A Rough Awakening


Her head hurts and feels light, she's laying face flat against a sandy ground, and it's really cold... Where is she even? Who is she even?

With those questions that can only be answered by looking the hell up, she mustered all the strength she could in her battered body and got up. To say it was difficult would be one hell of an understatement, given she was... Where was she even?

The haziness of everything didn't help in the slightest, added to the thick fog surrounding her, which was the first thing she saw upon opening her eyes, which demanded to remain closed shut to pass out for even longer, but this wasn't the time for such stunts, especially given the eerie, heavy, and oppressive atmosphere surrounding her, the total silence not helping her nerves in the slightest. She paced around for a bit, finding for one: A shoreline, which means she is on a coastal location. And two: A boat wreck. It seemed familiar, so she started to scavenge a little around it.

The boat was obviously attacked by something, given the ship's shell was torn in half, with one half being investigated by her, and the other nowhere to be seen, probably on the bottom of the nearby water body. Further investigation of the shipwreck would turn an important item up: A purse. This purse contained a checkbook holder, a smartphone, and a common flashlight which surprisingly worked upon closer inspection. Sad that she couldn't say the same about the phone, which was pretty much dead by drowning.

Inspecting the checkbook holder would answer a pretty big question: Who was she. Her name is Kofuku Kasei, born July 6th, 1987 in Annis, Stanier. She immediately recalls that Stanier is a nation in the Mediterranean, but her name is definitely Japanese, probably she'll recall the little details later. Also along her ID card and driver's license, is an employee ID which shows that she works in... A Presidential Palace? Secretary to the Vice-Presidency? Is she someone important? Wow, the things she forgets.

For some reason, in the ship's controls, there was a mirror. Curiosity gets the best of her and proceeds to look at herself in it. Nothing unexpected, her features match the ones of the person in the ID. Short black hair, abnormally small nose, big eyes with silver irises which look Asian, pretty much on the slender side of things. No doubt, she is Kofuku Kasei. She's also dressed with a cropped denim jacket and an off-shoulder top underneath. Ill suited given the weather, but there is something off about the fog either way.

Given the shipwreck had already outlived its usefulness to Kofuku, she proceeded to venture into the fog. From the little distance she could see up ahead, she spotted a dirt road surrounded by trees, pine trees to be specific. Without hesitation, she followed the road, only to end up in what seemed to be a main street. On the other side of it, however, she could faintly spot a roadside sign. Kofuku warily crossed the wide street to get and see it. The old, weathered, wooden sign read:


Colline Silenziose - 1 KM Avanti

Belvedere Di Lavarca - Strada Sterrata a Sinistra


The text was in Italian, but she could comprehend it. The place she washed ashore at was the Di Lavarca Lookout, and one kilometer up ahead lays a town called Colline Silenziose. Good, she could call for help upon arrival, which meant that the only thing she could do was follow the road ahead of her. Maybe someone would pass by and she would be able to catch a lift, but that was wishful thinking, the road looked barren and from the looks of it, tires haven't touched the asphalt in months. She was starting to worry, but the only thing she could do was suck up her fears and start walking towards the town one kilometer away.


As she walked, she took her time to check her checkbook holder. Besides her ID card, Driver's License, and three debit cards, this checkbook holder was barren, hell, it didn't even have checkbooks. Not even a single coin was in the thing either, so using payphones was out of the question as well. She had no other choice other than to keep going. Fortunately though, even through the thick fog, she was able to make out something in the distance: A gas station. Kofuku could only hope it was a convenience store as well so she could borrow their landline phone and try to call for help, or use those debit cards on her checkbook holder to stock up in supplies before heading into the town. But her hopes could only be confirmed or shattered by running towards it, which she did upon barely making out the 'Benzina' sign from the fog.

Upon reaching the filling station, most of her hopes were shattered, given the place was abandoned and the lights were out. Thankfully, it seemed to have been abandoned in a hurry since the entrance was still wide open and to Kofuku's relief, it was indeed a convenience store as well. She entered the store with extra carefulness, given she wasn't really sure whether this place was really abandoned, or just made to look like it so wanderers like her could be caught off-guard. Of course, the first thing she could do in a situation like this would be...

"Umm... Hello? Kon'nichiwa? Anyone working today?"

