|Cicadas, Volume II: Dirge of the Furthest Future
Author: The Azure Crow PM
In the end, no ending can be truly perfect. Hinamizawa has become tainted. A demon runs amok in the streets. A feud with Okinomiya is about to begin. A wave of terror sweeps over all those connected to it. And in the distance, an endless war for self preservation rages on...Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Horror - Rika F. & Rena R. - Chapters: 16 - Words: 205,102 - Reviews: 21 - Favs: 6 - Follows: 6 - Updated: 04-27-13 - Published: 07-14-12 - id: 8320404
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
(Disclaimer: I rather unfortunately don't own Higurashi, Umineko, or anything related to it. Because if I did Rose Guns would've been out six months ago and Higanbana wouldn't have been ruined with a sequel.)
Come one, come all. Including all of you Umineko fans. Because there's stuff in here for you too. Welcome to the second installment of the pretty much completely obscure Cicadas Series that wasn't even a series until just now. Because one round of unreliable narration just wasn't enough.
As it stands, this story is a completely non linear sequel to Cicadas: Case of the End Dreamer.
Now if you're a regular around here, you might be wondering – "Cicadas: Case of the End Dreamer? What kind of a name is that for a work of fiction? And why haven't I seen it before?"
Luckily, I can answer the second question for you. End Dreamer was a story posted in the M Rated section for… certain reasons. This story, on the other hand, is nowhere near as messed up and is pretty much postable in this section. Descriptions are less… vivid, if you catch my drift. Also there's nowhere near as much psychological horror. If you could even call it that.
Note that you do not have to read the previous fic to get the full story out of this one. This story isn't a direct continuation of the previous one. It draws on some really small events from the first story, but all of it is being delivered in a way where you won't feel confused at the end because you skipped out on the first one.
As far as things you should expect:
Original Characters (In minimal quantity this time around, mainly consisting of altered versions of the original cast)
Some very Umineko-styled mystery segments
Some potentially not so reliable points of narration
I implore you all to read and review. Especially because reviewing not only makes the story improve, even significantly some times, but it lets me know to keep things going full throttle (For those of you who were there for End Dreamer – I could've had that done by March if I had more input. Think about that for a minute). Also free internet cookies may be involved. B-But I'm not promising anything.
Now that all of that is out of the way, the rest of this author's note is mainly for the fantastic four that read and reviewed the original fanfic. If there were even four of you around for that one.
Right off the bat you might notice some things that might sound a bit familiar to you. Later on it'll all get even more apparent. But if you're expecting that "Final Answer Chapter" I said I would have made, this will not be it. You'll probably get a bit more out of this fic than the first time reader regardless.
Go into the story with this in mind: The previous fic was an establishment of an interpretation for the Hinamizawa Syndrome. This fic will cover the other half of the story left to interpretation – the creation of a "more perfect Matsuribayashi." With demons and stuff included for added confusion.
So, without any further delay, enjoy the opening act of this moderately long fanfic.
A Chapter : The Night of True Grief
My eyes shoot open. I sit up out of pure reflex as life returns to my body. I gasp for air, and promptly cough heavily as more soot than air fills my lungs. I stare straight ahead, not sure what to make of the scene before me.
I am surrounded by flames. Tall pillars of fire surround me from all sides. The roar of the wind almost knocks me back over, and the sounds of battle from far off reach my ears.
I try to remember what happened. As I stare at the gruesome scene before me things slowly start to fade back into place.
The smell of burning incense. The ash in the air. The sparks that rose from the flames. The collapsed buildings and blazing wood. The blood stained path down the road. The overturned streetcars and the smoldering trees. The scattered bodies that littered the streets. The signs of disaster. My eyes are still somewhat hazy, but I can still see them – the remains of the village. My village – the village of Onigafuchi. There were doubtlessly, hundreds of casualties. But with some fortune I had managed not to become one of them.
I am…I am Riku Furude. That's right. And as it stands I am one of possibly few survivors of Onigafuchi. One of the very few who survived this – this disaster that was brought upon us.
Indeed, it was quite the disaster. But despite even that something was still amiss. I couldn't tell at first, but eventually it occurred to me.
No matter what befell our village, they were always there. No matter the season, you could hear their cries. Whenever the village was threatened, the cicadas always cried out in agony, as if to share in our suffering. But on this night, this night of a terror I'd never even believed could exist, the cicadas did not cry.
It was as if they had all been silenced. As if not even their cries could save us.
