Hadn’t posted in a few days and as I am so incredibly tired today due to reasons I will discuss in my next post probably; I decided to share this nugget; I wrote this short story a couple of years ago so it may not be quite up to my usual standard but I’m still rather proud of it. I have another I will post next time I’m in my dead state which I much prefer but that will have to wait. Unsarcastic shall be the subtitles for my short stories posted on here so you’ll be able to separate the rants from the fiction without scrolling down enough on here to see that for a short story it’s pretty bloody long. Enjoy if that’s possible.
Eyes aching, limbs going numb, senses dulling, he stared into the abyss. A sudden wave of thought struck his mind; scientifically
Eyes aching, limbs going numb, senses dulling, he stared into the abyss. A sudden wave of thought struck his mind; scientifically thinking there must be a point where it ends, where the falling stops and is replaced by the leg-breaking sounds of the rock or water below, but this was different, it was unearthly. The realisation that the laws that once were fact made no sense anymore was accompanied by a sharp stinging in his back that forced him to stand up straight, and brought the feeling rushing back into his legs. He stumbled, failing to remember how he got there in the first place, his mind started to deteriorate… or was it starting anew?
The crevice began to grow as he watched it, widening, dragging him in. As he leant forward his knees gave way, his body collapsed, yet he hadn’t moved. Pinned to the ground, he finally felt something real, his feet stepped willingly towards the edge and his face was moulded into a shape of perfect serenity as his feet rolled off the edge and into the abyss. As he fell face-first, he stopped resisting, his body wasn’t listening, his brain was no longer in control.
She wasn’t listening. Neil called across from the fence but she didn’t care, Molly Hearthen had never given him a chance before and he shouldn’t have expected any difference this time. Neil gazed longingly at the most beautiful girl in his Cornish school, she flicked her long, blonde hair back as she blabbered on to a group of people, most of whom were Neil’s friends, about something that was impossible to make out from that distance. As Neil approached however, she turned around and quickly explained her tardiness for whatever work she was doing before she rushed off to her bus stop. Neil let his head hang low, his friends walked past him, yet he made no attempt to keep up or try to talk to them. He’d been so sure he was going to talk to her…
“Do it!” His own voice resonated in his mind for a minute or so until he realised his own determination. Before he knew what was happening, he had rushed for the bus stop and grabbed onto the open back window as it drove past. He could not miss it, not now, not now he was this close! He attempted to clamber into the bus from the window, front-first, and almost succeeded. However, the rather angry looking face he knew so well staring back at him stopped him in his tracks.
-The Blood of the Innocent-
Sandy Willows was sat alone in the backseat, and without expression, she turned back to face forward away from Neil.
Confused but taking this window of opportunity, he forced himself back up and through the window. He turned to see the many trees of the otherwise dull schoolyard disappear behind him. He sat down next to Sandy, hoping to get some advice before he made his move, however, she didn’t seem herself. Her usually rosy-cheeked face was exceedingly pale, her shoulder-length brown hair looked unkempt and what’s more, she never took her eyes away from the point straight in front of her.
“Sandy?” She made no attempt to speak or even take notice of him, now flabbergasted and immensely scared, he saw the rest of the bus and his face turned horror- struck. Their positions were ditto to Sandy’s in every last detail, with exactly the same facial expression, abnormalities and look of complete absence in their eyes as Sandy. Adding to this, he now saw where they were looking…
Molly was lying face-down on the floor, limbs sprawled, at the front of the bus, Neil felt goose bumps crawl up his arms and the air express an aura of chilling emptiness which in turn gave him a feeling much like that of a mourner at a funeral. Unlike a mourner though, it felt like it was his funeral he was attending, not a service for the girl who had once occupied the spread-eagled body in front of him. As he hurried towards her, his mousy brown hair was lifted by the speed behind his ears. He turned her over and saw her eyes open, his heart beating faster than he had ever felt before, he placed two fingers upon her wrist and his face froze as what he had feared most came to light; she had no pulse.
He panicked, the students didn’t notice, were they in shock? He picked Molly up and over his shoulder; they followed her with their gaze. Then Neil’s brain seemed to kick back into gear in an instant as he had a thought that should’ve occurred to him long before; the driver! He swiftly turned his head and noticed the seat where the driver usually sat, but the figure sat there was not driving, in fact, it was hard to tell exactly what he was doing, or who he was! Neil stumbled backwards into the closed door of the bus when he noticed what he looked like; he was wearing a long, battered cloak, pure black, with a large hood that covered his head, even from the front, but he was undoubtedly male. By a movement in his hood, Neil seemed to feel there was an eyebrow raised on his entirely concealed face, and took this to mean he was the only conscious being on this vehicle besides himself.
