Chapter Revised: [x]
We Will Always Be Enemies
Flashback: (9 years ago)
"Hey, Grandpa? I was just wondering, how come we are the only people you call family?" I said. "Don't you have a mommy or daddy, or sisters or brothers? What about aunts and uncles? Where'd they all go?"
As soon as I asked him this, my grandpa's face turned grim. I immediately regretted asking him. But at the same time, I wanted to know. I had never seen him around anyone but me, my parents, and my brother and sister. And also, I've heard my mom tell my dad that the only time he ever smiled or showed true contentment was when he spent time with all of us. I wanted to know a bit more about his past.
"Oh Rachel," he said, his tone was stone hard. "It's very complicated. I'll tell you one of these days, but right now you should go to bed. It's getting late."
I shook my head. "No, grandpa, I don't care. I'm not tired at all. And I don't want to wait 'til one of these days. Tell me now. Please? Pretty please?"
He let out a rigid sigh. "I might get in trouble for telling you. It's a grown up story."
I smiled sweetly. "I can handle it! And I won't tell anybody! Pinky swear." I help up my little pinky and flicked it towards him. He just sat there staring at me, looking very uncomfortable. But I was so curious, I couldn't wonder anymore. It seemed a little unhealthy. Besides, maybe telling someone would help him feel better. You never know.
Finally, he gave in and held up his pinky and curled it around mine, biting the inside of his mouth. My eyes lit up and I scooted closer, waiting to hear the story.
He clicked the mute button on the T.V. in front of us and gave me a very serious glare. "Rachel, I want you to know that I love you. I love you, your sister Emma, your brother Travis, your mother and father, and I still love my wife Cheryl, even if she's not here with us anymore. I love you all more than you'll ever understand. But, something that makes that love stronger is the loss that I've had to endure up to this point. I want you to know that I know what it's like to lose the ones you care about. The feeling...is definitely the worst one I have ever experienced. It makes you feel cold…and empty. I took many drastic measures in order to fill those holes that were forming inside me, metaphorically of course. I know you don't know what that feels like and hopefully you never will. But when I was around your age, and please don't repeat this...I lost everything I had, including my family. They were murdered."
My eyes widened. I may have been only seven years old, but I knew what murder was. I kept my mouth shut and let him continue.
He sighed. "You know that I'm the military leader, the highest ranking commander of G.U.N." He gestured around the room, where badges were framed along the walls. "But, it was in fact G.U.N. soldiers that took my family away from me. If you remember the man called Dr. Robotnik, the one that blew up the moon and tried to dominate the world years ago...ahh I don't think you'll believe me when I tell you this..."
I bounced up and down on the couch cushion. Now I was really interested. I was about to learn more about the day I was born. The day that all humans had feared for their lives. "I'll believe you, Grandpa. I will. I will."
He sighed again. "I know that you're very interested in space and the wonders of the galaxy. Well Rachel, my family and I went into outer-space when I was a just a boy. I swear, we did. We went aboard a large vessel known as the Space Colony ARK, also known as the very first space colony in the world. It was housed for scientific testing and experimentation. One scientist aboard, named Gerald Robotnik, was notably the one who created the most inventions. He was Dr. Robotnik's grandpa."
Now my mouth had fallen open. My grandpa had gone into space…with an ancestor of the evil Dr. Robotnik! That was a lot to absorb.
He continued. "Now, usually the things he created were amazing. He had a very advanced knowledge of science. We never saw much of him, but I did become best friends with his granddaughter. Her name was Maria Robotnik, and she had to have been the sweetest girl I ever met. She was a few years older than me, but we still got along very well. We played together all the time, because we were the only children on the ARK. I asked her if she and I could continue being friends once we were back on Earth, but it turns out she had a disease that conflicted with Earth's atmosphere. So she had no choice but to stay. Our only time together would be up there above the planet."
I raised my eyebrows. "Wow, lucky girl! She got to live in outer-space!"
He shook his head. "No Rachel. I don't think you quite get it. She was miserable. She wanted to go visit our planet more than anything. All she ever did was look at it from the windows. Her grandfather, Gerald Robotnik, was putting all his time and research into looking for a cure that would rid her of the disease. That was his top priority. He loved her too much to watch her life waste away, with her being outside the world she truly belonged in."
I was about to say something else, but he began talking immediately, now looking somewhat angry.
"We were playing together one day. We'd gotten into another game of tag. And once it was my turn to be it, she took off running and I went chasing after her. But then, I stumbled upon the experimental room, and I...I...I..."
He looked sick.
"...I...I witnessed...the creation of this...this...awful monster. All my worst nightmares...coming true right then and there. The true essence of evil. Gerald Robotnik...he...created him...and he never should have...oh God that was his biggest mistake."
I grabbed his arm. "Grandpa? Are you okay? Tell me, what did he create? Please tell me? And why was it so bad?"
He placed a hand over mind, beginning to shake with rage. "Rachel…it was terrible. He created the Ultimate Life Form...Shadow the Hedgehog. He was the center of a project, known as Project Shadow."
I just stared at him with a puzzled expression. "What? S-Shadow...the Hedgehog? I know there's a Sonic the Hedgehog…was that like his brother?"
