Chapter 5:

Melancholic Farewell (I)


Isolation.Bookmark here

It dawned on her mind. In what rationale did things have to end this way? Just when the android was starting to believe in herself, in her capabilities to understand those with life. Suddenly, hers was forcefully being pulled away, away from life, and away from...Bookmark here

Happiness.Bookmark here

The one thing she never thought about when she was first assigned to the mission. Just incapable of raw, aggravating feelings, at least, that’s what she was told. Bookmark here

But for some reason, these emotions are now dwelling inside the android. She can feel it, the ache in her chest, her legs subconsciously shaking with anxiety, before she snapped. The wirings in her brain felt as if they were about to burst; her mentality shattered.Bookmark here

How did I not see this coming...Bookmark here

The monster kicked its legs onto the soil. Dirt and grass were flung onto the river as stones near the shore scurried into the calm waters.Bookmark here

With a loud shriek, the creature pulled its claw out from Noah's immobilized body, sending him falling straight onto the grass below. Bookmark here

Noah was definitely unconscious, but as Dolly reached out to catch his body, his blood wouldn't stop painting the grass. She scurried along the side of the river to give herself space from the screeching monster, but the trail of blood only gave it a reason to chase her as the stench of the injured crept in its nose. Bookmark here

Figuring she can't run away forever, Dolly set Noah down next to a bush. She wanted to give herself a moment to grasp everything, to understand how to save a human's life as Noah's was ticking away, but the monster wasn't giving that chance so quickly.Bookmark here

The monster's hideous face was like no other; it had stereotypical black teeth for a grin with wrinkles worse than a crumbled of worthless writings. Its face had the usual sunken, hollow eyes, that pierced into Dolly's mechanical ones. The ungodly mess of its hair wavered like seaweed, filthy and oily. Bookmark here

For some reason, she thought of Runo's glaring eye. She definitely would have preferred someone looking down on her now, for the vision of hollow eyes is starting to be a traumatized visual.Bookmark here

A visual of pain and agony. Bookmark here

Her thoughts have finally snapped and she screamed an insufferable warrior yell as she instantaneously sent a blast towards the creature straying not too far from where she crouched. The creature yelled, sending a series of shockwaves to deflect the blast. Bookmark here

As the monster finished yelling, the next thing it saw was a furious android who huffed heavily right as she punched it in the stomach. The creature gaged and coughed out blood as black as ink; its nails headed straight for her face in an attempt to scratch her. Bookmark here

The scratches did absolutely nothing to an advanced android, especially one who was raging to the ends of Earth. Dolly immediately sent another punch to its stomach from below, which shot the creature up in the air.Bookmark here

She blasted herself upward, keeping her posture steady as she was ready to grab onto its neck and crush it once and for all. The creature floated in midair, and thus Dolly extended her arm and grabbed it by its elongated neck.Bookmark here

Or at least, that’s what she thought she did. In the blink of an eye, the creature vanished.Bookmark here

Darn it! So it IS the monster Netty and Runo fought earlier!Bookmark here

Before she could do anything, Dolly could feel a gut-wrenching pain in her back. Her body curved violently as an invisible force punched her back down towards the treelines. Bookmark here

The android was tossed aggressively back into the forest. As branch after branch hit her violently, her body smashing against multiple tree trunks, sending her clattering figure spinning from one tree to another before landing on top of a cushioned bush. Bookmark here

I have no time to waste, the monster could be attacking Noah right now!Bookmark here

She blasted herself once more to send her flying past endless lines of trees until she spotted Noah. The boy was still unconscious, and he was losing a dangerous amount of blood. The grass underneath him became a canvas to his bloodwork, with the stench of death only making it hard for anyone to breathe.Bookmark here

Except, the smell of a dying human does attract the eyes of hungry abominations. The monster was nowhere to be seen, but it's not like that mattered when it could make itself invisible for a few minutes. Bookmark here

I don’t understand, if the invisible creature is here, then what’s Netty and Runo doing right now?!Bookmark here

Her eyes freakishly shifted left and right in a panic. Absolute silence, as if the leaves on the trees all came to a standstill. Bookmark here

