Chapter 3:

Chapter 3

Fate of Yggdrasil

Part 1
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“How much longer are you going to stand there, mouth agape?” She spoke with such confidence. It was as if she expected every single word that flowed past her lips to be listened to with the utmost attention, by anyone lucky enough to be graced by her voice. After the feeling of astonishment faded, I realized that I could finally get some answers.Bookmark here

“I…Y-You…who are you!?” Her expression soured.Bookmark here

“Taking such a tone… I’ll allow it for the time being. You’ve not been broken in…as of yet. Has my name not etched itself into your mind? I believe I gave it before; then again you probably were too occupied at the time.” Her gestures so regal and dismissive, the girl clearly saw herself as so much more important than me. “I am Anesha. For the foreseeable future, your fate and mine shall remain intertwined, as you carry the Seed of Yggdrasil.”Bookmark here

“Yggdrasil?”Bookmark here

“Yes, Yggdrasil. Now…” She - Anesha suddenly stopped talking and looked upward. Those brown-red eyes narrowed, looking to something far beyond the library walls. “That should be nothing…not a problem.”Bookmark here

“What are you talking about?”Bookmark here

“Nothing you should concern yourself with.”Bookmark here

“No! Tell me! Tell me everything! You just showed up one night, out of absolutely nowhere, then you shot me with…whatever, and you kept fucking with me! What’s going on here!?” Anesha turned back to me, with malevolence and disgust on her face.Bookmark here

A purple glyph encircled her small pale hand. “…I said I’d allow such insolence once, but I see when it comes to a pet, you truly must not coddle them. Know your place!” With a cold gaze, she tightened her grip, crushing the translucent, ribbon-like energy. The strange writing within violently distorted and erratically shook, sending chills up my spine.Bookmark here

“What’s-” My throat instantly closed. I couldn’t talk, take air into my lungs or barely even make a sound. The very beating of my heart pounding was so loud and fierce my chest ached, as my skin began to numb. I was going into shock, just like before, just like that night! “Keh!! Hah…!” I tried to call out for help as I fell to my knees and crawled across the floor.Bookmark here

“You should still be able to hear this, if not, I’ll say it one hundred times over. You…belong…to me. Body, mind, and soul. You are now my property!” Anesha released her grip and the glyph disappeared, at the same time I regained my ability to breathe as the other conditions faded. “Now, while you sit there, gasping for air on the ground, listen carefully. There are things I must attend to - preparations that must be made. You will meet me at…what time do you use here? Midnight…? Midnight. We shall meet at the field nearest your dwelling. Do you understand?”Bookmark here

“…” I couldn’t help but shiver, barely able to respond.Bookmark here

“…Answer me, now.” That commanding tone shook me.Bookmark here

“Y-Yes…I understand.”Bookmark here

“Good.” She jumped up and began floating toward the ceiling. “Don’t be late by even a second, or you’ll be punished again.” The dark handle of a broom zoomed in through an opened window. Anesha landed gracefully atop it with her black platform boots and flashed a grin. “Don’t look so dire. You have yet to even hear the entirety of your situation, your sought-after answers. You should be proud. For now, I must go, lo’ tonight we’ll meet again. I’d suggest you leave this building too. Soon, my spell will wear off and those people shall return.” She sat down atop the handle, as another purple glyph enclosed the other end, exploding into a set of amethyst spikes, propelling the apparent floating vehicle out of the open window. Leaving me dumbstruck.Bookmark here

Part 2Bookmark here

I ended up dragging myself to the club room, completely out of habit, and tossed myself onto our couch that sat toward the back of the room. The old piece of furniture that Chester forced us to drag all the way from his house to the campus served its purpose outstandingly well. We mostly slept in between classes on the oversized sofa, so it was one of the few things in the room we kept super clean. With the curtains closed, the room was nearly pitch black, save for the PCs running with flashing lights. The calming hum of laptops and PCs fans helped ease my nerves, but I couldn’t completely relax. With my eyes closed, I’d feel my body start to seize up. An image of that woman - Anesha, outstretching her hand reaching for my neck, digging her long fingers into throat, jolted me back awake again and again. Somehow, after an hour or so of tossing and turning, I drifted off.Bookmark here

