Steve was dead. Another wallowing despair hit him as he realized that same breaking of a telepathic link between Diana had happened too. The pain of losing someone dear hit him twice as harder than before. He dropped to his knees and fell on his arms. Tears flooded out his eyes and onto the ground.
Grabbing hold of the black watch in his hands, he held it close to his heart. The battle suit was the last of Steve’s momentum as he safely tuck it in his clothes.
“This is a lie.” He choked up. “This is a lie!” Screaming at the top of his lungs, birds in the nearby vicinity flew out of the tree. His mind and heart was in turmoil. Streams of tears erupted nonstop till he could not cry anymore. Exhausted, he curled up into a ball and blacked out. An old memories of the past was brought to his attention in his dreams.
“Steve.” Diana voice called out from the kitchen. She was in her apron making dinner. “Steve. Could you set up the table please?”
“I’ll be right there.” Steve was moving a large box filled with broken down weapons. He placed it down next to the table, where Kiyro was sitting. Kiyro was studying when he felt a large thump startling him. He glanced up to see Steve towering over him watching him write.
“Hey buddy, what are you doing?” Steve cheerfully replied. He tussled Kiyro’s hair.
“Oh? How far have you gotten?”
“I’m already doing algorithm.”
“Already?” Steve was a bit shocked to see Kiyro hunched over diligently studying something way over his level. Clearing his throat, he once again spoke. “Kiyro help me out with setting up the table. You can finish your homework after you eat dinner.”
“Yes dad.” Kiyro didn’t’ mind helping out. He actually liked eating more than studying and Diana made really delicious food that he loved to eat. Quickly pushing the notebook and the book aside at the corner of the table, he pushed off the chair. Steve was standing near the cabinet and handed Kiyro a couple of dishes for him to carry.
“What is Rebirthed?”
Steve went still for a moment. Even Diana turned towards Kiyro and Steve shocked to hear such words from Kiyro.
“Where did you learn that word?” Steve carefully asked. He resumed taking down more plates and cups from the cabinet.
“I heard it from Sarah and Tony talking about it a couple days ago. When I asked them they said it would be best that you guys tell me what it is.”
“Well…” Steve was having a bit difficult time trying to find a way to describe the process for Kiyro to understand.
“Dad. I’m not a kid. Stop treating me like a kid.” Kiyro pouted, he place the dishes on the table. He put spread the dishes out for three people to eat from.
Diana brought over a pan filled with grilled fish. Using a metal tongue, she placed the hot steaming fish onto each plate. “Kiyro, you’re still a child.” Diana smiled.
The smell of grilled fish made Kiyro’s stomach grumble. He couldn’t wait to eat Diana’s cooked food. Even looking at it made his mouth water. Quickly climbing up on the chair, he quickly sat waiting patiently for Diana to finish placing the food on the table.
“Come on Dad. You’re hiding something from me aren’t you?”
Steve brought over the silverwares, cups, and a couple more wooden dishes. Placing them one-by-one he had begun to explain. “Kiyro. I was going to tell you this when you grew up abit more, but it seems the day have come for you to understand what being Rebirthed means.”
Diana brought over more food to the table and even brought over a hot steaming white rice. The smell of sweet jasmine rice made Kiyro’s stomach grumble even louder than before. He couldn’t wait to take a bite out of the delicious sweet rice.
“Rebirthed is a process to be born again.”
“How is that possible? Don’t we all have only one life to live?”
“So does it mean we can all can be born again more than once?” Kiyro was confused at what Steve was implying.
“Think of it like this. You remember when we went to go get your monthly check up?”
Kiyro nodded. He had begun to stuff food into his mouth.
“Well people who are in this village can be rebirthed more than once. There is a specific machine that allows the person to come back from the dead and into a new body. The machine somehow dives into the world of the dead and bring backs our soul. There are certain condition that needs to be met.”
“What are they?” Kiyro was even more curious of what Steve would tell him.
“The first is that one must be registered into both Growth and Rebirth machine. This will cut the time of being Rebirthed. The second is that the age limit to be registered must be around sixteen to twenty-one years old. Something about this age range seems to be a golden age range for the soul to be able to handle the baptism. The third and final requirement is that only the Federation is able to have access to the machine. There are rumors that their are private sponsors that have their own.”