“Is she dead?” The figure gave a slow nod, then in a deep, croaky voice, confirmed what Neil had been suspecting; “They all are.” The black walls of the bus began to distort as they revealed what was being hidden, as the illusion faded, Neil felt somewhat more uneasy. They were lined with blood. “Who killed them?” The figure did not show any doubt, yet there was no haste in his movements as his rotting, bloody finger pointed towards the girl on Neil’s shoulder, and his thoughts all suddenly stopped. “But she’s dead?” The figure nodded again and with the raising of a disfigured hand, the bus stopped. It was still day, yet the sky was as dark as midnight, the door disappeared as the figure stepped through it and beckoned for Neil to follow. He did not recognise this place, it was a barren, derelict street, all buildings were boarded up and graffiti covered the walls, yet not the swearwords and names you would expect, what was written seemed to be last words and death counts, Neil felt even more uncomfortable than before as he followed the figure, Molly still on his shoulder, and the students followed.
“How do they walk if they’re dead?” The figure stopped and stroked what could be a beard under that hood, “They seek entrance to the world they now belong to. The torch and the lantern are up this way.” He seemed pleased with his answer and started walking, his pointing finger urged Neil’s legs to move again. Neil had plenty more questions, however, he thought better of seeking an answer he would not understand, so asked what should’ve been his first question: “Why am I here?”
The figure seemed to smile from under his hood, “by chance I suspect? However, by a split-second decision, we can change our destiny in an instant. Of course that applies to everyone except me.” “Why? Who are you?” Neil hoped that he would be getting to the bottom of this with this question, and the answer certainly didn’t comfort him. “Almost who you think I am.” The figure held out an arm to signal a halt, the students formed a circle around him, transfixed, as always, on Molly’s body.
An orb of light slowly descended in the sky above them, at the same time, the figure lit a match and dropped it on the ground below, the hillside seemed to ripple as waves of it began to construct a large, gothic-style flaming torch which arose from the ground, forcing Neil to step back and almost knock over someone from his history class. The flames from the torch seemed to pull the orb in faster. The hooded man closed a fist around the matchbox, his hand cloaked by the darkness around them, and on the opening of his palm, what appeared to be a small raven had replaced the box and as it flew into the darkness Neil decided to abandon logical thinking from here on out. “The torch and the lantern: the two surviving relics of a dead universe.” The figure explained, “the fact that they need these relics to die properly, indicates that the killer was in fact one of the 3 survivors.” “Different worlds?” Neil struggled to keep up, “but how are fragments of their world still here?” The figure sighed as if he had told this story a thousand times before, yet when he answered more than anything he sounded enthusiastic. “Our world attempted to save theirs, well, myself and a few others will sufficient knowledge did, however only 3 survived. The leader of a secret military society, known as the blue arrow cult, an ordinary child, both of which were humans of that world; yet the third survivor was not human; it was that universe’s death.” This time Neil’s eyebrow was raised. “But that’s impossible!” “Of course, death is latched to the universe, born at its birth, dead at its death, but somehow this one survived, and from the looks of it, is possessing humans to regain the power it once had.”
“You are death.”
Death nodded, and continued to explain the situation, “the child brought the lantern here with her, in her world they lined the streets, they were perfectly natural, like stars with shells, bringing them safety and comfort.” Death turned to face Neil, “she was killed by the lantern.” Neil’s face was as pale as a ghost at this point, and all this talk of death suddenly affected him, he vomited upon the
ground below him, tears burst from his eyes and death put a now perfectly human hand on his shoulder, “don’t worry, you will not die tonight, but your fate and the fate of the girl in your arms are now intertwined.” Neil wiped his eyes and stood up again now trying to sound more confident, yet there was still a croak in his voice; “what of the torch?” Death sighed. “That was found embedded in the rip in our universe caused by their death crossing over, its only significance is that it was used by a pagan group to try and summon the dead.” As the two objects finally touched, Death raised a finger to where his lips might be and the two relics formed a great archway. It was embedded with carved ancient runes which were completely incomprehensible, apart from the carving at the top of the arch which greatly resembled the entity standing next to him. And at that instant, Death spoke; “The blood of the innocent has been spilt; let us not let their apocalypse cross over to ours.” He turned to Neil and lowered his hood as a flash of blinding light caused him to faint.