I don’t see the creature anywhere. Gosh, I need to predict where the creature is and what it will do next…Bookmark here

Before she could think of a strategy, her peripheral vision caught a glimpse of motion within her left.Bookmark here

That’s it, right here!Bookmark here

The android turned around dramatically and punched the air behind her. As expected, Dolly’s prediction was right. The invisible monster had jumped from its position on her left and attempted to impale with its claws from behind. A classic, misleading attempt. Bookmark here

Got it!Bookmark here

She gave no time for the creature to respond to her punch, for her powerful fist sent the creature heading straight down into the dirt below. The beast was probably six feet under if not lower, but this gave her the motivation to send it even farther down as the soil hardened around it. The dirt rubbed against the creature's white skin until wounds started appearing. Bookmark here

And yet this whole time, the monster never got rid of its hideous grin. Bookmark here

The android braced herself as she jumped onto the opening in the ground, before moving her hands back and blasting herself deeper into the hole. She kicked the monster's stomach intensely, forcing it to spit out the thick blood bathed in black.Bookmark here

With each kick, the crater formed underneath the ground only got wider, with handfuls of soil mindlessly hurled around the two. Her raging sorrow gave her the adrenaline to keep kicking the creature again, and again, and again.Bookmark here

Until it was no longer responsive. Bookmark here

Dolly let out a heave. The fight was finally over, or so she thought until a pair of extended arms grabbed her legs from behind. Its nails pierced into the stockings she wore, before reaching the surface of her metallic shell.Bookmark here

“THIS IMBECILE!"Bookmark here

She grabbed a spare blade that she took from the grass field right before heading inside the hole. The creature's cries for survival proved to be of no use as Dolly mercilessly stabbed its face. It let go of her legs instantly, and the android took this advantage to use the same blood-covered knife to slice the monster's arms. Bookmark here

It was howling weakishly, and without a spare thought, she ignited a blast inside the crater. The impact helped blast herself upward and out of the hole, before a mini-explosion occurred behind her, sending a thick air of smoke out of the opening.Bookmark here

It's finally over...Bookmark here

She landed gracefully back onto the grass. Bookmark here

Before realizing how much time had gone by since the last time she monitored Noah.Bookmark here

“Wait, NOAH!”Bookmark here

With no time to wait patiently by the smoke-filled hole to see if the creature had left an alledged energy bar that Noah's been blabbering about, the android rushed back to the location where she had left him. Her feet felt the soft soil rubbing against her stocking as she ran, but only the sense of overwhelming fear lingered within her mind. Bookmark here

"NOAH!"Bookmark here

She arrived at the scene, her eyes colored in red at the sight of how much blood he'd lost. The man was barely keeping it together, and by now, his breathing became faint. Bookmark here

And the enormous pool of dried blood on the grass made it obvious for Dolly to know how long he was left alone.Bookmark here

Alone, isolated.Bookmark here

"Hey, HEY! Keep your breathing steady!"Bookmark here

She crouched next to Noah, unsure of what she's supposed to do. How was she supposed to treat a human who lost so much blood?Bookmark here

Ah! His fanny pack!Bookmark here

She slowly grabbed the fanny pack that was resting near the side of his immobilized thigh, as she unzipped it to view the contents inside. Medicine, pills, bandages, items that would've been beneficial if it weren't for a critical injury. Bookmark here

Finally, she found what Noah needed. A thick roll of medical bandage. Bookmark here

“Hold on, Noah, I have your-”Bookmark here

Wait.Bookmark here

Dolly could hear him inhale once, and then.Bookmark here

A final exhale.Bookmark here

*****Bookmark here

“Dolly, look!” Noah's eyes sparkled with love when he saw the delightful scene of several flower-decorated bushes and vines. Bookmark here

During his trip with Dolly to the creek yesterday, the man was showing off his sword and spoke of the times when he trained hard with his teacher after the recruiter sent out a request to have him consider a position in one of the realms.Bookmark here