Calling out for anyone loudly, absolutely! She stood on the doorframe for a few seconds, waiting for anyone to either jump or greet her. But nothing happened, so she entered inside the abandoned store, and as she did, she recalled something important: She hadn't recalled how her voice sounded like until she spoke to holler at anyone. Her voice was high-pitched but not repulsing, inviting, and a little melodious as well. She might try to sing a little on her way to Silenziose. But first, try calling for help.

The power might have been out, but that didn't necessarily mean the landlines were out, especially with the old handsets in use at the store. She picked the earpiece up, placed it against her ear, then...

SHHHHHPSHHHHPSHHHHH

Well, landlines are indeed out. There is static on the line, which means the signal is being interfered with. Besides the landline phone was a portable battery radio, which she turned on out of curiosity. At the beginning it was just static, but as she started to move the dial, Kofuku started to make out... Words?

"Ba-" SHHHHHPSHHHHPSHHHHH

Turn it to the right.

"Wel-" SHHHHHPSHHHHPSHHHHH

Left again.

"Hel-" SHHHHHPSHHHHPSHHHHH

Oh, for the grace of Saint Lima... Wait, who is that? Argh, forget it. All the way to the right.

"Welcome back to your silent hell. We've been waiting for yo-" SHHHHHPSHHHHPSHHHHH

Kofuku just stumbled back in utter and complete fear, leaving the radio to blare static on its own as she questioned everything. "Silent hell? My silent hell? What in the world?"

In the distance, she heard high-pitched screaming, which was nothing but the signal to get the hell out of the store. She looked around in panic for a second, managing to spot an old denim backpack hanging from the wall, presumably on sale when the place closed down. She grabbed it without hesitation and then ran to the powered off cooler displays, where, for some reason, she felt compelled to grab every caffeinated energy drinks and herbal infusions she could fit on the bag before it became unbearably heavy, and then she ran to the main entrance of the store, she saw a first aid kit on the wall and snatched it too, she might never know when it will become handy. As she crossed the doorsill, she heard the back entrance being slammed open. Which obliged Kofuku to make a run for it. Back to the road and head for Silenziose.

She ran, and ran, and ran. Like a bat out of hell, so fast Usain Bolt would be concerned, so fast her memory wasn't able to fully keep up with her. But she noticed something as she ran. The sky was dark and the fog was gone. Just for how long was she in that store? Everything seemed so fast to her, maybe she arrived late in the evening? The sun was setting and wasn't able to be seen due to the fog? She just didn't know, but she faintly remembered taking out her flashlight to see the road ahead of her.

What is happening to me? I can't remember my name unless I look at an ID, and I'm supposed to be someone important, apparently! Alright, say it aloud, girl. What is your name?

"Kofuku, Kofuku Kasei... Ko-fu-ku... Kasei Kofuku... That is my name... That is my name!" She said as she ran in between all of her panting, which probably wasn't a good idea, since it sped up her tiredness

Kofuku's run was now reduced to a fast jog, which reduced her advantage and distance between her and whatever that was chasing her, speaking of which, curiosity was getting the best out of her, and since the screaming was close, she decided to take one peek behind, and what she saw would chill her to her very bones.

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH

What was chasing her wasn't a single entity, but a whole pack of them, but that didn't end there. These things were faintly humanoid, but their skin and features were rotten and bloated, they looked diseased even. With bones and joints peeking out of their skin in certain points, and no facial features whatsoever, her nerves and chills were justified, and her survival instincts kicked in, adrenaline pumped through her body, and her tiredness was suddenly gone. She ran quickly again, and just in case, she fished out an energy drink out of her new backpack, tore off the cap, and gulped it down as quickly as possible. The caffeine wouldn't kick in just now, but she hoped it would kick in just in time before these things got to her.

She faintly saw a sign on the roadside reading:


Colline Silenziose - 300 M Avanti

Ritorno sul Ponte del Silenzio - ...