Molly opened her eyes for the first time in 3 hours, she attempted to take in her surroundings but they were too strange to interpret. She felt something on her legs, there was a boy there she knew, Neil Samson was laying there, pale-faced, scared expression on his face, and his arm around her. She clambered away from him, unsure what to think, he had taken her to this strange hillside, the large archway intimidated her greatly and she remembered her necklace choking her, had he saved her? She felt for the necklace but it wasn’t there, she made a mental note never to buy jewellery from markets again and stood up, feeling relatively dizzy, her trousers uneven on her hips, Neil had fallen whilst carrying her. As she looked around she noticed students from her school, from her bus, walking into the archway and turning to dust and to her right…
She let out a piercing scream, and as the last of the children disappeared into the archway it vanished and all that was left was a torch and a lantern, one sinking, one rising. The figure that made her scream so loudly examined a very familiar necklace in his hand. “Um… sir?” Death made a noise that was something between hmm and a grunt and she took this as an invitation to carry on, “I don’t think that’s a regular necklace, it-it attacked me earlier so-” Death interrupted her. “My dear child, you think I would have taken it from you if it were normal?” She got the message, “who are you?” Death gave an amused grunt, “exactly who you think I am.” He turned to her; she noticed the hand with the necklace was a human one, “Why did you kill them?” Death chuckled and shook his head, “I’m afraid I would have to turn that question around, did I not already know why.” Molly gave him a confused look, and Death sighed, he was getting sick of explaining. “Until about thirty seconds ago, you didn’t have a pulse. You have been possessed by a Death that does not have a place in this world. You are lucky, if it was not for the boy’s desperate attempts to get to you I wouldn’t have checked you at all, you would have ended up like the rest of them and the necklace would have inevitably become more powerful.”
“What are you going to do with it?” Molly asked, and to this, Death was without an answer for the first time in his life. “You cheated death.” She suddenly felt scared, “I didn’t know,” Death smiled, or at least she thought he did, “well you’ve brought this upon yourself now in more ways than one. Take the boy, find the blue arrow cult-” “Who?” “Let me finish. The boy knows what they are, find them, I don’t care how, but they must be found. Tell them to find Death but to fear the reaper.” Death noticed the vacant expression on her face, and sighed again, “I lost my scythe, the other Death still has his” And with that the reality of the situation dawned on her. She picked up Neil with great difficulty and ran as far as she could away from that terrible scene.
Death looked on; he couldn’t see a solution to this dilemma. You cannot kill death, and how long would it stay inside the necklace before finding the way out? The reaper had not been seen since its universe had begun to decay 50 years ago, but it was common knowledge amongst those who possessed knowledge of the truth that he had escaped into this world. Now they knew how, yet it worsened the situation. There was no time left, they needed to find the solution imminently.
The further away Molly ran the lighter it seemed to become, until the sky eventually settled into the dull light of the evening, she checked her watch, this was natural darkness. They had reached a clearing with several willow and oak trees where Molly could see houses on the horizon, she had decided she wouldn’t stop until she had found civilisation, no matter how hard the pain would become. As she lowered Neil onto the soft grass, she felt water drip from the trees above, it was raining. They couldn’t be far from Truro now, but like Death, Molly had no plan. She looked down at the boy she scarcely knew as she wondered why he did what he did. He had saved her, and yet she had always assumed he was boring…
The moon came out from behind the clouds, and she realised how both unlucky and lucky she had been, to purchase a possessed item, but to then be saved, that was a bit much to take in for her. She suddenly realised how tired she was and climbed up an oak tree, taking Neil with her, and fell asleep on the steady branches.
Soon after, Neil awoke, he was lying in the branches of large oak tree, yet the branches below formed an effective climbing method, he looked over and saw Molly fast asleep on the other side of the tree, they were both still in school uniforms. As Neil took in the situation, he realised what had happened, Molly must have taken him here from the hilltop. He shuddered as he remembered Death’s words, the children, the archway, and decided he’d wait for Molly to wake rather than wondering for himself. But wasn’t she dead? He checked her pulse; her heart was beating, but how? He had to wait; within the space of an afternoon he had realised that all his morals and knowledge could be questionable, and nothing is what he once thought it was. As he pondered these things he slowly drifted off back into a willing unconsciousness.
The necklace was falling apart, crumbling with the power of the entity possessing it, the Reaper was angry. It had almost had a new host, it had almost become whole again. It had to escape, but where to? It needed something to latch onto; something that would let it close enough to a human to acquire a body, and right now, it was the worst case scenario. There was never any way it could take Death, it had to escape.