I sat there, gazing upon the carnage. And suddenly I was hit with something –
I stood in that instant and broke off into a sprint down the road, past the death that surrounded me and further into the village. Finding a path through the flames I worked my way through the village. I had suddenly remembered something rather important.
Hanyuu, my wife. Ouka, my daughter.
They were both in danger. And I had to find them as soon as was feasibly possible.
I continued onward, nearly setting my soot covered robe on fire from almost stumbling towards some of the flames. I found myself tripping over all sorts of rubble as I dashed along the normally clear and well kept streets of the village. There wasn't a doubt in my mind – this wasn't some sort of a natural disaster. Despite the apparent hole in my memory I knew something was very wrong with this situation. And without a moment to spare, I had to confirm that my family had survived.
I made the straightest line possible for the Furude Shrine – my place of residence. I was almost certain that was where the two of them would be, but in the end I couldn't be completely sure. I chose not to dwell on it – the less I thought about it, the faster I would be able to get to where I was going.
I hopped over a streetcar and ran down a small alleyway that cut through the main streets. I could only hope that the side roads wouldn't have been as horrendously damaged. But to my dismay the side roads were just as covered in death as the main streets were. It seemed not a single corner of the village was spared from this calamity – all I wanted to know at this point, though was if they were alright. I could worry about the rest of them once I secured the two of them.
I frantically searched for a pathway through the village that wasn't cut off by collapsed buildings. In the end there was no straightforward way – in all practicality, if I were sprinting like this in a normal situation where the village wasn't on fire, I'd already be at the shrine by now. But as it was I wasn't even halfway there.
As I proceeded onward I eventually came to remember what the cause for this disaster was – as I was so promptly assisted in that respect by a pack of creatures that came to block my path.
Their eyes were blood red. They had the black fur of a wolf and the jaws of a crocodile. They were demons – the demons responsible for the destruction of my village.
I stared them down. There were four of them, with one seemingly larger than the rest. These were all small time, however. The real threat was still a long ways away.
The four of them almost went after me at the same time. But unfortunately for them, despite the hole in my memory I was still perfectly capable of swinging a sword.
I draw my katana, the Demon Slayer Kusanagi. A weapon built a lifetime before my own and a weapon that has served its purpose rather well from the moment I learned to use it.
With a single swing the wind around me moved in tandem with the blade, creating a razor sharp wave of wind that made more a more than effective weapon. The ashes and rubble scatter as the wind, with the force of an arrow, hurtles towards my opponents. The larger one apparently saw it coming and jumped out of the way, but the other three were not so fortunate. With that single burst of wind the three were severed into halves almost instantaneously and fell to the ground, bursting into black flames that scattered like wildfire before dissipating entirely. As they were demons, they did not bleed as humans did – they simply burst into flames, as if they were never there to begin with.
I faced the last demon who snarled at me with whatever confidence he had left – and leapt at me, its feral claws at the ready. With an almost effortless side step, I dodge the attack, sending the beast stumbling off to the side. I was prepared to finish the fight then and there, but when I turned to swing Kusanagi the wind rather ironically picked up, sending a cloud of ash and soot straight for my eyes. In my few seconds of blindness the beast turned and struck with as much speed as I had, sending me flying into the rubble nearby. Having fortunately enough avoided anything set on fire I stood before the beast could attempt to finish me off, and in that moment I saw my chance.
The beast came running at me from a distance – apparently not aware that despite how fatal a running attack starting from that distance would have been that the longer it took him to land it the easier it was for me to take aim for the gaping hole in his defense. As he closed in on me I swung Kusanagi diagonally upward, cleaving the monster in two from his lower torso upward. The monster collapsed onto its side and burst into flames as its fellow demons had.
I sighed with relief for a moment before I immediately went back to my mad dash for the shrine. I'd been delayed far longer than I would have liked. I could only hope that I wasn't too late…
But eventually, I found my destination – the shrine, which much to my dismay was just as on fire as the rest of the village.
I made my way up the stone path with whatever energy I could muster and came to the entrance –
But the building had been destroyed. The shrine was in shambles, the roof having caved in and the wooden frame having been set ablaze. The Saiguden had been destroyed in a rather similar manner. It was hell on earth, for lack of a better description.
I hear a sharp howl that pierced through the roaring wind. I turn sharply towards the side, my sword at the ready – and what appears before my eyes more than satisfied the conditions for a worst case scenario.
