Rewind Part II
August 15, 2051. Tuesday. I am 15 years old.
“I’m telling you, I saw a demon. Our mother had her soul stolen.” Kiyro was dead set serious on what he saw. He knew he sounded crazy, but what he saw wasn’t a lie. “That’s why she died!”
He has repeatedly told his brother the same story for the past three days. The frustration has been building up in his heart every time his brother doesn’t listen.
Why was it so difficult for his brother to understand that what he saw wasn’t just a dream but a reality? He thought.
“You said that for the past few days, and I’ll repeat it; I don’t believe you.” Kyle was busy typing up a report on his computer.
“Come on, Kyle. I told you, I’m not faking this at all. You’ve known me for the past fifteen years, and you don’t believe me now?” Kiyro paced back and forth, getting agitated as the second went by. “Look, don’t you remember what our mother said about grandmother having special powers.”
Kyle finally stopped, leaning back onto his chair, and gave Kiyro a defeated look. Kiyro could tell that he wasn’t pleased with being bothered. “Not really.”
Kiyro ground his teeth; he breathed in a sigh to calm his agitation. “When we were six years old, mom told us a story about grandma.”
“I might vaguely remember.”
“She said that grandma had a gift. She saw and talked to the spirits.”
“So, you’re saying that you have the same gift?”
“Yes, though I’m not sure about the talking part.” Telling people about what he could do, even if his brother, was complex. His hand started clammily, and his legs uncomfortably shifted from side to side, trying to be comfortable. Why was it so hard to say something so simple? The reason behind it; was that nobody would believe him, and his blood brother, who he has lived with since birth, was exactly saying what he had feared.
“Okay, fine. Let’s say that you have the same gift as grandma. What about it? You saw your mother’s soul get spirited away by some man in a hood that took her soul away for no apparent reason?”
“I don’t believe there’s no apparent reason.” He replied, “Mom is different. I swear, I thought I saw….”
“You saw what?” Kyle scrunched his eyebrow, massaging his temple on his side.
“Spit it out, will you? Mom’s dead; I know you are depressed, and to go so far as to say that mom’s soul is stolen. What for? Why? How come? Do you even realize that it sounds, so farfetch’d?” Kyle’s voice went up an octave. “Grow up, Kiyro. We’re not children anymore.”
Kiyro tried his best to calm his nerves. His body started to heat up, he wanted to punch Kyle for not believing in him, but he knew better. Using violence against his brother wouldn’t change his answer; It was highly unlikely he would change his thought. If only he could prove it. If only he could show him what he had seen.
“It’s not far-fetched. You always believed me when we were young. What changed? Do you not want to believe what happened is the truth? No angel came down from heaven and saved our mother’s soul. A demon did.” He seethed.
Kyle’s shoulder slumped backward. He looked up at the ceiling and released an exasperated breath. “Fine, let’s say a demon steals that mother’s soul. What are you going to do about it? Do you even know how it’s possible to get it back?”
“If you don’t know, why bring it up.”
“It’s our mother!” He threw up his arm. “We got to do something.”
“I think you need to sleep on this.”
“Fine, whatever.” Kiyro turned around sharply, his hand clenched, and Kiyro stormed out. Then, with a loud slam of the door, he left without another word. He stormed back towards his room, but his steps lightened, and he felt exhausted. Maybe fighting against the current wasn’t a good idea, and he should let this go. But, honestly, he didn’t know a single way around this whole predicament.
The whole thing was strange. Zero hadn’t cried a single tear for his mother. Compared to his brother. He knew what had happened: his mother wasn’t truly dead but left behind her physical shell.
Entering his dim room, he flopped face forward onto the bed, defeated. The muscles on his body ached; before meeting with his brother, he went out for a run to get rid of the stress.
“What the hell is wrong with me?” Kiyro mumbled into the cover; he turned around onto his back and stared into the ceiling wall. The dim glowing lights of the glow-in-the-dark stars lit up greenish yellow. He and his brother had personally put up those stars with their father when they were ten years old. The thought of having stars to look at, especially at night when he couldn’t go out and sleep under the sky, was a calming effect on his mind.
