddies and Twisted Tales

Allie sits at the dining table and looks at the food available. The table is as long as the room and is set up as a buffet. Despite the small crowd of kids taking the food, it automatically replenishes out of thin air. Allie takes the chicken and a salad with caution and eats it in the same manner.

“So?” Ellie asks, “How do you like it?”

“It’s delicious!”

Allie thinks there might be something more to it and coughs some of it out.

“There isn’t any magic in it if that’s what you’re thinking.”

The sound in Ellie’s voice appears to be honest, so Allie eats. She tries every that looks appetizing until she realizes that she’s been eating for a while now.

“I knew there was something to this food,” Allie says as she pushes her plate aside.

“This isn’t any magic at all. I would know. It’s just that your home doesn’t have food like this place. Why do you want to leave this place? Isn’t it nice here? You have always delicious food on the table, there’s always a new friend to make, and we can’t die. I’m not good at making friends, but since you’re here, I finally have a friend.”

“I don’t want to make my family and friends back home worry.”

“Who cares about them now? You have me with you.”

“I can’t always be with you, Ellie. I have to give other people my love and attention.”

“Why? I need more attention than your friends and family. I don’t have anyone who loves me like you do and mother.” Ellie hugs Allie. “My lack of friends is the reason why mother and the master convinced me to be their lure for them. Every single kid hated me after I brought them here except for you. Please. If you get back your blood then die, I’ll have no one to be with.”

“I promise it won’t be that way. Excuse me.”

Allie walks out of the room then sighs. She walks into her room and into the closet to continue her search for her picture. The room she finds herself in is a large toy room with various toys that are twice the size of her. The room is as large as two backyards while the toys appear to be cute and cuddly and looking at them makes Allie want to play with them. What’s most different about this room is that it has actual color to it with no black, whites, or even greys in sight. There are other kids in the room and they’re playing with the toys and taking them out of it. Everything here appears to be safe, but Allie resists the urge to play with the toys. Her desire to touch them weighs heavily on her, which gives her the impression that the toys must have magic in them.

The more she resists them, the more she wants to touch and hug the toys. Allie has never seen toys like the ones she sees in the room. Elegant dolls, fluffy stuffed animals, and detailed figures. The further she goes into the room, the more appealing toys she sees. By the time she reaches the next door, she’s sweating with dozens of toys surrounding her. It’s as if they’re begging her with their stare to play. Allie forces herself to go into the next room.

This next room isn’t as cute, appealing, or large as the last. Instead, it’s a library with rows and rows of books. The are three floors with different sections of various books from around the world that covers every genre imaginable. Some of the books in the library are rare ones with few copies existing outside of the house. The colors are no longer colorful as they were in the toy room. Now they are filled with the normal colors of a library with browns, blacks, and white lights to illuminate the room.

Still feeling the after-effects of the toy room, Allie stumbles around the room while darting her eyes around for possible danger. A snake with a barbed wire body comes out from the bookcase with a book for a face. When it opens its pages, a blank face with a smile shows itself.

“Let me tell you a story,” it says as it envelops Allie into its pages. “This is the story of the little mermaid.”

Allie is now dressed as the little mermaid and the scenery around her manifests as the creature talks about it.

“She wants to get the prince, but his heart is taken by another. At the wedding ceremony, she decides to dance her best for their happiness. Dance little mermaid, dance your sorrows away.”

Allie remembers this story differently, but she dances as the creature says to. What she forgets is that the little mermaid feels as if she’s walking on knives, which is one of the prices of walking with human legs. Allie too feels this pain in her legs but bears through it until things start to change.

“After all the pleasantries, the little mermaid is told that she doesn’t have to die. If she can kill her prince and his wife, she can live. She is handed a knife to carry out the deed. Will she?”

Knowing her story, Allie tosses away the knife and jumps into the ocean and out of the story. Back in the library and her normal body, she takes more care of where she’s walking. The storybook serpent comes out of the shelves again.

It says, “Let me tell you a story.”

She tries to avoid it, but the serpent catches her no matter how fast she runs.

The serpent says, “This is the story of Alice in Wonderland. She has just cried a river of tears and must dry herself off by running a race with several other animals.”

Allie starts to run with the animals but is having a hard time to because of her wet dress.

“It looks like Alice needs more motivation.”

The river of tears floods into the forest Allie is running in. Distracted by the sight, Allie trips and is caught up by the river of tears, which turns into a river of teeth that chews her up.

After her excruciating death, Allie wakes up screaming on her bed with her best friend ready to embrace her.

As Ellie embraces Allie, she says, “Stops this Allie! I was hoping that the toy room would hypnotize you so you would at least stay here for a while, but you had to go and die again!”

Allie pushes Ellie away and gets out of her bed.

“I’m not going to give up! You’re not my best friend if you want to keep me here for the rest of eternity!”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about Allie! I am your best friend because we can spend forever here without a care or worry!”

Ignoring Ellie’s words, Allie walks back into the closet. She makes it through the toy room again the same way she did last time with the same level of difficulty despite her going through it already. In the library, the story book serpent gets her again. Allie now has it in her mind that she has to go through the stories the serpents put her through. That would explain why this room is smaller and looks easier to get through than the past ones.

The serpent says, “Let me tell you a story. This is the story of little red riding hood. She goes to deliver some things for her grandma, but the wolf has eaten her and taken her place in the grandma’s bed. Little red riding hood doesn’t know this as she enters her grandma’s house.”

Because of what was said, Allie has a foggy head as to what happens in the story.

“Come sit next to me,” the wolf says.

Allie does this. She wonders why her grandma looks so different and remembers that her real grandma doesn’t live in the woods. Instead, her real grandma lives by the shore. She remembers that her grandma told her a version of this story. Once she remembers everything, she takes a knife from her skirt and cuts the wolf’s throat and makes him into a coat.

“That’s not exactly how it’s supposed to go, but whatever. I’ll just add it to my collection.”

The storybook serpent lets Allie go. Disappointingly, she doesn’t take her wolf coat with her. Further into the library, another storybook serpent catches Allie.

“Let me tell you a story. A young woman marries a man with a blue beard. This man appears to be very ugly, but he is wealthy and has status within the country. The two are married and the woman is allowed to go into any one of his rooms within the castle except for the one she has a key for. What will she do?”

Allie is standing in front of the door she isn’t meant to go into. Without thinking, she goes into the room and finds the decapitated bodies of many young women along with various bloody tools and torture devices that were used to kill them. Allie takes a machete from the tool rack and finds her husband who is currently sleeping and cuts off his head. She then shaves off his blue beard.

“That’s not exactly how it’s supposed to go, but I liked it. I’m going to add it to my collection. I feel anxious for the man you are going to marry.”

Allie is let go out of the story book but wastes no time in getting trapped by another one.

“Let me tell you a story. There is a woman who loves to dance in a pair of red shoes. Unfortunately for her, she can’t stop dancing. What will she do?”

Knowing the painful thing she has to do, Allie tells a nearby executioner to cut off her feet and he does. The shoes keep dancing with her feet in them and dance away from her. The executioner tells her that she has suffered enough because of the shoes. Allie knows she has to go to church and does. Her old feet try to block her from entering, but she throws them aside and makes it into the building and out of the story.

Once she’s out of the story, Allie gets her feet back and she appears back in her room.

“Did…did I beat it?” Allie asks aloud.

“…You did, Allie,” Ellie responds.

“That means I’m close to my photo! I have to get back in-”

“Stop!” Ellie throws a knife that cuts Allie’s right arm. “You aren’t going to leave me. I don’t care if I have to pin you to the bed with knives. I don’t care how many times I have to kill you. I want you to stay with me forever. Please!”

“Oh no…”

 

 

 

Chapter 3 – Feminine Ferocity

Ellie has Allie trapped in place. Allie tries to open the closet, but Ellie throws another knife close to her hand.

“The next one goes in your head then you know where you’ll end up,” Ellie states with a chilling seriousness with her face accurately representing her anger and sorrow, “I’ll put my knives in your feet and hands and keep you here until you learn that you belong here with me.”

“Ok…fine. You got me.”

“Finally!” Ellie hugs Allie and heals her cut. “We’re going to be friends forever. Let’s go sit outside for a bit.”

Allie and Ellie sit outside on the balcony of the house. They can see the entire forest from where they’re at. Ellie clings to Allie’s side the entire time in blissful silence with her one hand holding a knife to Allie’s neck and the other holding Allie’s hand.

Ellie says, “I’m just going to stay like this for a while to feel safe that you’re going to stay with me. I hope you don’t mind.”

“Not at all.”

In her mind, Allie hasn’t given up. She’s thinking up a plan to get away from Ellie. It takes her a little while, and she doesn’t like the plan, but it’s the only one she has.

She says to Ellie, “Do you want to grab something to eat? I’m starting to crave some of that strawberry shortcake I saw.”

“That’s my favorite thing to eat. Let’s go!”

At the dinner table, the two eat strawberry shortcake in the same position they were outside with Ellie still holding onto Allie with knives in her hands. A few of the kids are too afraid to ask why they’re like this while the rest don’t care as they endlessly stuff their faces.

Before Allie can do anything, Ellie says, “I never told where I came from. Do you want to know?”

“Sure.”

Allie thinks to enact her plan when Ellie completely wrapped up in her story.

“I came from a really poor family from the city. We never had much to eat or drink, and my parents were always sad. They always talked about how they were going to take care of me and my future. I swear they cried every night, even though they were always smiling when I looked at them. I decided to end their worries for me and ran away into the white forest. That’s how I got here.”

“Are you sure your parents wouldn’t be more worried after you left?”

“They might’ve been, but I’m sure they’re happier now without a daughter to drag them deeper down into poverty.”

“How long ago was that?”

“It must’ve been almost three decades by now. I don’t know and I don’t care. I let that go a while.”

“How does time work here?”

“It goes by a little faster than normal time last time I heard.”

“Huh? What do you mean?”

“That means if you were to leave now, you would be older than what you were when you came in. I didn’t mention that to you because I thought it would make you want to leave me more, but now, you’re going to be with me forever.”

Ellie lets down her guard and kisses Allie’s cheek with cream covered lips. Allie uses this opportunity to stab her fork and knife into Ellie’s eyes to blind her. As Ellie screams out in pain and wildly flails around with her knives, Allie moves away from her. The kids who hate Ellie go after her and start stabbing her to death.

One of the kids says, “Go! We’ll protect you!”

Allie runs out of the dining room and into the bedroom where Ellie gets out of her bed and goes after Allie. The kids distract Ellie as Allie goes into the closet and into the next room she needs to go through. It’s a nursery colored in a bright white where dozens of children are being nursed and played with by giant women with the body of a caterpillar. These women have permanent smiles on their faces. They nurse their children with endless gifts, food, and milk that comes out of the holes in their bodies.

One of them notices Allie and goes after her. It says, “Come to me little one. Let me take care of you.”

The large caterpillar goes after Allie while shooting a sticky substance at her. It’s a mad sprint as Allie goes from one end of the room to the other while using the other caterpillars and her surroundings as cover to get to the other room. She manages to reach it and enters a completely black room. The center of the room has a huge woman with eyes all over half her body with a mouth on the bottom hanging from the ceiling.  When her eyes focus on Allie, the place where she is becomes illuminated.

“I see you,” the woman says.

The mouth on the woman’s lower half descends from the ceiling and makes its way towards Allie current position.

Ellie appears in the room and says, “You can’t see in this room, but mother lets me see perfectly! I’m coming for you, Allie!”

“Dang it.”

Allie goes through a different path from the mouth but can’t see where she’s going. It’s clear now that she’s in a maze and the only way she can see is if the woman in the middle looks at her. The places where the mouth travels are illuminated as well, which shows that the exit is below the woman. The mouth itself goes to where Allie was first spotted, so it doesn’t follow her and seems to only go where she is spotted. Once it retreats back to the woman, Allie follows it back to the woman, but it lunges at her as she follows it. She manages to keep a safe distance until Ellie reaches her.

“You’re going to stay with me forever!” Ellie screams as she runs after Allie with her knives.

“Stay away from me, Ellie!”

Allie tries to go around the mouth but is caught by its mouth as it curves to catch her. It holds her in its teeth as Ellie approaches.

“No! Stop this Ellie! It doesn’t have to be this way!”

“Yes, it does.”

“No, please! Please!”

Allie’s pleas don’t stop Ellie from violently stabbing her to death. When Allie awakes from her bed, she rolls to the side to avoid Ellie’s knives. She then takes them and stabs Ellie’s eyes again then backs off.

Ellie swings around wildly with her knives while saying, “Why?! Why would you want to go back to a life full of suffering and sadness?!”

“Because I have people worried about me. People that have helped me become who I am. I didn’t tell you before, but I’m adopted.”

Ellie stops swinging her knives.

“You’re adopted?”

“My original family was burned to death by a bunch of foreign bandits. I found those bandits and cut their throats. That didn’t help me at all. I felt ashamed of myself and slept on the streets for days by myself. It was only when a traveling couple found me was, I adopted. Even though I was bloody and dirty, they took me in and cared for me as if I was their real daughter. That’s why I never referred to them as stepmother or father. They taught me how to be a nice and proper lady. They’re the reason why I’m still alive today and I don’t want to keep them worried about me!”

Ellie hangs her head down in silence then drops her knives. Allie waits a moment to see what she’s going to do before going back into the closet. She passes through the caterpillar room the same way she did before and enters the maze room again. This time she uses her sense of touch to guide her through the maze. She holds her hand against the wall while looking at the woman in the center who knows where she is based on noise rather than her eyes despite her appearance. Allie draws a mental image of the map in her head as she navigates it.

It takes her a little while, but Allie manages to get to the end. As she touches the final door, Ellie appears behind her.

“Allie!”

The woman on the ceiling focuses in on Allie and lowers her mouth towards her. Allie quickly goes through the door and is sucked into it just as the mouth is about to catch her. She falls sideways for a little while before coming to a full stop to a photo of herself hanging in a dark room. When she pulls the photo down, it makes a clicking noise, which turns on a light to reveal a wall filled with countless photos of children. Startled by the sight, Allie backs away and into someone who puts their arms around her. Looking at the person, it’s a woman with the faces of children on her skirt. The woman has a dark grey scarf that goes from her neck to the inside of her mask that has a pretty face with a smile on it. Her long white hair comes out a small hole on the back of her head.

Allie asks the woman, “Are you the mother?”

“I am, sweetie. I am impressed that you managed to get your photo. It’s been a long while since the last of my children accomplished such a feat. Bravo!”

“I’m not your child.”

“You are whether you know it or not, and not just my children, but my most precious child. I’ve heard your story and your soul should be as rotten as my master’s, but yours shines like the stars.”

“I’m leaving whether you like it or not. You can tell your master that.”

“He’s always been watching you, my dear. He isn’t able to touch you because of your glowing spirit and your angel that protects you, however, we will have you if you die. Think about that before choosing to move on.”

“I’ll take my chances.”

“Think about your friend, Ellie then. She’s never been so attached to someone until now. Right now, she’s an emotional wreck. I’ve tried to get the other children to calm her down, but she’s killed them all. Repeatedly. If you leave here, she’ll suffer for all eternity.”

“I’ll rescue her from this place then.”

“I’m afraid you can’t. She and the other children, who have pledged their soul to my master and me, will all suffer if you escape the house. It was their choice. They were old enough to know what they were getting into and they’re going to live with that decision for the rest of eternity. Think about that before if you manage to get to the exit.”

Once the mother lets go of her, Allie appears back in her room with Ellie crying in the corner. The exit is so close but feels so far now. There’s only one more decision to make that will decide Allie’s fate and the fate of the rest of the children stuck in this house, and she’s already made up her mind.

 

 

Chapter 4 – From Death to Life

Her mind is already made up. Allie breathes in and out a couple times before looking at her photo. It bleeds blood that infuses itself into her, which fills her with life and strength. She then looks at the girl she used to easily call her best friend.

Allie approaches her and says, “I’m going, Ellie. Goodbye. I hope your immortality was worth it.”

“…Is that all you’re going to say to me? Is that all I really mean to you?”

“If you were really my friend or even a good person, you wouldn’t have sold your soul or brought me here. I don’t hate you. I’m not even mad at you. I just pity you.”

Ellie sits in silence for a second before lunging at Allie with her knives. Allie catches Ellie’s hands before the knives can touch her.

“If you don’t want to here, then I’ll force you to! Mother will make you be with me forever! I deserve it after all the people I brought here. You’re her special child, so she has to reward me. You’re never going to leave me, Allie!”

Allie turns the knives on Ellie and sticks her hands to the wall.

“I’m leaving here, and this place is going to disappear!”

“I’m going to come after you, Allie! You will be my best friend forever!” Ellie begins to sob again. “What’s wrong? What’s so wrong with wanting a best friend to always be with?!”

“Because all you care about is yourself. You don’t care about the people you kidnap or me.”

“I love you, Allie!”

“You don’t love anyone but yourself!”

Ellie excessively cries as she falls to her knees with her hands still stuck in the wall. For safety, Allie takes a couple knives from her. She then walks away from her former best friend and into the closet for the last time. This last room she enters is rusted and covered in blood. The heat in the room makes it feel like a furnace. Allie collects herself one last time before moving forward. She hears something that sounds like wet meat walking around.

When she turns the corner, two mouths fused at the jaw. She backs away as the jaws close down on the corner and crush it. A monster turns the corner and reveals itself to be a horrible monstrosity. Its head is composed of four mouths fused at the jaw with one huge mouth in the center. The same is true for the back. Its legs are two fused mouths while its body is hunched up like a dog. Not wanting to give this monster a second to attack, Allie throws one of her knives into its main mouth then slides under it while cutting its belly. She then mounts it and stabs it until it collapses as her hunting experience with her father pays off. The monster spazzes out on the floor as it clings to life.

Allie runs away from the monster and comes across a dead end with a large boiling pot of lava at the end.

She says aloud, “There’s no other place to go. This place is just one short corridor with a monster at the end. It’s no wonder why no one managed to escape.”

The mother, Ellie, the monster, and a black cat approach Allie.

“It’s over, Allie. Since you’re so special, I’ll give you one last chance to submit to my master and me. You’ll be spared a painful death and you can live forever with your best friend. Doesn’t that sound nice, sweetie?”

Allie thinks about it for a second before putting her hand on the boiling pot.

She responds, “No.”

She then tips over the boiling pot, which releases the fires of Hell. The fires quickly burn the house along with everyone in it except for the souls who didn’t submit to the master and Allie. The black cat and the mother try attacking Allie while burning but the fires prevent them from doing anything but burning in suffering. The monster is turned to ashes while Ellie burns like the mother.

She reaches out to Allie and says, “Please, Allie! Take me with you!”

“I can’t, Ellie.”

“Then tell me that God will forgive me, and He’ll save me!”

“God forgives the living, not the dead. You’ve already past your period of grace. The door to mercy is shut in your face and you’re the one who did it.”

Ellie screams in anger at Allie as she walks away. A path is opened for Allie as she makes her way out of the house. Along the way, she passes by the other monsters she saw with the other burning souls. Once she leaves the house, she sees that the house turns into a pillar of fire. She can still hear her former friend and the rest of the souls screaming, so she walks away as the fire from the house spreads to the trees with white leaves.

In the sky, Allie sees the freed souls dancing among the stars until they disappear and move on to Heaven. When she steps foot away from the trees with white leaves, she looks back to see a burning blaze. Even at this distance, she can still hear screaming. The fire from the house doesn’t spread to the normal parts of the forest and is contained by an invisible force.

Right now, it is raining, so Allie hurries back to her house. While running, she comes across a puddle. In her reflection, she can see that she’s now a young woman.

She still has the same dress and hair ornaments she wore as a child. Tears come to her eyes over her lost childhood. She bears her pain and moves on. Further into the forest, she sees a familiar man with hunting equipment. The two stop to look at each other as they slowly approach each other.

“Allie?” the man says with a quivering voice.

“Daddy?” she responds in a similar voice.

The two rush to embrace each other before her dad kisses the forehead of his adopted daughter repeatedly.

“Where have to been for the past few years?” he asks, “The entire town has been searching for you. Some of them thought you were dead, but your mom and I knew better.”

“It’s a long story, daddy.”

Allie explains the story to her dad as she leads him to the large fire in the forest. Since her daughter is always honest, he believes her. They spread the tale to the town, and they honor Allie as a hero. A funeral is held for all of the children who died and didn’t submit to the mother and her master. The fire in the forest is still burning and turns into a popular tourist attraction that brings much-needed attention to the small town so it can prosper.

A passing family hears of the tale and inquires about Ellie. It turns out that Ellie’s family has been searching for her ever since she left. They’re sad to learn of her fate but relieved to hear the news so they can let go of the past. They are accepted into the community despite their daughter’s actions. As for Allie, she makes up for the time she lost. She already went through one tragedy and recovered from it, and she wasn’t going to let another keep her down.

 

The End

A Father and His Dying Daughter

Download this story for free on Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/928868

Chapter 1 – A Peon Among Giants

There are many fathers roaming the desert wastelands of the earth. Most carry their families and homes with them to settle down somewhere until they die. Everywhere, but the top of the world is subpar that is likely to be attacked by the tortuous fiends. These fiends are demons with completely black skin. They bother the families endlessly until they die or are enslaved. Those resilient enough to make it to the top of the world are said to live forever. It’s a terrible journey that takes a harsh toll on the soul, but that could be said for life in general. Few people have the strength to make the pain they go through worth it.

Me? I’m just a father without a wife and a sick child. My wife died from a sickness she caught out in the desert, and now my daughter has the same disease. I’ve been going from town to town looking for a cure, but no one can help her. The only place I can think of that might have a cure is at the top of the world, so that’s where I’m going. My little princess is all I have left. I don’t care if I die along the way. All that matters is that she gets to a healer and lives.

The rest of the fathers that walk the desert with their family on their backs are taller than the buildings they carry because of their task. Me? I’m a speck compared to them because of mine. I may be smaller than them, but I can make do with what I have. I’ll make the journey and get my daughter to safety. I will. Don’t worry little princess, you’ll reach your castle. Just hand in there.

I’ve been wandering the desert for weeks now or has it been days? I haven’t been keeping count. It’s not like I need to. The path I’m following is said to lead to the top of the world. Where the sun sets is where it’s supposed to be. My main method of transportation is walking because riding the backs of the fathers makes me a target for the fiends, and I feel degraded by it as a father.

My little princess and I are taking shelter in an abandoned building to rest. The abandoned buildings scattered about the desert are from dead families who let the dangers of the desert overtake them. It’s a good thing for us that their building stopped over a stream with fish inside it. I hope they had painless deaths. As for us, we’re having a fish dinner. Of course, my daughter is eating most of it. Despite her sickness that makes her sleep most of the time, she’s still able to drink and eat. She’s also able to smile. A bright smile, in fact, that lights up my dreary world. To keep up her smile, I usually talk to her.

“Did you like dinner today? I’m sorry that I ran out of spices to give it extra flavor. That’s what happens when you’re constantly traveling around like how we are but don’t worry your little head princess, we’ll find you help soon.”

She appears to be uncomfortable.

“I know how many times I said that we’ll find you help soon. How about I sing you one of my songs?”

Her smile gives me her approval.

“All right then. Here we go. To restore your hope in your father, here is a song called, Dreams of a Fair Maiden. I came up with it after stargazing for a while. I know it’s not the best, but I hope you like it.

 

Close your eyes, pretty girl

You’ll get your rest,

Peace, and pearls

You’re blessed

With a beautiful face and dreams so wonderful

Of a place above the stars, bright, and colorful

 

Oh, share this dream with me

Won’t you share this dream with me?

Let me see what you see

A place where souls are redeemed

 

Close your eyes, pretty girl

Let me be your servant

So you can dance in peace and twirl

Angels watch you from afar

Wonder and guess at your majesty

Even they are impressed by your fantasy

 

Oh, share this dream with me

Won’t you share this dream with me?

Let me see what you see

A place where souls are redeemed

 

Pure and priceless

Fair and righteous

You’re so much more than you know

A joyful face that glows

Soul pure as snow

Dress as blue as the sea

Oh, what a beauty to see

 

Oh, share this dream with me

Won’t you share this dream with me?

Let me see what you see

A place where souls are redeemed

 

Won’t you share this dream with me?

Oh, what joy would it be to see

I’ll wait for your reply

To see your dreams that are far beyond the sky

 

What do you think?”

She smiles and blushes.

“Thank you for the compliment. I’ll try to make up another one for the next time we stop to rest. For now, you should get some rest-”

Big and loud footsteps shake the ground beneath us. Fathers are moving through this area to get to the top of the world. That means they’re going to attract the fiends to our location. We better get moving. I haven’t gotten much sleep, but that doesn’t matter. If we stay too long in one area, then the fiends are likely to attack us. They always appear out of the desert or hide in the buildings. I’ve only managed to escape them because I’m so small and the help of a towering father if one is nearby.

Going out of the building, I run alongside a towering father. I look up to him hoping to have some friendly chatter with him, but he looks about done. His feet are moving as if he’s running, and his building behind him is shaking. The fiends are right behind him. I duck back into the abandoned building, so I’m not spotted. He looks back and his building accidentally falls off his back due to his carelessness. The father shrinks as a result. As his building behind me is raided, he is caught and enslaved along with his family. I’ve rarely heard of families escaping enslavement, but I hope they do.

The fiends run off with their prey and leave us alone. Once they’re out of sight, I leave the abandoned building and continue my journey. My daughter is squirming uneasily right now. It’s probably due to the fiends and what happened. She’s sensitive to it even though she can’t see properly.

“It’s okay, princess. That won’t happen to us. I promised you once and I’ll promise you again. Besides, what kind of father would I be if I let you down.”

She stops squirming and peacefully falls back asleep. It’s okay, my little princess. I won’t fail you. Nothing will stop me from getting you the help you need.

 

 

Chapter 2 – Living in a Desolate World

When someone dies in the desert, they become like the sand in the desert, and their cloaks become a cloud in the sky. I wonder how many people walk around and step on the dusk left behind by the people who die here.

“They say if you pass away at the top of the world, then you become stardust. Isn’t that an interesting idea?”

My little princess smiles and even lets out a soft giggle. That’s what I want to hear. My daughter isn’t going to let a life ending disease stop her from laughing and smiling.

“Hey, do you see that in the distance? It’s a settlement. Let’s hope we find some good people in there who can help us.”

I’m down to my last coins, but the goal seems to be so close. I’ve been closer to the sunset than I’ve ever been. All we need is one last push. The settlement we’re approaching is full of houses of various sizes ranging from small to large. I don’t blame the fathers for stopping out here to make resting places for wanderers like me. It’s just that I wished they made this place look a little safer for their sake. They did decorate the place with dark blue and light gray colors mixed in with some black.

There are people walking around and making idle talk around the small market. They glance at me as I pass them then whisper among themselves before talking at their normal volume again. I hope they have good things to say. I don’t want to start a fight. The people here seem good, so I also hope that I’m among decent folks who will help me. Browsing around the market, I find bottled water. Small ones of course, and fish. Lots of kinds of fish. These two things are really the only things we eat in the desert. I heard that the top of the world has something called vegetables, bread, wine, and fruit. I’ve never had or seen any of these things before.

“Excuse me,” I ask the vendor, “How much will this all be?”

“Ten coins,” he says in a gruff voice that sounds like its full of sand.

“I only have eight. Will you accept that? I’m trying to keep my sick daughter relatively healthy until we reach the top of the world.”

“I don’t do sympathy discounts, especially in times like this when resources are scarce.”

“Resources are always scarce. How about I pay you what I have then repay you after I drop off my daughter to a doctor who can cure her?”

“I’m truly sorry, but I can’t. I have to take care of my family too. We’re going through tough times as well, and I’m not sure how much longer we can stay here. You can only buy what you can with what you have.”

“Okay, I understand.”

I pay with what I have, take what I bought, and walk away from the vendor. I can go another day or two by only eating scraps. I’ve done it plenty of times.

“Dang it,” the man behind me says before grabbing a few things and running to me with them, “Take these.” He gives me a little more of what I need. “I can’t, as a father, let another father suffer because I want to save me and mine. Take your money back as well.”

“Thank you so much but keep the money. You need it more than I do.”

“Thank you, my friend.”

The sky starts to light up. Oh no.

“Quickly, come inside my house!”

Bolts of fire start falling from the largest star in the sky. This happens from time to time for reasons I don’t know why. Maybe the Heavens are sending fire to cleanse the wicked from the world and remind the faithful of their fate if they choose to turn away. I take cover with my new friend inside his building. While watching from the windows, I see a couple people get hit by the fire bolts. Poor souls. Buildings such as these that hold wholesome families can withstand the bolts being thrown at it. Other buildings aren’t so blessed.

Once it’s over, most of the town is destroyed. I hear moaning and crying in the distance.

“I think we might be the only survivors,” I say.

“Heavens have mercy on the souls they took for judgment,” my friend says, “This place was not a friendly place to be in. We were going to move anyway. Did you say you were headed to the top of the world?”

“I am. That’s the only place I can think of that could have the cure for my daughter.”

“We might as well head there too. Huh?”

We hear a stampede coming our way. It must be the fiends coming to pick what remains.

I tell my friend, “Quickly pick up your things and go!”

“What about you?”

“I can make do. Just get out of here!”

“Okay! I hope to see you at the top of the world or above the stars, my friend.”

“I hope to see you there too.”

My friend grows huge enough to carry his building away while I find a hiding place within the rubble of the destroyed settlement. I dig out some of the rubble out of a building and hide in one of the destroyed rooms. The rubble here should keep me covered while allowing me to see outside. The moaning and crying have turned to into screaming, but that ceases quickly.

“Oh no. Don’t start crying,” I whisper to my daughter.

She hates the suffering of others no matter who is suffering. She’ll cry when she can feel someone dying.

“Here, I’ll sing you something to soothe your soul.

 

Don’t worry,

About it

It’ll end in a hurry

Because I am committed to you,

 

Oh no, I think the fiends might’ve found us. I might’ve sung too loudly. I’ll have to fight them.

“Rest here for now, my little princess. Your knight needs to protect you.”

She murmurs a little with a worried expression on her face as I lay her down.

“Don’t worry. I’ll keep singing for you.

 

Nothing will hurt you, little princess,

I won’t let them

I’ll defeat them in an instant

Just you rest and watch”

 

I loosen my cloak so I can fight. It’s been a while since I last fought, but I must defend my daughter. Once I get out of the rubble, I face down two fiends.

I wave my hand at them and say, “Come on.”

The fiends race towards me with a smile and black liquids running down their mouths. I run towards them and fight them with my bare hands.

 

“Don’t cry,

I know of your struggles

We’ll fly high

Away from your troubles”

 

I’m able to beat them by using them against each other. I’m a small target while they’re vicious and only out for the kill. That makes them easy to fake out, so they hit each other. It’s just a manner of breaking their heads and necks from there. A couple more fiends come from the destroyed buildings.

 

“It doesn’t matter how many will come

I’ll always stick by you

Never surrender no matter the outcome

This is my destiny, I’ll see it through”

 

Two more down, but I’ve been scratched a couple times during the attack. Oh great, three more show themselves. I can’t give up now. My little princess seems worried.

 

“Nothing will hurt you, little princess,

I won’t let them

I’ll defeat them in an instant

Just you rest and watch”

 

Whew! I didn’t think I’d make it through that.

 

“I’ve defeated them all

What did I tell you?

Your father will never fall

This will always be true

I know the song is more of a poem, but I hope you still liked it.”