My home had been destroyed, reduced to nothing but rubble. And against the stone pillar that stood nearby was Ouka, her naginata in hand, slumped to the ground and bleeding profusely.
I rush over to her. Her violet hair is stained with what was likely her own blood. Her kimono is just as equally stained in the same burnt shade of red. Her free arm was apparently broken, twisted in a truly horrifying way. The naginata in her other hand was blooded as well – it seemed she had at least managed to wound her target before it claimed her.
I still had some hope left in my heart. But despite that I knew what I was about to do wasn't going to do any good. Shakily grasping her lowered head, I lift her face to face my own.
Her empty gaze meets my alarmed one. When I release her head it falls lazily to the side. I hastily grasp her by the shoulders and try to shake her, as if hoping by some miracle that she would wake. But it was pointless. She was dead. There wasn't a doubt in my mind. I pull her close, silently cursing the one who did this to her.
I swallow hard. I force back my sadness and rise from her side, gently resting her back against the pillar. I don't have the time to mourn right now. Hanyuu was still nowhere in sight. I had to find her. If I even had the slightest chance of saving her, I had to take it.
I look around frantically for a sign, and by some miracle it seemed that a trail of blood trailed off into the forest. I took off at once, leaving the burning village behind me and praying that I would be able to find her.
If she were dead too…
I took off down the pathway and into the forest. I was almost certain that Hanyuu had been this way.
I heard that eerie roar once again. The sound seemed to get louder the further in I went – I assumed that whatever demon was making the sound was responsible for Ouka's death.
I eventually came to my destination – a clearing in the woods. A clearing that most certainly hadn't been there before. The trees that had once stood here were completely uprooted and cast to the side.
In the center were two demons fighting to the death, the one, carrying the Onigari no Ryuou, was without a doubt Hanyuu. But the other was a demon that I most certainly had never seen before. But considering how the Onigari no Ryuou had been unsheathed for the first time in years, this demon was without a doubt more powerful than I could imagine.
The two of them battle in such a way and at such a speed that I can barely even keep up with their movements. The fight happens several feet in the air – the two were likely using the trees to gain their height, although there was never any visible sigh of it. Being married to a demon, one would think this sort of situation would be a bit less overwhelming for me. But I was only human, after all. I had no choice here but to stand and watch.
I hear steel – or in this case gold – clash with flesh, but not a single drop of blood falls onto the ground below them. But as the fight races onward the two combatants become much easier to see as their pace slows up and exhaustion begins to weigh on them both.
Eventually Hanyuu falls to the ground below. I rush to her side almost instantly. Her face is covered with gashes of all sizes and her white robe is stained red. It seemed she had been taking damage after all. Such was the nature of battles between inhuman creatures.
"Are you alright?" I ask her almost immediately.
"…Ouka?" She asks. It seemed that she wasn't aware.
"She's gone…There wasn't anything I could do."
She shakes her head, a single tear streaking down the side of her face. But then she attempts to sit up, only to find a sharp pain strain her left side. She drops the Onigari no Ryuou, losing the remainder of her strength.
"Don't even try it. I'll take things from here."
"Riku – don't. You can't do anything about him…" She gasps from the pain as she tugs lightly on my sleeve.
"What makes you say that?"
"No one can…He's not something any human can kill."
"But you didn't seem to fare much better."
"…I couldn't do it…I can't explain right now, but you have to understand."
In that moment I hear the roar once again, and the beast that had been fighting Hanyuu until mere moments ago dropped from the trees and stood before me.
The beast's head was nothing more than a skull – the remnants of a deer's head, antlers and all. Its eyes, despite the blood red glow they gave off, were apparently completely hollow. But despite that I couldn't see all the way through them because of the black flames that seemed to have been condensed into a sphere inside the skull. Its left arm was that of a normal human, but I couldn't see the skin due to the black leather that was wrapped around it. From the neck to the toe, the beast was covered in a tattered black robe that was bound to it with bloodied chains that seemed to weigh it down considerably. The right arm, however, was free of the binds as it was more of an animal's arm, with red fur and incredibly sharp looking claws that seemed to be almost twice the size of the other arm.
This was a monster – quite a twisted looking one at that.
"Don't… You can't."
"Sorry, Hanyuu… I'm not going to let this monster get away with what it's done."
Hanyuu offered no further protest. Clearly she knew that there was no swaying me. Not when Ouka's murderer was standing only four feet away and I had a sword in my hands.