Even while I slept, my mind raced endlessly, and I caught myself grabbing at the worn brown leather of the sofa. Nightmares of being unable to move and being picked and prodded while staring into her eyes made my heart beat violently. The nightmares continued until I heard a sudden bump come from the hallway. The bump was small, but I still shot up from my slumber with my eyes becoming instantly transfixed on the door. At first it seemed that maybe one of the other club members was entering, but it came again, something lightly tapped at the door. By the third tap, my mind started playing back images of Anesha, toying with me from beyond the threshold. The tapping subsided for a minute and then a loud bang! I finally got up and rushed to the door to find Gabby, seated on the ground with rolled up papers and picture frames spread out across the dust caked floor.Bookmark here

“Fate!?” She was as surprised as I was. With my bad luck, of course the first person I see when I get back to college, is the one I want to see the least.Bookmark here

“Oh…hey, Gabby.” A frown came across Gabby’s face as she jumped to her feet.Bookmark here

“Where the heck have you been?!” She got so close that her nose was only about an inch away from mine, which probably shouldn’t have made me as happy as it did. Gabby, on top of all the stuff I was already dealing with, was too much to process with how overtaxed my mind was.Bookmark here

“W-Well…around…you know…” No ideas of falsehood came to me in that instant.Bookmark here

“Around? Like where? I haven’t seen you since that stuff with Ken the other day. I texted you, you know?”Bookmark here

“…Lost my phone.”Bookmark here

“…” Silently pulling out her phone, Gabby started entering something on it, then put it to her ear. My phone, that was in fact in my pocket, began to ring. “Lost, huh?”Bookmark here

“Sorry.”Bookmark here

“*Sigh* whatever.” She bent back down collecting the arts supplies. All the materials Gabby held were so big they eclipsed her face, blocking her view entirely.Bookmark here

“Hold on! There’s no way you can see like that.”Bookmark here

“Whatever.” She said dismissively.Bookmark here

“Here, let me help.”Bookmark here

“Whatever.” Again, totally dismissive. I reached for a few of the frames, but then she handed me more and more until I was carrying everything but a single roll of paper.Bookmark here

“Uh…Gabby…you’re really mad, aren’t you?”Bookmark here

“Whatever.” I followed her out of the building. Night had fallen by that point as did the temperature. The campus was, for the most part, barren except for the security guards who appeared to be getting ready end their shifts.Bookmark here

(Shoot, I slept way longer than I meant to. I must be more tired than I realized.) We walked for a few minutes in silence until it got too uncomfortable for me. “I’m sorry I’ve been ignoring you, okay? There’s been a lot of stuff going on in my life lately.”Bookmark here

“You could’ve just said that.”Bookmark here

“…Yeah.”Bookmark here

“I thought you were mad at me. Because of what happened, I mean.”Bookmark here

“You’re not at fault for that shithead being a…shithead.”Bookmark here

“It’s totally my fault though. Should’ve broke it off permanently, forever ago.”Bookmark here

“That’s… none of my business. Anyway, where are we going? I don’t remember you being in any type of art club.”Bookmark here

“I’m not. A friend asked me to bring these to one of the clubrooms. Of course, they didn’t bother to lend a hand. Thank goodness, I bumped into an actual good friend.” We finally reached the main college building and got on the elevator. The 5th floor was our destination, so it wasn’t a long ride, but my arms started to get tired. I persevered, as looking weak in front of a girl was not a blow my confidence needed. While we waited for the elevator doors to open, Gabby started sniffing the air as if something was off. I quickly and discreetly checked to see if I smelled, hoping she wouldn’t notice. “Fate, do you have food on you?”Bookmark here

“What? No. Where would I even hide it?” No to stinking, hopefully no to her noticing.Bookmark here

“Something smells really sweet. Intoxicatingly so…” As the doors opened, I exited leaving Gabby in place, totally preoccupied with the scent.Bookmark here

“Yo, Gabby are you coming?”Bookmark here

“Huh? Yeah, sure.” Gabby and I walked to the empty clubroom nearest the edge of the hall. The heavy silence that blanketed us was only broken up by the sound of her constantly, and concerningly, sniffing the air. From wall to wall, the dark room of the art club was covered in paintings of people dressed in old garb - petticoats and old suits galore! There were busts of men wearing powdered wigs, shelves of art equipment and deconstructed lighting rigs in the corners. The room felt dead, like it was used for storage, not an active club.Bookmark here

