A U T H O R'S
A revival? In short, yes; I've been trying to work myself back in the habit of writing, for fear of going too long without a serious commitment to write something I had promised to a whole bunch of people including myself. New chapters are currently being written. The earlier thread as some people might remember was a bit of a pain to read as I had put all of the chapters in one post for the sake of ease (when it was definitely not so) and caused a bit of confusion. I've also made some minor grammatical changes here and there, out of preference. I'll be posting new chapters every Tuesday to give my readers some time to make their way through this, so I implore you to subscribe even if you decide not to comment in this thread.
This fanfiction is a novelized version of the roleplay Anomaly that took place several years ago on this forum. It is a story that uses the elements of the Kingdom Hearts universe but is entirely non-canonical to the game's stories. This is an original tale set in an original setting with familiar elements sprinkled within. Disney worlds will be featured at different parts of the story, and all creative rights and respect go to their creators. The original characters that I use are used so with permission from their respective creators who participated in the original roleplay. It is also dedicated to them and the roleplay that is one of the crowning achievements of the forum's Roleplaying section.
I would also be appreciative if you would like to discuss characters and plot here in this thread.
Thank you, and please enjoy.
P R O L O G U E
Three boys moved along the stone-steps, Sean in front, leading them without a single word. Under cover of the deep night, there were few eyes to watch them sneak out of their respective homes and make for the waterfront. There was a decent place that was draped in shadow, away from the golden lamp-lit walks that lined the water's edge. It was an alcove under a bridge, and no one saw them sneak under it. The plan had been hatched earlier in the day, in which Sean and his friends were at school. Between classes, they had come into an argument or more of a boasting match. The subject of their curiosity: alcohol. Every child of their age had their own natural curiosity when it came to grown-up matters, but it was a matter of pride and respect when it came to talk what was clearly not out of grasp. Now it was time to own up, and Sean had smuggled something with him as he had lead them further below the bridge. Settling down, they sat in a semi-circle with the water lapping up against the concrete next to them. Reaching into his coat, Sean handled the slender neck of a bottle and procured it, shoving it in the chest of his friend. Forced to take the bottle, the other boy looked down to it tacitly.
"Well?" Sean said, the first to break the silence.
"Well what?" said the boy with the bottle, sporting a bewildered look.
"If your Dad lets you have it whenever you want, then I wanna see you drink it like you do.", he ordered.The two of the exchanged glances while the third boy listened to their voices echo across the water. The three of them came to a silent consensus that they would have to keep their voices down or risk someone above hearing. There were coppicemen that routinely patrolled the waterfront, especially near the park.
"Come on then." coaxed Sean, already aware of his friend's inexperience.At this point they had all become subconsciously aware that they would have to outmatch each other to prove that they weren't chicken. Sean too, even though he sat on the bluffer's throne. He too would have to drink, and he wasn't all too sure he would enjoy the consequences.
Reluctantly pressing the bottle to his lips, playing the part, he soon discovered how bitter his friend's wine was. Washing across his tongue, it was a shocking and foul comparison to the mildly sweet flavor he had been expecting. Nearly gagging, the boy leaned to his right and spat the contents of his mouth into the river, ruing the moment he had accepted the challenge. He cursed and wiped his mouth, standing up. In sharp contrast, Sean yanked the bottle from his friends hand and swallowed a mouthful furiously in defiance of his friend's cowardice.
"Shut up, don't think you're any better 'an me just because you drank a little wine. Besides, you probably put something in it to make me gag."Sean didn't say anything, and only smirked. Looking to the other boy, who had been laughing quietly nearly the whole time, Sean shrugged and started to walk along the concrete wedge between the bridge and the river. When he saw his friend pick up the bottle he left behind, Sean turned back.
"Leave it here; I don't wanna be seen carrying that around."Doing so, they followed him along the bank that was fenced off from the side of the river. They walked over the fragments of dark and smooth rocks that had been laid for aesthetic purpose, as they were approaching the park at the heart of the city. Picking one up, Sean skipped it twice along the water. His friends, thinking they could do better, started skipping stones across the water.