My daughter laughs and giggles. I’m not sure if she’s doing that because I won or if she’s laughing at my song. Whatever the case is, I fix my cloak and head away from the destroyed settlement. I probably should’ve bought bandages and healing oil. My wounds are pretty bad right now. My daughter’s presence can heal me a bit, but-Oh, is that?

“Did you think I would abandon a friend like you?” my friend from before says.

“Haha, I guess not.”

“Let me give you a ride to the top of the world. I think I might’ve seen it on the horizon.”

“Let’s go then.”

I go into my friend’s building as he carries us away from the destroyed town.

“Now we’re going to get there faster, little princess.”

My daughter smiles and giggles. Now that’s something that always makes me feel better.

 

 

 

Chapter 3 – Let Me Hear More About You

It’s always good to make new friends. My wounds are healed, and I’ve finally managed to eat enough. I haven’t had a full belly in God knows when. My wounds are healed thanks to the supplies my friend has, so I don’t need to worry about dying anytime soon. The daughters of my friend attentively watch my daughter as she rests with their mother behind them and with her hands their shoulders.

I ask them, “Have you ever seen a little girl like mine?”

“No,” one of them shyly says.

My daughter wakes up and notices all the attention she’s being given. She giggles and reaches out towards us.

“I’ve never seen her frown at anyone. She loves everyone she meets.” I hold her out to the girls. “Go on. You can hold her.”

Their mother gently smiles as her daughters carefully hold my daughter. My daughter makes a sound that sounds like she’s saying hello. This makes the girls and I smile.

“Hello, friend, how about you let the girls enjoy their time together while we talk. I want to know more about you and your daughter,” my friend says.

“Sure. I’ll be right up.” I then tell the girls, “Have fun with my little princess.”

They say they will as I climb the stairs. When I get to the top, I sit on the roof and admire the view. There are a few destroyed buildings out here. It looks like a lot of people went this way to get to the top of the world. That must mean we’re on the right track.

“I’m sorry I don’t have any spare chairs for you, my friend.”

“It’s no trouble for me. I’ve been walking for days. It doesn’t bother me that I have to stand for a little while longer.”

“So, tell me. Where do you come from?”

“Way down south.”

“That must be rough. The south is close to where most of the fiends reside. I haven’t heard good things about the people there either.”

“There are more than you think.”

“I believe it since I know you. Do the southerners think the same of the northerners?”

“Most do, but I don’t and neither did my wife.”

“Speaking about her, where is she?”

“She died a little while ago from the same disease my daughter has.”

“That’s a shame. How did you meet your wife anyway?”

“She was on a trip with a few friends when she stumbled upon me. I had just tracked down a group of people who were working with the fiends. They were going to attack my wife and her friends, but I caught up to them and beat them all up. Unfortunately, I was badly injured after the fight. It was like the Heavens brought us together since my wife was there to save my life. After I explained what happened and we got to know each other better, we got married.”

“You said she was on a trip with a few friends? Was she with her father?”

“No, just a couple women and men.”

“Was she royalty?”

“You could say that.”

“No wonder why you call your daughter, your little princess. What’s her actual name?”

“I never gave her a name. My wife never got the opportunity to approve of her name no matter how she struggled to talk. I don’t think it’s appropriate to name her without my wife’s approval.”

“Makes sense, but you’re eventually going to have to give her a real name.”

“I know. I don’t even think it’s appropriate for me to be riding with you. You can let us go at any time and I won’t mind.”

“It’s no trouble to me especially since you said the top of the world is not going to be too far from here. I thought the same weeks ago when my family settled down in that settlement.”

“What stopped you from going all the way?”

“Fatigue from the long journey and challenges, but now I feel bad for doing so. You’ve been traveling from the south. Have you ever stopped to rest for a while?”

“I don’t rest for more than a day in one place.”

“That’s what I feel bad about. You’re much stronger than me despite not having as much.”

“I have my daughter. She’s alive and still smiling and laughing. That’s all I need.”

“Don’t forget to take care of yourself as well. Your daughter can’t survive without you.”

“I keep myself moving. If I die by the time she reaches a proper healer, then I’ll die happy.”

“Do you really want your daughter to be an orphan?”

“No.”

“Then stop thinking that way. I’ve seen dozens of orphans in this world who are alive because of their parents’ sacrifice. Not many survive on their own.”

“You’re right. I’ll try to make sure I’m healthy enough to take care of her.”

“Maybe you can even find another wife?”

“No. My queen was my one and only. There is no other.”

“It’s till death do us part, my friend. It’s okay to get another.”

“I’ll think about it if the time ever comes.”

“Alright. What is your vocation?”

“I’m a farmer, but I’ve also done guard work.”

“So, a lowly farmer and guard married a queen? Isn’t that a fairy tale I could tell my girls?”

“It could be if you put in more story details.”

“I’m not much of a storyteller.”

“Nonsense. All of us have a writer within us. We’ve been exchanging parts of our story to each other, haven’t we?”

“Exchanging stories with a friend is different than making up your own.”

“It’s less different than you think. Can you come up with songs then? What about a poem?”

“If I can’t come up with a simple fairy tale, then what makes you think I can come up with an original song or poem?”

“I’ve made a few of my own that I sing to my daughter.”

“Let me hear one.”

“You got it. I call this one, A Knight’s Service.

 

This love is a love that can set the world on fire

Your will is my desire

For my life is yours

You are the one the world will adore

 

In your service, I fight

From dawn until midnight

Your knight will never fall

For you, I will give it my all”

 

The girls come up from downstairs.

“It looks like you got an audience. Well, don’t stop. Give them a show.”

 

There is no threat I cannot defeat

Without you by my side

Not even Hell’s heat

Nor the Devil’s pride

 

In your service, I fight

From dawn until midnight

Your knight will never fall

For you, I will give it my all

 

When the battles are won

And the day is done

I will rest at your side

You who are so beatified

The girls cheer and clap. Even my daughter and my friend claps and cheers.

“You’re quite the poet, aren’t you?”

“That poem? It was a song I sang to my queen. She thought it was really cheesy, and I have to admit it is too.”

“Hey, girls like that kind of stuff.”

An explosion is made in the distance.

“Did you hear that?” I ask.

“Girls, get back inside,” my friend says as he slightly alters his path.

“What’s going on?”

“Use the binoculars I have downstairs.”

I get the binoculars and look into the distance where I see a battle happening. Massive fathers carry siege weapons on their backs as they attack a castle town. The town sends their forces to meet their attacks as the two forces clash in battle.

My friend says, “I knew there were tensions around these areas, but I didn’t think it would escalate into war. The north is supposed to be more peaceful than this.”

“Sometimes the best of people are actually the worst underneath. You know I heard a saying that the sinner who is sorry for his sins is closer to God than the just man who boasts of his good works.”

“It’s true. We should keep going and let those ‘good’ people duke it out among themselves. We can’t help them now.”

“May the Heavens have mercy on their souls.”

My friend and I continue on our way to the top of the world as a battle rages behind us.

 

 

Chapter 4 – A Past Revealed

My friend and I have been traveling for quite a while now, but the closer we get to the top of the world, the more the sun shines in front of us when it sets. I’ve finally gotten enough rest from all my walking. Speaking about walking, I wonder how my friend is doing. I go up to him and ask him.

He says, “I’m doing fine. To be honest, I’m pushing myself to go far because you told me about how far you’ve been traveling. It should be alright though. I have a feeling that we’re almost to the top of the world.”

“I have the same feeling too, but you shouldn’t push yourself too hard. Even I took breaks every now and then, and what was that advice you gave me?”

“Haha, okay. I’ll remember to take my own advice. Hey, friend, before you go, don’t you think it’s strange that there aren’t that many buildings out here? You’d think there be more due to how close we are to the top and the lack of resting places.”

“I doubt many would give up after going this. I think it’s a good thing that we don’t see that many abandoned buildings around here. It only gives me the hope that the city at the top of the world has expanded with what’s missing here.”

“That’d be good, and I didn’t think about that. The more people that make it to the top of the world, the more that grand city there will expand so that people come across it sooner.”

“Well, what did you think happens when more people become part of that city? They need more space for the growing number of people, however, slow that rate may be.”

“The thought didn’t even come to my head.”

“What do you think the city is like then?”

“Something beyond my simple imagination. I haven’t even come with a story or a simple poem song like you. You must have your head in the stars with that imagination of yours, my friend.”

“It’s another thing that helps keep me hopeful.”

While looking around, I see something in the distant. Oh no.

“We have to move faster!” I say.

“What’s going on?”

“A convoy of large people in armor mixed with smaller ones with siege weapons are approaching us. They don’t look friendly. They might be bandits.”

“Are you sure they aren’t knights? I’ve heard of wandering knights in this area that protect people from bandits.”

“Well, these don’t look like those people.”

“Alright. I’ll try to run and hide us away from them as best as I can. Hold on down there!”

My friend runs as fast as he can. The armored attackers behind us launch a barrage of arrows at us along with large ropes. We manage to dodge the attacks, but we don’t have any cover until now. Just ahead is a graveyard of destroyed and abandoned buildings. I guess more people than I thought gave up around this point, but that isn’t going to be us.

We use the buildings as cover as my friend swerves and runs through the maze of buildings in a way to confuse our enemies. He then hides us within a hollowed out building. After a while of waiting and silence, he leaves the building. It seems like we’re safe. I heard movement going in the opposite direction. I hope they keep going that way. My friend is cautious he creeps around the buildings while carefully looking around.

Ah! We got caught from behind. My friend is tied up and we’re surrounded. It looks like they split off part of their forces in order to throw us off.

A man, who looks like the commander, says, “Cavallo, your days of escaping the law is over! You are to be executed for your crime of being in relations with the queen. Your being together cost her life.”

“You really are a knight, and your name is Cavallo?” my friend whispers to me.

“Yeah, you thought I was lying?”

The commander continues, “However, we will bring the young princess to the top of the world in order to have her cured and for her to take the place of the queen.”

I respond, “You can’t enact your corrupt laws on us! Your laws influenced by the fiends. That’s what cost the lives of my queen and her subjects.”

“You betrayed your role as a knight.”

“You should talk about betrayal, ‘friend’. You were supposed to pick up for me and change your ways. No wonder why it is said that we should love our enemies as our friends because they’re generally the same people.”

“I serve the crown.”

“I serve the Heavens.”

“And that is why you must be put to death along with your accomplices.”

My friend says, “Do it! Kill me you slaves of the fiends but spare the life of my friend and family.”

“That can be arranged, but your family will be killed alongside you to pay the full price.”

“You monsters!”

“No! Spare their lives. Just them to the top of the world with my daughter. I submit my life to you,” I say.

“Then your friend must deny you,” the commander says.

My friend says to me, “Are you sure you want to do this? I can defend you all until I’m put down.”

“Don’t. Keep your family and my daughter safe. There’s less risk in it, and I might not be able to protect all of us.”

“…Fine.” My friend then says to the commander, “I do not know this man. I met him at the settlement I was at and helped him, but now that I know the truth, I deny ever knowing him.”

“Good man,” the commander says as he orders my friend’s release. “Now come down, Cavallo for your execution.”

I make my way down as I hear my daughter crying. It’s going to be okay, little princess. Your father will save a place for you in the Heavens. Once I get down to the ground, I’m beaten by the many soldiers around me.

The commander says, “That was for the disrespect you showed the crown, you disgraceful knight. Now, your execution.”

A blade is held above my head and is about to come down, but the fiends arrive.

One of them says, “This was not part of our deal, commander. You were to execute the child once you obtained her.”

“We bow to the crown, fiends.”

“You bow to us.”

The fiends attack as the soldiers retreat towards the top of the world. I guess they neither party sees any use in me now. They’re all gone now. Thankfully, I’m still able to walk. I have to get to my daughter. I have to protect her. It’s my duty as her knight and most importantly her father. I have to!

I’ve been here before. The bottom of the barrel. When my wife died, and I had to escape the kingdom. I didn’t think I was going to make it, but my queen came to me in a dream and kissed me. In that kiss, I got her message of hope. I have to keep going no matter how I feel. I rip apart my cloak so I can move faster. To get myself to move even faster, I sing myself a song that I came up for my queen and princess.

 

I’m the worst because I’m inconsistent

Making Heaven so distant

I’m useless because I can never be perfect

My sins leave me wrecked


But I can’t just stay here forever


The Bottom is Where I Start

Where all broken hearts fall apart

or become beautiful works of art

The Bottom is where I awoke in

Our pains unspoken

But I won’t be broken


I’m delusional because I believe in God

I’m an idiot for thinking I’m flawed

I’m insane because I’m not full of myself

in a world that’s in love with itself


But I can’t just let them put me down forever


The Bottom is Where I Start

Where all broken hearts fall apart

or become beautiful works of art

The Bottom is where I awoke in

Our pains unspoken

But I won’t be broken

 

Never to going to give in

Never going to give up

Never letting my light dim

 

Never to going to give in

Never going to give up

Never letting my light dim


The Bottom is Where I Start

Where all broken hearts fall apart

or become beautiful works of art

The Bottom is where I awoke in

Our pains unspoken

But I won’t be broken


The Bottom is Where I Start

Where all broken hearts fall apart

or become beautiful works of art

The Bottom is where I awoke in

Our pains unspoken

But I won’t be broken
From the bottom is where I start

The pain has given me a strong heart

And I will never fall apart

I’m approaching the top of the world now. It’s a city of lights that looks like a town made of castles. It’s everything I’ve ever dreamed of. Oh! There are the knights being chased down by fiends. The guards from the city defend them, but I’ll get to my daughter. Just you hold on for me, my little princess.

 

 

 

Chapter 5 – A Father’s Duty

Without my cloak and my daughter on my back, I’m able to stand up straight and leap around the buildings. I watch as the knights find a healer. They enter into a hospital and leave a few of them outside to guard. I sneak past them and watch from outside a window. This is great for my daughter. She’s being healed by a professional healer. This woman is wearing a dress made of flowers and leaves. It’s like she’s a fairy godmother. I’ve never seen foliage except in the kingdom’s gardens and in art.

Now that my daughter is healed, it’s time to rescue her. Her skin is more colorful, and her eyes are more open. She’s expressive and calls out for me. Don’t worry, princess. Your knight is here. Before I can jump in the window, the knights leave the room. I go out to the front and take out their guards.

Once they exit the hospital, I say to them, “Let go of my daughter!”

My daughter calls out to me with her arms out as she struggles out of the commander’s arms.

The guards of the city become suspicious of the knights and say, “I thought you said this was your child?”

“It is. She belongs to the kingdom.” The rest of their forces converge on the hospital to save their friends. “We thank you for your services.”

The commander retreats with his protectors and my daughter as his forces clash with the city’s guards. They stand no chance because the city has better guards, so I chase after my daughter. The knights run through the crowded streets then retreat into one of the taller buildings of the city. They take a storage pulley up to the top floor. Fire starts to rain down from the stars and sun in the sky as I climb the castle. The city’s defenses manage to take out some of the fire bolts, but a number of them make it past. Once I get to the top, the commander’s four knights fan out and start to surround me.

He says, “This ends now, Cavallo. You can’t survive against us.”

“Don’t underestimate a father.”

The knights underestimate me because I fight with my fists and I manage to break their armor and weapons with my fists and kicks. I then knock them out and send them down the pulley.

“I won’t make the same mistake as those fools.”

“You’re already making one.”

I fight the commander and despite his fancy sword skills, he’s nothing without it when I break it in half. I then beat him down to the ground.

“Kill me already,” he says.

“No,” I tell him with a stern look in my eyes, “I’m not like you.”

“You’d wish you were.”

“Uck!”

He cut me open from my stomach up to my chest with the sword I broke in half. I knock out the commander then throw him aside. My daughter…my little princess…I have to hold her one last time. I crawl to her as the firestorm above the city gets worse. I’ve never seen it rain down fire this bad. I’ll protect my little princess with my body. That’ll be my last duty as her knight and father. She’s crying right now.

“It’s okay, little princess. I’m here and I’ll protect you to my last breath…”

As I breathe my last, the blood that comes out of my body becomes a cloak that enwraps my daughter and transforms her into a beautiful young woman.

Eyes like the stars, hair-like purest purity, dress like rose petals, and a golden crown on top of her head that was made by her mother in Heaven.

She looks up to my soul as I ascend to the Heavens and says, “Thank you, father, for teaching, singing, protecting, and loving me. I love you.”

“I love you too, Aurora.”

Aurora steps off the building a walks on the air as if it was a staircase.

“I got this from you, father. I hope you like it.”

She then begins to dance and sing in midair, which slows down the fire bolts to almost a complete halt.

 

Let me sing you a song as the stars and sun bleed

Dance and be merry, but take heed

 

Purified, I become the aide of all

So that no one will die

None will fall

 

Coming with a gift of life

Wisdom abounding, cutting through the fire like a knife

 

The fire in the sky begin to blow up like fireworks in a festival. People below begin to dance and cheer for my princess.

 

Let me sing you a song as the stars and sun bleed

Angels rejoice as love is shared

Alleluia, yes, join me

 

Purified, I become the aide of all

So that no one will die

None will fall

 

Just look at was done

My father sacrificed his life

For his only love

This is the truest love given to all

 

Purified, I am the aide of all

So that no one will die

None will fall

 

All the firebolts in the sky are gone now. Aurora floats down to the ground and is praised by the people. She smiles and waves up to me. I’ve done it. This was my true purpose for coming here. Even though it seemed like something small, it became something bigger than the castles at the top of the world. Now that my duty is complete, I rejoin you, my queen to be by your side forever. Let us rejoice and pray for our daughter as she starts her new life.

 

The End

Desecrating Infestation

Download the story for free on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/927356

*Notice: This is a story that the squeamish or easily grossed out will likely not enjoy.

Chapter 1 – Infectious Investigation

There’s a strange infection going around in the city of Arklay. Normal people will wake up one day to find insects crawling in their body.  The insects are deep within their skin, but that doesn’t stop normal people from trying to cut them out by themselves. When surgery is done on these people, the insects have to be killed because they’ll try to renter the body of the patient. On further inspection, people infected with this strange condition have various kind of insect eggs within them. These eggs can hatch; maggots, worms, ants, centipedes, millipedes, spiders, cockroaches, hornets, flies, and even butterflies. Even when these eggs are removed, patients who were previously infected have a high chance of being infected again. People who get infected and don’t receive constant treatment die within days depending on the type of insects hatched in their body.

Panic has made people drink insect repellent, commit suicide if infected, or leave the city, which has spread the infection. One of the strangest parts of the infection is that it’s not spread by touch or physical contact. People who wear protective gear have a slightly lower chance of catching the infection, but they still catch it regardless of their gear. Disease control organizations have tracked down these people and are curing these people while experimenting on them to find a cure for the people of Arklay. The infection is now contained within the city with no one allowed to leave or enter besides disease control organizations, which have come from all countries to inspect the bizarre infection.

My name is Silva. I’m an agent and I used to live in Arklay, so I know my way around the city. I’m sent here by the Control and Contain Contaminations (CCC) organization to see if I can find the source of the infection. I’m wearing protective boots, gloves, and a gas mask. Along with a heated knife that can burn whatever it touches once it’s activated, I’m carrying a pistol and in case things get really bad, I have a flamethrower in the back of my truck. Before going in, I check my gear then go in the first building I want to inspect. This was the apartment where the first infected was from. Everyone else in the building was infected after half a month, so this place has been a place of interest with few people making out of it alive.

The first step into the building makes me feel sick. I feel as if I’m going to throw up. The mold, muck, and insect skins that line the wall make me feel slimy. It doesn’t help that the floors feel like I’m walking on mush. Flies, centipedes, hornets, and maggots are all over the place, but it’s like I’m invisible to them. I better not bother them, but then again, the insects born from the infection don’t become hostile for whatever reason. They almost seen unaware of everything around them and only focus on eating like normal bugs. Well, normal bugs that are twice or even three times the size of what they normally are.

The floors are littered with corpses of past human victims some of which barely still have flesh and meat on their bones. These insects are interesting. I’ve touched and dissected every kind that’s come from this disease and their insides are like those of normal insects. Even touching them now as I remove them from crawling on me is like touching a normal bug. I remember being used to bugs and gross things even as a kid. It’s one of the things that made me popular with the boys and unpopular with the girls. This, however, is beyond gross.

It gets worse as I go up towards the room of the first infected. The walls and floors are covered in a thicker slime and harder insect shells. Some of the skeletons on the ground are being picked apart by insects such as hornets and centipedes. It’s strange how these insects eat only the bodies of their human hosts and not any other kind of human flesh. We’ve tested it and they’ve completely ignored the human flesh and went for the normal foods that insects eat as if they only eat the bodies of their hosts. It’s a mystery I’m trying to solve, and I have absolutely no theories as of now. No one, not even the other scientists and agents I work with have any idea as to why this infection started in this city in particular. Hopefully, the answer lies in this room.

As I enter the room of the first infected, I see his decaying corpse on the floor. The room is a nesting ground for hundreds of insects who just crawl or fly around then rest in certain corners of the room before exiting it or resting in their nests. Their nests are nothing but beds for these creatures. These insects can’t even reproduce with one another. Anyways, the first person who was infected received surgery multiple times before giving up on life and died after three days. The insects burst out of his toes, fingers, eyes, mouth, and other areas of his body in a very painful way. Because more people got infected the next day, no one bothered to move his body and the building was eventually condemned.

I’m probably the first person here in a while or at least to my organization’s knowledge. None of the things here look tampered with. There are a lot of personal journal entries. They’re all dirty, but the heat from my knife makes the writing legible. This is the last entry.

“I can feel the pain getting worse. The damn bugs have started crawling out of my skin, so I don’t have much time. Why did I ever get this disease? I’ve never been seriously dirty or sick in my life. I’ve never been in a dirty place, so why me? Was it something I did? I don’t think I’ve ever seriously hurt someone. Did someone curse me because they didn’t like me? Is the end of the world going to happen soon? Is something biohazardous beneath the city? Are the insects going through some kind of natural evolution? I don’t know. I’m just a normal guy.”

There’s nothing here I can work with. Perhaps I can find something on his body. This isn’t exactly the best place to dissect his body, but it can’t be moved because it’s so embedded to the floor. Part of him will have to be destroyed anyway so I might as well look through it while I can. I take out my knife and start cutting in his body. There is nothing but broken eggs here and other insects who were using the body as a resting place. Oh? There’s a kind of weird fungus growing his body. I haven’t seen this weird black and green grown in the other infected bodies. This will be useful, so I carefully cut the fungus off and…it’s another insect. It’s a hybrid of a worm and millipede. I put the insect in a secure bag that will keep it fresh.

Huh? Something crawls out of the muck in the ceiling. A flying scorpion with spider legs. It doesn’t look friendly or passive like the other insects. I quickly bring up my heated knife in time to burn away the string it shoots at me. Since it’s going to be that way, I lunge forward and slice the scorpion in two. Two more scorpions come out of the muck and try to catch me, but since I know their tricks, I cut them down easily. Uck. I stepped in the webs. It’s pretty sticky. I have to heat up the knife in order to cut through it. These scorpions may be in pieces, but they might still be useful, so I put them in my secure bags.

When I exit the room, more scorpions attack me, I wonder what effect a gun will have. Oh. So, it takes two shots to kill one. Even so, it’s still struggling to hold onto life. More scorpions start crawling out of the walls, so I make my way out of the apartment while shooting them down and defending myself. These things are stubborn. When I leave the apartment, the bust through the windows and doors. I run to my car and break out my flamethrower. I have no choice but to light the entire apartment on fire since the scorpions won’t stop coming. It’s a shame I had to do this but-ah! I got all these bugs on me. Before I go anywhere, I change my clothes and burn my outfit. I then give my findings and report to the higher-ups who thank me and tell me they’ll have something for me by tomorrow since my findings are new.

As soon as I get home, I take a shower just to make sure I’m clean. I walk out to the balcony outside my room and look out at Arklay. I wonder what happened to my home. It used to be so peaceful, and now, it’s the center of attention because it’s infected with mysterious insects. My mom and dad used to live here. I wonder what they would think of this. I’ll get to the bottom of this.

The local news reports more infected people. Sewers and other dirty parts of the city are starting to crawl with these new kinds of insects along with the muck they bring along. They also talk about the fire I’ve started, but they don’t know about why it started nor the evidence I collected. Conspiracy theories will start cropping up if they haven’t done so already. I might’ve had some of my own if I didn’t know that all of the disease organizations don’t have a clue about what’s going on. I hope we get some answers soon…before this situation gets worse.

 

 

Chapter 2 – Sacrilegious Scum

During the next morning, I wake up to a message from my superiors. They tell me that they’ve found a sort of insect repellent. The fungus from the first infected is acidic to insects born from infected people, but it’s harmless to normal people. We’ve already tested this repellent out in normal people, and they don’t appear to have any side effects. When a person is injected with this repellent, the insects will cower away from them. They tell me this could be useful if I find any more scorpions or other bugs like them. It’s a risk to take this serum especially since it’s only been tested a few times on people, so I respond to their message by turning it down until there have been more tests. They say they understand then wish me luck in my investigation today.

I hope they weren’t wishing to use me as a test subject. My organization does consist of people with good intentions, but good intentions don’t always mean good methods. Whatever the case is, I head out today to the under part of the city. An earthquake hit this city one day and destroyed it. A new city was built on top of it, and the city below acts as a sort of pseudo home for the homeless. Once the insect disease became a serious problem for the city, the lower parts of the city became a home to a cult that worships the insects as servants of their insect god or whatever. It’s lunacy in my opinion. Because the cult views the disease as more of a blessing than a curse, they’ve tried everything in their power to get the disease themselves and even kidnap other people in the hopes of “ascending” or becoming honorable hosts of their insect god.

Since this might get messy, I’ve brought a small submachine gun in case I have to do some crowd control. I’ve also gotten fuel for my flamethrower and left extra in the back of my car. When I get to one of the entrances, I find some of the muck and insect skins. This is a bad sign since this stuff usually grows near highly infected areas. I equip my gas mask and go into the darkness to find a dead body that has recently died. Hornets, roaches, and spiders crawl out of the body’s skin and feast on its organs. A body this close to the public isn’t safe, so I use my knife’s blade to set the body on fire. I’m probably going to need to use it more if this is what I see when I first walk in. If that’s the case, I go back to my car and bring my flamethrower with me.

When I get back, I start burning whatever corpse nests I see. There were reports of people getting infected around here. Before we thought it had to do something with the cult abducting people, but now…that point still stands, however, we didn’t know about people dying around here. I send a message to my superiors to tell them to send clean-up crews to the other old city entrances. They message me back that they’re sending them right away. I can’t imagine how bad old city is if the way to it is littered with corpses.

The walls, ceiling, and floors of this pathway look stranger than what I saw at the apartments. It’s almost if some of this muck is made of human remains. Let’s just see to make sure. I cut open some of the muck and…ah! Yup. A human skull that’s split into three pieces falls from the ceiling where I cut. I didn’t know the insects could do this. Some of the fresher human remains look downright still alive with arms and legs reaching out as if calling for help. There are also human faces with their expressions still stuck in pain and fear.

Further into the passage, I find the old city. It’s in ruins with half-destroyed buildings barely hanging together due to the muck that the insects made. Hornets and butterflies the size of bikes fly around the large space above the city and pick at the dirt walls surrounding them. They could be trying to move out of this place to find food. This place has to be burned down, but it’s sitting in a place that could do serious damage to the city. We’re going to have to meticulously burn the muck from this place so Arklay can be safe. I wonder if the cult planned it so things would be this way.

The cult’s hideout is supposed to be further into the city. I have to cut my way through thick muck and the corpses of the infected in order to get to a church with the mark of the cult. Various huge insects are on display as if they were holy icons. There’s a bee the size of a car crucified in at the head of the altar. Maybe I don’t even need to question the cult members in order to find something that will be useful to me. I doubt any of them are alive after finding so many corpses. To start my search, I start cutting open the bodies of the insects to find more of the black and green fungus. Taking it might wake up those scorpions from before, so I leave it alone for now.

I heard screaming just now! There’s someone still alive, so I head over to the source of the noise to find a homeless woman being sexually assaulted by a grasshopper the size of a couch that looks like it’s mixed with fire ants. I didn’t know these insects could be so sick. Using my submachine gun, I light the grasshopper up until it dies. It takes half a clip to put it down. Even then, I have to stab it multiple times with my knife in order to kill it.

“Are you okay?” I ask the woman.

She tries talking, but she holds onto her stomach and screams in pain. Within seconds, three fire ants are burst from her stomach. I kill these abominations then take a second to collect myself. My mind is struggling to believe in the existence of these creatures. They’re so vile and now there’s a new terrifying variation of them. I guess I can’t get nauseous now, so I inspect the bodies of the dead woman. It appears that she’s been assaulted before judging by the condition of her genitals and stomach. There are eggs in her body with still dormant fire ants in them. It seems like she might’ve given birth multiple times to these insects. I take the eggs with me for further study.

Looking into the grasshopper, I find various new organs that I’ve never seen before. It’s probably the reason as to how it can reproduce with humans. I can’t drag this thing out by myself, so I leave it here for now. Damn thing is an abomination. I never want to see another one as I live, but I don’t think I’ll be that lucky.

I hear footsteps approaching me, so I take out my submachine gun and aim forward. It looks like a cult member. He’s wearing a black and green robe with the cult’s symbol on it.

“Are you here to help us?” he asks.

“I’m here to get rid of this plague. I’m not here to help your psychotic cult.”

“I know it looks bad, but I’m not with these guys. I’m just a normal doctor, who infiltrated the group to figure out a cure for the disease. I thought that I could get some of the insect’s blood and possibly make a cure.”

“You should leave it to the bigger disease control organizations. Lucky for you, I’m with them to help out.”

“Those organizations didn’t come here until a month after the disease was discovered. The damage done to the city and its people in that timeframe is unrepairable. Your people have no idea what it’s been like. We live in fear of randomly catching this disease every day of our life and you come here and think you’re doing us a favor.”

“Hey, I’m from this city. The CCC is doing its best to destroy this disease. They’re just playing it safe because we have no idea what’s happening. If we just acted without caution, then a lot more people could suffer.”

“I guess you got a point. I’ll share my findings with your organization. There’s nothing else for me to find here.”

“What happened here?”

“This? It’s been like this for a while. The cult’s been breeding these monsters because they thought they were divine.”

“What about these grasshoppers?”

“These atrocities could reproduce with men and women, and let me tell you, it was not a pretty sight especially for the men.”

“How were these things made?”

“I don’t know to be honest with you. It just seems like the more the area is infected, the weirder and more frightening insects begin to spawn from the waste these creatures make and from the infected.”

The two of us hear gunfire in the distance.

“The information you have will be useful to us, doctor. Let’s get out of here. The CCC should be here.”

“Thank you. I can’t stand being here anymore.”

The doctor and I run out to the streets of the old city to find a CCC clean-up crew in high-quality hazmat gear. They’re using a more powerful version of the flamethrower I have called Hellfire. I’d love to use that version one day or at least the Purgatory version of it. We come across more grasshoppers and flying scorpions as we try to join the hazmats. I have to use all of my submachine gun and flamethrower ammo in order to break through the hordes of mutated insects.

I go up to one of them and say, “Cover us while we leave and watch out for huge grasshoppers.”

“You got it, Silva. We’re going to turn this place into a furnace.”

“Don’t get too carried away hotheads. This place could come down around us if you burn too much.”