“This is the art room, right Gabby?”Bookmark here

“Oh…yeah…uh…the art room. Hey, you smell this, right? I’m not going crazy, am I?”Bookmark here

Gabby’s continued sniffing started becoming annoying, but I tried to ignore it. The corner of the room seemed like the perfect place for the frames and scrolls filling my arms, so I broke from her to deposit the supplies. “It’s…like…I guess it’s vanilla…” Before I had noticed, Gabby had come in close, hungover top of me still tracing the supposed strange scent. “It’s you… It’s absolutely you…” Gabby had boxed me in against the wall. Normally, I stood a few inches taller than her, but she’d caught me whilst crouched on the floor, so she towered over me, looking down with a glazed over expression.Bookmark here

“Uh…yeah, cool. Space. Please?” Bookmark here

“…What is it…this smell? It’s coming off you.” Gabby came in very close. I could feel her breath on my face as her long hair started obscuring my view. My heart raced; it was as if all other sounds had faded from the world.Bookmark here

“Gabby…hang on. Slow down. W-what’s up?”Bookmark here

“Whatever you’re wearing, the cologne…it smells nice…is all.” Her breathing got heavier.Bookmark here

“It’s just regular deodorant! Gabby, stop…” Even with me saying that, I wasn’t putting up much resistance. The girl I’d longed for was advancing on me, like a dream, or something. The mood wasn’t ideal, but my body was more into it than the rational part of my brain. When she grabbed the neck of my sweater, I snapped back to reality. My scar was something I didn’t want anyone to see, Gabby most of all. I grabbed her by the shoulders and pushed her away. “Gabby, stop! Something’s up with you.”Bookmark here

“Hmm…?”Bookmark here

“Gabby?”Bookmark here

“Hm…”Bookmark here

“Seriously! Gabby, get a hold of yourself!” Even with the lights off I could see her pupils were dilated. “You need to listen to me. Are you listening? Are you sick?” When I placed my hand on Gabby’s forehead to check her temperature, it felt like she’d been sitting under a heat lamp for the last few minutes. “Okay, you’re not well. Here, if you need to, you can use my shoulder.” Gabby nodded and slowly staggered upright while keeping a hold of me.Bookmark here

“Fate…I don’t feel so good. Ugh…BLEEGGGH!!”Bookmark here

Part 3Bookmark here

My sweater was covered in Gabby’s vomit. Admittedly, it was probably the time I found her the least attractive since knowing her. After she threw up all over my turtleneck we walked to the bathroom and I washed it as best I could. Since I had a tee-shirt on underneath, it wasn’t a huge issue; the scar was though, that was different. Gabby waited for me outside the entrance, while I wrung out my black sweater, clearly embarrassed.Bookmark here

“I’m so sorry!” Gabby yelled into the bathroom.Bookmark here

“Relax, you’re sick. Not your fault.”Bookmark here

“But Fate, I didn’t feel sick until a few minutes ago. I’m fine now…for the most part.”Bookmark here

“…” Pieces started to fit together. Just like the nurse from the doctor’s office, Gabby also suddenly started acting weird for no reason; and of course, back even farther on the train, that homeless man mentioned something about the way I…smelled. It occurred to me, whatever was happening must’ve been the cause of that woman…Anesha. “Fuck!” My fist slammed down onto the sink.Bookmark here

“Fate, are you okay in there?” No answers, and she had some kind of spell on me. I was at her mercy, dreading our meeting at midnight, but for all I knew she’d just kill me, or give me more orders without telling me a damn thing! The feeling of being trapped made my blood feel like it was running cold. “Fate?”Bookmark here

“Huh…? Oh, I’m coming.” Absentmindedly, I walked out of the bathroom, still lost in thought.Bookmark here

“What’s the matter…HOLY CRAP! What’s with that scar?!” Was shouted in utter bewilderment.Bookmark here

“Huh? Oh…” Looking beat in my wrinkled tee-shirt and wet jacket in hand, I’d forgotten to cover up. “I…got…”Bookmark here

