Chapter 12:

The Only Heart That Beats

The Land Called Myself


The emptiness of my womb was broken by the unpleasant sound of a little girl crying.

“Why... Why…”

Genesis looked down, finding themself back in the red expanse inside the Vampiric totem, as they saw the sorrowful Hemagriel lurched against the beating ground.

“Shit-eating fool… we could’ve… we could’ve been happy for once… we could’ve made it out… but you threw it all away…”

They approached her.

“ℍ𝕖𝕞𝕒𝕘𝕣𝕚𝕖𝕝.”

“𝐃𝐨𝐧’𝐭 𝐬𝐚𝐲… 𝐦𝐲 𝐧𝐚𝐦𝐞…”

“𝕐𝕠𝕦 𝕒𝕤𝕜 𝕞𝕖 𝕥𝕙𝕒𝕥, 𝕤𝕥𝕚𝕝𝕝 𝕒𝕕𝕞𝕚𝕥𝕥𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕚𝕥’𝕤 𝕪𝕠𝕦𝕣𝕤?”

“It’s all… I’ve got left… I want to be Count Hemagriel…  but really, I’m just a disgusting slug… even with a soul, I’m not… “me…” just… just a caged animal. So really… I wish I just didn’t have to think about it.”

“𝕀 𝕕𝕠𝕟’𝕥 𝕥𝕙𝕚𝕟𝕜 𝕥𝕙𝕒𝕥 𝕕𝕖𝕤𝕡𝕒𝕚𝕣 𝕙𝕒𝕤 𝕒𝕟𝕪𝕥𝕙𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕥𝕠 𝕕𝕠 𝕨𝕚𝕥𝕙 𝕙𝕒𝕧𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕒 𝕤𝕠𝕦𝕝 𝕠𝕣 𝕟𝕠𝕥.”

“What makes you say that? You hollow metal insect… you can’t possibly understand what a soul even feels like in the first place.”

“𝕊𝕠 𝕨𝕙𝕪 𝕚𝕤 𝕚𝕥 𝕥𝕙𝕒𝕥 𝕪𝕠𝕦’𝕣𝕖 𝕙𝕦𝕣𝕥𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕤𝕠 𝕞𝕦𝕔𝕙 𝕞𝕠𝕣𝕖 𝕥𝕙𝕒𝕟 𝕞𝕖 𝕣𝕚𝕘𝕙𝕥 𝕟𝕠𝕨?”

Hemagriel looked up at the dark machine.

“𝕎𝕙𝕪 𝕚𝕤 𝕚𝕥 𝕥𝕙𝕒𝕥 𝕀 𝕔𝕒𝕟 𝕤𝕥𝕒𝕟𝕕, 𝕨𝕙𝕚𝕝𝕖 𝕪𝕠𝕦 𝕔𝕒𝕟 𝕙𝕒𝕣𝕕𝕝𝕪 𝕞𝕠𝕧𝕖 𝕒 𝕗𝕚𝕟𝕘𝕖𝕣?”

“Because you’re lucky… and I’m not. Because you… you are someone. You still want things. You’re still alive.”

“𝔸𝕟𝕕 𝕟𝕠𝕟𝕖 𝕠𝕗 𝕥𝕙𝕒𝕥… 𝕔𝕒𝕞𝕖 𝕗𝕣𝕠𝕞 𝕙𝕒𝕧𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕒 𝕤𝕠𝕦𝕝.”

“…”

As the two adventurers ran up to the confrontation, the monsters looked at each other, both aching inside for something the other had and they did not.

“Genesis!” Her voice called. “What happened? Where they hell did you go?”

“Hey!” He cried. “Are you okay? Genesis, say something!”

“𝕄𝕒𝕜𝕒𝕣𝕒. 𝔽𝕒𝕥𝕙𝕖𝕣. ℍ𝕖𝕝𝕡 𝕙𝕖𝕣 𝕤𝕥𝕒𝕟𝕕.”

“Wha-?” The troll questioned, putting away her staff. “Uh- okay…”

With their allies’ help, Genesis stood the mournful girl on her feet. As I watched, I felt nothing. Nothing had changed for these beings, nor would it ever.

“𝕐𝕠𝕦 𝕨𝕒𝕟𝕥 𝕥𝕠 𝕝𝕚𝕧𝕖? 𝔾𝕚𝕧𝕖 𝕞𝕖 𝕒 𝕤𝕠𝕦𝕝. 𝕀’𝕝𝕝 𝕥𝕖𝕒𝕔𝕙 𝕪𝕠𝕦 𝕙𝕠𝕨.”

The world they lived in would always be dark, and these fools would always go against it.

“Mere seconds ago… there’d have been nothing I’d have dreaded more.”

All I could do from there was watch them.

“𝔸𝕟𝕕 𝕤𝕖𝕔𝕠𝕟𝕕𝕤 𝕒𝕘𝕠, 𝕀 𝕨𝕒𝕤 𝕣𝕖𝕒𝕕𝕪 𝕥𝕠 𝕜𝕚𝕝𝕝 𝕪𝕠𝕦. 𝕀𝕤 𝕥𝕙𝕒𝕥 𝕥𝕠 𝕤𝕒𝕪 𝕪𝕠𝕦𝕣 𝕞𝕚𝕟𝕕’𝕤 𝕓𝕖𝕖𝕟 𝕔𝕙𝕒𝕟𝕘𝕖𝕕?”