The doctor and I make it out of the old city. Before we go to my superiors, I get us a change of clothes then burn our previous outfits. The CCC better compensate me for all of the outfits I’m going to burn. After that, I drop him off with the eggs I found. Again, I am greatly thanked with the scientists and doctor exchanging friendly dialogue. They tell me that they should make great strides in their research because of my efforts. I say goodbye then take my leave.

When I get back home to my apartment, I take a shower then look out at the city. What have I been doing with my life? I’ve been trying to stand out and do the extraordinary for my entire life. Starting with acting like the boys then becoming a cleaner for the CCC. I wonder what it’s like to live a normal life. I’ve seen so many happy normal people in my life that I’ve lost count. They might’ve been struggling financially, but at least they were happy in their families. When this job is done, I’ll appreciate the little things more. I’ll watch the sunrise, hang out with friends, get a hobby, and maybe start a family. Yeah…that sounds good. Really good in fact.

 

Chapter 3 – Experimental Execration

It’s early in the morning and I can’t go back to sleep for some reason. I guess I was thinking more about what I was thinking about yesterday. What did I do in my life that didn’t concern study and acts to gain attention? Nothing, but I bunch of small events that don’t give me a warm feeling. I know dozens of people who can tell me heartwarming stories that bring smiles to everyone around them. They told simple stories, and to be honest, I don’t talk to anyone anymore, but still. I should stop moping about this and get back to work.

Soon after eating breakfast, I get a message from work that they’re working on a cure to the infection. Their testing is going well so far, however, they still want me to go out to see if I can find anything else to speed the process along or find something more potent they can use. They want me to look into a hospital that the doctor came from. It’s been condemned for a while since so much of it has been infected. The muck from the inside of the hospital has been seeping out of the building. Even the ground around the hospital has been reported to smell like rotting flesh with something leaking out of it.

It sounds bad and like what old city was like, so I agree to go there and head out with some new weapons. I’ve swapped out my submachine gun with a sawed-off double barrel shotgun. If I’m going to be in close quarters, then this is going to be incredibly useful. I managed to get a better flamethrower, which is called Purgatory. Hopefully, I get to try out Hellfire soon.

When I arrive at the hospital, I find it in a worse state than described. The muck has spread further out into the streets and into nearby buildings. Insects are crawling to and from the hospital to wherever the muck reaches. This entire block has been quarantined., but it should be destroyed. I don’t know about the nearby buildings and if they’re infested as well. They might be judging by all of the insects crawling and flying around here. More people will have to be brought in for a clean-up job this big.

I’d better get in there to fix what’s going on before it gets worse. Despite it being morning, the inside of the building is almost pitch black with the hospital’s lights flickering on and off. The lights should’ve been turned off a while ago, so someone must be here now or have been here recently. Maybe they were here to get medicine or maybe it was another disease control organization looking around here for research. I think this place might be worse than the old city. The muck here looks flesh-like and disgusting.

Some of the muck here is even pulsating like a beating heart. Eck. Before I have a chance to touch it, I hear glass being broken. When I run to check it, I find a person raiding a supply closet for pills and syringes. They’re wearing a bunch of heavy clothing as if wearing a makeshift hazmat suit.

I call out to them, “Hey! You can’t be here!”

“Screw you! You hazmats do nothing but burn our city to ashes.”

“That’s not true. Get out of here before you get sick. I’ll keep you safe.”

“The only safe place is outside the city and you people won’t let us leave.”

The person leans forward as to catch themselves as they slipped. What the hell? Part of the wall came to life. No. It was a moth the size of half the wall. The large winged insect has a mouth on its chest and a sharp syringe-like stinger. It attacks the person by latching onto them in the blink of an eye. It then eats the person’s body while its stinger is lodged in the person’s forehead. Before I can fire a shot, the insect dies and transforms the person into a corpse. Their arms, chest, and face are transformed into that of a praying mantis. I can see their organs through their see-through chest and their legs seem to have been split in two. How could a transformation like this happen within seconds?

The mutant appears to be dead, but their body is steaming and quivering. It just stopped moving. I can’t get any samples from the moth since it shriveled up and breaks at the slightest touch. It’s as if it transferred all of its energy into the person. As I approach the mutant, it leaps up with its legs and almost decapitates me. Reacting quickly, I shoot its head with my double barrel to send it into the wall. It twitches a few times before immediately getting back up to slash wildly at me. With another shot from my double barrel, I shoot one of its legs off. This thing is so damn stubborn and refuses to die, so I stab it with my knife set at the highest heat, which finally kills it. What a pain.

Huh? I heard something moving in the vents. There’s no time to waste. I cut off whatever I find on the mutant and bring it with me. Before I can get too far, a sharp limb comes out from the vents and almost stabs me in the face. I dodge it, but then another limb comes out to try to get me. I have to lay low as multiple limbs come out to try to cut my head off. There are more of these things? Why didn’t they ambush me before? I guess I must’ve woken them up.

The mutants in the vents just stopped. That’s a relief, but…there we go. It seems like they stopped just to try to get me off guard. Moths from the ceiling and floor begin to attack me and the mutants start dropping from the ceiling. I haven’t even reloaded my double barrel yet and I doubt it’s going to be effective in this situation. There’s no chance for me to get out of this alive without using my flamethrower, so I start burning this place down. It does wonders against the moths and mutants, but the rest of the hospital catches fire quickly.

From what the doctor said in his message, he said he left some notes in his office as to where he thought the most likely place the infection started in. I go to his office while burning whatever remotely looks alive. Damn it. These things are sacrificing themselves to put out the fires. I’m going to have to really spend all my fuel in this place. I set fire to multiple places in the hospital including an electrical room so that it causes an explosion and more flames. That should keep them distracted, but it puts me on a tight time limit.

Searching through the doctor’s office, I find notes saying that the city deposits all of its wastes beneath the city since its far from civilization and hasn’t harmed anyone for the years they’ve done it, but the doctor thought that it might’ve caused the insects to mutate into what they are now. There are also notes here that say the doctor and his associates did experiments on the infected and the bugs before any of the disease control organizations arrived. Some of the tests ended with a mutation in the insects, which explains what I saw. Okay, this is good enough, but I have to burn down this building to keep the rest of the city safe.

I go out of the office to find the mutants and moths heading downstairs while completely ignoring me. Maybe there’s something important they’re protecting. I follow them into the second-floor basement to find a beehive-like heart that takes up most of the room. The insects are sacrificing themselves to snuff out the fire while a small horde of them stands guard. The guard stares me down while hissing at me. You guys made a big mistake putting your hive here. I load my double barrel and shoot the sensitive machines in the room then switch to my flamethrower to light the rest of the place on fire.

This causes a chain reaction and now the entire building is starting to collapse. I run with everything I got then jump out of the exit as the building collapses onto itself. Dozens of insects, special insects like the scorpions and grasshoppers along with the mutants, and the moths flee from the neighboring abandoned buildings and into the city. This isn’t good. The city is in chaos as everyone who can fight, fights against the hordes of insects. I should make my way back to my superiors while cleaning up my mess. I’m sure they’d fire me if I didn’t.

The situation calms down after an hour and a half of burning, shooting, and stabbing. I’ve seen dozens of people die as a result of what I’ve done, but it’s also not my fault! How was I supposed to know this was going to happen?! I was just doing my job! Or am I just making excuses? This reminds me of the many times I’ve had to burn infected people alive along with everything they have like a maniacal arsonist. I can’t think about that now. That was just part of my job to keep people safe.

With no time to waste, I change my outfit, burn my original, then head off to report to my superiors. Their base hasn’t fared well in the attack with parts of it destroyed along with bodies on the ground most of which are getting burned to ashes. I give them my report and they tell me that I shouldn’t feel bad because I was just doing my job.

“Sometimes you can’t expect everything to go your way”, they tell me.

I already know that. They don’t seem too bothered by what happened. In fact, they tell me my findings along with the free subjects I’ve brought them will accelerate the completion of the cure. I ask them about that, and they tell me that they should have one made in a day or two, though the test versions they have were all destroyed in the attack. It’s a shame for the people who were infected and are now infected. They give me new supplies and my Hellfire flamethrower with plenty of fuel as a reward. It’s strange getting it now. I don’t feel like I deserve it, but I take it with a smile a thank you before heading home for some rest.

After showering like always, I take a look out at the city to see the destruction that I’ve caused. Most of the city lights are dark with fires being lit, which are probably burning bodies. I recognize the all too familiar smell. I hope my efforts have helped in some way. Huh? My skin feels itchy. That’s strange-

“AAAAAAHHHHHH!”

I scream as I see roaches, millipedes, and worms crawling around in my skin…I’m infected…

 

 

 

Chapter 4 – Revolting Roots

What did I do wrong? I’ve taken every precautious to stay clean. I burned my clothes, cleaned myself thoroughly, and have always kept my hands clean. Is this for what I’ve done in the past? All the lives I’ve taken for the greater good. All the lives I’ve burned down to keep people healthy and safe. Did I do too much? Were my excuses not enough to cover for my actions?

Is this for not caring about the people around me as much as I should? I do care about people, but I separate myself from others. When it’s time to work, I separate myself from what I do. I become a tool for the CCC and do what I’m told because I trust them and their goals. When I had the choice, the CCC looked like the most ethical organization, but are we? Do we focus too much on the ends rather than the means?

This kind of thinking is making my mind go in circles. It’s the infection’s fault. My skin is so itchy because of the insects crawling around in it. It’s so uncomfortable and chilling being like this. I was used to insects crawling on me, but them crawling in me is completely different. It’s like someone constantly lightly scratching the inside of every part of your body. I can feel them everywhere. In my skin, face, stomach, legs, and arms. Last night, I thought I was imagining things and thought that some sleep would help me, but it hasn’t. It’s gotten worse. I don’t feel so good, so I go to the bathroom and try taking normal medication that’s supposed to suppress the disease-!

Blech! I can’t believe it. I just barfed out a centipede the size of my arm. I still feel sick. My stomach is killing me and so is my bladder. This is terrible. Living with this disease is worse than I thought. I can’t hold it in anymore. This is getting even worse somehow! I crap and pee out insects. Why is this happening to me?! I put on my shower and set it to the highest temperature. This calms down my stomach and the bugs within my skin. It even manages to shrink some of them. No wonder why so many people kill themselves when they’re infected. Living like this is hell.

There have to be surgeons at the CCC base. I don’t care what kind of surgery or medicine they give me. I’ll do anything to get rid of this infection inside me. After hastily dressing, I go to my superiors and explain my situation to them. They tell me that they don’t currently have anything to suppress the infection or get rid of it as of now. The research they’ve done has come to a halt because of the attack and the complexity of the virus.

“There might not be a chance I can be cured or even relieved of my pain,” they say.

I almost lose my composure until they mention that they know where the source of the infection is. It’s exactly where the doctor thought it was. There’s a chance that the infection will be destroyed when the source is killed. They think this is correct because the CCC and other organizations have been finding the hives I found yesterday. When the hives are destroyed, the nearby bugs and mutants will go into a rampage to try to infect other people before dying shortly after. The scientists theorize that these hives act as field officers for their leader down below who controls the rest of them. If that’s what it takes to be cured, then I’ll do it. My superiors say that if the infection is not stopped today, then the government will have no choice but to destroy the city. I don’t know why I don’t care about it, however, I have to for the sake of everyone that lives here.

Before we go out, we operatives are armed with Hellfire flamethrowers, fireproof hazmat suits, satchel charges, fire grenades, and magnums as a last resort. I don’t know if they meant for us to use it to kill ourselves or to use on the insects, but I’ll take it as both. The CCC and other disease control organizations team up together to attack this threat from all sides. The best way to get to the city’s waste disposal site is through the old city. As we move our forces through there, we are ambushed by mutants, grasshoppers, and scorpions.

Whatever is controlling the insects must be feeling defensive because we’ve gotten rid of their forces on the surface. The fighting is long and intense with dozens of casualties despite our advanced equipment. Our forces are cut in half by the time we reach the halfway point. The way down is littered with corpses, toxic waste, trash, muck from the insects, insect shells, and excrement from the sewers. No wonder why there are so many insects down here. There are large rodents and stray animals down here, but it looks like they became hosts. Some of them look like they were fighting against the insects, however, they’re all dead and we’ve never seen them before, so we’re facing a more powerful and intelligent force than we thought.

We lose fewer people from this point on as we get used to the insect’s combined attacks and ambushes. The disease is me is starting to bother me again. When I’m not using my flamethrower, the disease almost seems to slowly grow. I’m getting sicker and sicker with each passing moment. I can tell other people are infected as well because of the way they’re acting. A few of the people we lost along the way succumbed to the infection, so we had to put them out of their misery then burn their bodies. I’ve known some of these people for years, but only on a surface layer. There are a couple of people that talked to me along the way down as if we were friends for years. I wouldn’t know. Thirty-five percent of our combined forces survive the long walk down to the source of the infection.

What we find at the disposal site is an army of all kind of insects along with a hive that looks more like a spiraling tower than a hive. Without a moment’s hesitation, we get to work in destroying everything around us. We unload all of our fire grenades that we have and those that we collected off our fallen. This gets a nice fire going. We use this fire as a barrier to keep away what’s ever coming to us as we approach the main hive. When we get to it, we plant all the charges we have then make our way back the way we came in.

Once we blow the charges, the hive lights up as if it was the center of the earth. Most of the insects go on a frenzy while the lesser ones die off one by one. The group loses more people as we escape the collapsing tunnel. We lose even more people the frenzied insects until I think I’m the only one who’s left. I wouldn’t know if anyone else is alive because I just cared about my own survival without thinking about anyone else.

Damn, the way I came in collapses on itself. I go through a tighter portion of the old city as it falls around me. Everything I had to protect myself is dropped including my hazmat suit. That’s how tight the way I’m going is. I see a light ahead. I’m almost there! When I emerge from the ruins, the ground begins to collapse as well, so I keep on running for my life. Buildings around me are collapsing to the ground and people are running for cover. I yell at them to run away from the city. Some listen to me, others don’t, and most die because of the destruction.

By the time I get to safe ground, the city has a massive hole in it that I can’t see the bottom of. Oh, wait a second! I don’t feel any bugs crawling around my skin! I can’t even feel anything that feels like a bug in it. I’m cured! Even though I’m elated, everyone around me is sad because their homes are destroyed. It used to be my home as well, but I don’t feel the same as they do. I feel like I’ve been in a situation like this before. It doesn’t matter. I report back to my superiors and they celebrate. We have a funeral for those who died then a party for our victory the next day outside the city.

From the view I have, I look back at what used to be the home I grew up in. It looks like a mini-apocalypse happened there. I doubt anyone is going to live there for a while especially since the CCC needs to double clean it to make sure no trace of the infection still exists. As for me, I take a vacation. My superiors are surprised since they usually have to force me to take breaks, but they approve of it, especially because of all the work I did. The CCC is recognized as the main contributor to ending the virus because of our research and clean-up efforts. I’m given three weeks off and told that I can have the month off if I so decided. I’ll think about it. It depends on how good this normal life I’ve heard so much about is like.

Huh? Is that a-Oh. It’s just a normal sized cockroach. I’m so used to seeing them big sized that the normal sized one surprises me. I’ve had enough of bugs for a lifetime, so I squish the roach then get in my car and head off to the shore. I heard it’s beautiful and full of people this time of year.

 

The End

Maggie the Manga Maniac

Download the story for free on Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/922920

 

Volume 1 – Of Sisters and Bonds

Narrator – When two girls, Maggie and Lily, were mere infants, their mother, Maylene, tried to guarantee the protection of their home city. She traveled the globe and found a source of power deep beneath the surface. A power that forced her to give up her humanity to ensure the survival of her children. This, however, gave this sinister power control over her body and transformed her into a vicious monster.

Maylene attacked her home and killed her husband in the process. Her husband’s blood splattered over her children, which gave them some of his power. Maylene had a moment of clarity then and bestowed part of her power to them. The energy within the two infants combined to repel their mother away from the city and sealed her off where she found her power…for the time being. It is said that the sister’s mother will be released once they are of age to fight her. Their parents’ teacher has been teaching them since they grew able to.

*Maggie and Lily are practicing their fighting. Maggie is good with a sword while Lily is skilled with her dual pistols*

Lily – You’re good at fighting, little sis, but you aren’t as good as me!

*Maggie swings around her sword as if it were as light as a feather. She’s skilled enough to cut bullets in mid-air and even deflect them*

Maggie – Little sis? Look who’s talking, shrimp!

Lily – Shrimp?!

*Lily launches a barrage of bullets at her sister*

Lily – Who do you think you’re calling, shrimp?!

*Maggie rapidly slashes the air in front of her while several the bullets manage to graze her and skin and clothes. Maggie’s slashes fly at Lily. She uses her small size and agility to dodge her sister’s attacks, but a few slashes manage to hit them. Their teacher enters their training arena to see what the ruckus is*

Siri-senpai – What the hell is going on here?!

*Siri finds Maggie and Lily with cuts from their fight and most of their clothes are damaged*

Maggie – Can you stop treating me like your little sister when you look like a twelve-year-old?!

Lily – I’ll have you know that I’m a healthy twenty-five-year-old woman. I’m at the peak of my youthful beauty. Don’t be jealous because you’re going to grow old and grey faster than me.

Maggie – Take that back!

Siri-senpai – Girls!

Maggie & Lily – Siri-senpai!

*The two sisters bow and are then hit on the head with the butt of Siri’s broadsword*

Siri-senpai – If you’re going to take out your anger, then use it on something useful like helping each other improve than trying to kill each other!

Maggie & Lily – Yes, ma’am!

Siri-senpai – Fix yourselves up then come back to fight me. Let me see how much you’ve grown.

*The sisters change their clothing, clean themselves, then go back to fight Siri. Despite their individual strength, Maggie and Lily can barely land a scratch on their teacher. Even though she is only armed with a broadsword, the end of Siri’s hair and kimono are as sharp as blades and can be controlled by her mind to help her defend and attack. Siri knocks both girls to the ground and wins the fight*

Siri-senpai – You both fight well, but you work terribly together. There’s barely a sense of cohesion and you don’t use your strengths to address each other’s weakness.

Maggie & Lily – We’re sorry, Siri-senpai! We promise to get better.

*The sisters are hit on the head again*

Siri-senpai – You always say that, but you only make small improvements after that! How are you going to defeat your mother when she arrives?!

*The sisters are silent and worried about their current status. Siri reads their expressions and can see that they understand their mistakes*

Siri-senpai – We’ll take about this more when you get back home from college.

Maggie & Lily – Yes, ma’am.

*The sisters dress out of their battle attire and into normal clothes. Along the way to college, they talk about their present situation*

Maggie – Man, I wish we didn’t have to go to school. We’re supposed to be training to save the world.

Lily – But then what are we going to do after that? You can’t be so short-sighted. We have to do something after we save the world.

Maggie – You don’t think the world is going to set us up for life after saving everyone? Besides, you like going to school because you like attracting people.

Lily – I can’t help it if people find me cute and want to talk to me.

Maggie – Cute? Sure. With that jailbait look of yours, you’re bound to attract a bunch of creepy men.

Lily – Jailbait?! I’m an adult, just look at me!

Maggie – Having your tits out all the time doesn’t make you look like an adult! It makes you look like a teenager with daddy issues!

Lily – And you’re supposed to be dressed modestly? You look like a girl who gives “happy endings” at a massage parlor because she didn’t make it as a street whore!

Maggie – Take that back!

Lily – You first!

*The sisters fight each other along the way to school with people looking at them as if the two sisters were crazy. Once they get to school, they see that no one is around, which makes them stop their fighting*

Lily – Where is everyone?

Maggie – I don’t know. Maybe we have the day off.

Lily – Be more serious about this. Something isn’t right.

*Shadowy figures look down on the sisters from distance. Lily catches sight of them and draws her pistols then shoots them. Maggie summons her sword from her hand and readies herself*

Maggie – What’s out there?

Lily – I don’t know but be on the lookout.

*Several figures leap out at Maggie, but she manages to cut them down before they touch her*

Maggie – What are these things?

Lily – They’re spirits that are born out of the stresses of life. These ones are of college and growing up.

Maggie – No wonder why they look so disgusting.

Lily – If the spirits are here, then that means…

Maggie – Mom shouldn’t be too far behind.

Lily – Look out! We got company!

*More spirits arrive and attack the sisters. Their training is starting to pay off as they manage to dispatch them. Seeing their fighting patterns, the spirits take advantage of the sisters’ solo fighting style and unite into one huge spirit with multiple arms heads and legs. Together, the spirits manage to overpower the sisters and beat them down*

Lily – We’re going to have to fight together just like Siri-senpai said.

Maggie – What do you have in mind?

Lily – We’ll do what they’re doing.

Maggie – Right. I see what you’re saying.

*Maggie and Lily fight alongside one another instead of individually. They cover for each other when the other is getting attacked and attack when the other opens the spirit to an attack. Together, they defeat the spirit after a united attack on the core that bound them together. The sisters look at one another then high-five each other. They then find the students and staff clustered inside and waking up after being knocked unconscious*

Maggie – We should probably report this to Siri-senpai.

Lily – You’re not saying that to get out of class, are you?

Maggie – No. At least not really, but seriously.

Lily – You’re right. Besides, I doubt we’ll have class because of this.

*Maggie and Lily head back home and tell Siri what happened*

Siri-senpai – I see…

*Siri paces back and forth*

Siri-senpai – Your father and mother were two of my best students. Your father instilled in you part of his power while your mother surprisingly was conscious enough to do the same to you when she was first being possessed. The battle with her isn’t going to be easy even if I help you though I am glad that you two have finally managed to learn to work together. It just took a real challenge to do it.

*Siri puts her hands on the shoulders of the sisters*

Siri-senpai – I’m proud of you two. I’m not sure if there’s anything else I can teach you besides through training.

*The sisters look at one another then ask*

Maggie & Lily – Uhh. There is one thing we’d like to know.

Siri-senpai – Oh? What is it?

Maggie & Lily – How do you manage to still look so young when you’re so old?

*Siri is stunned yet feels flattered*

Maggie – I want to know how you manage to keep your youth. I’m the only one here who looks my age and I fear that I’m going to look old and shriveled when I get as old as you.

Lily – I want to know how to look so mature and young at the same time. You look like you haven’t aged since your thirties and I don’t want to age as fast as my sister.

Maggie – What’s that supposed to mean?

Lily – I’m not saying there isn’t beauty in age, but I’d rather look pretty, than-

Maggie & Siri – Than what?!

Siri-senpai – I’ll tell you, girls, the secret to my beauty.

*The sisters listen attentively*

Siri-senpai – All it takes is a healthy diet and daily training to keep your face and body looking beautiful even in your old age.

Maggie – That doesn’t help me! I’ve been doing that and I’m still aging like normal! If I slack a couple days, then I get fat and my clothes feel tight.

Lily – Maybe I should slack like Maggie because she gets results.

*Siri hits them both on the head*

Siri-senpai – Maybe you should both get some beauty rest so you can appreciate my wisdom!

Maggie & Lily – Yes, ma’am!

*While the two sisters rest in their beds, Maggie reads her manga books to help her rest her mind. Lily, on the other hand, reads normal fiction*

Lily – Why do you still read those?

Maggie – They’re fun.

Lily – Why don’t you read a real book for once?

Maggie – These are real books. All of these volumes make one huge story filled with interesting characters and-

Lily – Okay, whatever you say.

Maggie – Hmph.

*Maggie continues reading her manga filled with violence and gore. Her smile at it gets her sister’s attention*

Lily – ‘I wonder what she sees in her books…’

*Maggie comes across a part where a young, weak character uses her chipped knife is victorious and her smile widens. When she falls asleep, she dreams of her and her sister fighting. She emerges victorious and earns the praise of people along with a man’s hand in marriage. The feeling of happiness of is finally hers. The feeling becomes so intense that she wakes up. She looks over at her sister who is sleeping peacefully and frowns. Memories of an uneventful and sad life filled with sprinkles of light moments that barely satisfies her pass her mind in the blink of an eye. She disregards her feelings of them for now and goes to sleep.

Once the morning arrives, the sisters get to their usual training, but Siri is involved with them this time. Something comes across Siri’s mind and she stops the training*

Siri-senpai – Since spirits are showing up in the city and you learned so much yesterday, I think it would be a good idea for you two to patrol the city.

Maggie & Lily – Yes!

*The sisters quickly bow their heads with their hands over their head*

Maggie & Lily – Th-thank you, Siri-senpai!

Siri-senpai – You’re welcome. ‘Do I really hit them on the head to the point where they’re always expecting it?’ I’ll be out patrolling too, so if you need help, I’ll be there.

*Siri patrols on her own while the sister patrol together to practice their teamwork. Since their mother is getting closer, there are dozens of spirits in the city, which allows the sisters to fight a lot. They’re both having a great time though Maggie wishes someone would notice their skills and praise them. Nevertheless, the sisters have a good time out together. When they finally get a break, they stop by the marketplace where they usually liked to shop. This place is filled with unconscious people and spirits. After clearing the area, the sisters browse the empty shops with Maggie being in the comics and manga store. She smiles at the new volumes of her favorite series being out. Lily stops by the store to check up on her sister*

Lily – ‘Hmm. Back at it again with those comics…’ Are you getting your daily dose of violence and fan service?

Maggie – These books aren’t just those things. They-

Lily – I know what they are. I’m not making fun of you, I’m just joking around.

Maggie – Hmph. Well, did you find any new outfits to make your tits look better or are you at your limit for the amount of cleavage you want to show?

Lily – ‘Don’t let her get to you. Be the big sister…’ I…I didn’t.

*Lily sees that her sister is wrapped up in her books*

Lily – Maggie…the reason why I wear these clothes the way I do is because they help me feel older.

*Maggie stops reading her books and turns to look at Lily*

Lily – I want to be the older sister that you can depend on and these clothes help me feel that way. I know life hasn’t been easy for us since we’ve been training our entire lives just to kill our mother.

*Maggie completely turns around and lowers her book down with a look of concern*

Lily – We don’t have any friends or family besides Siri-senpai, so we’re the only people who understand what we’re going through. I want to remind you that you can always depend on me whenever you feel weak or sad. We don’t always have times where we feel happy or completely relaxed, but we will soon. I love you, Maggie. Please, don’t forget that.

*Maggie drops her book with tears welling up in her eyes*

Maggie – I love you too, Lily. I can’t always handle living like this, so I hide from reality by reading all of these stories. I want to live a happier life with you, Siri-senpai, and other people when this is all over. I want us to be happy and I’ll do anything to make that happen! I’ll sacrifice myself if I have to-

*Lily slaps Maggie*

Lily – Don’t talk like that! We’re all going to be okay after we fulfill our destiny! We’re going to be happy, get married, and live happily together with a real family and everything!

Maggie – You bet! I’m sorry I-

*Lily hugs her sister with tears flowing from her eyes*

Lily – Don’t be sorry, Maggie…

*Maggie hugs her sister back as they cry, and their bond strengthens. Siri looks over the two from a distance with a smile. She then senses a presence approaches and turns around with her sword in her hand to see, Maylene, the mother of the sisters. Siri is surprised, but fixes her expression to a serious one and slowly circles Maylene, who is calm and has a smile on her face*

Maylene – Hello, Siri. You don’t need to worry about me attack you and my daughters. I’ll do that tomorrow.

*Siri attacks Maylene with her broadsword, kimono, and hair blade all at once so Maylene can’t avoid her attack, but they are all deflected. Siri staggers and before she knows it, Maylene has her knife-like fingers to her throat. Siri is stunned by her ex-student while Maylene’s smile grows*

Maylene – I was always your best student. I was even better than you.

Siri-senpai – Please, Maylene. You broke free from that sinister power before. You can do it again. I can help you.

Maylene – Heh. I don’t need your help with anything. The Maylene you knew is dead and buried. If you aren’t ready by tomorrow, then everything in this city will be mine.

*Maylene calmly walks away because she knows Siri won’t attack her again. Siri then falls to her knees before looking back at the sisters, which restores some hope in her. The sisters sleep soundly tonight. Siri stops by to get that feeling of hope again and finds Maylene in their room to Siri’s shock. The possessed mother is stroking the hair of her daughters, who seem to be at peace. Siri has her weapons at the ready while being extremely cautious while entering the room. Maylene keeps petting her daughters until she’s satisfied then walks out of the room. Siri follows Maylene until she stops at a photo of her husband. She grabs the photo and touches her husband’s face for a few seconds before putting the photo back*

Siri-senpai – …Maylene?

Maylene – I’m going to stay here tonight if you don’t mind.

Siri-senpai – Why?

Maylene – So you three don’t need to worry about finding me or fighting through a legion of spirits before you get to me. I thought I’d make things easier for you.

Siri-senpai – Well, you still have part of your gracious side it seems.

Maylene – I’ll be staying in my old room. You don’t need to worry about me killing any of you in your sleep.

*Siri follows Maylene to her room until her old student lays in bed. She watches her until she falls asleep before closing the door behind her and keeping watch until she herself falls asleep. When she wakes up, Siri sees that she’s been put in bed. She leaps up as soon as she notices the sound of burning and runs to the kitchen to see Maylene making breakfast. Four plates are set out and it seems like she’s making pancakes*

Maylene – Remember when we used to make these on big days or on celebrations, Siri?

*Siri stays silent as she observes Maylene cooking*

Maylene – I didn’t put anything poisonous in the food if that’s what you’re wondering. I don’t even really know why I’m doing this if I’m honest with you.

Siri – Maylene…Please, snap out of it! You can break this curse on you. I know you can!

Maylene – Sorry to disappoint you, “senpai”, but that’s not going to happen.

*Maggie and Lily are up and dressed. They groggily walk towards the kitchen*

Maggie – What’s all the commotion?

*The sisters are stunned when they see their mother making breakfast in the kitchen. She’s just finished making the pancakes and puts it on the plates with strawberries and blueberries*

Maggie & Lily – M-mother?

*Maylene smiles*

Maylene – That’s right. I’m so glad to finally hear you two say that.

Maggie – Siri-senpai?

Siri-senpai – I don’t know what’s happening either.

Maylene – Eat your breakfast so you can be ready for the fight today.

Maggie – Mom?

*Maggie reaches out for her mother, but she points her knife fingers at her in return. Lily draws her weapons and Siri takes out her sword while Maggie stands still upset that her mother seemed so normal at first, but quickly proved that she wasn’t*

Maylene – Sit down, honey.

*The four women sit down and quietly eat breakfast. Maylene eats peacefully while the other three are on edge*

Maylene – So do you girls have any boyfriends yet?

Lily – No. We’ve been training our entire lives to kill you. We’ll make our friends and get our boyfriends then.

Maylene – You girls must’ve had such sad lives then. It’s no wonder why Maggie reached out to me. Siri, have you really been abusing my children this way?

Siri-senpai – It’s not abuse. They needed to live this way so they could go strong enough to defeat you.

Maylene – I don’t care. If anything, they should’ve had some friends so they could be happy.

Siri-senpai – They are happy. We’re a family that loves each other and looks out for one another. Isn’t that right, girls?

Maggie & Lily – Right!

*Maggie’s doubt is heard in her voice and Maylene hears it. Maggie notices what her mother does and looks away*

Maylene – I doubt it. There are some things that only a mother can see.

*Siri looks at Maggie, who she notices that Maylene is focusing on*

Siri-senpai – Maggie?

Maggie – I’m fine. Let’s just get this over with.

Maylene – Look how eager she is to obtain her happy life.

