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Phase 0 – A New Beginning, Chapter 1 – Out of Hell then Back In
Michael is just a normal boy by any standard, but he of all boys is kidnapped by the Doll Factory, a secret organization notorious for turning people into sellable sex slaves. He is picked up at the request of a special client who wants him. Everything that he has on him is taken away except for his special cross, which he swallows. The kidnappers try to beat it out of him, but the special object never comes out. They give up and just deliver him to their client. She’s a woman who likes boys like Michael. The woman sexually abuses the boy while also dressing him up like a girl every now and then. Even though the boy never gives in to lust, he is heavily abused for a week until the woman gives up.
She gives Michael to her husband who’s had his eyes on the boy from the beginning. Her husband arranges a satanic marriage between him and Michael and dresses him in the finest black dress he could find. On the day of the wedding, the boy’s psyche goes off, which afflicts everyone in the building. Everything then catches fire and Michael is the only one who makes it out. His clothes are torn, and his mind is fractured from his experiences, and yet, he persists and walks to the nearest place that he might find rest, Hillside City, a city notorious for crazy and off-beat people. It might be the perfect place for him. It just might be the right place for me.
This kind of reminds me of home. I wish I was at home. Wait, is this the place where I’m from? The places look so similar to each other. I think my home is in that direction past the skyscrapers and the city center. It’s going to be a long walk, but I think I can do it. Where am I now anyway? It doesn’t seem like a clean place. There are weird clubs around here. I think they’re strip clubs. I always heard the north part of my city was bad. Now I see why.
There are two guys standing outside one of the clubs talking to one another. They don’t seem to be nice people, but I can use all the help I can get.
“Ex-excuse me,” I say to them.
They look at me funny before one of them says, “You look like you’ve been through a lot. Do you need any help?”
“Ah, yes! I need help going home. My head is a little fuzzy and I don’t remember the name of the street I live on, but I can tell you how to get there.”
“Why don’t you come in and rest for a bit? You’re obviously tired.”
I don’t like the smile on their faces.
“Umm. No thank you. On second thought, I think I can get there on my own.”
“Are you sure? It’s a dangerous journey there.”
“Thank you, but I can manage.”
I quickly cross the street. When I cross, it feels like an arm reaches for me. I look back at the men to see them smiling still though their grins are larger. I know a rapist when I see one or at least I should by now. There’s another club not too far from this one. This one has two women standing outside of it. They appear to know what happened judging by faces.
“Do you need help little boy?” one of them says.
“No, thank you.”
“We could help you if you’d like. We don’t bite.”
These women are just like those men. I can tell so I walk away from them. When I look behind me, I see them coming after me. I run away from them and then a car honks next to me.
“Get in, Michael!” I hear a familiar voice calling from the car.
Without anywhere else to go and my legs running out of energy, I run into the car to see a friend of mine from school in the passenger seat with her father driving the car.
“Where have you been, Michael? You’ve been missing for days,” she says.
“It’s a long story-uh.”
Wait, a minute. Why would she care about me? I barely even remember her name. Angel something is maybe it. Why would she even be out here? She’s smiling at me now and I can see her father smiling too. Before I can react, she puts a napkin in my face and…
“Don’t cry or scream, Michael. You’re safe now.”
“You’re mine now. Get comfortable while I go out for a while.”
She…she cut off my arms and legs. I…I’m in her room with hooks where my limbs used to be. I’m just hanging like meat in a grindhouse. This is just like how it was when I was that woman’s pet. I have to get out of here. I don’t want to die like this. Come on! With whatever strength I have, I pull my stubs out of the hooks and fall to the ground.
“You can still do it!”
“You’re not weak, you’re my son! Now get up and keep going!”
Okay, dad. The door’s right there. Someone opened it. Agh! Someone stepped my head into the ground. Woah! I have my hands and legs back! Agh! What happened? Oh, it’s time to get up for school! I’ve got to hurry up and get ready. I quickly grab a few snacks to eat along the way.
“Bye, mom! Bye, dad! Bye, grandma!”
That’s weird. They’re oddly silent today. What’s even weirder are the people on the street. Cars seem to be aiming for me and people are looking at me as if they hate me. It’s the same in school. The teachers don’t even call on me when I raise my hand. They even yell at me when I do the smallest thing. I guess everyone is just in a bad mood today. I can’t wait to see my friends and my girlfriend. They always make my day bright. There they are now!
“Hey, guys!” I say to them while waving my hand.
They shrug me off and don’t pay attention. Is something going on that I don’t know about? Am I being insensitive to something? Did I do something bad? Does my breath smell? Whatever is, it lasts for the rest of the school day. I apologize to my friends and whoever I talk to, but nothing seems to reach anyone. Maybe something will happen tonight. There’s an event on Market Street with games, sales, and performances there. The happy atmosphere and events should make up for the miserable day.
Or maybe not. Everyone in the city seems to dislike me. I swear they’re trying to bump into me with the way they’re walking. My girlfriend should be around here somewhere…she’s dancing with another guy. They’re getting really touchy-and they kissed for the finale.
“Okay, what’s going on here?” I say as I approach them.
“It’s over between us, Michael. I found a better man.”
“What are you talking about? Where did this come from?”
“You know where. I don’t accept men who look like women and get treated like slaves.”
“What? How do you know about that? What’s going on here? Am I dreaming?”
Everyone’s laughing at me.
Why are they throwing things at me? I have to get out of here. Ah, damn it. I just slipped and fell into some mud. Now all of my clothes are dirty. Why is this happening to me? Oh…that’s right.
“Why did you fail?! You’re an idiot if you do this poorly!”
“Are you slow? Why didn’t you see this? It’s right here.”
“Why don’t you do as well as your classmates? They accomplish so much more than you do.”
“You’re slow and weak. Can’t you do anything right?”
“Why do you always mess this up? Why can’t you do this right?”
“Don’t be so lazy!”
“You’re making us look bad!”
I remember my parents saying things like this. They might’ve rarely hit me, but they always degraded me with their words. I felt like trash every single time I did something wrong.
“You’re so stupid.”
“I didn’t tell you anything because I didn’t trust you with it. You have a habit of messing things up.”
“Who fails at that?”
“You’re so weak.”
“You’re not good enough.”
“I don’t want to be with you.”
I remember my friends and my girlfriend saying things like this. My friends abandoned me during the summer because they had better people to be with. Even my girlfriend cheated on me with another boy. I tried everything I could to make people like me. Dressed nice, got the best comics and games, was up to date on the latest jokes, showed my appreciation to them by giving them gifts, and going out of my way to help them. I guess nothing worked. The constant criticisms and insults banged my head every single time I made a single mistake. They kept beating my head into the ground as if I committed a sin, I could never do enough penance for. Whenever I looked into a mirror, I saw someone I didn’t want to be. An ugly disgusting failure of a son and friend. Maybe I don’t want to go back home. Maybe I’d rather go to Hillside City. Huh? Oh!
I never stepped foot into the city yet. I’ve been looking at from the hills. Maybe I can make a life for myself here. It’s better than going back home. Even if I do go back, I’ll just get beat over the head again with damning words from people who say they care about me. I’d rather be homeless and die of starvation and thirst than to hear another lie out of their mouths. The city doesn’t look at bad as I imagined. Since there’s no place for me to go, I might as well just lay in this alleyway for now.
“Ah! Hey, you startled me there, puppy!”