“You got what? Is this why you’ve been missing this whole time?”Bookmark here

“Yeah, sort of.”Bookmark here

Just then, I picked up on the sound of someone dashing down the hall towards us; their sneaker swiftly beating on the floor in a familiar pattern alerted me to who it was before I even turned. It was too late to brace myself and I got tackled, which was more of a shoulder to the gut, knocking all the wind out of me. Down to the floor I went with a thud; my attacker was, of course, none other than Chester.Bookmark here

“Hmhmhm! Filthy shapeshifter, taking the form of my close friend…how dare you! I shall now, take this chance and rescue this fair damsel from your clutches! As I know, my close friend, Fate Lyle Isley would never return to school without informing me!” Chester rambled in his typical obnoxious and over the top way.Bookmark here

Gabby covered her mouth attempting to disguise her giggling. “…Lyle…teehee…”Bookmark here

“Chester!!” I got up ready to throttle him, though realizing that in his way, he was saying he missed me and was upset that he’d not heard from me in a while, so I relented. “You could just say that you missed me, asshole.” My body wasn’t hurt, my dignity however, was slightly bruised from having the girl I liked snickering at my middle name.Bookmark here

“Chester, you moron! What would you have done if he were hurt!” Demica charged up with a book in hand, slamming the spine down on the crown of Chester’s head. Teddy and Perry followed suit as both of my other club members began arguing.Bookmark here

“F-Fate! It’s good to see you back!” Teddy ran over gesturing for a hug, to which I denied the big guy. I wasn’t in the mood for any type of physical displays of affection.Bookmark here

“Happy to see you too, man.” Seeing all my friends in one place gave me back some of the relief I’d lost from the incident earlier. “What are you guys even doing here?” While asking that, I walked over to Chester, locking in a headlock, for a bit of payback. No one else should’ve known I was on campus, so it was surprising to see everyone.Bookmark here

“Gabriella texted me. She said you were here, and since everyone was really worried about you, we dropped everything and rushed over.” Demica’s matter of fact attitude was one of her best features, in my opinion; she’d tell you how it was, and I appreciated that. “You’re gone for days, and only say you’ve got to take time to get stuff together. You didn’t even text us since then. As much as that moron over there is at fault for attacking you, I can’t blame him too much.” That cherished feature could also be a pain when she would begin berating you. “Also, what the hell is up with that scar?!”Bookmark here

“Oh…uh…it’s a long story. Plus, it’s getting late, you know?” My attempt at making an exit was quickly shut down.Bookmark here

“I’m sure everyone is willing to miss a bus or two in order to hear your explanation.” As stern as a catholic school nun with the eyes of a lioness.Bookmark here

“Hold on, Demica. Let’s not go overboard. He just got back. I want to know what’s going on with Fate too, but maybe give him a little break. I’m sure it’s all something personal. Plus, the buses are running on a weird schedule today because of the library incident.” I hadn’t even thought about the library since I left. Whatever Anesha did must’ve caused enough of a stir that even Gabby had heard about it. Despite really wanting to pry for information on what the populace knew, I wanted to get off the topic even more.Bookmark here

“Y-yeah, it is getting l-late…” Teddy brought out his phone, displaying the time; it was nearing eleven. When I fell asleep in the clubroom it was getting dark, but I’d slept far later than I’d wanted to.Bookmark here

“I have to go. Guys, I’m sorry. I’ll…explain everything…next time, I promise.” Fearing whatever repercussion awaited me should I’ve been late, I tried to get to the park as instructed to rendezvous with Anesha.Bookmark here

“Fine. We’ll walk down with you at least. I’m pretty sure we’re done with our research anyway.” Demica said whilst brushing her dark blonde hair out of her face.Bookmark here

“No! I mean, no. I’ve got to run…and…”Bookmark here

“You’re being suspicious…also I think Chester has had enough.” Chester, who was still in my grasp, which I positioned wrongly and wrapped my arm around his neck, had started to lose the little color his normally pale face had. I released him and tried to make my exit, but the others all followed me down to the lobby.Bookmark here

“Alright guys, I’ll catch you later.”Bookmark here

“Wait…my friend, let’s chat.” Chester pulled me to the side away from the others. “Fate, what’s going on?”Bookmark here

