Um, not too much to say here. This short (incredibly short) story sets the mood for my personal theory regarding Sonic's childhood which, I am assuming, began and followed along the Sonic video games and from there extended into SatAM (the cartoon show with Sally and the Freedom Fighters). This theory will be used later and much more extensively in other works of mine that are currently in progress, but at the moment this is just a stand-alone read.
Yes, any and all poetry contained within this work is 100% original, including the "disclaimer" one below.
Please feel free to email me or review with any reactions, good or bad.
As always: enjoy.
Sonic the Hedgehog is not my creation,
His story belongs to the Sega Corporation.
This fanfic is made with humble intention,
To honor their art and brilliant invention.
~ Lael Adair
~~~~~~~~~~~~ Beginning ~~~~~~~~~~~~
Written By: Lael Adair
Some beings born with special gifts know what path to take,
But others grow up never feeling they a champion make.
And so within a Hero where beats the naive heart,
The legend can't be made until it's forced to start.
~ Lael Adair
"Jason! Get h'off me!" the girl shrieked.
She let out an impish giggle, typical of a young child her age, and ran towards the back of the playground with a laughing male pup in tow. A figure in the distance turned its ears forward in interest as it watched them from the shadowed hill that overlooked the playground. The two children ran and skipped between the other groups of kids playing outside and then disappeared from sight around the side of the building. A disheartened sigh escaped from the figure's throat at this, and he slumped back against the tree he was crouching underneath.
The figure liked to watch the children play. Every day, he made the long journey from his home deep within the woods and sat concealed in the shadows on the hill. Seeing the children happy made him happy, and it helped him to forget. . . .
It hurt him in some ways too, though. More than anything, he wanted to be able to play with those children, but he knew he didn't belong. He had tried once, a long time ago. The kids had only laughed at him. He wasn't like them. He had no parents. He had no home. He didn't have any of the things they all had, and the children had blamed him for it. The laughter still stung sometimes, but when it did he just shoved it out of his mind. Thinking was a bad thing to do anyway. It was better to just not think at all. . . .
A familiar call rang out over the yard, slicing through the kids' laughter like a knife. The figure turned his head towards the door of the school and saw a tall woman standing on the steps. That was the teacher. He was not old enough yet to understand what she was saying, but the figure knew from experience that all the children went inside when she called to them. He watched sadly as the children abandoned the swings and slides, and filed through the doors into the school. When the last child had entered, the woman looked around the deserted play yard to make sure no one was left behind and then shut the door, blocking the view of the inside to any observers.
The figure gave another dejected sigh. He was alone . . . again. He stood, brushed his knees off, and stepped away from the tree. As he emerged into the sunlight, the shadows covering him melted away to reveal a young hedgehog, barely five years old, whose deep blue backspines were just beginning to grow in. The child took a few moments to pick the pine needles out of his spikes and then gave his head a shake for good measure. When finished, he lingered his large emerald eyes on the vacant school yard for one second more and then headed in the opposite direction.
He flattened his ears against his head and began to run. His speed was so incredible that he was visible as nothing more than a blue blur shooting through the trees. Running was essential for his survival. At first, he had only run when he was scared, but after a while it had become an escape for him. It was something to do with his time, a goal to strive for.
Normally at this point in his schedule the hedgehog would have snuck into the nearby village and found something to eat, but he didn't feel hungry today. He was lonely.
He should have been used to it by now. He had always been alone, but today the feeling sat in his tiny stomach like a rock and it followed him all the way home. As he entered his hollowed out tree, as he curled up on the floor, and as he shut his large eyes and fell asleep, the loneliness was the only thing there to keep him company.
A few hours later he was back again, faithfully crouching underneath his tree and watching the school. He normally never came back twice in the same day. The children only had recess once, and the only other time they were outside was when their parents came to pick them up. The hedgehog hated watching the parents come. He normally avoided it at all costs. Every time he saw those happy children embracing their families, he was reminded that he didn't have one. But today the loneliness was so powerful that he had to come. He needed something to take the bite away, even if it hurt to watch.
The children were out in the school yard again, but this time the atmosphere was different. While a few of the kids were playing in the background, most were standing completely motionless at the closed gate in the front of the school yard. Their shining bright eyes were all focused on the same spot: a place just at the edge of the forest where they knew anyone coming from the village would emerge. It was in that place that their parents would soon appear. The hedgehog watched this spot as well, though with significantly less anticipation. He knew that no one would be coming down that path for him.
The sun was just passing beneath the horizon when the first parent, a female dog, materialized at the end of the path. She had a large motherly smile on her face and was wearing a dough-stained apron. She must have been making cookies. A small pup gave a shriek of joy when he saw her and ran down the gravel at full speed to leap into her arms.
