IMPORTANT INFO

Playground of Memories is part of the Salvation Lost universe/reality. It includes spoilers that you may or may not wish to read. If so, please click away…now…

PLAYGROUND OF MEMORIES
Written by Star
CHAPTER ONE: LUCIEN

It only takes a moment to remember. If not for the warm breeze through my hair or the soft caress of the sun, I'd never yearn for a life that was taken from me. For a life that was never meant to be, I did my best to fumble my way to maturity and stick out like the tormented youth I was.

THIS USED TO BE MY PLAYGROUND

When you're so small, everything's huge, a wonder. The house was enormous, the trees well established and the sea…how I've missed it.

My dreams always bring me here, to taunt me into remembering.

I look up and there's not a cloud in the sky; it's a day without tension. Cautiously, I make my way around to the back – how can a child laugh so innocently?

THIS USED TO BE MY CHILDHOOD DREAM

I stare at my six-year-old self in the arms of my enemy, my uncle. Both of us look contented, happy and at ease with each other; where was the malice I've been trained to believe in? Something brings a hidden light to his eyes and we turn.

A lump forms in my throat as I see her

Even she looks happy to see me.

THIS USED TO BE THE PLACE I RAN TO

I feel myself go rigid and the foreboding sensation in my gut warns me to leave this place, now. Yet I can't. The people in this dream seem to be animated by some strange power that I can't explain; I find no trace of sadness, no threatening shadows lurking close by.

There's a girl with eyes of green that sparkle like wild emeralds. Her dark braided hair and the innocence of her smile compel me to stay. As I watch my young self take her hand, a name long forgotten escapes my lips as memories threaten to drown me in guilt.

Ghosts of my past bid me farewell, I almost wish I could stay frozen in this moment. As the two adults share a well-earned embrace, I turn to uncover the last days of my happy childhood.

WHENEVER I WAS IN NEED…OF A FRIEND

I once lived in paradise and had everything an adventurous child could long for. As I followed my sister through the garden, the foreboding rumble inside me was replaced with an incredible ache. I loved this place.

"Lucien," She whispered. "Don't go near the woods."

WHY DID IT HAVE TO END?

The trees suddenly grew thicker, darker and the wind whistled a haunting tune.

"No Lucien, we're not allowed." She reminded me, tugging at my arm.

My sister had good sense. Something about this place made breathing an arduous task, yet my six year old self looked excited and ready to explore. I remember enchanting way sunlight filtered through and made this forbidden territory look all the more inviting.

There was a clap of thunder in the distance and I watched the children jump. The weather had a habit of changing suddenly, I vaguely remembered, and cringed as the sky turned ominously dark.

"Can we go home now, Scarlett?" I heard myself whimper, watching closely as my older sister held me protectively.

I heard a twig snap and turned as the wind began to howl. Lightning tore through the sky and I saw my Father staring me down with eyes of piercing red.

AND WHY DO THEY ALWAYS SAY

I gasped as my Father walked straight through me, remembering with a shudder of dread, that this was a memory. My memory. Relieved that I wouldn't have to fumble my way through an awkward explanation, I also realised that the worst was yet to come.

Panic fuelled the children's legs but they were no match for a relentless grown man, hell bent on revenge.

"Scarlett! Lucien!"

I began to remember the panic. Chaos overwhelmed me. I felt sick.

"P-Papa, please; Lucien's scared." Scarlett whimpered. She was right, I was!

"My own son doesn't recognise me!" He whispered, utterly devastated. The once formidable warrior lost the maniacal look in his eyes and appealed to the children he once raised.

I looked on and watched curiously; Father's voice was thick with emotion as he told us how much he'd missed us, and how long he'd searched for us…both.

"I'm sorry, Papa." Scarlett looked ashamed, as though her caution had hurt him fatally. He smiled.

"Nothing to forgive, little one. You've grown so much, both of you!" His smile turned into a sneer. "It's all her fault…" I heard him mutter. Looking around, the cold glint came back into his eyes, possessing him once again with Radam's spirit.

"We have to go, Papa. It's getting dark." Scarlett whispered, as though she'd sensed the change in his mood.

"No, I'm not going to lose my children again to that whore!"

DON'T LOOK BACK

My sister broke free from Father's spell and as I watched her run, she reminded me of a deer frightened by the crack of a gunshot. I watched as my six year-old self followed, confused, but unable to break free from Scarlett's vice grip on my wrist.

Father didn't move; perhaps he wasn't expecting this behaviour from his children?

"MOMMA! DADDY!" Scarlett screamed and in flash, Father caught up with us.

KEEP YOUR HEAD HELD HIGH

With a blink of an eye, Scarlett, the lush grass, the glow of the sun…the family, the life I once knew was gone.

My home was now a run down hovel, where hunger turned my stomach into an angry beast. Father was gone through the night, returning with whatever meagre breakfast he'd managed to scrape together.

He was like a shadow of a man.

I hated when he left me alone.

I missed the happiness that began to fade my memory. It became harder to remember Scarlett; something about her eyes was always so comforting. I tried to reach out to her at night, when I was most frightened. Through her, I was able to hold onto certain memories. I missed our mother, my uncle – my life. I tried to tell her where I was…many times…

There were simply too many places that matched my description.

DON'T ASK THEM WHY

I longed for the loving embraces that were once given freely. Father either couldn't or wouldn't show me affection unless I cried. When Father left at night, I'd cry myself to sleep. On the rare occasion that Father stayed at home, he would hold me until my tears subsided.

Perhaps my tears stirred his guilt.

