Chapter 1: Hambo
"Marcy!" a female voice called. "Marceline!" "Come over here it's late!"
Four years had passed since she met him and they now had a little girl, yes a little girl who likes to run and jump around. Climbing trees was her specialty since she was raised in the country, far away from the fighting and the horrors of war that the city endured. She had midnight black hair that reached her shoulders and pale white skin.
"Marceline! God, that girl is going to kill me some day!" Her mother said walking away from the front door.
"I'm here mom." The little girl said coming out of a bush. "Look I killed a bird!"
"Marcy!" Her mother said walking towards her and bending down to see her better. "Where have you been? You're all dirty again…"
"I like to play in the forest!" she said smiling. "Look at my bird! It's blue!"
"Not another one Marcy…our backyard is a bird graveyard…." The mother said taking the dead bird away from her daughter's hands. "Come…let's get you clean."
The mother took the little girl by her shoulder and walked her into their house. She sat her down on the floor and went into another room looking for a hairbrush.
When she returned she sat down behind the little girl and surrounded her with her legs. "Okay Marcy let's brush your hair!" she said passing the brush gently on her daughter's short hair.
The mother began taking out some leaves that were attached to Marcy's hair, along with some dry branches.
"Why do you like hunting birds Marceline?" she asked softly.
"Because it's fun to chase them! They can fly you know? So I have to climb very fast and jump very high to catch them!"
"Isn't there something else for you to do besides killing poor innocent birds?"
"No mom. You won't let me play with the other kids." The girl said playing with her hands. "What does innocent means mommy?" she looked at her opening her eyes widely.
Her mother smiled. "To act like you do." I'm sorry for not letting you play with the others, but we've talked about that before, hadn't we?"
The girl nodded. "Sometimes I feel lonely…" "When it's dad going to come back?"
"He'll probably come to visit us soon…" her mother thought for a moment staring the window "Hey Marcy do you want me to find you a friend?"
The girl's face was illuminated with a big smile "Yes!" she replied.
Her mother continued brushing her hair while Marceline played with the dirt that was scattered over the floor. They remained in silence enjoying each other's company when suddenly sirens of warning began to sound in the distance.
"What's with that sound mom?" Marcy asked worriedly. She knew that sound and what it meant. She would always feel scared when it invaded the peaceful silence that surrounded them "Are they going to throw bombs over the city again?"
"Come with me." Her mother said lifting her up in her arms. "Let's go to sleep."
When this happened, her mother would always try to find the way to help her little girl not to think about it.
She turned off the lights and closed the window's curtains, and then she sat on the bed holding her daughter close to her chest.
"Are people going to die?" little Marcy asked.
"Maybe but don't think about that…we are safe here…" her mother replied like if that was the most normal thing in the world. At that time, it was.
The house moved slightly when the bombs exploded in the distance and some books felled from the shelves. The little girl shuddered in fear. She was afraid of that sound. She hated that feeling.
More bombs exploded, this time the sound was closer. Marceline pressed her face against her mother's chest.
"It's okay Marcy we are going to be fine." Her mother said. "It will end soon." she began to rock her daughter softly in her arms and hummed a lullaby.
"Let's lull your fears away." Her mother said caressing Marcy's hair.
"I love you mommy…" the girl said falling asleep cuddled in her mother's embrace.
Her mother smiled. "I'll make sure you don't feel lonely anymore…tomorrow I will start working on your friend." She whispered.
She kissed her forehead and laid her on the bed. She covered Marceline with a blanket and looked at the closed window wondering what kind of future waited for her daughter.
Finally morning came bringing a greyish sky and clouds of smoke from the destroyed city with her.
Marceline's head popped out at the window and stared the landscape surrounding her house. She was bored again. She hated to be shut inside.
"Mom! Can I go outside?" she asked looking at the window in front of her.
"Not today Marcy it's dangerous!" her mother replied from inside another room.
"But I need to! I'm bored!"
Her mother sighed. "Okay! But stay close! You hear me?"