The hedgehog watched as the two hugged warmly for a moment and then saw them lock hands and journey back down the path together. He stirred in his hiding place to get a better look while more parents began to materialize out of the forest at the end of the road. He was careful to keep every part of his body submerged in the shadows. The last town had chased him away when they caught him watching.
No, not the last town . . . the town before. The last town had been burned by the monsters before he could find the school.
It took a few hours for all the parents to come, but the hedgehog stayed for every second of it. The loneliness hanging over him slowly seeped away while he watched, but never completely disappeared. He had never known what it was like to live without it.
Unfortunately, as the loneliness went away the jealousy increased to a raging fire, consuming him to the core. He would have given anything to be one of those kids. He wanted it so badly that he hurt with yearning, and the envy left a bitter taste in his young mouth.
By the time the last set of parents was on their way up the gravel path, the sky had long since turned dark. The mother and father had just hugged their child and were about to lead him back down the path when an awful boom echoed over the forest in the direction of the village.
The hedgehog leapt to his feet like a shot and turned frightened eyes towards the sound. He clasped his tiny hands over his ears to block out the terrible noise as another explosion pierced his eardrums. The ground began to shake with fury from the shockwaves, pitching the hedgehog off his feet and onto his tail. And then, in between the frightening rumbles, a different sound reached him. His body went stiff, sending every one of his blue quills standing straight on end.
clink clank. . . . clink clank
The hedgehog swiveled his ears, trying to pick up the location of the noise. He worked to calm the fear quickly creeping up to claim him, but despite his attempts to deny it he was afraid. He swallowed and started to tremble. The noise was getting closer. The child poked his tiny nose out from the shadows and tested the air. While young, his sense of smell was well developed. He sniffed tentatively and recoiled at the oily scent that he knew from experience meant only one thing:
The monsters were coming.
He had seen them before, ever since he was very little. The monsters looked like huge shining giants that creaked when they walked and made bright lights shoot out of their arms. At first he had been fascinated with those lights. They were pretty to watch when they shot through the air and projected a stunning color of red on everything around them. But when one of the lights had touched him, his curiosity had immediately died. The beam had gotten him on the shoulder, just barely, but it had stung badly and made some shiny red stuff leak out. He had cried. The red liquid scared him and the wound had hurt for days - he did not want to have to go through that again.
With a terrible roar of creaking gears, a group of monsters suddenly emerged at the end of the gravel path and immediately rushed the family huddling together at the school's gates. The hedgehog let out a wail and shut his eyes. He knew what was coming, he had seen it all before. It had happened in all the countless other villages he had stayed near too.
The cycle was always the same. The hedgehog made a comfy home just on the outside of the village and lived there for as long as he could, scrounging food when he could find it. Everything was happy until the monsters came. They always attacked at night. They took the families and separated them into different groups, and then they burned the villages and the surrounding area. He had always managed to escape, but his house was always destroyed, most often with everything still in it. The hedgehog was left with nothing to do but rummage through the ashes, pack up the belongings he could salvage, and then move on to the next village where he hoped the monsters couldn't find him.
It never worked. No matter how many times he ran or how many new homes he made, the monsters always caught up with him in the end.
Without even stopping to think, the hedgehog leapt to his feet and ran like the wind into the woods, away from the school. He always ran when he saw the monsters. He knew that terrible things happened to those that were slow: they got caught. He was determined to never be slow. He would never be caught.
A woman's scream echoed in the night and the hedgehog pushed himself to go faster so he wouldn't have to listen. He knew from experience that if he ran fast enough, the howling wind whipping past his ears would block out the shrieks completely. His body became nothing more than a streak of blue as he shot through the trees like a bullet.
Sssssssssssssssoooooooooonnnnnnnniiiiiiiiiiccccccc. . . .
The ground underneath him gave another terrifying rumble and the hedgehog heard the scary clanking grow even louder. The sweet scent of smoke filled his nostrils, bringing with it an eerie kiss of heat from the direction of the village. The hedgehog knew it was being burned just like the others, he had seen this all before. He tried to be strong, but unstoppable tears began to fall from his eyes. Like a loving mother, the wind wrapped itself around him and brushed the drops away from his face, violently scattering them into his wake.
Sssssssssssssssoooooooooonnnnnnnniiiiiiiiiiccccccc. . . .
His mind began to fall back onto dark memories of things he did not understand, some reaching farther back than he could even remember: burning villages, fighting, animals being sealed inside the monsters. . . .
The wind howled even louder and wrapped him in its invisible arms. He concentrated on his running and let it banish all the confusing thoughts in his head, leaving it blissfully empty. The hedgehog hated to think. He had learned at a young age, even younger than now, that it was best to just shove his memories into a dark box and never let them out. He was glad he had the wind to take his thoughts away when they escaped.
