So this a collaboration writing (based on a roleplay that was run with me and a few others) with me and one other person plus one guy doing the main world building. It's set in a world made from scratch, and it's based around two different worlds. This is something I take pretty seriously since at least the people I did show it off to initially were interested in it, that I've thrown my monies to get someone to make teh drawrings for this (Sadly, she's very busy at the moment. So hey guys you artists out there want to steal my money? Well, I'll be willing to part ways with my money...depending how much you ask. Just know it's going to be giving commissions in bulk. And weeb commissions at that).
Without further half sense making rambling, read this.
Chapter 1Where in the world am I?
A boy finds himself floating alone in the vastness of space. Despite not wearing a spacesuit, he is in no distress, and apparently unaware of his lack of a spacesuit. Instead he's wearing a pair of designer jeans, and a black cardigan vest and tie over a white button-up shirt. Taking stock of his surroundings, he notices a vibrant green nebula hanging in the space around him and an Earth-like planet laid out below him, but which is no planet he recognizes at all, with a spread of three continents and numerous islands, and the light of some orbital activity.
Opposite of this strange, alien world is a bright object that approaches him at a rapid pace. As it comes closer, the boy tries to examine it more closely, but his eyes skip over it, as if -unwilling to acknowledge its existence. His mind blanks after staring directly at it for longer than a second. The "Being" as he can only describe it as comes to a stop about twenty feet or so in front of him, appearing to be examining the boy. As if it’s judging him for all that he is worth. The boy braves another look at the "Being", starting from its bottom and working his way upward. It appears to be a beautiful woman, her flesh glowing an incandescent white, but any attempt to look at her face results in his eyes slipping away from her to study the space either side of her, as if his mind refuses to acknowledge what is there. The Being speaks, and he hears the voice echo inside his head
"You are not quite ready to hear what I must tell you. You're still too innocent. However, know that within the day, your life and those of several others will be changed against your will. Do not despair though, you will not be alone." ‘she’ says to him, ‘her’ voice reverberates both literally and metaphorically in his head. The boy’s only reaction is confusion to the Being’s statement. A large and tragic event isn’t something that would probably target him. After all, there are far more higher profile people out there who make for a better target.
“W-who are you? And where am I?” he asks her. The boy can tell from what body language of the ‘woman’ he can look at seems to be a bit hesitant for a moment before she speaks up in his mind.
“My name is not for human ears to comprehend, but you may call me The Guiding One. If you do come under the wrath of the woman I believe you will, I shall be your guide through it.” is her response. The boy just stares as much as he can stare at her.
“Why me? I know I have parents who are loaded, but I’m not special really.”
“Her choices do not target based on race, gender, or any other physical, cultural or monetary qualities. It is purely random, just like the powers she possesses.” Another voice then enters his head.
“Andrew. Andrew Bradwater. Please wake up. You will be late” this new voice is mostly monotone with minor fluctuations, almost robotic but strangely very human as well. The voice snaps him into a more lucid state, and he notices the lack of a spacesuit on him and being able to talk in space. It’s just a dream after all.
It’s at this moment that the 15-year old boy wakes up out of his bed. He is the son of two wealthy businessmen who run the Bradwater Technologies Corporation, an industry giant in the Corporate Union of America and a member of the country’s Board of Directors. The company specializes in mostly civilian and some military small arms, but has recently started to branch out into combat robotics. Their latest expansion has caused a corporate rivalry to sprout up between Bradwater Technologies and Mars-based Xantech Industries, who specializes in robotics both civil and military. However, despite his parents’ wealthy status, both he and his older sister Elcia have been sent to public school more oriented toward middle class families since they’ve first gone to school. His parents see it as experience for when he later takes over the business if his sister decides not to. He looks around.
The room is primarily a clean white color with black accents and trim. Most of the objects in the room scream class and money from the tiny trim to the closed window blinds that hide the massive cityscape from his view. He looks a little bit up toward the source of the sound. On the wall lays a large the holographic screen, there’s a person on the screen, a female with grey hair in a pageboy cut and red eyes. She appears to be around 20 years old and wears a blue bodysuit with red trimmings, showing off her lithe build. Perfect for a fitness junkie, or in her case, a combat frame. Finally achieving a state between “awake” and “five more minutes”, Andrew Bradwater rubs his eyes and yawns.
