Hey everyone! I'm here with a new fic. So this fic is going to be Cole-centric and angsty and maybe a bit of violence. I set the rating to T, just because I don't know which direction this will go in terms of gore and stuff. Anyways, it's right below:

The chains rattled and seethed, swerving in every direction, snapping back through every turn. Cole was gasping and panting, shifting his head occasionally to escape the writhing snakes. His feet made zero sound compared to the screeching of thick binds on the floor. Like a dagger scraping the wall or nails on a chalkboard. He yelped as a chain wrapped itself on his ankle with a daunting expression shrouding on his face. After some relentless tugging, he managed to break free. The metal was cold and lifelike, almost like the oni invasion when thick, black tendrils twined around his leg. Not like the occasional hypothermic fissures, Zane sent through their bodies accidentally. It was bone-chilling. The fear of his cartilage splitting and disintegrating to dust if the chain gripped on too long capered in his head. Except this metal wasn't dull, it was almost… alive.

He wasn't stupid. Despite his white mind, he could comprehend things around him.

It was the mist.

It was the mist that was spewing out of the walls from- well he didn't know that. Out of the walls he couldn't see through because of the fogginess of the dust. The mist was giving the shackles life- a horrible, miserable life- but a life nonetheless. Sometimes when he glanced behind him, he could perceive the fog bleeding through the chasms of the chains.

His eyes gazed around. He was in an interminable foyer, stretching in width with every step. The walls were camouflaged in the mist so black, it was purple. But he presumed they were made of silvery stone. The chains also seemed like they were budding from the back wall (if there was one), along with the mist sheltering it. How did he get here again?

Cole concentrated vigorously, closed his eyes, stared at the empty slate in the world of his head, all while maintaining a persistent pace.

Voices. Yes, there were voices. Adenoidal, grating voices wafting in the air, disembodied. Kind of like the dry ice Zane used to preserve the steak. How ice could be dry was beyond him but he learned to never query the nindroid unless you want an aimless verbal lecture.

Smoke. The smoke that had suffused the air, wreathing in his throat until it arrived at the point of compressing his eyes shut and choking at the debris gnarled in his lungs. Housing his corneas amidst his sooted palm, only to realize he was allowing gravel to wash in more than letting it leave.

One by one, words came tumbling back in. The bits that came tumbling in had started creating a larger picture- one that made much more sense to his dazed, amnesiac state. Cole could almost envision scenery. He drew his eyebrows closer and forced his eyes tighter, failing to block a white light prodding at his eye sockets.

A setting was slowly fading into his thoughts. He could notice some aspects of the area such as the houses aligned then looped to make the shape of a U and the instinct chattering of villagers.

What he didn't notice was his jog getting stagnant. He didn't notice the mist getting closer. He didn't notice the chains shooting swifter. He didn't notice a garish light down the end of the corridor. He didn't notice that the supposed "boundless" hallway had an abrupt stop.

It was when Cole grunted as he felt a blind clasp on his body that he realized there could've been an end at the other side of that light. He was two feet -two measly feet- away from the exit. Maybe he could've gotten answers. He screamed as he was tugged into the abyss.

Cole shot up in his bed, drenched in sweat and anxiety dipped with a strong sense of deja vu. He crashed into the bunk above him, creaking on its four legs. The sweat was dribbling down his forehead and trickling down his neck. He massaged his forehead and thought, 'Man, the same dream four nights in a row.'

Sometimes, when he received enjoyable dreams, he would shove his head under the pillow and coerce himself to fall asleep, to finish his thought. It seemed to be a normal thing, normal people did. But there was no way he was going to sleep after that phantasm. He groaned and sprouted up, still groggy and irritated.

The room was innocent: three bunk beds lined up against the right side of the wall, wrapped in sheets and blankets of their choices. It was of course their typical colors, despite the fact Cole admired orange more than black. Jay would still pester him saying, then why are you the black ninja? Well, the answer was simple: his mother's favorite color was black. He hadn't seen her wearing any other color voluntarily except of course that cheap, white hospital gown. One of the first things he despised about the hospital. He decided to honor her but he still wouldn't tell Jay because he would start asking fifty questions about that too.

A long table on the other side with papers scattered everywhere and one single study lamp hovering over them stood there. All their furniture was a tan brown color; not because they liked it, it was because they were mingy. The job of a ninja is not a lucrative one. They usually crammed clothes under their beds because they didn't have a closet.

There was a bookshelf sitting next to the table but probably not the vast, opulent, ceiling-high rack you're probably thinking of, wadded with a melange of ancient books and classic tales. No, their bookshelf was shorter than their wastes and so skinny, that it was impossible to intercalate in any book facing the right way. It was wood with paint chipping off, especially on the side where it seemed like someone took a scalpel and started shaving it.