"Yay!" Marceline said jumping out the window.
"Marceline? Did you hear what I said?" … "Oh that girl!" "God please keep her safe." Her mother prayed in resignation.
Marceline ran downhill happily letting herself fall and began rolling in the grass, when she got down she stood up and began running uphill to throw herself again.
She rolled downhill once more, this time falling on her chin and swallowing a bunch of dust.
"Blah! She exclaimed cleaning her tongue with her hands and spitting on the ground.
She laid on her back and stared at the grey skies with a smile on her face, when suddenly a red bird passed flying in front of her. "Oh! Hey birdie! C'mon here!" she said standing up and running behind him.
Meanwhile on the other limit of the forest a group of mischievous kids wandered around carrying walking sticks and toy guns.
"Hey I don't think it's a good idea to come in here, we are too far from home, let's go back!" one of them said pointing nervously his rubber pistol everywhere.
"No way you coward!" a taller boy replied, he seemed to be their leader.
"Return home by yourself!" another one scolded him.
There were three of them and they were about nine or ten years old. They were exploring the forest because they heard a story about a demon that lived in those woods and if you managed to kill him you'll become a hero and gain lots of money. Of course it wasn't a true story…at least the part of the hero and the money. Anyway, let's say their leader called himself Jet, he wore a black leather jacket, the second on command was called Jim, he used a baseball cap and the smallest and shiest one's name was Tim.
"No…I was just saying…" Tim continued, "This could be dangerous."
"Of course it is!" Jim replied closing his fists solemnly.
"If we find that demon and kill it…" Jet said.
"We'll be heroes!" The taller kids laughed while Tim stared at them in concern.
Suddenly they heard a strange sound coming from the top of trees.
"G-guys!" "Did you hear that?" Tim asked hiding behind a tree.
"Yeah…it was close…" Jim whispered.
"Shhh! Quiet you two!" Jet ordered, "Let's hide and use the element of surprise!"
"Roger sir!" the boys replied obeying him.
They walked and hid under a bush waiting. The three tried to fake courage between each other but in reality they were pissing their pants out of fear.
Marceline moved swiftly jumping from branch to branch chasing the red bird. "Come here I won't hurt you! Mom told me not to kill poor innocent birds like you!" she said trying to catch it in mid-air.
The bird continued flying until it decided to perch on a distant tree. Marceline stopped herself to perch in a close branch as well. The girl found that from the place she stood she could observe him carefully. "You're mine!" she shouted jumping over him, but the bird was faster and flew away before she could change her direction, making her crash against the tree and fall onto the ground.
She landed on her face and stood up quickly holding her nose. "AUWW! This hurts! She yelled rubbing her face.
The kids who were hidden heard the whole fuss and decided to have a glimpse of what was happening. "Look it's a little girl!" one of them whispered.
"What's a little girl doing in a place like this?" Jet asked himself.
Marceline sat on the ground and started humming her mother's song, when she saw a frog jump out of a hole. "Oh!" she said bending down to see it better.
"Hmmmm…. mom didn't say anything about hunting frogs…" she whispered standing on her four extremities. "Here frog, I want to show you something!" she said imitating the frog's stance. "C'mon here!"
"She's chasing that frog!" Tim yelled.
"I can see that fool!" Jim replied.
"Be quiet! She's coming!"
But when the kids turned to observe Marceline again, she was already gone.
"W-where did she go?" Jet asked.
"She was here a second ago!" Jim added.
"What if she was some kind of ghost?" Tim said with a shaky voice.
"What are you doing here?" Marceline asked hanging upside down from a branch over the bush where they were hiding.
"Waaaa! She's here!" Jim shouted.
"Hurry let's run away!" Tim said trying to escape.
"No jerks! She's nothing but a little girl, there's no need to be afraid." Jet said staring at her.
"You are not allowed to be here…and I'm not allowed to see you, it would be better if you leave this place." Marceline said letting herself go and landing perfectly on her feet.