“Nothing.”Bookmark here

“Really? Even going to say that with the scar on your neck?”Bookmark here

“I…”Bookmark here

“If it’s something really bad, just let me know, man.”Bookmark here

“…” The entire situation was beyond unbelievable, beyond inconceivable and far beyond what I’d ever imagined to be a part of my real life. Explaining the ridiculous course of events to Chester seemed impossible. “Everything is fine, but it’s not fine.” The only way I could prove it to him was to take him with me, but I didn’t want to put anyone else in danger. “I…don’t know how to explain it to you. Not now, at least. Can I ask a favor though?”Bookmark here

“I’m apprehensive, but what is it?”Bookmark here

“…Would you…Never mind.” I was too choked up to speak, basically holding back tears. It set in again, fear. I was afraid but couldn’t ask for help. If anyone else had gotten involved, there was no way I would be able to forgive myself.Bookmark here

“If you need to ask me something…”Bookmark here

“Nah. Forget it. We’ll talk tomorrow!” I yelled back while running for the meeting spot.Bookmark here

Part 4Bookmark here

Deserted and nearly silent, the dead air of the park was very graveyard like. It felt as if at any moment a monster could jump out and attack me; that thought kept running through my head. Crickets playing their tune into the night sky along with the lamp posts keeping the darkness at bay was comforting in an eerie way, but the calming atmosphere couldn’t stave off feelings of uncertainty. Music crept just over a nearby hill. The myriad of clubs around town opened up at night, so I wasn’t surprised to hear the beats begin to pick up off in the distance.Bookmark here

I paced about the paths while waiting for Anesha. I was on time, but she was late. Fearing the consequences of what would happen if I were to just head home kept me in place. The wait was agonizing. It may not have even been that long, but since I was anticipating the worse possible outcome, it felt like each minute lasted an hour. My phone started buzzing, signaling a text had come through. When I checked, Mom had messaged me.Bookmark here

She was home and wondered where I was. I lied. The lie was, that I was with people from the club. She was happy to know that I was out having fun and said not to come back home too late. There were so many things I wanted to say to her, but I left it at: Don’t worry, I’ll be back home after a while. I love you.Bookmark here

Sounds in the distance grew louder, but I tried to ignore them. The wait continued for an hour; it got unbearable. Again, the sounds grew, finally piquing my interest enough to draw me, wondering toward the commotion. Thick fog billowed over from the other side of a hill, slowing my approach. Upon viewing where the fog emanated from, I noticed a bunch of people dancing about as if there were music. They were dancing like mad, flailing their arms and shaking their bodies as if they were being attacked by a swarm of bees. So many of them seemed totally off their rockers, some even began stripping off their clothes and shrieking incoherently. My eyes were fixated on the party, be it due to morbid curiosity or whatever else, I was enraptured, until I noticed a strange person standing in the middle of the group.Bookmark here

The figure stood out like a sore thumb. Their tall, long frame was a head and shoulders higher than everyone else dancing around them. The person’s head was very wide, but not long, like a watermelon laid on its side. The arms of this person moved about like an orchestra conductor. Their ran so very long and slender, running up to a stout, thick body. It was just far enough away that I couldn’t make out the person’s features.Bookmark here

After about a minute it stopped, bringing its arms to its sides as everyone surrounding it collapsed, unmoving. “Wha…” I said without thinking as the fog dispersed. The unknown, weird shaped person turned and faced my direction which I responded by unintentionally hiding. I got down on the ground and covered my mouth. Whatever that guy was doing wasn’t normal, obviously. (What the hell was all of that? Is that thing with Anesha, or…is it like the doll back at the library?) I thought. Holding my breath and covering my mouth, I tried my best to remain as quiet as possible. My heart was beating like mad as light footsteps closed in on me. (What do I do? Should I run? What if he just walks past me? No, I’ve got to run! It doesn’t matter if he doesn’t have anything to do with Anesha, I can’t take any…)Bookmark here

