The other day, I was playing through a game I got for Christmas. In keeping with the "dark reimagining" theme I pride myself on, I decided to write a sequel story of sorts. You likely won't look at this game the same way again once you've read this, but here it is. Don't forget to R&R, of course.
When the stars disappeared from the sky, most people figured it was a sign of bad things to come. Some people thought it would be the end of the world. The vanishing of the stars in and of itself wasn't that big of a deal. We could've lived past that. But about a week later, there were reports. Houses in Japan had been ransacked. Seemingly random locations, and no rhyme or reason as to what was stolen. People just shrugged and walked it off.
It wasn't until the Happy Crab Farm was hit that we got a clue as to what was doing it. A witness saw a strange little human-like creature rolling a giant glowing ball. When the ball collided with objects that were smaller than it, they got stuck to the ball. The witness saw hundreds of things being rolled up, and then the ball just shot up into the sky, a rainbow in the distance.
Then, a few days after that, the first of the attacks came. The same creature, rolling the same ball, started rampaging through a few low-traffic residential streets, rolling up objects as it went. Sure, people noticed, but it was mostly a "what the Hell?" moment. And then the ball got big enough to roll up people. By then, it was too late.
We started noticing later that as the balls were taken up, the stars began to return to the sky. Some people thought the two were directly connected—the balls were being turned into stars. Of course, a star is a hot, dense ball of gas. Turning people into stars would have been a painful process. I still shudder to imagine how bad that would be.
Then, days later, as the young humanoid returned, others began to descend to other parts of the globe. As Japan was ravaged, there were other balls that fell, rolled up, and left. They were rolled around by other people. They looked similar, but they were colored differently. I don't know what they looked like, but an old family legend says the first one that fell in New York was orange. They started coming more often. As they passed one another, they started talking about the stars. How hard it was to replace them.
It's estimated that there are nine billion trillion stars in what parts of the universe we can see from Earth. We don't have enough stuff to replace all of them. There must have been more beings like this sent to other planets with life. But it doesn't matter. The stars still haven't fully returned, but they're coming back. Every day, more of the stars return. That's little consolation to us, of course. After we couldn't give up any more stuff to the cosmos, the balls stopped coming, and the Earth was left alone. There was just enough stuff for what was left of humanity to rebound. Hardly anything was left of civilization, but we survived.
That was many years ago. Nowadays, people can be found in the ruins of a skyscraper, or in small self-constructed huts made from what wreckage they could find. It's Hell out there. Violent tribes exploit the weaker ones for resources, and we're always under attack. We don't like to accept strangers, because we're afraid if we do, we'll be skinned and made into a hut.
As if that weren't enough, the celestial radiation from those giant balls severely mutated the few animals that were left. They've turned into horrible monsters. Some see them as food sources. Others think they're trophies to be hunted. Some people fear them, others don't. But no matter whether they live in the imagined safety of an abandoned skyscraper, or a grass tent held up by the ribs of an eight-foot tall cow, all humans fear the second coming of the Katamari.