Author’s Note: Early update. Sorry guys, life hasn’t been so easy with me. Here you guys go.
“Really? That long?” I asked dumbfoundedly.
“Yea, we weren’t planning on sleeping for so long. Honestly, the first time we woke up, I was surprised that we were sleeping for a hundred and forty-nine years. I didn’t even know that was even possible, but now. I’m not so surprised as I was in the past.” She threw up her head into the sky, closing her eyes as she stood there in silence.
I had to wonder what was going on in her head, but I didn’t ask and just stood there next to her as she cleared her mind. There was time like these where I noticed that she was deep in her thoughts, thinking about many things until she found an answer to her questions. Other times, it was more of a stress relieving act, and all I could do was stay silent for her. Pushing her to answer would usually result in an angry outburst, and the best way to deal with her was giving her space when she was in this mood.
“Never mind, there’s no point in thinking about something we don’t know the answer to.” Crystal waved her hand in front of her. She then picked up her bag and put it on her back. “This whole time since I woke up, I thought we were out in the real world. How could I forget that it wasn’t so when we woke up last time.” She wasn’t too happy that such thoughts slipped her mind, but that didn’t stop her from trudging forward through the debris.
I grabbed my own bag of supplies and wrapped it around my shoulders as if I was going to school. Taking quick steps towards her, I walked next to her as we made our way out the Garden.
“Do you know where we need to go?” I asked, hoping that she knew the answer.
“Not really, but we might have some answer if we go on up and check out what’s going on.”
“Sure.” It was better than staying down here in death and destruction. I knew I would’ve gone a bit insane from staying down here for too long. As we walked up the uneven stairs, we went through the catwalk and toward the busted up metal doors. It was still in the same shape from when the mechanical dogs tore their way through, making me shudder.
We continued forward, passing the dirty hallway that were plastered with dirt, water stains, and even mold. The lights were flickering on and off, making it a bit difficult to see inside the dark hallways, but we eventually made our way to the lobby.
Even the lobby looked like it was ransacked and destroyed to smithereens. The sofas were torn, the tables were in pieces, and debris was littered everywhere. There were even bullet holes in the wall, telling us that there was some kind of fight that happened here.
The glass door was shattered, and dead bodies were scattered all around the floor, wearing Dragon Scales. Some were entangled with hideous skeletal creatures that looked straight out of the fantasy books. It was quite unnerving to see such beings out in the open, making me wonder what happened.
“This place gives me the creeps.” Crystal spoke in a low voice. “I don’t know about you, but I don’t like how this is turning out. There is way too much death in one spot, making it to heavily concentrated in dark energy. At this rate, I’m a bit worried at what might actually be crawling around here.”
The thought of meeting a demon, when we just woke up wasn’t in our favor. We were both still weak, unable to move like our old selves. I was sure that I had barely any muscles from sleeping that long.
“Let’s hope we don’t meet anything.” I said back in a whisper as well. The thought of a demon crawling around made both of us walk as silently as possible.
It was an silent cat walk that both Crystal and I took, our heads snapped from side-to-side, listening in on any possible movement or sound. We didn’t know what was still inside the building, even if the whole place looked abandoned.
Stepping out the broken glass sliding door that still beeped when we came forward, we exited out the building and stopped. What welcomed us was destruction. The city of Chicago was in ruins. It was as if Godzilla had came through and smashed against the buildings, causing them to be shattered or leaned over broken. All the buildings near Seventh Sanctum were completely flattened or destroyed by some kind of force. There were streaks of claw marks on some of them, telling me that it was done by some creature than a man made bomb.
This made me wonder what was big enough to claw through the metal frames inside the building to cause such devastation. It just wasn’t normally and it worried me.
Cars were upturned, poles were bent, windows broken as the stores were ransacked. Thousands of dirty papers were littered everywhere on the floor, while quite a few flew through the air as the wind blew past us. The high pitch whistling sound of the wind was loud as it blew through the cavity of the building holes. What’s left of the city lights buzzed on one-by-one, telling us that it was quickly becoming night.