“So we are safe from dying?”
“No.” Steve scratched his head trying to make it simple for Kiyro to understand. “You will die. There is no escaping that. Pain will follow and then release.”
Kiyro glanced at his father wondering if he had went through the whole ordeal. He could feel there were more to this Rebirth than what his father was telling him.
“So have you gone through such ordeal dad?”
“Yes.” Steve was thinking over his past, “many times.” He did not go any further than that.
“That means you’ll always be back won’t you?” Kiyro replied with a large smile. He was happy to know that his father would be back.
Steve gave him a warm smile. “Yes.”
Kiyro woke up with a start, his dream help him realized that both Steve and Diana was not truly dead. They were registered to the Rebirth Machine and they had a chance of coming back. His mood feeling better, he turned on his back. He saw bright stars high up in the sky glimmering brightly lighting up the world around him. How long has it been since he actually took the time to look up and enjoy the world around him. Relieved that Steve and Diana could be alive, he sighed.
Wait. The stars? Kiyro thought confused. The last time he was awake the sun was still out. “The others!” He bolted up. Remembering his promise, he quickly got up. He knew that everyone would be worried since he had left for so long.
There were no time to dally any longer, he needed to get back as soon as possible. With hurried steps, they ran towards the direction that he had come from. Luckily for him, his memories served him well allowing him to move through the same direction without getting lost. He was glad that even in the dark, he was able to see well.
Bright light could be seen not to far away from him, the fire light lit the surrounding area allowing Kiyro to see where his group were. Making his way down, Kiyro carefully entered into the light so he would not startle them or get shot by an arrow. He could even smell dinner being cooked from where he was at. His stomach grumbled from hunger, the last time he had ate was in the morning.
“Will. Jack. It’s me.” Kiyro held up his hand making himself defenseless as possible. Both Jack and Will stood up from the camp light that they have set up happily and relieved.
“Kiyro!” Jack rushed over to his side. “Are you alright? We were just thinking about going out to find you.” He checked to see if Kiyro was injured.
“Well I was going to find you. While the rest of them stayed here.” Will replied. He placed his spoon back into his bowl and started to scoop a bowl of food for Kiyro. “I’m glad that you are back.”
“Thanks Will. Is everyone doing well?”
“Yea. They’re sleeping right now. They been exhausted and sleeping from waiting for you. We thought you were gone” Jack whispered. The thought of him losing another member bothered him immensely.
Will handed him a bowl of food and Kiyro gladly took it. His hungry stomach was grateful for food that he had received. Taking a spoonful of food into his mouth, he took a large bite. The taste of meat and rice could be tasted. The savory taste of different flavors burst into his mouth. He couldn’t help but hungrily devour the food in front of him.
“This is pretty good. Who made this?” Kiyro replied in between each bite.
“Will did. He’s gotten better hasn’t he?” Jack walked back over and sat down to finish his meal.
“Yes. Its really good.” Kiyro took another mouthful of food and took a cold drink of water. His parched throat brought back life back to his bones. “I found the place where our parents had the battle between the Deviants.”
“You did?” Jack asked a bit too loudly. He covered his mouth to stop himself from becoming any louder and waking up the younger kids.
“Did you find anything?” Will asked calmly, but he too was curious about Kiyro’s answer.
“Well about that…” Kiyro was not to bent on telling them a lot of the villagers had died from an advance level Deviant.
“We can take it. Please tell us.” Will asked. He faced toward Kiyro with a determined face. Even Jack wanted to hear what Kiyro had to say. Kiyro could tell that they were growing up quickly in this harsh world. Just like him, he could not stay a young child anymore. No more would he cry and instead he would bury it deeply into his soul.
“There were a fierce battle between a higher level Deviant than a Type II. A lot of the villagers had died. It seem they won the battle, but I don’t know what happened next. I’m sorry.”
“What about our parents did you find th-h-heir body?” Jack asked stuttering trying to keep his cool but was failing miserably.
Complete awkward silence followed afterwards. Kiyro quickly replied, “don’t worry. They’ll be back they’re going to come back through the Rebirth process.”
“Oh really?” Jack sorrowful face was quickly brought back with joy. “Thanks Kiyro. I knew they were not truly dead.”