"Who are you to tell us what to do?" The taller boy replied.
"I'm Marceline." She answered.
"What?" Tim asked confused.
"We didn't ask for your name!" Jim shouted.
"But you said "who are you" Marceline replied blinking.
"Huh? You're not understanding what I'm saying, right?"
"What do you mean? We speak the same language." Marceline said staring at him seriously.
The other kids laughed. "She's just a dummy!"
"Hey! I'm not!" she replied annoyed.
"Yes you are!" the taller kid said crossing his arms.
"You should go home this is no place for kiddos like you!" Jim said standing on his toes to look taller.
"Yeah! There's a demon living is woods you know? If you don't go he'll eat you!" Tim said trying to appear brave.
"You are wrong he doesn't live here!" Marceline replied, "He lives in The Nightosphere and he won't eat me cause he's my daddy!" she stuck out her tongue at them.
"What did she say, Nightosphere?" Jim asked looking at his leader.
"We didn't come here to play with you!" Jet said pushing her aside.
"Play? Who's playing?" Marceline asked confused. "Oh! You're playing? May I play with you? Pleeeaaasee? She said making a big smile.
"I told you we are not here to-" Jet was about to reply when Jim began to poke his arm.
"Hey am I hallucinating or does this girl has fangs?" Jim asked. His knees were shaking.
"I-it's true…now that you mention it…she's pretty weird!" Tim replied hiding behind him. "HAhh! Maybe she's the demon!"
"Demon? She looks more like a goblin to me." Jim said staring at the girl. Marceline tilted her head not understanding what they meant.
"I don't care what she is! It's clear she's not human!" Jet shouted at them pointing the girl with his right arm.
"Yes I am, well almost, mom is a human!" Marceline replied. "Like you! We can be friends!"
"Friends?" "Who would want befriend something like you!" Jim replied.
"But why are you saying that?" Marceline asked confused.
"Let's go guys! She'll probably call her demon parents to eat us!" Tim said pulling Jim's arm.
"No! I'm not going to- Hey I told you my mother was a human!" Marceline yelled.
"Yeah right…what kind of human could have something like you!" Jim said staring at her.
"My mom does and she's a very good person!" she frowned facing him.
"I bet she's lying!" Tim said.
"I bet her mother is ugly!" Jim added.
"Quiet! That's not true! She's…she's…" Marceline stopped her talking to dry the tears in her eyes with her arm. "You don't know her! Why are you so mean?"
"Let's go Tim! You're pissing her off!"
"Right Jim! We don't have any business with non humans!"
"I'm half human!" Marceline replied shouting while the other two kids ran away.
"What ever you are, you are not human! If I were in you, I'll run away before the cloud comes to get me!" Jet said sticking out his tongue before following his friends.
"Cl-cloud?" Marceline whispered falling on her knees. "Humans…are not friendly…"
Marceline walked slowly through the woods on her way back home; she still had tears in her eyes and was wondering if she'll ever be able to play with someone. Little kids are supposed to do that, play with friends, but maybe humans weren't capable of understanding that.
She decided not to tell her mother what just happened and dried her tears. "Don't you dare to tell her or I promise I'll kill you and use your tongue for my slingshot, is that clear?" she talked to the frog inside her overall pocket.
"Ribitt" the frog replied with a blank expression.
"Okay you've been warned!" she stared at the sky thinking "Hmmm… let's pretend we were playing hide n' seek, I'll put you down so you can hide somewhere and I will start counting ready?" she placed the frog on the ground.
"Great here we go!" she yelled covering her eyes with her hands. "One, two, three…" she doubted "one, two, four?" she shook her head and tried again "one, two, three, four, that's it! Five, six, …eight?" Marceline bit her lip while thinking; she decided to give up "Ummm…TEN!" "Ready or not here I come!"
She started walking carefully paying attention to her surroundings. "Even if I can't see you I can track you using my ears and my nose!" she said and began to crouch placing her nose against the ground.