“Why doesn’t he want to believe me? Is it so hard to believe someone stole our mother’s soul?” He gritted his teeth and clenched his hand. “I swear if I ever find that demon, I will get my mother’s soul back.” But then, with the resolution set in his heart, he felt more relieved to say it.
Kiyro smelled a creeping scent of garbage, filling his nose to the point where he pushed himself up to see where this smell was coming from. The smell got a lot stronger; he could even feel the room’s temperature slowly dropping, leaving behind a smoky hot breath. The end of his hair started to rise on his skin.
He instantly knew this feeling, the quickening of his heart, the nervous restlessness of his body, and the terror that struck his heart. Again, the memory of the man with the hood flashed through his head. Again, his heart gripped in fear.
Their body tensed, and he bolted up, straightening his back. His gaze slowly, looking from right to left. Even though he said he would make the black shadow pay, he couldn’t think of any answer on what he should do right now.
The creeping feeling became stronger, and the door to his room creaked slowly open. Kiyro’s eyes became wide, and he gulped. He felt like a complete wuss for being afraid, but he had a justifiable reason. He didn’t know how to make whatever it was go away or even how to fight it. Fighting physical objects was easy, and he and his brother weren’t afraid of humans and could stand up to them.
But a demon or a monster? That was a different story altogether. He had searched through the web for various supposed ways to get rid of the spirits online for the past few days, but he hadn’t tried using it before now.
His hand scrambled out near his desk and grabbed the sea salt he had brought. He bolted towards the door and started to shake a thick line of salt across the door so that no space had an opening. The door creaked open even faster, and his hands weakened, dropping the salt he had and running over to the bed.
Kiyro pulled back the blanket and dove into it. He covered head-to-toe, peeking out from the side. His hair fell forward, covering half of his view. He pulled back his hair with his right hand to get a better look.
What he saw next made him freeze. The same hooded black shadow appeared in front of the door, staring into his room. He could feel the shadow’s gaze sweeping through the room and eventually resting on the bed.
Kiyro cursed in his head. His hand felt even more clammy than before. His arm trembles at the thought of his soul being snatched away by the demon. The anger that he had for his anguish was gone. Instead, the oppressive energy of death, darkness, and pure malice swept through the room, making breathing almost difficult. His lungs choked up, his breath became short and heavy, and he felt his heart squeeze.
Evil. That was the best word to describe the shadow by the door. No other words could describe the oppressive, overwhelming feeling but that one word. He had felt all emotions directed at him before, but not to this degree. Malice and Hatred were the core emotions he felt off the hooded shadow; the shadow wanted him dead, no question about that.
Then he heard Evil speak in a low, scratchy voice, making him gulp in fear.
The shadow slowly raised his hand and pointed directly at the bed. Kiyro froze up; his mind went completely blank, unable to comprehend what the shadow had said. Was he next? Has he become a wanted man, just like his mother? What the heck was happening for the demon to come after him to such great lengths?
Finally, the shadow slowly turned. The temperature in his room started to get warmer, and the smell of death was leaving his room, bringing instead a cool air that pushed away the smell. The board creaked as if he was a living entity with a physical body, and Kiyro could tell where the shadow was headed towards. It was Kyle’s room.
No way. No way. No way. No way. He repeated those words quickly in a chant, the thought of his brother possibly being next made him jump out of bed. He grabbed the holy water bottle he had gone to a catholic church to buy and brought it with him to test. This was the only weapon he knew he had, and with every courage, he could muster, he peeked out the door.
The shadow momentarily stopped to look at their parent’s room, then moved forward with purpose toward Kyle’s room without stopping. Their rooms weren’t far from each other, but it was at the end of the hallway, where Kiyro could see everything perfectly from where he was.
His fingers tightened around the plastic bottle, debating whether he should run towards the shadow now or continue watching. The problem was that his mind and gut instinct were screaming for him to hide, stay away from trouble, and sleep the night away as if nothing was real. Though his heart told him a different story, that he couldn’t abandon his brother, even if he acted like a douchebag a moment ago, he was still his brother.