Okay, it’s not actually a puppy. He’s more like a full-grown dog, but I still like calling them puppies. I pet him and he doesn’t seem to mind it. In fact, he likes me. He licks my hands and rubs up against me. He seemed to be looking through the garbage here for food, but it seems like he cleared out whatever was in here. The only thing I find is half of a blue stuffed elephant. It’s stuffing spills out as I hold it up, so I quickly hold it from the bottom. This is kind of like one of the elephants I had back home. I’ll keep it. Maybe it’ll make a person feel more sympathy for me. It’s also kind of cute. It reminds me of myself.
My entire body hurts after what I went through, so I sit and rest with my two new friends. This may not be the best start to a new life for me, but at least it’s better than my last one.
Chapter 2 – Sinner or Saint
I’ve just woken up and I already want to go back to the life I had. I smell, look like trash, and feel like trash. That dog that rested with me left while I was sleeping. That’s fine. I’m not able to take care of him anyway let alone myself. He took that elephant I had to. What am I going to do? Where am I going to find help? Maybe I could go to a nearby church? It’s the only thing I can think of right now.
There are people walking through the streets with me. Some of them give me a weird look, and I don’t blame them, but I wish they could help me in some way. I wish I wasn’t so alone.
“You’re not alone!” a squeaky voice says beside me.
I look down to see the elephant I have before. He’s dragging himself across the ground with an endless trail of fluff behind him. I must be going crazy.
“No, you aren’t. You are quite sane.”
I am going crazy. This elephant can hear my thoughts.
“That doesn’t mean you’re crazy.”
Yes, it does. Why are you even following me?
“Because you’re alone and you need help.”
How are you going to help me?
“By being with you!”
That’s not going to help. I need someplace to stay, something to eat, and real people to be with.
Stay away from me.
“But I want to be with you.”
I said stay away!
I punt the elephant away from me. Now a lot of the people around me must think I’m crazy. The elephant was probably invisible to them. I put my head down and quickly hide. Where am I even going? I don’t know where anything is in this city.
“That was fun! Do it again!”
How did you get back here? Don’t answer that. I know you’re not real.
“Stop saying that! That’s mean!”
“Why can’t I get him?”
A little girl is complaining to her father as to why she can’t get the same I have that’s in the window. Trust me, kid. You don’t want him.
“Hey! You wanted me when you were younger. You still have me back in your room. When you wake up, you see me sitting on your night table.”
I don’t want to see you.
“What do you mean you don’t want to see me?”
“You held onto me when you were scared at night.”
I don’t do that anymore, mom.
“Don’t you want any help?”
I don’t need your help, dad.
“Is anything wrong?”
Nothing’s wrong, Lance.
“Do you need someone to talk to?”
Just stay away from me! I push away everyone that’s crowding around me.
“We just want to know what’s wrong.”
“Are you crying?”
“Tell me what’s happening.”
“Are you okay?”
Get away from me! You don’t get to talk to me anymore! Not after what you did. I’m warning you!
I start breaking apart the shadows of the people I knew with my fists and kicks. I then rip them apart as I start getting more and angrier until I see the elephant.
“You can’t always rely on everyone to be consistent and good towards you, not even yourself. You have to forgive them if you want to be forgiven,” it says.
“Excuse me, do you need any help?”
I turn around and punch someone into the wall. When my vision clears…oh no…it’s that girl from before and she’s holding that elephant she wanted. She’s out cold.
“I…I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to…”
“Rebecca, where are you?”
The girl’s father turns into the alley to see me standing over his knocked out daughter. I don’t know what to say, so I back away slowly with my hands out.
“What are you and what did you do to my daughter?”
I run away into the dark alley, jump over the fence, and back into the streets where I scare everyone.
“What is that?”
“Is that a demon?”
My presence alone shatters some people into pieces and burns others to ashes. I can’t go anywhere without causing someone pain. Everyone starts running away from me. Am I the reason why no one wanted to be around me? Am I evil? Do I do anything right?
“Why did you have to break that Michael?”
“I didn’t like it!”
Do I love anyone? Am I just a monster?
“What did I do to you?”
“What didn’t you do to me?”
Have I shown people that I love them? Do I just take advantage of them?
“Michael, what’s wrong with you?”
“Nothing! Leave me alone!”
I don’t know anymore. I don’t know if I deserve this or not. Wait. I think I do. I remember that woman who abducting me telling me how she found me. I was looking up porn on the internet and she managed to find me. Apparently, I caught her attention and then she hired the Doll Factory to abduct me. For a time, I was her plaything. Part of me resisted. The other part of me loved it especially because I kind of have a thing for older women, but that’s beside the point. It felt like I was getting what I deserved. I guess I got what I wanted. I got what I deserved.
“Excuse me, do you need help?”
Huh? It’s that little girl again. It looks like what happened was all just in my head. Again.
“Stay away from me. I don’t deserve help.”
“Of course you do. You’re a person just like me.”
“I’m worse than you think. Just look at me.”
“I don’t care what you look like. I want to help you.” The girl looks at her elephant. “Do you want my elephant?”
“What? I thought you really wanted that.”
“You look like you need it more. You’re starting to cry, so you must really need it then.”
“N-no. You can keep it.”
I leave the alley as the girl’s father calls to her. Maybe I don’t deserve this fate, but maybe I do. I’ve been such a horrible person to the people I’ve known that it would be better if they forgot about me or if I died in these streets. The pain I could cause them in the future is something I want to completely avoid. I don’t care anymore if they wronged me in any way, in fact, I wish I forgot about every single bad thing they did to me. I just hope they do the same.
Chapter 3 – Deliverance from Rot
How long have I been walking to nowhere already? I’ve been searching for a place to help me, but I don’t know which place to go into. I’m not sure if I can enter anywhere looking like this. If only someone would just take me off the streets and give me somewhere to start. It doesn’t matter if they take me in as their own. I just want someplace to call home for a little. I want someone to care for me, but I’m not sure if I deserve that.
We’re all sinners and I’m just as hypocritical as everyone else in the world, but somehow, I might be worse.
“No, you aren’t.”
Oh, you’re back, little elephant.
Why do you keep following me?
“Because you need a friend!”
I need a human friend with me, not a little elephant.
“I’m sorry, but I’ll have to do for now. Why do you hate yourself so much?”
Because I hurt people that I care about.
“Everyone’s done that. You even said it yourself that you’re just as hypocritical as everyone else in the world. No one is perfect. What separates the good from the bad people is who makes up for what they did and who doesn’t.”
I can’t make up for what I did besides never seeing the people I know, so I can’t hurt them anymore.
“Is running away from your mistakes really the way to fix them?”
I don’t know. I’m not strong enough to do anything.
“You’re stronger than you think. Remember when you were with that woman? What was her name again?”
“Mrs. Serenity, here is the boy you requested.”
There was one day that she forced me to dress up in a French maid outfit for her viewing pleasure as she sat by her pool. Her servant had brought me out after I dressed.
“Thank you. Do you like the outfit I got for you, Michael? I picked it out myself.”
“It’s too tight and showy.”
“That’s just how I like it. You know you’ve been defying me ever since I brought you here. Why is that? I’ve fed you, given you drinks, a nice place to stay, and of course the woman of your dreams.”
“My wants are more than my fetishes.”
“Your internet history says differently. I watched you for a while before taking you in. You know you’re not the only child I’ve given this opportunity to. Do you see that river down the hill? Dozens of bodies have floated down that river only to be eaten by my piranhas. You’re going to be another if you make the wrong decision.”