Maggie – That’s not it.

Maylene – You can’t lie to your mother.

Maggie – You don’t know me!

*Maggie takes out her sword and hits her mother, but she blocks her sword with her bare arms*

Maylene – I like your fighting spirit. I remember your father having it as well.

Maggie – Don’t you talk about him!

*Maggie spins around and hits her mother through the wall and into the training area. She goes after her and clashes with her until she’s hit away. Siri and Lily join the fight. Together, the three women manage to get a couple hits in even though they take some hits themselves*

Maylene – You’ve taught them well, Siri.

Siri-senpai – Of course I did.

*Maylene is smacked into a wall by the combined force of the three women*

Maylene – I’m so proud of you girls, my daughters. You make your mom so happy.

Maggie – Stop this mom! You can fight this curse that’s possessing you!

Maylene – I’m sorry, Maggie, but that isn’t going to happen. After I beat you, you’re going to share in the power I have. You can get the happiness you want, Maggie. Why even wait? Just come to mommy and I’ll give you what your heart’s desires.

Maggie – I…I won’t!

Maylene – That’s a shame. I thought you were the one who had more sense than your sister.

*Maylene frees herself from the wall as power begins flowing through her body. She’s now able to move at faster speeds, take more hits, and is stronger. The three now have a harder time hitting and pushing back Maylene even when they combine their attacks. They’re at their wits end with bruises and cuts all over their body with most of the building heavily damaged from the fighting. Seeing Lily and Siri heavily injured gives Maggie the strength to push forward and continue the fight with her mother. She fights well until her injuries get to her and she’s kicked back. Maylene tries finishing her off, but Siri jumps in front of Maggie to take the hit. Because of the hit, Siri is immobile on the floor. Maggie and Lily look at their broken master in shock*

Maylene – You can’t beat me. How about you two just be good girls and come to mommy?

Lily – N-no! We’ll never give up! Maggie!

*Lily shakes Maggie who is still in shock*

Lily – Come on! We can do this together.

Maggie – I…don’t…

Lily – Yes, we can! Look at me, Maggie. I’m your older sister and I will always protect and love you.

*Maggie looks at her sister*

Maggie – I…I trust you, sister.

*Power begins to radiate from the sisters. A power bestowed upon them by their parents. The sisters now glow with Maggie glowing red and Lily glowing pink. This awakened power allows them to take on their mother until they eventually defeat her with a combined attack. In her last moments, Maylene’s eyes turn back to their normal color*

Maylene – I love you, Maggie…Lily…

*Maylene is then killed thanks to the combined strength and sisterly bond of Maggie and Lily. The sisters then bandage and heal their teacher*

Siri-senpai – Heh, I knew you two would do it. I’m so proud of you.

*The sisters hug their master*

Siri-senpai – Easy there. Injuries do more to this old woman than you think.

*The three women laugh before Siri’s injuries are patched up. They then bury Maylene’s body in the garden alongside her husband’s*

Maggie – ‘This isn’t the ending I thought I would get. I expected it to be more like the stories I read. I expected to attract someone after the battle.’

*Maggie looks at Siri and Lily*

Maggie – But I guess this is fine…for now.

*Siri contacts the authority of the city and is able to reconstruct their training dojo thanks to her connections. Meanwhile, Maggie and Lily head out for another day of school*

Maggie – So, what are you planning to do with your new life?

Lily – I’ll probably become a police officer. What about you?

Maggie – I don’t know yet.

Lily – Don’t tell me you’re going to be a shut-in weebo loser who does nothing but read manga, watch anime, and play video games all day.

Maggie – I’m not going to be a loser! Take that back!

Lily – You don’t have a plan. You’ll become a loser if you don’t make one up soon.

Maggie – Oh yeah? Well, you’re going to be part of some pervert’s wet dreams if you don’t start wearing proper clothes!

Lily – Shut up!

Maggie – You’re going to be a cop, but you look like you’re going to be a slutty cop who gets off on cuffing people!

Lily – That’s it!

*The sisters start fighting each other like always as they walk to school. Meanwhile, deep beneath the surface of the earth, Maylene is reborn by sinister forces. She smiles as a single tear falls from her eyes*

 

 

Volume 2 – Euthanasia

*The sisters only have a month of normalcy before their mother comes back from the grave to try to corrupt them again. Because of their first encounter, they are able to defeat her without as much trouble as last time, however, their mother comes back again the next week. Their mother then starts regularly coming back twice a week to fight them. The city becomes a battleground with it being constantly acted by sinister forces that only the sisters and their teacher can handle. For the good of the city, the authorities kick them out at least until they can resolve the situation with Maylene. The sisters and their teacher are chasing the source of spirits and Maylene by going in the direction they come from. They hope that this will lead them to the source of their problems. Right now, they are on a deserted road to avoid getting people involved in their fight*

Maggie – Just die for the final time already…

*Maggie has killed her mother for an unknown amount of times. Her mother has been shedding tears after every death, which has been getting to all three women. After Maylene’s body dissipates into the wind, Maggie stands with her sword planted in the ground where she impaled her mother*

Maggie – ‘Why do I need to keep suffering like this? Why can’t I live a normal, happy life?’

*Lily finds her sister and puts her hand on her sister’s shoulder and smiles. Maggie manages to give a faint smile back before rejoining Lily and Siri on their quest*

Siri-senpai – I thought that being an old lady and your teacher would mean that I would be carrying our supplies through on the road.

Lily – You can’t face our mother in a one-on-one fight like we can since we’ve been fighting her so much.

Siri-senpai – That doesn’t mean you can’t carry something!

Lily – We need to be on guard especially since the frequency of attacks has been steadily increasing.

Siri-senpai – Since when did you become our leader?

*Lily bops Siri on the head with the butt of her gun*

Siri-senpai – What did you do that for?!

Lily – For all the times you bopped us on the head for no good reason!

*Maggie can’t help but laugh no matter how hard she tries to contain it*

Siri-senpai – I’m going to give you a good reason when I have a hand free! Don’t you dare disrespect your teacher!

Lily – This isn’t disrespect. It’s payback!

Maggie – Come on, Lily. Apologize then let’s go.

Siri-senpai – I’ll let this go if you listen to your younger sister.

Lily – Okay, fine. I’m sorry, senpai.

Siri-senpai – I forgive you. Maggie.

Lily – Huh?

*Maggie hits Lily on the head*

Siri-senpai – I forgive you now, Lily.

Lily – Traitor! Is this what your older sister gets for picking up for us?

Maggie – Let’s go already.

Lily – Fine.

*The three women come to a crossroad where they notice smoke in the air. They follow the road and come across a destroyed town in flames and everyone is dead. Maggie is shocked by the destruction in the town and falls to her knees in tears*

Lily – What happened here?

Siri-senpai – It looks like it doesn’t matter where we go. Maylene and the sinister force controlling her is going to cause death and destruction even if we stay away from populated areas.

*Maggie begins wandering the city while Lily and Siri are looking around. She gazes at the burned and dismembered bodies scattered around the city. A huddled pair of bodies in an alleyway catches her attention the most. Maggie walks down the alley to see what looks to be a mother shielding her daughters. Of course, they were dead, but it appears that the mother did her best to protect them*

Maylene – This is the way I want to be. This is the way I’ve always wanted to be.

Maggie – Mom…Why do you have to be like this?

Maylene – Because I wanted the power to protect everything that I held dear. I wanted to give you a good life. What you have now is not what you deserve. Please, let me give you what you want. What you need.

Maggie – I don’t trust you.

Maylene – It’s because of Siri and her lies. What happiness has she given you? Your life is miserable because of her. Your sister doesn’t help much and just goes along with what Siri says. Try as she might, she won’t protect you from what really hurts you the most. I can protect you from that in the way only a mother can.

Maggie – I still don’t know. Do you remember how many times we fought? How many times I’ve killed you?

*Maylene hugs her daughter for the first time in her life. Maggie is taken by surprise and tries freeing herself*

Maylene – Shhh. I’m not going to do anything.

*Maylene pets Maggie’s head to soothe her until Maggie stops resisting*

Maggie – ‘I don’t feel any kind of magic or sorcery being used on me. What’s going on?’

*Maylene continues embracing her daughter until she starts to cry. This makes Maggie hug her mother*

Maylene – I’m so sorry, Maggie…

Maggie – Mom…

Maylene – This is the only moment I’ve been able to talk to you as myself. Don’t trust what I said before and what I say after. I don’t think I can ever regain my senses again until you kill me again.

*Maggie holds onto her mother tighter as tears begin to flow from her face*

Maggie – Mom…

Maylene – I love you, Maggie. I’m glad that I finally got to hold you. Tell Lily I love her too.

Maggie – Mom…

Maylene – I only have a little while to talk so I’ll make this quick. The source of the sinister power that keeps bringing me back is underneath this city. Go all the way down near the center of the earth and destroy it. I know your sister and you can do this. Here, take this last bit of power I hold.

*Maylene kisses Maggie’s forehead and a large amount of power is transferred into Maggie’s soul*

Maylene – Even when I’m gone, you will always have me with you. I have to go now.

Maggie – Mommy…please…

Maylene – I’m so sorry, Maggie.

*Maylene struggles to get out of Maggie’s grasp while she’s crying. Eventually, she gets free at the same time Lily and Siri find the two. Maylene jumps to the roof of the destroyed building as Lily and Siri have their weapons drawn. Maggie is curled up in a ball on the ground while she cries*

Siri-senpai – What happened here?

*Lily embraces her sister*

Lily – What happened, Maggie?! What did she do to you?! I’ll kill-

*Maggie reaches out to where her mother was*

Maggie – Mom!!!!!!

*She then begins to scream as power builds within her. Maggie continuously beats the ground with her sword in anger and anguish. The ground shakes with each impact as destroyed buildings begin falling apart. Lighting and thunder fills the sky as Maggie’s power is unleashed*

Lily – What’s going on, Maggie?!

Siri-senpai – Get away from her!

*Siri pulls away Lily as Maggie breaks the ground beneath her. Maggie keeps hitting it and hitting it until most of the ground beneath her is disintegrated leaving a giant crater where the city once stood. Once her power is spent, Maggie faints in mid-air as she falls into the crater she created. Lily and Siri catch her as Siri uses her hair and kimono to slow their fall. Lily lays Maggie down when they land and holds her. After a couple seconds, Maggie comes to her senses and wakes up then looks around*

Maggie – What happened? Did I cause this?

Siri-senpai – Yes, you did. What did Maylene do to you?

Maggie – Mom was herself for a few seconds and gave me some of her power. She hugged me and told me that she loved Lily and me. She also told me that the source of the sinister power controlling her is beneath us near the center of the earth. All we have to do is keep going down to find it.

*Siri puts her hands on Maggie to cleanse her of any evil power but finds none*

Siri-senpai – Hmm. It looks like Maylene didn’t put any curses on you, at least none that I can sense.

Lily – So what happened?

Siri-senpai – Maylene was conscious and gave Maggie whatever power she could to do this.

Lily – You’re so lucky Maggie! How come she didn’t give me any of her power?

Maggie – You didn’t find her by yourself. Besides, we shouldn’t focus on that right now. We need to free mom from her curse.

Siri-senpai – Maggie is right, Lily.

Lily – I never thought my little sister would become stronger than me.

Maggie – Of course I would become stronger than you. All you use are pistols while I practice with a sword.

Lily – That doesn’t mean anything. I still practice my kicks and punches. I mean just look at my figure.

Maggie – Look at you? Look at me!

*Siri is taken aback but the sisters’ ability to argue with each other in the situation they’re in*

Lily – What about you? Your figure isn’t much to look at.

Maggie – What was that?!

Lily – You heard me. You know who gets more attention.

Maggie – Yeah, I don’t attract pedophiles like you do.

Lily – Stop bringing that up! I’ll mess you up!

Maggie – Oh yeah? I just created this crater by myself! What do you think is going to happen to you if I flick you and don’t control my power?

Siri-senpai – Can you use that power so we can finally put Maylene out of her misery?

Maggie – Oh. That’s right.

Maylene – I can’t allow you to do that, Maggie.

Siri-senpai – Oh shit.

*Hundreds of copies of Maylene appear in the large crater*

Maylene – You won’t be able to defeat me now. You’re so close to your goal, and yet, so far. This ends now.

Maggie – You’ve got that right, mom.

*Maggie’s power begins overflowing again as she hits the ground with her sword, which takes the ground out underneath. Everyone is floating in midair now and plummeting to the ground*

Lily – Damn, Maggie! Give us a heads-up next time.

*Lily uses her upgraded pistols to shoot at the copies of her mother in the sky*

Maggie – I’m going to keep burying down until we get to the sinister force controlling mom. How’s that for a heads up?

Siri-senpai – Be careful with your new power Maggie!

Maggie – Oh, I will.

*Maggie flies through the air, cutting through the copies of her mother at high speeds while Lily manages to hold her own against multiple copies*

Maylene – It’s a shame that you have to let the kids fight for you, old lady.

Siri-senpai – This “old lady” still has a couple of tricks up her sleeves.

*Siri’s blade hair and kimono double then triple themselves, which allows Siri to fight off multiple copies of Maylene at once. Lily and Siri cover Maggie from the copies of Maylene that sneak up on her as she rapidly descends to the ground. Before Maggie hits the ground, she front flips in midair multiple times before smashing the ground with her sword. The ground completely disintegrates beneath everyone as they continue to fall. Dark spirits that were part of the ground are freed. Some are killed by Maggie’s attack while others go on the attack against the three women*

Lily – Good job, Maggie!

Maggie – Stop complaining and help me!

*Lily and Maggie combine their powers like they did in the first fight against their mother and tear through the copies of their mother and the dark spirits. They beat their enemies into the ground and break through it, which reveals a large demon composed of tentacles. It has six eyes, three mouths, and a large glowing red eye in the center of its forehead. The demon has four tentacle arms and two large legs. The three women manage to safely land. The evil spirits disappear along with the copies of Maylene*

Demon – I’ve been waiting for you two, Maggie and Lily. I am Roku.

Maggie – You’re the bastard that corrupted our mother!

Roku – She wanted power, she found me, and I gave it to her. It was all your mother’s decision.

Maggie – Liar!

Roku – Your mother wanted the power to protect only what she treasured. Even the worst sinners protect the people dear to them. She lies to herself when she says that she doesn’t want to spread her power to you.

Lily – Shut up!

*Lily transforms her pistols into magnums by pressing a button on them that makes them turn inside out. She shoots at the demon, which makes it flinch, but causes no major damage. Maggie and Siri begin their attack as well*

Roku – This is the truth whether you like it or not.

*Maggie and Siri attack Roku. His tentacles take the brunt of their attacks then push them back*

Roku – Regardless of your resistance, Maylene and I’s wishes will be granted.

*Roku sends out his tentacles to engage the three women with Maylene on it. Fighting the almost countless number of tentacles is difficult for Lily, Maggie, and Siri especially with Maylene on its side*

Roku – Give up. It’s pointless to resist.

Maggie – No way! I’m going to side with a bunch of hentai tentacles! Lily!

Lily – Let’s do it!

*Maggie and Lily combine their powers to blast away their mother and Roku’s tentacles*

Siri-senpai – ‘Why am I even here if you girls can just support yourselves? Who am I kidding? This just means my role as a teacher is complete.’

Roku – You’re stronger than I expected, but you’re no match for my power.

*Roku’s tentacles come together to form a giant ball of fire, which it then fires as a beam at the sisters. Unable to avoid it, the sisters cover each other in defense. Siri leaps in front of them and begins performing a special ritual*

Maggie & Lily – Siri-senpai!

Siri-senpai – Don’t worry girls. Your old master has this.

Lily – What are you doing?

Siri-senpai – I’m using a special exorcism ritual. If this is going to go down the way I think it is…It was an honor to train you two to your full potential. You’ve surpassed me in almost every regard. The one thing that I want you to remember from my teachings is that…I love you girls.

Maggie & Lily – Siri-senpai?

*Siri absorbs the humongous fire beam into her chest. Once it is gone, she dies*

Maggie & Lily – Siri-senpai!

*The sisters try bringing their master back to life, but are unable to, so they cry over her body. The sight of her dead master has Maylene struggling to regain control of herself, which makes Roku struggle to keep her under his control. Lily holds Maggie’s hands*

Lily – No, Maggie…We can’t give up now. Not now after Siri-senpai’s sacrifice.

*Maggie looks into her sister’s eyes. Lily fights through her tears and sorrow to show her sister a strong face, which gives both Maggie confidence*

Maggie – Lily…

Lily – We can do this together, Maggie.

Maggie – Can we? This is different than last time…

Lily – But we’re also stronger than last time. We can do this! Just trust your older sister.

*Lily’s look of resolve gets Maggie to wipe away her tears and stand up*

Maggie – Okay. I will!

Lily – Let’s rock then.

*The sister’s increased bond has combined them together into a single entity, Mali. Even though Lily is the older sister, Mali primarily has Maggie’s looks, sword, and personality*

Roku – What is this?

Mali – You can call us Mali, and this is where you die.

*Mali sprints at Roku faster than a car and slashes through the demon’s tentacles like a knife through butter. She fights off all the evil spirits and copies of Maylene all by herself while unleashing her newfound power*

Roku – What is this?!

Mali – The power of sisterly love.

*Mali uses the power Maylene gave to Maggie to hit Roku on the center of the head to blow it up. Maylene’s last clone begins to disintegrate. Her appearance goes back to the way it once was before she was possessed. Maggie and Lily go back to normal and go to their fading mother. Maylene smiles as she’s finally free. She holds out her hands and silently awaits a hug from her daughters. Despite having no real relationship with their mother, the sisters cry and hug their mother as she leaves the world. The ground beneath the sisters then starts getting build up and restored. It lifts them to the normal ground level then comes to life with grass, trees, and flowers with a single blue rose where their mother was, and a purple rose where Siri was*

Lily – I guess this is it, isn’t it?

Maggie – I hope so. I’d hate to keep fighting our mother for the rest of my life.

Lily – Me too. Well…I guess it’s time to get back home.

Maggie – What? That’s it?

Lily – This isn’t one of your crappy manga Maggie. You aren’t going to get a husband out of fighting a demon.

Maggie – I wish I did.

Lily – But weren’t you talking to a guy before we left the city?

Maggie – Weren’t you talking to several guys?

Lily – Okay. We’re going there, aren’t we?

*The sisters begin walking back home*

Maggie – Of course we are since they look way older than you.

Lily – Says the girl who knows about tentacle hentai.

Maggie – I just know about it because how can you not in the manga, anime community! It’s not like I watch it!

Lily – Are you sure about that? Some of the books you read do seem pretty raunchy.

Maggie – No they aren’t!

Lily – Yes, they are.

Maggie – No. They aren’t!

Lily – Yes. They are.

Maggie – Your outfits are slutty!

Lily – Ugh! Says the girl with a boob window in her outfit and a cut in her skirt!

Maggie – At least I show less skin than you.

Lily – Oh shut up already!

*Again, like always, the sisters fight each other. Meanwhile, near the center of the earth, several sinister forces gather together*

Incubus – One of us has died because of those two sisters.

Demon – We must do something about them to avenge our fallen brother!

Succubus – I already have several strong fighters under my control. We could throw all of our forces at them at once. They won’t stand a chance.

Head Demon – You’re right.

*The head demon with six faces stands up*

Head Demon – No one will.

 

 

Volume 3 – Perdition

*A year passes after Maggie and Lily’s battle with the demon Roku, who controlled their mother. They both managed to get a boyfriend for themselves and a few friends along with a part-time job while they studied in college. Unfortunately for them, whatever bonds they formed and the rewards they earned are erased within a single day by minions controlled by other demons that are like Roku. Even though the sisters dispatched the minions easily, the sisters weren’t the main target. What they held dear was.

After saying goodbye to their home and everything and everyone they loved, the sister rest in a nearby park. Maggie is the most distraught as she continuously punches the ground in rage and sadness. Her distress shakes the ground in and around the city*

Maggie – I can’t take this anymore! Why can’t I ever be happy?! Why can’t I live normally?! Why does it always have to be this way?!

*Lily hugs her little sister and holds her with tears in her own eyes as well*

Lily – You’ll be making a lot more people unhappy if you keep doing this Maggie! Please stop thinking about yourself for a second!

Maggie – Shut up! You kept talking about protecting me, but you never did that much! Everyone we love and everything we’ve worked for is gone!

*Lily lets go of Maggie*

Lily – Maggie…

Maggie – Don’t act like you’re the big sister you want to be! You’re nothing but a show-off who wants attention.

Lily – What are you talking about Maggie? I can’t believe you’re talking like this.

Maggie – Then stay away from me. I need to be alone.

Lily – You’ve never ever wanted to be alone. Let me help you.

Maggie – No.

Lily – We’ve always overcome our obstacles together. Please, Maggie…Let me help you.

Maggie – Shut up.

Lily – I love you, Maggie! You’re my little sister and it’s my responsibility, as your older sister, to be here for you. Please…Let me-

*Lily tries hugging Maggie, but she pushes her away and runs away*

Maggie – Stay away from me! You don’t love me!

Lily – Maggie!

*Lily chases after Maggie, but Maggie manages to lose her in the crowded city*

Lily – Maggie!!!!

*Maggie hides in a manga store as she waits for her sister to stop looking for her. She looks through the new volumes of her manga to help her calm down. She looks at a lot of violence and sad moments, but she also comes across moments of happiness in her manga. Even though she cares about the characters being happy, she just becomes jealous of them and puts the manga down to look for something else less happy. Before she knows it, her sister enters the manga store*

Lily – Maggie!!! I know you’re in here you weebo! Please, let’s talk things out. I can help you, sister!

*Maggie quietly moves around the manga store until she makes it to the door, however, the bell on the door gives away her position*

Lily – Maggie, stop!

*Still in a bad state of mind, Maggie runs away from her sister. In the meantime, a minion of the demons, who is dressed in a crow outfit, watches the sisters. This watcher telepathically contacts his leader*

Watcher – The sisters appear to be in disarray. Is it time to move in?

Head demon – Yes, we are going to move in and take positions for our attack on the city. Don’t cause any bloodshed until we’re all set up. Once we are, the world will fear us, and no one will fight back against our rule.

*Maggie has managed to outrun her sister yet again. She’s held up in a store that sells anime and manga related products. She cools her head by looking at the various new figures of her favorite characters. As she browses around the shop, she watches different love scenes where characters either fall in love, repair their relationship or come together. Maggie also witnesses people in the shop having fun with their friends or girlfriends and boyfriends. Her jealousy towards them builds as she tries to stay as far away from them as possible while blocking out their conversations. The tears that still mark her face begin to flow from her eyes again as memories of before and what could have been fill her head.

She remembers the touch of her boyfriend along with his sweet words. She remembers their sweet first kiss along with the many moments she spent in his arms. Memories of her friends also bounce around in her head along with memories of Siri and Lily then everything burns. The bodies of everyone she’s loved lay broken and bloodied around her in her imagination as they call out for her help. Maggie holds her head in pain as she tries to shut it out. Lily storms into the store*

Lily – I know you’re here, Maggie! You’ve got obvious tastes in hiding spots.

*Within seconds, Lily finds her sister and runs to her*

Lily – There you are!

*Since she is still reeling from her sadness, Maggie is unable to escape Lily’s grasp as she picks her up. Lily then begins to leave the store*

Lily – I’m sorry everyone. We’ve got some big and little sister issues right now.

Maggie – Stop treating me like a child!

Lily – Like I said. Being a big sister is a lot of work.

*Lily carries her little sister out of the store and to the side then doesn’t let go of her despite Maggie’s resistance*

Maggie – Stop it! Let go of me you, stupid bitch!

*Lily punches Maggie’s face several times until Maggie stops resisting. She then looks at her little sister who is in shambles and quickly regrets her actions. Lily hugs Maggie who is barely resisting her at this point*

Lily – I’m so sorry, Maggie. I’m sorry I couldn’t protect everything we had and everyone we knew. I just had you on my mind and just protected you. Why is that so bad?

*Maggie stops resisting Lily’s embrace*

Lily – We may have lost everything, but we still have each other. Isn’t that all we need? As long as we’re together, we can do anything. I love you, Maggie. You’re my little sister. There isn’t anything I won’t do for you. How many times do I have to tell you this until you learn to trust me?

*Maggie stares blankly at her older sister. Before they know it, the sisters are surrounded by six demons and their minions*

Head demon – You better treasure your last moments together, sisters Maggie and Lily. Your death is at hand.

Lily – Who are you?

Head demon – I am Hokori. The head of the sinister and demonic forces that resides within the earth. You have killed one of our own and a close companion of mine. For that, we have awakened and will launch our war against the earth. You will not survive our assault, but we will give you a chance to survive. If you leave this city then train others to fight us in war, we will spare this city, for now. You will have twenty-five-years to prepare. It’s a fair deal if I say so myself. We are not unfair beings and wish to have a good battle so that we can completely squander the hope of the world in one battle.

Lily – You’re the scum of the earth is what you are.

Hokori – You speak more literal than you think. Decide.

Lily – I think we should go. We can train people just like how Siri-senpai taught us. It’ll be just like old times.

*Maggie’s mind is filled with the woes of the past. She remembers the depression and loneliness she felt and now she imagines feeling it again. This cracks something within her as she intently stares at Lily*

Lily – We’ll make Siri-senpai proud. We have enough time to train people to be as strong as us. I know we can do it, Maggie. What do you say?

*Maggie smiles and pets her sister’s face. Taking this as a yes, Lily smiles while being completely unaware of what happens next. Maggie uses her powers that she got from her mother to crush Lily’s skull and force the two to merge into a single being, Maxi.  Maxi has completely white skin with two mouths as her hair, mouths where her boobs are, and a large mouth where her crotch is. She’s completely naked the way she is except for the strings on her arms, waist, and legs, which cover nothing. Her toes and heel have become sharpened like knives and her belly button has become a bleeding eye. Maxi is completely controlled by an enraged Maggie while Lily’s soul lies dormant within their body. Maggie’s sword had become a larger sword than Mali’s and is more “awake” than it with a large red eye in the center of it.

Maxi smiles with her sharp teeth and screams an almost inhuman yell at the demons and their minions*

Hokori – This is interesting. You have become a perversion of you and your sister’s combined form. Might you want to join us?

*Maxi smiles then leaps at Hokori and slices him in half. The demons and their minions recoil in shock before attacking Maxi. They are no match for her rage and strength as her added mouths both defend and attack the enemies around her. After several other demons fall, some of their minions retreat in fear. Those that do this melt from the inside. All of Maggie’s enemies fall before her within ten minutes. The parts of the city she fought in are heavily damaged with civilian casualties since Maxi’s blade cut through buildings and whatever was around her.

After calming down and seeing the damage she caused, Maxi’s form is broken apart. The rage holding in Lily’s soul is broken, which frees Lily soul from Maggie’s body. Maggie is conscious again, but her body isn’t completely put back to normal. Her skin is whiter than normal and has teeth in her chest and legs where the mouths once were. Her clothes haven’t reappeared back on her body either. Along with that, half of her hair is black with strands of dark pink while the other half is black with strands of dark red. One of her eyes is pink while the other is red*

Maggie – What…what did I do?

*As the realization finally hits her, Maggie flees the city and lays down under a tree as it rains. She pulls out the teeth that are in her body as she thinks about what she’s done*

Maggie – I’m so sorry, Lily. I should’ve appreciated you more. I should’ve trusted you. I may have defeated all of the demons and saved the city, but I killed so many people. Caused so much destruction. If I had listened to you, there won’t have been as many causalities. I’m sorry, Lily! Forgive me!

*Maggie begins to feel a presence hold her. Lily fades into sight as a specter*

Lily – I forgive you, Maggie, but you must make up for what you’ve done. You have a whole life ahead of you. A life that’s filled with choice, love, and friends to make. That’s what you wanted, wasn’t it?

Maggie – I…I lost you. You were the only one who knows what I’ve been through and who’s supported me through it all.

Lily – I’m happy that you finally see that. I’ll be praying for you, Maggie. I hope you enjoy what you wished for.

Maggie – Wait!

*Maggie reaches out to Lily as she fades away into the afterlife. She cries over the loss of her sister for hours. Once she feels ready to move on, she makes a makeshift outfit out of all the teeth she pulled out of her and begins walking deeper into the forest hoping to find some enjoyment in the life she’s always wanted*

 

Epilogue – Promises Kept

*Maggie has been walking for hours now in the rain with regret in her heart even though she hopes for a better future. The area around her becomes more noticeably darker until she finds herself in complete darkness with nothing around her. She takes out her sword and cautiously walks around until she decides to put her sword away*

Maggie – I don’t care what happens. If I’m going to die, then I’ll let it happen.

*Suddenly, a figure comes into view. It’s a man with a red hoodie, black pants, black hair, and black empty eyes. His skin isn’t as light as hers though it does appear to be pale*

Maggie – Who are you?

Kyle – My name is Kyle. Some call me Kyle the Cosmic Comic Hero.

Maggie – I’m-

Kyle – I know who you are. You’re Maggie the Manga Maniac.

Maggie – Manga Maniac? No wonder ever called me that. Not even my sister.

Kyle – It’s your title for your book.

Maggie – What are you talking about?

Kyle – I’m guessing you aren’t a fourth wall breaking character like me. Seeing as how we’re meeting, you’re who Albert promised me.

Maggie – Who?

Kyle – The writer who created you.

Maggie – You mean God?

Kyle – Hahaha! Hardly.

Maggie – I don’t understand anything you’re saying.

Kyle – I don’t expect you to. I’ll explain everything to you after this.

Maggie – After what?

Kyle – Will you be my girlfriend?

*Maggie’s face becomes blush red*

Maggie – Huh?! What?! Why are you asking that? You don’t even know me.

Kyle – I know everything about you. I read your story from beginning to end.

Maggie – Prove it.

Kyle – I know about you killing your mother over and over again. I know about “Maxi”. I know that you killed your sister because you were selfish.

Maggie – How do you know this?

Kyle – I told you. I read your story.

Maggie – So I really am a character in a book.

Kyle – Now you get it.

Maggie – And you’re a character from a comic book.

Kyle – I’d barely call it a comic. It’s more like a script for one.

Maggie – But why do you want to be with me?

Kyle – Because we were brought together for this reason. We have more in common than you think. We both fought people we loved and killed them for selfish reasons. We both have almost unbeatable powers. I think if we gave it a shot then we would be perfect together or at least that’s what Albert thinks.

Maggie – Hmmm. Okay. Besides, I don’t think I’ll get a man to fall in love with me. I look like a freak.

Kyle – Don’t say that. I think you’re beautiful.

*Maggie’s face turns redder and she mumbles responses out loud but can’t form words*

Maggie – Haha. You must have some weird tastes.

Kyle – I do.

*Kyle takes Maggie’s hand*

Kyle – You ready to go?

*Maggie grips Kyle’s hand*

Maggie – Ready!

 

The End

Kyle – It took you long enough to write this story.

Albert – What can I say? I had other stories that I wanted to complete first.

Kyle – When was the last time we talked? August fourth twenty-seventeen when Damien got his book out? You sure took your time getting to this story.

Albert – Don’t complain about it. Hey, you finally got what I told you I’d give you.

Kyle – Yeah, but are we going to go on any adventures together?

Albert – Maybe. It depends if I can come up with any. Besides, do you really want to be in another story after reading the one I just wrote?

Kyle – Okay, fine, but if you do make a story with us as the main characters, you better make it a happy one!

Albert – I’ll try.