"I heard you like that girl, the older one in the class above us."
"Says who?” Sean added, grimacing.
"Uh... says everyone."
"The girl who sneaks out of Rhetoric just to smoke those woman cigarettes behind the yard-shed?” his other friend added.
"Don't be stupid, I don't like anyone from that class."He wanted to change the subject fast; he had a crush on the girl, but thought he had hid that well enough to lay inconspicuous with the rest of the student body.
"Try to hit that boat; I bet you can't skip out that far."Casually, his friends accepted his challenge. The object they had targeted was a large houseboat that was floating silently along the river. Sean assumed that it was full of yokels from the countryside; there were a lot of them that traveled into the city on the rivers. Taking a ship was a lot easier than going by land over the mountains in an automobile. Everyone inside looked asleep, except for the few lights in the bridge and deck. Each room had a large glass window to look out from, and all the lights had been dimmed and no silhouette could be seen moving about. The boys looked around quickly for anyone on shore that may have been watching them, and found no one. The three boys began to skip rocks out towards the boat, coming up short.
"You can't change the subject Sean; I know that you like her. Her and her goofy friends."Sean ignored him, and skipped another rock, really throwing his arm into it. It skipped four times before it hit a patch of flat water, and sprung into the air. With a dreaded crash, the stone sailed through a window, shattering its pieces into the room inside. Fragments fell into the river as the sound of the stone crashing into other objects followed. Within seconds, all of the lights on the houseboat were lit, and angry yelling echoed throughout. Sean burst into laughter, but even that was short-lived.
"Hey! You three, freeze!” came a voice from the bridge. A coppice man called out to them, pointing his baton directly at Sean.When they turned around, they noticed another closing in from the street to their left
"Run for it!" Sean exclaimed, and they ran.The only way they'd be able to escape is in the park, but the second officer was barreling toward them. They tried to run around, but he caught Sean by the hood as his friends ran past. Swiveling his shoulders, he twisted the fabric out of the officer's hand and ran at full speed towards the path his friends were heading down.
Back on the houseboat, an old gray-haired man emerged out onto the deck. He pulled a silver revolver from his waist and fired it into the sky. Wide-eyed, Sean looked back, and noticed that the coppiceman chasing him had looked back to the boat momentarily. This was his only chance to get away, and he took it. Breezing past the large iron and marble gates, there were trees on his left and right now, with thin and dark paths winding through them. He was in the park now, and he veered off the main path and dodged through the trees. Kneeling down in the darkness, they wouldn't be able to see him in the thick of the bushes and trunks even with a torch. He watched the officer run past, trying to catch his breath.
After a good ten minutes had passed, he emerged out onto the path warily. His hooded sweatshirt had the hood hanging by a few threads and covered in blades of dead grass and dirt. He could certainly lie his way into a feasible explanation for this, because he knew he would be asked. But it was time to go home, and he'd have to take his time, to make sure he wasn't being followed. Sean treated it as sort of a game; running behind benches, peering out from behind a tree, pretending he was being hunted for a situation more grave than his current predicament.
Eventually, he got to the large stair that led down from the boulevard where he had left earlier in the evening. Much more somber now, he moped at the realization that his parents would likely be furious at him staying out so late. It must have been close to or a little after midnight. The stars above were clear as crystal. And with that, he took his first heavy-hearted step up toward home.
The wind seemed to pick up as he raised right foot and left foot. The terrace the boulevard was located on was considerably high up. There were three sections of steps with their own landings, and Sean would traverse these every day to travel to school or otherwise. Archways of hand-crafted marble hung over him, and were covered in thin strands of green-gray vine with broad silvery leaves. One-hundred and twenty-six steps, nine arches, he had counted on many occasions.
