It was dark. I hadn't seen sunlight since before I'd turned five. Colour had been bleached from this world and replaced with the never ending shades of grey and occasional crimson.

I was one of the few fortunate humans that survived the radioactive wave that swallowed the earth whole about ten years ago. Ever since then this world turned into purgatory, and our population split into fifths.

I say fifths, but that's only the more accurate number. Most of this world was made up of vampires, hollows, demons, monsters and shape shifters, but there were two other species. These were rare to find, and even more so to find alive. Believe it or not, the first of the two were humans. We were scarce, a rare piece of sanity in this good-for-nothing world. As for the second... a man walking up to you in bare boxers waving a tulip and grinning like a maniac was more than likely to happen than you spotting one of these; angels.

Personally I thought that an angel's existence was total bull shit. But at the rate this world changed, I wouldn't be surprised if one showed up at my front door.

I sighed, running my fingers run through my hair as cold air chilled my throat. I stood at the edge of a cliff overlooking the broken and burnt remains of Karakura town below. It had been a long time since I faced the town I left so many years ago.

"Yo, Ichigo, you coming?" my friend, Grimmjow, called for me from behind.

I turned to him, fake smile plastered apon my face. "Course I am, just catching a view of our new place. It looks like a dump."

Somewhere on my left, Renji commented, "Give him a break Grimmjow! You know how much of a softy Ichigo is when it comes to nice scenery."

"Shut up Renji," I hissed softly, knowing full well that he wouldn't listen to me. I decided to tune him out, taking a few more seconds to gaze around at my old town. I wish they all could've seen my town back when it was painted in color, but not only was that never going to happen, they didn't even know that this was my old town.

A harsh shake to my shoulder snapped me back into the present. Renji muttered something stupid, Grimmjow slapped my back and we all took to the path down the mountain, the rest of our group trudging silently behind.

Renji and Grimmjow were in the lead, I was behind them forming a small triangle. Behind me was Orihime chatting away with Rukia and Tatsuki. The overgrown, dark skinned man behind them was Chad, followed silently by Uryu and Ulquiorra. And at the very back was the ever bouncy Rangiku skipping along beside Toshiro, who was only slightly more energetic that Uryu and Ulquiorra.

The eleven of us had been friends for about seven years. The time before that everyone was on their own.

Approaching an old church, I started to feel sick. Most churches bring this feeling simply because all humans had given up on seeking good. This world was doomed the moment humans picked up a stick and invented fire.

Chad huffed gently and Orihime went silent. I knew they all felt the same way walking past the old building. We all wanted to restore humanity, but in our hearts we knew that all we could do was pray and hope someone would still answer.

Eventually we came down my street. I had to choke back tears, seeing my old home left in a shattered and broken state. I stepped up to my door, the blue paint peeling or otherwise covered in thick ashes. I took off the hanger on the door, it still clearly saying "Kurosaki Clinic."

"It's a clinic," I said, faking ignorance.

"Good." Uryu commented, the sound of him pushing his glasses up his bony nose mashing with his voice. "There's plenty of situations where medical equipment could come in handy."

"Oh yeah, plenty..." Tatsuki muttered from the back of the group. She gave everyone a look that said, 'He's just kidding, right?'

I chuckled a little, but the depression of this town was too much to allow me to release a real laugh. Everyone else remained silent, some browsing the other shells of empty houses for anything that looked useful.

I entered my old house, the door nearly falling off its hinges with just a small push. Sighing, I tried to picture this house the way it looked in its prime, but all that did was make me feel worse. I climbed up the stairs, having to jump over a huge hole about half way up them. Around the corner was Karin and Yuzu's room, then a bit further was mine and around another corner was my mom and dad's room.

I slid my duffle bag off of my shoulder and tossed it across the hallway. After a few seconds I decided the floor was strong enough to hold my weight and took a step forward. Step after step I shuffled along, the floor creaking slightly but not breaking. Once I got to my room, I hauled my duffle bag back over my shoulder and descended into the world of memories.