Opening the door ever slowly, Kiyro sneaks out. He advanced forward towards the next closest door, one step at a time. He stumbled over, almost making a blunder; he stopped and leaned against the wall. His back feet pushed against the wall to the point he was tip-toeing; he didn’t want the shadow to be able to sense him as he tried to hide. He slowly quieted his breath, trying not to breathe too fast or too hard to compromise his position.
So far, Kiyro was lucky. The shadow kept walking, and its hand reached over to push the door. With an annoying creak that seemed long and drawn out, the door eventually opened. Dim light spilled out into the dark hallway, lighting up the area.
The shadow at first took a couple of faltering steps back and waited a good moment before it slipped through the door hesitantly. He could tell it took a lot longer to walk into Kyle’s room until he eventually saw it completely disappear.
Kiyro couldn’t didn’t wait anymore, and instead, he rushed towards Kyle’s door. He didn’t knock but entered. He saw his brother hunched over with his head on the table. Kyle’s shoulder moved up and down, telling Kiyro he was still alive. Nowhere in the room did he find the shadow. He had to make sure that his brother was still alive; the thought of his brother being taken away made him afraid.
He walked over to Kyle’s side, looked around, and saw the computer screen still on. Kyle was looking at different camping equipment online. Kiyro leaned over and shook his brother.
“Kyle.” Kiyro shook him.
Kyle grumbled and shifted.
“What?” Kyle snapped. “Leave me alone.”
Kiyro sighed with relief that his brother was okay.
“I said leave me alone!” Kyle yelled, startling Kiyro. His eyes weren’t open, and his arms started clenching and unclenching to the point where he was having a nightmare. Then, with a push, Kyle threw Kiyro backward into the shelf; books tumbled downwards onto the floor.
Kiyro groaned in pain. He didn’t expect such sudden strength from Kyle, who was sleeping.
A loud clatter sounded off to the side. Kiyro turned his head and saw Kyle suddenly bolt up onto his feet. He looked livid and pissed at him. What the hell was wrong with him? Kiyro thought as he brushed himself and got up.
“Kyle, calm down. It’s not a big deal.” He groaned, trying to calm his brother,
Kyle rampaged around the room. Books were all over the place, the chair tipped over, and his laundry basket spilled.
It reminded Kiyro of a tornado that hit his room. What the hell was even wrong with him? Why go so far with destroying his room? There were only a few times that he would throw a tantrum, but it wasn’t often.
Kiyro felt a strange oppressive energy coming from Kyle. Anger seeped out of his body, making him feel uneasy. His instincts were telling him that he needed to be careful with his brother, he didn’t know why, but he watched.
“Calm down. There’s no point in getting so angry.”
“I’m. Not. Angry.” Kyle started with a hiss.
“No. I’m. Not.” Kyle was getting furious more and more.
Kiyro saw Kyle’s eyes seem to glow red. At that moment, he knew what was wrong. He knew this wasn’t his brother, and he knew exactly where the demon had gone. In his brother, hiding in his body as if it is his own.
“Kyle. I need you to calm down.” Kiyro brought out the holy water in front of him.
“What is that?” Kyle asked. He glared at the bottle of water in his hand. His words were getting deeper, unlike the usual voice that he had. “Is that…?”
“What? This?” Kiyro brought it up. “It’s just water that I drink.” He brought it up to his face to pretend that he was drinking it, but before it could go any further, he threw the water in his hand into Kyle’s face.
Kyle reeled back with his hand brought up to cover the splash of water. He was in pain, yelling as his hand and face turned red from the water’s touch. He dropped onto the ground and onto his knees.
Kiyro glanced down at the holy water as if he had done something extraordinary and strange; it took a while for him to realize what he had done. He had never seen a reaction like this before; the thought of blessed water doing something out of normal made him reconsider the idea of its use entirely.
The anger painted on Kyle’s face was quite extraordinary; he reminded him of a Japanese Oni Mask with his lips curling upwards into a snarl.
“What the hell did you do?” Kyle replied with such force that Kiyro stumbled backward from the oppressive malice that he felt.