“Why did you wake me up so early, Kara?” He stretches out. He looks to the corner of the screen. September 1st, 3122, 6:01 AM. Today’s the first day of school, the realization causing him to lay back down in bed.
“Andrew, you need to take your education seriously.” He groans at that comment.
“Well, I might if I could download all the information I needed like you robots do, I just might.” His sleepy glare and annoyance are lost on the gynoid.
“Andrew, if you could do that, you wouldn’t need to go to school.”
“Exactly!” Andrew’s response at this point sets Kara off. Her flat, neutral expression turns into anger.
“Andrew! As your surrogate older sister, I’m telling you you need to get-” Suddenly the door to Andrew’s room is kicked open by a woman with lightly tanned skin, black hair and blue eyes. She has freckles and most notably her hair is an even bigger mess than the boy. Andrew jumps out of bed from the loud noise.
"Oi! Stupid little brother! Wake up! Today's the first day of school!" She shouts at Andrew. The girl notices Kara on the screen, giving a very mischievous grin.
“Oh, Andrew~ Who’s the girl? Are you cheating on Nikki?” Andrew gets up at lightning speed, ready to yell at his older sister Elcia only for Kara to interrupt.
“I apologize for the sudden appearance. I am the first in the K-series of combat gynoids. My name is Kara, and I act as an older sister figure to Andrew.” Kara’s attempt at cleaning up the situation unknowingly causes things to get worse for Andrew as Elcia glares at Andrew and shakes him around by the collar of his black and blue pajamas.
“‘Older sister’?! You already have me as a doting older sister, why do you nee-” Andrew interrupts his sister with his deadpan comments.
“Sis. First, I never asked for her to be this way. Second, I don’t think you’re doting at all. In fact, you’re being rather violent.” Andrew’s retort interrupts her little rant. Elcia just lets go of him and pushes him back on his bed, stomping out of the room. The door slams, and Andrew breathes a sigh of relief.
“Sheesh, look at what you did, Kara.” He gets back up off of the bed. Kara manages to at least look regretful.
"I apologize, I thought that my actions would have quelled that argument." Andrew sighs to her response, getting dressed in front of her, showing off his slender build. Kara appears to be confused by his actions.
“Andrew, you are doing something you normally wouldn’t show in front of a woma-”
“You’re a tin can that looks like one, but aren’t really one.” Kara gives him a dull stare at that comment.
"Was that supposed to be a joke? I apologize, but I did not find it entertaining. Despite my artificial status, I still identify as female.” Shaking her head at his poor manners, she continues. “Regardless of such, Andrew, I will not be able to be with you and Nicole today. Father wishes for me to be presented at the Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Expo here in Detroit today." Andrew smirks.
“You mean Xannykins wants to present you to the public finally? So you don’t have to wear clothes made in mind for humans anymore when you go outside?”
“I apologize, but secrecy was necessary until now.” Andrew notes to himself how Kara obsessively loves using the phrase ‘I apologize’ way too much. The concept of someone like won’t sell to defense contractors. They’ll laugh him out of the conference room with something like Kara, saying things like ‘It’s more like a maid!’ A sentiment that Andrew agrees with, stopping to imagine her in an ancient 19th century French maid uniform...much better. Getting himself back on track, he finishes putting his clothes on, which are the very same clothes that he was wearing in the dream.
“Andrew.” Kara beckons Andrews just as he’s about to open the door out into the living room. He turns toward her, gesturing for her to speak.
“I apologize if I’m being intrusive, but I heard you talking to yourself earlier. Who was it you were talking to?”
“It’s called dreaming, Kara. None of it is real. Must’ve been what I ate yesterday getting back at me or something.” He brushes her off. Kara gives him a nonplused look, before seeming to accept his answer and ending the call. Andrew leaves his room, going out into the living room. It’s also very clean as his bedroom is, with a couch surrounding a holographic television display. A woman in her mid 30s is watching the screen, taking up most of the couch’s space in doing so. She’s just dressed in a white tanktop and grey, cotton shorts. Typical apparel for sleeping.