The words indicating where is the return road to the bridge seem to be scribbled out, but it doesn't matter. I've got three hundred meters left until I get to the town? What? It's all gone so fast! She thought, but as she did, the adrenaline began to wear off, replaced by utter pain in her legs. She wasn't tired though, the caffeine doing her favors. But the pain was enough to slow her down significantly, the creatures quickly catching up

Right now, what was one a ten-second advantage had turned into a four-second one, and was diminishing quickly. She had to think of something, and fast. She started rummaging through the backpack, hoping something would help her. She then remembered that she still had the energy drink bottle on her hands, and thought of attempting something ASAP.

I need to slow them down, but how...? Wait a second... This bottle is very heavy... Wait, I've got an idea!

She stopped for a second and charged up all the strength she could muster on right arm, which was holding the bottle, and threw it to the horde of monsters. Though she hit one of them in the face, the other monsters were still in hot pursuit, and the one hit by the bottle was just stunned for a second. Great, more wasted time. Well, at least she tried!

She kept looking for things inside of her bag. Miraculously finding a handgun in her bag would be wishful thinking, and it goes without mentioning that she has currently no idea how to shoot. Her aim might be good, as proven by the bottle throw, but she can't risk wasting any time figuring out how a gun works. Throwing more bottles would be useless, and she'd be quick out of supplies. She kept rumagging and then... Wait, what was that? A stick?

She quickly took the weird stick out of the bag to analyze it as she ran. It had some quick instructions in Italian on the center.

What is this...? Take cap off left end? Well, here goes nothing...

Kofuku did what the instructions indicated, and suddenly a fireball formed from the end of the stick where she took the cap off. An emergency flare? What is she supposed to do with-

BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

She stopped for a second and turned around to the monsters chasing her. She first pointed the flare at them, and they were cowering in fear, then she pointed it away and they started to slowly approach her. That could only mean one thing...

"Huh, looks like you guys don't like the heat and light from the flare... Alright, this buys me some time!"

She then resumed her running while at the same time pointing the flare at the creatures. They kept up, but they were now at a distance enough to give Kofuku a ten-second advantage once again. She kept glancing forwards every now and then, pointing the flashlight forwards. But suddenly, there was a point where the flashlight stopped showing any more road when lighting up, she didn't want to be pessimistic, but that didn't look like good news...

She slowed down her pace, and stood just before where no more road could be seen. She lit up the darkness with the flashlight, discovering...

No more road?! A giant hole?! WHAT?!

The gap was massive, there was no way Kofuku would make the jump. After the gap, she faintly spotted a sign that read:


Benvenuti a

Colline Silenziose

Cittadina Simbolo del Coraggio Stanierese!


"You have to be joking! The road ends just before the town?! Give me a break!" She screamed in frustration but then she felt something hot burn her left hand "OW OW OW OW! HOT!"

She shook her left hand on the abyss, taking the burning feeling away. As she was suckering on the inner part of her index finger as a way to subside the burns, she just realized something...

Wait, what was I holding in that hand... THE FLARE!

She crouched and looked down at the abyss, faintly seeing the flare tumbling down to the bottom. She lit up her behind with the flashlight, the creatures were still there, steadily approaching her. She stood there in fear, her mind going on overdrive.

The light of the flashlight doesn't scare them, oh Saint Lima, do help me... WHO IS SAINT LIMA EVEN?! WHY DO I KEEP NAMING IT?!

As her mind went on a tangent, the creatures stopped at an arms leg from Kofuku, apparently neutral for a second. She realized this, and nervously opened her mouth.

"Uhh, ahhh... You guys are... Not attacking me?"

As soon as she finished her sentence, the one standing right in front of her jumped at Kofuku, latching at her from her shoulders.

MY CURSED MOUTH AND I!

The thing was too close, it smelled of death and alcohol, its bloated and diseased features weren't helping Kofuku's panic to subside, matter of fact, it was increasing it. She released a scared scream as she tried to push it off her persona.

"GET OFF ME! GET OFF ME! I SAID GET OFF ME!"

However, to make matters worse. Another one latched on her from her left side.

"NO! NO MORE! GET OFF!"

One more from the right. She did a spin in the hopes the motion would shake them off. But in fact, it made matters worse. One latched on her back, she was surrounded.

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH"

Her body heat was somehow going down, the world was growing faint and distant. She began to lose her balance... And fell into the abyss. The last thing she saw was the creatures finally letting her near-unconscious body go. And the last thing she felt was the wind as she fell, and fell, and fell...