AN: Strange World has been re-written again, and I'm hoping that the latest version will be the best, as there were some problems with the last one. Thanks for reading, and please review if you have any comments, suggestions or criticism.
Disclaimer: I don't own digimon. I also don't own the basic idea for this story, thanks to Aerol Somtaaw for letting me use his own basic idea. :)
It was a cold night in New York. Short rainstorms were on the verge of becoming snow, and the people's heavy breathing was visible in the frigid air. Apart from the chill in the air, all was well with the city. Locals were trying to brave the cold weather, as they always had done.
Tara was no different.
"Why do we have to go shopping tonight?" she asked her mother, who practically dragged her along the tree-lined, wind swept avenue.
"Because I want to have some quality time with you before I go on my business trip…ooh! Look at that dress!"
They halted outside an expensive clothes shop that Tara didn't really care for that much. Her mother gazed lovingly at the red, frilly dress on display in the window.
"That would look lovely on you, Tara!"
Tara didn't understand the point of window-shopping. "You couldn't afford it if you re-mortgaged the house," she said, looking away.
"But still, it's nice to dream," her mother said happily. "You should go in and try it on."
"No!" She shouted instantly. Her mother frowned. The pair walked on further. The afternoon wind raged on. Tara spied a break from the shopping.
"Can we go in for a coffee?" she asked. "Please?"
"Yeah, alright, it is pretty cold out here."
Inside the warm confines of the coffee house, many were busily chatting, some were talking into their cell phones and some were simply staring out the window at the people struggling in the wind and rain. Tara and her mother took a table close to the door and sat down at it. They both sighed in relief at the change in temperature.
"Where are you going on this business trip anyway?" Tara asked. She was sceptical about it.
"Somewhere in Europe, I can't remember. All I know is that my flight leaves in about four or five hours."
"You all packed?"
Silence prevailed. They were both discreetly relieved when a waitress came to their table.
"What can I get you two?" The girl asked politely.
"Two black coffees, please," Tara's mother said.
"Plenty of sugar in one, please," Tara added herself.
The waitress departed, and again the table was left to its previous state of silence. Tara's mother felt the need to break it.
"Tara… are you OK?"
"How do you mean?" The girl was perplexed at her question.
"I mean, are you OK with life?"
"I suppose…" Tara struggled for a proper answer to the question.
"It's just that I never get to talk to you. I'm always away. I'm not being a good mother to you." She felt dejected.
"No! You are a good mother. It's just that I never get to tell you." Tara didn't want to see her mom this way. She had always been a bright and cheerful person and it pained her on the rare occasions she wasn't. In actual fact, she envied her eternal optimism at times.
"Is there anything else you want to tell me? I know there has been something on your mind for the past few months – it's a mother's instinct."
Tara stuttered. "I… well…" She was at ends whether to tell her mother her best-kept secret. "There is."
Her mother look relieved that she was right in her gut feeling, and now was waiting in hopeful anticipation to learn more about her daughter. Tara however, wasn't so sure.
"…I'm not sure if I can tell you yet."
The sentence dropped onto the girl's mother like a lead balloon. Tara wished she hadn't have said it. She felt the guilt of her rejection grow and sit in her heart. The girl guessed how her mother felt.
"That's OK. Just… whenever you're ready."
Tara's mother seemed very distracted. She couldn't look at her daughter. Tara felt worse than ever. Her mother spoke.
"It's getting late. We should get home."
The pair started to gather their things, ready for home.
Night quickly descended across the city, like a blanket. Harsh lights from the offices of late workers left their imprint on the skyline. Cars passed randomly by Tara's house. Her mother had left for Europe and Tara, like on many other occasions, was left at the house on her own. Her mother trusted her enough to lock up the house every night. Her mother had even less need to worry that night either, because Liam was also staying over until late. Liam and Tara had known each other for a few months now, and the girl's mother was used to his impromptu visits.
That night however, wasn't going to be like other nights.
"Why is there never anything on TV?" Liam asked.
"Because this is the time when they put on all the bad stuff," Tara casually remarked. She looked at the clock on the wall – just after twelve. Crickets could be clearly heard outside.
Liam sighed. He happened to glance out the window. It was getting greyer outside.
"Who knew it was going to be this foggy tonight," Liam said, going back to channel hopping.
Tara turned to see what he was talking about. The periodic sounds of the crickets ceased. The fog outside the window was now so thick it was all that could be seen.
Tara's mild irritation peaked. "Turn that off, there's nothing on!"
"What's wrong with you?"
"I don't like this fog. It was meant to be clear tonight."
"Weathermen. They always get it wrong–"
"No," she interrupted. "This is different. I can… feel it."
Liam started to become uneasy. He knew something was up when Tara talked about 'feelings'.
"You don't think it's the…"
He was stopped by what he saw at the window. They both stood up in fear. The grey fog had penetrated the sides of the window and was slowly but surely seeping into the room. For every inch that the fog crawled along the floor, the teenagers got progressively scared. Tara let out a short scream when she looked round and saw that the fog had also started to come in through the door to the rest of the house. She figured it had come from the upstairs windows.
Seconds passed. The fog surrounded Tara and Liam, as if it knew there was now no escape. They stood, back to back, withering in absolute fear. They fell to the floor, with their backs still touching.
"Liam?" Tara said with a shaky and fearful voice.
He gulped. "Yeah?"
"Is this the end?"
"…I hope not." The mist continued advancing while he spoke.
She gripped his hand and whispered, "Don't leave me."
He tightened his grip. "We'll be alright."
The greyish mist was now advancing up their legs. For the first time they felt the innate coolness of it.
After what seemed like an eternity, the mist silently filled up the whole room. Tara and Liam were engulfed.
Liam closed his eyes while it took over. All he could see was grey. He held tightly on to Tara, but soon he felt himself dropping off, like an ultimate tiredness had come over him.
"Got to… fight it…"
Before he closed his eyes for the last time, he imagined he seen the silhouette of a small but familiar figure.
Tara felt Liam's grip get softer and falter. She grimaced. She was all alone, and it felt like an unknown force was trying to pull her eyelids closed.
She saw a shadowy figure walking towards her.