Serenity points a pistol at me.
“You have two choices. Forever confess your love and willingly have sex with me or die here and never be heard from again.”
“I’d rather you kill me than be your pathetic sex slave.”
I’m afraid, but I’m not going to let this woman use me like a toy.
“I’ll give you three seconds to reconsider. One…Two…”
I closed my eyes.
Nothing happened. No gunshot. Nothing. I was thinking she would pull the trigger when I open my eyes, but she doesn’t. Instead, she smiles.
“That’s my boy. You’re more of a man than my husband is. Most kids usually got for the gun or get shot when they approach me, but you’re different. You’re the one I’ve been waiting for. For that, you get your reward.”
I don’t want to remember what happened after that. There was another day when had me by her side all day.
“You’ve been extra bad to me these past couple days. Even though I like my girls bad and my boys worse, you’ve been starting to get on my nerves. Why won’t you submit to me?”
“Kidnapping, beatings, rape, just to name a few.”
“You’ll learn to submit to me. My husband will see to that.”
Her husband comes closer and tries to beat me like always when she can’t. Of all the times this has happened, this hasn’t happened in a place where I could use sharp knives to defend myself. I don’t care if her butlers shoot me. I just want justice for all the lives she’s taken and the things she’s done to me. By the time the fight was almost done, I put five or so knives in her husband. I take the last butcher’s knife and hold it above his head.
“Stop, Michael. You don’t want to do this.” Serenity points her pistol at me while the other butlers were doing the same. “We’ll shoot your arms and legs then kill you. Painfully. Do you really want that?”
“I’m willing to die to avenge the people you killed. I don’t care what happens after.”
I scream as I plunge the knife down, but it’s quickly shot out of my hand. It was Serenity that did it.
“Thank goodness I didn’t shoot your precious hand.”
I don’t like the look on her face. She looks hornier than usual.
“I knew you were manlier than my husband. You’re going to get extra special treatment. Right now!”
The butlers tie my hands and feet together then threw me upstairs onto her bed. That was the longest time I endure her abuse. It was for at least for the entire afternoon until the early morning hours. I had to rest for the entire next day so I could recover. Huh? What’s happening now?
I’m dressed up in a white short wedding dress. I thought I was dressed in black? Here Serenity comes. She’s doing my hair while my makeup is already on. The first few times this happened I got my face beaten in. Now, I just let it happen so I have the energy to resist in some other way. This is weird, I can barely move by myself. I’m moving automatically as if I’m possessed.
Serenity says close to my ear, “Today’s our big day.”
No, I’m not.
Why are my lips moving by themselves? I thought I was going to get married to her husband. He still had a thing for me even though I almost killed him. I’m not sure if Serenity or he was sicker.
“Let’s make it our most memorable day, shall we?”
Serenity puts some kind of white choker on my neck. Stop kissing me there! Why aren’t I reacting to it? My body’s leaning into her instead. Stop! I don’t want this! Huh? We’re already at the satanic church? Why does it look so white in here? Did I dream about going to Hillside City? What is going on here?
“Do you, Michael, take Serenity to be your wife, now until the day you die?”
I plead the fifth.
No, I don’t!
“You may kiss your wife.”
Stop! Don’t! Damn it! What’s going on now? I’m at the wedding party now? I’m dancing like an idiot who’s trying to be a stripper right now. Wait, why did someone pull up a chair for me to sit on? Why is Serenity going under-Hey! Get your mouth off that! Why is everyone laughing and cheering? You’re all a bunch of sickos! Hey, don’t take away my underwear! I barely had anything to cover me, to begin with.
What? We’re back home now. She’s carrying me back inside to the bedroom. No! I’m not going to do this! I’m not going to be her new husband! I’m not going to father her children! Stop! Huh? What’s going on now?
We’re trapped in a glass coffin together. Serenity is on top of me with her hands all over me while I’m facing down. I can’t move at all. This better be all in my head, but is it really? It’s just so much. Huh? Is that the elephant?
“Do you see? You’re resistant to her. You’re stronger than you think. You’re also willing to be the instrument of revenge for the other kids who were wronged at the cost of your life. Without resisting until the end, those people couldn’t have all been executed at once.”
Tell me, if you somehow know, who started that fire in the satanic church?
“God did and your guardian angel was His instrument.”
Haha, my guardian angel. Right. Where was he when I was being abused during all that time?
“Patiently but sorrowfully waiting for you to endure it all. He’s still with you and happy that you made it through that ordeal.”
Right. You might want to help me more if something like this ever happens again. I’m not mad at you. I’m just…whatever. So, what happens now?
“Let go of the past.”
What? Argh! Serenity puts her hands in my chest and her hands are on my heart. The glass coffin shatters beneath us, so I’m finally free from it.
“Give into me, Michael. We could be so happy together.”
I’m not going to burn in Hell with you.
I take the glass shards scattered around me and stab them into Serenity until she lets me go. When she does, I turn around to see her for what she truly is. Her skin is completely white now. She has black and red eyes, with an eye on her breast and belly button, and a mouth on her other breast and crotch. She’s basically what I imagined her to always be. I take the pieces of shattered glass and stab her in her new mutated areas then stab her in the throat. She holds onto me as she fades into a puddle of blood.
“I’m not done with you yet.”
Yes, you are.
After I blink my eye a few times, I see that I’m kneeling in the rain. I’m still in Hillside City and it’s nighttime right now. I feel a bit freer, but…it could be worse. There’s a girl about my age looking at me right now in these empty streets. She probably thinks I’m another weirdo. I think I recognize her.
She comes up to me and asks, “Michael, is that you?”
“Uh. My name is Michael, but who are you?”
“I’m Alexa. Remember? I moved here a couple of months ago with my family. You…look like you’ve been through a lot. Do you want to come over my house to get cleaned up?”
“Yeah. I’d like that.”
Alexa smiles as she leads me to her house. This could be a new start for me. Even though the past is still tugging at me, I’m going to move forward into a bright new day.
End of Phase 0
Phase 1 – Revitalization, Chapter 4 – So I Thought you were Gone
Alexa takes me to her house, and I explain my situation to Alexa and her parents while eating leftover dinner. They’re speechless and don’t know what to say for a solid minute of awkward silence.
“I’ll call my parents now, so they can pick me up as soon as possible. I’m sorry to surprise you like this and put so much on you at once,” I say to break the silence.
Alexa says, “No, no, no! It’s no trouble for us. Here. Call your parents.”
I try calling my parents, but they don’t pick up. That’s strange. The time difference between here and my home shouldn’t be that different. In fact, they should be awake and getting ready for work by now. I leave a message and give them a call later. I tell Alexa and her parents what I did, and they think the same.
A thought comes to me and I say, “I wonder if the Doll Factory got to them. I know that they’re experts in cleaning up the messes they start.”
“Don’t think like that, Michael! I’m sure they’re fine. Just hold out hope until you know for sure.”
Alexa’s father says, “I can’t believe the Doll Factory is still alive after all these years. I remember my father fighting against them when they were in the city. It was really a group effort to get rid of them when the city knew they were here. We’ll take care of you for as long as you need, Michael. Don’t worry about how much time you spend here. You deserve it.”
“Thank you so much,” I say as I bow my head.
“I’m going to make some calls to investigate the remains of that ‘church’ you were at. In the meantime, you should get cleaned and changed out of those rags. Alexa, find Michael some of my old clothes to wear. I’m sure he’ll fit into them.”