“Woah, I can’t believe there are bittersweet nightshades here!” Noah exclaimed as he crouched over to examine what he discovered. There were several perennial vines growing bittersweet nightshades near a slender tree trunk. Bookmark here

“Bittersweet..?” Dolly asked. She glanced over his shoulder like a curious kitten.Bookmark here

“I heard these became a rare sight after the explosion,” Noah explained, “My teacher was telling me about plant weaponry and said that these are one of the plants that didn’t get affected by the explosion. So they're ABSOLUTELY normal!!"Bookmark here

“Huh.”Bookmark here

“But that’s so interesting!" He eyed at one of the plump berries sticking out near his hand. "They’re seen around the world from what I was told, yet for some reason, these berries…”Bookmark here

Noah pulled the berry out from its stem and took a closer look at it.Bookmark here

“It’s surreal to be seeing this in the realm, but I guess it makes sense that we would see them near a creek.”Bookmark here

“So there’s food. You can eat then.” Bookmark here

Noah laughed. Unlike the android, Noah was aware of solanine poisoning, but he didn't want Dolly to feel ashamed of her naiveness. “Aw, that’s so considerate of you! Did I finally make you concerned enough that you thought about how I have gone on walking for hours without food?”Bookmark here

Dolly rolled her eyes and turned away from the man, seemingly to sniff at the pleasant aroma of the berries. It was a very faint smell, one of intense bitterness in them, with a misleading sweet aftertaste had someone decided to give one a bite. Bookmark here

“I’m leaving," Dolly said without turning her head to look at the man’s eyes. She began to wander away from the bushes. "This place smells gross."Bookmark here

Even without the knowledge of poison, Noah had to admit he was impressed with Dolly's ability to sniff out bad energy. Bookmark here

“Woah, your sense of smell is impeccable,” he said, dropping the berry onto the grass.Bookmark here

Dolly secretly smiled to herself, and then raised her voice on purpose to make sure Noah heard her. “Or maybe your sense of smell is bad from being clogged up.”Bookmark here

“Damn, that's mean!” Noah lifted his skinny legs to jog and ran to catch up with the android. “Slow down!”Bookmark here

*****Bookmark here

Her memories of her times with Noah abruptly ended when she noticed a teardrop had landed on Noah’s shirt. Her head jolted ever so lightly. Bookmark here

What's this…?Bookmark here

Dolly couldn't understand why water drops were coming out of her eyes. And yet, the absolute sheer of heartache overwhelmed her senses, for she cannot hear his. All the harbored affections buried inside, reflecting the first human she had interacted with except for her master. The joys of daylight and roaring waves in his eyes were forever lost to the reality that took everything from him.Bookmark here

And now, it was taking the first thing she wanted to hold close to her heart.Bookmark here

The quivering android reached out to touch Noah’s face, but like most things, reality did not give her a chance to grief, for suddenly, Noah’s lifeless body started to jolt uncontrollably.Bookmark here

“What the-”Bookmark here

Much to her horror, the man’s body continued to jitter erratically, twitching abnormally as his body began to morph into something inhumane. Something familiar.Bookmark here

No.Bookmark here

A set of malicious hollow eyes and a grin.Bookmark here

NO!!!Bookmark here

Until finally, the person Dolly came to know became the very monsters she has been killing.Bookmark here

She jumped back, giving herself distance from the man she once thought would continue to be her friend.Bookmark here

Noah's lifeless body continued to warp as its bones cracked and its muscles stretched vigorously, its distinctive features started to reveal themselves. Its wide grin lingered with the stench of blood, while its skin turned freakishly pale. Like a horror urban legend of abnormally sized body parts, the creature's freakishly long limbs shook uncontrollably as the transformation continued.Bookmark here

And unlike other head twitching ticks the previous monsters had, this one had the urge to nod at an anomalous speed. Bookmark here

His eyes that once shone like the ocean and clouds are now nothing but the colorless pitched black abyss. The creature’s arms became horrendously long, with fingernails the length of blades. Dolly stood there, paralyzed with reality's newest reveal.Bookmark here

These monsters...were once humans?!Bookmark here

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