There was fog. There was black and there was fog.

Nothing else.

Yako was standing in that field, immersed in that low lying, rolling mist. She called it a field because it seemed that the ground was relatively flat, and she could see nothing in all directions; the horizon was pitch black, as well as the sky above her, if she could really call it a sky. There was no moonlight, and no stars. The thick, swirling fog at her feet gave off an eerie glow, the only light in this strange world. And there was no sound. No wind, no chirping crickets or croaking frogs, none of the usual noise that accompanied the night. Just silence. And Yako was forced to believe that this was not night after all. But it wasn't day either.

Yako called out. Her mouth formed the word "Hello?" but no sound came out. She tried again. Nothing. Once more, and nothing at first. No sound came from her lips, and then a soft echo of her voice slid towards her over the fog. She tried again and finally, she heard sound come from her throat.

"Hello?" The sound of her own voice was comforting, but as the echo faded out to reveal silence once more, Yako's temporary comfort died with it.

She stood listening to nothing for several long minutes, not daring to take a step, for she could not even see the ground she stood on for the thick silvery fog cover. The silence was unnerving, and as she glanced around she wished that whatever it was, someone or something would answer her.

And then Yako decided that she was better off with the silence, because from the ground somewhere close to her, she heard a sucking sound that made her blood run cold. She likened it to a toilet plunger being torn off a slippery surface. Suddenly, thousands of frightening images explaining the sound came to mind, and Yako cursed the ability of imagination. Her breath and heart began to quicken as she attempted to prepare herself for facing whatever was the source of the sound. But it was quiet again, and for awhile once again silence settled over the atmosphere.

But the sound came again. And again. Yako shuddered. The worst of her imageries came to her again, but once more silence fell. And then it began to rain from the black sky. The droplets were clear at first, and they rolled off Yako's skin in a soothing fashion. However, any comfort brought on by the rain quickly disappeared, for with each second, the droplets darkened in color and began to feel thick. After about 30 seconds, they were black and felt like tar. They stuck to Yako like cement, and though she tried to brush them away, their rubbery texture was getting more and more difficult to rid herself from.

Yako had no choice; she had to find shelter. She began to run. Immediately, her assumption that the ground was flat was proven false. She stumbled on her first few steps, realizing that it was lumpy. Large rocks and branches from trees jostled around under her feet as she ran. She could only see the blank landscape ahead of her, but for now most of her concentration was being put forth to scraping off the tar-like rain drops that splattered against her skin.

She tripped and fell; she could now see what lay under the ground's cover of fog. Yako immediately realized that there was no ground after all. What she had thought to be rocks and sticks were in reality dismembered human corpses; decapitated heads and limbs littered the landscape. A few yards away, a corpse that was not as torn up as the others was rummaging through the grave-pile. Yako watched as it pulled a not-so-dismembered comrade from the rubbish and began to tear off its limbs. She now knew what the sucking sound was; she covered her mouth to prevent herself from vomiting from the sight and stench and to muffle a scream. Unfortunately for her, the corpse had heard her, and turned its ugly head to watch her with yellowed eye-whites. It blinked once, and then the limbs underneath her began to grasp her, pulling her down through the gore. Although she was out of the tar-rain now, this was worse. Thousands of grotesque hands tugged her into their midst, strings of half-rotten muscle hanging from their broken bones. Yako was now completely submerged, and she would have screamed if the air had not been squeezed from her lungs. She was still being pulled down, down, down…

And suddenly she was dropped and she fell through silence. For a moment Yako was afraid she would keep falling forever, but a second later she had slammed onto a hard surface. She lay there shaking for a moment, her eyes closed; she did not want to see where she was. Finally, when she had gathered up all her courage, Yako opened her eyes and pushed herself to her feet. It appeared that she was up on a loft in an old barn. It was quiet, but she could hear a light breeze and the creak of the aged wood of the barn. She glanced down to see cracks and patches of nothingness in the floor. She gulped and glanced upward; nothing, just black. Glad that the corpses had disappeared, Yako sighed and looked back at the floor to look for a spot where the floorboards were safe-looking. She found one, took a step forward, another step, and finally a third.

Her feet crashed through the weak, molding wood and she heard it snap; Yako fell through the loft of the barn and into a small lake of dark, cold water with a splash. She shrieked when she realized that she was floating, not sinking. She attempted to propel herself upward to keep herself afloat, but too much of her energy was being used. Perhaps it would have been hours before she had run out of energy, but the force of the pool was increasing by the second until she could no longer do anything to stop it; she began to sink, her efforts of splashing and squirming became futile. Still, she struggled, pulling at the air until even her hands were submerged in the terrifying black water. She thrashed and twisted and fought for air, but she could no longer see the light of the surface and she was running out of air. She could feel hands grabbing her ankles now, dragging her faster and farther away from the sweet air. The hands were small; they must have belonged to dolls or small children. She turned down to look and the only thing she saw were numerous pairs of gleaming red eyes. No pupil, no iris, just red glass. She inhaled in surprised and coughed when she took in water instead of air. She was drowning, and there was no longer enough air for her brain to keep working. Her vision faded and the last thing she saw was a face lit up by the red from the doll's glass eyes below her; the face was bloodied, grinning down at her with yellowed, broken teeth and holes for eyes and parasites working their way through its eerily floating hair…

Yako awoke gasping for air; when it came easily, she was slightly surprised. She breathed freely and shakily for several moments before she was able to accept what had just happened as a nightmare, just a dream. She was in her bed, after all. She sat up gingerly and glanced around fearfully through the darkness. Nothing unusual. She looked to the clock gleaming its red, digital numbers towards her; 2:34 am. Gleaming like the eyes of the dolls that had just dragged her down into the depths of the ice-cold, dark water. Yako shuddered and pulled her legs towards her body, wrapping her arms around herself. She was up for the rest of the night until morning, flinching and swiveling her eyes around the room at every sound or movement she thought she saw out of the corner of her eye.