Alexa finds me a black tee shirt, a red buttoned up shirt, and a pair of black shorts for me to wear. After taking a shower, I change into this outfit and…I look the same still. Did I always have a black and red eye? Where did the clothes go? I don’t even feel them on me. No matter how many times I wash my face, it remains the same. What’s going on?
“Is something the matter buddy?” my reflection says to me.
AHH! What are you?
“I’m you or rather the other you. It’s nice to meet you.”
“Are you okay, Michael?” Alexa says with a knock at the door.
“Don’t keep the lady waiting.”
I hesitantly open the door with an uneasy smile. Alexa looks at me then smiles.
“You look good.”
“Oh, I do?”
“Of course you do. I did pick out the best outfit for you, didn’t I?”
“Y-yeah. You did! Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. You can sleep in the extra room we have. It’s for friends who sleep over. There’s a pair of PJs there too if you want. The outfits a little dorky because of my father’s taste. My mom has been trying to get rid of those PJs for a while.”
“Thank you again, really.”
“Well, have a good night, and…Michael?”
“I’m glad to finally see you again despite the circumstances. It’s been too long.”
She hugs me. I’m starting to remember more about her. I hug her back.
“I’m happy to see you again too.”
Alexa smiles then goes to her bed. Inside my temporary bedroom, I find the pair of PJs that Alexa told me about. They are definitely dorky. The design on them is that of a familiar horror series that I remember with bloody rabbits on them. I like them, so I wear them. It doesn’t take me long to fall asleep, but when I do, I see the other me again. This time he looks like the normal me, but he’s naked with a large black scar mark on his body that looks like a weird version of the symbol for a boy.
“She’s a cute girl, isn’t she?”
She is. Why?
“I know your precious feelings for her. I know your previous memories of her before you even remember.”
What’s your point?
“I’m just giving you a little heads up. Don’t do anything you’ll regret.”
What am I going to do?
“Hopefully you’ll reconnect. Maybe you’ll even make her your girlfriend. Do you remember your time with her yet?”
Give me a second. It’s kind of blurry since it was a while ago, and obviously, a lot has happened since then.
“It’ll all come back to you soon. I’ll be sticking with you the entire way.”
You’re me so how can you not?
“Good point. It’s time to wake up-”
“- for breakfast!” Alexa says while shaking me.
“Come on. My mom made pancakes for us.”
I go downstairs and have a nice breakfast with Alexa’s family.
“Hey, Michael! I see you have good taste,” Alexa’s father says as he notices what I’m wearing.
“Oh. Yeah, I like games that these rabbits are from.”
Even though they see that I’m wearing a different outfit, I still see that I’m wearing that torn black wedding dress. I don’t understand this. I hope this changes soon.
Alexa’s mom says, “You can take it with you when you leave. I was going to get rid of it anyway.”
“Hey, that is a rare and top quality set of PJs. It is probably worth a month’s paycheck by now.”
“It’s not worth the muck on a dirty penny.”
After finishing, her dad says, “Alright, I’ll be going to the car shop. Take care while we’re at work you two.”
Alexa and I tell her parents that we’ll be fine as they leave. They left their plates near the sink. I’m guessing that Alexa helps around the house while her parents are away. I’ll help.
“You don’t need to do anything, Michael. You’re a guest in this house while you rest after what happened to you.”
“Alright, I guess, but I can help.”
“Oh, hush. Just relax.”
I wish I could help in some way and show my thanks. Maybe I can come up with something or get my parents to give them some kind of compensation. Alexa and I almost look like a married couple like this. All she needs is…
My other me says in my head, “Hey, stop imagining her in a naked apron!”
I’m not doing that!
“Are you okay, honey?”
“Are you okay, Michael?”
“Yeah. I’m fine. I just want to show my appreciation to you and your family.”
“That’s sweet of you, but you shouldn’t worry about it too much.”
“So, are you still in school? Are you on summer break yet?”
“Yeah. School just ended last week. I got some things upstairs I want to show you. Come on.”
“Woah there, stop imagining those things,” The other me says.
I’m not doing it myself!
We go upstairs to her room. It is filled with various certificates for awards in school and sports. There are also figures from various TV shows along with an actual TV in her room. No gaming system though, which sucks. Alexa looks through her drawers and pulls out a game. I think I see something in the drawer that I recognize. Could that be?
“What’s this for?” I ask.
“I borrowed it from you a while ago. I thought it was only right that I’d give it back.”
I can’t get my eyes off the red letter in the drawer. Alexa seems to have noticed and moves over to hide it.
“Don’t you still want it?”
“I didn’t mind that you kept it then I forgot about it…”
“Well, you can bring keep it. I don’t play video games that much anymore.”
I move my head to see the red letter, which makes Alexa sigh and take it out. Yep. It’s what I remembered it to be.
“You remember this letter?” Alexa asks.
“I do. I gave it to you one day in front of everyone during recess. I got laughed at a lot, but you took it anyway and gave me a kiss.”
“Aww. You two are blushing,” the other me points out.
“So, why do you keep it?”
“To remember you by. I still read it every now and then to cheer me up.”
“Oh, I’m surprised my writing cheers you up. You can probably tell I was scared while writing it.”
“What do you mean you were scared? What you did was brave, and it showed on your face and in your writing.”
“It did-ah, I hope it did!”
“Haha, well uh. Do you want to go out for a bit? You do still exercise and play sports, right?”
“I do, but I haven’t been doing as much since you left.”
“Then I better get you back into shape today.”
After getting changed and some waters, we go outside and for some reason, we’re back to the way we looked as kids. At least I’m not wearing that stupid dress anymore.
“Come on, Michael! Keep up!”
“I’m trying to Alexa! You’re way too fast for me!”
“That’s right! I can run faster than a car!”
We’re running through a forest near a park now. I think we used to make our little camp here all the time.
“Do you want to try climbing the trees?” Alexa asks me.
“I’m going to try.”
I climb up the tree and make it to one of the heavy branches.
“Come on, Alexa. You’re more athletic than me.”
“I can do it. Just watch me!”
Alexa struggles to climb up the tree.
“I got you!”
I catch her arm and pull her up to the branch I’m on.
“You saved me! You’re my hero!”
She gives me a hug.
As I look at her face, she gets older and I see that we’re sitting on a park bench. My appearance is back to normal. Is she sleeping? She’s smiling while holding onto me. Did we really do a lot?
“Huh? Oh. I’m sorry.”
“No, I don’t mind.”
“You rested and ready to have more fun?”
“Give me a sec-Ah!”
She squirts me in the face with some of her water with a giggle. When I open my eyes, I see that we’re at the shore.
“Come on, Michael! Let’s push against the waves!”
We splash up against the waves until we see a huge wave coming.
I pull Alexa towards it while saying, “We can beat it!”
“Haha, are you crazy?”
“You aren’t going to beat us you big stupid wave! Ahhh!”
The huge wave throws us back to shore with us on top of each other. After coughing up water, we laugh at what happened. As I blink my eyes, I see that I’m sleeping over her house. Not her house in the present, but her house from the past. We’re reading old comics and acting them out. Every time we hear a noise we stop so that Alexa’s parents don’t suspect us of staying up late.
“And then the bad guy broke down the wall and-”
“Captured the two kids!” Alexa’s dad says as he picks us up and spins us around.
We laugh as he spins us around the room then plops us down on our beds.