As the weeks turned into months, I began to wonder if I'd ever see Mother again. Back then I never understood why her name angered Father. Her name would stir him into a frenzy, his eyes almost burning with hatred. I feared him and never asked why. So many questions left to smoulder in my charred heart.

BECAUSE…LIFE IS SHORT

I pined for the happy sounds of laughter and for the comfort of unconditional love. Father loved me, this much I knew, but I hated staying indoors. I missed exploring and behaving, as a child should.

We had visitors from time to time, I was forbidden to stay and listen to their secrets.

Perhaps Father suspected me of contacting my sister?

I was instructed to remain silent, and on my best behaviour. As there were no other children to play with, I had nothing to do but work on my strange abilities that enabled me to contact my sister.

"You can come out now, Lucien."

His voice broke my concentration and I lost the connection with my sister. I hurried from the room to join him. Whenever Father's visitors left he would allow me to sit on his lap and he would run his hands through my hair.

"I know you're unhappy here. I am too, son."

"You are?" Astonished, I looked up at him.

"Yes, you were too young to remember, but we had a perfect life once." He smiled bitterly.

AND BEFORE YOU KNOW

There was a week when Father refused to leave the house. He kept me close at all times, as if aware of some lurking danger.

"Is something wrong, Father?" I asked timidly.

"Everything…" He muttered and drew back from the window. Taking a deep breath, he glanced around the room as a bitter smile played on his lips.

Then I saw it.

The ghostly image of a red crystal burned through Father's forehead and he froze.

Then I heard it.

An explosion shattered our windows and Father dove to shield me from the debris.

Then I felt it…felt them

The ensuing chaos that followed filled my head with thoughts of terrified strangers. No matter how tattered the memories of my childhood are; the bloodcurdling screams have haunted my nightmares for years. Until now, I'd forgotten from whence they'd come.

The world was shattering around me once more. Father swept me up into his arms, amidst the increasing and violent fighting we ran through the crowds in search of safety.

YOU'RE FEELING OLD AND YOUR HEART IS BREAKING

Panic rained hard upon the city, and Father stumbled more than once as he fought through the crowds. He never stopped even to bandage his bloody leg, wounded as he kicked down a fence. With most of the adults fighting the allied forces, their forgotten children began to follow us. Father was wont to let me go, afraid for some unknown reason.

With most of the gunfire concentrated on the western side of town, our ears welcomed the eerie silence of the south.

"Don't look away Lucien, this is what happens to the weak and ignorant." Father motioned to the bodies of the fallen; friend and foe lay dead together.

A war cry shattered the silence and Father instructed his followers to head towards the border, he'd be with them soon, he promised.

"Mikhail…you moron!" Father hissed.

My head felt heavy as we neared the battle. Tortured cries echoed across the dying city and Father's arms grew tight around me once more.

"You know who I'm talking about!"

"Renounce your oppression and I'll consider an answer…"

Two demons fought through sky and on land. I recognised the bulky one Father called Mikhail, but not the red. Theirs was a spectacular fight, although hopeless; the Red Demon proved too skilled.

Her questions answered in riddles, the Red Demon delivered the final blow.

Father laughed to himself as we heard the mournful cries of the victor. I tried to ask questions…why did she seem so familiar?

We finally rested on the outskirts of the town. In Father's lap, I watched as a strange cloud appeared over the impoverished place I reluctantly called home.

The cloud enveloped the town and the memory of the Red Demon, scattering her to the wind.

DON'T HOLD ON TO THE PAST

I never had enough to eat, Father was angry.

I asked too many questions, Father was angry.

I dreamed about a strange place, Father was angry.

I screamed out for a long lost mother, Father lost his mind.

She was to blame. Everything that had gone wrong in 'his plan' was her fault. Hate would burn in his eyes, his clenched fists and the bruises on my face.

He never meant to hurt me, he loves me, hates her. If only I could control myself in my sleep…I'd never call for her!

I hate myself for calling out for her!

WELL THAT'S TOO MUCH TO ASK

The strange house haunts my dreams no more.

I don't ask questions anymore. Father talks, and I listen. He relies on me, depends on me for I will make things right again. Our enemies will pay for our suffering. She will pay.

I no longer have bruises on my face, Father is happy. I inflict them upon others, the weak and ignorant who deserve my wrath.

I was not made for the sunshine, the happy glow of a warm and smiling sun.

I was conceived in the solitude of space, a place where no one can hear you scream, a time when no one would help you even if they dared.

I am a creature of the darkness; I revel in it. I should hate Father for stealing the sunshine and replacing it with stealth and secrets, the dark night sky…but he has shown me the way.

I embrace my destiny; I accept my fate.

All those who oppose me will taste my hate; Space Knights, beware…

To be continued in: CHAPTER TWO – SCARLETT

DISCLAIMER

The author does not claim to own Tekkaman Blade, Tekkaman Blade II or Teknoman – they are the property of Tatsunoko. The author does claim the storyline of Salvation Lost and all original characters created. Please do not borrow without permission, or steal any characters/ideas.

You're a crummy, low-down, petty loser if you do

Thanks to Madonna for the use of her awesome song - THIS USED TO BE MY PLAYGROUND.

SPECIAL MENTION

A huge THANKS – to the author of Nightmare, who helped me out with the last lines of this chapter. Nadz, you're a champion! Also to Madonna – whether she knows it or not, leant her song 'This Used to be my Playground' to me. Thanks Mads, you're a doll!

Of course, my beta reader – Pixie Wings! tackleglomphuggle Not only are you a fantastic author, you're a wonderful friend to put up with my constant 'read this, read that'. bows Thankies!