Sssssssssssssssoooooooooonnnnnnnniiiiiiiiiiccccccc. . . .
That was the sound the wind made when he ran. His name came from that sound.
Sonic. Sonic the Hedgehog. That was the name he had chosen for himself. All of the other children were given names by their parents as gifts to celebrate their birth, but Sonic had no parents. He had given himself the title: A gift, a name, an identity. Something he could own in a world where he had nothing. Something he could be proud of.
Sonic skid to a stop when he reached the section of the woods near his home. His choice this time had been to live in an old tree whose trunk had been hollowed out from years of decay. He picked his way slowly through the brush, taking care not to make too much noise. In the dark, he could see the place where his home was, but something was wrong. The tree, his home, was lying on its side in the clearing. It had been ripped up from the ground so forcefully that its roots still clung to the dirt. Normally the scene would not have upset him. His home had been destroyed hundreds of times before, he had moved hundreds of times before; but this time, as he was now discovering, was not like those hundreds of times before.
Sonic rushed to the uprooted tree, a horrified gasp on his lips. The hole which had served as the entrance to his home was face down in the dirt on the underside of the massive trunk. All his things were in there!
Normally, Sonic did not care too much about the possessions he had. They were few and far between, as they had to be since he moved so much, and there was nothing he had that anyone else would regard as valuable. But there was one thing in there that Sonic treasured with all his heart: a stuffed bear.
He had found the toy in the wreckage of the very first village he had ever seen attacked. Crying and shaking, kneeling amidst the chalky ashes of what had once been a happy town, he had found comfort in the bear's fur. The toy had been in bad shape when he found it. It was missing an eye as well as both of its arms, and its fur was dirty and charred from the fires; but Sonic had taken it and loved it all the same. It had been with him ever since. Fires, floods, monsters; anything that came its way, the bear always managed to survive - just like Sonic. It was the one beacon of stability in his unpredictable world, and now it was trapped beneath a tree trunk that was too heavy for him to move.
He would have to leave it.
Sonic slammed a tiny fist against the trunk of the tree. He did not want to move again! He was happy here! It wasn't fair!
He was so engulfed in his misery that he did not hear the footsteps behind him. Before he could react, a cold claw shot through the dark and hoisted him off the ground by the scruff of his neck. Sonic wanted to scream, but his throat closed up leaving no room for anything to escape. As he hung in the air, paralyzed with fear, a piercing red light shone in his eyes and illuminated the gleaming metal face of one of the monsters.
The Crabmeat flicked on the optic laser sensor that was installed behind its left eye and ran the red beam over the creature it had just captured.
A monotone voice drifted from the machine's verbal chip. Hedgehog.
Its scan complete, the machine whirled abruptly on its spider-like legs and carried its catch east through the forest to a clearing where the other prisoners from the recent raid were being rounded up. With a jerky toss of its heavy metal claw, the Crabmeat roughly threw the child into a small holding cage. It then placed the hedgehog, cage and all, onto a large pile of other imprisoned children stacked upon a hoverbike.
Area clear it rattled off with three loud taps on the vehicle's side.
The driver immediately threw the hoverbike into gear at the signal and took off from the ground.
Sonic whimpered as the cart suddenly gave a violent lurch. He lost his footing and was flung into the side of the cage where he hit his head on one of the metal bars. A few of the other children started to cry as they were similarly injured, but Sonic did not. He had already cried once today, twice was unforgivable.
The cart took off into the air, humming like a large tiger, and Sonic could see land passing underneath him. He was flying. Had he not been so terrified, he may have enjoyed the sensation. He curled into the corner of the cruel prison and hugged his knees while his tiny heart raced in panic. He sat there for a while, listening to the wails of the other children around him. The shadows in his mind began to escape from their box, bringing with them all the terrible memories of the things he had seen. His shoulders started to cave under the weight of the shadows, but then a familiar friend came to aid him.
Rushing by at the fast speed from the hoverbike, it was a different kind of breeze than when Sonic ran, but nonetheless it filled him with the same courage. His heart began to pulse with a new rhythm, and Sonic suddenly realized that he could not just sit there in the dark and cower in fear. He had to escape.
Sonic got up on his knees in the small, grimy cage and fingered the lock with his hands. He pulled on it some, he pushed it a little, he even tried to bite it off, but nothing worked. The hard metal was too strong for him to move.
Scared and defeated, Sonic sunk his forehead against the bars.
A strange noise echoed in his skull the second his blue quills contacted the metal. Confused, Sonic sat up a moment and did the movement again with the same result. The noise grated against his teeth, but sounded like a positive one; almost like a saw cutting through wood like he had once seen at a village carpentry shop. Mimicking the same motion he remembered the carpenter using, Sonic started to move his head back and forth against the bars. He was not able to keep it up for long. The progress was hard and his small neck soon grew too sore to continue. Daunted but not discouraged, Sonic searched quickly for another solution. Almost as if guided by an unseen hand, the hedgehog bent his head down and acted on the first idea that came to him: he went into a spin. His head wrung as the sturdy quills on his spine collided with the metal, but Sonic kept going.