I knew that staying out here in the dark wasn’t a good idea, but to see so much destruction around was mind boggling. My gaze was searching for any signs of life, but there wasn’t a single movement.
“It’s too quiet.” I spoke. “Something is not right.” When I looked over my shoulders, I saw Crystal was white as a sheet, staring out unable to speak.
It worried me a bit to see her so distraught as if something in her mind clicked and I didn’t know what.
“It happened.” Her words were strained, almost a whisper that I barely caught it.
“What happened?” I asked, slowly not sure what she was getting at.
“My dream came true.”
“You’re dream?” Having nightmares coming into reality wasn’t something I ever wanted, but her dreams to come true didn’t quite make sense.
“I had a vision….” Crystal gazed around quickly, stepping outside in a hurry. She was busily looking around trying to take it all in, but her expression turned into more worrisome creases. “No….No…” She was shaking her head, and she flopped onto the ground lifeless like a doll.
“Crystal!?” I ran over, worried about her mental health. The thought of seeing her so distraught over a dream worried me.
Crystal eyes glossed over as if she was staring off into space, I got on my knees, putting my hand around her shoulder. Something was wrong and I knew that I had to snap her out of her weird depressive trance. Snapping my fingers in front of her face, I tried to get her to react. When she didn’t answer, I placed my hand on her shoulder and started to shake her.
At first, she didn’t respond. It took a couple of tries to get her eyes to have some life in them as she stared back at me. Blinking a couple of times, she shook her head slowly, and then she glanced around. With a heavy sigh, she closed her eyes, staring up into the sky.
“Crystal. Are you alright?” I asked again.
“Yes.” She responded, bringing back her attention to me.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, thank you Alexus. I’m fine.” She raised up her hands and used my shoulders to get back up on her feet.
“Can you explain to me, what exactly you are talking about? Freaking out like that has me a bit worried.”
“It’s my dream, Alexus. It came true.”
“A dream is just a dream, are you sure you’re not looking too much into your dreams?”
Crystal sighed, shaking her head. She was finally standing on her own two feet, while I stood next to her like a brooding mother hen, worried that she might go into another strange episode.
“My dreams at times come into reality. I know it sounds strange, but its true.” She replied. “It’s a gift I had when I was a child, I could foretell the death of my grandparents and the people around me. People called me the grim reaper as a child, because I would always end up beside the dying person’s bed. Not even a couple hours and they would pass away.”
I was bewildered in what I was hearing. The thought of being able to sense when someone died was a bit unnerving, but at the same time fascinating. Already, to have the strange magical gifts that all Ouroboros had was considered illogical, having one more wasn’t any different.
“That is some scary but interesting ability.” I blurted out without thinking twice.
“Interesting?” Crystal was caught off guard in what I had said, making me feel stupid for blurting it out. “How is that interesting? Don’t you find it repulsive?”
Shifting my weight, I answered what was in my mind. “Not really, its just a vision of death right? You’ll basically know when a person’s time is up.”
“Well, you can look at it in two ways. The first is the way everybody sees it.”
“That its a bad omen and you should be kept far away.”
Crystal flinched when I had said such words, making her lips tightened up into a thin line as her body slightly slumped forward.
“Or, you can see it as a last comfort from the person who is dying. Well, especially for the people who are old and need some comfort to pass on to the afterlife. There are many people out there who are scared of dying, and they don’t always want to be alone. You being there gives them comfort. Even to the people who can’t be saved on time is the same thing.”
Crystal thought over what I had said, “but I could’ve saved them. Especially, the people who died from an accident.”
“You could.” I nodded, “but sometimes you might not be able to stop it.”
The thought of changing someone’s fate sounded cool, but for that to happen I had a feeling that something of equal value must replace that change. I didn’t know why or how I knew this, but I had a feeling that this was the truth.
“So, you’re saying I shouldn’t save people?”
