He didn’t remember anything, period. Everything was missing, gone, blank.
And yet, the boy didn’t panic. In fact, the smile on his face barely faltered at all. He wasn’t in pain, missing limbs or sick, so why get worked up? This wasn’t the end of the world…
… in fact, the forest was kind of a nice place. Sky was bright and sunny, foliage tall and healthy (looking at least, he certainly wasn’t a tree doctor) and the grass was a gorgeous shade of emerald green. The distant birds sang a lovely tune, wind made a gentle rustling when meeting the leaves, both very nice ways of warding off total silence. Actually, this could possibly pass off as some sort of transition to heaven or something, which did beg the question, had he died?
Well, he didn’t feel dead, if that made any sense at all. Pinching still hurt, so that ruled out the possibility that this was a dream, at least. Still, silly as the idea sounded in his head, the teenager ended up checking his back for wings (and head for a halo, as a matter of fact) just to be sure. Nothing, good… right?
Giving his surroundings a second glance, he noticed a denim satchel laying close by. It appeared familiar, and the boy decided to go investigate. Picking it up wasn’t much of a chore, and from such a near angle, the numerous patches sewn onto the piece become clearly visible. One was a yellow smiley face; another depicted a colourful music note. Although he didn’t yet realise it, they did a good job representing the one who sowed them.
Inside was a number of interesting items. Some sort of electronic gizmo that gave the teenager a mild sense of joy, although why was anybody’s guess. Despite the good first impression, trying to get it on was impossible. None of the buttons pushed did anything. Oh well.
The most useful thing had to be teal library card, believe it or not. On the backside was a simple signature, Lorenzo.
Upon mouthing that word, a strange feminine voice slowly played in his head. It was far too blurry to make out any distinguishable words, but her tone was soft and knowing. Something about it was comforting and familiar….
“My name is Lorenzo,” the dark haired teenager stated brightly once the speaking had ceased. Hearing strange voices in your mind shouldn’t be something to be happy about, he wasn’t dense enough not to know that, but the warm feeling it left… it just couldn’t be bad. Besides, he knew his own name now, a step in the right direction.
This revelation served as a catalyst for his next move. Inspired, he decided to take a stroll, which would hopefully lead to more discoveries.
This walk, the optimist was rather enjoying it, despite the foreign feeling it gave him. Hey, maybe that was something worth noting, a clue of sorts. If this experience was odd… then the possibility of him having wondered here on his own was severely limited. A slip or fall could have caused memory loss though… so many possibilities, but only one truth.
Dry and solid, the terrain makes Lorenzo’s trek a rather simple task. No puddle turned shocking mirror or vines to unleash a new ability, not for him at least. Time slowly moved by, but he only became aware of this once the birds stopped chirping and the breeze died.
Silence. The worst possible sound of them all was nothing.
It took a few moments for him to realise what had just happened. Despite losing his memory, being lost in a strange forest and hearing voices, it was this quiet that most bothered Lorenzo.
The feeling of sheer uneasiness and anxiety was short lived, however, the sounds soon returned, as if someone had hit the “play” button once more. This merited a sigh of relief. But… what had happened to him? The teenager wasn’t sure, but it seemed to be linked to that pause the forest seemed to take. A possible concern…
… but there was no point in dwelling on it, or at least not for the time being. Lorenzo swiftly regained his smile, walking slowly but surely onward. The grin only widened once his eyes met buildings, a sure sign of people. This was a good omen, he concluded.
An ocean stretches beyond the horizon, endless in sight. She gazes casually, blinking occasionally, for hours, watching as the sun is swallowed by the water. Nothing is quiet as beautiful as day surrendering to night in this fashion, not in her opinion. Dawn is nice… but seaside dusk is enchanting.
The sound of crashing waves echoes passionately in her ears, the pattern they make so mesmerising. It’s as if the current was playing tag, each wave forever trying to catch the next. Something about this is peaceful and serene, the world could be ending, and the scene would somehow calm her down. The air is crisp and cool without being chilly, perfect.
She simply sits at the cliff’s edge, legs hanging off and swinging in a random pattern. Clenched in her hand is a simple purple lollipop, which she sometimes licks. It doesn’t taste anything like grape, its labelled flavour, but manages to be great in a sugary way. Oddly, the treat doesn’t clash at all with the salt lingering in the breeze; in fact, the reverse would be more accurate.
“Everything is pleasant, life stands still and it couldn’t be better for you. That is about to end though, my dear,” a stranger’s voice echoes, but nobody is around.
“What are you talking about?”
“You’ll soon see,”
“Who are you?”
“That does not matter at the moment”
“Of course it does.” the girl’s tone grows bolder, but does not rise in pitch.