"I've got your stinky smell! Prepare to loose!" she shouted standing up and running carelessly not noticing a rock on her way.
She tripped with it and fell rolling at a great speed downhill, the world spun around her crazily until a tree stopped her crash.
She tried to stand up but fell down immediately due to being dizzy. She held her head trying to make the world stop, she could swear her eyes were spinning.
"Y-you see! …frog! …I told you I'll find you!" she squinted her eyes trying to see the amphibian. "Hey! Who's your friend?"
"Huh?" she rubbed her eyes with her fists. "Oh I'm seeing double!" she chuckled.
Marceline shook her head to snap out of it. "That wasn't funny at all!" she said trying to stand up again when she felt a sting crossing her body "Auuwwch!" she groaned painfully holding her leg.
She looked at her knee it was covered with dirt and mud; on top of that she was bleeding.
"Ribitt" the frog jumped over her head.
She moaned quietly. "Don't worry it's just a scratch!" she looked at the sun setting in the horizon "It's getting late! We should hurry!" Marceline said picking the frog and began to run.
When she saw her house in the distance she began to shout. "Mom! I'm back!"
Marceline sat on the table staring at her mother while she cleaned the wound on her knee. She took out a bottle of alcohol and some cotton.
"Now, don't move" Marceline hated when she said that, it could only mean… "This might sting a little…" her mother said placing the cotton over the cut.
Marceline groaned loudly staring at the ceiling like if she was praying for mercy. Her mother laughed watching her "C'mon it wasn't that bad!" she said bandaging the girl's knee, then she took Marcy in her arms and kissed her forehead "I'm hurting you because I love you" she smiled placing her on the floor.
"It didn't hurt!" Marceline replied staring at her.
"Right…miss brave" her mother joked patting her head "Oh! I almost forgot!" she said snapping her fingers.
"What did you forget mommy?" the girl asked pulling her skirt while staring at her with curiosity.
"I want to introduce you to somebody!" her mother answered taking her by the hand leading her into their bedroom.
She left Marceline at the door while she picked up something from the bed. The girl stared at her trying to figure out what she was doing "Come here Marcy! He says he wants to see you!"
"Who?" the girl blinked walking into the room "who wants to see me?" she asked leaning closer to her mom.
She took out a strange teddy bear with long arms and feet, his eyes where two blue buttons and his mouth was a stitched smile. Marceline stared at the rag doll in wonder and began to clap her hands.
"He's smiling at me!" she said excited "Who is he? What's his name?"
Her mother chuckled "Why don't you ask him?" she gave the doll to her. Marceline hold him in front of her.
"What's your name mister?" she asked placing the strange-looking bear close to her ear. She remained in silence and then gasped "Mom! He says his name is Hambo!"
"Oh! Nice to meet you!" her mother replied shaking the doll's arm.
"Mom where did he came from?" Marceline asked.
"I called him, he wants to be your friend!" her mother replied.
The little girl became even happier and hugged Hambo strongly, then she jumped into her mother's arms. Both fell over the bed laughing. "Thanks mom…"
"You know I'll do anything for you!" her mother said pressing her nose against her's "Do you want me to teach you how to fix him?"
"Fix him?" Marceline asked holding Hambo in her arm.
"Yeah… what happens if he gets hurt or scratches his knees like someone I know?"
Marceline opened her eyes widely "It's true!" she gasped, "teach me to be a doctor!" she begged.
"Sure pay attention now…" her mother said while grabbing a needle and some thread "first of all, this metal stick is called a needle and if you are not careful you can hurt yourself…"
"Like a stinging bee?" the girl asked.
"Oh…amazing…" Marceline said watching her mother sewing technique.
The next day little Marcy spent the whole morning with her new friend Hambo. Rolling down the hill and hunting birds and frogs became ten times better now that she had someone to share her adventures and games.
She laid her back on a tree and held Hambo close to her heart "You and I will always be friends! I promise I'll never leave you, do you promise the same?" she stared at her teddy bear "I knew you will!" she replied hugging him.