It’s a newscast regarding after the week after the 500th anniversary since the end of the Great War. A war which has left much of the planet uninhabitable and many nearby cities of the nuclear fallout to either be domed or completely abandoned and causing a mass exodus . The Corporate Union of America’s Board intends to build a monument to remember the people who died in a massive and pointless war. More news comes down, including the formal investigation by the Collective Nations of Europe against potential crimes against humanity from the Collective Nations’ Research Group’s lead researcher Lucretia Aligerti and the start of the Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Expo which is to feature high profile businesses such as Bradwater Technologies, Xantech Industries, and Black Company. The messy, long blonde-haired, groggy, barely awake blue eyed woman stretches her arms and yawns.
“Right, I forgot about that…” She says. Andrew looks at her funny.
“Mom, you’re going to need to be there, unless you want dad to do your job again.” Melissa Bradwater is a scientific genius. A cool, beautiful, and charismatic woman to the eyes of the public, but at home, his mother is a lazy, slovenly slob.
“Mmmm, it’s what I married him for. Well, that and him being a total hunk also helped.” His father calls all of them to the table for breakfast. Much to his wife’s description, Markus is a well built, baby faced man with short, black hair and, unlike his wife, is all ready to go to work in a sharp, black suit. He has a bright smile on his face which seems more befitting of a housewife than than a husband. Markus gives Melissa that glare, indicating that so long as she isn’t dressed, she’s not allowed to eat. Andrew’s mother springs up and darts into that room and comes out a minute later wearing a black suit just like her husband with her hair just barely combed enough to be presentable. A sight that Andrew has seen all too many times.
“So...dad?” Andrew asks. His father looks up.
“Yes, Andrew?” He quickly takes note of his son’s more rotten mood than usual. “Did you have a bad dream or something?” Andrew looks at his father and gives him a sigh. His father really can see through him.
“Andrew got to talk to a robot girl when he woke up! She thinks she’s the older sister and not me!” Elcia barges in. The father, also being an engineer like the mother straightens up in his seat, his interest piqued from his daughter’s statement.
“Now, now, Elcia, please calm down. Who is this robot you are talking about?” He asks her.
“I...I don’t know! Just go ask Andrew!” She points over to her little brother, passing the hot seat over to him.
“It’s...the first unit of Xannykin’s K-series of robots. It has the designation Kara. It’s *supposed* to be a combat gynoid, but it behaves more like a overpowered meter maid.” Andrew snarks. Melissa’s eyes’ glow a little from the idea.
“A maid, huh? I could use one of those.” She looks to her husband, now filled with motivation. “I think I’ll be going this time, dear. It looks quite interesting.” Andrew looks flabbergasted.
“Please, mom. Don’t torture me. It’s already annoying enough to be woken up by it every morning. The only reason it hasn’t moved into here is it was supposed to be a secret until now. I don’t need the thought of there being newer models, considering how airheaded this one is...something like that is not the right thing for military action.” He puts his fork and knife down and gets up to get ready to go to school. “I rest my case. I’ve had enough of it already, so I’ll just be going to school now.” Markus just looks puzzled and scratches his head.
“I guess he really doesn’t like her at all.” Markus watches him shut the door and leave their apartment. The only apartment on the top floor of the skyscraper.
Andrew calls the elevator and thinks about all he just said to his family and to Kara herself and wonders if it was really was something that she should have been insulted for. After all, it’s just in her programming to behave that way so it isn’t her fault at all he thinks to himself. Before he can think too much into it, the elevator dings, beckoning him to enter, which Andrew complies to and hits the lobby button. As the elevator music chimes on and other people enter and leave, he drifts back to the dream he had before. He wonders if it’s just him thinking of his own personal fantasy or if it’s something that’s real that’s come to warn him. He shrugs it off quickly, however, since visions like that in his mind never are true. Ever.