In that moment I lunged towards it, the feral beast's arm wildly flailing its way toward me. I raised Kusanagi, preparing for potentially the worst case scenario…
The Abandoned Room (June 1st, 2036)
Kill the beast.
You have to kill the beast.
You are the only one who can kill the beast.
Kill it. Or there is no hope.
Kill it. Or you have no future.
My eyes open as I woke from an incredibly deep sleep or some vegetative state. In a matter of seconds, I realize I was no longer where I was before. Was it all really a dream? Did it only just feel so very real or was it some sort of reality? I find myself suddenly asking myself questions.
What am I? Who am I? Where am I?
But I did not know what I was. I simply was. There was no other explanation I could give. I was a creature with a particular anatomy that could think with the same language and thought process that Riku Furude could. But that was all I knew.
I could only devise a response to the second query. I am not Riku Furude. I might have been for a matter of moments, but now I am not… Instead, I'm something else entirely. The existence I was experiencing right this very moment must have been reality.
But more importantly was the second fact that came with that realization – I had no idea where I was. I had no idea how long I had been there. Nor did I know why I was in such a strange place.
My eyes were clouded. I couldn't see much of anything but the strange blue haze that filled the space around me. As my eyes started to focus I could see light glistening from somewhere up above, as if I was staring up at the sun from under the water.
It turned out that was more or less the case. In a few moments, I try to move. I feel the inhibiting effect of the water I was apparently submerged in on my limbs. I am finally able to register that on top of being underwater, I am also floating. My feet don't touch any sort of surface beneath me – it seemed this underwater space had a top, but not a bottom. I am floating in what appears to be some sort of space condensed with water that clearly wasn't normal water considering how I could breathe in it without any issue. There is no indication of where I am. I am simply floating. Floating in what felt like a confined space without any walls or doors.
As my senses return to me, most of the feeling in my arms and legs return as well. But on top of that, I could also feel the cold chill and a draft of air, causing me to wrap my arms around my body to preserve warmth out of reflex. There isn't any real effect – I am simply overwhelmed by the cold. It is so very cold I almost found it hard to believe that I had fallen asleep in such a condition.
Here it was so dark and cold. There was a source of light just up above, but no matter what I tried to do I simply couldn't reach it. The light granted warmth. I needed warmth to survive. I had to reach the light. But I could not. I was trapped in the darkness beneath it – but close enough that I kept thinking that I could somehow get to it. And so I kept trying to reach that glistening light from above, but the more I tried the less progress I made.
But as time passed my vision became more and more clear, to the point where the light from above grew brighter and brighter with each passing second. Every time the light grew, my desire for it grew just as much. It was maddening – it was some sort of cruel trick. Something I wanted that was just barely out of reach that I couldn't get to no matter how hard I tried – for some reason the feeling that governed my thinking felt all too familiar.
Thinking. Emotion. Reaction to stimuli, reception of information. These were signs of humanity. I was therefore human. I was like Riku Furude. That was why the vision felt so real – because we are both human. We both process things on a neurological level nearly identically. It was more than pure instinct. It was intellect, something that humans possessed.
At some point I stop acting on the desire to reach the light and my brain slowly starts to process things. I become more self aware, now no longer drawn to the light by itself. I notice that I've constantly been trying to ascend or descend with no avail. I did not, however, consider moving forward or backward.
I attempt to move forward, floating a certain degree forward. But the scenery around me didn't seem to change much at all. I then look upward, staring at the light. I begin to kick forward, instantly noticing that the position of the light did not change in the slightest.
I had managed to reason it out. I was trapped in a suspended place. I was simply flailing around in whatever direction I chose without actually moving. I was essentially unmovable, rooted into a small space that was unrelenting to my attempts to escape from it. And no matter how hard I tried to, I would never be able to escape from that confined space.
I could feel walls closing in on me. I was in a prison. A prison filled to the brim with water and trapped against my will. And as time passed on the cold and darkness seemed to grow. The light was growing dim, and I feared that it would disappear altogether. Even if I could never reach it, without that light there would no sense of warmth. I could very well freeze to death. I reach out towards it, essentially pleading the light to stay where it was.
Fear. A human emotion. I was human. So it was one of many feelings. I can recall fear above anything else. Fear of danger. Fear of loss. Fear of disaster. Fear of death. I truly remembered how to fear. And so I was human again.
I was trapped. And I wanted to escape. I was human, and as a human I feared being trapped. I was human, so I wanted to be free. So by my very nature I called out for help.