 

Concept Art

Early character designs

 

Updated character designs

 

Biohazardous Affections

Download this story for free on Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/920735

 

Chapter 1 – Falling in Love the Wrong Way

On one unfortunate night, an accident in a research facility causes an outbreak of a virus that makes people cannibals by cutting off all if not all of the reasoning ability in their brain. The outbreak spread throughout all of the world. It was a global effort to find cures for major diseases after all with dozens upon dozens of researchers and countries involved. The reason why this outbreak had such a major impact on the world was because these cannibals, infected, or zombies as most call them were still able to mimic normal human behavior.

These cannibals could act normal as long as they weren’t compromised. They could even eat normal food and use their most recent memories to fool people to think that they were normal, however, they aren’t able to remember older memories or information that takes some time to remember. Once they have their targets secluded, they bite them or eat them to turn them into cannibals. Some areas of the country didn’t know or believe this outbreak was real since the cannibals were so good at blending in. After a couple of months, there’s good and bad news for humanity. The bad news is that there are more cannibals than normal humans. The good news is that there’s a cure and everyone in the world knows that the cannibals are a real threat to humanity and they’re fighting back.

A small group of survivors is holding out in the woods outside of their fishing town that is overrun with cannibals. Two people are heading out to a power plant since the power for their hideout has mysteriously been turned off.

“Get off me!” the young man says.

“Oh come on, Hagan. Stop being such a hard head. I’m just hugging you.”

“Well, I don’t like you hugging me, Chloe. I know what your feelings are for me even though I’m with Brandy.”

“I’m not trying to do anything. I’m over you choosing her over me.”

“The way you touch me sometimes says otherwise. Let’s just drop this drama once and for all. We need to be on guard.”

“Right.”

“You know what to do, right?”

“I know. I’ll keep watch by the cliffs while you go in to turn the power on.”

“Good. Watch yourself. Even though I don’t trust you with touching me, I do trust you with everything else.”

“Okay, you don’t need to worry about me. This isn’t like it’s our last time together.”

“I know. I’m just saying.”

Hagan goes down to the power plant to find it empty with nothing broken or out of place, but the main power switch is turned off, which is strange. No one is stationed here nor are there any known human settlements around this area. After turning the power back on, a gunshot is made from Chloe’s general area.

Hagan says over the walkie talkie, “Chloe? What’s going on?”

He receives no response. When he goes outside, he finds multiple people converging on him. Since the cannibals know they can’t fool him, they use the energy they use for reasoning and convert it to enhance their strength and endurance. Hagan tries using his knife to conserve ammo since there are so many, but he realizes that he’s outnumbered. He heads back inside the building and barricades the main door. He then tries to kill as many cannibals as he can that come out of the three windows in the small building until his back is up against the wall. He’s managed to save a clip of ammo for himself in case he has to put a bullet in his head, but it appears like he doesn’t have to.

The cannibals stop moving for some reason and just corner Hagan. He stops fighting and wonders what could be happening. It becomes clear once Chloe comes into the building. Her hazel eyes are gone and have been replaced with light blue eyes. Her lips are now blue, and her skin is pale.

“Chloe…”

“I’m sorry, Hagan. I didn’t want this to happen. I wanted them to kill me once they got me, but now I’m like this, and there’s only one way for you to survive.”

If two virgins are attracted to one another, the virus will take advantage of this and cut of part off their reasoning and increase their hormones so they can make infected children. Once pregnant, a female will give birth within a few weeks and have grown children within the same amount of time. These “zombie” children act like normal children and are almost indistinguishable from normal children, which makes them effective for infiltration and easy takeover of human settlements. It seems like to Hagan that the cannibals knew of the people within their settlement and purposefully drew them out so this could happen. He’s extremely stressed out and doesn’t know what to do.

“Just trust me, Hagan.”

“I trust you with everything but controlling yourself around me. I could almost swear that you did this on purpose!”

“I didn’t. You know how we can get out of this. Just trust me for now.”

Chloe slowly walks towards Hagan with her arms out. He points his gun at her, which make the cannibals take a step toward him to remind him what would happen if he refuses her. Hagan then lowers his gun and stands still, but uneasy. He lets Chloe bite his neck to infect him as her mate. The cannibals walk away with a smile as they trust their virus to work on him. Hagan bleeds blue blood from his bite wound as his sclera turns light blue while his iris and pupil turn completely black.

“Ow. Ow! Stop it!” Hagan says as Chloe begins to sensually bite and lick his neck.

He pushes her away and points his gun at her again.

She says, “You know you’ll die too if I die.”

“I’m not sure if I’ll care.”

Chloe is a bit shaky as she tries to control her desire.

“Chloe, control yourself.”

“I…I…”

Chloe begins to hug Hagan and breathe in his face with a captivating look on her face, which doesn’t help the way he feels.

“Get…get off! You aren’t helping by doing this.”

Hagan pushes Chloe further away this time.

“I’m…I’m sorry.”

Needing to let go of his pent up energy, Hagan punches a wall then grunts in frustration. They both stay in silence for a few moments as they collect themselves.

“You couldn’t do anything else. You didn’t have a choice in the matter…I forgive you. It’s not your fault.”

“Thank you for understanding.”

Hagan walks away with Chloe behind him. He unconsciously walks faster than her because of his frustrations and begins to feel pains in chest. Chloe picks up her pace to get to him.

She holds his chest and says, “Remember, you can’t be far from me.”

“Yeah.”

Hagan walks away from Chloe still frustrated.

“I thought you said you forgave me.”

“I do. I’m still frustrated by this situation. I know for a fact that you like it more than you’re showing.”

“Hagan…”

“I don’t want to hear it right now.”

Chloe holds onto Hagan’s arm, which gives him a little comfort. He unknowingly goes along with her holding his arm until he realizes when they get back to their settlement. This is when he pulls his arm away from her. As they approach the small settlement set in a secluded prison, Hagan wishes the snipers would shoot them since he knows they can see him, but they don’t. The people in the settlement signal the doors to be open with an orange light to signal caution. Brandy, Hagan’s girlfriend, walks out of the doors armed with a shotgun and two other guards who have submachine guns. She has a condescending but worried look on her face. The three point their guns at Hagan and Chloe as they get closer.

Hagan says, “Brandy…I’m sorry. It was a trap set by the infected. I think they meant to get people like us so this could happen.”

“Then I should’ve been there instead,” Brandy says, “Do you remember where we first met?”

“On a grade school trip. We were at the docks and that’s where I got your number.”

“Good. You’re still conscious. Chloe, do you remember the first time we met?”

“We met in pre-school.”

“That’s right. Well…I guess we can’t do anything now. I already have someone calling the CDC to come here to cure you. Hopefully, this’ll turn out to be something good especially since you two have the cure for this virus in your blood.”

Since human blood and the virus are synergized when a couple is infected, their blood can be taken and used to create a cure that makes normal humans immune to the virus. It can also cure cannibals assuming they haven’t been infected for a long time or if their bodies aren’t heavily damaged.

“That’s good. I’m thinking that if the cannibals thought of this plan, then they’re probably going to keep tabs on us since they can sense us. Get the defenses ready if they do attack,” Hagan says.

Chloe brings up the fact that, “Wouldn’t it be better if we just secluded ourselves away from here? We’re going to be putting everyone in danger.”

“I didn’t trust you with Hagan when you weren’t infected. What makes you think I’ll trust you when you’re like this?” Brandy counters, “We’ll hold the two of you in separate cells, so nothing happens when you’re sleeping. I’ll be guarding you two during the day.”

“Brandy, I…”

“This is final, Chloe. We aren’t going to argue about this. Hagan, explain everything to me.”

Hagan explains what happened to Brandy as they enter the prison. After his explanation, Brandy lets the other guards go to help the others prepare for a possible attack by the cannibals. The three young adults who were close friends only a couple of hours ago sit in silence as if they were strangers.

“We may be infected but we can still help around the prison,” Hagan speaks up.

“It’s fine,” Brandy responds, “We have twenty well-armed people here. You don’t need to worry about them. Just worry about yourself for now. Oh, and take this gas mask. You’ll need it.”

“Thanks.”

As Hagan takes the gasmask, Brandy shakes her head.

“I can’t believe this happened to you of all people with her in the mix.”

“Me too. I’m sorry I didn’t prepare for something like this to happen.”

“It’s not your fault.”

Brandy stares at Chloe who’s been staring at Hagan for a while now.

“Eyes off him, Chloe. You don’t want to lose control of yourself.”

“Oh, I…I…”

“Yes?”

“You shouldn’t worry about him anymore. He’s mine now.”

“Excuse me?”

“I…I’m sorry. I don’t know what came over me.”

“That better have been the case. Go take a cold shower. That should help you keep control of yourself.”

“Hagan has to come with me.”

“Oh, that’s right. I guess you’re never taking another shower until the CDC come then. I think you two should get some rest before dinner. It should calm your minds.”

Hagan and Chloe sleep in separate cells with their doors locked while Brandy heads off to help the rest of the prison prepare for an attack and getting her mind off the situation to calm her mind as well. During his sleep, Hagan feels his heart slowly begin to beat. He can hear the beating of Chloe’s heart from the other side of the wall and the two hearts beat together as if calling out to one another. His breathing starts to slowly intensify as his heart keeps beating intensely. Before he knows it, the heart he feels on the other side moves into his cell until a presence lays on him and holds him.

His heart starts beating faster as he starts to feel warm and elated. The presence on top of him brings their beating hearts together and makes him more euphoric. Hagan then starts receiving kisses, which makes him uncontrollably kiss back and feel this presence. He starts getting licked then scratched as this keeps going on. The presence on top of him is pushed off. He then panics and tries to reconnect with it but is held down before being drenched in cold water and slapped several times.

He wakes up to see that Chloe managed to break open their cells and get to him. Three guards are holding her back while pouring cold water on her to calm her down. Brandy shakes her head with her hands on her face.

“I should’ve remembered,” she says.

Infected female mates who are infected are much like female insects who are stronger than their male counterparts. They are harder to calm down, easier to arose, and are usually violent during sexual intercourse.

“Brandy…I’m sorry I didn’t resist. I was sleeping and barely had any control over myself,” Hagan explains.

“You could’ve…Nevermind. I understand. We have to talk.”

“Look, when the CDC comes here, things will go back to normal, which includes our town!”

“I’m not sure that will happen. A large group of cannibals is coming this way soon. If we can’t hold out, you have to survive. You two are what humanity needs to get more of the cure.”

“Don’t talk like that Brandy!”

“I’m just saying if.”

“It won’t happen. I’ll help you defend the prison.”

“Then grab a gun and let’s rock.”

“That’s what I like to hear.”

Hagan and Chloe arm themselves with submachine guns and shotguns before going to the wall above the gate with Brandy. An almost uncountable number of cannibals arrive in the distance and surround the prison. They stop a few feet away from the prison to make sure the humans see their numbers to instill fear into them. They then walk forward with confidence and a smile much to the surprise of the humans.

A prison guard says, “There were supposed to be traps on the outside of the prison. What-”

Four people are shot in the legs by cannibals acting like normal humans before they turn vicious. Everyone outside retreats in and ten of the twenty people in the prison are already infected within a matter of minutes with no causalities on the side of the cannibals. Two virgins are infected, but they quickly shoot themselves in the head for fear of what might happen.

The humans try in vain to hold out in the prison as the cannibals find their way in without trouble due to their numbers and infiltrators. Six more virgins are infected but kill themselves as the others did. What seems like an hour passes until the battle is finally over. In actuality, it’s only been ten minutes. Hagan and Chloe stand with their guns pointed at the cannibals who don’t do anything but smile in victory.

“Oh, no…Brandy,” Hagan says as he sees her walk out of the crowd of cannibals infected.

She smiles at him then says, “It’s okay, Chloe. You can have him. He’s yours to do with whatever you please.”

Tempted by the thought, Chloe tries to resist doing anything.

“We’re leaving here, Chloe!” Hagan says as he tries to get her to move.

The cannibals say to the two, “You won’t last long.”

“You might as well give in now.”

“You’re only making this more difficult for yourself.”

“If you have children now, you’ll be helping humanity. Not damning them.”

“Give in to your desires.”

“You’ll live happily together.”

Chloe is stunned by the cannibals’ tempting thoughts which makes it almost impossible for her to move.

“Damn you! I’ll get help for you, Brandy. Just you wait,” Hagan says before dropping his heavier guns, picking Chloe up, and retreating into the forest.

The cannibals just smile as they run away, confident that the two of them will eventually give in. After miles of running, Chloe begins to lose herself. She touches Hagan’s chest before kissing his neck. Seeing that he’s near a small stream, he throws her into it to calm her down, but the light splash barely has an effect on her, so he holds her down in it until she calms down. The two are now near a small safehouse location not too far from the town.

As Chloe collects herself, she says, “I’m sorry, Hagan.”

“Whatever. We can’t do anything about the people we lost. We can only hope the CDC gets here soon so we can cure the ones who didn’t die.”

“Hagan…”

“I’m going to sleep in the basement of the shack and I’m going to lock the door. You can sleep in the bed upstairs. If you need something, just knock, but don’t lose yourself again like you did in the cells or I might kill us both like the others did.”

“…”

“I know how you’re feeling, and I’d give you a hug to make you feel better, but I can’t. Just know that I’m going to do my best to take care of us and that we get through this.”

“Thanks.”

“Get some sleep. We’re probably going to need it.”

 

 

Chapter 2 – Together in the Worst Way

Memories of last night play over and over again in Hagan’s dreams as he sleeps. He tries to do different things, but he always fails. He set the traps himself, but the infiltrators stop him. Killing the infiltrators before they strike doesn’t help them win. Killing Chloe doesn’t help. Killing himself doesn’t help. Almost giving into his temptations doesn’t help. Killing everyone in a rage doesn’t help him calm down.

Scratching and banging on his cellar door wakes him up. He rubs his face a couple times and holds his head after going through the same event multiple times.

“Okay, I’m coming!” he says as the scratching gets on his nerves.

He cautiously opens the cellar door to see Chloe on the floor. She’s tired and her face makes her look more exhausted than she really is. Because of their connection, they need to be in close proximity to each other or else they begin to feel depressed and dreary.

“Do you need something, Chloe?”

“I need your help.”

“With what?”

“I just want you to help me.

“You gotta tell me what it is so I can help you with it.”

“Just give me a hug so until I can feel better. I promise I’ll control myself once I feel okay.”

Hagan can’t lie that he feels okay, so he trusts Chloe and helps her up then hugs her. The two begin to feel better then feel as if nothing horrible had happened yesterday. Once they start feeling overly joyful, they stop hugging and go to the opposite sides of the room.

“Thank you, Hagan. I really needed that.”

“Me too, admittedly.”

“Can I have another?”

“No.”

“Oh…right. What are we going to do until the CDC comes? Just wait here?”

“That’s the plan. We should probably keep as much distance away from each other as possible, so nothing happens.”

“You’re right. How long do you think it’ll take them to get here?”

“Three or four days maybe five. They always want blood from people like us even if we turn.”

“Maybe we should set up some defenses. The cannibals will probably try to coax or even force us to-”

“Right. I don’t want to think about it, no offense.”

“None taken.”

“There should be supplies to make defenses downstairs.”

“I’ll help.”

Hagan and Chloe start putting sensors, hidden explosives, and nearly invisible tripwire around their location. Once he’s done his part, he checks where Chloe is to find that most of her traps are set up, but she’s gone. Before he calls out for her, he is shot by a tranquilizer dart and taken with Chloe to a location deeper in the forest. When he wakes up, he sees that he’s in a hole deep in the ground with Chloe, who is unconscious. There’s a light above them with a pulley and ladder that are completely out of reach. Hagan no longer has his pistol and gas mask on him, which makes things worse.

“This isn’t good,” he says to himself before yelling out, “Hey! Why did you bring us here?”

A man in hunting attire looks down into the hole and says, “I intercepted your message to the CDC. They’ll pay me a high price for you especially if you get your girlfriend pregnant.”

“She isn’t my girlfriend!”

“But you do like her a lot. You have to in order to be infected the way you are. Anyway, good luck down there and get it on. I’ll be recording you.”

“You sick fuck!”

The man above the hole goes silent. Hagan’s vision clears up a bit as he sees a camera above him that’s now recording Chloe and him below. Chloe is awake and appears to have heard everything.

“Chloe…” Hagan says as he tries to back as far into the hole’s interior as much as possible.

“Hagan…what are we supposed to do?”

“Uhhh…oh!” Hagan moves closer to Chloe so the man can’t hear him, “If I throw you upward, you can bring the ladder down.”

“Are you sure? We might only have one chance at this.”

“It’s our only shot.”

“Do you really trust me with this? What if I lose control?”

“I’ll handle it. Don’t even think about that and let’s just do this.”

“Okay.”

Because the two were so close, they’ve started to feel euphoric. Hagan and Chloe look into each other’s eyes and start to breath heavier. Their lips almost connect before Hagan turns away, kneels down, and cups his hands together. He nods his head and hopes that Chloe gets it together. It takes a couple of seconds for her to snap to her senses, but when she does, she takes as many steps back as she can before leaping onto Hagan’s hands. He throws her up into the air, but she misses the ladder by an inch and falls down. Not wanting for her to get seriously hurt, he manages to catch her. Because of this, Chloe is even more euphoric than before.

She uncontrollably kisses him then pushes him up against the walls while violently scratching his back. Hagan only has a shred of self-control while he uses his built up energy to knee and kick Chloe away. He manages to do it and kick her away from him. She lunges back at him, but he quickly dodges her and gets to the other side of the hole. He uses his strength to jump on Chloe’s shoulders then leap off her. His two fingers manage to grab the end of the ladder. Using them, he lifts himself up and goes up the ladder to see the man in the hunting attire.

He holds his hands up then smiles and laughs, “I didn’t know half infected like you could do that. I guess I underestimated you.”

Hagan stares at the man in frustration and walks to the man while backing him into a corner.

“Hey, listen to me. I’m just trying to survive out here. We can split the reward that comes from you. You can take eighty percent of it!”

“I don’t give a damn!”

Hagan uncontrollably bites the man’s face cheek off, which infects him. He then throws the man in the hole where Chloe is hoping to knock her out with his body. This doesn’t happen and there isn’t any cold water close by to help her calm down. Instead, he finds a metal neck collar with a long pole attached to it. It appears to be something used for dangerous criminals. He grabs this before letting the ladder down for Chloe.

When Chloe comes up, Hagan puts the collar around her neck. The collar appears to work as it allows him to keep a safe distance away from her. In a fit of lust, Chloe tries to break the metal bar separating her from her love, but the bar is too hard to break. The infected man comes up after Hagan gets used to controlling Chloe.

The infected man says, “I used that to control other infected, but you don’t need it. I’m jealous of you, man. If only I can have a lady like yours.”

Hagan takes his pistol from the desk where the man has his things at and shoots the man in the leg. The man screams then laughs before getting shoot in the other leg and falling down.

Again, the man laughs then says, “You’re going to give in eventually with that attitude.”

“Don’t bet on it,” Hagan says as he leaves with Chloe in a neck collar and with his gas mask on as temporary protection against her breath, kisses, and bites.

It doesn’t take too long to get back to their shack, but it’s a hard journey for Hagan who has to drag along his old best friend like a wild animal. He tries to calm her down by sticking her in the cool water, but it barely has an effect on her. Frustrated by everything that’s happening to him, he brings her inside and chains her to an iron bar inside the shack. He then points a gun at her face while she continuously reaches and claws for him. The condition she’s in is enough to bring him to tears. He then points the gun at his own head, which starts to make her worry. Chloe winches and starts to cry too while waking up from her uncontrollable desires. Feeling her emotions, he puts the gun away and pulls up a chair near her.

Hagan sits down and says, “Do you remember what we planned to do when we got old? We wanted to buy this shack and have all of our friends and family live in it once we made it bigger, of course. Brandy and a few others thought the idea was stupid, but we kept it in our minds. It was such a stupid storybook-like idea, wasn’t it? I don’t know why I’m telling you about this, but I feel like telling you it to remind you of the particular bond we share.

You and I used to be the best of friends. Remember when we used to go out every Friday after school for ice cream? Remember when we used to have a sleepover every time we had a party? Remember when we used to tell stories of a better life at night after the infection started? Those nights kept me alive and hopeful.

I don’t know if it’s the infection making me feel this way and talk like this. I just want to give into these desires I have, but I don’t want to lose myself to you like that. If we actually do end up being together, I’d want to do it the proper way by marrying you. I love you that much Chloe.”

Chloe snaps out of her trance and says, “I love you, Hagan.”

“Chloe…I’m sorry about the way I’m talking to you.”

“No, you’ve helped me go back to normal.”

“I guess. You’re going to have to stay like that for tonight because of what happened.”

“I understand.”

“Thank you.”

For the rest of the day, Hagan feeds and talks to Chloe while she’s chained up until they have to rest for the night. Meanwhile, a group of cannibals notice that they’ve been able to overcome the worst scenario. They now plan to make sure they have sex by convincing the two. If convincing them doesn’t work, then they’ll just force them to have sex. These cannibals are confident that they’ll accomplish their self-assigned task because of their particular past relationship with them.

 

Chapter 3 – Forced Consent to Love

When Hagan wakes up in the morning, he feels Chloe holding him. He makes sure that he isn’t dreaming, and once he realizes that he isn’t, he swiftly feels himself to make sure that she hadn’t done anything to him while he slept. He then remembered that if his body did succumb to his lusts, then he would’ve completely lost his ability to reason. All of the chains and the metal bar that was holding Chloe are broken. She has a few scratches on bruises on her from breaking free, but she sleeps peacefully regardless of them.

Hagan tries to carefully wiggle his way out of Chloe’s grips, but she just holds him tighter until she eventually wakes up. She quickly backs up and falls off the bed.

“I didn’t…did I?” Chloe asks.

“No. It doesn’t seem like it.”

Wondering if they’ve grown used to the virus, they move closer together until their lips are almost touching. They see how long they can stay like this until Chloe tries to lick Hagan’s face. He doesn’t finch and just closes his eyes as a sign of his trust in her, but her tongue never touches his face. Chloe manages to struggle against her desires and push herself away from him until she calms herself down.

“It looks like what happened to us yesterday allowed us to better control ourselves,” Hagan says.

“It looks like that. Does that mean-”

“No, you can’t sleep with me.”

“Hahaha, you knew what was on my mind, but no. Does this mean we won’t lose control of ourselves?”

“I hope so, but we can’t let our guard down.”

“We should practice.”

“We shouldn’t. You know on second thought…”

“Yes?”

“I should probably chain you back up just to be safe.”

“Don’t even try it.”

Hagan starts laughing as he picks up the broken chains and pushes Chloe up against the wall. She starts laughing and pushes back at him and onto the ground.

“The upside of this infection is that I’m stronger than you. It’s like I’m a black widow and you’re the lowly male spider,” Chloe says while on top of him.

“But here’s the difference,” Hagan says as he reverses their positions, “I’m a human man. If I wasn’t, then we would’ve completely lost ourselves yesterday.”

“You’re also you. That’s the part that I think is the strongest.”

“I could say the same thing about you.”

The two are infatuated just by looking at each other, but this isn’t caused by the virus even though it’s bugging them to take things further. The sound of walking outside in the forest gets them to get up and take out their guns to investigate what’s outside. To their shock, all of their past friends and family are here completely infected.

Brandy steps out of the crowd and says, “I see that Chloe isn’t pregnant yet. That’s surprising. Usually, couples have sex during the first three days.”

“What are you doing here, Brandy?” Hagan asks her with his pistol out.

“I’m just here to check up on my ex-boyfriend and best friend. I want to reassure them that I approve of whatever dirty things they want to do to each other especially you, Chloe. I remember that you’ve known Hagan longer than I have and that you’ve always wanted to be with him, but I stole him from you.”

Hagan’s dad steps forward, “You don’t need to worry about having to marry her first. Just take her, son.”

His mom adds, “And give me the grandchildren I’ve always wanted!”

Chloe’s dad says, “Chloe, I remember how many times you cried for being without a boy to call your own. Now’s your chance.”

Her mom adds, “It’s okay if you rough him up a bit, honey. I did the same to daddy.”

Two of Hagan and Chloe’s friends step forward. Both of them were virgins who were infected. Unfortunately, they gave in and it shows with the young girl’s lower half being barely held up by tons of duct tape and bandaging.

The young man says, “It’s okay, bud. You’ll be a father, which is great if you ask me. If you’re worried about how many children you’ll have, you shouldn’t. We have triplets and we know people who’ve had more than four children at once.”

The young girl says, “It’s just a one-time thing. You can also have sex as many times as you want after without worrying about more children if that’s what you’re worried about.”

Their friends and family continuing giving cases and reassurances that them having sex as they are is good and pure.

Brandy finishes it off by saying, “How can you disagree with us after we gave you so many reasons? Now come you two, get it over with. We won’t mind even if you do it in front of us.”

Hagan and Chloe have managed to keep their composure though they are horrified at what the virus has done to those they held close. They raise their pistols back up to show their defiance.

Brandy smiles then says, “I see that you have enough ammo to kill all of us, but will you? If the CDC gets here, you’ll have a chance to save us.”

“That’s the plan,” Hagan asserts.

“But here’s the thing. We’re going to force you two to have sex whether you like it or not.”

“What? You wouldn’t dare…”

“We will. You’re going to have to kill us because we need your children.”

The crowd of former friends and family start closing on the two.

Confident in the plan, Brandy says, “What’s it going to be, Hagan? Are you going to kill your sweet, loyal girlfri-”

Hagan shoots Brandy in the leg.

“Consider this as our break up.”

“Aw, what a shame. Not!”

The cannibals switch to being aggressive and rush towards the two. They run away while firing at those they love and wanted to save. Hagan puts on his gas mask in case he is caught. Several of them are killed, but many still remain. The two are forced to run into the town in search of a shelter to defend themselves in. They run into a white church with two large white doors and dead flowers by the broken windows. Regrettably, the two are overwhelmed by aiding cannibals who restrain them until their infected friends and family catch up. The aiding cannibals leave the church and let the others take over.

Brandy begins ripping off Chloe’s clothes. She says, “You know, I’ve always been jealous of your body. You have bigger tits and a bigger ass. I’ve caught Hagan checking those features out on you and now’s the time to fulfill his desires.”

Hagan’s clothes are being ripped apart by his friend, but he manages to get his pistol and knife and kill him and keep his gas mask on his face. He then quickly gives Chloe back her pistol so she could defend herself. In a matter of five minutes, Hagan and Chloe dispatch of everyone they cared about thanks to their enhanced infected abilities. Cautious about the other cannibals, they head out to see that the cannibals aren’t bothering them and appear to be regrouping to plan something different. They use their downtime to find temporary shelter.

The closest shelter they find is Chloe’s old house. During the first days of the outbreak, it was boarded up and fortified until Hagan got Chloe and her family to move to the prison. Her family didn’t make it to the prison during the long walk there. Presently, the house is still intact along with its defenses. Inside, it appears to be virtually untouched. Chloe gets a pair of her old clothes with a white shirt and skirt are the only thing she finds appealing to wear at the moment. Hagan finds her father’s old leather jacket and pants and gets rid of his torn up clothes and puts his gas mask on the side. After changing and finally getting a moment to rest, the two sit down on the old couch they spent so many days watching TV, playing video games, and sleeping on together.

So much has happened that there are no real words to say. Instead, they look at each other then embrace one another until they stop crying. After a little while of calming down, they fall asleep. Chloe is the first one to wake up and goes upstairs to her room to look for something to keep her preoccupied until Hagan wakes up. She finds her old piano and starts to play it, which wakes him up.

He goes upstairs and says, “Hey, I remember playing that in school.”

“Oh, I’m sorry I woke you up.”

“It’s no big deal. I wasn’t dreaming of anything good anyway. You’re playing really well.”

“Thanks. I’m still a bit rusty though.”

“Hey, can you play that one song we made up?”

“Are you serious?”

“Why not? Hold on, I think I remember where we last left it.”

“You aren’t embarrassed that we wrote it together?”

“No, why would I be?”

“It sounds like something out of a fantasy story fan fiction.”

“I still like it. Maybe I’m weary and not thinking straight, but I really like the song.”

“Why’s that?”

“Because we wrote it.”

“That’s it? That’s the reason?”

“Yeah. Is there something wrong with that?”

“N-no.”

“Here it is…”

“Is it as ‘good’ as you remember?”

“It’s still great.”

“Let me see it.”

As Chloe reads the song she wrote with Hagan many years ago, the memories attached to them start flooding back to her. She starts to feel a little emotional, but she holds back her emotions for now.

“Do you really want me to play this?”

“I do. I’ll even sing the lyrics with you.”

“You want me to sing too?”

“Why not?”

“I’m not that good at singing.”

“There’s no one here to harshly judge your singing. Besides, I think you have a great singing voice.”

Chloe taps the piano keys a few times to ready herself before playing the song. Hagan puts his arms around Chloe as they sing together in-sync.

 

Once upon a time, I believed in true love

One that would lift my soul up above

All the suffering the tears

A true love that would save me from my fears
What if this is what I’ve dreamed of?

What if all my dreams start to come true?


Will I just sit here and hesitate?

Can you show me that you’re truly my soul mate?

Or will you leave me in the dust

Like all the rest?


What if this is the day that I become free?

What if you’re all that I’ll ever need?

What if I give my heart to thee?


What if you’re God’s gift to me?

What if this is the love I’ve been dreaming of?

What if this is that love?


Your presence gives me joy

You make my heart sing

The thought of you is something my mind can’t avoid

What more can your love bring?


What if this is beyond what I’ve dreamed of?

What if more than my dreams come true?


I can’t just stay here

I need to be with you

Or else you’ll disappear

And my suffering will begin anew


What if this is the day that I become free?

What if you’re all that I’ll ever need?

What if I give my heart to thee?


What if you’re God’s gift to me?

What if this is the love I’ve been dreaming of?

What if this is that love?


What if I regret our love?

What if I end up hurting you?

I couldn’t live with myself.

What if it’s better to be alone in my despair?


No, I’m not afraid anymore

With you, I can accomplish anything

I will be happy as long as I’m with you


This is that love I’ve dreamed of and more

You are all that I adore

You and I will be together forevermore

 

After the song finishes. Chloe puts her hands on Hagan’s. He then kisses her lips and she kisses him for a long time. The infection within them doesn’t stir up as it is suppressed by their self-control.

Hagan then says, “I’m sorry if that was a bit sudden.”

“Are you going to blame the infection for that?”

“No, I’m not. I really do love you, Chloe.”

“I love you too Hagan.”

After embracing, Hagan and Chloe head out to the old supermarkets to get food. The infected haven’t eaten much of the stock there since they don’t need to eat as much as normal humans. They have also managed to keep the power on since they need the food to be relatively fresh as well. The new couple get the snacks and junk food they used to eat when they were children. They relax as if they were kids with TV and games until they pass out on top of each other from the all of the sugar they ate along with all of the energy they used.

 

 

More souls go to hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason.

– Our Lady of Fatima

Chapter 4 – The Sins of the Parents

A ruckus outside wakes up Hagan and Chloe. They quickly head out to see four children with crates. Neither Hagan nor Chloe can sense any kind of infection in them, so they go after the kids and find them in a small storage shed. The kids look at them and put their hands up.

Chloe says, “It’s okay. We aren’t cannibals.”

The kids lower their hands then smile.

One of them says, “That’s a relief! I thought everyone in town was a zombie.”