There was a creased rug in the middle; oval-shaped with a yellow ring around the center. Last, there was a billboard hanging on the wall with photographs dispersed all over. It was possibly the most imperative thing in that room- the thing that made the place feel like home. The pictures never proved to show anything important that happened; didn't stand for achievement or victory. It was like recalling a fruitless time; didn't have any significance or value. But you somehow remember the time your mom was feeding you on the side of that highway more than that time she got diagnosed with an incurable disease. That's what those pictures were. You never know if that picture at the hospital of your mom would be her last before she squeezed your hand and told you to, "hold on."

Cole mournfully smiled at the thought. His mom would've known what to say about his nightmare. When he was little, she demonstrated a way to handle a nightmare with a pen, paper, and a cup of hot chocolate. She would tell him to rewrite the dream into something happy. After he turned nine, he decided he was "too old" for this and told his mom he wasn't a kid anymore. But now, he would do anything to rewrite a story with his mother again.

His recent insomnia had been bothering him to the point where he couldn't even fixate during the times he was awake. He would go to the courtyard and train but come out with a dislocated shoulder from sparring with Kai. And he would be so tired, he would flop onto the bed and dwindle asleep in his ninja uniform only to wake up to Zane baking fish at 6:30 PM. Then he would spar with Lloyd chaperoned by Wu's counseling.

He would be sipping green tea and yelling- "Elbows higher." "Fix your shoulders." "Left leg in front."- and then Cole would turn and ask, "What?" and then Lloyd would knock him off his feet and he would fall with an, "Aagh!" on the ground.

Cole sighed with exasperation. He didn't want to do this. Maybe he could pretend to be sick? No, Zane would notice. He groaned in displeasure. 'Okay, Let's get started with training…'

Cole trudged to the bathroom, his arms pretzeled together. He seized the toothbrush from its laying spot and crammed his 'Freshness in a bottle' toothpaste between the bristles, still dazed and half asleep. A valid slogan for blue, squelchy mucilage. He swished the brush-up and down in his mouth. In the midst of his mind, he could hear harmonizing chattering, probably coming from the next room. Or he was daydreaming. Ugh. He couldn't even think of the word "dreaming" without envisioning the bleak snapshots of his nightmare. The pain. The suffering. The dust. Cole shuddered at the thought. He concluded brushing his teeth and levied his ninja gi on. The same one he forgot to wash for the past two days.


'It'll do,' he anticipated, yanking on the fabric curled around his ankles. He ruffled his hair a bit, deciding not to maliciously endeavor a comb through it because it was already 8:13 AM which was late compared to their 6:00 sharp schedules. To be honest, he was surprised he didn't wake up to Master Wu drumming a gong at his face. Or with Jay's non-stop blabbering. Not that he wanted it. No thank you. Just that it was… strange.

He was also astonished he didn't hear heavy grunts from the training yard or disinterested whines from mostly Jay. Sometimes Lloyd, Nya, and Kai but mostly Jay. Zane never complained because 1.) He was a nindroid (therefore did not get tired) and 2.) He said he was thankful for what he had because he'd been alone without a true family- yeah, that's where Cole spaced out. And he didn't complain because that just wasn't him. Sure it was exhausting and sometimes he was on the verge of whining but he never actually did.

He walked over to the door and strolled down the hallway to open the door leading to the living room.

It was eerily quiet, Cole had cinched. What should've been Kai's yelling to Jay about behaving with his sister was replaced with reticence. There was no bickering or protesting or anything really.

He depressed the door open to the living room but the lights were switched off and the blackout curtains were closed. As he reached toward the switch, he thought he stepped on something. His thoughts were verified when he heard someone squeak a faint "ow." Cole drew his brows and scrunched his face in confusion. How his day could be so complex was beyond him. It was like when Cole wondered when you wake up and you think the day is going to be normal but something major happens. Unless the dream you got four nights straight is so vivid it's hard to tell from reality.

'Whatever.' Cole flipped the light switch and something promptly sped towards his face. He felt the object being rubbed across his face to apply more of itself on his nose and then removed but not without smearing itself one last time.

"SURPRISE!" Everyone cheered. Jay pulled out a can of spray string and pressured the knob on top, releasing the string to blow itself all over Cole's gi.

"Surprise!" Jay said, finally looking up. Cole was standing there, Cake smeared all over his face and the collar of his shirt with spray string arrayed across him, head to toe. He blinks a few times, cake on his lashes as well. He could've sputtered a million things to them right there and then.

"Relax guys. It's just Cole," Nya assured, adding to the fumes coming out of his red ears.

"Wh- tra- h- sur- why?" He managed to spit out.

"We meant to surprise Wu because it's his birthday," Lloyd replied calmly.

"But seriously. Spray string? Guys," Cole groaned, visibly miffed.

"You're lucky I convinced him not to use Cheese-in-a-bottle," Nya said.

"Oh so now you're expecting me to thank you?" Cole countered, his words dripping with sarcasm.


"I have cake all over my- wait is this vanilla?" Cole licked his lips.