Finally, the elevator dings and the door opens up to the lobby. He walks out to the lobby, a large room with an also clean white feel. Though the material here is slate instead of a more plasticine material in his apartment. The room is accented by glowing blue lights. Entering the lobby is a rather average looking girl. She looks to be about 17 years old and stands at five foot six inches, has tanned skin, and curly, dark brown hair cut to just above her shoulders. Her figure is lithe and she has little muscle definition. Her face is heart shaped, with somewhat chubby cheeks, a small pointed nose with rounded nostrils and a small almost unnoticeable line scar on her bottom lip, nearer to her right cheek. Her cheekbones don't stand out much and aren't high, but are not low enough for her face to sag. Her eyes are brown and they do not sink in nor are they popped out. And as for attire, she wears black, thick rimmed glasses, khakis, and a navy blue long sleeved shirt. Andrew walks up to her with a smile. She gives him a fond smile in return, then gives a slight frown at the state of his hair.
"Morning... did you even attempt to comb that mess today?" She sighs. The smile on Andrew disappearing and shrugs in return.
“Not really, Nicole.” Nicole makes her way over to him, just to run her hands through his messy black hair, making it just a tiny bit more presentable.
"I'll have to start carrying a comb if you keep this up, you know?" Andrew gives a small smile back at her flirting. Of all the annoying robots and people, Nicole Gardner to him was a shining beacon of goodness. The two of them had known each other since they were in elementary school and it was her who confessed to him in middle school. He accepted and the two of them had been going out since. It’s very strange to many people who look at them since Nicole is an orphan who is working a part time job just to stay afloat, giving both of them a very prince of pauper vibe to them.
"I...look forward to it." Is Andrew’s response. Nicole gives a small chuckle, before stepping away from him and turning toward the door.
"Well come on then, don't want to be late... again, right?" Andrew nods, following her out.
The cityscape is huge. There are numerous skyscrapers of various shapes and sizes that predominate the city for miles on end with the lights all over making a brilliant light show to those who fly above. It’s 6:25 AM, and traffic is in a rush in their commutes to work. People flood the streets both on foot and in motorized vehicles. The traffic in the area is slow and horns are beeping everywhere. This bothers Andrew a bit.
"Sure seems busier than usual today." Nicole looks to Andrew.
"Hn... you don't think there's an event or something in town we forgot about... do you?"
"Oh right, that...uh, Lilith Black woman and a bunch of other tech corporations are here today as part of the Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Expo." Nicole gasps.
"Wait! That was today?!"
“Yep.” Nicole noticeably panics, having forgotten about the event.
"Crap... Do you think it'll still be going on by the time we're done at school? I bet your mom is probably presenting there isn't she?" Andrew sighs.
“Yes, she is. If only for the chance to see Kara the overpowered meter maid. Sis kinda found out about her this morning...” Nicole adapts a coy look, smiling at him.
"You know she only looks out for you when I'm unable to do so... and for your sister finding out... well it's not too bad is it? I mean it's not like you called her your overprotective big sister..." There’s a moment of silence following that. "You did... didn't you?"
“No, but it called itself my doting surrogate older sister when Sis came in and saw it.” He sighs. “I think she actually strangled me a little bit too. I swear she’s way too violent.” Nicole gives him a small pat on the back.
"At least you're still alive, right?" Andrew nods his head in response.
“But, yeah, mom’s going to be there for the next few days.” Nicole grins.
"Awesome, and what ever I miss I can always watch later." Andrew nods again. "Good, let's hurry up then, only half an hour left." They both rush towards the school, Nicole grabbing Andrew's hand and dragging his now bright red face along. He looks ahead at the school the two of them go to, Deanwood Academy. A name so pretentious for what it really is worth. It’s at best a school where a lot of middle class families send their children to, but it’s more leaning toward lower middle class families. It seems to be a bad place to be, but considering if one is on the surface of Detroit, one has it pretty good compared to those who live in the underground portion. His parents deem it’s good to get to know his future customers will be like since his family’s business deals primarily with middle class people.