“What do you have in the crates there?” Hagan asks.

“It’s something important that we need to hide from the CDC.”

Hagan opens the crates to find pistol, shotgun, and assault rifle rounds with the cure in them.

“Why is that?”

“Because if they shoot our family with them then they’ll die. You know if someone who was infected for a long time is injected with the cure then they’ll instantly die.”

“Where did you even get this?”

“From a crashed car that was carrying these.”

“Who was driving the car? Was it the CDC?”

“No, they were just normal people. The zombies ambushed the car but didn’t find the cure in it.”

“The ‘zombies’ don’t bother you?”

“No, they don’t bother people our age. They just act nice. I think whatever is making them sick is lethal to us.”

“Oh, that’s right. I remember that.”

Hagan starts taking the pistol clips that have the cure in them and loads his gun with one of them.

“What are you doing mister? We need to get rid of that so our parents will be safe!”

“How do you know your parents are in danger?”

“The zombies told us that the CDC is coming for a couple. You’re them, aren’t you? I can tell because of your light blue eyes.”

“We are.”

“Please, don’t go to them to be cured. We want to keep our parents alive.”

“I’m sorry, but they’re already dead. We’ll put them out of their misery for you.”

“How can you do that?! The zombies are like normal people.”

“But they eat people. That’s why we call them cannibals.”

“They also eat normal food. They even make people longer.”

“So what? All the cannibals do is lie in wait to trap the next human person to satisfy their cravings. It’s a short-sighted lifestyle that isn’t worth losing all sense of reason and morality for. It doesn’t look like any of this cure has been used. Come here so I can inject some in you, so you don’t become like them.”

“No.”

“What do you mean no?”

Chloe says, “Hagan, you’re using a gun on them. They’re probably afraid of being shot.”

“These bullets with the cure in them shouldn’t hurt from what I know. They don’t even feel like normal bullets.”

“I’m still afraid of being shot.”

“It’ll be like getting your flu shot.”

“What’s a flu shot?”

“There we go.”

Hagan turns around and shoots the kids. Three out of four of them shrivel and die after being cured.

“How did you know they were infected?”

“Normal people usually confirm with others that they’re normal by asking them a question about something way in the past. They also don’t know what a flu shot is even though a kid their age should know what one is. It’s weird that we couldn’t sense their infection though.”

“That was smart.”

“Now what I don’t get is you. Stop playing dead.”

Hagan kicks the one kid who is still alive.

“Please don’t kill me!” the kid says while on his knees and his hands covering his face.

“It’s obvious that you were born of two cannibal parents. How come you’re different?”

“I don’t know!”

“Did you do anything that they didn’t do?”

“I never ate people. I only ate regular food.”

“I’ve never heard of a kid of cannibals never eating other people. I guess every not every kid born of those cannibals don’t all become monsters. Life must’ve been hard for you, kid.”

“It was because I couldn’t go a day without craving someone to eat, but for some reason, that craving is gone now.”

“It’s probably because we cured you.”

“It was?! Thank you so much!”

“You should probably hide somewhere close until the CDC gets here. If they see you with us, then they might think you’re our child and we’ve already lost our humanity.”

“Okay, I will! Thank you again!”

The kid heads off to a hiding place. Hagan hands Chloe some of the pistol magazines with the cure in it. He also finds a flare gun in one of the crates with a single shot in it.

“These cure bullets kill cannibals in one shot no matter where they get shot. We’re going to need it,” he says.

After the two head out of the storage shed, they head to the lighthouse to see if the CDC is approaching yet. Along the way, they come across cannibals who don’t engage them or bother with them. Most seem to fear the couple while others mumble behind their backs. The two ignore them for the most part.

Before getting to the lighthouse, Hagan says to Chloe, “Hold on. There’s something in the jewelry store I’ve always wanted to get.”

“Is it really important?”

“It is. Come on, it’s not like the CDC is here already. We would’ve heard fighting and gunshots by now.”

“Okay.”

Chloe and Hagan go into the jewelry store. She looks around the store while Hagan goes directly what he wants for in the drawers and pulls out what he wants and puts it in his pocket.

Chloe turns to him and says, “What are you getting?”

“This.”

Hagan pulls out a diamond knife.

“Oh, I remember that.”

“You remember it too? The owner used to take it out a lot to show it off and intimidate possible robbers. He used to show me how easily it cut almost anything.”

“Where is he now? I don’t think I saw him get killed or infected.”

“I think he left a week or so it began and is vacationing on an island somewhere. Lucky guy that he is.”

“Did we really come in here for just that?”

“Yup.”

Chloe sighs then walks out of the store.

“What? It’s a cool knife! Useful too.”

Once he gets what he wants, Hagan and Chloe leave and go to the lighthouse. They head up to the very top and wait while looking out for any sign of the CDC.

“Do you remember the first time we were up here?” Chloe asks.

“Yeah. We always used to imagine the things that were out at sea. I remember thinking there were magical lands out there to explore with dragons and treasures.”

“Besides that.”

“I remember thinking about all of the sea monsters that were in the water depths. Remember the time I thought I saw Cthulhu? I read all about the different real and made up sea monsters. They made me want to stay on dry land.”

“What? No, besides that.”

“Lighthouse ghost stories?”

“No.”

“Then what is it?”

“You promised me you’d be with me forever here.”

“I know I did.”

“Then why didn’t you mention it?”

“Because I’m fulfilling that promise right now.”

“Oh. I thought after you were dated Brandy that you meant that you’d be with me forever as a friend.”

“I actually meant as a girlfriend when I said it, but then things got complicated.”

“Complicated how?”

“You know, Brandy kind of took my attention away from you and ummm. It’s a long story.”

“You’re going to have to tell me when this is all done.”

“Oh boy.”

“Oh boy is right. You’ve got some explaining to do mister.”

“Hey, do you see that in the distance?”

“If you’re joking, then you’re going to have explain yourself in front of all the cannibals.”

“No, look!”

Using their binoculars they found in the lighthouse, Hagan and Chloe see three APCs heading into town with the CDC logo on them. Chloe and Hagan smile at the sight of the cure to their infection. Hagan shoots off his flare gun, so the CDC know where they are. Several cannibals head to the lighthouse to force the couple to do what their family and friends tried, but the two manage to hold out until the CDC arrives. Three teams of people in SWAT gear and gas masks get out of APCs and secure the area.

One of them approaches the couple and asks, “We’ve come to pick you up and take you to our camp outside of town. Please, come with us.”

Once they get in APC and drive off, Hagan says to the man, “Will we come back to the town?”

“We plan to clean it up then see what we can do from there. Were you two born here?”

“Yes, we were.”

“I understand that you want to revive this place to bring it back to the way it was. It looks like this’ll be a good place especially since it has its back to the ocean. We’ll consider it after the clean-up.”

“Thank you. There’s also this kid in the town that we need you to find. He’s already cured and found a few crates of bullets with the cure in it.”

“Three crates specifically?”

“Yes.”

“Then he might’ve found three stolen crates that we were looking for. He must be a special kid to find them by himself.”

“He sure is.”

Hagan and Chloe are taken to a small campsite where the CDC have tents and small defenses set up on a small hill. They are given a different version of the cure not found in the bullets to cure them of their condition. Once cured, their skin gets back its color, their eyes turn back to their normal colors, and Chloe’s lips turn back to normal. They kiss each other once they are allowed to be with each other again.

Hagan then says, “So…the diamond knife wasn’t the only thing I got in the shop.”

“It wasn’t? What else did you get?”

“Uh…this.”

Hagan gets down on one knee and shows Chloe a diamond wedding ring in a small golden box. She gasps and covers her mouth in shock.

“Wi-”

“Yes!”

“I didn’t even finish-”

Chloe kisses Hagan and pushes him to the ground.

Hagan then says, “I told you I’d marry you.”

“You did. I love you, Hagan.”

“I love you, Chloe.”

The people at the CDC can’t help but get emotional and clap for the couple. After that, Hagan explains to the CDC why they should immediately go back to rescue the cured kid, and they do that. The blood from the child of the cannibal’s results in a better form of the cure that requires a lesser dosage and ends up creating an airborne form of it. When the airborne cure is tested on the town, it results in the immediate death of the cannibals and the curing of those who weren’t too far gone. Not long after that, Hagan and Chloe are properly married and get the town back to the way it used to be with the added purpose of being a settlement for those looking for shelter in the new world. The airborne cure is spread throughout the country and more and more people are cured while the cannibals start to finally die off. The future finally looks bright after months of loss because of two people who were able to control their desires.

The End

Always One Step from Hell

Download the whole story for free on Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/916580

 

Chapter 1 – Lechery

It’s just another day. Nothing special. I clean the house, the yard, clothes, and everything else my husband and I own. My husband or my knight, I should say, is out fighting battles on behalf of God. He was never one for fighting, so I guess his calling is true. The Church is the only way I’m able to have this house and food on the table. In return, I act like a good Catholic wife and help the community if needed.

My life right now is rather drab. My knight left a few days after our wedding, so I don’t even have any children to raise, unlike my sisters and friends. I don’t even know if my husband will come back from the war. To give my life a little bit more spice, I’ve written short stories for the children I’ll hopefully get. I’ve also been practicing my drawing skills, so my husband has nice pictures and decorations to see when he comes home. Maybe the other people will see the drawings when I draw them outside and keep me company. We’re all friendly around here, but not exactly friends. I wish we were. It’s so lonely.

But it doesn’t have to be. There are some good men out there who could take care of me. My knight won’t know if I’m smart about it.

No, that’s a terrible thought. Did I really just think that? I hope not. This mundane life is getting my imagination going.  Sweep, dust, cut, wash, yadda, yadda. Sometimes I like to think I’m a princess in the making like those fairytales. I have my knight. All I need to do is make this humble home into a small castle.

I can do it with the right men. I’m sure they’ll do it for a young woman like myself. My looks got me married, so I’m sure they’ll get some men to work for me, especially if I flash a little skin at them.

Again, with these thoughts. I swear I’m not thinking of them myself. Maybe if I rest a bit outside of this dusty house, I can clear my head. The porch outside is one of the only things I’ve completely cleaned. I wonder what’s it’s going to be like outside here when I get kids. We have enough space out front for the kids to play without them getting in the way of people walking.

There are plenty of men out there who could give us wonderful children. There are rich, muscular, and hardworking men that walk these streets.

What’s going on? What’s with the look in their face? There’s something about them that makes them seem so…attractive. How can I smell them from here when they’re so far away? That masculine smell is intoxicating.

Why don’t you ask one of them out?

N-no. My life is fine with just one man in my life.

One man who might end up dead. Why not have one on standby just in case?

Hold on. Why are they walking towards me? What’s with the look on their faces?

They want you, Anita. Who doesn’t want an attractive housewife who’s good at taking care of her house? Look at them. Stare into the bright red light of their eyes and take their hands.

I…I’m going inside. I still have a few more things I want to do. What was that voice in my head? It sounded like me, but it said my name? Am I possessed or something? Holy Mary Mother of God pray for me a sinner and help me suffer through these temptations I’ve been given. I just have to get my mind off of it. Maybe I can read a book or two. Aaah! They’re coming in.

“Let us clean for you, Anita.”

“A princess in rags is no princess at all. Let us get you something wonderful to dress in.”

“Beautiful woman, who is confined to her house, let us ease your burdens.”

“Thank you for your concern, but I don’t need your help-hey! Let me down! Where are you taking me?! Aaaaaah!”

I manage to fall off them as they carried me, but I fell a long distance and now I’m in this town of arms? Why’s it so dark all of the sudden? The buildings, ground, and faceless people are made up of arms. I can feel them touching my feet as I walk over them. They feel so wrong but so right-stop! This is wrong! Who is that flying over here? Is that me? No, it isn’t, but she looks like me. Her eyes are angled strangely, and her long thick brown hair is the only thing covering her body.

“Do you feel them, Anita? They want you to embrace them.”

“You’re that voice I heard in my head! I have to mentally pray you away.”

“That’s not going to do anything. I always come back. Maybe it’s God’s will for you to embrace your desires.”

“No, He doesn’t!”

“How do you know what the will of God is? Oh, by all means, keep praying. It’s clearly helping you.”

The hands in the ground have me stuck in place! I can’t free myself from them.

“Get away from me!”

“These people made of hands only want to please you. Let them.”

“I won’t!”

I can’t break away from their arms! There’s too many of them.

“You’re a lonely housewife who wants her husband to come home to pleasure her. Why not do the job yourself or get someone else to do it?”

“I can wait for him to come home. I can!”

“Can you truly wait for him? Your resistance is fading. Your mind is numbing, and your control is fading. How long can you last?”

Fatigue is setting in. I’m so tired of not having any kind of meaningful relief in my life. All I get are small doses of fun and relaxation, but then I get back to my boring life. I need…I need…I need to…stay faithful. One mortal sin of being unfaithful to God and my husband can rightfully send my soul to Hell. I can already feel the heat from the Netherworld cooking my skin. My body is already so close to it that the demons are reaching out from it and use the tips of their fingers to scratch my face. I won’t let them have me!

“Until my death!”

I can feel my strength coming back to me. Yes! I can finally break through. I can get up-

“Ow!”

I hit my head on a cabinet. I must’ve fallen asleep while working. It looks like I slept through the night. Even though I slept in an uncomfortable place, I feel fine, but what was that dream?

 

 

Chapter 2 – Gula

My parish priest should know what’s going on with me. I talk with him and he tells me that I’m just facing normal temptations for being a devout wife and faithful Catholic. The more vivid dreams are just the demons taking advantage of my creative mind to tempt me in different ways. After confessing some unconfessed sins that I forgot to tell him last time, he reassures me that I’m a faithful wife and my knight is lucky to have me as his princess. He also reassures me that my knight will come back one day, maybe even earlier than I think. I thank him and tell him I’ll see him on Sunday.

Okay, I guess I’m not crazy. I just have to deal with these temptations for however long I’m supposed to. Temptations are supposed to show me my weaknesses and help me work to be a better servant of God. I can beat them if another comes my way. In the meantime, I have to do my grocery shopping for the week. The market is decently packed, so shopping should be easy today.

I should treat myself to more than usual. I have been working hard. I’ve been waiting for the perfect occasion to buy sweets and other ingredients to make the perfect meal for myself. There’s a discount on everything I want to, so this is the perfect opportunity to buy everything I want. It’s a lot to carry, but I can handle it.

Oh, now that I think about it, I might’ve gotten too much. Carrying all of this now is putting a real strain on my arms. I can’t return it, so…oh, there are some poor people on the street. I might as well give some of it to them.

“Bless your wonderful soul, miss! You will be in my prayers from this day forth!”

“I appreciate it. Thank you.”

“No, thank you. My prayers are the least I can do for you.”

At least I made someone’s day. The amount of food I’ve given away has really lightened what I need to carry. Oh, someone dropped some of their money.

“Hey! Excuse me! Mister? Ah!”

He’s not listening to me and the hole in his pockets makes him drop a little bit every time he moves erratically. I could just walk away or keep following him for more. No one is watching me pick up his loose change-Nevermind. It’s not worth it. I don’t need more money for myself. I’m fine the way I am.

“Excuse me!!!!!”

“Hello, miss. Is something the matter?”

“You’ve been dropping all the money in your pocket through the holes in your pants. Here’s everything I found.”

“Thank you, so much-ow! What is it, honey?”

“I told you that we should get those pants fixed! Thank you, miss. You have our gratitude and you will be in our prayers tonight.”

“You’re welcome. I’ll be sure to pray for you as well.”

“Pray for my husband. He’s going to need it.”

My husband better not do what hers did. He’ll be needing prayers too if he does. Back at home, I find some of the stuff I thought I gave away. That’s weird. I guess I bought extra, but I don’t think the price I paid reflected that. I’m not too good at math, so maybe I did. Again, I can’t return this, so I might as well enjoy the little that’s here. It’s not bad to treat myself a little every now and then.

Speaking about that, I could use new clothes. I could give what I have to the poor and give myself the new and pretty stuff. The clothes I have are becoming ugly. I’m sure the poor won’t mind it as long as it makes them comfortable for the weather outside. My closet holds a variety of clothes for the season, so I’m sure they’d appreciate it.

No, I’m fine with what I have. It’s not like I can’t fix the little tears in the clothes. I don’t go to any parties or fancy events to need better clothes. All I do is keep the house clean. I would ruin the expensive clothing and they would just take up space in my already tight closet, so there’s even less of a reason to buy them.

Hmmm, the food tastes good already. I’m going to eat a bit more for taste testing reasons. I could eat all of it right now. The ingredients I have make a good meal the way they are right now. Why should I wait until it becomes a complete meal? Sure, I could get sick, but…

Ew, now that I think about it, why did it taste good the way it is? Everything is barely cooked. Why did I like eating this raw meat to begin with? Am I that hungry? It won’t be that long until everything is ready, so I’ll wait.

Okay, almost…done! Everything smells delicious. It’s time to dig in! Yes! I’ve been waiting for this-I forgot to say grace. I know it’s not required, but I should be thankful for my meal at least before eating. I shouldn’t dig in like a pig either…okay. Now, I’ll eat.

I’m surprised I haven’t gotten any temptations yet though it feels like I have. Wait, have I? I think I have when I was shopping and cooking. These temptations don’t leave me alone even after going to confession. At least I didn’t give into them…I think. Eck. What’s this stuff on the table?

It feels like a greasy substance. I don’t think I dropped anything while cooking or eating. Where is this coming from? Now more of the table feels like it. Huh? There’s more of it. The house feels like it’s sweating this disgusting sticky substance. What’s going on? Huh? Someone came into the house? She looks like that previous demon that tempted me before except this one is fat and wears all black with black shoes. Her hair is extremely long and thick…almost thought something dirty there.

“Indulge yourself, honey. You deserve it.”

My table is full of food now even though I just ate everything.

“No, I’m not hungry. I’ve had my fill.”

“You haven’t had this kind of food in a while and you’re a hard-working woman.”

“I already gave myself a little bit more extra. I don’t need anymore.”

“Listen to yourself. You can feel how hungry you still are. Smell the food. Isn’t it delicious?”

It does smell delicious and it’s starting to make me feel hungry even though I feel full at the same time. I need to pray for strength.

“I…I just feel hungry, but I’m not. Leave me.”

“Just look at yourself. Your skin craves nourishment.”

“AAAAAAHHHHH!!!!”

There are mouths all over my arms, face, and I can feel them all over me. They crave food and drink. Their appetites will never be satisfied until they eat everything on the table and more. I…I won’t give in!

“I’m not some ravenous animal.”

Maybe I can cut off these mouths-Ah! One caught the blade with its mouth-Ahhhh! Then ate it and spat it out at me and now the blade of the knife is stuck in the ceiling. Thankfully, I avoided it without a scratch. I can’t remove these mouths with my hands either because they’re biting at me.

“Look at you. You can barely control yourself.”

“I can control myself!”

I have to get away from this food, but the floors are so slippery. It’s so hard to move around here. Great. One of the hands ate the door handle and I can’t get out this way. The smell of the food follows me through the house as I search for a way out.

“You can’t escape your temptations no matter how much you pray.”

“I can endure it!”

The mouths on my hands and feet try eating the floors and things around them. There has to be a way out of this. The way to control myself is primarily through prayer and self-control. Maybe I just have to forcibly shut the mouths on my body through my will. Here we go. I’m struggling to keep all of these mouths shut and I can’t move.

“Hey! Get that food away from me! I don’t need it!”

“Come on. Open up wide!”

I…have to…control myself! Don’t open your mouth. Don’t think about food. I’m not hungry. I don’t need anything to eat. I’m fine the way I am. Okay, I’m feeling better now. Huh? I must’ve eaten so much that I ate myself into a food coma. There’s a mess on the table and parts of the house seem dirtier than before for some reason. Thank you, God it isn’t greasy. There’s still some time in the day, so I might as well clean up. That’s another temptation overcome. This is difficult, but I can do this. I hope I can.

 

 

 

Chapter 3 – Avaritia

So far, I haven’t had any temptations today. Maybe my habit of saying the rosary has finally allowed me to take a break today. It’s either that or I’m too strong to be tempted. I hope that wasn’t me being prideful. Anyway, I managed to get a lot of cleaning done today and a surprise letter came in the mail. It’s from my knight.

The date on it says that he wrote it only a couple days ago. He should be coming home soon, and he mentions the kinds of things we’ll do when he gets home. Of course, I won’t mention everything since it’s…private, but he will make up for the time we lost. The money he’s earned for his services should keep him home long enough for both of us to take care of our children. He’ll have to get a normal job after, but at least we can raise our children together.

It’s almost time for bed. Something seems to be happening in town. I hear someone call for help and that they’ve been robbed by a thief. Looking outside, I see a man in black running away from city guards. Thieves aren’t common in this town since it’s a small town with nothing much to it other than its serenity. The thief seems to have dropped a few things while being chased. Since the guards didn’t pick up what was dropped, I go outside to see what was dropped and find a bunch of expensive looking jewelry.

No one else is out here, so I might as well take it. Who knows if that thief is out here alone? Maybe there’s another one out here who he dropped this jewelry here for? I pick everything up from the ground and make my way towards the jail. There I can leave the stolen items so the owner can pick them back up. Even though I don’t get anything out of it other than thanks, I should still make sure that someone responsible has it rather than just leave it here.

Or, I could just keep it for myself. No one else is out here and my house is a short distance away.

No, I…damn temptations. I’m bringing this to safety. There’s more on the ground. I guess I have to pick this up too since it seems like everyone else in town is sleeping. The trail of riches leads me to a house. This is weird. It seems like the guards didn’t catch the thief here. Maybe the thief thought he could drop off some of his stuff here or is this his house? Oh? There’s a hidden switch where some of this treasure is. Oh my, I find a basement filled with gold, jewelry, statues, and paintings. Is this the thief’s house or someone else’s? Maybe the thief accomplice and this is their treasure or is there another thief out tonight? I might be overthinking this.

Look at all this expensive stuff. How much is it all worth? Does the person who lives here own everything? How much of it is stolen? How did it all get stolen? So many questions, so many things. There are dresses and outfits here fit for kings and queens. If only I had this.

Maybe I can. The thief is probably long gone along with the guards. The rest of the town is asleep so I can take as much as I want.

I shouldn’t.

Why not? You are a princess to a knight after all.

“Princess!”

A couple knights come into the basement. They’re clad in gold and have golden weapons and shields.

“Who are you? Ah! Where are you taking me?”

We leave the basement and end up in a kingdom shimmering with gold. The people wear gold, the town is made of gold, and I’m wearing a golden outfit with a golden crown. This entire place shines as if it were the sun. I’m at the top of a castle, made of gold of course. Going into it, I find-! My husband who is dressed like the guards except he is wearing a very royal set of armor.

“Anita, you shouldn’t keep your children, your people, and I waiting,” he says to me with five children around him.

These five children are mine? People start coming in with gifts for me. Statues and paintings of me come in along with vases, furniture, food, drinks, and other luxuries are presented to me. It’s a lot. Do I really need all of this? A woman, who looks like me, goes from my side to in front of me. She has a weird look to her face, so she’s probably another demon.

“It’s not a question of need, but of want. All of this is being given to you at no cost to you. What’s better than treasures that cost you nothing?”

“All I need is the love of God and others like my husband. Everything else is extra.”

“This is the extra. Why not indulge yourself in it? You are a princess after all.”

“No, I’m not. This isn’t real.”

“Oh, but it can be! Take the treasures in front of you and you might have your own land to rule over. You might even obtain the kingdoms of the world if you take what you desire.”

“I don’t need it.”

I throw off my golden crown, take off my golden slippers and gloves, and go out the door into darkness. I’m not sure if my eyes need to adjust after being in the golden city for a bit, but I can’t see anything. Nevertheless, I walk into the darkness because it’s better than giving into temptations. What? What’s going on? My legs are turning into gold. They’re harder to move now as if my legs were asleep. AAAHHH! My legs just shattered into pieces. I have to get out of here.

That demon is behind me now.

“Come back and claim your treasure. The rest of you will break if you don’t come back.”

Now part of my face and part of my back feel stiff. They turned into gold too. I’m not going to turn back. This is all just a trick. There’s no way I’m going to give in. AAAHHHH! My face and back are shattered. I don’t know how I’m still alive, but I’m still going.

“You aren’t going to make it. Give in already. I’ll help you get back to safety.”

“Not going to happen!”

I don’t see an exit, but I feel one coming. Oh no. My right arm is turning into gold. It’s going to break if I don’t get to the exit soon. Come on. I don’t think I’m going to make it. Please, God. AAAAHHHH!

“God is just going to make you suffer more. Forget Him.”

“He’s just testing my faith in Him. I’ll make it through it. I trust in Him.”

I still have one arm. My body feels incredibly stiff, but I’m still moving. Almost there. The exit feels like it’s within reach. Here!

“Woah there miss! Explain to us why you’re carrying all of those stolen goods into here.”

I’m in the guards’ building. The thief is behind bars.

“I…I found this while you were chasing the thief. I thought I’d give them to you so you can get them to their proper owner.”

“You’re a model citizen miss. Please, let me help you lay it all down on the table. I’m surprised you carried all of this here. It’s incredibly heavy stuff. Hold on…I don’t remember some of this being dropped. Where did you find this?”

“On the streets dropped on the floor. Oh, and a trail of it led to a house with treasures in it. You didn’t chase him that house, did you?”

“No, it was a rather simple house. Lead us to it if you will.”

When I lead the guards back to the house, they find the thief’s accomplice and arrest her. She was hoarding the treasures they had in their secret basement after her husband had dropped them along the way. She was also doing a little thievery of her own during the night. Because of my efforts, I’m given a fairly large reward of gold. A guard writes a letter to the capital, so there’s going to be more of them here so that what happened here isn’t repeated.

Once all of that is done, a guard sketches my picture and puts it on their wall of model citizens along with what I did. The drawing isn’t too accurate, but at least they have my full name under it. I thank the guards and head back home for some well deserved rest. Huh? The sun is rising already? No rest for the weary, I guess.

 

 

 

Chapter 4 – Inertia

After last night, I feel exhausted. All of my energy feels completely drained, and I don’t feel like doing anything today even after sleeping until the afternoon. The house is collecting an odd amount of dust today. My strength only allows me to do so much before I feel like I have to sit down. The stiffness that demon caused me to be more tired than I’m used to. This challenge has probably been building up in me.

These days where I just uselessly labor away, cleaning the house, fixing things, and denying temptations just to do it all over again the next day without much rest. I just want a day or two where I do nothing and rest my mind without a care in the world. If I can do that, then I’ll have the strength to go back to my boring life again. It’s not wrong of me to ask for that, is it?

Because of my thoughts and tiredness, I’m not sure which thoughts are mine and which ones are my temptations. If they are one in the same to the point where I cannot tell the difference, then I’m in deep trouble. I know of saints that were never tired when they were doing more than I am. Am I so lazy that I can’t even do the meager tasks I’m supposed to? Am I allowed to rest today and maybe tomorrow to get my strength back? Am I being too scrupulous with myself?

The house is fine the way it is. If my knight came back in a few days and found the house dirty, then would he blame me for it? A lonely life of toiling away at a house that can never stay clean takes its toll on you after a while. It’s similar to life. You keep yourself healthy and happy until you eventually die. I shouldn’t think like this. I shouldn’t think at all today. The only thing in my mind is rest.

I’ve been getting up cleaning a bit then sitting down for most of the day. My eyes have been glued to the ceiling for what feels like hours. The sun is setting now, and I’ve barely done anything. I guess you can’t blame me after what I’ve been through mentally. Still, I could at least tidy myself for tomorrow.

My strength feels like it’s been completely sapped from me. Everything from my arms, legs, and body feel incapable of movement. If I could, I would just fall asleep on the floor and get up when I can whenever that might be. My mind has been going in circles for hours now with silence from time to time. Hopefully, tomorrow will be better.

What’s that over there? Is that another demon coming my way? It looks like me as drawn by a child. Completely green eyes, no noes, and a line for a mouth with brown hair and black clothes. It’s crawling towards me with its claw-like hands and I barely have the strength to move.

“Why move when you don’t need to? I’m so lazy that my legs have lost their function.”

“I’m not like you. Once I rest up, I’ll be back on my feet to do what I always do.”

“What you need to do is rest? Your knight might have pity on you and treat you extra special when he comes home.”

“He knows I’m not a lazy wife.”

“Then just rest for today. I’m not my other sisters. I won’t tempt you in any way. I’m too lazy to.”

“Good. You can leave me then.”

“I’m not that lazy.”

What’s coming out of the ceiling, the walls, and floors? Are those maggots or termites? They’re eating everything around them and they’re crawling on me. AAAAHHHHH! The maggots feel like they’re burrowing into my skin. They’re in my eyes and mouth! I have to move or else everything I have and am will be consumed.

“Decay does all the work for me. I don’t need to do anything. Your inactivity helps me as well.”

“Then you’re going to be disappointed.”

It takes everything I have to clean the maggots off me with whatever water I have. It’s incredibly painful to pick them out of my eyes and get them out of my mouth and ears too. Now I have to clean them from my floors. I get my mops and brooms to clean them from every surface of my house.

“Why are you worried about losing your house and everything in it? Blessed are the poor for theirs is the kingdom of heaven, right?”

“I’m still allowed to have my house. Plus, taking care of my house is my God given responsibility as a wife.”

“You’re going to lose everything anyway when you die.”

“This is still my responsibility.”

“Who’s going to care when works don’t get you into Heaven?”

“It’s faith show by works that show God that I am a willing servant of His that get you into Heaven. Not faith alone nor works alone. That and God’s sanctifying grace.”

“…I’m too lazy to come up with another argument. Three is usually enough.”

“You’re really talkative for being lazy.”

“It’s a problem I’m trying to get rid of.”

Most of the maggots and termites are gone now, but more are still appearing in the house. This demon is probably the reason why they keep appearing.

“Your maggots and you are really starting to get on my nerves. I think it’s time to leave. Holy Mary Mother of God pray for me a sinner and get rid of this demon torturing me.”

“Oh no, don’t invoke her. I hate her more than most saints.”

“Too bad.”

The demon is dragged out the door by an invisible force and the maggots and termites get sucked out with her. I’m almost afraid to rest now. Oh, I almost forgot to say my rosary for the day. To give my proper thanks to Mary, I say the rosary on my knees. If I’m allowed to rest, please give me a sign…

 

 

 

 

Chapter 5 – Ira

Ah! I must’ve fallen asleep while praying. Huh. I remember don’t holding my rosary at the end. I’m also laying down in bed with the covers on even though I clearly remember praying on my knees. My guardian angel probably put me in bed and finished my rosary for me. It’s a good start to a terrible day. For some reason, it’s one of those days where I drop things, stub my toe, hurt myself by accident, trip on nothing, and fall into the dirt.

Even though I’m aggravated, I thank God for my gifts and challenges, so that I may be a better person-and a bird just pooped on my head. Stupid bird! Don’t throw a rock at it. I won’t even hit it. Gotta stay calm. Go to keep mentally praying for strength-ack! I stub my toe again while walking back inside. Stupid, stupid, stupid! I just want today to be over. That’s not all I want to be over.

The cycle of waiting for my husband to come home and keeping myself busy repeats every single day. I swear this house is cursed because dirt and dust didn’t build up this quick in my parent’s house. It’s either that or I’m so bored that I notice even the smallest build up of dust. There has to be something else I can do. I could go to church and spend time there, but I pray most of the day anyway. What’s the point of doing it in a church if I can get results just by staying home? I don’t really know anyone in town since my house is far from most. The town itself is simple and small with nothing really going on in it. How did my husband convince me to move here with just the house and the look of the town as the main points?