Emerging upon the first landing, Sean took notice of something peculiar. A dark blotch spread out on the corner of the concrete pavement. He walked over to it, noting that he hadn't seen it on his trip downward. It was like someone had haphazardly spilled black paint. Reaching out with his foot, he dragged the sole of his shoe along the surface. It was dry. He walked over it and then examined his shoes to find nothing. Dismissing it, he decided to waste no more time getting home. At once, he made his way up the second set of stairs and to the next landing, looking to his right and up towards the rooftops of the houses of his block.
It was then that he was thrown off of his feet, landing hard on his chest. The earth below him shook and trembled for a few nightmarish seconds. Rolling on his back, he sat up, rubbing his elbow. At first, he thought it was an earthquake, but it wasn't really possible for them to happen in this area of the world. He stood up turned around, where the entire city was in view from this precipice. There was smoke coming from the waterfront, and at infrequent points upon the cityscape. The large mountains that rose beyond were silent, black, and eternal.
Another huge quake came suddenly, and Sean stumbled to his left and threw his arms around a pillar of the arch to prevent him from falling over. What he observed was horrifying. The earth down at the riverfront split in twain, sending buildings crumbling into the water and down into the abyss. The river itself flowed down into the massive crevasse from both sides, which spit out fire and steam. Far off in the distance there were brilliant flicks of flame that sparked out of the earth. Above the mountain, appeared a large white monolith that sailed toward the city, with smaller white objects buzzing around it or stationary.
Trembling, Sean whirled around to flee home, but as he did he caught something in the corner of his sight. Stepping forward, he saw the large black stain on the lower landing. It seemed to be expanding, somewhat like an inflating bag. It was black and dark violet and rose as if it were a large blister on the ground. It was sickening. Another quake threw him forward and onto his face. Looking down, the "blister" had popped, and black silhouettes emerged from it, scrambling across the ground. He pulled himself up, angry at his body for not moving at the pace of his fear. But already, these shadows were upon him. They swam through the earth, and then began to pull themselves out from it. They were diminutive yet humanoid, and moved with a robotic canter. Before Sean knew it they lunged forward and clung to his limbs, and the heart-pounding feeling of alien tendrils on his skin filled his entire being. Sick looking antennae that protruded from their heads brushed against him, and golden glowing eyes blinked back at him.
Another one, but larger and with more developed features slowly emerged in front of him. Sean kicked and thrust his body wildly, but with all his might, he was unable to pry these alien creatures from his body. The figure in front of him seemed to lean over backwards, in an arc that would have been impossible for any humanoid creature with a legitimate spine. It shot forward and barreled itself into Sean's chest. He screamed out in absolute terror, and then was subsequently winded. It felt as through a freezing cold freight train had just broadsided him. It reached through his body, even though its tendrils did not break the skin. They traveled throughout his nerves and invaded every sort of sensation one could imagine. Then, slowly, a burst of light was plucked from his body. Swallowed and absorbed by the darkness, they abandoned his limp body, which tumbled to the ground, lifeless. They congregated and swirled around the shadow that had absorbed the boy's heart before they dispersed in a flash, off to look for more victims.
There was no sensation, no life, and no thought left in the body that lay on the cold cement. It was a corpse, a husk of the being that had formerly inhabited it; mere matter apart from the atoms around it. In this new silence, the wind gently tossed his hair and ruffled his clothes in vain to play with the once living creature.
The ghostly white objects in the sky began to descend.
These sleek and pale specks, once in plain view, were actually ships. While some strayed along the behemoth, others swiftly sailed down into the city. They moved in a tight formation, and then split off from one another, gliding mere feet above the rooftops.
One of them landed in an area near the park were there were no trees (aside from the ones that hadn't toppled over in the quakes), and steam jettisoned from either side. From below, a hatch opened with a metal ladder descending and planting itself in the earth. The entire area was silent around the ship; whether people were afraid to come out or were already dead was unknown.
Creatures began to descend, and the huddled around the ladder until the last came down. There were four of them, and though they looked like impassive beige outlines, one could see that they were wearing cloaks. Turing away, they looked in all directions, scanning the cityscape, peering towards the horizon.
