Disclaimer: I do not own The Promised Neverland. It belongs to Kaiu Shirai and Posuka Demizu.

Act 1

A stab in the dark.

While nestled in the safe confines of my warm bed.

Inside of my own home - which was supposed to be completely safe.

At the time, my dad, who was in law enforcement, was sleeping just downstairs on the sofa, after watching TV late. And the five-year-old twins were innocently dreaming just down the hall. Mom wasn't home that night because she was out of town doing training for work, thank god.

It hit me like a bolt being driven in, and I was immediately awake, sputtering in surprise. The pain quickly spread through my chest, and something hot, and bitter bubbled up through my throat and to my lips.

I coughed, and it splattered out through my lips.

I wheezed, looking around in a haze of pain in confusion.

He stood over me, breathing harshly, his frame casting a shadow over me from the moonlight streaming through a gap in my curtains.

"That's what you get, you bitch...!" the voice hissed out a whisper, through their ragged breathing.

Ah. I recognized that face, shrouded in darkness.

"Mich...ael...?" I croaked out through the blood coating my lips.

It was starting to get cold, even with the warmth pooling around my chest. I gazed down and felt the chill more prominently, seeing the handle of a kitchen knife protruding from it.

Michael didn't even reply, and merely stalked out the bedroom. As he did, I stretched out my arm weakly, unable to do much more. Tears were quickly forming in the corners of my eyes.

His feet caused the stairs to creak as he went downstairs and left through what sounded like the front door.

"Don't...go..." I whispered, and blinked, my vision clouding; "D...addy... M-Mom...! I don't want..." I bit back my words, unable to get them out.

God, someone, please... I had things I still wanted to do. I wanted to live!

I didn't want to die alone in a house with three other people in it.

But that's what happened.

In the beginning, there was darkness.

After I faded from conscious in that cold, lonely bedroom, pleading with someone – anyone – to give me another chance, I spent a long time in what I thought was the place between life and death.

It felt oddly safe, and calming, even though I was all alone.

I don't know how long I spent there waiting for something, or what I was waiting for exactly.

...Until it happened.

Movement. I was being pushed somewhere.

And then there was light.

And there was a harsh, biting coldness. I couldn't help it, I screamed.

The next while went by in haze, as I was systematically checked over, wrapped in a pinkish coloured, soft blanket, and placed in a cot. And after lying there, wrapped in a cocoon of blanket and unable to move my body properly for a while, I had time to take in my situation.

Could it be?

I'd prayed to god in what I thought my last moments for a second chance. Had I been given one?

My heart soared. Despite the existential horror of being reduced to a baby once more, I was both happy...and sad.

I wondered about what my daddy would think when he woke the next morning and found my body. What he would have to tell the twins when they woke up and wondered why their big sister was wasn't awake yet. How would my Mom react?

Michael...why did he do it? I thought we parted on good terms. The colleges we picked were on opposite sides of the US. Our lives were going in separate directions. So it only made sense to break up, right? I thought he said it was fine.

Tears bubbled in the edges of my eyes again and I wailed, setting off a chain reaction amongst the many other babies surrounding me.

As a matron rushed over to soothe me, and others came to soothe the others who'd begun crying as if in empathy, and through my tears, I wondered about another thing.

I thought it was strange, that I'd been left in a huge room with what seemed like hundreds of newborns for what felt like forever. Where were my mother and father of this new life, and why hadn't I been taken home yet?

Was I sick and being observed? But I didn't feel sick.

That was, until I looked over the matron's shoulder and through the glass window on the walls that showed the hallway outside. And I saw it.

I saw a monster.

It was a monster making conversation with a human.

What on earth was this place...!?

This was impossible.

'How could this have even happened in the first place?' I wondered frantically, a few days after seeing it. I was being carried somewhere by a matron after having been taken from my crib one morning.

I knew where I was. And I had a feeling I knew where the matron was taking me, at least vaguely. Who knew if they'd take me to that house, but I could only hope. At least then there'd be some familiar faces.

Back in my previous life, which didn't really feel like all that long ago, I was Lucy Garland, an ordinary teenage All-American Girl, on the verge of graduating high school and heading off to college. But I was also quite a big fan of a type of comic book from Japan called 'manga'.

And in my most recent favourite, there were monsters that looked just like the one I saw the other day. And if I was right, then that only meant one thing.