My voice was incredibly hoarse. It likely had to do with the fact that I was underwater, but even so it felt oh so very weak. There was so little strength in it so I decided that no one would ever answer the call. And so, in that condensed space, I brought my legs to my chest and wrapped my arms around them. I floated in circles in that very position, allowing the cold and the darkness to overtake me. At some point the light I had at one point wanted more than anything else vanished entirely.
I no longer cared. There was nothing but futility in my actions. I understood that there wasn't any way to escape. Perhaps I could fall asleep the way I am now and possibly never wake up. I had to face reality. I was trapped in this prison with no means of escape. And there was no one there to help me. Nor would there ever be.
It was cold and dark. It was cold and dark, but perhaps more prominently it was lonely. The more I remembered what it was like outside of this prison, the more I remembered what it was like to be human, and so the more and more I wanted to escape. But it was futile. There was no sense to any of it. The more I desired the things I could never have the more I wanted them and the more I wanted them the more my conflicting thoughts seemed to clash. And the more my conflicting thoughts seemed to clash the more pain I was subjected to.
That was what being a human came down to - deep seated fear, pain, and suffering.
Being human…It hurts too much. I don't want to be human anymore…
Don't you understand?
You can change your name and face.
You can forget what living is altogether.
But you are human. You are a creature of wants and needs.
If you are empty, your humanity demands that you be filled.
You cannot change what you are.
So kill the beast. You have to kill the beast.
It is the only way.
The more my heart ached for a world outside of this prison the more I regretted my curiosity. My curiosity to what I was and to the world around me. My human desires to understand and be free had awakened my human instinct – and I hated it. If it meant I could abandon these terrible feelings I would stop being human in a heartbeat.
And then my eyes grew wide. I could remember. This was not the first time I had awoken like this.
I had erased my identity. I had suppressed everything that made me a person, likely so I could survive. I had erased who I was and why I was. But I could not erase what I was. I had awoken and regained my humanity hundreds of times. And every time I chose to throw it away again. And so I would continue that process another hundred times, and so on and so forth. That was perhaps the only way to survive in this prison – to forget until your very nature made you remember. It was a torturous existence. But it would only last until I made myself forget again. And so on and so forth, until I reached some sort of an end point.
Was being human such a wonderful thing? I doubted it severely. I have erased my humanity countless times, and no matter how often I do so, when it returns I feel nothing but dread and heartache. There isn't any merit to being human.
Riku Furude, for example. I felt his sadness for the death of his daughter. I felt the wave of relief that washed over him when he realized that Hainiryun was alive. I felt his anger towards the beast that claimed his daughter's life and torched his village. Being human brought about more anger and hate than joy or bliss. Therefore, forgetting about those things entirely and living in ignorance must be the better choice.
But you cannot change what you are.
You are human. There is no changing that.
You are human. You will live as a human and die as a human.
The more you suppress it the more violent it becomes.
The more you are subjected to sadness and despair the more deadly it will be when it is unleashed.
Your humanity is a dangerous thing.
But you were born with it.
You will live with it.
You will live with the determination to maintain it.
You will live to tame it.
You will live to kill the beast.
Or you will die a beast yourself.
But I could feel it. The more I rejected what I was the more intense these feelings became. I had no choice. I had to accept the agony. I had to – otherwise, it would just become worse and worse until it came to the point where I would doubtlessly lose myself to the darkness, ever present in that bottomless void beneath me, forever.
I didn't want to be human… The memories of that which accumulated my past… I could recall it all. Every face, every name – and with them, the pain of losing them all. That pain in of itself was more fearsome than death could ever be. Living in agony, or dying in peace - one was clearly more rational than the other. And the more I thought about it the more I wanted to throw everything away once again. I didn't want to feel this way.
But if I didn't, and if I did give everything up once again… Would my life as a human have amounted to anything?
I might have been human. I might have been in pain. But if I could brave the pain, I could manage. I could go on, living as a human would. Riku Furude is a sort of inspiration – married to a demon, but determined to treat her as a human. Determined to take his humanity and protect others with it. He might have had more capacity for such a thing than I ever could. But it had been long enough. Perhaps things could be different. Perhaps with my slowly renewing strength I could possibly stand a chance.
But the more I remembered, the more I understood just what was lying in wait outside this prison. No matter how much darkness there was in humanity, there was still goodness. My friends were evidence of that.
Perhaps I owe humanity one last chance. Perhaps I have to put everything on the line for those I care about one last time.
And so I would. I would fight for a brighter future in one last stand.