"No, I'm not talking about Sonic. Sonic had not been born yet. Remember, this was over fifty years ago. And Sonic is a hero to us. Shadow the Hedgehog is our villain. Do you understand? He was a synthetic life-form who was supposed to be immortal, meaning he couldn't die, and not to mention extremely powerful. But he was the very reason everyone I knew and loved was killed aboard the ARK.
At first, I didn't like him because he stole Maria from me. They always spent time together, and I became a tad jealous of their relationship. Even when she and I had some time to ourselves, Shadow would appear and she would instantly go off with him. Everyone regarded him as a successful experiment. But I knew he was a monster. I even confronted Maria, warning her that he was dangerous. But she disregarded it, claiming that everything would be okay since her grandfather could never invent something bad, and continued being his friend. I don't see how she did it though. Shadow was a cold, quiet, and mysterious being. I also found him terrifying. But maybe that was the older side of her shining through. Even then, she was only twelve."
My eyes flickered with interest. "Grandpa. I get that he wasn't very fun to be around. He doesn't sound fun either. But why was it his fault that...you...you know...your family...uh…"
He understood was I was saying, and his features grew hard again. The wrinkles on his face seemed to deepen slightly, and he took a huge swallow of air.
"G.U.N. learned of his power, and found him to be a potential threat against the government. They went to capture him, and ended up killing anyone who was associated with Project Shadow out of fear that the information would spread. My family had only known about it, but never became involved. The soldiers still executed them. I wasn't there to see it, but me and only a few others managed to escape. Everyone else was left behind. As for Shadow, they never caught him. Maria gave her life to help him escape. After she'd been shot, she helped release him through an escape pod that landed on Earth, and died shortly after. But G.U.N. soldiers found Shadow on Earth and brought him back to their base on Prison Island, where he spent 50 years in suspended animation inside of a vault. They were using him as their top secret weapon. Dr. Robotnik found him after discovering some of his grandfather's research, and freed him.
Now I was frowning with rage. "That's so horrible! It really was all his fault! Did this Shadow guy feel bad that everyone died because of him? I know I would."
Grandpa shook his head. "No. After his awakening, he proceeded with harming and even killing more innocent humans. He claimed it was all to avenge Maria, but that was a sorry excuse. If he wanted to do her death justice, he should've gone and ended his own life. But no. Instead, he went about causing havoc, and also aided the aliens who invaded us years ago, the Black Arms, and played a part in their plot to destroy the planet as well, even though it failed and he ended up rebelling against them. He still had his own personal wishes to wipe out the entire human race. I deployed many troops to find him and stop him, but he severely injured, if not killed every last one of them."
Now I was furious. "You've got to be kidding me! Innocent people died because of him, and then he takes more lives. That's crazy. That's purely evil. So...what happened to him? Where is he now?"
"No one knows. He hasn't been located on Earth, so it's possible he's in an entirely different galaxy."
"Good," I said with venom. "I have never seen him in my life and I already hate his guts."
For the first time since the conversation started, my grandpa smiled. "You'll never have to see him darling. I don't have a picture or anything. But I do have one of Maria though. Care to see?"
He reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet, unfolding it and flipping through the tabs. He then reached in and pulled out a family picture of me, my fraternal twin siblings, and my parents, beaming when he saw it. We all looked so happy, and were genuinely smiling instead of forcing grins like usual. He then reached behind it and pulled out a hidden old, sepia picture. The edges were browning, and the photo itself looked extremely aged. He handed it to me and I fumbled with it between my fingers.
Although the picture had no color, I could tell the girl in it was blonde. It was just her in the picture, sitting by a large window. Behind her outside the window, was a spaceship view of Earth, along with lots of stars. The girl's hands were crossed over one another as they rested on the outside of her dress. Her blonde hair was long and spilled over her shoulders. Her eyes were big and glassy, and had a unique sparkle to them. I smiled at how gentle she looked, but then my smile disappeared when I realized that this girl was dead. All because of the hedgehog who she thought was her friend. He was the sole reason she was killed.
"Wow...she really is pretty..." I sighed out loud. My grandpa nodded and took the picture from me. "I know. I miss her every day."
He looked up and stared blankly ahead. "I know I'm the G.U.N. commander now, but that's simply because I wanted to help find that abomination of a hedgehog and bring him to justice. Another part of it was to pay homage to Gerald Robotnik. He would've wanted his creation to be punished for the death of his granddaughter. I'm sure of it."
I nodded in agreement. I hated this Shadow the Hedgehog. He took away many innocent people's lives, including the family and friends of my own grandfather. I could never forgive him for what he's done. Though, I don't think anyone could.
After Grandpa bid me goodnight, I went to the guest bedroom, where my baby siblings were sleeping in two spare cribs. I crawled into bed, turning off the lamp and resting my head down on the fluffy pillow. I stared up at the ceiling, taking in all the information I had just learned about my grandpa's past. One simply story had become a series of unveiled secrets. And now, I had learned about the monster that plagued him, and so many others with sadness.
Shadow the Hedgehog...wherever you are now...know that you have one more person against you. I will never forgive you for what you've done to everyone...to my grandpa...to Maria...to everyone aboard the ARK. You're a sick and evil monster who should've never been created from the start. You deserve to burn in H-E-double hockey stick.' I thought fiercly, still trying to keep from using a cuss word.
I hope I never come across the likes of you. If you haven't already, I want you to die.
And with those hostile thoughts, I fell asleep.