“Silly child, all shall be made clear in due time.”
“No real….” The corners start to go blurry. Her voice is now distorted, words beyond recognition. Everything spins in a confusing circle, faster and faster, before finally fading into oblivion.
She limps, face scrunched in agony with each feeble step. Her eyes are stone cold, however, gaze powerful and ever hating. Their target is a black shadow, its identity completely undetectable, although the girl seems to know what it is.
“After all they’ve said, I can’t believe you’re that easy to fall,” the creature’s voice is scratchy and rough, making sense of the phrase is difficult.
“I’m not done yet,” the teenager’s voice is dark, icy. Her lips slowly relax, becoming straight, although her features remain tormented.
“Oh?” the blurb obviously doesn’t take its foe seriously. Instead of attacking, it watches, as if daring her to make a move.
Expression unfaltering, she slowly raises her arm, which is littered with scratches and patches of drying blood. This is obviously painful, although the hurt does little to detract the girl. A simple slash downward creates a watery snake and a quick snap makes a painful whip. The simply unconcerned twist she wears as the shadow is beaten down is eerie, detached.
“Told you,” she replies, monotone as can be.
Oh no, you can’t get the best of me
She’d woken up expecting to be on that familiar cliffside. Only a few pieces of those… dreams remained, the rest having been lost during her period of unconsciousness. In fact, realising that a strange forest is where she rested came as a slight shock. The trees, their leafy branches outstretched in all directions, didn’t ring a bell in the least. No recollection of coming here could be found, which added to the unsettlement. She didn’t panic though, that point being very far still.
Standing up, the teenager mindlessly brushed the few blades of grass that clung onto her clothes, seemingly for no reason. She gave the area a second glance, as if searching for clues explaining her presence here. After a few moments though, nothing could be detected. There were no footprints leading to this spot, no signs of a struggle, no objects she could have tripped on. Shaking her head, the girl sigh, this was turning into a waste of time.
Turning back to the tree she’d been leaning against, she realised staying here wouldn’t do any good. Apart from bark, grass and leaves, there was nothing to eat and even less to drink. No water to be seen.
Water. Both her “dreams” had contained that elements, she realised. Did that mean anything? From the look of that second one, it could be controlled with the flick of a hand. But… was the girl really her? She was so… icy... while she herself felt collected and level headed. No, that just couldn’t be her…
It didn’t take the blunette too long to go off venturing. She was slightly curious; maybe certain answers could be found elsewhere in this forest. A better reason for the walk, however, was that standing there seemed completely pointless.
She’d been wondering for a solid hour, or so it felt anyway. So far, she’d found nothing of particular interest, although it would be a lie to say the time had been absolutely pointless. The girl had realised she was without a name, which (oddly enough) along with missing an identity, was of greatest concern. After much (failed) effort, she decided to try and come up with something herself, which would hopefully (temporarily) settle the issue. But what?
Finding a substitute wasn’t easy. Losing the plug to a drain forces a would-be dishwasher to improvise, most solutions faltering soon after their implementation. This was comparable to her situation. Names would never stick. Sapphire was too exotic. Blue just didn’t sound right. Rain made for a nice name, but wasn’t something the teenager could identify to, and it soon too was dropped. No, building oneself on such a weak foundation certainly was not the simplest of tasks. Yet, strangely, considering her situation, she stayed rather cool.
So far, there was little she could go off of. Her clothes were simple enough, grey sweater and jeans with little accessories. The only thing to really stand out was a sharp tooth, which was the main feature of her necklace. Which animal could it be from?
It didn’t really matter, the blunette quickly concluded. Finding a name was of greater priority…
… one that would soon be put on hold. The forest’s density grew weaker with each step forward, which indicated an exit wasn’t too far away. This was a good sign, the girl concluded; these woods were doing little to improve her situation. Maybe something on the outside would help; something like a… village. The word popped into mind just as the sight of buildings met her gaze. This was perfect.
“Good,” she mouthed, a content smile on her face.
Nothing will ever be the same…
Forever falling in a downward spiral…
And I know it all too clearly.
“The enemy’s new radiation did… this”
“You’re lucky to be alive”
“It’s incurable at this point, sorry”
“We’re doing all we can,”
“Your body isn’t taking this well”
“Just stay positive”
“Before going further, they’ll need to do more tests”
Where is everyone?
“These new meds should help”
Am I alone?
“Leander… this is never easy to say…”
Yes, all alone…
Hurt, sorrow, loss,
Mutation, blood, illness,
Welcome to my world.
Images faded in and out, it was hard to focus on one in particular. They said so much, and yet, Leander could grasp so little. So many people, events, places that didn’t register and yet… these should be familiar, he’d managed to decipher. But why weren’t they?