I opened my eyes and uncurled from that fetal position. I could see clearly now – I was indeed trapped in a prison – I was incased in a cylinder glass prison, filled to the brim with water. The glass container had a clear bottom. I slowly descended, my feet touching the cold glass bottom. The floor beneath me was white and tiled in squares. I peered outward through the transparent glass – I couldn't see very far ahead, but at least I could see my reflection. This was the final confirmation that I was indeed human.
Everything seemed to check out. I was a human woman, over five feet tall. I could recall bits and pieces of what I was and compared them to what I was supposed to be. I was definitely much taller than I recalled.
My human memory was intact. As I had accepted my humanity, I knew what shape my humanity had taken.
I gazed at myself more intensely, pressing my hands against the glass. My eyes shifted to them for a moment – my hands were as white as snow without so much as a blemish on either of them, much like the rest of my skin. My eyes, with extremely light grey irises, were empty and dull, making it appear as if I had been deprived of sleep for a very long time. My hair, oddly enough, was a very light shade of cyan. It was particularly strange – if I recalled correctly, my eyes and hair were both a very prominent shade of violet.
Eventually I noticed I was wearing what seemed to be a very light blue skin tight jumpsuit that covered everything from my neck to my knees. The palms of my hands were gloved with similar fabric, while my fingers were not covered at all.
As I took in all of my personal details, the signs of movement suddenly flashed in the corner of my eye. I made a full turn, coming face to face with a person from beyond the glass.
Her hair was short and violet. Horns stuck out of her head. She wore what seemed to be a white robe of some sort –
I recognized her almost immediately.
"..H…Han…Hanyuu…?" My weak voice projected.
It was her. It was Hanyuu. My only remaining friend who had guided me through the darkness of human folly with hopes that we could somehow escape from its clutches. No matter what happened, she was always there at my side. And here she was, standing before me, breaking isolation's hold on me bit by bit.
As long as she was here – it would all be fine. As long as she stayed at my side – I would brave anything that was thrown at me. I could do anything as long as she was there.
With a pained expression, she placed her hand against the glass of the prison. I placed my hand against hers. It seemed that this was the closest we could manage for physical contact.
"Hanyuu…" I whispered her name once again. We remained that way for a long while, our eyes locked. On my end – questioning. Why am I here? Why are you there? What went wrong? And on her end – dejection. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.
As long as things stayed this way… I could be at peace. As long as Hanyuu was still there, I could manage. I could surmount any obstacle. Even if there was no way to escape from this prison, as long as she was there, by my side…
But eventually Hanyuu retracted her hand and took a step backward.
Where was she going?
She took another step.
She wasn't going to leave, was she?
No, she couldn't. She wouldn't.
But eventually she disappeared from view altogether, into the darkness beyond the glass that I couldn't see through. My hand remained plastered to the glass. I was too stunned to move it.
She was gone.
But that wasn't right.
Why did you leave?
Didn't I say I'd give them another chance?
Didn't I say I'd risk everything again?
Then why? Why did you leave?
Don't leave me here. Not like this…
Don't leave me…Alone…Not again…
My gaze grew hazy once more. This time I was perfectly aware of why my gaze was clouded.
Tears welled up in my eyes. My vision was clouded by tears before, and so they are now.
Intense Sadness. I was human. So therefore I could experience it. Therefore I would experience it. I didn't want to. But I was human. So I had to.
I shut my eyes and curled back into that fetal position. I was prepared. I was willing. I was going to accept what I was. But the moment I had believed that it would all amount to something, that chance slipped away.
Being human still hurt. No matter how hard I was going to try to combat the pain, it would simply strike back tenfold. But I had to keep going. I couldn't stop just yet. I had to fight back only one last time. For the goodness in my friends' hearts, I had to press on.
I knew I couldn't abandon my humanity. No matter what pain it brought me, I had already made my decision. I would press on, but for the moment I was still trapped and alone. There was no sense in dwelling on my situation any longer. And so I chose to sleep on it. That was the only way I could escape from all of it, even for just a short time. I could only hope that when I awaken there will be some way to escape from this place.
But deep down I had to acknowledge that such a miracle probably wouldn't occur.
My consciousness began to fade, my fatigue overtaking me.
There is only one way.
There is only one way to forget the pain.
You must kill the beast.
Kill the beast, save yourself.
Kill the beast, save your friends.
Kill the beast, redeem the world.
Kill the beast.
You have to kill the beast.
Before the beast kills you.