On her way to school, Yako's friend Kanae accompanied her.

The red-haired girl flung her arm out to stop her friend, who was about to walk out into a traffic-filled road.

"Yako!" She exclaimed, trying to catch her attention. "Are you all right? You just tried to walk into the street for like the third time this morning!"

"Huh…all right?" Yako blinked. "Uh-huh, I guess I am. I'm just—" She stopped to yawn. "Reeaally tired."

The crosswalk light turned green for them to cross.

"Ah…are you over-working yourself?" Kanae asked, concerned for her friend.

"No, no…well, I might be, but I had a bad dream last night. Kept me up until morning…I guess I'm a wimp, huh…" Yako laughed lightly to herself and yawned again.

Kanae shook her head slowly in pity.

Throughout the school day, Yako fell asleep in three of her classes, although the teachers quickly woke her up, and so her naps were short. During lunch she was barely awake enough to eat, which for Yako is quite a feat. At the end of the day, a concerned Kanae offered to accompany her friend home to make sure she got there safely, but Yako declined.

"Nah…I really gotta go to the office. Work today," She mumbled sleepily.

"Are you really sure about that?" asked Kanae.

"Yeah, why do you ask?"

"Well, two reasons. You look like you need sleep more than anything and…Yako. You're going in the wrong direction."

"Oh, I am? Haha…" Yako stopped in her tracks and turned around.

In the end, Kanae ended up walking Yako to the office. She offered to come inside, but Yako shook her head.

"You don't want to see what goes on in there." said Yako quickly, shooing away her friend.

Kanae shrugged and waved goodbye. Yako returned the wave, and once her friend was gone, she started up the steps, trudging slowly while hanging onto the railing to keep herself steady. When she opened the office door, she was greeted with a foot to the face. It was all she could do to keep herself from falling backward.

"There you are, brainless parasite." Neuro grinned, detaching himself from the ceiling. "Look through newspapers for me. The mysteries are not coming to me, so you must look for them."

Yako shuddered at the word "parasite," remembering the face from her dream last night.

"Yes, yes, but if you don't mind, please be quiet, I have a headache," She grumbled, plopping down on the couch. As a stack of newspapers was dropped in front of her with a loud smack, she groaned. "All of them?"

"Indeed, all of them, Yako. You must miss nothing."

Yako groaned to herself again and got to work. The sooner she had this finished, the sooner she could go home, she supposed. It proved to be difficult, however, because almost immediately after unfolding the first newspaper, she was nodding off. Unfortunately for her, Neuro noticed, and took it upon himself to wake her up. And sadly, this involved smashing the girl's face into the coffee table in front of her.

"What do you think you are doing, Servant Number One?" asked Neuro. "You have most of the day to sleep. Now you have a job to do."

Yako couldn't tell him. She just couldn't. She wasn't exactly sure why. But she figured that somehow, it was a bad idea to show Neuro any sort of weakness. After hearing him tell her so many times that she needed to evolve, to change…it wasn't such a good idea to show him that she was so weak. Besides, she thought to herself, Neuro wouldn't help her anyway. He would only laugh at her for having such a stupid reason for lack of sleep.

"Sorry, sorry…" mumbled Yako, going back to the newspapers. She was determined to finish. After all, she knew Neuro would not let her leave until she had.

Nevertheless, she ended up drifting off several more times, in which each followed by a thwack on the head or a clawed hand around the throat to wake her up. The demon was getting quite annoyed at his little servant; really, what was wrong with her? This was not normal. Finally, when he had woke her up for perhaps the twentieth time that day, he asked.

"Are you dying, worm?" The demon inquired.

"What, dying?" Yako was confused until she realized that Neuro was referring to her irregular tiredness. She struggled to find an acceptable excuse. "Ah, no, I just…I was up late studying for tests last night."

"Perhaps you require my assistance?" Neuro asked dangerously.

Yako knew what he meant by that.

"No thanks, I don't need all my teachers in the hospital again."

It was several long hours before Yako was allowed to leave, finally finished scanning the papers. She had found nothing, but Neuro simply grinned, announcing that he had more for her the next day. Yako trudged home, barely aware of her footwork, and the first thing she did when she arrived home was collapse onto her bed and fall asleep.

Yako was watching a procession of colorful dancers of some sort pass by on a street, but the scene quickly changed for the worse. The sky darkened, the street disappeared into nothingness and the dancers turned into a parade of gangly corpses, all wearing simple, torn clothing. And suddenly she was among them, being jostled along. They marched without seeing her, without stopping. She was tripped several times, although she managed to keep her balance. And then she was pushed and she fell over. She shut her eyes to brace for the impact, but it did not come. When she opened her eyes, she found that her surroundings had changed. The parade was gone. With a sick realization, she noticed that she had been here before.

Please, please no.

There was fog. There was black and there was fog.

Nothing else.

--

Author's Note: Ok, here it is, the first chapter! I'm sorry I got it out a bit later than planned. I hope you guys like this one. I rated it T for gore, I guess… (I made myself shudder from writing some of the parts here…)