Death knew what it was trying to do, his hand had turned to perfect flesh as he touched the necklace, it was hard to believe it but compared to the inhumanity of the thing inside, he was human. He spun the necklace containing the Reaper in his hand as he vanished from the hillside.
The Reaper felt a sense of victory, Death had to use the darkness for transportation, he had no scythe, he had nothing to stop him escaping, and he wouldn’t give him enough time to get one before he escaped.
As Death travelled through the darkness the necklace gave way, it imploded and all that was left was a strange gas, Death knew what was happening, if only he hadn’t lost his scythe! He attempted to absorb the spirit of the Reaper but it was too late, it was free to find a new host, and it knew it couldn’t be stopped.
The Reaper moved toward the city beneath it, they had been travelling northwards and it had to time its escape perfectly. It had succeeded. It had found the administrative centre of this landmass.
Death moved down in the direction of the centre of London, taking on the appearance of a fatherly figure with short, brown hair, large green eyes, a prominent nose and chin, with a large comforting grin which reflected the exact opposite of how he would feel if he had feelings.
The Reaper latched itself to a bed inside number ten Downing Street and waited for the man who had power over the people of the land. His plan was being set in motion at last.
Death landed outside number ten and knocked twice; a tall man with a large beard and otherwise easy-to-forget features answered the door, he gave the impression of being extremely normal and ordinary, not the type you would expect for a leader but he did give amazing speeches. “Prime Minister?” The man nodded, looking around for the police guards, but he seemed to assume they were switching over and turned back to face Death.
It was getting impatient and irritable; it had been waiting for at least two hours now and still no-one? It prepared for immediate takeover.
The Prime Minister had now been chatting to this extraordinary man for two hours, and though his tales were thrilling and his warming grave, it was getting late and he still did not quite believe what he was hearing. “I don’t mean to be rude, but it’s getting late and I really need to get back to my wife.” “I’m afraid I can’t let you do that Prime Minister, not only is your wife the one whom I am warning you of, but you have something of mine.” Death’s face deteriorated into a sinister-looking skull and he raised his hood so all the Minister could see were the sinister rubies of Death’s crimson eyes looking at him expectantly.
The Prime Minister was in shock, this could not be real, things like this didn’t happen in real life, it is the talk of fairy tales, the creatures of nightmares, and yet there he was! It took several minutes before he knew what he was talking about and took down what he thought was a regular farming tool given to him by his late grandfather until this day. Death was complete once again!
A body! The Reaper had waited a long time but at long last it would be worth it, all the power belonged to it now! It latched onto the body and moved itself in, the temporary emotions would have to be held back. It could not let itself be distracted from its mission.
Death moved onto his task, he had a job to do here. He raised his scythe and the Prime Minister cowered as he was taken. His children were to be left to live a full life, yet his wife…
The Reaper immediately knew something had gone wrong with the plan, and as it looked in the mirror beside the bed it had to resist crying out in anger, the only emotion it could feel, a woman was staring back at it, it had the wife, It tried to escape but it was latched onto her permanently. She realised what had happened, Death was here, she took out the scythe and she vanished into the night, still cursing.
The cool morning breeze woke Molly gently the next morning, her eyes opening slowly upon the breathtaking view of the countryside behind her. As she carefully let herself down, the spring of the branches caused Neil’s sleeping body to roll off the branches and land on its side into the morning dew. Giggling, Molly waited and Neil let out what seemed like a half swearword half grunt. Standing up, he seemed to forget who was with him, “man, I need a shower.” He turned around, saw Molly, blushed and blurted out an apology.
As they walked towards Truro they began explaining to each other what they had missed, this was much less of a surprise to Neil as it was to Molly, who had no idea of the situation before the children walked into the archway. Neil thought for a while about asking the next question, it would surely be awkward, but it would help clear his mind…
“How come we’ve never talked before?” Molly had known this would come, “You didn’t try to talk to me, so how would I have known you were like this?” She smiled. “Like this?” “You saved me, you refused to accept that I was dead,” her smile broadened, “you followed Death for me.” This was enough for Neil, he smiled back and they begun to wonder how they would find this cult until they arrived at Lemon Quay in the heart of the city.