A pale, porcelain visage adorned with an unkempt goatee and mop like black hair draping down over huge, white, golf ball looking eyes stared down at me. The tall man was upon me, before I could get up from my seat in the grass, with his smile so wide that even his oblong head could not contain it. He wore a black coat, slightly open at the chest level with lengthy strands of hair spewing out. A belly laughing in a deep grunt caused the man to convulse.Bookmark here

“Huhuhuhu…you smell so nice! Is it mana? I haven’t smelled mana from a man in years! Delicious!!” He quivered while happily jostling side to side in those small boots.Bookmark here

“…” Dumbstruck, I was unable to get myself together enough to say anything.Bookmark here

“Boy, would you do me a favor and stand up, so I can get a good look at you.”Bookmark here

Silently heeding his request, I got up. My head only went as high as his ribs, as he leaned in and took a deep whiff of me. “…”Bookmark here

“Yes…mana! It’s certainly mana! How many years has it been…? A century? Yes. Oh yes!” His surprisingly tiny hands gripped my shoulders with great force as a perverse, joyful smile displayed itself. I was given a good look at his pure white, spaced teeth housed within his maw as he drew me in closer. “Come with me bo-” I’d had enough, and with a swift kick to his gut I took off running in the opposite direction as fast as I could.Bookmark here

I sprinted at full speed attempting to escape the park but weaving in-between the trees at night was difficult. I made the mistake of turning back to look and ended up crashing into someone, tumbling down to the ground, rolling in the dirt. “Ow!” I’d crashed into some boy around my age. His disheveled hair spread out across his head as he laid on the ground. “Hey man, you need to run! There’s some weird tall guy over there and I think he’s killing people or something, we have to go!” The boy grabbed both of my ankles and tugged my feet from beneath me, causing me to fall to the dried ground with a hard thud. “What are you doing!?” His eyes, when I got a good look at them, were huge, white, misaligned golf ball like orbs.Bookmark here

The boy’s eyes were far too big for his face, so much so that his skull had deformed. The bridge of his nose was bent, the orbital bones were pushing up against his forehead forming small tears and cracks in his brow. He moaned in agony with blood rolling down into his mouth.Bookmark here

“Aghhh!!!” The horrific sight caused me to just scream and irrationally kick the boy’s distorted face until he released me. With my legs free I sprinted away as hard as I could, my lungs feeling like they were on fire as the cold air entered them. In my peripheral vision, I could see other people closing in. No doubt in my mind they were with the tall man as they ambled closer. “Someone, help! Anyone!” The echoing throughout the empty park was disheartening. No one was around to save me; and clearly, I hadn’t learned my lesson from before. My foot caught a tree root as I ran, next thing I knew, I was rolling down a small grassy incline into a stream beneath a bridge. (Shit…my ankle.) It hurt really bad but hadn’t broken as far as I could tell. Moaning almost in harmony…like a chorus crept in from every direction. People with their heads deformed by those bulbus white orbs ambled closer, standing on the lip of the hill. “Get away! Someone help!”Bookmark here

“Huhuhuhu…you’re awfully feisty.” The tall man slowly trotted down the incline and up to me as I tried to distance myself from him. My back ended up against the dirt hill, leaving me with no escape.Bookmark here

“Get the hell away from me!” I tossed a rock at him which missed completely. “What do you want…?”Bookmark here

“Oh, you’re completely ignorant then?” He laughed again, then closed the distance. Towering over me again with that wide smile, licking his lips with a black and pink tongue, he pulled a cane out of his pocket and jammed it into my shoulder, hard, until I heard a snap.Bookmark here

“AGGHHH!!!” Something in my shoulder popped under the pressure sounding like bubble wrap. The adrenaline faded as pain ravaged my body, coupling the shoulder and my ankle, I was in agony. “Stop! Please!” The tall man dug the sharp point deeper, until it broke the skin and wormed in between muscle. All I could do was scream, unable to even think straight.Bookmark here

He pulled the cane’s tip to his mouth, still dripping with my blood, and licked it. “AHHHH!!! Yes! This flavor! What is this? I’ve never tasted mana in the blood of a person from this generation that tastes so good! So sweet, so pure, so…rich! Yes, I’ll keep you. You’re worth a hundred of them!”Bookmark here