From the group, one stepped forward and lifted his hands to his hood pulling it downward over his head. His blonde hair shone in the white lights of the ship, and his clear eyes traveled over the wreckage the quake had wrought. His chin was stubbly, and he was rather tall, somewhere in his late teens or early twenties.
"I'm gonna be sick.” he said out of displeasure, though he'd hardly show any weakness in front of others.
"Let's hurry up and find the children, we don't have much time", came a voice from behind the blond-haired man.
"Right." he replied, putting one hand on his hip while the other outstretched before him.A shaft of light shot out from his hand and materialized within two blinks of an eye. He was now holding a lengthy object, a weapon in his right hand. It was a sort of blade: long, sharp, and beautifully blue. What set it apart was a barb of sorts at the end, a metal piece that resembled the white wing of a dove. The weapon's golden guard eclipsed his hand, intricately decorated with silver.
Turning to his comrades, he signaled to all of them. He would go left, another would head for the hill before them, and the other two were to travel along the rift in the park, searching for survivors. At once they split up, hurriedly on their own paths, darting through the shadows and turning through dead city streets.
One of the cloaked figures came upon a stair, the one whom had been sent to the hill. He ran up them quickly with powerful and graceful movements, even jumping up to the first landing without showing any tire. Had he not noticed something slumped in the corner of his eye, he would have moved on and never thought twice about his ascent up to the boulevard.
His steps were light on the concrete as he approached the body splayed so painfully. It was only a child. The man knelt down, carefully turning him over. There was no sign of life, and it appeared as it his very soul had been stolen from his body. The man kneeled and set the boy's body at rest: folding his arms across his chest, straightening out his legs, closing the eyes that could not see anymore. This was but one of millions of casualties in the last hour. The plague of darkness had spread throughout this planet causing it to violently convulse. Even its heart had begun to fade.
A violent earthquake struck, and the fissures already tearing the city in pieces grew wider, molten earth shooting out from below and flying into buildings. Soon, many fires broke out and smoke swept across the sky. The man steadied himself and stood, woefully looking over the boy's corpse. He needed to hurry, and set off up the second set of steps. His gaze was focused upwards, to the corners of the houses that lined the street.
A sudden flash of light burst from above in the remnants of one of the houses.
As the man approached the collapsed ruin that used to be a home, another burst of light struck out, and black smoke rose from within and into the air, dissipating quickly. Stepping over broken beams and shards of glass and plaster, he crept around the corner and saw something move.
A little girl crouching down with her hands covering her eyes sobbed and rocked back and forth. When the man stepped out in front of her she quivered and leaned back, showing her red and distraught face. Shocked, she scooted back against a crumbled wall. She had light brown hair that fell over her shoulders in soot-covered strands, matted and dingy. The man could see limp forms behind her, buried under a mountain of rubble. There were no signs of life at all. He stepped towards her, fragments of rubble crushed under his step. His hands rose to his face and clasped the seams of his hood, pulling it back over his head.
The first things she saw were his eyes, terrible golden eyes, surrounded by deepest black; the eyes of death and darkness. It was as if they seemed to beckon:
“I'm hunger. I'm thirst. Where I bite, I hold till I die, and even after death they must cut out my mouthful from my enemy's body and bury it with me.”
They were focused on her intently, and her heart beat out of her chest. He had brown hair that fell over his forehead in bangs, while the rest spread backwards across his skull. Tufts of creamy-white hair poked out from his temples around triangular ears. As he walked towards her, she clamored back against the wall, petrified. He was close enough to reach out and grab her.
The man knelt down before her.
“We are here to save you.” he said with deep and slightly raspy voice, and his accent was odd.Not nearly convincing enough for the child, she twisted her body to escape his gaze, tucking up her legs in the fetal position. The man could understand this. He closed his eyes.
“You must come with us, there is little time. You are in great danger.”She took a peek at his face with weak and puffy eyes and found it easier to look at him. At that moment a tremor shook the remains of the household, and she buried her face in her knees and screamed in fear. When the shaking subsided, the little girl uncurled, warily looking back at him.
