ICO: The End

The cliffs surrounding the small lake towered over it, making it nigh impossible to see the blue sky above. Small fish and sea creatures swam cheerfully along the side of the river, which came from a large body of water in the north. Small patches of green grass grew alongside of the towering cliffs. Watermelon grew in this small patches, some of the only food available in this forgotten land. The area was still and silent excluding the gentle waves crashing on the shores of the forgotten beach. But the silence was soon disrupted as a single boat from afar completed its short pilgrimage to the unknown area. The wandering sea creatures scurried away as the boat neared the shore, escaping its harmless presence. As it finally hit, it was still.

The beach was once again silent. The arrival of the boat seemed to be pointless, but a small boy, covered in blood crawled out of the boat.

The boy, no older than ten years old, just experienced a life changing event. Thoughts and painful memories flooded his head to the point of exhaustion, as he collapsed on the beach. The boy paid no attention to the dried blood that covered his hands and clothes, and made no attempt to raise himself off the ground to explore the unknown area, as he was suffering from a migraine. With every ounce of his remaining strength, he lifted his right hand, and touched where there had previously been a horn, forcefully with his palm. The unknown amount of time he spent on the boat did not ease the pain of his recent torture. He held back tears as the pain was unimaginable, keeping him down in place.

A barrier. An evil queen. A young girl in white whose name he did not know. A large castle. Two titanic gates towering meters over his head, glowing a strange orange colour. Black shadows of death rising from the depths of hell itself. The soft touch of a women's pale palm. Three men, ushering him into a prison, where he was to die a painful death. These memories coursed their way through his mind as he lay there, making no attempt to push them away. He did not understand what they meant, as he did not remember living any of these moments, not recently. He himself, did not know who he was anymore.

Until he saw a pale figure, laying in almost the exact position as him, in the far distance. She was as pale, if not paler, than the sand she laid in. Her clothing matched the exact colour of her skin, making her seem like a bright, white light on the shore. If anything she was camouflaged.

There were not any other distinguishable features from afar, so once again he tried to heave himself off of the ground, and onto his feet. As he feared, he became dizzy, but it did not fully overcome him, and eventually, he was on his feet, leaning over to one side. He would give anything to return to the boat, and forget the world, and all the horrors within. Yet he was so mesmerized by the distant figure, he knew he could not. All that mattered now was to get to this person, dead or alive. It will answer many unanswered questions. It seemed they have blended together with the memories that so tightly encompassed him.

He began to walk, with much difficulty, to the figure. He stumbled many times, yet he did not falter, and continued to walk on. It seemed like he was learning how to walk again, as the stumbles grew more consistent and strong. His legs were pleading for rest they would not receive, not until he saw the girl he white.

The minutes droned by. Each step left small footprints engraved in the hot sand. The hot rays of the sun beat down on the shore and reflected off the cliffs towering as high as the eye could see. He began to sweat, as it dripped from his forehead and his small fingertips, and onto the sand. He was already used to walking again, as the stumbles began to fade away as the passing time quickened his pace to a short jog, then to a run. Why he was running, he did not know nor cared. He needed to get to the girl in white. If it would cost him his life, he would catch one glimpse of her, and his life would be complete.

He ignored the fact that the sand was easily burning his delicate skin, or the fact that now every inch of his body was covered in a layer of sweat, or that his head continued to bleed, never stopping. He closed his eyes as the pain was too unbearable to comprehend, but the tears he wanted to shed were kept away under his closed eyelids, until it was finally over. His steps ceased, the tears stopped, and his mind was finally clear of the painful memories as he gazed down at the figure he knew so well. All that could be heard was the soft beating of the waves hitting the shore, and the distant cries of the several birds hovering over the lake. Higher than the cliffs.

She was the one in his memories, he knew she was. And it suddenly all began to come back as he was flung back into reality.

The Castle, he thought, his mind whirling once again, I was taken there because of my horns. This girl, I found her when I escaped, and together we escaped the castle together, to escape from the queens evil clutches. Then she...

Yes, he did not want to remember, but he did. The queen killed her, she most certainly did. But why was she laying so innocently in front of him, not hint of a mark or scratch? He thought he was having a nightmare, and he would soon awake to be laying in that same boat that brought him here.

But he had to face the truth. He remembered everything, the queens evil plan to use the girl as a spiritual Vessel. He thought he killed her in the end, but he was wrong. The queen succeeded in her evil plan, and now she is here, laying in front of him, in the body of the girl.

He stared in astonishment, as the queen slowly opened her eyes...