Andrew and Nicole enter into the building. The halls in the school are rather worn from age, but clean nonetheless. Lockers line the hallways where there aren’t doors on the ground level. Tens of kids are walking around all over the halls as well wearing whatever they wanted due to the school’s rather lax dress code. Andrew opens his locker, making himself inconspicuous as possible from the passing bullies, who prey on lunch money. He takes out the HoloTab, a holographic tablet with two, opposite siding gripping points allowing for some variability in dimensions of the holo screen, from his backpack, overhearing a conversation. From what he can tell, they’re a bunch of girls talking to someone he’s never heard about before.
"Woah, that's so cute. Where did you get those?" One of them asks the new girl, running a finger over the frills of her outfit. The oriental girl seems to be a rather short, meek and timid type of character. She has long, pink hair and stands around four feet eight inches. Along with a slender and petite build, her blue almond shaped eyes, and small nose give her a slightly mousy look. Her outfit which has the others cooing over it, is a tasteful purple vest, over a button up full sleeve pale pink blouse with small white frills along the collar and wrists, along with a similar over the knee skirt, and white leggings, finished off with a pair of dark purple mary janes.
"U-uhm....I bought them a-at home" She quietly responds. The girls look curious at that.
"At home? Your parents already trust you with buying stuff online? I wish I were like you." They sigh wistfully.
"N-no i meant a-at home in my country." The shorter girl seems a bit more nervous than before, what with the one girl invading her personal space.
"Ooooooooh~ You're not from here?" All three of them seem to perk up at that, having thought she was a local.
"U-uhm....no...I-I thought that was obvious..." She laughs awkwardly and uncomfortably. Nicole hears the girl mention she’s from a different country and decides to join in on the conversation. Andrew sighs, all that talk of fashion bores him since was never into the frilly girly girl type.
"Mind if I cut in?” She interjects. “I'm Nicole, a pleasure to meet you." The girl bows.
"U-uhm...nice to meet you too, p-please take care of me." Nicole smiles to the girl.
"Of course. What's your name, and do you know what class you're in?"
"I-I'm Haruka and i'm in class.....uhm..I-i forgot." They both hear Andrew groan at that. Nicole Gardner turns to Andrew and gives him a mild glare.
"Andy! Stop being a bystander and come introduce yourself." She then turns back to Haruka. "Well Haruka... I'd say you're about our age, so you should have one of the same homerooms as us."
"Yes, yes. I'm Andrew." Is his apathetic introduction. Haruka bows.
"I'm Haruka, nice to meet you."
"Haruka. You're a sophomore as well right?" He half-heartedly asks. Haruka looks at him confused.
"A sophomore..? W-what is that..?" She asks. All she receives is Andrew’s stare that just screams his lack of patience for this sort of this.
"U-uhm....don't stare at m-me, please.." Nicole gently nudges at Andrew. She goes on to explain to Haruka what that is all about.
"It's a how we measure grade levels here in the CUA. Sophomore is second year. Junior is third, and Senior is fourth. So you'll be with Andy here in homeroom." Nicole Gardner pats said male's messy head.
"O-oh, I didn't know, I-I guess I'm a sophomore then." Haruka looks at Andrew uncomfortably. The young man doesn’t seem too friendly to her.
"Don't let his cold behavior fool you, he's just a bit grumpy in the mornings." Nicole comforts Haruka. Andrew thinks to himself that this isn’t because he’s grumpy in the morning, but rather a strong distaste for her type of girl.
"Now treat our new student well, will you? She'll be looking to us for guidance." Nicole then smiles at Haruka. Haruka smile back at Nicole.
"If you have any problems, or questions, just track down me or Andy, and we'll take care of you, okay? Or if we can't we'll point you in the right direction." Nicole looks to the watch on her wrist before cursing.
"Ah, gotta go. Take care!" With that, she quickly shoulders her bag, before darting off toward her classes.
"It's always sad to see her go." Andrew sighs. Just for a little bit he thinks to himself. He’ll humor Nicole for just a little bit. It’s what he does out of love for her after all.
"Just follow me Haruka. I thought I saw a Haruka on the homeroom roster when I was grudgingly looking up the list last night." Andrew leads Haruka to his homeroom. It turns out to be the right one for her. He takes his seat and Haruka takes hers, a handful of students go to Haruka to talk with her.