“Come on, kids. I can’t keep spinning you around. You’re going to make me hurl one day and it’s going to be on both of you.”
We both say ewww while giggling at the thought for some reason.
“Now, come on and go to bed.”
As I agree to go to bed, I see that I’m sitting at the dinner table with Alexa and her parents.
Alexa smiles at me and asks, “What are you thinking about?”
“Huh? Oh, nothing. I was just remembering the times that your dad used to spin us around to tire us out to go to bed.”
“Hahaha. I remember that too,” Alexa’s mom says.
“Well, I hope you’re not thinking that I’ll do that again. You are older now and-”
“-Alexa has to go. We can’t stay here anymore I’m afraid.”
This is the day Alexa left town. She came to my house to say goodbye. I watch her in silence as if I’m trying to keep her there with my stare.
“We’re going back to our home in Hillside City. I love the community and everyone here, but we can’t afford to be here anymore.”
My dad says, “We understand. Right, Michael?”
I can’t get my eyes off Alexa and she can’t take hers off mine. My hands want to reach out to her and keep her here, but I’m too afraid and sad to do anything.
“Okay, well. I know you’re going to be fine without us. We’ll be keeping you in our prayers. Say goodbye, Alexa.”
“Good-goodbye,” she struggles to say.
We go by the door to see them off, but when they begin to drive away, I bolt out the door.
I chase their car for a little while before her dad stops the car. It looks like he’s letting her say her last goodbye and that’s what she does. We cry and embrace without the want to let go. Her dad gets us to separate. I don’t remember what he was saying, but I begin to chase the car once they go farther away. They don’t stop this time and drive off into the distance.
I don’t hold any grudges towards Alexa’s family. I understand why they had to move, but I wasn’t the same after that. I stopped exercising and caring about school and other things in general. After a month, I started watching porn to fill a hole in my chest that was still gaping open. I don’t know why I did that, but it was the wrong decision or was it the right? I’m finally here with Alexa again.
“Are you okay, Michael?” Alexa asks.
“Ye-yeah. I’m just tired because of all the fun we had today. I haven’t had this much fun in a while.”
“I’m glad you had fun. Oh, dad, did Michael’s parents call you back yet?”
“They haven’t. I’ve been checking every now and then and I called a couple times today. Are you sure this is their right number, Michael?”
I look at the number again, and say, “Yeah, it is.”
“Okay, well I’m going to call my contacts in the police department and see if they can get officers to check your house. Don’t worry about them until we hear back from them, okay?”
Part of me doesn’t want to go home. I’d honestly rather stay here forever.
After finishing up dinner, I go to bed and sleep with a smile on my face for the first time in a while. I can’t wait to see what we’ll do tomorrow.
Chapter 5 – Juliet, Are you with me?
Did I set an alarm before I went to bed? Oh, it’s time to get up for school! I’ve got to hurry up and get ready. I quickly grab a few snacks to eat along the way.
“Bye, stepmom! Bye, stepdad!”
That’s weird. They’re oddly silent today. What’s even weirder are the people on the street. Cars seem to be aiming for me and people are looking at me as if they hate me. It’s the same in school. The teachers don’t even call on me when I raise my hand. They even yell at me when I do the smallest thing. I guess everyone is just in a bad mood today. I can’t wait to see my friends and my girlfri-…I remember this dream. It’s happening again. Why did I forget Alexa’s name and call her Angel?
“You’re like an angel when the sun shines on you, Alexa,” a memory reminds me.
“How cheesy,” the other me comments.
Oh, that’s right. Angel was her nickname I sometimes called her. I know it’s cheesy, but she liked it, however, the Alexa that is coming my way isn’t an angel. She’s a demon.
“Alexa! How are you doing?”
“Fine, without you.”
“No, you aren’t Alexa! You aren’t my angel.”
“What are you going to do about it? You wouldn’t hurt your little angel, would you?”
“No, but you aren’t her.”
Something inside me says rip off her face and the face of the two who are pretending to be my friend, and that’s what I do. I tear the faces off these pretenders. More start coming after me with the faces of my family and other friends. How dare they have the faces of the people I love! I tear off all their faces then scream out loud only to wake up moments later with a feeling of relief. Hopefully, that’s the last I’ll see of that dream.
“I wonder what Alexa’s reaction to you doing that would be.”
Please, I don’t want to think about it.
“But you did that for her honor and the honor of the other people you love.”
It doesn’t matter anymore. Let’s just forget about it.
I get up from my bed and walk out of the room as Alexa comes to the door.
“Yeah. All of that exercise yesterday must’ve given me a lot of energy.”
“That’s great! Does that mean you’re ready for another day of it then?”
“With you, I’m ready for anything.”
“I’m glad to hear that.”
After eating a nice breakfast, we head out for sports and exercise.
While out, I ask Alexa, “So, how have you been? You didn’t tell me yesterday.”
“Sorry, I guess I was just having too much fun. It felt like all that time we spent apart didn’t happen.”
“It was the best day in a while for me.”
“Anyways, I’ve been doing okay. I’m doing good in school and sports like always even though I haven’t gotten any new awards. I’ve made some new friends here too though I’m not best friends with anybody and just talk to them in school and that’s it. It’s nothing like back at my other home.”
That’s good. It means she didn’t find a boyfriend here.
“What if she did? Would you be happy for her?” the other me asks.
“You want her all to yourself, don’t you?”
“How have you been, Michael?”
“Less than perfect let’s say.”
“Outside of what happened to you.”
“Are you sure? I remember the day I left. You wouldn’t stop chasing after me when I drove away. I remember crying as much as you.”
“You did? Because I never really got over it-uh! I mean…uh…”
Dang it. I didn’t mean to say that.
“Don’t worry about it. I didn’t really either even though it may seem like it.”
“You didn’t need to let it bother you.”
“I could say the same for you. Oh. You didn’t tell me how that lady, Serenity, found you.”
“She found me on through the internet while she was looking for another kid to kidnap.”
“That’s terrible that it had to be you, but then again, we’re together again because of what happened.”
“I guess you could call it an act of God if you wanted to.”
“Yeah. I’d like to think it is. It’s a shame that we’ll have to separate again when your parents come to get you.”
“I almost wish they don’t.”
“But you have to go back home, Michael. We can still talk across the phone and our webcam.”
“But it’s not the same.”
It’s why I never really picked up the phone or answered her calls. I thought it was over when she left me.
“I guess that’s why you never answered my calls. You know we can meet up again once we become adults.”
“But how long is that going to be? How do you know that something won’t happen between us that won’t separate us for good?”
“It depends how much you trust me, and judging by your attitude, it seems like you don’t trust me that much.”
We stop what we’re doing.
“That’s not it. I’m just not sure of the future.”
“Then how am I going to restore your faith in me?”
“You…tell me, we’re still together.”
“Huh? I thought we broke up.”
“I jumped the gun then because I thought I would never see you again. I acted impulsively without thinking and I’m sorry. My life without you is misery. Can you please forgive me?”
Please say yes, please say yes!
“…Maybe. You’ll have to prove that you still love me.”
“What do you want me to do? I’ll do anything.”
“You’re going to have to answer my calls and send me a letter like the one you wrote before once a month.”
“I’ll do it!”
“Then I accept your apology.”
I hug Alexa and she hugs me back. I want to give her a kiss, but she pushes my lips back with her finger.
“Uh, uh! I have to get a letter first before you get one.”