“Please trust me, we mean you no harm.”He gave her his hand, and she stared at it unmoving. Even though she was scared, there was sort of an odd feeling that swirled about her thoughts. Even with the loss of her parents, with the foundations of everything she knew crumbling before her, she felt like this man was… safe. She thought of firemen or police officers she saw on television. She slowly reached out and took her hand.
“What is your name?” He said softly.Again, she was reluctant, but eventually squeaked it out.
“Sarah, my name is Raticus”, he replied.Even in her fear and despair, Sarah managed to inwardly giggle at such an absurd name. She put her hand in his, and he helped her stand up. Sarah was wobbly like a newborn foal from sheer exhaustion, and he picked her up and had her sit on his back with her arms around his neck and legs in his arms. Shocks of cold ran up her body, as she felt herself robotically allow herself to be carried away by someone who was not her mother or father. Nearly squirming at this thought, she looked away and to the crumbled remnants of her home. This provided little solace. Underneath that ruin were the broken bodies of her parents, who she thought couldn’t possibly be dead. They were the people who were warm and alive in their beds, which would get up in the morning and show their smiling faces to her. It wasn’t real. In fact, this was all a dream.
This is what Sarah thought as the alien-man carried her out of her fallen home. This was too much like a nightmare, to implausible to be reality. Her lucid thoughts danced in her mind, and she laid her head on Raticus’s neck as he walked. Nightmares didn’t last forever, and soon she would wake up to a day she would know as real; wake up the people she knew were alive. Dreamily, she watched the smoke plumes rise against the night sky in the shells of homes that remained. How funny, it seemed, to see her neighborhood in utter destruction.
Warm, smoky winds blew towards them, and she stifled a few coughs. The corner playground was still intact, and almost wanted to ask Raticus if he would let her swing for a while. Her sore limbs made her think otherwise; strangely, for a dream, the dull pain seemed so real. On Raticus’s back they meandered through the playground and into the adjacent block, littered with rubble and smoldering fragments of flotsam. The smoke got thicker, and the ground was electric with seismic shifts. There was little warning when the next quake hit.
Raticus nearly doubled over, and Sarah felt the cold bristling on the back of his neck. The ground twenty yards before then shot into the air, like a massive barrier in the path to safety. Boulders of stone coupled with building materials rained about, and to Sarah, it was quite fantastic. He knelt down and covered her head, just to be safe.
The fires had spread to the houses around them, and the radiating heat could be felt throughout the block. Up above them on the precipice that was juxtaposed in the air, tendrils of black smoke curled around the crumbled ledges, coalescing into physically visible darkness. Sarah looked up through the man’s broad shoulders against the smoke and saw it looking down at her. Tiny points of gold bore into her, and she was fearful. The man seemed to sense this, and stood up from her, looking up to where her gaze was caught.
The body of the beast quickly formed with behind it, dark and fierce. When its limbs had formed it sprang them forward, leaping down to the street below with a thunderous thud. The sickly nails that had formed on its four legs scraped on the ground and it roared with a tremor that no animal could muster. A yowl escaped its primitive mouth, nothing alike anything she’d heard before.
Sarah noticed something pulling her, and found that it was Raticus. He got her to her feet and guided her aside quickly. She ducked under an upturned section of the street, groping for metal pipe that was stuck up from the ground.
“Stay here. Cover your eyes”, he advised.Sarah obediently closed her lids and swept her brow of her hair to cover her eyes with her hands. Yet, when he turned from her, she managed to peek a little through her dirty fingers. A moment before he had vanished out of sight it appeared as if he was shining; or rather, as if there was something shining on him. It was a silvery dull light, which lightly splashed on his hair and shoulders.
A commotion burst behind her, and immediately caused her heart to jump. What she heard confused and frightened her. There was the sound of growling, snapping, and bodies hurling against each other. The pulses of the conflict could be felt in the ground, and Sarah tugged her legs and arms into a fetal position. Several minutes passed, and still the loud sounds of battle rang out from behind her.