“What in the world?!”
Kyle jumped onto the table and hopped over his screen. He reached out toward Kyle in an attempt to strangle him. Kiyro threw up his hand in front of him, ready for a full-out brawl with his brother. He dodged just in time as Kyle flew past him; he twirled around and did a spinning back kick, hitting Kyle in the back of his head.
With a stumble, Kyle flew forward and hit the wall, his hands stopping the impact from the crash. Kyle pushed off the wall, not even phased by Kirro’s kick; he turned around and did a perfect right hook when Kiyro rushed in for a follow-up.
A jarring pain erupted on Kiyros’s cheek; the punch rattled his brain, making him see white. His vision temporarily blurred, making him rock back and forth on his feet. His muscles reacted before he thought about what to do. Next, his footwork helped him move out of the way before Kyle could strike him again.
Even his cacophony of emotions was squashed instantly, and the only thought that came to his mind was to survive. He needed to win this fight, even if it meant harming his brother. Though the thought of killing him was out of the question, putting him down in some shape or form was the most important thing to do.
Whatever that method was, he was going to find it.
“Kiyro, why are you dodging my fist?” Kyle hissed with a snarl on his face. “Be a good brother and stay still.” He lunged with the such inhumane speed that Kiyro almost couldn’t dodge his brother’s speed.
Kiyro’s sense was finally back, even though the pain was still present on his cheek. His hand raised to wipe the blood trailing off his lips; he could feel the cut inside his cheeks.
“Kiyro, stay still!” Kyle punched him wildly.
“No! You’re not my brother.” Kiyro jumped backward.
“Don’t say that. We’re two of a kind.”
“Get out of him, demon!”
Kyle stopped. His hunched figure started to straighten, making him seem much bigger than before. “I am your brother.”
“My brother isn’t a madman who wants to deck the hell out of me. We have our fights, but you’re trying to kill me.”
“Huhuhuhuhuhu Hahahahaha!” Kyle threw back his head with his hand on his face. His voice crackled high and then lowed, which was close to a growl. His voice wasn’t the same as Kyle’s and sounded entirely like a foreign person. “Very perceptive, aren’t you.” He completely stopped laughing and gazed out from between his fingers.
Kiyro felt unnerved at the voice that spoke back to him. He remembered that voice, that low, scratchy tone that made the end of his hair raise. The voice came from the hooded demon that had taken his mother’s soul.
“There are so few humans that can see, hear, feel, and even talk to us.” He chuckled. “And you are that rare few. Just like your mother.”
“What did you do to her?!” Kiyro’s fist tightened, his body tensed, anger rising like a volcano.
“Do to her?” The demon chuckled. “I collected what was due.”
“What do you mean?”
“Didn’t your mother tell you?”
Kiyro slowly shook his head side-to-side. “She didn’t talk much about the past.”
“I expected. No matter; it’s simple. Your ancestors made a contract with a devil.”
“What kind?” He wanted to avoid where this was going. Pact with the devil? Who would do something so crazy at this time of day and age? Especially something that could harm the descendant.
“Your great grandfather, a ninth generation down, on your father’s side, made a deal. A deal that he couldn’t refuse. Power and the woman that he wanted. So typical of humans.” He shrugged as if it wasn’t such a big thing at all. “Didn’t you know that once he made such a deal, he damned all of his generation of offspring? But he didn’t care. He wanted what he could have now and the power that came with it.”
Kiyro didn’t hear about this side of the story of his family, a secret that no one ever knew about, not even his father. Still, he couldn’t help but believe the demon. Why would a demon be here pretending to be his brother if it was lying?
“But in this generation, your father married her.” The demon’s lips curled up into a snarl, but he could see and feel that the demon was smiling. Almost to the point where he thought he would burst out in joy. “Things turned out differently; he married someone so special that your family was protected. The wretched woman was blessed, blessed with protection from us, and hid away your family.”
“So, you came back to collect your debt?” Kiyro glanced around, looking for anything he could use against the demon. “You stole my mother’s soul.”