My bed was still set perfectly in the far corner with the window carved into the wall directly above it. Toys and moldy boxes were pouring out of my closet. My desk had been over turned; the math book I had forgotten just lay on the floor. The shelf of books on the other side of my room was still intact, but it looked like it'd fall over any day now. I chuckled softly. My mother would've killed me for making such a mess in my room, but she would've smiled afterwards and helped me to clean it up.

I ran my fingers across the old and dusty books on the shelf. Each one brought back memories, not all of them good. There was Alice in Wonderland, the story I would beg my mom to read every night. The next seven were the Harry Potter series. I had always had a strange obsession with the fifth one. Then there were smaller books like the W.i.t.c.h. series – another strange obsession – and Goosebumps or Nancy Drew. I was a child seeking adventure, but I never predicted I would end up in this nightmare.

I let a tear fall as I read the last book's name. It was a bit of a sad book, The Hand of Robin Squires, but it wasn't the reason I was crying. No more than two days before the world ended, I had gotten into an argument with Yuzu and Karin. The three of us fought for an hour, and then long after that it had started to get physical. Karin hit me, Yuzu sobbed from the hall way, and I took that book and threw it at both of them yelling about how much I hated them.

It was far from true. I loved my family very much, especially my sisters. But I still can't forgive myself for making my last impression a hateful one.


I felt my heart lurch. I turned around, tears still freshly rolling across my cheeks.

"Brother... why are you crying?"

I dropped to my knees. My eyes stung from dehydration, my heart pounding in my head from the sight before me. Yuzu stood in the hallway, though I knew it wasn't her. For one, Yuzu's eyes were warm and brown, not cold like mine, and hers right now were a light blue. It was a shifter, not my sister, but the voice still hurt, the pain still burned.

"Don't cry Ichi-Nisan."

She walked up to me, her forehead just barely reaching my chin. Had I really grown so tall in the past ten years?

"I don't like seeing you cry Nisan... Please don't-"

Blood chocked her voice dry. Her lips bubbled over in red suds, her eyes rolling back into her head. Yuzu's soft voice was overthrown by a hoarse cry made from the shape shifter. My blade – made of pure silver – stuck through its back, the pointed tip sticking out of its chest.

Its body fell limp in my hands, Yuzu's imitated eyes falling shut. My arms started shaking and my tears soaked her face. I couldn't believe this was happening again. And, whether or not she was a shape shifter, this time I'd be able to give my sister a proper goodbye.

"Ichigo!" came the sound of Rukia's voice. I wiped away my tears, carefully removing my blade from the shifter's body. "Hey, Ichigo! Are you okay? I heard screaming, are you okay?"

"Fine," I squeaked. I cleared my throat. "I'm fine," I stated. That sounded much better.

I could hear Rukia shuffling down the hall. She must've bolted in, and now that she knew I was okay she took her time to catch her breath.

"It was a shifter." I shrugged. My voice almost sounded normal this time. "Dead now, but that damned monster took the form of a little girl."

"Uh huh..." Rukia huffed. "Well... did you find... anything useful?"

"I found some books. Tatsuki might like them."

"Sure, why not?" Rukia walked into my room. By then my tears were dry. I probably still looked terrible, but she'd just brush it off as stress from fighting. "Which ones did you find?"

I had to laugh at her small talk. It was entertaining how Rukia could become caught up in the simplest of things. "Well there's..."

Our conversation was slow, but it never really ended. It was all about the books, from the math one to the few on the shelf; it was a long conversation about books.

Eventually we left my house, her arms filled with books, and my duffle bag filled with medication and stuff you'd find in a first aid kit. We found Uryu and Ulquiorra waiting for us on the street. They had been exchanging silent words when we got there and, with a gentile push to his glasses, Uryu led us to a house where we'd all spend the next few weeks.

Alright, believe it or not, this idea came to me in my Religion class.

So, let me know what you think! :D I'm looking forward to continuing this story.