Neil ushered Molly towards an internet café, it seemed like the most reliable method, so Molly followed. Their many searches however, achieved no results, it apparently wasn’t a registered cult, had nowhere in its name and there weren’t even any conspiracies. Stumped for ideas, Neil went to find the nearest cash point to take his mind off things. Molly took over and took a different approach; survivors of a dead world obtained 5 results: a sci-fi novel, an amateur movie, a scientific journal on parallel worlds, an unsigned metal band and what looked like a government file. Unsure whether any were what she was looking for she took her chances with the last link. What she found, was exactly what they needed, a banner atop the page read “The Blue Arrow Cult, keeping your world in balance, for we can no longer protect our own.” Down the left hand side there was a list of their emissaries and their locations, and in the centre of the page was a photograph of a large, Japanese-style building.
She looked through the website; there were no addresses, no inkling of where this very prominent building could be. Molly was annoyed; they weren’t making it easy for them. She supposed the emissaries were the only way to get to them, there was one for each country, and yet again there were no addresses, just the country, the capital city and their title of emissary. They would have to take their chances, and when Neil arrived back with a full wallet, they left for London.
The press were having a field day; the Prime Minister had died of an unknown cause, his wife had disappeared and his children were being looked after by the Minister’s dumbstruck sister. The tabloids were blaming the wife, although the investigations had no results, there seemed to be no cause for the Prime Minister’s death, he was healthy, had made sure within that year that his country had no enemies, and yet there he was. The front page contained a picture of the Prime Minister’s body lying upon his kitchen table, looking less dead and more asleep, and something was missing from the wall…
Britain was in a state of weakness, how could they announce a new Minister so soon after this? And yet in the Prime Minister’s mailbox there was a very clear terrorist threat, claiming to be not of this world. The cabinet were incredibly confused and they knew that they had no choice but to announce the new Minister right away. Somewhere slightly further along in the newspapers, there was a very brief article about the Prime Minister’s second in command’s recent romances and his girlfriend as of last night’s refusal to show her face to the public…
Neil and Molly departed at King’s Cross station deep in conversation that evening, their surprise at the emptiness of the station was quickly gone as a loud band erupted from somewhere down the street, with a nervous look at each other, they both ran towards the scene, hoping a false hope that the person they seek would be there.
The closer they got, the more awe-struck they were. A large fire had erupted from a nearby car and large chunks of flaming metal were flying across the street in all directions! People were screaming, calling the police, shouting about terrorists, but strangely enough, the first people there were a camera crew, filming someone who looked very familiar.
A woman with a distinct resemblance to the wife of the Prime Minister was being interviewed in front of this catastrophe, and still there were no fire trucks in sight. Molly rushed towards the news stand and Neil followed, together, they saw the front page, and then turned back to the woman, “no!” Neil failed to see how no-one could notice that this was the missing woman, the wife of the Prime Minister, but Molly turned to him, “this isn’t our task! We should stick to what we must do!” “But-” she interrupted his protest, “they see her resemblance as a beacon of hope, we shouldn’t get distracted from the mission we were entrusted with.” Reluctantly, Neil nodded and they set off in the opposite direction, towards the Thames. “Where are we going?” Asked Neil, hoping that Molly had an answer, she held up the newspaper they had found. An article on the back read; “government officials, religious groups and people of high importance hold party for the discussion of Britain’s safety.” Neil looked puzzled, “You think the emissary will be there?” She nodded, “How are we going to convince them we’re people of high importance?” She smiled; this is what she’d been waiting for. “We need some smart attire and a lift in someone else’s limousine.” “That’ll be enough?” “If we’re with someone else who’s actually meant to be there we won’t be questioned, we’ll be their guests!” Neil still didn’t see the logic but decided to let Molly carry out the plan.
A few hours later they were certainly dressed for the occasion, their money had been spent on an immensely clean tuxedo for Neil and an intensely beautiful white dress that Molly had worn with her hair tied back. As Neil saw her he was at a sudden loss for words, and the look on his face made Molly blush slightly. They both decided in their heads not to discuss how each other looked for fear of distraction.
Now their task took a difficult turn, how to find someone who was both important enough to go, and dumb enough to believe that they were too? Their prayers were answered sooner than they could have hoped, “You two looking for the party too?” Molly turned to face him and could instantly tell he was a thug, however as Neil turned as well she realised what people of high importance meant. He was rich, and looked like he could be involved in organised crime, although Neil was too afraid to speak the connection out loud and Molly too polite. “Um… yes”, Neil couldn’t have sounded less sure if he’d tried. “You one of those religious groups they invited?” Molly attempted to sound flattered, “how could you tell?” “Well, I haven’t seen you on TV.” He answered, sounding proud of himself. “Which church?” This question was unfortunately directed at Neil, who hadn’t a clue which direction Molly was going in. “The church of… Rastafarianism…” his words dwindled as he finished his answer, but yet again the man looked proud of himself, “yeah, I heard about that becoming a recognised religion a while back. Where are your dreadlocks?” Molly tried to hold back her laughter and Neil quickly answered, careful not to sound amused, “cut them off, especially for tonight.” The man smiled back at him, “good man, I never liked the look of those things. You need a lift? I know where the location is and I have a ride waiting.” “That would be great!” Molly accepted excitedly. And with that they followed the man to a white limousine parked down the street and sped off to the place their task had led them.