Haruka looks to Andrew in distress, hoping to get a break from all these people wanting to talk to her. However, Andrew’s busy talking with his best friend Dan Fairchild, a friend he’s known since middle school. Without a way out, Haruka keeps talking to the other students then, despite being a bit frightened and scared. The teacher calls everyone to their seats to take attendance and shortly afterward the bell rings.
School begins. Andrew gets introduced to the usual. Algebra, English, Physical Education, and his elective in Communications Technology.
The day goes smoothly for him and soon enough, Andrew meets up with Nicole again. His gaze is drawn to the outside, after a sudden flash, only to see the weather has changed from this morning. It’s raining. Great. Nicole frowns at the sight of the rain.
"Well this was unexpected..." She remarks as Haruka takes out her umbrella and looks to the other two.
"I-is it not common here to always carry an umbrella with you..?" She asks, not all too familiar to this culture coming from what’s left of unradiated Japan, an island called Iwo Jima. Andrew shakes his head.
"I wasn't expecting rain today. That’s all."
"Nothing on the news said anything about rain either... So this is a bit troubling." Nicole responds. Haruka looks a little worried.
"I-I only have one umbrella with me, I-I'm sorry! You can have mine though! I-It doesn't really matter i-if I get wet." She offers it to Nicole, only for the older girl to shake her head.
"It's alright, you hang on to it. Though... it's just slightly big enough for all of us to fit under... sorta." Nicole looks at Andrew for confirmation. He looks and he seems certain it’s just enough.
"B-but we don't live at the same place."
"None of us do. Nicole keeps bugging my mom to live with us though. She obviously wants to go further." Andrew adds.
"A-are you two engaged.?" Haruka innocently asks. The two of their faces flare up red in response. While Andrew and Nicole have been going out for a few years already, he never consider that at all. They’re too young in his mind, especially for himself.
"D-don't go saying that so suddenly..." Nicole responds.
"W-well...uhm.....not really.. I-I'm sorry! I didn't want to offend anyone!" Haruka squeaks, holding her hands in front of her mouth. The meek type is all Andrew can think about. Nicole coughs.
"A-anyway, maybe we can hang out a bit, show you the sights? What do you say Haruka?" Nicole offers to Haruka.
"But....I need to pay rent for my apartment.."
"You don't live with your parents?" Nicole cups her chin in thought. Haruka simply looks at the ground and shakes her head. "Huh... then we've got a bit more in common than I thought."
"D-Don't worry, i won't ask your mother if I can m-move in with you." Haruka nervously laughs. Nicole then looks at Andrew.
"Andy, do you think...?"
“You think Mrs. Bradwater would be willing to help her out with a part-time job like she did with me?"
"Yeah I guess. She'll have to come along as we can talk."
“U-uhm what kind of job?” Haruka interjects.
"Mrs. Bradwater works in the tech field, really high quality stuff. But they always need support staff. You know, administrative support, desk jobs, or as most call it, grunt work."
"E-eh....I'm not good with technological things.."
"Well it wouldn't hurt to at least ask. If you can use a computer, or follow orders, you're pretty much fit to do any job."
“Okay.” Haruka nods. Nicole grins, and then nods as well
"Then we have our afternoon set! Onward! To the Expo!"
"Expo? What Expo?" Haruka asks.
“The Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Expo.” Andrew explains. “It’s where a bunch of big name technology firms show off what they’ve been doing in the fields of robotics. Nicole loves technology. A lot. But I’m more than certain she loves sweets even more.”
“I love sweets too!” Haruka giggles. Andrew simply gives her a deadpan look.
“Trust me, you don’t love sweets as much as she does.”
"I don't love sweets that much... besides, I have something better than sweets." Nicole replies. Haruka Houjou giggles again and starts searching through her bag, taking out a box of pocky and presents it to Nicole.
"You can have them if you want!" Nicole’s eyes gleam at that, Andrew now having serious doubts about her previous statement.
"Haruka, I think we'll be great friends." Nicole Gardner puts away the box of pocky for later. Haruka gives an ever pleasant smile, but all of this is grating on Andrew. This is was going to practically be a date, but then here comes this third wheel to ruin it all. He’s more than a bit peeved about the turn of events, but he does his best to hide the fact.