“Well, that was a bonus, you see. To avoid the contract, she took this generation’s place.”
Kiyro choked up. Did he hear him correctly? “W-why would she do that?!”
“Simple reason. She supposedly did so out of motherly love.” A laugh escaped out of my lips.
“What’s so funny?” Kiyro didn’t like how his mother’s love was laughed at.
“The contract was voided, between the generational curse placed on your family, but…”
Kiyro didn’t like the way that the demon said the word.
“That doesn’t mean we won’t hunt down what we like, especially such powerful souls.”
“Why are you telling me this?”
“Because this is just too interesting and fun. In the end, your whole family will be part of the collection to the grand plan.”
“Grand plan? What do you mean?”
“Wouldn’t you like to know?”
The demon didn’t say anything anymore. Instead, he shrugged his shoulder. Kiyro was annoyed that the demon dangled the bait in front of him, not telling him everything. He should’ve known this was probably a trap, and he fell right into the palms of the demon’s plan. If he listened anymore, he would probably get hurt or, worse, killed.
“Did you know what your brother thinks about you?”
This caught Kyros’ attention, even though he didn’t want to hear it.
“Got your attention, did I?” The demon waltzed around Kyros, still in the appearance of Kyle’s body. “He hates you and your weak self. The self-pitying attitude you seem to have, the facade of supposedly being strong, and especially the ability you and your mother and grandmother share.”
Kiyro’s eyes became a thin line as he stared. “So?”
“So?” The demon stopped and stared at Kiyro, completely surprised. “Ah, yes. There was one more thing, and he hates that annoying carefree attitude that doesn’t get too riled up.”
Carefree attitude? He wasn’t carefree. Instead, he was the complete opposite. He was always thinking about what to do next, even if something small and trivial. He wasn’t fearless. He was always on edge, especially something this fantastical that shouldn’t even be possible in scientific terms.
“What he hates the most is that annoying brotherly friendship. Even though you guys are twins, he doesn’t care about you. He has secrets, you know. Do you want to know?”
Curiosity riled up in his thoughts, wondering what he would hear, but he knew he couldn’t trust a demon’s words. “Shut up and get out of my brother’s body.”
“No. I like it here.” The demon raised his hand over his head. “Did you know that this is one of his abilities? Though it took a hell of a struggle to win this one. Ultimately he lost. He was just that weak.” The demon scoffed.
Kiyro knew that his brother wasn’t weak; Kyle was a fighter, a hell of a good one. Even though they were twins, Kyle won many more bouts than him in everything they fought over. He was someone that Kiyro looked up to.
“Get out of his body,” Kiyro demanded, stronger than the next.
“What if I said no? What are you going to do about it?” The demon smirked.
“I’ll force you out.”
“With what? That piece of crap that you call holy water? Are you going to sprinkle that on me? You know you can’t do shit with it.” The demon laughed.
“No, but I’ll make something happen.” Kiyro wasn’t going to give up; this was his brother that he was talking about. He didn’t want to lose a second family member after his mother had passed away. But, instead, the thought lit a fire in his soul, helping him become calmer.
Kiyro’s mind was thinking fast. He noticed during the fight that his brother’s sharp martial arts usually weren’t there; instead, he was fighting with brute strength.
“Whatever you’re thinking won’t work.” The demon laughed. “I’m stronger than you, and I know how to use this body to its full potential.”
“Try me.” Kiyro’s hand snaked out and grabbed a small statue-like item on the side. He threw it at the demon, temporarily diverting its attention away from him. He then bolted forward, his feet crossed over, and shifted behind his brother’s back.
With fluid hands, he wrapped his arm around his brother’s neck and squeezed. He squeezed to the point where he could hear the demon choking. Dull nails dug into his arm to pry him off; his body tensed and flipped him over his shoulder and onto the ground.
The demon was upon him in seconds, straddling him on his stomach. Again, his hand beelined towards Kiyros neck; this time, Kiyro was choked out. Kiyro coughed, his throat becoming tight, his vision blurring. His hips bucked upwards, pushing the demon up into the air. In that split moment, the demon’s hand temporarily loosened from surprise. Kiyro used his chance to escape, and one of his legs wiggled out, giving him a good grasp of their grapple.