As Molly had expected, the thug had introduced them as his guests and they were not questioned about their status. The man quickly separated from them to talk to someone who looked impeccably like the Godfather, which made Molly question what people aspire to be. “Can you see anyone who could be who we’re looking for?” Molly asked hopefully, Neil frowned, “we have no idea who we’re looking for” “then let’s take our chances and how some fun while we’re at it?” Neil looked confused, “what about not getting distracted from our task?” “This thing’s going to last all night, we can afford to take a little break from our search can’t we?” She smiled and took his hand, more confused than ever before, Neil’s mind gave him the impulse that started this whole affair, he wasn’t going to miss his chance, not now he was so close! Heart beating faster than it ever had before he took her waist and kissed her for what seemed like an eternity. When their lips finally parted her cheeks had gone scarlet, yet she looked happier than he had ever seen her, and as she launched herself at him he couldn’t help thinking that he had achieved the only task that mattered to him, for this moment, he would let the world decay around him and let it be his last memory…
Takashi Kendo was sipping a martini in the corner of the large hail, lost in thought again as to why a Japanese man was placed as the English emissary; Kian had explained to him that he needed his most skilled agent as close to the headquarters as possible, but Takashi was convinced that was just flattery. The agents may be the source of contact for outsiders, but they were also the only ones that could not master the blue arrows, and were chosen as agents because of it. However, it was nice to take a break and get some small talk in with the upper-class of London, even if he did have to tell the fake story about him being an ex-Japanese ambassador, now working to get into the UN, surprisingly, no matter how sarcastically he tried to make it come across, this story seemed to be entirely believable to these people, was it his accent? Trying to avoid getting worked up about his own thoughts, he moved across the room, noticed a young couple that looked like they didn’t usually go to these sorts of places and decided that he’d try his luck talking to those less posh than the other arrogant VIPs in this room.
“Good evening!” Takashi bowed low then drew himself immediately back up to shake their hands, “Takashi Kendo”, the two looked pleased to see someone friendly enough to introduce themselves and shook his hand, looking vibrant. “I’m meant to tell you some fake story about who I am but I can see you are not meant to be here either are you?” Takashi studied their reactions, the girl looked incredibly shocked, but the boy was still grinning, as if nothing could ruin his mood. “You’re not going to chuck us out are you?” Asked the girl worryingly, to which Takashi laughed. “Of course not, I’m just sick of talking to these people and decided to speak with someone more normal.” The girl suddenly looked as if she’d found what she was looking for and stammered, “look for death but fear the reaper”, and to this Takashi was dumbstruck, they knew about the two deaths? The boy, in response to Takashi’s expression, became more confident and hopefully enquired; “are you the emissary?” Takashi nodded, “how do you know about the blue arrow cult?” They took a while explaining their situation, and after hearing what they had to see, Takashi realised the seriousness of the situation, “I will take you to the cult, your task can’t just stop here, you are directly involved, to have you not involved would be impossible.” They began to protest, but he interrupted, “With the information you have, you either fight; or you die! You know too much, people would hunt you down in minutes had you mentioned this to anyone but me! I guess that’s lucky for you.” And with that they left, Takashi led them to his car and told them to rest, for no-one is allowed to know the way. At that moment blackened walls obstructed their view out of all windows and of Takashi. They slept in each other’s arms.
When Molly woke up, her sleepiness was immediately broken by the memories of the last night, she looked around, she wasn’t n the car anymore. She reached for Neil’s hand but he wasn’t there either, she was in a strangely lit hot spring with a marvellous view of the hilly plains around her and the sunrise, slowly rendering the lights around her obsolete. She lifted herself out of the spring and onto an area of coloured paving beside the spring, where a long bath robe, fresh clothes and a comfortable-looking oriental bench awaited her. She was humbled by this welcoming gesture, though she would’ve preferred Neil to be there.
