Chapter 7 - Sorrow
”Hey… wake up ”
Ashe started opening his eyes slowly still drowsy from his nap. He saw a person right in front of his face.
”What..? ” Ashe muttered.
”Get up! we
e here already. ” The man said.
Suddenly Ashes memories came back to him and he quickly jolted awake. Mom must be worried
”I should get going, ” Ashe said awkwardly as he didn want to stay here longer than he needed to.
”Wait, heres a little bonus, ” the man said while handing Ashe a small bag. Ashe now recognized the man as Gill
”Kids like you like this stuff right? ” Gill said, to which Ashe responded with a nod
After telling their goodbyes Ashe started heading back home. He checked his phone to find a sour surprise. His mom has been calling him However theres no internet outside the cities so he couldn even tell her any excuses over the phone.
Ashe felt incredibly guilty listening to the voice mails he got.
”Hi Ashe, mom here Im just curious where you are. Its getting pretty late so please call me back ”
”Hi Ashe, I know you
e probably at a titan watch party, just call me back Im worried ”
Ashe was about to tear up by the time he reached the inner city border.
When he entered the checkpoint he had to hand over the gift he got from Gill. He didn even have time to check what was inside, so he hoped Gill didn put anything stupid in it.
Ashe felt relieved when the officers took out a portable game console. It was fairly old as it was pre-mutation technology, however since the world became so dangerous and cities became more isolated, the economy crumbled. So there weren any other portable consoles out on the market.
He continued through the checkpoint to the nearest train station. With it now being over half past midnight, the train was almost empty.
Ashe sat down and started typing out excuses on his phone
Sorry my phone died
No thats stupid maybe something like
I accidentally turned my phone off sorry
No way, shell just think I got drunk. Maybe thats not a bad thing though?
Eventually, Ashe decided to pretend he forgot his phone at home.
Getting off the train he started running through all the different scenarios of what could happen in his head. The scenarios got more negative the closer he got to his front door.
He slowly opened the door and closed it as quietly as possible. With his back turned to the hallway he heard his mom behind him.
”Oh, Ashe! ” She said while tying her arms around him tightly.
”I was so worried! Where were you?! ” Her voice sounded almost angry, but Ashe knew that she was just worried about him.
”Sorry I didn mean to make you worry. I was out with some friends, watching the titan pass the city but I forgot my phone. ”
”Just go to sleep well talk about this tomorrow honey, ” she said while letting go of her son.
Ashe was now walking past her towards his room.
”One last thing! Have you seen your brother? ”
Ashe replied by shaking his head, before entering his room quietly. He crawled into his bed, just wanting this day to be over.
He closed his eyes and started to doze off.
Ashe opened his eyes and his mood quickly dropped. Before this, he was snuggled up in his bed, but now he was laying on the ground of a cold dark forest.
He looked around and noticed that it wasn the same forest as before. Here the trees had no leaves and the fog made it even harder to see. The ground was filled with scattered leaves and dry branches making it impossible to take a single step without alerting everything in the area.
Where am I? Is this a dream? No, it can be, it feels so real
Ashe started looking around but it was so dark he couldn see much further than 3 meters in front of him.
Realizing he can count on his eyes he started to listen intently.
But he could only hear the wind and the leaves it caries. He started to smell the forest air and it smelled unusual. Normally he would expect it to smell like wet leaves or something similar, but the forest smelt slightly like iron.
With nothing else to do, he decided to start walking in a random direction.
Walking around everything felt weird. There was almost nothing interesting to see so it felt like he was walking in circles. His footsteps felt off and despite this, he still felt fairly calm which made him feel even weirder. Everything here was not how it should be, even Ashe himself.
Ashe stopped suddenly thinking that walking like this would be useless. The sound of his footsteps also stopped but with a bit of a delay. Ashe wasn surprised as this was the case for the entire walk.
He sat down on the ground trying to collect his thoughts. At that moment Ashe felt incredible fear, as he sat down the sound of leaves underneath him was instant and a lot quieter than his footsteps. He realized the delayed sound was never his footsteps.
Almost as if it felt Ashes fear a creature emerged from the fog. It had a muscly humanoid figure but the closer it got, Ashe could see more details. Firstly it had two horns made of stones from then he realized that its entire body was made of something resembling stone.