His leg snaked around the demon’s shoulder; the demon let go of one of his hands to thwart Kiyro’s escape. But, Kiyro didn’t let him; that slip-up of power allowed him to punch the demon’s elbow, bending it and causing the demon’s arm to collapse.
Kiyro overturned the situation, flipping his body backward over his shoulder with the demons in the crux of his leg. He was in a perfect triangle choke with both legs wrapped around the demon’s neck like a koala. With every ounce of his strength he could muster, Kiyro struggled to cause Kyle to black out.
The demon continually punched, scratched, and even attempted to escape. He felt overwhelming pain from the demon’s attack, but he held on until the demon finally stopped moving. Kiyro let go, afraid that he had killed his brother. He pulled back and scrambled over to him.
Kyle’s eyes were closed, pale face, and it seemed like he wasn’t breathing. Terrified, Kiyro raised his hand towards Kyle’s neck, ensuring his heartbeat was still beating. He felt a weak pulse, reassuring him that he was still alive.
“Thank god.” Kiyro flopped down, tired and defeated. The thought of his brother almost dying was nerve-wracking. “What the hell Kyle? You’re stronger than this. How could you let some puny demon possess you.”
“Easy.” The voice startled Kiyro, and the next thing he saw was Kyle punching him in the head, causing him to blackout.
Kiyro groaned as he woke up with a throbbing pain in his head. He reached over and touched his temple, and a sharp pain erupted outwards, making him feel horrible. Even his muscles were screaming out with riot, telling him that he had overworked himself. His neck burned as if he was strangled; even gulping shot pain down his throat, jarring him completely awake.
What the heck happened for him to feel so much pain? He couldn’t remember exactly how he ended up on the floor in Kyle’s room. Nothing was making sense; the pain in his head wasn’t making it any better.
“Kyle?” He called out, hoping that his brother was nearby to help him up or, better yet, to give him Ibuprofen to quell his headache.
Once again no answer. This time, he pushed himself up and searched around for his brother. So far, no; where did he see his brother at all? The only things present were books, clothes, and even the chair overturned as if they were a scuffle.
A scuffle? He tilted his head, trying to remember why he had thought such a thought, but so far, no other answer was in his mind. There was a nagging feeling that he had forgotten something very important, it was at the tip of his tongue, but he couldn’t remember. This frustrated him.
Pushing off the ground, he got up. Maybe Kyle was downstairs, making late-night snacks, though the question of his room being this messy was strange. Why was he on the floor? Why did his brother cause a mess in his room? These questions continued to repeat in his mind, but he didn’t know the answer.
There were large blanks in his memories of what happened. So why couldn’t he remember something so important?
Instead, he leaned over and started to pick up the books scattered on the floor. AP History, the book that even he didn’t much like reading or attempting to understand. History wasn’t his thing, but it was his brothers. Kyle was a fanatic on world history, especially eastern cultural history. Supposedly, by his brother’s words, ancient eastern history was more colorful in events than recent history. He would go on and on about the strategic battle plans and great achievements that had happened until Kiyro got sick and tired of hearing him.
He could even recite his brother’s words on many battle strategies with his eyes closed. Then, with a chuckle, he picked up the others and placed them on Kyle’s desk.
Kiyro’s eyes rested upon a small yellow sticky note in the middle of the desk. He glanced over, curious about what it had said. Then, reaching over, he took the sticky note and read it.
Don’t look for me. I’m leaving for a long time.
Written neatly in black pen, Kiryo picked up the crumpled paper that was lying on his desk. What the hell Kyle? Kiyro was astonished at what he had read on the paper. Did his brother leave a note and run away? From home? Is he a child or something?
None of this made sense; why would Kyle suddenly up and leave without telling him anything? He felt betrayed.
His hand started to shake, and he unconsciously crumpled the paper.
Why leave right after their mother’s death? How could he not notice? When he talked to his brother a while ago, he remembered seeing him surfing on the web for camping items. At first, he didn’t understand until now.