Her fingers traced along the concrete, clumps of it fell into her hands. Pulling herself over, Sarah slid her cheek against the rubble looking out where she was warned not to.
She suddenly felt cold, as she watched two beastly forms rip and tear at each other with sharp fangs lining each maw. They were dripping with inky darkness and red blood. They tore mercilessly into each body, writhing and pulling them away, taking fur and flesh alike. The smaller beast wrestled away and caught the other by the leg; twisting, it wrought the other down on its back. Pouncing, it tore into the dark creature’s neck, sending ebony torrents shooting into the air. It tossed malevolently, but finally began to wear. A bestial cry rang out into the night, over the rumbling of the fires.
Observing all of this, she felt like she had just been exposed to a blizzard wind. This was far too brutal, far too real to be a dream. This was real. She fell back, scooting back behind the upturned wall of concrete, huddling her face to her knees, morbidly bewildered.
The creature of darkness fell to pieces, dissolving into dust upon its death. Within its fading corpse, the emergence of several orbs of light swam through the air and rubbed against the other beast’s muscled body before disappearing into the night.
Sarah held herself tighter with each heavy pad on the earth towards her. They seemingly resounded as footsteps to her ears, and when a silhouette of a man draped over the ground before her, she looked up. Bending over, a man looked inside, Raticus. He held out his hand to her, and she shrunk back from it with a weak cry.
“It’s safe now, come on out”, he said, coaxing with his expression.
She didn't budge, and pulled even farther back so that only her legs poked out from the shadows. The man stood up, looking around, before ducking down to see her again.
“There is no time; you must come with me!” He ordered sternly, which was borderline frightening to a small child like her.
In their feet, they felt a now familiar pulse. Raticus lurched forward as the ground began to shake yet again. His left hand wrapped around Sarah’s ankle and tugged, while she screamed in fear. He pulled hard sending her sliding out onto the concrete as the small shelter she put up in collapsed on itself, with clouds of dust swirling in its remains.
Sarah rolled over and looked at her right knee, which had been painfully skinned out of her own stubbornness. She slowly got to her feet, and when Raticus got close, she unfurled her arm to hit him in the chest. He caught it dead in the air with a smack against his palm and held it there. Twisting her arm behind her back, he took hold of her other arm and lifted her over his head and into the position she had been in earlier. Sarah grabbed hold of his neck and as much as she strained, she couldn’t hurt him. Scared to death, she wrenched her knees into his side and struggled, but he held her tight.
They fled under the stars, along the stairs of the quaking city. Sarah found it useless to persist, and her weariness set her limbs slack against the man’s body. At the end of a long stair, he stood on a precipice, overlooking a great many blocks of the city. Down below, he saw something quiver; it was the blonde-haired man’s white arm, getting his attention. Raticus made a motion as if two inquire about the two others, and the blonde-haired man nodded and lowered his head. He was silent for a bit, before descending to the edge of the park to meet him.
“What happened”, Raticus said, while Sarah made no movement.
The blonde-haired man, clean shaven, with bright blue and young eyes replied.
“…I-It was the last quake. They, fell, and…” he looked over Raticus’s shoulder, trying to get a glimpse of the girl, but snapped his attention back to the man’s piercing gaze. “They’re gone.”
There was a sort of weakness that appeared in his muscles that Sarah could feel, and if she had, she probably could have wrenched herself out of his grip and ran for it. However, she doubted she’d get far, with Raticus chasing her. Her stomach turned at the thought of her neck caught in those massive jowls, raining red over her body.
“How could… How could this have happened?”
“It was so sudden; I couldn’t get there in time!”
There was a silence for a good minute; Raticus started walking, with the blonde-haired man behind.
“We have one child; she was all I could find.”
His comrade silently nodded.