Maybe this is all a big misunderstanding Ashe thought while staring at the entity.
e a stage 2 mutant right? ”
The figure was just getting closer taking slow and heavy steps. It was almost in Ashes arms reach, making him realize the difference in stature between them. The being was more than twice Ashes height and one of its legs was almost as thick as Ashes torso.
No longer willing to risk it Ashe started running away from the beast. It quickly followed now starting to sprint at Ashe, making the ground shake under its weight.
Ashe was already tired from todays earlier events so he couldn run for much longer.
His adrenaline was taking hold of him making him speed up but lose his sense of direction. Luckily for him, he was faster than the stone beast as the ground shook less than before making him feel a lot safer.
After running for about 2 minutes Ashe completely lost the beast. He stopped to take a break. Sitting under a tree Ashe was now incredibly tired and panting for air.
He looked around and realized he was out of the fog. It didn help much as it was still dark out there but it gave him a feeling of progression. With newfound hope, he stood up and began walking in the same direction he was running in.
After walking around the forest he saw another good sign. He saw the ground elevating in a different direction.
Perfect! Ill find the high ground and see where I am.
He followed the elevation and started to notice that there were fewer and fewer trees which were unusual. Slowly the ground changed from dirt and leaves to stone, and bushes replaced the trees but in fewer numbers.
Still walking up Ashe was thrilled to finally be out of the forest. His happiness quickly faded as he saw what was at its peak.
”Nooo! ” Ashe screamed at the sight before him. It was a cliff meaning he had to go back to the creepy forest.
The cliff was unusual as just below it was a sea made of sand that stretched beyond the horizon. In the large desert, there was a single giant object that had the shape of a tree.
It was clear that it wasn a tree because of its giant size and its symmetrical nature.
Ashes attention quickly left from his negative thoughts and to the sky. It was still mostly dark however it was painted with beautiful red lines and countless stars. It felt like he was inside a nebula.
It was such a beautiful sight Ashe forgot all his problems and just kept staring at the sky.
He was taken out of a trance when he felt a sharp pain in his right shoulder. Ashe fell to his knees and grabbed the shoulder. To his surprise there was nothing there, Ashes consciousness began fading from the pain. The last thing he saw was the forest and a strange hooded figure watching him from a distance.
Then everything went black.
”Wake up! ”
”What.. ” Ashe mumbled still grasping the current situation. His little brother was grabbing him by the shoulder and trying to shake him awake.
”Im up! Im up! ” Ashe said to get his brother to stop shaking him. His memories of that forest were coming back to him.
Was that really a dream? But it felt so real.
”Mom said you
e going to be late! ” Roy said still trying to make his brother get out of bed.
”Yeah yeah, buddy. Im going now, Ok? ”
Roy was now satisfied with his work seeing his brother getting up from his laying position.
Ashe sighed loudly before getting up and picking out an outfit for today. He went to the bathroom and before doing anything else he took a look at his shoulder.
To his surprise, it was completely fine.
Im sure the pain was real! The bewildered boy thought.
Forget it. It was just a stupid nightmare.
Getting dressed and brushing his teeth, then entering the living room he saw his mom still in the kitchen.
”Morning! ” Ashe said loudly so his mom would hear.
”Good morning ” he heard faintly from the kitchen.
”Whats wrong? ” Ashe asked following his mom to the kitchen. Now face to face with her he saw that she had red and puffy eyes.
”Its nothing, Im just a little worried for your brother. He still hasn come back yet. ”
”Im sure he just slept over at his friends house cause it was getting late. ” Ashe tried reassuring his mom but it didn seem to help much
”I know that hes probably fine but I just can help but worry. ” She said with a faint smile, almost laughing at herself for how absurd she was being.
”I packed you your breakfast so don be late! ” She said after a short pause, handing Ashe a lunch box.
”See you later then! ” Ashe tried saying with a positive voice but he just couldn help but worry for his mom. Yesterday almost everybody left the house and only Ashe came back, at an incredibly late hour as well.
Ashe started walking his usual route to school. While he was walking through the busy streets he got lost in thought again. Everything was so surreal to him, yesterday felt like the most hectic and momentous day of his life. Then that weird dream felt so real and it was scary and beautiful at the same time, making him feel something he never felt before. And now he was back to school like nothing ever happened.
Would he ever get to feel like that again,
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