What a tease. Haha.
The other me says, “So, you got her back with no trouble. What were you worrying about all this time?”
I don’t know. I guess I was just that scared, but I should’ve known better. My angel wouldn’t abandon me.
Once we’re tired of our fun and games, we go back home and relax for a bit. We watch TV in the nice air-conditioned house. She’s already fallen asleep on me, which has to be one of the best parts of the day. I soon fall asleep as well and start to dream of me stopping by her house one day.
“Michael!” Alexa says in her beautiful velvety red dress, “It’s been years since we last saw each other.”
“I know, but we’ll never be separated again,” I get on one knee and say, “Will you marry me?”
“Ah! I do!”
“Are you ready to go? Do you need to take anything with you?”
“As long as I’m with you, I have everything I need.”
We get into my car and drive away, but as we’re driving away. People from the pavement start clawing at the car as if they’re trying to stop it and tear us out of it.
Get them away from us!
“I’m just a passenger in this ride,” the other me says, “Not the driver.”
The road keeps getting narrower and narrower because of the crowds of people until we hit a large pole in the center of the road. I wake up to see a car crash in the movie that we were watching. Alexa is still asleep-is she seriously drooling on me? I’m not sure whether to think this is gross or cute. Oh. Someone’s unlocking the door. It must be her parents. I wake her up so we can get up and greet them. They don’t appear to be very happy.
After saying hello, I ask, “Did something go wrong at work?”
Alexa’s mom shakes her head then looks at Alexa’s dad. He says, “No, nothing went wrong at work for either of us, but…the police couldn’t find your parents at your house. They searched the place and only found bloodstains and signs of a struggle. They’re suspecting the worst-case scenario given what I told them about the group that kidnapped you, but they are searching for them.”
Alexa’s mom and dad hold me then Alexa herself joins in to say sorry to me.
“You’re going to have to stay with us, not that we mind at all,” Alexa’s dad says, “You’ve already been part of the family ever since you and Alexa met. We’re glad to have you with us.”
Alexa, her dad, and I go to sit down as her mom makes dinner.
As we’re eating dinner, Alexa’s dad notices something, and says, “Are you okay, Michael?”
I don’t know why, but I don’t feel that bad about losing my family. Alexa’s dad must’ve noticed the smile that’s on my face.
“Yeah, I’m doing fine,” I say as I look at Alexa.
Her dad has always been perceptive. He looks back and forth at us, smiles then says, “Are you two back together?”
“We are,” I say with a little hesitation.
“When am I going to get grandchildren?” Alexa’s mom asks.
We laugh a bit then tell her parents why we got back together. In bed, I rest more relaxed and at ease than any other night that I can think of. Even though my parents have disappeared, my life has taken a turn for the better.
Chapter 6 – My Drive and Passion
Today’s going to be another great day. I can feel it. After the normal morning breakfast, Alexa and I clean the house together while making small talk as we play music we used to listen to. It’s a fun little time, but we get pretty dirty after cleaning, so we take showers after. She takes a shower first, as I wait around. I think she forgot her change of clothes since she left it on her bed or does she change in her room? She takes a shower before I wake up, so I don’t know. Oh, she’s coming out now.
Alexa looks so beautiful with her hair down.
“What?” she says with a little giggle.
Her towel slips a little to reveal a little skin. Did she do that on purpose? That blushing smile on her face seems to suggest so.
“Or it could just be your imagination,” the other me suggests.
She says, “You can’t look at me while I’m naked even though we’re in a relationship, so you better watch where you’re looking.”
“I can’t help it if my eyes look at the most beautiful lady in the world. It’s a bad habit of mine.”
Alexa laughs a little and gives me a little tap on my face before going into her room to change. After my shower, I get ready and we go out for another day of fun. We do a bunch of exercises before going back home for lunch. Alexa gets the idea to feed me my food as she puts it in my face. I do the same for her as we feed each other.
“How romantic,” the other me says in a mocking tone.
It is. Don’t be jealous, me.
Once our rest is done, we head over to a part of the city where there are trees.
Alexa says that she wants to, “Do what we did in the old days. I should still be able to climb these trees especially they aren’t as big as the ones back home. You should go first.”
“Alright. I got this.”
I climb the tree with little hesitation and mistakes even though I haven’t done this in a while.
“See? I can still do it.”
“Showoff. Here I go!”
Alexa climbs the tree but slips near the top. I catch her and help her up to the branch I’m on.
“Just like old times, right?”
“Agh, shut up.”
Besides that little incident, Alexa and I sit in the tree with my arms around her. We enjoy each other’s company as the sun sets. She then gives me a kiss on the cheek.
“That was for all the times you saved me from falling and not just when we climbed trees,” she says as she rests her face closer to mine.
“Don’t get too excited,” the other me says.
How can I not with how the past few days have been going? She’s obviously trying to tell me something.
“Wait for marriage.”
“Take her,” a strange distorted version of my voice says.
“She’s yours. She wants you to embrace her. Take her into your arms and complete your bond together.”
“Don’t listen to that voice, Michael! Control yourse-”
I think the other me said to control myself. My head is getting really fussy for some reason. It’s getting dark right now too, so I wake up Alexa and we descend down the tree to go back home. We hold hands on the way back, and my head’s starting to hurt now. It feels like a dozen hands are squeezing it, and a dozen voices are whispering in my head.
“Make her yours.”
“She wants you to.”
“You deserve each other.”
“Her mom did say she wants grandkids.”
“Listen to your heart.”
What’s happening to my head?
“I’m not done with you yet.”
Maybe some rest will make me feel better. When dinner is done, I go straight to bed. I say some extra prayers to get the voices and feelings to go away. Alexa enters the room and gives me a kiss on my head.
“Good night. I love you,” she says.
“I love you too.”
That didn’t help.
“Now’s your chance.”
“That was her signal.”
“Go for it.”
I wrestle with myself for a while as my head starts to sweat until I manage to fall asleep.
“I’m not done with you yet.”
The nightmare version of Serenity jumps out at me in the darkness, which wakes me up. She takes my hand and leads me to Alexa’s room and disappears to leave me at her bedside. Alexa does look cute while she sleeps. She’s wearing a tank top and short pants. Invisible hands pull me onto her, and I can barely resist as I gaze upon her beauty. My hands instinctively touch her face and go down her body. They then go up to her hands that I hold. She seems to be enjoying this. Good. I lower my face down and kiss her lips. Now she’s really smiling.
I then softly bite her neck as I hold her hands in position as she tries to move them. She’s getting restless. Is she waking up? I look at her eyes as she tries to get them open. When she fully notices me, her eyes widen.
“Mic-Michael? What are you doing?” she asks in her sweet voice.
I…What am I doing? This is a mistake. A horrible mistake. What have I done? I run out the door with my hands over my head in disgrace then out of the house into the night. I think I might’ve heard her calling to me, but I don’t want to hear it right now. I want her to go back to sleep and forget about what happened. I want her to forget about me after I even attempted that, but I want more! No! I want more! I want someone else to do it too!
What’s happening to my appearance? I’m more feminine and feel even weirder. What’s happening to me?
Give in already! Satisfy my desires! Give in. Give me what I want!
End of Phase One
Phase Two – Rampage
Who is going to satisfy me tonight? I want a girl that has everything I want. A cute face, pretty eyes, and the right kind of body. She has to be innocent, but also have a naughty side to her. Her outfit has to reflect it too, and I think I might’ve found the right target. She’s a corner girl, but she’ll do.