So from there out, I did.

“No, it’s just that… I don’t see any other way. If even you can’t help me, then… I really should die, right?”

“𝕀 𝕨𝕠𝕟’𝕥 𝕝𝕖𝕥 𝕥𝕙𝕒𝕥 𝕙𝕒𝕡𝕡𝕖𝕟.”

Genesis looked up at something far away, high into the darkness. A green glimmer that had just appeared as if it had been commanded too. 

“Then… I’ll give it to you. You deserve one more than I, after all…”

“𝕐𝕠𝕦’𝕣𝕖 𝕤𝕥𝕚𝕝𝕝 𝕘𝕖𝕥𝕥𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕚𝕥 𝕨𝕣𝕠𝕟𝕘.”

The verdant star of life came down, but instead of taking it, Genesis’ hand cupped hers first.

“Why is this arm… different from your other?”

“𝕀𝕥 𝕨𝕒𝕤 𝕤𝕠𝕞𝕖𝕥𝕙𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕀 𝕙𝕒𝕕 𝕥𝕠 𝕞𝕒𝕜𝕖 𝕗𝕠𝕣 𝕞𝕪𝕤𝕖𝕝𝕗.”

“How funny. I suppose I’d like… to see how you did that, at least.”

“𝕋𝕙𝕖𝕟 𝕝𝕖𝕥’𝕤 𝕘𝕠.”

Their first hand wrapped around the blinding vessel of hope.

They looked to Dr. Redmond…

“What are you turning to me for? You… you got this yourself, now take it. I sure couldn’t make one for you. I’m just sorry you had to wait this long.”

“ℕ𝕠.”

“ℕ𝕠, 𝕀 𝕕𝕠𝕟’𝕥 𝕔𝕒𝕣𝕖 𝕨𝕙𝕖𝕥𝕙𝕖𝕣 𝕠𝕣 𝕟𝕠𝕥 𝕀 𝕤𝕙𝕠𝕦𝕝𝕕’𝕧𝕖 𝕙𝕒𝕕 𝕠𝕟𝕖 𝕗𝕣𝕠𝕞 𝕥𝕙𝕖 𝕤𝕥𝕒𝕣𝕥. 𝕋𝕙𝕚𝕤… 𝕥𝕙𝕚𝕤 𝕚𝕤 𝕥𝕙𝕖 𝕞𝕠𝕞𝕖𝕟𝕥 𝕀 𝕘𝕠𝕥 𝕞𝕪 𝕤𝕠𝕦𝕝. 𝕋𝕙𝕒𝕥’𝕤 𝕥𝕙𝕖 𝕥𝕣𝕦𝕥𝕙, 𝕖𝕧𝕖𝕟 𝕚𝕗 𝕚𝕥 𝕨𝕒𝕤𝕟’𝕥 𝕤𝕦𝕡𝕡𝕠𝕤𝕖𝕕 𝕥𝕠 𝕓𝕖 𝕥𝕙𝕒𝕥 𝕨𝕒𝕪.”

“Go get ‘em, Genesis.” Makara struck a grin. “You know what to do. This’s what you’ve always wanted, right?”

“𝕀𝕟𝕕𝕖𝕖𝕕.” They turned back to Count Hemagriel.

“𝕋𝕙𝕒𝕟𝕜 𝕪𝕠𝕦.” They said.

They took the soul and held it tightly. It did not press back, but they still could feel their grip shrink as it slowly became less and less of an object and more and more of part of themself.

In this moment, they felt a strange sensation.

Every event they’d witnessed in their time on this planet- even the ones they had forgotten- for a fleeting second, all reappeared into their aging mind. And in this instant, they recalled each and every one of these moments. Every push and every moment spent in complete stillness that made them who they had become. And in this singular slice of time, they knew- without a doubt- that they were themself, and felt comforted.

When this warmness faded, and those feelings retreated back into their subconscious mind, little had changed. But one thing was certainty different. For their first thought, second thought, even tenth, fiftieth- perhaps even hundredth were not of the dissatisfaction they felt with their existence. They were of the love they felt for their friends, and for themself. They were for their plans, their dreams, and the obstacles that faced them in the material world. No longer was this creature absorbed in darkness- it had become a denizen of the living world of light.

“Are you disappointed?” The vampire asked them. “The feeling lasts only but a second.”

“𝕀𝕥’𝕝𝕝 𝕝𝕒𝕤𝕥 𝕒𝕤 𝕝𝕠𝕟𝕘 𝕒𝕤 𝕀 𝕞𝕒𝕜𝕖 𝕚𝕥.”

They took her large hand in theirs, and asked one more request of her:

“ℕ𝕠𝕨 𝕥𝕒𝕜𝕖 𝕦𝕤 𝕙𝕠𝕞𝕖 𝕤𝕠 𝕀 𝕔𝕒𝕟 𝕡𝕣𝕠𝕧𝕖 𝕚𝕥.”