Before I was bored, but now, I’m aggravated. Repeating the same things over and over in my head with no resolution is getting to me. No husband, no children, no friends, and no family. My temptations torture me every single day of my life with something new or something irritating old. I guess I shouldn’t ask for anything new to happen to me because that just makes my life more difficult. If I ask for things to stay the same, then I just get hit with the same temptations until they overcome me. No, I let them overcome me.

You’d think I’d learn to never fall to temptations, but I have. Repeatedly to the same ones too. Thankfully the only people that know about the sins I’ve committed are the priests at the local church, God, and my guardian angel, but that doesn’t excuse me for letting myself fall to weakness. I could’ve done something different. It would’ve been better if I did nothing, but no, I just had to feel better and run the risk of damning my soul to Hell. Thank you, God, for being so patient and forgiving because I would’ve gone to Hell several times by now. I just wish I had more help in my life. There has to be something good waiting for me around the corner. Woah! Are those?

“Hey! Ow! Oww! Stop it! Get away from me! Get out of my house!”

“There they are in that woman’s house!”

“Come on, we got our fill for now. Let’s go!”

Ah…ah. Those two were the thieves from before seeking revenge on me. The guards that were chasing them were the only thing that got them out of my house. Oh…no. They’ve torn up my living room and my clothes I’m wearing and hair…My house is a wreck now. I’m all beat up and bruised. All of that effort I put into being a good sinless wife has brought me, what? More difficult temptations to deal with and now a beating by criminals? And they’re going to come back for more?

These people don’t deserve mercy. They don’t deserve to be prayed for. The only thing I can think to ask God to give them is discipline, which I’m about to give to them. I can feel myself running faster than I usually do despite being injured. Maybe it’s because my skirt is torn in half or because I’m surging with rage. My newfound speed allows me to speed through the streets while avoiding the people around me until I see the thieves going into the forest. They manage to lose the guards, but they don’t lose me. These two have a little treehouse in the forest. Maybe it’s their backup location since their other one is compromised. Whatever the case is, it’s time for my revenge.

For some reason, I don’t even wait for them to separate or have their guard down. Once I get close to them, I barge into their hideout and use everything they have as a weapon. The statues, paintings, vases, and other valuables become my sword and shield against them. Before I could barely stand my ground against one of them, but now I’m able to fight both of them without even trying. It’s like I have multiple arms and my mind is thinking at the speed of light. Once they are down, a thief who is shorter than the man but taller than the woman shows up to fight me, but he’s no match for me. That felt liberating. All of my stress and built up anger is gone.

My vision clears to show me what I’ve done. The smaller thief seems to be the thieves’ teenage child. Rotten parents raise rotten children it seems. Looking down into an expensive mirror I broke, I can see the rage burning inside me. A fire burns my eyes and mouth. I do have multiple arms coming out of my back, which are all lanky, white, and slightly red. I look like a monster.

“This should teach you a lesson about stealing from others. I’ll pray for your soul, but I never want to see you again in this life again, got it?”

“W-w-we got it. Pl-p-ple-please leave.”

I’m not sure if this was a good decision anymore. Uck, I feel sick. Blech! Ugh. What’s going on? I’m puking fire? Is this the fire I saw within myself? My chest and mouth are burning as if I really did puke fire. The entire forest is on fire now because of the fire I puked. Is that a woman forming out of the fire? Her dress looks like fire itself and her face, eyes, and hair are similar to mine, but her hair has a red lining to it.

“So much for being a good wife and faithful servant of God.”

“I still am. I just lost myself a bit, that’s all.”

“Are you sure about that? Look around you. These are the fires that you held within yourself. Look at the people you hurt. You can come up with as many excuses as you want, but you know it would’ve been better if you didn’t do anything at all, a reoccurring problem for you.”

“I don’t need you to lecture me on what I should and shouldn’t do. All I need to do is go to confession, do penance, and be stronger next time.”

“I doubt you’ll get to confession in this situation.”

Multiple versions of the woman start coming out of the fire. They laugh and taunt me.

“Look at the freak.”

“She’s barely able to control herself.”

“What a child.”

“And a spoiled child at that.”

“She can’t even handle a simple, boring life.”

I fight off the taunting demons-blech! But now I’m puking more fire. My problem isn’t them. It’s me. I have to get out of here. Ah! Oww! These demons won’t stop hitting and mocking me. I can’t fight back or else I’ll keep puking fire and won’t be able to get out. These flames on me now, but I can’t put them out. There’s nothing I can do but run and run.  I don’t think I can make it! This burning is unbearable!

“Someone help me! I’m burning alive here! AAAAAAAAH!”

I’m sorry for what I did! I let myself lose control and embraced my anger. I’ll pay whatever price I have to. Just please have mercy! My whole body is engulfed in flames. If I die, I hope to be purified in the flames of Purgatory. Please, God, have mercy on me…

Huh? I’m…I’m alive? The forest isn’t on fire anymore and those extra arms I had are gone. I can see the thieves and their child getting arrested by the guards in the distance. That’s weird. I swear I got further away, but I’m very thankful for this mercy. It’s probably for the best that I’m this far away from them. Even though I might’ve deserved revenge, I don’t think I carried it out the way I was supposed to. It’s time to go back home and clean up…again.

Before the sun sets, some guards stop by and give me some funds for the damage that was caused by the thieves.

“It’s the least we can do,” they say, “We’ve also caught the thieves that have done this. They’ll be sent to a more protected jail for their crimes.”

“Thank you for the kind gift.”

“Don’t mention it. Have a good night, miss, and try not to make any more enemies.”

“Will do.”

They leave as I close the door. The money I have is enough to replace the things lost to me, but I’m afraid I lost something more when I fell to temptation. I’ll have to get up early in the morning to get absolution for my sins as soon as possible. I don’t want to make God think I don’t appreciate the second chance He’s given me.

 

 

 

 

Chapter 6 – Invidia

I say my confession and do my penance early in the morning. I’m surprised that the priest that gave me my penance wasn’t too harsh on me and was understanding. Of course, that’s how priests are supposed to be, but I thought what I did would’ve gotten me a long penance like community service instead of just praying the whole rosary twice in a day. Still, I’m glad that my soul is absolved of my sins. Hopefully, my next temptations aren’t as bad as yesterdays.

The two rosaries I said today should grant me sufficient protection, but I should do more. Today I work twice as hard on doing things that God would approve of. The inside and outside of the house are cleaned up after yesterday’s events. I’ve drawn more pictures to put up around the house. The stories I’m making for my children are almost done. There are some scary elements to it, but they should be able to handle it. My temptations have allowed me to expand my creative mind, so I’ve recently made more progress on these stories than I have before. I guess that means I’m facing these temptations the right way.

Whew! That was a busy day for me. It’s time to get some well-deserved rest now-hmm? What’s that noise outside? Oh, that’s right. The town has a little celebration because of the feast day of a few saints that’s associated it with it. It looks like most of the people in town are participating in it. I wish I could be a part of it, but I don’t have anyone to go with.

Those people are so blessed with their children, spouses, family, and friends while I have none of that. I’m on repeat with what my mind focuses and complains about. How can I not when I see people happier than me? All I do is housework all day with a few recreational activities. My husband might not be coming home to me while my sisters and friends didn’t have to deal with that. What friends do I even have when I think about it? The priests and merchants in town? Do those really count as friends?

What about family? They don’t even live in this town and I doubt they’ll ever move here. I was the only child to move out of the town that my family stayed in. Was that really the best decision? I know that I don’t have to worry about money now for the house and food, but is it worth it for a life like this? Temptations day and night…this was one of them. I hope I haven’t sinned in my thoughts. I just went to confession and did my penance too. I don’t think it’s a mortal sin if I did sin in my thoughts because those I did without full control of myself.

Am I making excuses for my sins again? What? What’s going on with my arms? They’re turning green and brown! It’s spread throughout my whole body now! AAAHH! Parts of me are falling off like before when they turned to gold, except I start to fall apart when I move. I have to stay still to stop from falling apart. What are these hands around me? I look up to see another demon who is posing as me. This one is wearing green and black instead of my blue and white. It has its hands over my head like it’s squeezing it, but despite it not touching me, I can still feel the pressure on my head.

“Keep thinking what you were thinking. There’s no shame in telling the truth of how you feel.”

“But I’m envious of others when I should be thankful of what I have. I shouldn’t be jealous of them. If anything, I should be praying for them. I’m sure they have challenges of their own.”

Parts of my body that I lost, like my right arm, are growing back. That’s good. I just have to keep praying in my mind to keep the temptations at bay.

“What about what you’ve gone through and are going through? You’re literally green with envy. Your body has turned into grass and dirt and falling apart as if you were turning back into the dust you were made from.”

“This is my cross to bear. I’ll do whatever God wants me to do.”

“Again, with these thoughts and devotions about God. Why can’t you fall in love with me?”

“Because what you call love isn’t love at all. I’ll only suffer more if I fall to your temptations.”

“You’re so stubborn, but you’ll fall again eventually.”

“I pray that I won’t.”

“Then you better keep praying.”

Images and sounds of people that I would be jealous of start filling my head. I’m shaking as I try to resist them, but this makes me begin to fall apart, so I have to try to stay still at the same time. I need better thoughts to counter these ones. Let me think. Uhhh, oh! I’m thankful for the life I have. My husband is a wonderful and strong man and I just know that I’m going to see him again. My house is nice and everything inside and outside of it is great. I’m thankful for my God-given skills as a housewife, artist, and writer. I pray for everyone who is suffering out there. I pray for the continued happiness of everyone who is currently happy and offer my sufferings as reparations for their sins. I pray for the souls in Purgatory. I pray for those who have yet to find salvation through the Catholic Church.

Huh? Where did the demon go? I’m back to normal, so I guess I did the right thing. I’ll have to reexamine my conscience then continue to pray for other people and myself. It’s a constant battle I always have to fight, don’t I?

 

 

 

Chapter 7 – Superbia

Today’s another great day to be good. I’ve already done everything I needed to yesterday so I can treat myself to some good relaxation today. I went to church early today, said my rosary, done my shopping, and even dressed up my house for my knight’s coming home. He could be coming home soon, so I set up the house to be extra nice for him. I can’t wait for him to come home and see the surprised look on his face. He should be so excited to see me that we might get to baby making as soon as he settles down. What knight wouldn’t want to do that when he comes home from war to a beautiful wife like myself?

I’ve always got a lot of food that we love ready to go. Since I got extra, I had a little for lunch already. I’m sure he won’t mind that is if he comes home. He should know that I’m a hard working woman that deserves her due reward for her faithfulness to God and her husband. I’ve also done my part in charity. Whatever wealth and possessions I haven’t donated are mine to keep. The extra things I’ve done should cover me for a while. If they don’t, I’ll just give whatever things that I have that I don’t really need.

I should stop overthinking about the things I do and the consequences of them. Since God is good, all I have to do is go to confession, do my penance, and that’s it! I’m set for Heaven! Today’s my day to rest and I’ve been enjoying the fresh Sunday air without a worry in the world. Damn it all. Why’s the town so loud today? Don’t they know that they should be resting today? Don’t they think about people like me who need a bit of silence from time to time? These people get on my nerve sometimes.

Part of me has to admit my envy of them. Their joy, energy, and want to do good for God and everyone is admirable. I wish I had what they did. I know I recently suffered from the sin of envy, but it’s just a thought that I sometimes have. I’ll get over it because I’m stronger than most women. Who else could go through the psychological and supernatural things that I have and come out mostly unscathed? All of the horrors I’ve gone through would scare a veteran warrior or exorcist. My nerves are made of steel. Nothing can overcome me.

Are you finished talking about yourself yet? Myself, I mean.

What are you talking about? I’m just speaking the truth.

You grew and took over half of my body when I looked in the mirror after church. You jumped out from the mirror and now I have two heads and four breasts.

What’s the matter with that? It’s double the me! I’m sure my knight having two of me.

Everything. I’ve gone through thinking about the seven deadly sins because of you.

Because of me? Or because of you? Do you know how many times you think to yourself, “I do this, I do that, me, me, me, me”?

I have to think about myself and my actions sometimes to make sure I’m acting according to God’s will.

Why should you? You’re perfect as you are! Do you know that I’m your biggest fan? I’ve shapeshifted my form to look like you and keep changing it when you change. We’re like the same person! Maybe you can even help me get to Heaven. You should still be in the state of sanctifying grace, so your ticket to Heaven should be good.

Demons don’t belong in Heaven and they’ll never make it their home again.

Oh, but I do God’s will like you do. What’s the difference?

I’m redeemed by His sacrifice. You aren’t. You had your chance and you’ll never recover from your sin. I can pick myself when I fall as long as I put my hope and faith in Him. You can only fall and when He comes back, you’ll stay there forever.

Harsh words coming from a woman who always thinks about herself. You suffer from the sin of pride just like the devil.

Right now, all I have to care for is myself. I try to pray for those who are lost and suffering. There’s nothing else that I can do for the world.

Your constant mental prayer doesn’t help you. Just say the word and I’ll leave you.

I have been praying for you to go away. I’m always praying because I know I’m nothing without God. He loves me, I love Him, and that’s something that will never change.

AAAAAAHHHH!

There we go. I’m finally back to normal. Huh? Who could be at the door? No way!

“I heard there was a princess in need of a knight and I came to answer the call.”

“You came back!”

“You aren’t even going to try to roleplay?”

“Oh, get in here you, dork!”

We embrace and kiss for several minutes. He tries to calm me down, but I deeply miss him, so I hold onto him for a while with tears of joy in my eyes. He talks to me about his adventures over dinner, most of which I’ll be using in my stories and drawings. We spend the rest of the day in each other’s arms until it’s time to save it for tomorrow.

He didn’t even want to make children with you tonight. You could tie him up and get him too.

That’s wrong. I’m not going to do that.

But I bet you’re still thinking about it.

I’m thinking the rosary in my head right now. How about that? No answer? Good. Thank you, God, Mary, my guardian angel, and everyone else who prays for me in Heaven. Special thanks to you God as always. I couldn’t do anything without you.

 

The End

Choice and Consequence of Redemption: Fresh Blood

What is there to redeem when you kill for a good cause?

Nick is a boxer with a taste for blood. He prowls the streets of Hillside City every other night to kill criminals, abusive parents, and such. On one night, he comes across the Doll Factory, a secret organization that sells people as sex dolls. Doubts about his vigilantism come in and he has to decide whether or not if he should keep killing or help people in a more peaceful way. Will Nick kill more or let more people be used as objects rather than people? One more massacre? Or a dozen more victims?

Download the full story on Smashwords for free – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/884138

“The whole question here is: am I a monster, or a victim myself?”

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

 

Prologue – The Beginnings of a Killer

Many people choose what they want to be when they grow up though some are not as fortunate. Nick is one of those people. He wanted to be a boxer like his father and mother, but they didn’t allow it. They wanted to be the only ones in the family who held the fame. Like most children, Nick didn’t listen to his parents and practiced boxing behind their backs. He watched videos of them boxing and made his own style from theirs. When he got older, he contacted their trainer and told him to train him and why his parents didn’t want him to be one. The trainer sympathized with Nick and trained him behind his parents’ back. To truly test Nick’s skills, his trainer got Nick into several underground boxing tournaments. Nick ended up winning all of them, which lead to his trainer turning him into an official boxer.

His parents were left in the dark by everyone about Nick’s first real match, but they heard about it when social media started blowing up about their son beating a professional boxer without getting hit. After the match, they confronted Nick and started beating on him in public. The rage he’d held onto in his past finally exploded as he fought back against his parents. Since he’s studied their moves for years, he knew how to counter their attacks and fought against them effectively. Things went wrong once Nick had them against a wall with jagged metal sticking out. He punched them against the wall and the back of their heads hit the wall so hard that the impact kills them. Once his rage subsided, he saw what he’d done but he barely felt any regret. His trainer span this as an abused child finally being getting revenge on his parents for everything they’ve done. The trainer’s exposing of Nick’s parents saved Nick from being arrested and shamed his parent’s legacy as honorable fighters.

Now finally freed from his parent’s influence, he boxed without worry and forgot about their deaths a few weeks after it happened. His popularity rose, and his story became one told to inspire people. Eventually, he met Allison, a fan of his who he gave his number to. The two spent some time with each other and got married. They settled in their hometown of Hillside City and traveled together as Nick fought to win not only for himself now but for his treasured wife.

After fighting for three years, he got tired of doing it since it didn’t have the same excitement that killing his parents had. On one Halloween night, he created a mask for himself and went out into the streets of Hillside City. He searched for someone to fight in a city known for its crime and crazy people. Finally, he found a couple of people who were stealing from a stranger. He defended this stranger and beat the two thieves to death. The stranger thanked Nick before quickly walking away as Nick scared him. The thrill came back to him and Nick found his true passion. From then on, Nick went out every other night to find another criminal to beat to death. He particularly liked to kill child abusers. The excuse he told Allison was that he went out every other night to practice with a few of his boxing friends, which she bought since she trusted him so much.

Allison is the person Nick values most in the world. Everything he does is to help her. He’s now a killer vigilante in Hillside City so that he can create a better city for her to live in. They’re now staying in Hillside City after Nick’s recent victory in another boxing tournament. Soon, Nick’s killings will resume, something that he eagerly awaits.

 

 

Chapter 1 – A Killer’s Night

Tainted blood is going to be spilled tonight as Nick takes his mask, hides it in his jacket, and walks into the worst parts of Hillside City. His habits of going out every other night have gotten him used to what sounds like trouble and what doesn’t. Sometimes he runs to find two people messing with each other or forcefully enters a house to find a couple roleplaying. Now he can better determine what is and isn’t trouble, or at least he can most of the time. Besides looking for people who could be in trouble, he also keeps a list of criminals living in the city. Since Hillside City and its police force have a low tolerance for criminals, it doesn’t matter to them if these people are taken in alive or if their corpse is sent to them. Of course, Nick doesn’t need the money from the bounties on their heads, so he just lets the nearest person call it in with the promise they’ll receive a reward and the same treatment if they should become that criminal.

He’s gained a reputation for himself as a vigilante. The name that’s been given to him is The Fist of Punishment. Even though Nick could think of other names, he sticks with it as the name does have a ring to it. There have been other vigilantes who have popped up here and there inspired by his actions. Even some cops celebrate his name as Nick does what some of them want to do.

While walking the streets, he sees a drug deal taking place in a dark alley. The dealer and buyer catch sight of Nick looking at him and retreat further into the alley with their hands in their pockets to hide what they have. Nick puts on his mask and enters the alley. The two get back to their deal, but once they look back outside of the alley they see Nick fast approaching. One tries pulling out his gun, but Nick gets to him and knocks it out of his hand. He then punches the dealer in the throat then takes the seller by the head and beats his head against the wall. After that, he finishes off the seller by breaking his already broken throat. Nick then leaves the bodies in the alleyway to rot as he does with most.

Nick could get away with taking the money off the criminals he kills since he wears gloves to avoid getting his fingerprints on things, but he doesn’t unless he wants to get something extra for Allison or himself. The criminal industry is rich and a good place to find rich people in though there aren’t many rich criminals in Hillside City. Most are either middle class or poor and Nick detests taking from the poor. He doesn’t mind, however, taking away evil people from their families. He thinks to himself that he’s doing them a favor because if they really cared for their families, they wouldn’t be committing evil deeds.

Some of the older abandoned buildings are used by criminals and is usually a good place for Nick to find new prey despite him clearing them out every now then. He goes to a nearby abandoned food corner store and enters in through the alleyway door, which is already open. Nature has taken over some of the building and slowly is destroying it as vines and foliage are on the walls and in the floors. Nick watches his step while being sneaky. He can hear two people talking about combining forces to better their business within the city. From a hole in the wall, Nick can see four people with pistols and a lone guard with an automatic shotgun near the only door in. Nick finds a pebble on the ground and throws it through the hole, which makes everyone look to see where it lands.

“This place is falling apart. We shouldn’t keep meeting here,” one of them says.

“Our family used to own this place. I’d thought you’d be more sentimental.”

“I’m more sentimental about my life.”

“Don’t worry about that, nature is holding up this building for us.”

Nick manages to get to the guard and snap his neck then take his shotgun. Just because he’s proficient in using his fists doesn’t mean he isn’t good with firearms. The criminals were about to take out their pistols, but the sight of Nick’s makes them hesitate since they remember the rumors about The Fist of Punishment. This hesitation gives Nick the opportunity to blast the criminals away or at least most of their body parts. Two are dead while one is clutching the place where his left leg used to be. Nick finishes the injured man off with the last shotgun shell. The fourth one that managed to take cover is shaking from a paralyzing fear. He begs for mercy, which Nick has none of. Nick punches the man in the face then impales the man’s face on broken glass. Knowing that the police should be here soon, Nick quickly leaves the scene by going through the back alley.

While going through the alleyway, his eyes catch a fresh bloody handprint on one of the backdoors of a house. He quietly goes into the house and checks upstairs to find a single sleeping guard. He’s wearing a weird masquerade mask that appears to be horror themed with weird makeup and blood red marks on it. He has a silenced assault rifle by his side leaning on the chair. The guard appears to have been guarding this house by a sniper’s window but fell asleep. Nick easily snaps his neck and takes the man’s assault rifle just in case there are more people in here with the same weaponry. He also finds a key on the man, which he uses on the nearby bedroom doors. In them, are several other people like the guard with different masquerade masks like his. Nick finds their weapons next to them and one of them has a knife, which makes his work easier. With the guards upstairs dead, he goes downstairs to the basement. The door is locked, so he uses the key he found on the guard.

Down in the basement, he has to unlock another door to see the horrors it contains. Each of the basement rooms contains a single naked man, woman, or child who is strapped to a bed and appear to be sex slaves. Some of the slaves have one or two of their limbs cut off while some even have their eyes sewn shut or pluck out entirely. The place smelled strange when Nick entered and now he knows why. There’s a map in the basement with certain houses circled including this one. He unlocks the cell doors then uses one of the guard’s phones to call the police and notifies them of what he found before leaving the house with only the map in hand.

Not too far from the house, Nick comes across two hooded people who are wearing purple butterfly masks.

The man says, “Out on the town again on this beautiful night? It’s a wonder that we keep seeing each other.”

“Have you reconsidered our offer yet?” the woman says.

“I haven’t. I’m not going to be part of your little group so you can tell Maria to stop asking if she wants me to keep being friendly.”

“Hey, you don’t need to be like that,” the man says, “So, meet any interesting people tonight?”

“There’s some sort of sex slavery organization here in the city. I just cleared out one of their houses and freed their victims.”

“We heard rumors of them being in the city. Thanks for confirming them. They’re an international sex slavery organization called The Doll Factory. They do business with all sorts of nasty groups. I heard on the news that they even caught an army sergeant and made her into a baby maker.”

“What?”

“Don’t worry about her since she eventually broke free and got her revenge. You should worry about their current and potential victims. Join us and we’ll help you get rid of them from this city.”

“You can do your own thing, but I will let you copy of this map I found in their hideout.”

“Let’s see it.”

The two put the locations of the Doll Factory’s hideout into their GPS on their phones.

“Your help will not be forgotten. We could still use your help though.”

“I’ll help by taking out locations that you aren’t.”

“Fair enough.”

“What are you two even doing around here anyway?”

The woman answers, “We’re going to visit a man who’s a lot like you. He’s a married serial killer who needs a punishment worse than death.”

“Kill his wife. That’ll do the trick. A woman married to a serial killer can’t be that innocent.”

“We were thinking the same thing. Before we go, we have to call you by a certain name. You can’t just keep leaving us before you give us your name?”

“You want my name? As in my real name?”

“Or some sort of code name.”

“Call me Amon.”

“Call us Sirene and Caim.”

“Heh, you like that series too?”

“What series?”

“Nevermind. I need to get back home.”

“See you again, hopefully.”

“Sure.”

Nick walks away from the two and back home to Allison. He sleeps with the aching feeling that he shouldn’t wait a day before going out again to kill especially with the Doll Factory in the city. He hopes that his time with Allison tomorrow will change his mind.

 

Chapter 2 – Keeping your Demons

It’s three at night. Nick has arrived home after being out for four hours. Sometimes he stays out longer or comes home even earlier because the police send out more officers if the criminal activity becomes high, which usually happens on full moons. He lays down on his bed with his sleeping wife. He thinks about what happened as he tries to fall asleep. His wife holds him while she’s sleeping as if part of her can feel his anxiety. Her touch puts him at peace. As he smiles and touches her face, she smiles as well before her head slowly cracks open in two. Nick quickly forces it together before going to the nearby bathroom to see that his head is completely spilt in two. His mirror image smiles at him and starts pulling out insects from his head.

The mirror version of himself says, “We have to clean out our head more often, don’t we?”

“Shut up.”

Nick then reaches into the mirror and puts the mirrored version of his head back together then goes back to sleep. As soon as he hits the bed, he wakes up holding Allison and Allison holding him. She wakes up and smiles at him, which makes him smile in return.

“Good morning sunshine,” she says before kissing him then getting up, “Are you ready for today?”

“I’m ready.”

The couple goes downstairs, and Allison begins making breakfast while Nick sets the table.

“Did you have fun last night?”

“I did. How was work?”

“It was “great” as always.”

“You could take up boxing like I do. We could go into mixed leagues together or maybe even do professional wrestling. I taught you how to defend yourself already.”

“You want us to be like your parents?”

“We aren’t going to let the fame get to our heads like them.”

“We don’t even have any kids yet and I expected them after we got married.”

“I just want to be set in life before we have our child, so we don’t need to worry about money.”

“We already don’t have to.”

“Ok, how about we do this next week when we go to Italy?”

“You better butter me up today, so that’ll sound like a good idea.”

“Do you mean literally or…”

“I will mean literally if you keep it up, mister.”

Allison makes French toast today and the two eat while watching the news. Nick likes watching it to see people recognize his work and if there are certain criminals he should look out for.

“So, if work was “great” as always, does that mean that the doctors are still being hard on you?”

“Of course, and how can you blame them? Hillside City is a hot place that always has people coming into the hospital. I have to make sure everything is correct and prepared for them so that they can treat their patients properly. I don’t mind it when they get agitated at me because I understand how they feel.”

“I mind it. They should understand your situation as well.”

“They only know me as Nick the Young Boxing Legend’s wife. They think I live an easy life and shouldn’t even have my job.”

“I don’t think you should either. You can probably do more good by getting your name out there and supporting charities like I do. It’s better than being a doctor’s assistant or nurse or whatever you call it.”

“Well I’m doing what I want, and I’ve helped dozens of people by doing it.”

“I’m not trying to say you’re not.”

“Then that’ll be the end of that discussion.”

The news talks about the Doll Factory hideout Nick went to and describes what they found.

“That’s absolutely horrible,” Allison comments.

“…I know.”

“If only we could do something about it.”

“…”

“Maybe you can talk about it on your social media accounts or during your next interviews?”

“I will,” Nick says as he spreads the news about the Doll Factory, “I just wish I could do more.”

“Like what? Challenge them to a boxing match and beat their face in?”

“Yes.”

“As much as that idea sounds appealing, you can’t always beat down evil in the face. Violence isn’t the best answer to anything in my opinion.”

What Allison says catches Nick by surprise.

He says, “Oh, but what about the vigilantes in the city like the Fist of Justice. He has a stupid name sure, but he seems to be doing a lot of good.”

“Not really. All he does is go around town and kill people. We’ll probably end up saving more lives than him even if we don’t get rid of criminals like him.”

Now Nick is completely caught off guard. He never got Allison’s opinion on his vigilantism until now because no one like the Doll Factory came into town until now.

“Are you okay babe?” Allison says to Nick who’s shocked.

“Y-yeah.”

“You’re better than that loser who’s trying to act like a hero.”

“…”

“Anyways, should we go out now?”

“Yeah.”

Nick isn’t sure what to think anymore. The person he listens to most just made him doubtful of what he likes doing the most besides being with her. He puts the thought aside so he can enjoy his day with his treasure. They go out together to the suburban part of Hillside City, which is called Hillfall Town. Allison always liked nature more than the city. There’s a clearing in a nearby forest that they like going to and where people usually go for picnics or big events. They set up a little picnic and just enjoy the nice weather. Their lives are filled with noise and they’ve already said what they’ve wanted to this morning, so it’s refreshing for them to tell each other how much they love each other in a soundless way. Allison lays down in Nick’s arms as they sit in the shade. A slight breeze makes the weather feel perfect while the chirping of birds gives the forest a nice background noise. They sit this way a little more than an hour, which results in them falling asleep.

Another hour passes and a noise in the forest wakes up Nick while Allison still sleeps. He looks around and the noise continues as it sounds like a person walking. He slowly puts down Allison on the blanket then gets up to search the area. The noise stops and starts almost randomly. No matter what direction Nick seems to go in, he can’t seem to find the source of the noise. Nick’s own shadow begins to take form. It tries to grab Nick, but he grabs it instead. The shadow takes the form of Nick, but with black scars on his body.

He says, “I was just going to give you a little scare. Nothing serious.”

“I know what you’re thinking. We’ve been through this before.”

“And I’m never going to stop unless you let go. You can’t control the powers of your nightmares for long. It will overcome you eventually.”

“Not if I can’t resist it.”

Nick lets go of the other him’s throat before continuing his search.

He says to it, “The thing in the forest wouldn’t happen to be one of my monsters, is it?”

“No. It’s probably someone who wants to enjoy the forest…or take advantage of people relaxing in it.”

“Which one do you think it is?”

“What do you think?”

The two Nicks combine to form one being made of nightmares. This usually happens to Nick without his knowledge on his killing nights. His face changes to a mask with a split face and a broken red halo on the back of his head. His hair is longer now and his back sprouts black wings. The shirt and pants on his body disappear so that his legs and hands are now made of jagged metal. Black markings hug his shoulders and sides and a red heart is exposed on his chest. Nick’s senses are now enhanced so he can hear and see better. He picks up the source of the sounds and chases after it. He sees a figure in the distance with a mask that’s like the ones that the Doll Factory have. Nick quickly runs to the mysterious individual to kill them before Allison wakes up. The mysterious individual is startled by the sound of Nick coming in their direction and unknowingly runs in the direction where is Allison. Nick quickens his pace until he can clearly see his target who can see him too. Nick appears to be the monster he is in the eyes of the mysterious individual, which only makes them run faster.

Nick eventually gets close enough so that he can tackle his target, but he tackles them in front of Allison, which wakes her up. Nick’s monstrous appearance disappears from the minds of Nick and the mystery person so that he looks normal now. Seeing that they’re in front of Allison, Nick repeatedly beats the person thinking that this was their intention all along. To find another person to kidnap and sell.

Allison separates the two then says, “What are you doing Nick?”

“This guy was sneaking around here in one of those masks that the Doll Factory have! We can’t let him escape!”

Allison turns to the person, “Tell me who you are.”

The mystery person reveals themselves to be a woman in her middle ages. She says, “I just came here to play a little prank on people. I run this web series where I scare people. It’s pretty popular right now, you might’ve heard of it.”

“Yeah, right. I don’t believe that for one second,” Nick dismissively says.

“Stop it, Nick. You can leave here miss. Just be careful next time you do something like this.”

“Thank you, and I’m sorry for intruding,” the woman says before running back into the forest.