The short interaction surprised Kiyro, he thought they would burst out crying like him but instead they held up pretty strong. He felt ashamed that he broke down so easily when finding out his two most beloved people had died, but at the same time he had forgotten about the Rebirth process.
“There is a slight problem though.”
“What is it?”
“I’m not to sure which way we have to go towards our home. There are only two paths one of them leads home and the other leads out of the mountains. It’s a fifty-fifty chance that we could get it right.”
“There weren’t any hints to which direction that we have to take?”
“None.” Kiyro shook his head. He was not as skilled as Steve or Diana in reading the forest for information. Especially old information that has past for so long. “I’m not as good as Steve or Diana in reading the trail.”
“Then what are we going to do?” Jack asked worried. “Is there any other way we could try find our way back home?”
“Well there could be a way.” Kiyro thought it over. Why hadn’t he changed and tried to see if he could get a scent of Diana or Steve. “We’ll try something out in the morning. It’s best we get some sleep.”
“Yea.” Jack yawned and stretched. He walked over towards the wagon and climb into it.
Will followed after. He stopped and looked over his shoulder. “You think this is going to be okay?”
“I’m not sure.” Kiyro couldn’t tell a lie to Will and Jack. He didn’t know if he had enough courage to say yes.
Will nodded. “Thanks for telling the truth. Kiyro. I appreciate it.” He went ahead towards the Wagon and crawled under a blanket.
Kiyro felt a warm tingle in his stomach. The word hit him hard. A wave of relief filled his wounded heart and he could feel strength welling back up in himself. He had a job to do and he was going to succeed. To keep his family safe and his family was considered his life worth protecting in this harsh world. Picking up a basin full of water, he doused the burning flames. A hot sizzling hiss could be heard as the fire finally went out.
Tomorrow was going to be a long day, and he was anxious to get things done in the morning. Picking up the dishes, he had begun to pack them away. With his chores done, he went over towards the wagon and sat down in the driver side. Pulling a spare blanket from the wagon, he wrapped himself from the chilly wind. He tried his best to keep watch, but sleep washed over him as he sleep through the lullaby of the bugs that buzzed through the night.
Kiyro woke up with a start. Turning his head quickly from side-to-side, he scanned around to find out what had caused him to become alert. His eyes were well adjusted to the dark so it was not difficult to see around him. The night was abnormally quiet. The usually sounds of bugs chirping their songs were silenced and instead he heard the crackling of twigs breaking.
Bolting up, he grabbed a dagger that was stashed underneath his blanket. He kept one close at all times for just in case. Black shadows darted back and forth, making it difficult for Kiyro to figure out what or who it was. He feared that the Deviants had stumbled upon their camp. Quickly he grabbed the reins of the wagon, waking Star up from its slumber.
With a loud squak, he pushed forward jostling the wagon up and down. Everyone woke up in a start from the sudden harsh movement of the wagon. They were pin down onto the wagon worried that they would fall out. Kiyro held on to the rein directing the wagon from possible danger.
“Kiyro! What’s going on?” Will called out from the back. He was grabbing on tightly on the side of the wagon and holding onto the basket where Eve and Alex were sleeping.
“Drive carefully Kiyro or we’ll fall out!” Jack cried out. He was pinning both Isabel and Alan from sliding back and forth.
“No time!” Kiyro was straining his eyes trying to catch a glimpse of the following shadows and watching the surroundings so the wagon would not tip over.
“What’s wrong?” asked Will. He peered over his shoulder and noticed dark shadows running through the forest next to them. “Kiyro there something here!”
“There not Deviants are they?” Jack voice cracked from fear. Isabel and Alan eyes grew wide in fear. They huddled next to each other.
“I don’t know. Keep your head down and hold on!” exclaimed Kiyro.
The wagon took a sharp turn towards the right, where the wagon skidded.
“Ahh!” Everyone screamed in fright from the sudden turn.
Kiyro too held on for his dear life, trying not to fall off the wagon himself. With a creaking and moaning of the wagon, it bustled on without breaking. He was glad that the wagon was sturdy, but he did not know when these unknown beings would stop chasing after them. He prayed that they were not Deviants.
“They’re right behind us!” Will yelled. He had difficulties trying to get his footing.