A hard jolt a few minutes later told him that the cart was back on the ground again. Sonic did not know exactly what was going on, but he had enough instincts to know he was running out of time. He increased his effort.
It took a few tries, but eventually one of the metal bars gave a satisfying crack. Using the back wall of the cage as a brace, Sonic managed to push the broken bar outwards the rest of the way with his feet. The opening gave him just enough room to fit his tiny body through. With a little bit of squirming, he managed to wriggle between the bars and drop to the ground.
The monsters must have heard him trying to escape. They descended on him in a flash.
Sonic yelped in fright and performed a half leap into the air, not even realizing what he was doing. In a panic, he twisted and turned, dashing in and out of the dozens of grasping claws that were frantically trying to get a hold of him. He moved automatically, taking cues from nothing but his own instincts. A red beam of light abruptly whipped past his ear, nearly scaring him out of his wits, and soon the other monsters followed the example and opened fire. Sonic soon found himself caught in a shower of shining red light. He dodged and whirled in a panic, desperately trying to keep the awful beams from touching him.
It was harder than it had first seemed. His small muscles tired quickly and his jumps got lower and lower as he fought to stay standing. Fatigue began to claim him, slowing his movements and making it hard to think. Then, through the murky darkness of fear and panic, a beam of hope shot through his young mind. Off to the side he noticed a split-second opening between two of the monsters, leaving him a clear shot to freedom. If he ran at top speed, Sonic was sure he could make it to the woods before the monsters could catch him!
His heart began to pick up pace again at this newfound hope, banishing his fatigue along with it. But just as he was going to make a run for it, Sonic found himself looking over his shoulder at the pile of caged creatures behind him.
What about them? How would they get away?
The world began to move in slow motion. Sonic saw the gap between the monsters closing. His insides screamed at him to get moving, but no matter how hard they yelled, he could not take his eyes off the cages. Something about those helpless creatures was pulling him back. He wanted to escape, but the question kept nagging at him.
How would the others get away?
Sonic already knew the answer: they wouldn't. They weren't as fast as he was. They would have to stay, and the monsters would do terrible things to them.
Anger began to well up within his chest. That wasn't fair. They should be able to go free too!
Sonic glanced quickly at the monsters surrounding him.
Well . . . he had cut through the cage. . . .
Maybe he could cut through other things as well. . . .
With a sudden surge of courage, he whirled on the nearest monster and threw himself into a spin. His aim was pathetic, but he managed to clip one of the monster's arms. He lunged again, aiming higher this time, and was rewarded as his quills cut through a large claw. The metal appendage fell to the ground with a heavy clang and the sliced wrist sparked with blue lights.
Sonic adjusted his angle and leapt again.
His quills cut through the metal casings like they were made of air. He started running between cuts, using his incredible speed to jet out of the monsters' reach and then attack them from behind.
He learned fast. The wind whipped through his ears, strengthening his courage. The fear that had sent him shivering only moments ago melted off of him like water and was scattered into the wind just like his tears. He was no longer afraid.
Several miles away in a cold, dank tower located at the center of the Scrap Brain Zone, a computer alarm gave a single blip and began spewing statistics out on its massive screen. The user at the keyboard leaned forward to observe the monitor's output.
Security breach: Sector 4, Green Hill Zone
"Hmm" the user muttered, clicking a few commands into the computer. "That's odd. The Green Hill Mobians have never resisted before. I've held that territory for nearly six years and I've never had any trouble. . . ."
The user expertly typed a command into the keyboard and ordered one of his Crabmeats to switch on the video monitor located behind its left eye.
Dr. Robotnik had just enough time to catch a glimpse of a blue blur before the picture fizzled to static.
The last monster gave a spitting noise and then fell to the ground at Sonic's feet. The hedgehog leaned forward on his knees, panting heavily. He was shaking, but it was a good kind of feeling. He felt . . . stronger somehow. Sonic looked at the mass of destroyed monsters around him and smiled weakly. In that moment he felt happier than he had ever been in his entire life. Sonic the Hedgehog had found his calling.
Gingerly, Sonic picked up a robotic head that was lying at his feet and turned it over in his hands, examining the smooth silver surface. There was a word scrawled on the inside of it, etched in large, industrial black lettering. Working his way through the vowels and consonants, Sonic the Hedgehog concentrated hard on the jumbled marks and read his first word aloud.
"R . . . Ro . . . Ro-bot-nik"
The legend begins. . . .