The Boy, Part One
I, did I just… stab a… human? A real human? Was he really a human, and not just a reflection? No, no no no no! He is bleeding! He is definitely bleeding.
“I… hold on!”
I try to dig for my bandage. However, when I see the face of the man, I stop in my movements. That face, that smile, those eyes, is he sane? He seems to… enjoy his death? With a face of an insane, he falls like a ragdoll to the ground.
I just killed a human?
I take a quick glance at the Follower in case it’s finally going to devour me, but thankfully, it remains still. So I still have yet to regret that stupid mistake. To think that I’m still sane. Nay, I doubt I’m sane. I wouldn’t have killed this man if I’d been sane. I’d be dead if I was sane. I have to remain insane, lest I’ll be served as a meal to that thing.
Calm down and think. What should I do first? Of course, ignore this fellow. I don’t even know who he is. There are some blood stains on my hands. I should wash my hands at once. Moss will do for now. Blood contains diseases, after all.
I try to shake the emotional blow off my shoulders by resuming my journey to South. If I remain here and try to make sense out of what just happened here, I’ll definitely go insane—I mean sane.
That’s right, I’ll try to hunt for some hare. They’ve multiplied to the point that I have yet to experience a day without seeing a single hare. I ready my bow and an arrow as I walk. Also, I stray from the road a little.
For an hour I try to hunt for a hare, and I do find one a little later. It’s gnawing a bush. Hares have grown bolder as their predators disappeared, and thanks to that, hares aren’t hard to hunt. It’s fairly easy to hunt them since they have grown careless due to lack of danger.
I sneak closer to increase my chances. Once I’m behind an old tree, I aim for the hare. About twenty yards, that’s how far it is. I wait for the wind to calm, then I steady my breath. Perfect. I let loose the arrow—and a strong gust of wind makes the arrow fly astray.
Of course, the hare is alarmed by the arrow which is now right next to it, stuck on the ground. There goes my meal, fleeing faster than I can run.
I walk over to the arrow lazily. It took me a while to fletch it, so I ain’t gonna leave it there. This failure of a hunt isn’t going to help me with my mental state. I just killed a human…
No, I got to stop thinking about it. But to think that I killed one of the very, very few humans, if not the third last human. Damn it, I need to do something about these thoughts. If I begin to regret this and that, it’s all over.
I pick up the arrow from the ground—only to discover that it’d struck a rock. Guess what? Of course, the arrow’s ruined. To hell with this shit!
Later in the evening, I lie down by a huge rock. It should give some shelter from wind, but if it starts raining…
…and in the morning I find myself wet. It’d rained at some point of the night. Damn it, damn it, damn it! Nothing goes as I want. My stomach is grumbling, and what do I have for food? Not much.
In order to keep myself warm, I run for a short distance before slowing down after a few hundred yards. Once done walking for a moment after the short spurt, I repeat what I just did. This way I won’t run out of breath too fast and I should be able to keep myself warm. Also, I might find some ruins of another village quicker this way.
Once I run into a good spot, I stop to eat berries. To be honest, one could eat his fill on a spot like this. And because of it, I remain stuck here for quite some time before I resume my journey. I don’t really know this berry, but I’ve seen animals eat these. That is why I dare to eat these carefree. And by animals I mean hares. Really, I should just call hares ‘animals’ and forget the whole word for hares.
A couple of hours later, I stop on top of a hill where trees grow sparse. I climb onto a huge mossy rock, from here I can see a fortress some mile away. Past the fortress, there’s an extremely wide hill which is barely higher than this one. About the width, it truly is extreme. I bet it’s four miles wide. Now that’s one hell of a hill.
As I eye the land, I get a chilly feeling. I take a quick glance behind and find the reason for such feeling. My Follower is there, watching me hungrily. It’s surprisingly close, a dozen yards at most. But then again, I shouldn’t be surprised. I’ve been through misfortune recently. My heart is stressed due to that, which means that the Follower is allowed to come closer.
No matter. I slide down the side of the hill for as far as I can. Once down the hill, I rush towards the direction of the fortress. The terrain is thick here. I get a few wounds as I rush through all the branches and bushes.
Then finally, I get some real shelter where I can dry my clothes. The fortress stands before me. It seems to be in good state. Abandoned, of course, but the walls of the fortress look strong enough to sustain a small siege even after two years of zero maintenance.
Instead of a wall, there’s a moat and a bridge. Of course, the bridge has been left up ever since the disappearance. That won’t hinder me, for there seems to be a window next to the gate at such height that I should be able to climb inside from there.
I leave my things here and prepare to swim over. The rain has left the sides of the moat muddy so this might be troublesome.
Almost an hour later, I finally get inside. The window was a no go, I had to use a rope to get inside from the other window which was behind the damn thing. Well, now I just got to lower the bridge so that I won’t have to struggle with getting in and out ever again.
As I guessed, the inside is dusty. It might take a while until I find the apparatus to open the gate. As soon as I take my first steps I stumble due to some random tools. The disappearance sure made dark corridors and rooms dangerous.
I do get out of the room safe and sound, but I still got some darkness to scour. I hate corridors. It’s like walking in a dungeon. Add the moist air and darkness to that feeling, it’s just a no go. Yet here I am, in a damn corridor.
In time I do find the apparatus. The sound of the bridge crashing against the earth is such that I wouldn’t be surprised if the bridge is done for. I’ll go check on the bridge. I could see the bridge from a window, but if I go down there personally, I can get a better view. Once down there, I’m surprised to find out that the bridge is just fine. I think.
A shiver runs down my spine. Reflections of people come flooding in through the gate I just opened, it’s like they had been waiting for someone to open the gate for all this time. Out of nowhere, they appeared, but that’s usual, reflections do that a lot. They are all soldiers, armed with top-notch equipment. They all walk through me, and I remain still.
When the reflections are behind, only the sight of the Follower is left before me. As it stares me, I stare back at it. This time it’s slightly closer than before. By tomorrow eve, I think we’ll be looking each other into the eye only an inch away if that thing has an eye to begin with.
If that happens, I think it’ll be me who may not have eyes at all anymore. Nay, my whole body will cease existing. Just what’s tearing at my heart? I feel like I have no regrets, yet that is what’s happening?
I turn around and ignore my own end. I have to dry my clothes.
“Die!” Suddenly, I let out such a cry as I draw steel.
I’m not kidding. I’m swinging my dagger at these reflections. I swing and stab, but the reflections aren’t hurt and warp about like nothing had happened. Cease existing! None of you should exist anymore! Accept your fates! Stop haunting me! Make it stop! Stop!