The Girl, Part Two
To think that I’d meet a person in this world after the sudden disappearance of people. That day, it’s the scariest day I’ve ever experienced, and also the scariest I could imagine. Not only was I left alone, some dark aberration came to me. Even now, I still remember the horror I felt back then. However, it didn’t harm me, but instead, it asked me a question with a voice that made my soul cry in terror.
Thou hast a wish?
That is what it asked. For a while, I just quivered in terror, but then I realized that it surely would grant me a single wish. And I had only one wish at that moment, though I regret that I didn’t wish for my family back.
“Make the one who made my family disappear suffer for years until a painful death claims that one’s life.”
That is what I wished for. I don’t regret it, but still, wishing for my family back would have been just… much better. I was so scared, so angry, so it was hard to resist the urge to demonstrate my anger.
It was just a normal day. Mom was sewing and dad was selling the products. We even made good money that day. I was spending time with a book. Had to study foreign language back then, for foreigners began to visit our town, so it was vital for at least someone in our shop to be able to communicate with the foreigners.
I studied until supper. My eyes felt tired, so I just decided to eat the supper and go sleep. But I couldn’t find my little brother, dad, or mom from the whole building. I went outside, checked in the yard, no one was there. I moved on to the streets, and I found no one. My heart began racing, for it felt like a nightmare at first.
I don’t know for how long I wandered out there in the streets, but it took some time for me to realize that the people had disappeared, and they aren’t coming back. Then I began seeing ghosts warping around. They walked a few steps, then they vanished for a moment, only to appear a dozen yards away from their previous spot.
I ran back home, hid in my room, hoping that it’d be nothing more than a nightmare. But I’m still here, suffering this creepy fate. At some point in my room I’d fallen asleep, and once I woke up, I kept hiding, until I saw the ghost of my little brother. I saw him only once, but it was him. He visited my room and warped away soon after.
In time I became hungry and needed food. I slunk down to the kitchen to grab some food. I ate something quickly and hurried back upstairs. However, on my way back up there, I saw something through a window. An aberration, it was looking for something, or more precisely, it was looking for me.
Once it found me hidden in my room, it granted me the wish and disappeared. A day after that, I began seeing more of them. They were patrolling the streets. It was like, they were thirsting for something, for they moved aggressively, searching for something. I had no idea what that was about, but once they’d found me, like, all of them, they began tailing me, letting out noises that had a terrifying longing in their cries. Only later I began understanding their nature. They were hungry, and their food was and is humans.
I fled from the town to East. For some reason, it felt the safest direction. The other aberrations didn’t follow me, but there was that one aberration which kept following me, and it still does. It’s the one that granted me my wish. It won’t do anything to me, not yet, but if I regret my wish, it will devour me. I don’t know why there are such conditions, but that’s how they feed. They grant wishes, and if the person wants the wish undone, he’ll be consumed.
I don’t think I’ll ever wish against my wish. I’m not even sure if it’s working, but at least that thing is following me, so it has to be true. Five months from the disappearance, I arrived at this castle. Or well, to the ledge. I peeked down, really carefully, but the earth crumbled beneath me, and thus I fell. I’m still mystified as to how I survived.
I felt scared like I always do in this now-dead world. I hurried into the castle, the gate was left open for me. It was like I was welcomed in. A year and a half it’s been since I got into this castle. There is plenty of food here, and that thing doesn’t dare to come in, so I feel somewhat safe here. But there it is, on the lea that surrounds this castle, circling this place.
Nay, there are dozens of them on the lea. I tried to get out of this place by walking to the cliffs, to see if there is some hidden passage back to the outside world. However, I got only half way to the cliffs and they were literally hunting for me. It was like they weren’t bound by the condition my personal aberration is. And then it happened, on the lea, my aberration fought with the others. It defended me, and I ran back into the castle to where they cannot follow me.
Isn’t it horrifying? Your own doom defends you so that it can personally devour you. That day was one of those days when I thought I’d die. What I’m truly wondering is that how I and that boy got into the castle without troubles when we arrived. Leaving the Castle Zero is impossible. Actually, I don’t know if this boy met them on his way here through the lea, but at least I didn’t. It’s so confusing, life was so normal, until that day.
So I’m now looking this boy into eyes. We are both on our knees at the gate. I wonder what he’s thinking. I recognized his language, it’s from a northern kingdom. We got a few customers who happened to speak that same language this boy does. As to how I recognized it, he definitely said ‘thank you’ in that language.
Now I have no idea why he’d thank me, but from his actions, I can tell that he isn’t a bad person. It took around two years for him to get here if that was his aim. To think that he’s been wandering about for that long, all alone. It must have been hard. I should get some food for him. Better yet, I’ll show him the ‘food storage’.
I grab his hand and stand up as I do. The boy looks me with asking eyes. You’ll see soon, so just come. “Let’s go.”
He tilts his head, but he does stand up. I lead him further inside the castle. We are in a vast hall right now, and we got hundreds of options where to go, but I have only one path in my mind. If you look up here in the middle of this hall, you can see the very roof of this castle. Yes, the upper floors are also in view. One could climb up to the highest floor and jump down from there and he could hit us. Of course, this place is indoors.
I lead to the other side of the hall, circling around massive pillars. With a quick glance behind, I can see the boy’s eyes wander from here to there, clearly awed by the view. I know that I was when I first got here.
Once we get where I wanted to lead us, it’s a wooden door that’s before us. We enter the room, or more like a garden. This garden is basically outside, but the glass dome makes this place indoors. Yes, the cliffs and the lea are visible from this large garden. This garden could feed a hundred year round. Damn it, I’m bad at describing things.
As I’m about to let go of the boy’s hand, a sudden thought comes to my mind. To let go of this boy’s hand feels like I’d return back to loneliness. I don’t want that. It’s been so terrifying. Now that I think about it, even if this boy was a bad person I think I’d follow him anywhere anyway. I fear to be alone above all else.
Thus I won’t let go of his hand just yet and walk over to a tree. I grab a fruit from it, handing it over to the boy. “Food.” I try to remain simple with speech.
The boy stares at the fruit. He hasn’t seen such before, I bet. Since he hesitates too much, I take a bite of it myself. After that, he takes the fruit willingly. In fact, he munches on it like some hungry wolf.
At last, I feel happy, even if it’s only for a moment.