I approach her and say, “You look like a pretty doll. Do you want to play?”
“That’s one of the cheesiest pick-up lines I’ve ever heard-”
When she looks at me, she gets scared and tries to run away, but I catch up to her. I pounce on her and feel her. She’s too used, so I let her go. I wonder who else I could get. I do like older women even though Alexa and I are the same age. Maybe I can find one that looks like one from those hentai games I used to play. I also wouldn’t mind it if she had huge milkers and a dominating personality.
As I walk the streets, people stay away from me. I wink at them and throw kisses their way. I know they want me, but they’ll have to wait their turn while I look for my real target. I can hear a voice calling out to me to stop, but I don’t know what it’s saying. Why would I want to stop when I feel this good?
I’ve found a woman that matches the one in my head. She’s got the mature look I crave. A mature woman is like fine wine. They only get better with age. This one is so precious I could die. She’s sitting on a bench by the water and showing her kid the moon, but she isn’t wearing a wedding ring. I could be her next kid and her husband at the same time.
“Hello, there pretty lady,” I say to her.
“Haha, hello. Why are you bothering with an old lady like me?”
“Because a lady such as yourself needs company on a night like this.”
“Well, aren’t you a gentleman?”
I go to grab her by the shoulders, but her kid grabs my hand.
“Do you want to hold my baby? As you can tell, he’s very friendly.”
“Here you go.”
The lady gives me her child. He smiles at me and giggles as he holds my hand.
The lady then says, “I can tell you’re lost. Do you need help getting home?”
“You should go back home since it’s so late. I’m sure the people that care about you will miss you.”
“I uh…I guess so. Sorry, for bothering you.”
“It’s no problem. I’m glad to help. Have a good night!”
“Y-yeah. You too.”
Do I recognize that lady?
“Excuse me? Do I know…”
There’s no one there now. I look around the bench and find a rosary. I’ve been wanting to get another one. Whatever is inside of me is screaming out in pain trying to wrestle back control. What is even going on? Why am I out here? Give me what I desire! Something is still fighting me. I don’t want to be out here. I have to go back to Alexa to apologize-but first!
I see that little girl from before with the elephant. She’s by herself. Out for a late night jog by yourself, I see? You best be careful little girl. There are people out there who won’t hesitate to take your innocence. I find a way to get in front of her and I catch her in my arms.
“You know it’s dangerous to be out here by yourself, little girl.”
“It’s you again! I knew you’d be out here. Do you still want that elephant I have?”
“Wha-no, I don’t.”
“I’ve been praying for you these past couple days. It looks like my prayers have been working since you’re still alive. Oh, do you have a place to stay?”
“Then all of my prayers have been answered.”
“…What are you doing out here by yourself?”
“I went to go see a boy I like. His parents moved farther away into the city, so I don’t see him as often as I used to. We’ve been taking turns going out at night to see each other.”
“You shouldn’t do that. It’s too dangerous.”
“But I really do love him.”
“Then get your parents to make time to drive you to him or the other way around.”
“I guess so. I don’t know. I’m scared to ask them.”
“If you’re brave enough to be out at night like this, then you’re brave enough to ask your parents.”
“That makes sense. Thank you for convincing me!”
“And don’t forget that even though you may have distance between you two, the love you share will keep you together forever.”
“Thank you for telling me that! You’re like an angel mister! I’m so glad I met you.”
Some strange people come from behind and take away the girl. I think I recognize them. They’re dressed like the people from the Doll Factory.
“Who are you?” I ask them.
“It’s none of your business, boy.”
It is my business. Scum like you shouldn’t be kidnapping anyone let alone a child.
“This is my business.”
“Don’t bother with us or-”
As she turns her head, I sock the woman in the head then knee her friend in the stomach before smashing his face into a nearby wall. This is great! I’ve never felt this sensation before. I should be fighting against people like this and not trying to be like them. I can feel my appearance begin to change. I can see in my reflection in the store window that I have a mask on my face, my head is on fire with rage, my shirt is off, and my black pants are ripped. I don’t have any shoes, but I don’t need them. I like this look more than my feminized one.
“T-thank you for defending me,” the little girl says, “I didn’t know who those people were.”
“I think I have an idea. They’re the reason I’m here and why I got messed up.”
“That’s terrible. They must be evil people.”
“They are, and I’m going to make sure none of them hurt anyone else ever again.”
I search the pockets of the two people I knocked out to find addresses written on scraps of paper. I’ll find every single one of these people to make them pay for everything they’ve done.
Chapter 7 – Death and Rebirth
The address that I found isn’t too far from here. It’s a broken-down house that looks like it could fall apart at any time. From the looks of it, it could be a perfect place for a temporary hideout for crazy people. I go into the building to find a small pathway to the basement. In it, I find two people sleeping on old mattresses. They’re dressed similarly so these people must be part of the same group.
Since they’re both sleeping, I wake up on who looks around before being knocked right back out. The noise wakes up their friend who I climb on and beat their face in. There’s nothing on them that tells me who they are so these might be the only ones here. They might not even be part of the Doll Factory and are just a group inspired by them. That’s a shame. I wanted to get justice for myself, but at least these people will know better. I call the cops using their phone and leave it on them as I leave the area.
That was more fun than I thought it was going to be. Alexa’s dad used to tell us stories all the time about his dad’s secret vigilante activities while also being a boxer. Now I know why he liked doing it. I want to find more people to fight. Hillside City is full of crazy people. I’m sure to find one if I look hard enough.
It only takes a short while before I see a few suspicious people. They manage to steal some food and drinks out of a store without anyone noticing. I go after them and wait until they lead me to their place. Maybe there are more of them. The two people meet up with another who they start to share the food with. That’s three people to punish. Because they outnumber me, I sneak up behind one and punch them in the back of the head. I then punch the next person in the mouth to make them choke on what they’re eating. The next person gets punched in the gut to make them puke what they ate. Their face gets smashed into the concrete.
“Wh-why are you doing this?” the barely conscious man asks.
“Because you stole food.”
“But we’re hungry and poor!”
“It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor. A crime is still a crime. A sin is still a sin. Your justification doesn’t make you innocent.”
I smash the person’s face into the concrete one last time. More! More! I want more souls to punish. Suddenly, more people form out of the shadows as the area around me constantly shifts from the outside to the inside of buildings. So many people to punish. I get to work as my desire for violence overwhelms me. It overwhelms me so much that four tendrils come out of my back. Good. I need more tools for this. Faces get broken, necks are crushed, and my tendrils stab their sharp points through torsos. It’s a sweet symphony of carnage that’s inflicted upon the guilty.
Huh? What’s this? Some of the people I see appear to be normal people. Wait, was that Alexa? Was that my dad? Mom? Myself? When I focus on myself, it steps out to face me. I try to fight it, but it beats me down. No, I won’t let you beat me. I throw a punch at myself, but something tells me to stop, so I stop before I hit myself in the face. The fighting has stopped for some reason and my heart feels calm, and yet, it is also concerned. After blinking a couple times, I see Alexa. Is that really her? What’s going on? What have I been doing?
“I’ve finally found you, Michael”, she says with tears in her eyes.
How did I lose myself for so long? Who was I for that short amount of time? What did I even do?
“I’ve been searching the entire city for you, Michael. Please come back to me.”
Is Alexa really here?
I reach out and she holds my hand. She is real!