“Hey what are you all doing over there! Hands up!” A streak of light came across and blinded me as a police officer stood atop the bridge next to his bicycle. “I said, hands up!” The shaking of his drawn firearm betrayed his attempt at looking brave. He nearly broke and ran once the tall man made eye contact. The tall man just giggled.Bookmark here

“I guess having another one wouldn’t hurt.” The tall man started to wave his cane, as if he were a musical conductor.Bookmark here

“What on earth? Stop that right now!” The officer steadied his gun, training it on the horrifying monster of a man as he continued dancing the cane about. Fog rolled in, as the other people with the golf ball eyes began to tremble. They howled, slowly beginning to dance, a strange, bobbing waltz. Their groaning eventually harmonized into a song. “What the fuck!? What’s going on? Get on the ground! All of you!” Frightened as he was, the officer still refused to fire his gun.Bookmark here

“What are you doing…shoot them!” I yelled to him, but it didn’t help. My voice couldn’t overcome the ‘music’.Bookmark here

The officer squeezed his temples and fell to one knee. “Ow…what’s happening!? I…can’t…look away!”. With the gun dropping from his hand into the stream with a splash the man got up and started to dance along, slowly, getting into rhythm. He began screaming in agony along with the others, until it harmonized, and his eyes began to grow. They rolled to the back of his head as they swelled, enlarging the sides of his skull, protruding as his face stretched to its limit, then broke. His upper jaw cracked loudly with a sickeningly thick breaking noise, like a watermelon being smashed. Blood dripped from the tops of his eye sockets as the moaning reached its highest pitch, then all at once stopped along with the tall man lowering his cane.Bookmark here

All the people stood motionless, drooling with a mixture of blood and saliva running down to their feet while the moaning gradually returned to a low hum. “Ah…what a lovely song. Every time I play it…I simply feel euphoric.” He sensually ran his small fingers through the exposed hair on his chest. “Now then.” With a quick jab, the cane went right back into the wound on my shoulder.Bookmark here

“AGGGHH!!!” My ankle was likely sprained, badly, leaving me at that monster’s mercy. (I’m going to die…I’m so sick of feeling this way! Alone, confused and scared…this sickening pit in my stomach, I want it to go away!) I took a deep breath and screamed into the night sky. “ANESHA!!! WHERE ARE YOU!?”Bookmark here

Nothing. The sky remained silent. “Don’t worry young man. I will most certainly not kill you. I want you to keep living. If I have the mana you keep oozing, I’ll be able to turn this entire city into my playhouse. Servants as far as the eye can see, and a beautiful melody, echoing far and wide!” With my consciousness fading and the last of my strength, I grabbed the end of his cane and pulled it with all my might trying to remove it from my shoulder.Bookmark here

The disgusting sensation of the cane worming around inside of my body appalled me. His ugly, toothy smile enraged me. The thought of being captured and used by that foul creature infuriated me! I got to my feet, busted ankle and all, ignoring the excruciating pain shooting throughout my body. As if someone replaced my blood with fire, all the pain burned away, leaving only anger. I pulled that long-headed bastard’s cane from my shoulder, looked him in the eyes and snapped it like a twig.Bookmark here

“Wait…wait, wait, wait, wait!” My blood was rushing so fast, that I could only hear my own breathing. The tall man backed away, scurrying through the stream like a frightened animal, but I limped closer. Red was all I saw; the sudden surge of strength and rage was joined by adrenaline that I’d never felt before. Unfortunately, my body went cold again. I fell to my knees, my head landed in the stream just barely missing a rock. I had to roll over onto my back quickly, otherwise I’d have drowned.Bookmark here

The tall man came closer, and stomped on my chest, pushing my head back below the surface. I struggled to get air, but the tall man continued to push me down, repeatedly dunking me, then allowing me back up for a second of air, only to repeat the process over and over. “S-Stop!”Bookmark here

“Stop…? Oh, young man, I thought you’d somehow learned magic! How foolish of me. It took me decades…decades to learn even something this basic! Yes…I’ll just let you suffer, only a bit.” He pushed me back under the water’s surface. I could see him laughing at me. His heel was pressed so hard against my chest, if he didn’t kill me by drowning, he would by crushing my sternum. It continued like this until a random, bright spark floated near him.Bookmark here