"Well then, I'll lead the way... I hope you don't mind that we'll be sticking rather close to you?" Nicole says to Haruka.
"M-maybe it would be better if one of you held the umbrella."
"I guess I can then, since I'll be leading the way..." Nicole takes the umbrella from Haruka, who is offering it to her. The three of them head outside. It’s as much as one would expect from a rainy day. Thick, dark clouds above with the pseudo sizzling sound that rain makes upon hitting the pavement. The drab gray coloring is darker from the rain and the clouding of the sun. Shadows that weren't there are now all too noticeable. Traffic still remains busy, though less so than earlier in the morning. Cracks of distant thunder are heard, Haruka squeaking at the sound. Andrew sighs.
"What are you expecting? Lightning to hit us? The odds of that are quite low."
"S-sorry..." A few minutes down their quiet stroll, their walking becomes slower and slower as an overpowering sense of dread comes over them. Nothing looks different, but something feels very...off. The sounds of bustling traffic become muted and distant. Nicole frowns as they walk, holding the umbrella a bit tighter. Haruka starts getting wet on one side because the umbrella is too high to protect her fully from the rain.
“Ah, sorry.” Nicole lowers the umbrella a bit closer to Haruka’s level. Still, this feeling of dread comes as off to Andrew and Nicole considering the countless times the two of them have walked down this street together.
"... Does... anyone else feel a bit... creeped out?" Nicole asks.
"Mhm.." Haruka walks a bit closer to the two, hoping to get a sense of security. A moment goes by, and Andrew spots a shadowy figure dart past the crowds at blazing speeds, but no one else strangely takes notice of it. It has a pointed top and a flowing, cloth like end to it, but the boy couldn’t discern anything else before it disappears from view into one of the alleyways. He keeps walking beside the two girls, peering over into alleyway as they pass by. Nothing out of the ordinary.
"This is very bizarre. Was I seeing things?" Andrew says. He is certain he was fooling himself. Then he turns his head back forward. Everyone but the three of them are gone and the rain has stopped. The clouds grow darker despite that, as if they were looking down on them to scare them. "Ooookay, this is getting weird." He barely holds his calm in a failing attempt to look tough and inspire confidence. Nicole is panicking, looking around for where all other life might have disappeared to, Haruka clinging on to Andrew in fright.
"This feels like one of those games..." Nicole says.
“Waiting for the jump?”
"Y-yeah... or this is when the horror comes out. You know... one of those survival horror
"I-I never played those."
“Let’s...let’s just keep going, alright? I rather you not jinx this any more, Nicole.”
"Well... it's times like this that things go wrong... b-but this isn't a g-game so w-we're probably... y-yeah let's go." Nicole jumps at the distant sound of thunder. "C-come on..." As they continue toward the convention center, Andrew feels a very dark, evil presence behind him. It feels as though something wants him dead, now. His breathing intensifies as he slowly turns his head to find….nothing. No one or thing is there to greet him with death. He slowly turns his head back forward again. Nothing there as well.
"Andrew?" Nicole asks him.
"I felt something very evil behind me. But there wasn't anything there."
"U-uhm....evil..? Like a robber..?" Haruka fears.
“No, like a monster ready to eat me.”
"A-a monster?!" Haruka squeaks. It’s at this point Nicole’s survival instincts really start kicking in.
"Okay... new plan. Everyone back to back for a second." They follow and wait. Minutes pass. Nothing. The empty world around them feels to drag on.
“This isn’t safe, Nicole. We need to keep going.” Andrew says to her in a serious tone. She hesitantly agrees with him and they keep walking, though Andrew keeps his eyes behind him for the most part. Just ahead of them is the convention center. After 45 minutes of walking in a terrifyingly lonely atmosphere, just up the steps is going to be haven. Nicole rushes up, excited to see the exhibits and for this to be all over. She opens the door, haven at last! The convention center is bright and densely populated...with still mannequin dolls.
No, it’s just a new horror waiting just for them. A thought dawns upon her. There is no escape. Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. I will hunt you to the end of your days.
