Chapter 1:

Everything Turned Bright

Zero.


“State your name.” Bookmark here

The man woke up at the summit. His breath felt short. His eyes popped as the fresh air filled his nose. Grass brushed the bottom and sides of his trembling feet. And everything beyond was a fall to his death. Bookmark here

The thought of his head splitting open upon jumping and hitting the rocks below flashed in his mind. But, his attention was drawn by this being—an angel, a malevolent, bluish ball of intertwining rings and eyes with wings so large it carved the skies to give him shade. Bookmark here

He licked his dry lips. He stuttered in his brain, but he chose not to entertain that thought. This miracle couldn’t be questioned; he might just be turning insane. Bookmark here

Screaming might do it, but he couldn’t. It was not that his lips were sealed; it was that he couldn’t find it in his heart to do it. He wasn’t proud that he considered ripping his heart out to see if he had one. But, he felt nothing about it. Peace was the one he could process. Bookmark here

Again, he might be turning insane.Bookmark here

The angel hummed, its voice belonging to a woman. “Very well… I am quite aware that my form is rather… concerning, especially to you, who’re the foreigners of these lands. I’m here to remind you that I am the help that you’ve asked for.” Bookmark here

Her voice was bossy and somewhat confused.Bookmark here

The man furrowed his brows. “I never…”Bookmark here

“I am Tabu, the Anito of the Skies. Remember my name. Remember this feeling.”Bookmark here

Freedom.Bookmark here

There came the fear that twisted his legs and rooted them to the ground. But that feeling faded in seconds. He just smiled at this angel. He felt that it was grinning at him, somewhat proud.Bookmark here

“Enteng,” the man mumbled. “My name is Enteng…”Bookmark here

“Feel the ground beneath your feet and face whatever it is beyond. Yes, I have time to be witty, so set your eyes on the place you need to reach, and stretch your hands towards it with pride. This will be your journey, where you’ll commit war crimes, probably, in my name. This freedom of yours would be mine to give.”Bookmark here

Enteng reached out to Tabu, and the tempest blew to hold his hand. Freedom. The skies brightened, making him grin as he shrank, then everything snapped to black. Bookmark here

He almost choked at the ripe scent of blood.Bookmark here

Right. Bookmark here

Memories ripped his brain apart. Bookmark here

He had out-screamed the crickets.Bookmark here

The front door was shut. Furniture was turned upside down, demolished in half. Smears of flesh stained the walls. Blood oozed and trickled at the pieces of torn skin that hung by the ceiling. Bookmark here

He widened his mouth. What squeezed his sweaty palms was a cold severed hand. The trail of blood led him to a decapitated head. He blinked. It wasn’t even clear-cut. He bit his lip. His wife. The base of her neck was bruised then ripped away. Bookmark here

His screaming finally died down. Bookmark here

Breathless. His heart carved itself out from his chest. His cries broke into short breaths that fluttered into a wheezing chuckle. He shook his head and hooked his tongue out to fish for words. There was no room for thought. His mind was pestered by that buzzing darkness. And like a little dying plant, he had to nip the bad parts, cut it off, make sure that the disease won’t spread until what was left was a shell of the man that let out a small weak laugh at the face of his dead wife. Bookmark here

She gazed at him, her mouth red and half-openedBookmark here

Right. Bookmark here

How could he forget?Bookmark here

He dared to black out and dream while those that he cared for were begging to be saved. It was his fault. But then again, maybe they were set to die in the first place. Bookmark here

They saw a bright light a week ago. They woke up into this new world, and a hulking crocodile monster entered through their backdoor and killed his whole family.Bookmark here

Jorj Cover Updated

Zero.


Gurg
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