"Yes, it is," Zane responded.

"You should've gone with chocolate."

"Master Wu doesn't like chocolate," Kai added in.

"Yes, he does," Cole retorted.

"No, he doesn't."





"No," Kai voiced.


"See, you admit it," Nya acknowledged.

"No, I don't. I don't admit anything. You tricked me. That's not fair!"

"Someone's in a bad mood," Jay addressed. "Well, get out of it. Wu's gonna come back soon."

"Now that I think about it, where is Wu?" Lloyd mused.

"I don't know."

"Beats me," Kai shrugged.

"I am not aware of his location," Zane affirmed.

"Haven't seen him since yesterday evening," Cole also added in, grabbing a tissue to get rid of as much cake as possible.

"I haven't seen PIXAL either. Strange. She was supposed to help me repair some of our vehicles," Nya disclosed. Suddenly, the phone rang ear-splittingly, blaring around the building. Lloyd ran over, picking it up, clicking answer.

"Hello? Master Wu?"

"Yes, Lloyd. I called to tell you PIXAL and I will be out of town for a week."

He didn't answer. Just blankly stared at the others.

"Hello? Lloyd? Are you there?"

"Yes. Okay, master. See you later then."


Lloyd hung up on him.

"Was it Wu?" Jay quipped.

"I think that was pretty obvious," Lloyd retorted.

"Well, what did he say?" Kai chimed in.

"He and PIXAL won't be back until next week."

"WHAT!?" Everyone marveled except for Cole and Lloyd. Cole because he genuinely didn't know or care about the surprise plan and Lloyd because he already knew.

"It took us so long to prepare for this!" Nya yelled.

"Well, there's nothing to do now," Lloyd answered.

"Yes. Maybe we could… train," Zane suggested. Everyone else groaned in response. Cole let out an extremely loud moan of displeasure.

"No, I don't want to," he said. All eyes shifted towards Cole.

"Cole, is everything alright?" Zane asked.

Cole drew his eyebrows closer. "Yeah, why do you ask?"

"Well, you have been kinda distant," Jay joined.

"You never complain about training," Lloyd contributed.

"You've also been oversleeping," Kai said.

"Just… nightmares."

"What kind of nightmares?"

"None of your business."

"You have to-" Nya cut him off by elbowing him in the gut and plastering a fabricated smile on her face. Kai cursed a few times but -thankfully- received the implication.

"You know what Cole, maybe you should… clean up yourself," she said, making a quick hand motion towards the wide-open door. He silently nodded and trekked away, exiting the room with the creaking of loose floorboards, consecutive.

"What was that for," Kai wheezed, clutching his stomach.

"Cole is acting weird but prying it out of him isn't gonna work," she replied.

"Yeah, he's too stubborn," Jay chirped.

"Good thinking, Nya," Lloyd said.

"For socking me in the gut?"

Cole tried his best to scrub off all the cake on his face. There were bits scattered in his hair and all over his neck which he also brushed off, leaning over the sink. He decided to shower and change because there didn't seem to be any training today anyway. After that, he exited the bathroom, staring at the bunk as he entered the bedroom. The pillows propped up against the bed board and the comforter neatly folded, all crinkles tossed aside. It looked like a cloud waiting for him to flop his back against. Cole flung himself onto the bed, his head bouncing up and down a few times. He listened to the springs in the mattress and closed his eyes. He wasn't really oversleeping. His nightmares disrupted his slumber and woke him up at least five times and it took another half an hour to fall back asleep again. And he usually was a heavy hibernator. His eyelids were limping slowly. Maybe a thirty-minute nap was okay…

He woke up again. Same nightmare. Same events. Same order. Shouldn't it be called a daymare? He was sleeping in the daytime so that would only make sense. His body was all tensed up and he shifted his weight to the other side. He could hear the rain hit the hard surface of the roof tiles and imagined them bouncing off, then retreating. He strained his eyes open and checked the time: 2:03 PM. 2:03 PM was when it all began. That was a long thirty-minute nap. He heard snoring above him where Jay usually slept. Cole's eyes glossed around the room and he saw Kai, also sleeping soundly. What he would give to be in that position.

'They probably fell asleep after I did.' He sighed and left the room, hoping to find everyone else. He heard some cacophonous clitter-clatter of pots and pans in the kitchen and the delicate noise of some sort of movie. The thunder clapped again, moderately close to their location. The rain was falling harsher now, masking the sound of the TV.

The last thing he remembered was hearing a loud boom before his vision blurred and the world flickered to black.

So what did you guys think?

A quick word on updating schedule: I'll definitely be updating sometime next week. When is depending on how much support I get on this. I actually wrote this a pretty long time ago but me being me, I had to write other chapters before posting this up on FF because I often fall behind on updating schedules...

On that note, I look forward to seeing your thoughts in the reviews. I'll be replying to all of them next time. :D