There are a few moments of silence before Nick says, “You shouldn’t have let her go. She had one of those masks.”

“Then what would we do? It looks like you were going to kill her.”

“If she actually was one of those Doll Factory members, I probably would’ve. Those people are scum.”

“You shouldn’t think that way, Nick. You aren’t like that!”

Again, Allison criticizes Nick’s hidden killer personality. He doesn’t know what to do besides going out again tonight to get rid of the Doll Factory, so he doesn’t need to worry about them. After putting this situation behind them, they continue enjoying the rest of the day together until they go back home after watching the stars for a few hours.

At night in his sleep, he dreams of himself in a calm place with all of his monsters on a leash. Some of his monsters look like different boxers he’s fought and criminals he’s fought. Two of the monsters are his parents, which the other monsters continuously beat on. Nick is pondering on going out again tonight while his monsters try to break free from his control with more force than they usually do.

His other him sits by his side then says, “You know you want to go out there and paint the town red. What’s stopping you?”

“I don’t know.”

“Is it Allison? She’s usually right when it comes to moral judgments. Maybe you shouldn’t be a vigilante after all.”

“How about this. The Doll Factory will be my last targets. Once they are dealt with and their captives free, the city will be safer, and we can live in relative peace.”

“If you think that is the right option, then go for it. You do know the consequences if you fail, right?”

“I do, but I won’t fail. Not now and not ever. I will never fail Allison.”

“It seems like you already have.”

Nick gets up from his bed, gets his mask, the Doll Factory’s mask, and goes out for one last killing spree. His body is transformed and ready for all of the carnage he is about to relish in.

 

 

Chapter 3 – A Massacre Everyone Will Enjoy

Starting with the closest location on the map, Nick begins his crusade against the Doll Factory. The first location is a small warehouse not too far from the city. A location this close to the city would’ve gotten them caught a couple of days after they appeared, but they seem to be settled in. Nick thinks this could mean that the Doll Factory has ties to people in Hillside City, but it won’t matter what connections they have after tonight. As soon as he sneaks in, the building changes and the door behind him disappears.

“Surprised?” the other him says as Nick hides.

“I’m glad you’re here.”

“Don’t think for a second that you summoned me. There is another force at work here that wants to see the slaves set free and you’re being used as their means of liberation.”

“Give them my thanks. So they don’t care if these other people die?”

“They do, but these people are far more gone than you are. They don’t even sense beings like me.”

“It’s a shame.”

“You don’t mean that.”

“Of course I don’t.”

The other him gives Nick some of its power. Nick then uses it to make the guards think they’re hallucinating. Even though their senses are dull to their monsters, their minds are foggy. Nick has the power to easily make them see their own monsters who will destroy them, but he won’t. He’s a hands-on type of man. With his transformed body, he brutally kills every guard. They try to fight back hand to hand, but Nick has them beat in that regard with his skills and enhanced abilities. Some of the guards try using their guns, so Nick uses his new ability to blur the vision of the guards so that they see triples of Nick who act on their own and hurt them all the same. With all of the guards dead, Nick frees the prisoners and heads to the next location. He calls the police to get these people the help they need.

Along the way, he comes across Sirene and Caim who he cannot avoid talking to. They quickly catch up to him since they are excited that he’s out hunting with them.

Caim says, “Amon! You’re out at the right time. We’ve already planned what we’re going to do.”

“Just show me your plan of attack. We’ll work together on this one.”

“Right.”

Caim explains the Purple Butterflies plan of attack and marks the locations the Butterflies are going to hit last.

“We’re only going to work together this one time and that’s it,” Nick says.

“What do you mean ‘and that’s it’?” Caim says.

“My wife is making me reconsider vigilantism. She didn’t figure out that I go out every other night to do this, but we did talk about my vigilante identity. She doesn’t approve of it to say the least.”

“Don’t listen to her,” Sirene says, “She doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Take it from a wife who knows best like you do.”

“Don’t say that. My wife is the most compassionate, and the smartest person I know.”

“Sirene, even if he takes a break, he won’t be able to stay away for too long. Amon craves justice for those who evade it.”

Caim brings up a thought that Nick has when he thinks about quitting vigilantism. He wants to go out and kill criminals and evil men and women. It’s like an unhealthy addiction for him. Allison’s opinion on his addiction is the only thing that’s making him think twice about killing.

“I’ll think about it. We should go now. I don’t want to let these people get away with making people into sex dolls.”

“You got that right. Let’s go Caim,” Sirene says.

“Good luck Nick.”

“You too.”

At the next hideout, Nick makes each of the guards freeze in place. They’re being held by their monsters, but since they can’t see them, all they feel is a cold chill and immobile. This allows Nick to savor each kill. He can beat them down to his enjoyment and tear them apart with the help of their own monsters. Several guards are frozen in ambush and sniper points in the building. They would’ve had the drop on Nick if he didn’t freeze them. It seems that they also know they’re under attack, but a couple don’t seem to care as they are frozen while using their own products. These people receive the worst deaths. Nick’s abilities have also affected the slaves as they see him as an angel of death. An avenger of the innocent and punisher of the guilty. Once they are freed, Nick leaves for the next hideout before the people can thank him. He calls the police to help these people as well.

On the way to the next location, Nick’s monsters begin to fight him. He wrestles control from them though it is more difficult to stay in control than before.

The other him appears and says, “Once this is done, you’ll eventually lose control. You know you will.”

“Then I’ll try to do as much damage as I can until then. I’m don’t think I’ll ever stop killing though.”

“That’s your choice to make, but what will Allison think if she finds out? You might lose her forever.”

“She won’t find out.”

“She won’t? That woman can be sneaky if she suspects something…You’re considering quitting now, aren’t you?”

“After this. Maybe I will.”

“It’ll be easier if you stop sooner than later.”

The other him fades away right before Nick gets to the next location. He’s on an island that used to be an amusement park. He must’ve teleported from the city to the island since he never got on a boat. The invisible forces at work here tend to do paranormal activities such as this to get people where they need to go. There isn’t any cover here so Nick is spotted immediately. He takes cover from the gunfire before unleashes the monsters of the guards. The monsters tear through the guards and give Nick cover to eliminate his fair share of them. After that, he frees the slaves and takes a boat back to the city with them. They thank him profusely, but he just nods in return. He calls the police to pick them up before heading back home.

The Purple Butterflies should be getting the rest of the hideouts and driving the Doll Factory out of the city. This should be the last killing spree of his. Nick slowly takes off his mask that feels like its stuck his face. The mask almost feels alive as it squirms and even screeches as it resists Nick. It releases sharp blades from the edges of the mask so it can stay firmly planted on Nick’s face. Nick stops trying to take it off when he senses someone watching him. It’s Caim and Sirene. They approach him when they know he’s noticed him.

Caim says, “Don’t stop now. It’s okay if we know who you really are.”

“Were you trying to take your mask off? Are you trying to quit?” Sirene asks.

Nick stays silent as the pain in his face subsides.

“You can’t quit,” Sirene adds, “The fact that your mask resists you proves it.”

“You don’t want to quit anyway. Not now.”

“Why not? I already took care of my portion of the Doll Factory.”

“It’s not that. The Doll Factory have been kidnapping people from this city while we were clearing their hideouts. We’ve dispersed people to find them.”

Nick’s heart stops for a second before he asks, “Do you know who they kidnapped?”

“Some random people and some high valued people.”

“Such as?”

“Some of these people are our loved ones, so I hope none of yours are on the list.”

“Just tell me!”

Caim lists off the people he knows were kidnapped. Allison comes up as one of them. All feeling in Nick’s body goes away and his heart feels like it stops. Caim and Sirene notice Nick’s shock and try talking to him, but he can’t hear them. He can’t hear anything except the quickening pace of his heart as he runs back home. He loses the two along the way. Back at home, he doesn’t find anything. It looks like they kidnapped Allison while she was still sleeping. The rage within him builds. He tightens his grip on his monsters as he heads out to find her while filled with rage and panic.

 

 

Chapter 4 – Righteous Anger

His added panic and anger has changed his alternate appearance. His wings are now four sharped tendrils and the red center of his chest is missing. His skin is white from fear and his eyes red with blood red tears flow from his face. The power within him is overflowing and allows him to teleport to the various hideouts. His powers affect everyone he comes across, which puts their minds in a powerful haze. He massacres any Doll Factory guards he finds while scaring the slaves and any Purple Butterflies that happen to be there.

Nick goes through a few hideouts until his monsters start fighting against him. He can longer teleport, and he has to run to his next location. The city unleashes its monsters from every crack to attack Nick, but his power is greater. He eviscerates the smaller one is one punch and tears through the larger ones who are as big as buses. No matter how many different types of horrifying monsters are thrown at Nick, he tears them all in a bloody mess to get to the only thing he cares about in the world. The energy coming from Nick affects the people around him and they start seeing what he’s seeing in one big mass vision. The monsters don’t attack them, but they do feel the blood Nick spills around the city, even though it does disappear from them once they get far enough away.

Eventually, Nick makes it to the next hideout on the far end of the city. He eliminates the guards without any effort and frees the slaves. In one room, he finds Allison’s dead body. His rage subsides and gives way to sadness. Her throat is cut, her legs and arms are cut off, and her eyes are gone. He sits on her bed and holds her dead, bloody, and dirty body.

“I…I’m so sorry Allison,” he says with tears flowing from his eyes, “I’m sorry I couldn’t be the man you wanted me to be. You were always a better hero than I could ever be.”

In a daze of grief and tears, Nick doesn’t know what to do. He sings old songs they used to dance to together. Nick tells her of the good times they had together. He talks to her corpse as if it’ll bring her back. As if his tears will bring her soul back. After what feels like hours, Nick lifts his head and sees a clipboard with notes on it. He picks it up and reads what they wrote about Allison. They say she was a high-value target here in Hillside City. The Doll Factory was spying on them and the person Nick found in the forest was one of the spies. They planned on kidnapping both of them but were afraid to confront Nick after what he did, but once he left his house, they quickly moved in and settled for just Allison. It turns out that she fought against her captors to a stalemate. Since they had respect for her, they gave her a knife and gave her the choice to either; submit willingly to them or to kill herself to which Allison obviously chose to kill herself. They then chose to mutilate her body, so they can pack it and fix it in a way that they can use it later as another one of their dolls. Some of them actually tried testing her out before they heard they were under attack.

This temporarily replaces the sadness Nick feels with unending rage. His body transforms yet again to its final rage form.

His tendrils are now four fiery arms. The hole in his chest is now on fire along with his eyes, legs, and his soul. His hands are permanently made into fists with charred chains. Again, he gains an inordinate amount of power that allows him to teleport. He goes from criminal hideouts to abusive households to kill and let out his anger. The entire city is affected as his grief and rage infects everyone. Some people start fights and become impatient while others struggle to contain their feelings.

Nick kills over thirty people before reaching the final Doll Factory hideout on the other side of the city. In it, he rips apart everyone he can see besides the slaves who he sets free. The slaves flee in terror as Nick repeated tears apart the bodies of the Doll Factory guards. A young boy then walks out of a hidden room. Nick stops his slaughter as the boy looks among the bodies with tears in his eyes. A pair of bodies, a man and a woman, catch his attention. He runs to them, puts his hands on them, and cries. It appears that the two people he’s crying over are his parents. The boy gets up in a fit of rage and attacks Nick who defends himself.

“Stop it kid!” he says, “Your parents were human trash. You’re better off now than before!”

The boy doesn’t listen, which gets on Nick’s nerves.

“Stop it!”

Nick punches the body in the chest and makes him fall down in pain.

“Stay down! Don’t make me kill you! I’m telling you you’re going to have a better life without them!”

The boy tries to get up and Nick tries punching him in the chest again but ends up hitting the boy since he gets up. The boy’s neck is now completely broken and dies shortly after. Nick’s heart feels like it has completely stopped for the second time tonight as he has taken the life of an innocent. He yells out in pain and anger directed at himself as his monsters come out of his mouth and his power is taken away.

“Now do you see? You can’t handle this power,” the other him says.

“Ok…Ok. I give up. I give up the power I took. I give up killing.”

“That’s all we wanted to hear.”

His monsters start to fade from his vision.

“What? You aren’t going to haunt me or anything?”

“Your wife’s death will do that for us.”

His monsters then completely fade away and Nick can no longer see them or take their power. He sobs in the dark for a bit before hearing the disembodied voice of his wife in his head.

“Nick, you’re a hero to people. You’re my hero.”

He remembers what she said when he asked her about his charity events and speeches he made to inspire people.

“I love you and I always will,” the memory of her voice rings again.

“Yeah,” Nick says to himself, “That’s what I’ll do.”

Nick destroys his mask and leaves it behind. From the hideout, he walks back to the city. Not only does the pain of losing Allison and his guilt set in, but the pain he’s sustained kicks in as well. He’s been shot, stabbed, and hit multiple times. He tries to keep moving on but he eventually succumbs to the pain and collapses. After a few seconds of laying in his own blood, he opens his eyes to see Allison. An invisible barrier separates the two. Nick is on the side where souls are being purified in a fire while Allison is on the side where everything good is.

Allison places her hand on the barrier and says, “Do you mean it? Are you going to redeem yourself?”

Nick puts his hand where hers is then says, “I-I will. I promise you that.”

“I didn’t seriously ask that. It was rhetorical. I know what you did, but I also know the way you act.”

“Allison…”

“Heh, don’t worry. I’ll see you again. Don’t be afraid to make yourself happy and find someone else.”

“No, wait…”

“I love you, Nick.”

“I love you! Don’t-”

Nick wakes up in a hospital bed and jolts up. He sees all of his cuts, bruises, and injuries patched up though he can still feel the stinging pain of them.

A doctor enters his room and says, “I thought you’d wake up soon. Thank God.”

The doctor is a woman who is a bit older than Nick. She has green eyes and black hair with one or two strands of gray hair. There’s something about her that Nick can’t help but find attractive.

She catches his gaze, blushes then continues saying, “We guess you got caught up in that big city-wide panic. No one can really figure out what caused it though that’s not to say it hasn’t happened before.”

“Did…did you save my life?”

“I am a doctor and it is my job, so…yes, yes I did.”

Nick laughs a bit, but it pains him to.

“What’s your name?”

“It’s Morgan.”

“Morgan, I’ll make this up to you. I swear.”

“That’s sweet of you to say, but you don’t have to. Besides, aren’t you married?”

“My wife died last night. A friend told me the Doll Factory took her and she killed herself instead of letting herself be subjected to them.”

“That’s horrible! I’m so sorry.”

“You don’t have to be. Let me do something for you instead. I’m going to be doing more for people from now on.”

“That’s great, but-”

“No more buts. Let me help.”

From then on, Nick dedicates his time to helping others. He gives more to charities and spends his time helping others. He starts his own boxing school in Hillside City where he teaches people of all ages how to defend themselves. The painful memories of his wife’s death and the innocent life he took come back every now and then, but he fights through the regret so that can redeem himself. He talks to people in conferences and at his school about the lessons he’s learned and tries to inspire people to be better. Nick dedicates his life as he does this day in and day out without rest. He becomes a better man and an inspirational figure to most people he meets and to those who hear him speak. His redemption is just a practice of his that he does every day, but it’s the genuine effort and dedication that he puts into it that makes it count.

About a year later as he walks the streets of the city, he hears something in a nearby alleyway. He goes to the end of it to find Morgan with cut up clothes. She’s sobbing and holding herself over her recent loss.

Nick walks up to her with a welcoming smile on his face and says, “Do you need help, beautiful?”

Love is Revenge’s Best Motivator

Zander is a noble general who is on his way to becoming the ruler of his country. The current ruler has allowed himself to be possessed by a demon. This has allowed him to rule with absolute authority in order to make the country stronger and expand its borders. Afraid of Zander’s eventual replacement of him, the ruler secretly orders some of the troops to allow Zander and his group of soldiers to die in the next battle and they do. Zander’s head is cut off and the rest of his forces are wiped out.

Unsatisfied with the destruction he’s caused, the ruler decides to go after Zander’s family. He sends a small loyal force of demonically possessed soldiers to his house and burns down the house. Zander’s wife, Prisca, tries to save their children but is caught by falling debris. Desperate to save her children, she cuts her trapped right arm off with Zander’s sword, however, she falls through the floor and is unable to go back up to where they were. She tries to find some way outside of the house to get upstairs, but the house collapses and her children and everything she has is destroyed.

Catching her in her shock, the demonic soldiers try finishing her off. Prisca does her best to fight off the assault with her singular arm, even though it is obvious that she is outnumbered and under skilled. The spirit of Zander comes down from the afterlife and fights off the demons for Prisca. His skills outmatch the demons as they can’t do anything against a pure spirit who is also skilled with a sword. Most of them retreat, but one manages to sneak up on Prisca. He carves the Chinese symbol for death in her left eye before being taken out by Zander.

Before being sent to Hell, the demon says, “You’re marked for death, Prisca! Other beings like me will be after you. There will be no rest for you until you die! Hahaha!”

Finally free from danger, for now, Prisca cries over the ruins of her family as it rains.

Zander tries comforting her by holding her. “Calm down. I’m here with you.”

“Some timing you have! Our children are dead!”

“I know. I saw them in the afterlife. I’m allowed here in the mortal realm to aid you in defeating our demonic ruler.”

“I don’t know if I can do this. I don’t even have my right arm. I can’t fight like I used to.”

“It’s okay because I’ll possess you to help you fight, but you have to allow me to do so when the time comes.”

“I still…”

“I’m here with you now. Remember that there’s nothing that can stop us when we’re together.”

Zander wraps and heals Prisca’s wounds. He then kisses her then holds her hands to make her feel his power and love for her.

He then says, “We’ll send that demon to Hell together and free our country from his control. I promise you that we can do this.”

Prisca breathes in deeply. “Okay. I trust you.”

“I knew you would. We have to hurry. Evil is heading our way.”

Prisca collects herself, sheathes Zander’s sword, and heads off in the direction of the capital city. Because of his efforts and rank, Zander was able to earn a nice house not too far from the capital. It’s a nice area with plenty of natural beauties to it such as rivers, flower beds, and good land to grow crops. Prisca can only look at it now as she says goodbye to it.

She says to Zander, “Do you remember those days when you were home from war? The days that we spent together enjoying each moment of being together as if it were our last?”

“How could I not? Those are some of my most treasured memories.”

“And what about our first time meeting? Doesn’t it count up there with them?”

“Of course it does. I didn’t know the day meeting you in the streets would end up like this.”

The rain, mud, and pain that Prisca is going through starts to harshly strike at her nerves.

“I need to hear more,” she says, “All of this is eating at my soul. I don’t know if I can survive it.”

“I’m here. Don’t-They’re here. Get ready.”

Zander possesses Prisca’s body. Despite missing an arm, she holds her sword as if she still had it. Zander’s spirit arm helps her hold it up and keep a proper fighting stance in the pouring rain. A shadow moves in the dark sly and silent.

“Be on your guard. I’ve imbued my sword with the ability to exorcize demons. Let me handle this,” Zander says as he helps Prisca move.

Because of the frail condition of her body and her weakened spirit, Zander is able to easily move Prisca even though he’s never possessed someone before. He’s never even fought a demon before, so he tries to be ready for anything. Meanwhile, Prisca’s thoughts are empty. She’s calm as she moves along with Zander. The two have never felt closer. As his thoughts flow through hers, she remembers his memory of being killed, the betrayal he felt, and his judgment by God.

“Now’s not the time to be remembering that, Prisca.”

Figures start forming out of the darkness with their arms formed into swords ready to slash at Prisca. Zander senses their presence when they form and immediately reacts and cuts them down. He slashes at the shadows at the ground and the ones that form into soldiers. Archers form out of the shadows and shoot at Prisca from a distance. Zander manages to dodge them and even deflects back at the other shadows.

Seeing that they need to step up their efforts, the shadows and darkness of the small farm town then converge to a single point to form a singular being. This large shadowy demonic creature is comprised of two legs, two arms, three tails, and three heads with demonic faces. Its body is full of faces who laugh at Prisca since they think she has no chance of survival. It then begins to throw rocks and chunks of the ground at Prisca that Zander miraculously manages to slash through. The creature then uses its large fists to squash Prisca, but Zander manages to slash through its fists as well. Seeing that the creature’s fist regenerate because of the shadows, Zander keeps cutting down its limbs. First, its legs go then its arms, heads, and then Zander cuts into the creature’s chest then thrusts his sword into the core of the creature. The moon regains its light as the monster is destroyed and its body disintegrates into the light.

The damage it caused is now clear as some of the houses in the small town have major damage done to them. Some of the farms and flower gardens are ruined while the houses have major parts of it missing. The sounds of agony, loss, and fear are heard from the people who have suffered the most. Prisca feels their pain along with Zander.

“What happened here was terrible, Prisca, but we have to keep moving, otherwise, we’ll only be bringing them more suffering…”

“…right.”

Prisca’s mind has gone numb after experiencing so much suffering in less than an hour. She moves without feeling into the nearby forest so that the demons don’t hurt anyone else. After a short walk, she rests underneath a tree to give her some protection from the rain. Zander releases himself from her body and heals whatever damage that was done to her during the battle.

He says, “This battle is going to take a lot out of us, but if we cooperate like we just did, then we can take down the ruler.”

“…”

“We did great. That nightmare of a creature didn’t stand a chance against us. I told you that there’s nothing that can stop us.”

Prisca starts to smile to Zander’s relief, but then she starts to laugh in a crazy way with tears falling down her face. She holds out Zander’s sword and thinks about taking her life.

“Prisca! Calm down!”

“That’s easy for you to say, haha. You’re going to Heaven with our children after this. I’m going to have to struggle to stay alive.”

“I know what you’re feeling.” Zander puts his hand on Prisca’s and the two feel each other’s feelings. “You can feel how worried I am about you. The pain I feel over the loss of the lives of our children and the way things have turned out for us, but there is hope for us. We can make it out of this if you trust in God and me.”

“If you say so.” Prisca kisses Zander’s immaterial face.

“I’m sorry. I wish I could kiss and hold you as well.”

“You’re going to have to make it up to when I die then. Tell God to hold you to it.”

Prisca uses the tree trunk to help her stand up before heading off to the capital.

“I’m not sure if I should be more or less worried about you now.”

“If I die, I’ll be with my family. If I don’t, I’ll be a hero. It’s a win-win if you ask me.”

“I don’t think you’ll become a hero. You will bring peace to the land though. One of my most trusted friends should be the next ruler since I had him trained to be in case, I suddenly died on the battlefield or an assassin took my life.”

“I’m glad you were prepared for that, but you weren’t prepared for twins. I remember seeing your shocked face and you being scared for weeks. How can a general who constantly stares death in the face be scared of two of the sweetest children ever?”

“I know more about warfare than caring for children.”

“It’s scary stuff, isn’t it?”

“I don’t know how you did it.”

“It’s because I loved my children and wanted to give my husband the best children possible.”

“I didn’t think you would fail me even for a second.”

The rain starts to slow down as something in the environment changes. Zander quickly possesses Prisca and assumes a fighting stance.

“What weird demon do you think is after us next?”

“I don’t know. I just know it’s dangerous.”

“Thanks for the obvious information.”

“Silence. It’s coming.”

The rainfall progressively slows down until it completely stops. Zander stops as he closely listens to any possible footsteps until he catches them that sound like a single drop of water. He slashes at, cutting the water in the air. It then starts to pour again.

“Did we get it, Zander?”’

“No.”

Prisca runs underneath a tree for cover from the rain. It then begins to thunder.

“Move!”

A bolt of lightning strikes the tree Prisca is near and almost electrocutes her.

“What are we going to do?”

“Dance like we did at our wedding.”

“Dancing with lightning. How romantic.”

“Concentrate!”

Lightning strikes all around Prisca as Zander helps her dodge around it. A direct hit is about to hit her, but Zander manages to slash the demon within it while protecting Prisca from the electrocution.

“That was amazing!”

“Did you expect anything less from me? The demon isn’t done with us yet.”

“What else could it throw at us?”

“Watch out!”

The demon takes the form of rain again and is falling upon Prisca. Zander tries cutting it, but it gets on Prisca anyway.

“What’s going on?”

“Prisca! The demon is on your body. You have to trust me and stab yourself with the sword.”

“Don’t trust that demon, Prisca! I killed the demon for you. It’s just influencing your thoughts to try to make you kill yourself.”

The voices sound the same so Prisca doesn’t know what to do.

“Zander?”

“You’re going to have to trust me! Stab yourself and I’ll protect you!”

“Don’t listen to its insanity. It’ll go away from your mind eventually.”

Prisca takes a chance and thrusts the sword into her chest. Before the tip of the blade can touch her chest, the demon releases itself from Prisca. Zander takes back control and quickly upward slashes the demon, sending it back to Hell in pieces. The rain stops pouring and begins to calm down.

“Thank you for trusting me,” Zander says.

“I’ve never not trusted you,” Prisca replies.

“Come on, let’s keep moving.”

Prisca makes it far enough into the forest to see the capital in sight. The rain finally dies down as her goal is nearly within reach. Zander removes his control from her body as the two travel along the deserted road.

“How did you know stabbing myself would release the demon from me?”

“It was honestly just a bold guess.”

“A bold guess?!”

Prisca tries hitting Zander with the hilt of his sword multiple times.

“You’re not hurting me.”

“I’m still getting satisfaction from this!”

“Come on, stop messing around.”

“Fine. Do you have a plan for me to get close enough to the ruler to cut his head off?”

“My friends and his garrison should be there guarding the castle. If I say something to them that they would know, they should let you in.”

“I’m not sure if it’ll be that simple.”

“I do have backup plans if that doesn’t work.”

“I hope so.”

“Hope that we don’t bump into any more trouble along the way.”

“I doubt we won’t. They have to know how close we are.”

“And here one is on cue. You didn’t hope hard enough!”

“I’ll hope more when we kill it.”

Zander possesses Prisca again as she assumes a fighting stance.

“It seems that my constant possession of you has allowed you to copy some of my skills.”

“Good. I’ll need them after we succeed.”

“At least you’re thinking positive now.”

The various rock formations and trees start shaking around her until she is lifted into the air just near the top of the rest of the trees in the forest.

“What is this, Zander?”

“It’s a turtle dragon. That demon must’ve let it rest here in case we got close to the capital.”

“Shadow demons, rain demons, and now this? Why not? We can take it!”

“That’s the spirit!”

Trees and rocks on the dragon start forming themselves into parasites and attack Prisca. Zander dances in between them and easily takes them out because of their large size. The dragon then turns its head completely around, extends it, and swallows Prisca. Inside the belly of the beast are the skeletons of its previous victims near treasure.

“What happened to these people?”

“Turtle dragons like these act like small tunnels with sparkling treasures in them to lure in greedy treasure hunters. Once inside, the travelers starve to death with the treasure they went through the trouble to get,” Zander answers.

“That isn’t going to happen to us.”

Zander cuts through the dragon’s stone interior, which does major damage to it. Its defense system of parasites try defending its inside to no avail. With his sword in Prisca’s hands, he cuts open the turtle dragon, killing it.

Prisca gets out of the corpse of the dragon and says, “If we can defeat that thing, then we can beat that demonic ruler.”

“We can, assuming he doesn’t have any tricks up his sleeve.”

“You said to have hope, right? Then let’s have hope.”

“You’re right. Let’s keep going. We’re almost there.”

Once she finally reaches the capital, Prisca grabs a cloak to not draw attention to herself. Zander then leads her to the entrance that her friend should be guarding. He finds him there and his friend recognizes Prisca.

“Prisca. It’s good to see you, but what happened to your eye? Why do you have death in it?”

“Because the demon you serve marked me for death after taking everything away from me. I’m here to avenge my husband and my children. Please let me through.”

“I know our ruler is corrupt but it is my duty to protect him. Zander would agree with me. I’m sorry.”

“Zander has helped me get this far. His spirit has given me his skills and strength.”

“Prove it.”

Zander possesses Prisca and says, “Move it you, fool or do I need to tell your soldiers about the paintings of your wife that you keep in your bunker? I’m sure it’ll boost troop morale.”

“Ah! Zander, you are here!”

“That’s right. Our ruler is completely corrupt and killed me because I was going to be the next ruler of this country. Move aside so I can dethrone him myself.”

“I will. Godspeed, brother.”

“Thank you. You will be the ruler in his place as planned. You can’t say we did this for you or else you will be executed for conspiracy and the assassination of the rightful ruler. Be ready when the time comes.”

Zander’s friend nods as Prisca walks away into the castle. She makes her way to the throne room where the demonic ruler is waiting with his sword drawn.

Zander says, “It’s over, demon! You killed me, but God has granted me revenge.”

“Zander, do you really think you can beat me by possessing your wife who only has one arm?”

“We do,” Prisca and Zander say in unison.

“Then your arms better make up for hers.”

Six arms with swords come out from the ruler’s back. Despite his disadvantage, Zander manages to keep up with the flurry of attacks and cuts off two of the extra arms.

“Gah! Impossible!”

“If you only knew the odds, then you’d know that it’s impossible for you to win.”

“Ahhhhh!”

Zander then cuts off another two arms then another two on both sides, which leaves the demon with his original two arms.

“Your reign is over.”

“Not by a longshot!”

An arm comes out of the demon’s mouth with a sword and cuts off Prisca’s other arm in an instant. She writhes in pain as Zander gets her to dodge the demon’s finishing blows. The demon then laughs as continues his assault.

“I’m not giving up yet!” Prisca says as she thinks of a plan that Zander allows her to execute.

She slides through the demon’s attacks and picks up Zander’s sword with her mouth. Zander’s possession of her allows her to fight this way and cut off the mouth hand before beheading the demonic ruler. The symbol of death fades away from Prisca’s eye since the ruler is sent to Hell.

Prisca lets go of the sword in her mouth as she says, “We did it!”

“What did I tell you? Nothing can beat us when we’re together,” Zander says as he heals and wraps Prisca’s dismembered arm, “I’m sorry about your arm. I didn’t expect an arm with a sword to come out of his mouth.”

“It’s okay. We freed the country and you can move onto Heaven.”

“Right. Let’s get out of here.”

Prisca exits the castle the way she came. Zander’s friend sees this and brings in his fellow soldiers to show them what happened in order to take control of the throne. Meanwhile, Prisca rests on the streets of the capital, tired and weary.

“This is hardly a good treatment for a hero,” Prisca says.

“You’ll get your reward in Heaven where our children and I will be waiting for you.”

“How will I survive until then?”

“A priest will come by to take care of you.”

“Are you kidding? I’m of no use to anyone.”

“After what happened tonight, can you truly say that? I’ll be praying for you until I see you again.”

“I’ll see you then. I love you.”

“I love you too.”

Zander shares one last real kiss with Prisca before he fades away from her vision into a bright light that no one else in the capital sees.

After a few moments, a priest walks up to Prisca and says, “Poor woman. You need shelter and a place to stay.”

“I don’t think I’ll be of any use to you, father,” Prisca says as she shows the priest her lack of arms.

“Do not worry. I need people to talk and inspire others. I’m sure you will do this because I was led here to you.”

“Is that so? Ha, alright.”

Prisca becomes a teacher for a small convent in the capital while Zander’s friend becomes the next ruler of the country. Rumors of what happened circulate through the country. The most popular one is that the corrupt ruler had Zander killed and his spirit took revenge on him. Others include mentions of his wife, but she doesn’t play an important role. Despite getting neither glory nor rewards in this life, Prisca moves onto a happy life where she cares for new children to become as brave and strong and she and her husband are.

The End