Kiyro turned and bolted out of Kyle’s room; he dashed down the stairs and ran towards the front door.
“Kiyro?” He heard his father call after him.
“What’s wrong with him?” He heard his sister Anna talk to his father.
Kiyro didn’t have time to stop; he rushed out the front door into the neighborhood. Then, turning
towards the left, he ran down the streets in the middle of the night.
“Kyle! Kyle!” He cried out in desperation, hoping Kyle didn’t go too far. “Kyle!”
Kiyro ran until he couldn’t anymore, his chest was heavy, and his muscles were screaming in pain. Then, leaning over, he gulped in deep breaths.
He was furious at himself. Why didn’t he notice the sign? Whenever his brother gets gloomy, he tends to be more snappish towards him, pushing him away from getting close. Even worse, he couldn’t remember how he got into his brother’s room. That part of the memory was missing, almost as if it had disappeared completely.
“Damn it!” If only he could remember, he clenched his fist. “Why can’t I remember!” He yelled into the night. All he could feel was emptiness, anger, and regret.
He stomped on the ground, furious. “Damn it!” With a vicious kick onto the ground.
He paced back and forth, trying his best to try to remember. So far, all he got was a headache that made him angrier by the second. Screw it, there is no point in remembering anything right now, and it was easier to go back and sleep. The thought of finding his brother in the dark was not an easy feat; all he could do was call the police and try again in the morning.
Turning around, he started to walk back towards the house. Anna, his sister, ran over to Kiyro, confused. She was wearing pink pajamas, covering the majority of her figure.
“Kiyro? What’s wrong?” Her long black hair trailed behind her, completely out of breath.
Kiyro didn’t answer. He walked ahead.
“Kiyro? Where’s Kyle?”
With a grumble, Kyle pushed the sticky note on her chest and kept walking.
“Read it, and you’ll know.”
Anna brought it up to her face, scrunching up her eyes to get a better look. Moments later, her eyes widened, and her mouth dropped completely. “Are you serious?” She whispered. “Is he crazy?!” She shuffled forward, her short legs trying to keep up with him.
Kiyro didn’t slow down and was busy thinking over everything that had transpired.
“Kiyro, where is Kyle? Did you find him?”
“He could be out there in the dark fending for himself!”
Kiyro rolled his eyes. Kyle fended for himself; he was considered one of the best scouts and knew how to survive in the wild. His getting lost was something other than what he would have to worry about Kyle. Instead, Kyle was the one who was good at finding him when he got lost.
“Do you think he’ll be okay? Oh my god! I need to call 911!” Anna rummaged in her pants and fumbled with her phone. She desperately started to dial the number and waited for someone to pick her up.
Kiyro didn’t stay behind to hear his sister’s hysteria; he went inside and passed his father, who was standing in front of the door. He didn’t say anything and pushed by.
“Kiyro.” His father called his name, making Kiyro stop in the middle of a step. “Kyle left, didn’t he?”
Kiyro grunted in acknowledgment.
“I see.” He didn’t say anything further, allowing Kiyro to return to his room. He entered and flopped onto the bed and allowed sleep to take over.
November 11, 2054. Wednesday. 10:11 A
Kiyro woke up with the blaring alarm. Today was a free day. He planned on going online, but he didn’t feel like it was right at that moment. This past week, he had been diving into the game, mindlessly playing as his second life. There were a lot of things that he had accomplished since Draconis Village finally became a full-fledged city.
Every major quest he had done for some reason connected with Draconis City, allowing the city to flourish and eventually turn into what it was. The number of players and NPCs has been increasing drastically.
Life was flourishing to the point where the city looked like a city in the sky. Beautiful skyscrapers, lush green elven plants, fertile soil from the magma magic, mythical creatures that don’t often interact with players, and even levitation magic were why many players either move to the Draconis city or visit for sightseeing.
Though things had changed drastically for the new players, they had protection inside the city walls. All the other kingdom’s cities were less safe for new players to grow, especially since the protection of the Fire Continent disappeared. High-level monsters could even stumble upon the newbie grounds, making leveling much more difficult than normal, causing a sharp decline in wanting to play in the difficult setting.