“Absolutely not.” I replied with a bit of stress that I didn’t expect. “If you feel like saving them or warning them, please go ahead. It’s really up to the person that takes your warning to heart that can stop it from happening. Even still, once you save someone, their future is changed. When the change happens, it affects everyone who meets him or her from hence forward. Meaning that another death could happen because you saved that one person’s life or the other way around.”
“I see.” Crystal was thinking over what I had said.
“Everything has a consequence, even if we don’t see it now.” For some reason, I felt like was some spiritual guru at this moment, making me feel a bit embarrassed in what I was telling her.
“You have some valuable points, though….” She replied with a heavy heart. “It’s something I can’t just stop on my own, and it’s gotten a lot worse when I turned into an Ouroboros. I’m not sure if it’s a gift or a curse.”
“It depends on how you perceive it.” I replied. “You can make it out to be the worst gift in the world or a blessing.”
“You know,” She gazed up towards me. “I didn’t think you were much of the positive type.”
I frowned, “I’m not always am. It’s a work in progress, you know.”
Crystal giggled, covering her hands over her lips. The way she giggled looked adorable that I almost reached over and petted her. I had to stop myself from doing something that would ruin the whole mood and just stood there embarrassed.
“I know.” She replied. I saw the corner of her lips raise up at the same time one of her brows.
“Well then, instead of thinking about such depressing thoughts, let’s get a move on.”
Crystal snapped back to her serious mode, nodding her head in agreement. We once against started walking out into the desolate city streets.
The further we walked away from the destruction of the Seventh Sanctum, I noticed that the buildings were a little more intact. Though they were more streaks of claw marks that seemed to go in a horizontal line like when a child wanted to feel everything around him while walking.
Crystal suddenly stopped, causing me to freeze. She glanced around quickly, until she finally moved again.
“The better question is, what the hell caused it?” The only answer that popped into my heads were demons, but even something this big and possibly powerful was unheard of. Almost too fantastical that it didn’t even register in my mind.
It didn’t stop anytime soon, and we were for some reason following the direction the monster or demon had come through into the city.
“I don’t know. It could be anything, but my only guess is a demon.” She replied. “There isn’t many supernatural creatures out there but demons. Though, aliens could be a possibility….” Her voice trailed off.
“I’m not so sure about that.” My brows raised up as I stared at her funny. “I understand Seventh Sanctum had found ancient tech, but aliens invading earth sounds a bit of a stretch. A demon wreaking havoc sounds close to reality than that.”
“Like I said, it’s still a possibility.”
“I guess.” The thought of aliens coming down to earth sounded a bit farfetched, but the Dragon Scale armor was made from foreign technology that none of us knew much of. Who knows what out there in the universe, but right now dealing with demons was already a handful. Anything more was a headache and I wasn’t sure how humanity was even going to deal with it, especially when we are having troubles with demons themselves.
“Its getting dark, we need to fight shelter.”
“Agreed, though I might know of a place we could stay the night. It’s not too far away from here.”
“Near John Hancock building, if it’s still there that is.” I replied, hoping that it was still standing. From all this destruction that was apparent all around us, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was knocked down like every building that I saw.
“That’s like a twenty minute drive, Alexus.” Crystal frowned at the thought of going so far. “It would probably take us an hour to get there.”
“I know, but I don’t know anywhere else, but there. Plus, I don’t know about you, but I want to stay far away from Seventh Sanctum as possible. Who knows what kind of demon was trying to claw its way into the Garden. It could still be out there you know.”
“I highly doubt that. The amount of wreckage it had done looks a couple years old, meaning whatever it was left a while ago.” Crystal objected, “Though, the dark energy left behind in the building is bad. The amount of demons it would attract is highly probable.”
“See, even you don’t think it’s safe. The further we are away from the place, the safer we will be.”
Crystal was thinking over what I had said, she slowly nodded, rubbing her fingers together, thinking about what I had said. “You got a point. I don’t know much of Chicago, because I stayed indoors most of the time. So, street names and directions in this city are a blank to me. I always had someone with me on that aspect.” She motioned for me to go forward, and I stepped past her. “Lead the way.”
