Attack on Ghoul!
"On that day, mankind received a grim reminder. We lived in fear of the Titans and were disgraced to live in these cages we called walls. We were nothing more than livestock being hunted by beasts who found their way through our fence."
XXth July 845
"Eren." A soft voice reached me in the middle of a field. "Why are you crying?"
A breeze rustled the grass surrounding me and the light that pierced through my eyelids gets dispersed by a looming shadow. I wiped the water flowing down the sides of my face.
There was a black-haired girl above me as I opened my eyes. I got back up.
"Did you get your lot of wood?"
"Yes." Mikasa replied.
"Let's go back then!" The smell of peonies, the gentle embrace of the cool spring wind, and a swaying plain.
The life inside the walls was peaceful. We walked into the town with a smile on our faces.
"Oi, you rotten old man. Stop drinking in the morning." I yelled at the guard.
"If it isn't the Yeager kids. How've you two been?"
"Tch... stop trying to change the subject and do your job properly."
"Do you mean sitting around all day? I'm doing that just fine."
"I mean protecting the walls. The titans can come through at any time!"
"You're being paranoid again. That'll never happen."
"Ugh. People like you never learn. I don't have time to talk with shitty old men like you." I ran off even though I was the one who started the farce. Mikasa silently trailed behind me.
"Hahahaa. Still as spunky as ever. Well, take care of yourself!"
"Mom! We're back!" I announced, busting through the door.
"Wash your hands and come to the table. I prepared lunch." She replied with her usual cheerful voice.
Mikasa and I washed our hands in a pail of water. Then she went to help mom as I headed outside.
"Dad! Lunch's ready!" I shouted down the long hallway that lead to the basement.
"I'm coming!" He yelled back. He stayed in the basement most of the time for our sake. That's where he treated all the infectious patients.
I went back inside and sit myself down on the table.
Presented in front of me is a hearty meal. Gratin, bread, and stew.
"What's the occasion, honey?" My dad asked while heading to the pail of water to wash his hand as well.
"You should really remember your son's birthday!" She said with a happy smile.
"Oh, is it his birthday? Happy birthday, Eren!" The old man came down for a hug and lifted me up.
"Put me downnn..! I'm not a kid anymore! I'm already sixteen." The gesture of affection was embarrassing for me at the time.
After heeding my call, he sat down at the table and gestured as if to say 'let's eat'.
I started chowing down on the food.
"Mhmmm... so good!" I exclaimed as mom wiped my mouth.
"This really is good." Dad commented. "Marrying the daughter of a pub owner was the right move after all."
"Haha." Mom punched Dad lightly on his arm.
Mikasa is just eating silently, but I could tell she found the food good too.
This was a happy family. The quintessential familial joy you would expect from any walk of life.
I wanted to savour the food as much as I can, but I really didn't have the time.
"Mikasa hurry up! The scouts will be here any time now!"
"Nnh." She nodded her head and scarfed the food down at an alarming rate.
"You still haven't given up on that? I'm telling you to learn from me and become a great doctor. Your life will only get better once I prepare the pox cure. You are already old enough!"
"Nooo, dad. Working like that is just boring. I want to head out and fight titans!"
"But it's not sa-"
"It's fine, dear. Let him dream until he grows up." Mom comments. This is not a phase, though? And I'm already an adult. These people took my dreams too lightly.
"If you say so." Dad replied dejectedly.
I put the last piece of bread in my mouth and headed out. Mikasa followed me.
We ran through the streets and towards the main road that the scouts usually returned through.
By the time we arrive, they were already passing through on their horses. A few battered men, in a state that can only be described as sorry.
A blond-haired commander was getting shaken down by an old woman.
"Guess many died this time around as well."
"It's such a shame, Marc was young too."
"That's why you have to work hard and join the military police." A man told his kid.
'What's going on here? Why are Eldia's heroes getting treated like this?'
"If they can't handle the outside, they should just stop going."
"We are perfectly safe inside these walls."
'What's wrong with them?
Are these people satisfied with the lives of prisoners? How can they say stuff like this to our land's only hoping of being free?'
I couldn't stand by and watch it anymore.
I pulled in as much air as I could and blew it out in the largest noise I could muster.
"Eren!" Mikasa grabbed my mouth and pulled me back away from the crowd.
"Let me go! What are you doing? I need to tell the-"
"Armin." She pointed at a riverbank.
A small blond boy was getting attacked by four other boys. My attention shifted completely.
"Not those guys again! Mikasa, stand back." I grabbed a stick from the side of the road and ran towards the boys. "Hey, you let go of him!"
"Oh look it's Eren again."
"He came back to play the hero."
"Guess we have one more plaything now."
The boys jumped at me. The first one swung his punch in and I dodged. An older kid came straight at me, but I bashed his face in with the stick.
"You little-" The second punch landed in my gut and I prepared myself for the third one. I get knocked back and kick the abdomen of whoever is in front of me.
I tightened my grip on the stick and hit the boy who was holding his groin.
All of a sudden, another boy pounced on me and pinned me to the ground.
One punch, two punch, three punch, there was blood.
"Stop." A voice came from behind me and the punches stopped.
"Shit it's Mikasa. Run!"
I got let off after one more punch. Guess I got saved again. It wasn't exactly how heroes saved the day.
"You really didn't have to, I almost had them." I let the rock in my hand loose.
"No, it's fine."
I got up and wiped the blood off my face.
"Armin, are you alright?"
"Nnh!" He nods furiously. "I'm sorry I needed your help again. I'm sorry you got hurt trying to save me."
"What are you on about? It isn't you who should be sorry, it's those jerks!" I wiped the bottom of my nose. Mikasa nodded behind me. It sure came out cool.
"Let's get you fixed up."
I turned around and start walking. Unable to support my body properly, I called in Mikasa for support. She gladly agreed. We walked along the cloudy midday.
Our third step on the main road-
That's when hell began, and the world got purged with a shattering light and a rain of blood.
Thunder roared and red lightning struck. It was as if flames started rising outside the wall. Burning the rest of the world as a whole. A large red hand, dripping with blood, grabbed the wall. Little pieces of rubble started falling as the hands' grip tightened. A skull ascended from behind the wall.
And that's how we livestock got acquainted with the impossible fear of doom. The grim reality of having a being stronger than us. The reality of being at the mercy of beasts who can only look down on us.
It was the day humanity died.