It suddenly exploded, engulfing his head in flames out of nowhere. He flailed about and ran away, giving me the opportunity to sit up from the water. When I did, I was greeted with a dismissively innocent wave by the object of my torment, Anesha. “My, my, my…I run a little late and this is the situation I find you in? Nearly drowned in a stream, a hole in your shoulder and some disgusting homunculus casting magic as if it were actually a living being.” She floated just above the stream, seated atop her broomstick, legs crossed, looking ever so relaxed.Bookmark here

“You whore!” The tall man, Anesha referred to as a homunculus yelled at her. The fire engulfing his head had gone out leaving burned pale skin and having had charred almost all of his hair. He lifted the broken cane back up and began to wave it about causing the people under his control to move towards Anesha.Bookmark here

“Look out!” I yelled, but Anesha didn’t even seemed the least bit concerned.Bookmark here

“You disgusting retch, who taught you magic? So crude…so archaic…” Anesha raised her hand up and with a simple snap of her fingers all of the people fell to the ground.Bookmark here

“What!?” The tall man backed away in fear. “You whore, you whore! What have you done!?” He charged at Anesha. Another spark floated over to the homunculus from Anesha’s finger and burst into flames consuming the tall man. “GAAAHHHH!!!” He cried flailing about in the water with the fires refusing to subside.Bookmark here

Anesha grabbed me around the back of my collar and pulled me onto her broomstick. We then began to float back up the hill and onto the ground out of the stream. “Whoa, whoa…” I was scared until she dropped me off as soon as we were close to the ground. My ankle and shoulder were still hurting, but Anesha didn’t seem to care as she tossed me onto the ground with total disregard for what I’d been through.Bookmark here

“That took far more time then I would have preferred. To think that erecting a ward in this world would be so difficult. It wasn’t as trying at the library. It must be the sheer size of this area…” Anesha muttered to herself.Bookmark here

“Hey…can I get some help over here?” Exhausted, I tried to get to my feet, but my ankle kept me down.Bookmark here

“Hm? You’ll be fine. I demand silence while I think.” Spoken so earnestly, Anesha began muttering to herself.Bookmark here

“HAGGGGHHH!!!!” The tall man leapt up over the hill with a blood curdling scream, holding the remains of his cane high overhead. “You horrid bitch! I’ll kill you!!!”Bookmark here

“Enough.” Anesha retorted, then said something under her breath as red strings shot up from the ground, wrapping around the tall man’s arms and legs holding him in place in midair. “I’d planned on allowing you to simply slink back to whatever waste filled mire your creator had ejaculated into to bring you to life; but now, you’ve insulted me on multiple occasions and you made me waste my valuable time. The punishment for that, shall be severe.” The strings quickly began to extend, covering the body of the homunculus.Bookmark here

“HAGGHH!!! Stop! Stop! Stop! Please!!” Desperately, the tall man cried as he scratched at the strings. The threads cut into his arms, legs and body, looking as if they’d break the skin, but held steady. They began tugging at the arms and legs, ripping and popping joints and muscles loud enough that I could hear them over the tall man’s screams. His arms and shoulders wrapped and bent around his head as the legs and lower body were dragged upward over his shoulders. The noise’s he made went from screams to muffled shrieks. The tall man’s body was no longer recognizable; it was nothing more than a round, red ball no bigger than my hand; struggling about, held in place by strings.Bookmark here

Anesha pulled a small silver cross out of her blouse and threw it into the air. It slammed down onto the ball, severing all the strings and ending the cries of what was formerly the tall man. Anesha got down off her broomstick and walked to her cross. She simply plucked it from the ground, making the ball of the tall man disintegrate into ashes, as if blown from an ashtray. “You had questions, no? Now’s the time to ask them.”Bookmark here

That offer made my blood run cold. Finally, I’d get to know what was happening. I wanted to ask hundreds of questions, but I started to feel weak. My body wasn’t getting cold from excitement, but from blood loss. My eyes became heavy as I stared at Anesha’s face, thinking… (I’d be happy to look at the face of such a beautiful girl, if it weren’t for the fact that she was such a horribly evil bitch.) I faded into unconsciousness, staring at the face of a beautiful devil.Bookmark here

End of chapter 3Bookmark here

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