I took point, observing my surroundings. The creepy desolate atmosphere made the whole walk towards our destination mind boggling exhausting, every nook and corner we whipped around to make sure that nothing was following us. Both of us had our guns drawn, majority of the way, tensed that something might pop out from the shadows.
Every time we heard something crack or shuffle, we snapped out our weapons and pointed in that direction, hoping that it wasn’t anything dangerous. So far, nothing was there but the bustling sound of the trash lid flapping up and down from the wind.
It was then, I saw a shadow dart across the streets. Both of us froze, we knew that wasn’t something a wind could do. It was too fast, we knew that whatever it was could be dangerous.
The shadow darted past us like lightning, making its way into the alleyway.
I motioned my head towards where the shadow had went into. Crystal shook her head, telling me it was a bad idea to follow. Slowly, I nodded, completely agreeing with her. There were a time a place to check out things, but this wasn’t one of those times. We didn’t know what it could be or how many other beings were there if we followed the shadow into the dark alleyway.
Plus, it was a classic hollywood scenarios that always had something bad happened to the main or side characters. Especially, the side characters. They always somehow end up hurt or worse dead. Neither one of us wanted to fall into that category, so we watched our backs.
“Let’s get out of here.” I quickly worded so she could only hear.
“Yea.” She whispered back.
We continued onwards, leaving behind the shadow in its dark alleyway and started to power walked away from danger as quickly as possible.
The sun light was quickly setting, making it that much worrisome to stay out late at night. Both Crystal and I knew that demons particular liked to prowl around night time, and staying past sunset was a bad idea.
“How much further?”
I glanced up, searching for a street sign. On the green broken sign, I saw faded words that wrote W North Ave and the other N Clark St.
“We’re about twenty minutes out.”
“Twenty minutes is a long walk.” Crystal bite her lower lips. “We need to get to safety before the sun completely sets. I don’t like how we’re out here in the open like this.”
“I know, but we’re almost there.”
“Let’s pick up our.”
We holstered our weapons and started off in a light jog. The Dragon Scale suit helped regulate our speed and motion, and even kept our body from overstraining through the motion. Whenever we started to pick up too high of a pace, especially in our weakened state, it would beep, warning us to slow down.
The city quickly became dark as streetlights flickered on. There were a small handful of them still working, giving us enough light to see in the darkness. Still, the jarring contrast between light and dark made it difficult for our eyes to adjust and see beyond the darkness.
“Yea?” She spoke from behind me, observing everywhere around us.
“Is there a night vision function on this suit by any chance?”
Crystal was silent for a moment, then she spoke. “Sorry, no. I didn’t have enough time to finish working with Timothy on that aspect yet.”
“Seriously?” I was frowned. What does it take to get a helmet for this suit?
“It’s a bit more complicated. So, we took more time on it.”
“Ah, I see.”
“Hopefully, I’ll find him again and finish it.”
“We’ll find them.” I reassured her. Wondering where all this confidence was coming from. Maybe I didn’t wanted to show her my weak side to her or I finally gone insane in this apocalyptic looking world. I didn’t know what was going on outside of Chicago, but the thought of there still being civilizations gave me hope. The others were out there, I didn’t know where, but the chance of them being alive was high. The question was, why weren’t they inside the pods and woke up at the same time? It didn’t make any sense.
“You’re right.” She replied. “They’re all alive out there. We’ll find them.” The confidence in her voice was slowly coming back to the Crystal I had known.
Just when we turned left, a large shadow darted across at the edge of my eyes. I stopped, whipped my head towards the movement, trying to find whatever it was that ran past. Even Crystal was silently listening for any sound, but so far there was nothing.
Another, shadow ran past from the opposite direction, and I was able to make out an animal like creature that was the size of a possible jaguar. My heart speed up as adrenaline kicked in. Quickly, my hands slipped downwards and I reached over toward my gun as I carefully watched for any movement.