It also opened new playable species that allowed players to choose different races that weren’t just humans, trolls, or elves. It has become Lunar Rabbits, Leprechauns, Cat People, and dragons. In addition, the city was quickly filling up to become a haven for Beast-type creatures.
The last time Zero had met Russ, his guild had swollen in size. They had officially taken over the whole city, pushing away other small-time guilds. Russ conquering of lands had become rough and vicious. After his fall, from the loss against Zero, he was officially kicked out as an advisor. Infuriated, Ross took this opportunity to conquer small villages and rapidly expanded outwards. There had been rumors that Ross’s dictatorship had caused a shift in powers between the King and himself. Not only that, the hunt for nonhuman type creatures eradicated has increased in numbers. Russ has gone far to the point of calling it the Holy War, eradicating any nonhumans with a snap of a finger. The Kingdom of Terra has now become a war zone, making it impossible for nonhumans to live in.
What was Russ even trying to do, causing such huge strife between the other species? He didn’t know what, but he didn’t like it one bit. The number of riots, wars, strife, and hatred he was causing was becoming a heated topic in both the game world and real life. Russ was becoming a strange religious icon in the game world.
The religious war intensified even more furiously after October 31, making Kiyro wonder if the true driving force was the black dragon that possessed Russ’s body. This was making the whole game and the real world stranger and stranger.
Even Elves started to migrate and live in the city, their presence even making it even more possible for the city to bloom into an enchanting place, making it completely different from even the Elven city. Moreover, their magic had caused the natural collection of pure waters in the clouds, eventually forming even lakes and rivers. At this rate, he wouldn’t be surprised if waterfalls suddenly formed.
Every day they were something new being formed in Draconis city, things that he never thought would be possible. Living in this enchanted world was like a dream, and he enjoyed every minute of it. First, he went into the game to get a job, and eventually, it has become where he now pursues it to find his brother.
Old memories resurfaced in his mind. What was his brother doing out there right now? Why did he leave with such a cryptic note about finding him? These thoughts occasionally pop up when his mind has nothing to think about, eventually becoming annoying thoughts.
With a sigh, he slowly got up and placed his feet on the floor, heading towards his desk. With a stretch, he yawned. He reached over towards the Alive Gear that they had issued out back to everyone. Now he could get online and surf the web without having to sneak into one of the rooms late at night.
His fingers felt around the side of the Alive gear glass and pressed down on a button. With a click, he heard the glass turn on its usual greeting bell. Old and new messages had begun to pop up from the glass screen; he opened them up, reading them in his leisure.
“Open up Alex’s message.” He called out.
“Hey, Kiyro. I need your help in a dungeon I found; come meet me at the usual place.” Alex’s voice rang in his ears.
“Reply. Okay.” The screen blinked a couple of times, typing his response. “Send.”
He also looked through the other’s message until he finally came upon a strange one. It was encrypted with numbers that he recognized. A code for his brother and him that we usually use to talk without other people finding out. The moment he opened it, he saw some more numbers, and his mind quickly went to work.
The thought of his brother finally sending him a letter made him wonder what he had to say. To go this far to code it was already strange in itself. Did this mean that Kyle knew where he was to write in codes? If so, how was he connected to this place in the first place? Finally, with the answer deciphered, he knew what his brother had written.
You were right.
Kiyro read the words over and over again. Was he right? What does that mean? Nothing came into his mind, but a nagging feeling of the message his brother sent made him feel like a long overdue stress that he had harbored until now had been released.
Strange… He thought. While he thought it over, he was rewarded with throbbing pain. Flashes of memories resurfaced in his mind, though everything was jumbled into incoherent pieces that he didn’t understand.
With a faltering step, he stumbled towards the desk, holding himself up. The Alive Gear on his face faltered and fell onto the ground with a clatter on the floor. He braced himself so he wouldn’t fall and walked over with a partial limp as he collapsed back on his bed. Instead, he was swarmed with memories he didn’t want to remember, and he was lulled back into the dark depths of his sleep.