The shadows followed closely behind them jumping through bushes and even surrounded them from both sides. Kiyro was determined to run away from this group of shadows. There were not just one, but nine.
One of the shadows dashed forward and jumped towards the wagon. Jack yelled out in fright. It was a Deviant Type II. With gaping jaws with rows of glistening teeth, claws outstretched towards Jack it aimed for his exposed throat.
“Watch out!” Will yelled, but Jack was to petrified to move. The sound of bones breaking and meat cleaving perfectly in half. The Deviant Type II head went flying back into the dark forest.
Another Deviant bursted out of towards the wagon, but this time it swerved towards the right towards the dark figure that cleaved the Deviant Type II in one swing. The clicking sound of the Deviant was loud and clear designating the target to be this new intruder. With black claws extended and its inhuman distorted form, the Deviant struck down towards the new stranger.
A shiny glimmering metallic like silver could be seen bouncing off from one of the two moons in the sky. A wide arcing swing of a sword that seem to glow with soft white light. Kiyro had never seen such weapon before, the sword seem to be decorated with feathers. The sword was graceful and elegant like an angel. All of a sudden the swords grew white feathered wings that stretched outwards. Each swing, the wings flapped a gust of wind as more Deviants bursted out from the woods and towards the new stranger cloaked in red and black.
Arrows whizzed past Kiyro’s head as a Deviant was aiming for him, a large blue feathered arrow was lodged deeply in its skull. Suddenly a beeping like sound could be heard and in seconds the Deviant exploded. Guts flew everywhere in black and green goo. Kiyro could not help but feel bile rose up his throat.
Star squealed and stumbled. One of the Deviants had slammed its body into the Star. The wagon crashed into the nearby tree, giving everyone a hard jolt. Kiyro was flunged out of the wagon. He rolled on the ground till he was stopped by a fallen tree. Dizzy and in pain, Kiyro turned towards the wagon. It was difficult for him to see from the streaming blood that covered his right eye.
Not to far away from the tipped over wagon was the crate where Alex and Eve were in. Their cries erupted in the darkness catching the attention of a stray Deviant that was not fighting the cloaked stranger.
“No!” Kiyro yelled. He pushed himself off the ground and ran as fast as he could. He was not going to lose Eve and Alex. They had Steve and Diana waiting for them somewhere in this world. There were things that he had to show both of them and bring them back together again. With his arms outstretched, he dived towards Alex and Eve. A large swipe of the Deviants claw came towards them both and dug its claws into Kiyro back. Five large bloody cuts were made on his back immobilizing him, he fell on top of the crate covering Alex and Eve.
Alex and Eve stared up towards Kiyro with large eyes, their eyes crinkled up into tears and bawled. With great conviction from the soaring pain of his back, he turned around with his back upon his brother and sister. He was not going to give up and live.
His stomach rumbled and he inhaled a deep breath. Hot heat formed in his stomach and tickled his throat. A gush of fire erupted from his mouth and sprayed onto the oncoming Deviant. Kiyro blew blazing fire constantly onto the Deviant with no rest. His breath became short making it difficult for Kiyro to breathe. He had to stop to take a gulp of air.
Kiyro was surprised that he could materialize fire from his mouth. The hot embers of flame cooled down making his mouth ache and tickle. His tongue flickered out of his mouth like a snake. The inflamed Deviant ran around in circles trying to put itself out, a black hammer decorated with black feathers had a booster-like jet streaming from its side came out from the darkness as it smashed into the skull of the Deviant’s head. A sickening thud of bones breaking as it collapsed and died onto the ground. A large towering black cloaked figure stepped out from the dark with the dark looking weapon slung over its shoulder.
Strange words that Kiyro could not understand spoke from the cloaked figure mouth. It was deep and hoarse voice kind of reminding him of Steve. Kiyro’s vision became blurry making it difficult for him to focus. He was losing blood fast. Teetering between life and death, Kiyro fell forward and collapsed. The last thing he remembered before blacking out was the cloaked figure stepping over the Deviant and walked over towards Kiyro. Kiyro did not have enough power to fight even though he struggled hard to keep awake. Darkness washed over him like a storm. The last thing he heard was both Alex and Eve crying and the deep hoarse voice talking to him in a calm tone making Kiyro black out.