Neil had been awake for several hours, he had received a full explanation of what he was to do from this point onwards and was aware of the training he needed. He was to master the art of the blue arrows within a month, when it usually took others 5 years, a seemingly impossible task, but it had to be done. The nature of the art of the blue arrows is a complicated one; it involves gaining total control of a hidden energy inside the human body, one that Neil did not know existed until it had been explained to him by the leader of the cult and survivor of the dead world, Kian Argus. The memory of the meeting with him kept Neil going through the gruelling training he was going through and which he was guaranteed would be non-stop until it was complete.
He had been woken upon their arrival at the cult’s headquarters and greeted at the door by Kian, who had immediately invited him in and into a large sitting room with red leather sofas, a blazing fireplace and a glass table with an assorted fruit bowl sitting atop it, the floor, walls and ceiling were all made of varnished wood, and out of a large pane of glass which covered the entire west wall, there was a spectacular view of the mountainside. He had been invited to sit and offered coffee, which he accepted humbly, even though he wasn’t particularly sure if he liked it. Kian’s large, muscular figure was made less intimidating by the kimono he was wearing, which struck Neil as strange but he didn’t question this man’s dress sense, as his smart goatee and thick black hair gave the impression that he was a very serious man. As Kian passed him a cup and sat down in the opposite sofa to him, Neil noticed a large, cloaked figure emerge from the adjacent room. Contrary to their first meeting, Neil was now pleased to see Death rather than scared, he knew that it was now that he would be told his destiny.
“We’re going to give you all the help you can get”, explained Kian, “your mission is a dangerous one; the art of the blue arrows is the only thing powerful enough to allow you to complete your task.” Neil nodded, refusing to sound confused; he waited for further explanation, “dark cannot exist without light.” Death began, “it is the rule that binds everyone to their own universe and prevents either from becoming the greater force. They stay of equal power.” Kian continued on from death’s explanation, “there is only one remaining source of light from my universe, I am of both light and dark, the Reaper is pure darkness, the lantern however, was a beacon of hope, it gave light to everyone in my world, so much so, that a girl tried to bring it over, and was killed by the sheer power of the lantern in the process. I need you to do the only thing possible to destroy death. As the lantern cannot be destroyed, that leaves one thing left, it must be absorbed by a blue arrow technique known as metamorphose and then disposed of with the person fused with it. Neil’s face was filled with terror, “I have to kill myself?” Death shook his head, “the lantern cannot be destroyed, you must go through the rip in our universe caused by The Reaper’s coming. From that point on we don’t know what will happen, the best guess is that you will be alive, but just as a host to the lantern, you will not be able to think or be conscious, and then when your body decays the lantern will fade out with it.” At this point, Neil couldn’t take anymore, his tears now flooding over his arm; his anger took over him, as he shouted at the two people he once felt great respect for. “WHY ME?” Kian bowed his head, “we don’t want this anymore than you do, but it must be done, it has to be you. You gave life to the dead; it is because of you she is alive! Only that which can reverse death can be of pure light, and only pure light can latch onto the lantern.” Neil looked up at them, looking slightly braver, although his fear was at an all-time high. “Will it save her?” Kian and Death both nodded.
And so for a whole month Neil never stopped working but to rest with Molly, not once did he tell her what his fate was, but instead within each passing day they became closer and closer, Neil had what he wanted, he knew that his life was complete and at the end of the month set out to save her one last time.
-The Fate of the World-
The Reaper had become stronger than she could have ever hoped; she was the Ruler of all the reclaimed British Empire. Half of the world was now under her control, and she loved the power. At this emotion she scowled, she shouldn’t enjoy anything, emotion held her back, she shouldn’t be getting used to this body either. Soon, she would have the whole world, and she would be reunited with her true form once again, cutting all ties with emotion, bringing death to this world and becoming a God at last.
The only thing that she regretted was leaving the office the day before, while she was gone, a society called the blue arrow cult had destroyed all her plans, set free several countries in the Middle East and lead a riot upon the city of London in which the police joined in instead of stopping them, bringing down the Houses of Parliament, however, that didn’t matter, she was a dictator now, an emperor, a God.
After a morning of travelling, Neil found himself back on the hillside where all this started, the Cornish air was refreshing and moist; it comforted him a little as he walked towards the point where he knew the torch and the lantern lay. As he had expected, there were the dead, at least ten thousand, waiting for him, they had known he would come, and they guarded the archway as The Reaper had ordered. She had been quick to figure out the plan once she found out about the blue arrow cult, and the defences were certainly prepared for Neil’s arrival. However, his training had not been for nothing, he had mastered the art of the blue arrows through his determination to save Molly. With her in mind, he raised two fingers into the air and a vortex of blue light erupted from the tips, he drew his hand across it and it shaped itself into an arrow, and with the withdrawing of his hand it flew into the crowd of the dead like it was propelled by a bow. Molly was ignorant to all of this, and he had promised it would remain so until his task was accomplished, he did not want her to worry. He raised his fingers again as the first arrow exploded into a sea of blue light, obliterating waves of the walking corpses and causing the remaining dead to charge at him, he knew that he would have to call the lantern from the sky before the dead were defeated, for The Reaper would not let him rest. As the second wave of the dead fell, he walked through the remaining army, using his inner energies to form a shield around him, he walked towards the highest spot on the hill, lit a match and dropped it.