“No, Alexa. I’m not sure if I can come back after what I did. I’m not sure if I’m worth it.”
“It’s okay. I forgive you. To be honest, I’ve been feeling the same way, but we have to control ourselves. It’s the right thing to do.”
End of Phase 2
Phase 3 – Sanctification
I remember why I need to control myself. I’ve only been thinking about myself and what I care about for the past few days. There wasn’t a single thought about what really matters in the world. You were always with me through my troubles. You were waiting for me to come back to you. When I was about to be forcefully wedded, you freed me. When I was in a haze of desire, you took my hand and woke me up. You’re an integral part of who I am. Without You, I am nothing. I’m sorry for forgetting that. I promise not to do it anymore. Just give me the chance to prove it.
My monstrous appearance disappears from me as I go back to normal.
“Let’s go back home, Alexa.”
She nods her head with a smile.
As we walk through the streets while holding hands, I ask her, “Are you out here by yourself?”
“No, my dad should be out here too. He shouldn’t be too far.”
When we turn the corner, I see a group of people approaching me. A few cars stop in the center of the road and more people come out of it. I think I recognize one of their faces. No way. Is that Serenity? Half of her is burnt, and yet, she is still wearing a revealing red dress. The group of people surround us and push us into the alley. I protect Alexa by putting myself in front of her.
“I’m so glad you didn’t forget about me, Michael. I knew you would be okay after that fire and after all these days. Is this that girl you would always talk about? I told you that she abandoned you because she left you.”
“That isn’t true,” I say, “What do you want?”
“I want you, of course. You proved to be the man I’ve been searching for my entire life. Even though I gave you up to my husband for marriage, that was just to subjugate you and to see if you would kill him. You’ve proved to be more than that.”
“How do you have so many people with you?”
“You didn’t figure it out yet? I guess that’s just how men are. I’m the headmistress of the Doll Factory.”
“Why do you think I have such a large reach and the people to kidnap young people like you? I might be exposed now, and I might need to pay a big fee to have this event forgotten by the city’s security, but it’s worth it to get you.”
“You can take me but leave Alexa alone.”
“I’ll leave her alone alright. She’s a witness and needs to disappear. Trust me. I’ll make sure my people treat her right.”
“I’d rather die than have you take us!”
“I knew you would say something like that. Go ahead. Resist.”
Serenity steps in front of her guards with her arms out. I walk ahead with my fists clenched, and am about to punch her, but then I’m shot in my legs and arms with a couple shots hitting my body. I knew it wouldn’t be that easy. Serenity smiles as I fall down.
“Michael!” Alexa screams.
The guards then point their guns at her.
“You’re truly a man among men, Michael. To fight for your love even when you have all the odds set against you. You truly will be my perfect husband.”
“No…that isn’t going to happen.”
“But it will. I’ll get you back up to good health in no time then make you mine forever.”
“No…that isn’t going to happen!”
I can feel a massive amount of energy exit out of my head and enter into the minds of the people around me as I try to stand up. Serenity’s guards start shooting and fighting against invisible things that appear to be attacking them. Some of them are also experiencing things that make them crumble to the ground, run away, or just go crazy. The pain from my arms, legs, and body begin to fade away as the bullet pop out of me and my strength is restored.
“I should’ve known that you would be affected by the Human Mirror in this way,” Serenity says as she swipes away her monsters, “But you’re still going to be mine.”
“I don’t think so.”
The alley we’re in enlarges itself in the size of a parking lot. I see Serenity as her monster form while I stay normal. I can also see the monsters of everyone else.
Alexa approaches me and says, “It doesn’t look like we can escape unless we make it past her.”
“We can beat her together.”
“Let’s do it.”
A monster pops out of the ground as we approach Serenity. It has bloodied spikes on its scissor-like head and on its thin legs, and its arms are like pincers. It reminds me of the self-harm and hate that I had within me, but that’s not part of me anymore.
“I used to hate myself and what I was, but that’s not who I am,” I say aloud, “From this day forth, I’m going to be a different person!”
Alexa says, “I hated myself for leaving the most important in my life and my faults. I’m above that thinking now. Worrying about that will only keep me down.”
The monster breaks apart and disappears. We approach Serenity who has just fought off her monsters.
She says, “Come back to me, Michael. I can give you an easy life that you deserve.” She slams her foot on the ground, which shakes it. “Submit to me!”
“I won’t!” I say as I take Alexa’s hand, “I don’t need an easy life. All I need are two things; God and the love of my life, who’s hand I’m holding.”
“He’s mine, Serenity, and I’m going to be a better wife than you can ever be.”
“But I have everything. Money, power, and sex. I have what makes the world turn.”
“Those things are nothing compared to what I have. All you have are demons and vanity. Repent or perish.”
“No, I won’t.”
Serenity’s monsters become stronger and appear more nightmarish to reflect her stubborn mindset. Her energy attracts the monsters from other people who pounce on her. Along with her monsters, they overwhelm her, take over her body, and transform her into a summation of everyone’s sins. It’s a three-headed demon with nine breasts, black fur, a showing spinal column, and a tail with a phallic appendage in it.
It screams out in anger then says, in a combined voice, “Submit to me or die!”
“We won’t!” Alexa and I say together.
The summation then winds up a punch. We wind up our own and clash with it. A light from our body transfers from our fists to the summation, which infects its body and tears it apart. It then explodes from the light. When it’s over, Serenity and her guards lay unconscious on the ground. I then fall down due to the pain coming back to me.
“Michael! Hold on! I’m going to get my dad.”
Alexa’s dad arrives at the alley just in time and is shocked by what he sees before he goes to help me. He rips parts of his shirt to wrap my wounds.
He says, “You’re going to be fine, Michael. My mom taught me how to stabilize a person. Thankfully, whatever you got hit with is out. I’ll ask what happened here later.”
“He saved me, dad.”
“He did? I don’t know why I’m surprised. You’re a good kid, no, you’re a great man.”
“I’m glad to hear that. Alexa…”
“You don’t have to say or make up for anything. You showed me how much you love me.”
Alexa kisses me on the forehead. Her dad and she take me to the hospital while also calling the police. The authorities arrest Serenity and the rest of her guards, who have gone soft in the head for some reason. Since we tell them who they are and they admit it publicly, Serenity is publicly executed with her other guards who have killed and raped people. Alexa and I are credited in dealing a fatal blow to the Doll Factory and are celebrated by the city and the world. The Doll Factory isn’t going to be heard from for a long time even in their circles.
As for Alexa and I, we enjoy our fame and our rewards. We decide to lead somewhat normal lives despite our unordinary present situation, but then again, who is truly normal? I wake up to a new day to my wonderful family. My stepparents head out to work while my girlfriend and I get ready to enjoy another day today.
“Are you ready, Michael?”
“Yeah, I’m always ready to spend another day with you.”
“Haha, come on.”
Alexa and I step outside while holding each other’s hand. My life has been a series of challenges. Life, in general, is a never-ending challenge with beginnings and endings. I fail a lot, but I always get back up to try again because love lives within me, and I live for love.
End of Phase 3
The End – Grace
“Sometimes the only way the good Lord can get into some hearts is to break them.”
― Fulton J. Sheen
*These pictures along with the cover are the pictures I used to help me plot out the story.
*Restless was taken out as I thought this part didn’t need a long section for it.
A Catholic self-published author that writes to entertain and teach. Writes mostly horror, fantasy, and short story fiction.
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