As I was laid down on a table and had my head turned to the side, I felt the numbers being printed on my neck, tattooed to my young skin, my theories were being solidified and made concrete.

As something was sewn inside my ear with surgical precision, I wondered if it really was God that answered my prayers, or something else entirely.

This was The Promised Neverland, a story in a manga about children being raised like cattle on human farms for the consumption of those monsters, the Demons.

I didn't want this.

I said that I wanted to live. How am I supposed to do that if this entire world is conspiring for me to become something's dinner before I turn 12?!

This is so unfair!

"Is Number 48194 ready to go?" a deep, cruelly clinical sounding voice asked the matron tending to me.

The matron nodded, "Yes, sir. She is ready for placement," she replied to the monster overseeing the process with a clipboard in its long, spindled fingers.

"Very good. Proceed with the handover immediately, then. The Mama is waiting for 48194 to be delivered." The Demon said, and with that, I was taken away to my fate.

It was only a half hour or so before I got my first bit of good news since I'd been reborn here. The Mama waiting for me at the gates was the first truly familiar face I had seen.

It was Isabella.

"What is the child's name?" Isabella calmly asked, taking me into her arms gently, and giving me a gentle smile that betrayed her intentions, before looking back to the matron who'd brought me here.

"Her number is 48194. The name 'Anna' was decided upon. Raise this one with as much care as you have the others, as I know you will." The matron said, with utmost confidence in Isabella's abilities.

"Yes, ma'am," Isabella replied, bobbing down in a light curtsy, before turning and heading on her way, bringing me there.

Grace Field House - Plantation Number 3.

It was only when she was introducing me to the children I was to be raised with... that I spotted a familiar mop of curly red hair, and then the noticeable snow-white of another child...

It was only then, that I realised what the matron had called me.

Anna. Number 48194.

Am I that Anna?

Isabella twitched, only mildly startled, but maintaining her safe hold of me, as I broke into a loud wailing once again, unable to control my emotions.

"Waaah, she's crying, she's crying!" one child cried.

"Is she hurt, Mama?" another child cried as well.

"Now, now, it's alright, every one. Children as small as Anna cry all the time, see? You were all the same, once upon a time. She'll soon tire herself out and fall asleep. I'll take care of her, so don't worry, okay?" Isabella soothed the concerned children.

"Okay, Mama!" the children replied, having faith in their Mama.

"Get better soon, okay Anna?" another child called out to me. And with that I was whisked away yet again.

But I was here. At Grace Field House. As Anna. And Emma, Norman and Ray were all here, too. It'd be okay.

Maybe that's what it was.

This time, I was crying because I was happy – because there was hope. And I wanted to be able to return that hope that they'd given me without even realising it.

And I'd do what I could to make it happen and be their hope!

...After I relearned all my basic motor functions, that is.

I was being a little bit petty.

I'll admit it.

Isabella was only doing her job. She was only doing what she felt she had to, to survive in such a messed up world as this one. And she did it better and for longer than most others did, too.

But it still didn't change the fact that she was doing what she was doing despite how horribly selfish it was.

To raise children so they could be the nicest cut of meat for the Demons possible just to save her own skin was a huge moral dilemma. Who was to say that her one life was worth all of those children's?

Well, it's the reality that she forced herself to accept.

I wouldn't. Emma wouldn't.

So maybe it was a little petty, but I was being as difficult as possible with Isabella, refusing to go to sleep on time and making feeding time a struggle, amongst other things.

It was starting to show a little, the slight eye-bags under Isabella's eyes as she fretted over why I wouldn't go to sleep like the other babies.

A door creaked open, catching Isabella's attention, and she looked over to the open door. A familiar redhead, in her nightclothes, peered in curiously.

"Mama...?" the nearly-four year old asked in a small voice.

"Oh, Emma. What are you doing up at this hour? It's time for bed." Isabella asked the little girl warmly, as she took a few steps into the room.

"Is the baby sad? Is that why she can't sleep?" little Emma asked Isabella.

"She's just being a little fussy, sweetheart. But don't worry. She'll fall asleep soon enough." Isabella replied, and Emma took a few steps closer, till she reached Isabella, looking as if she wanted to see me.

Isabella obliged the girl, kneeling down so Emma could get a better look at me.

And wow... Emma's eyes were brighter than I'd imagined. A gorgeous sea foam green that complimented her fiery locks nicely.