Not before long, they made their way to the innards of what remained of the park. Nearly every tree had been felled and some of them lay in half-charred ashen coals. This smoke permeated the air, and the midnight stars were barely visible. The white carapace of the ship four inhabitants had landed in appeared in the haze, and they swiftly boarded though a lift in the center. Sarah opened her eyes when the smoky air filtered out, but they stung and her vision was blurred. There were lights that passed by, and she heard the whooshing of doors ahead and behind her. Her next sensation was that of being jostled from Raticus’s stiff and captive shoulders and on to something soft. She splayed her body out, listless, and she was left alone for a moment. Smoky light filtered through a large porthole to her right; unable to see anything through it, she rolled her head the other way.
The sound of another quake rumbled in her ears, but there was another sound with it, a droning or a sort of whispery hum. Below them the engines had fired, but she had little knowledge of this technology. Her ears popped, and her hands quickly rose to them, the pain subsiding mere moments after.
Her back straightened on the soft surface, which she discovered to be a bed. It was large too, in that she could outstretch each one of her limbs and not touch a corner. When her attention drifted back to the large porthole in ship’s side, she nearly gasped with fear. They were going up. She could see the entire city below her now, a charred remnant of what she had known for the six years of her life. The huge mountain set against the cityscape looked no more like a fat and dark blemish on the earth below her. She shivered uncontrollably as the landscape below her shrank away. It was as if everything she had known was crumbling into dust in her fingers. The dim horizons of her world appeared on all sides. Soon, she could make out all the continents she had been taught by her parents, though there were only four.
Behind her, the door opened. She spun her head around to see Raticus walk in, pace across the floor and pull out a chair on the other end of the room. He was quiet for a while, and didn’t look for her gaze.
“How are you feeling?” He began with, dejectedly raising those eyes of his to hers.
She didn’t answer him.
“The first time I saw space with my own eyes, I became very sick. I was so scared.”Her eyes tracked his movements.
“It took me some time to get used to everything.”She turned her back to him and watched the stars appear before her. A moment passed before he stood, lifting the chair in one hand and sliding if over to her bed. He sat down on it and laid his arm on the sheets. Sarah warily watched it, noticing the rather large gash in his skin.
“Did that hurt you?” she murmured.
“Yes, it did. But I will be fine,” he replied looking down to his fingers. “I suppose you peeked, when I had told you to hide.”She nodded, wanting to believe that she hadn’t.
“There is but one thing I can promise, it is a stranger’s promise, but it will have to do.”Sarah looked from his arm to his face, and it seemed as if had softened infinitely.
“I will always be on your side; I will always protect you. This, I want you to know. I have been waiting to meet you, and I will let no harm come to you, as long as there is strength in my bones.”She curled into a ball, listening intently.
“Did someone you know go away too?” She said, pointing out the slight weakness in his voice.
“Yes.”They were both silent again for a while, and Sarah stole gazes at her ever-shrinking world gaining an infinitesimal distance away. When she finally broke that gaze, she laid her hand next to his, and then he held it in his own. They were strong, warm, good, kind hands; they were living hands.
She leaned forward and whispered something into his ear, and sat back on the bed and began to cry for the first time that night. It was a good cry, a cry that had been bottled up and been waiting to be released. After nearly a half an hour of consolation and tears, she resigned herself to sleep. She lay down, and he tucked her in and kissed her forehead.
He would stay there the whole night, and when he finally succumbed to sleep himself, Sarah sleepily shuffled her body and curled up to his arm with her head against his breast. The world she knew was now a dead ruin, a husk of once thriving communities and spirited people. A place were mischievous boys spoke of crushes on girls and snuck bottles of wine, where the weekend was the lone bastion of the long school-week, where there was dinner waiting on the kitchen table even if it was broccoli. That was something that was gone; she was birthed into a new bittersweet fantastical dream. However, if her terror and sadness were matched by anything, it was her newfound affection for her new guardian. She had seen just how strong he was; he was invincible, and as he said, he would always keep her safe.
Her sleep was long.
Behind them, the world they left withered into darkness to be spread amongst the limitless.
A N O M A L Y
A war is beginning.
A war is beginning.