Immediately the torch rose, its flames licked at his feet but he no longer felt physical pain. The lantern fell faster than he last remembered but it was not the golden orb he remembered before, it let out an aura of spite and anger that sank into Neil’s veins, imitating the reluctance to die that all humans possess. The pain ate away, his fear increased, his shield began to dwindle and as it gave way the lantern gave out golden wires which entangled him and held him down towards the dead, like a worm being fed to birds. Neil had but to remember what he was fighting for to regain his powers, and as he opened his eyes his power gathered within his blood and pumped around his body, he was ready. The lantern was being pulled into him now, he felt its resistance as the dead attempted to tear his limbs, with a single swipe of his leg they were pushed back, the power emanating from him was getting stronger, the dead fell harder. And then it was inside him, the lantern went right through his skin like a knife, but seemed to stop inside and spread negative feelings throughout Neil’s body. As he struggled to handle the power of the lantern inside him, it made him more and more reluctant to complete the task that was set upon him, but he couldn’t back down. If he gave up it would be the end of humanity, the end of Molly. He could not let her die, not when he was so close to saving her.
He pulled himself together, ignoring the lantern’s influence. The dead had stopped. They were staring at him, as the first had at Molly before, he knew what was happening, but he needed this moment. As he had hoped, a swirling darkness rose up from the ground, and took form of a woman before mutating into a figure in a large black, hooded cloak and holding a large scythe. The Reaper was about a foot taller than Death, and the hands that gripped the scythe were rotting, you could smell it. Unlike Death, it did not seem male, or female, but it seemed like something else, a monstrosity. And the moment that thought occurred to Neil, The Reaper lowered its hood…
The Reaper’s face was not a regular skull as Death’s was, but a rotting corpse head, the sight of it would’ve made Neil vomit had he not been trained against shock, the face did not move as it spoke, it was as if The Reaper was in his head, “What have you done with the lantern?” Neil smiled, it was scared. The human body had given it fear. “I have begun to dispose of it.” “Impossible! The lantern cannot be destroyed!” It raised its scythe and the dead trembled. “Like you said”, Neil smirked, the task was almost done. “I won’t let you destroy it!” There was no doubt about it, there was definitely fear in The Reaper’s deep, booming voice. “Try and stop me!” Neil taunted, but he had made a grave mistake, The Reaper stretched out its arms and darkness engulfed the world around him, trapping him in a domain of insecurity. Neil attempted to move but could not; fear of the darkness around him rooted him to the spot. The Reaper laughed at his feeble attempt at an escape, the darkness somehow became more and more prominent, and he felt himself fade, had he failed?
Suddenly the darkness was gone; the lantern had lit up the way as it was meant to and The Reaper stood in front of him, utterly bewildered. With this, the negative impulses ceased to pulse from the lantern, as if the grave understanding of the situation had sunk in at last, and he disappeared, he had left The Reaper behind and appeared at the side of a large crack in the dark star-filled space around him, space plasma along with bolts of lightning brought light to the other side, then it materialised, the sediments of the rock around him woke him up from the enchanting image of the rip he had seen earlier, this was the real thing, the cliff he was standing on could have been mirrored on the other side had he not been there. The Abyss. This was it.
He stared into the Abyss and felt his mind deteriorating, amnesia took hold, he was losing control, the Abyss pulled him in and making sure that Molly was his last memory he forgot why he was there, and fell, unsure why he was willing to do this.
The Reaper let out a blood-curdling scream, the light had disappeared from this universe, it had nothing left to keep it alive, and it felt the touch of death as it should have done 50 years ago, except now it was worse, the emotions of the human woman cursed it, it felt the pain, the sadness and it knew that it had made an awful mistake. It shrivelled into a ball of torn darkness and then all that was left was the torn remnants of its cloak.
Somewhere deep in the unknown, the lantern faded, but not completely, its light still existed, it just wasn’t separate anymore, and as its host was grasped by human hands and breathed in artificial air…
Neil woke up.