His fingers slowly combed through the grass, a passerby would probably assume he was searching for something. In reality, however, Leander was not. There was just something so unusual about the action that had forced him to repeat it a few times. In fact, it was only when a blade (of grass) was pulled that he finally snapped his eyes open.
The sky was a brilliant blue with the occasional cloud gently passing by. Along with the bright sunshine, the scene could almost pose for the cover of a feel-good card; it was only missing a cute bird, balloons or something equally cheery. Apart from indicating the weather was fair and what time it could be, the scene did nothing to improve Leander’s monotone mood, and was quickly pushed to the back of his mind.
The teenager, having had enough of lying on the ground, picked himself up and gave the area a good scan. It didn’t take very long for the surroundings to set it. He was in a forest, and judging from the trees, this was boreal in nature. The grass was thick and luscious, evidence that the wildlife probably didn’t eat here very often, making it a safer zone. Leander, however, was unable to tell where he was beyond that.
This wasn’t home, that much, he had decoded. Everything felt… out of place and unfamiliar, although, truthfully, the teenager was unable to thick of anything that really was. He couldn’t even remember what his house looked like. No memories. That couldn’t be good.
Leander’s monotone finally started to shift, but not in the bright way. He was a bit concerned about not having any real memories, but the why was more troubling yet. What happened to have erased them? If those weird images that he’d seen before were any sort of indication, it wasn’t positive. Although, he had no way of telling if they were even real, or just a crazy dream. This truly couldn’t be good…
Sighing, the boy realised he didn’t have many options. He could stay here and ponder, which seemed to only bring up more roadblocks, build a shelter, which he didn’t know how, or move on. None of these options seemed particularly viable, but before trying to construct anything, taking a look around was probably a good idea. Before leaving, the teenager made sure to give the clearing one last examination.
Along the winding trail, Leander made note of a few interesting things. Number one, his hands were darker than the rest of his arms, seemingly for no reason. Secondly, the morning dew was still predominant on many plants and much of the grass. More useful, however, was that a vast majority of the fungus growing here appeared to be non-poisonous; somehow he knew which were eatable. Not that the thought of eating mushrooms actually pleased him, meat was more appetizing, but it meant there was guaranteed food.
He couldn’t carry any though, by this point, the lack of a bag had come to notice. In fact, the boy only had the clothes on his back. These threads were black with no addition pallets, loose fitting and covered a large portion of his skin. The sleeves of the shirt were pulled back a little, however, which emphasised the colour contrast between his hands and arms. This outfit, one could say, was simply lacking in life.
The air grew slightly warmer as time went by. Leander could tell he’d been walking for a while, longer then intended, when the sun hung directly overhead indicating it was about noon. The morning dew had all but vanished, the birds were now much quieter and, of course, the shadows had shifted. By this point, he was starting to grow tired. His legs were growing weak, which translated into a much slower pace, but no breaks were taken.
“What am I even looking for?”
The sound of his own voice actually felt familiar, which was the only thing so far to trigger that response. Leander sighed, although it was more of relief than anything else, and took a few moments to pause. His legs ached a little, and were almost begging for a proper rest.
Ignoring them, for now at least, the teenager kept moving, still unable to answer his own question. These unresolved issues were beginning to pile up at an alarming rate, and Leander found himself mulling those images over once again…
Of course, he always kept a watchful eye on the area around him, which is how a stray puddle ended up being noticed. It was the first and only one of its kind, which managed to peak the boy’s interest. He approached this carefully, almost anticipating something unexpected... and bad.
What he ended up getting was a shocking reflection.
Somehow, despite having noticed and been unfazed upon seeing his tail earlier, the other cat features littering his face were striking. It was almost as if they weren’t a natural sight, not in the least. His expression never faltered, however, despite the growing feeling of seer unsettlement. After a few moments, however, the teenager had an epiphany. That hair, why had he even expected it to be dark red in the first place? And, of course, he had no memories indicating these feline qualities didn’t belong, just that feeling. Leander simply sighed, powerless to draw any logical conclusions in this state.
For the longest time, the cat boy was uncomfortable. Confused as ever, weak and pessimistic, he continued onward, not really knowing what he was searching for.
“Answers,” Leander ended up blurting quietly once the reply finally came to mind.
Somewhat satisfied with this realisation, he finally lightened up a little. It was then and only then, that the woods started to dissipate, letting the boy know he was most likely coming to the end.
This was proven correct once buildings came into sight. They appeared simple in design, foreign to Leander, although frankly, it seemed everything was. The idea of interacting with others didn’t please him too much, but it would be worth it if someone knew what the flip was going on…