"Anna, it's okay. If you go to sleep, I'll play with you tomorrow all you want!" Emma told me softly, patting my short blond locks gently.

I could have melted right then and there. Little Emma was so sweet...!

"Nicely done, Emma. I think Anna will be able to go to sleep now that she knows she'll see you tomorrow," Isabella praised the redhead, and lowered me into the crib, tucking me in snugly and putting my stuffed animal at my side.

I gazed at Emma through the bars of my cot, as Isabella ushered her to her own bed in the girls' dormitory.

Isabella was right. Emma's promise of coming to see me tomorrow was more reassuring than she'd ever know.

I relaxed, slipping my eyelids shut and deciding.

The first step I would take would be to become close to Emma, and through her, to Norman and Ray as well.

Emma was like my comfort blanket. If I was with her, I knew everything would turn out all right, no matter what.

She took to the role like a duck to water.

After promising to play with me the next day if I stopped giving Isabella trouble, Emma seemed to have adopted the role of Chief Big Sister with great enthusiasm.

When light started filtering in through the windows and everyone was getting dressed and ready for breakfast, Emma immediately came to the babies' room; and after getting permission from Mama, she greeted me with a bright smile and a hushed voice.

"G'morning, Anna...!" she said to me in a hushed voice, trying not to startle the other babies by being too loud.

I did try to reply to her, but it came out as more of a gurgle than anything.

Emma had appreciated it nonetheless, giggling happily.

Unfortunately, a baby as young as myself couldn't really sit and eat with the older kids for breakfast; So Emma was ushered out by Isabella soon after to eat.

When Isabella came back later to feed me and the other babies, I didn't put up a fight this time. I wanted to be out of the room as soon as possible, so I could see Emma again. Maybe I could even meet Norman and Ray, too.

I may be a baby, but babies can be rather endearing when they want to be. I had to worm my way into their hearts early on.

That almost made it sound like a bad thing.

Well, it's the truth.

Later on, it was raining, so the kids were all playing indoors, in the House's playroom. As I was carried into the playroom I looked around curiously.

I spotted a dark-haired boy whose locks obscured half of his face, sitting in the corner reading a book almost the same size as his own body. Going by contextual cues that had to be Ray.

As for Norman, he was as easy to spot as he had been on the first day. His unique hair colour made him easy to pinpoint.

He, Emma and a few older kids were already digging through the toy chest for something to play with.

"Anna~!" Emma squealed upon noticing me in Isabella's arms, while Norman pulled out a box that looked like it was for a board game and examined at it curiously.

Emma, and a few other children ran over to hug Isabella by her long dress's fabric, as if asking her to crouch down so they could see me better.

Isabella obliged, showing me, the newest baby to them; I was bombarded by the sight of several adorable kids' smiling faces.

"Mama, what's this game?" asked Norman, showing her the board game.

"Ah, that's a Chess Board. It's a strategic game," Isabella told the boy. The idea of a strategy turned off most of the children, but not Norman.

"Chess?" Norman parroted, "Can you show me how to play?" he asked, blue eyes sparkling with curiosity.

"Eh? But the other toys look more fun, No'man, why d'you wanna play that one?" Emma turned away from looking at me to ask him.

"It sounds interesting," he replied, and looked at Isabella with hopeful eyes.

Isabella muffled a laugh, smiling, "Of course, I can show you how to play. Emma, do you mind holding Anna for me?" Isabella asked the redheaded girl.

"Okay!" Emma agreed, only too happy to look after her baby sister.

I was handed over to the little girl carefully, "Here, make sure to support her head and place her into your lap. That's it." Isabella instructed Emma with a gentle voice.

She adjusted her seating position, patting out her dress to look presentable, and faced Norman, "Okay, get out the board, and I'll show you how to set everything up," she told the white-haired boy.

"Yes!" Norman agreed, coming over to sit across from Isabella.

In Emma's arms, as Norman and Isabella worked on the chessboard, I lolled my head to the side to glance over at Ray in the corner.

He was all on his own.

I wondered when it was that he made Emma and Norman's duo into a trio.

He seemed lonely.

Onigiriri: Here it is, my brand new fanfiction! I've always wanted to try a SI OC type fanfic, and this is me testing the waters. I have a Naruto one on the backburner. I hope that if you like The Promised Neverland, or my previous work Ball of Sunshine, you'll support this fanfic and send me feedback!

Thanks for reading! And Happy Halloween! x

~October 31st, 2019.