"I-it's not... this isn't...W-WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE!?" She screams. As if she expects the mannequins to give her an answer. None of mannequins respond as both Andrew and Haruka catch up to her. They both are just terrified at what’s happened to the place. She closes the umbrella and holds it like a baseball bat.
“W-where did you bring me…” Haruka quietly sobs. Andrew spots, amongst all the mannequins, in the center of the round convention hall a pillar of light.
“What’s that?” He asks.
"I-I don't know.." Haruka answers.
“Do...I dare investigate it?” He feels an urge to move forward and take a closer look at it. It’s probably a portal, and it probably leads somewhere safer than where they are. His breathing becomes faster, more intense. He takes a deep breath and comes a little bit more to his senses, calming down as he starts walking toward the light. Nicole grabs his shoulder to stop him, but she is surprisingly dragged along. She stomps down and grabs both of his shoulders.
“A-Andrew?! Haruka, help me out here!” Her plea for help isn’t answered as Haruka stays where she, frozen in fear. She finally braves herself and then runs forward to help Nicole.
“That place is safer than where we are. I bet you that.” Andrew insists. That moment, all the mannequins lock their heads on to Andrew, even ones that whose bodies are facing away from him. Nothing else happens. Both of the girls jump back and fall on to the ground at the sudden movement. Andrew turns around, a serious look on his face.
“If this really has become a horror story, then we can’t just sit around and keep asking ‘why?’ because there will never be an answer. We just need to survive. Come on.” His approach to the light becomes slower in fear of what it might actually do...or become. Nicole quickly gets on her feet and rushes toward him.
"ANDREW! NO!" She shouts. He’s right in front of the light, his heart rate at an all time high as he looks around it. It looks like a portal, just what he had hoped for it to be. But, where does it go he wonders to himself. Just before he enters, Nicole grabs him by the back of his shirt and drags him back to a crying Haruka on the floor.
"What is wrong with you? Why are you acting like that?" Nicole demands. She appears to believe that Andrew isn’t behaving like himself.
"Do you have any better ideas? This place creeps me out. What's on the other side can't be too much worse, can it?” He says. “To quote an old person ‘There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.’ We jump through, we end this all. I hope. Alright?"
"No way. We're getting out of here." Nicole sounds frantic, her eyes darting about the room to keep the mannequins in sight.
"To where? There's no one out there!"
"W-we'll j-just head to your house o-or something. As long as we're not HERE. Who knows what that thing will lead to... whoever was talking might just be waiting for you to touch it so they can come out of nowhere and snatch you up." Nicole lets go of Andrew to pull Haruka into a hug who quickly returns it. Andrew looks back at the light, which is slowly growing in size.
“Well, the light’s getting bigger.” Nicole turns around and pales at what she sees.
"H-haruka... I know you're scared, terrified even, hell I'm in the same boat, b-but we need to start m-moving... now, o-okay?" Haruka nods in response. Andrew is well ahead of them, walking at a brisk pace to the entrance of the convention center. He opens the door to find...nothing but darkness. In the darkness lie hundreds of thousands of mannequins with their arms open to embrace the light coming towards them.
“Well, this looks like the end of the line for us.” Andrew says, content that this is where his life ends if that light isn’t actually a portal. Nicole runs up to the sight and whimpers, tears coming to her eyes.
"W-what the hell is happening here? W-when did we slip into an episode of The Dusk Zone!?" She looks down, deep into the darkness and spots someone. In an otherwise empty circular area, a vague figure, who seems to be wearing what looks like a typical black witch costume. Not many of the features can be identified, but there are glowing red eyes and white teeth that are very easy to see from how far she is. Nicole freezes at the creepy if not cliche witch-like being staring them down, her unformed snarky comment dying in her throat. Andrew notices the being as well.
“Just who or what is that?” He asks.
“Illebra. Witch of Reality.” A voice in the distance answers. It’s feminine, but also completely psychotic. It’s sourced at the being itself who in turn gives a suitable grin for a psycho. “You all are now my toys.” The light then rushes right up to them, smacking their backs. Their vision goes white.
I still really wish I could word my stuff a lot better. Halp.