14 Second Shard PT. 2
It was dark once again. He was surrounded by the darkness from both sides, one lighter than the other. Some sort of corridor, one side leading to a bright entranceway, the other further down into the darkness.
Bai Qi felt a tug on his soul, the light pulling at him, but something held him back.
* 'If you go that way, you'll wake up.' *
* 'Yes.' *
Bai Qi pondered for a moment.
"When will I learn about my past?"
* 'When you're ready for it.' *
"Am I ready now?"
* 'No.' *
"Will I ever be ready?"
* 'Depends on you.' *
"What's toward that way?" Bai Qi asked, pointing toward the other end of the corridor, his hand melting into the dark shadows.
* 'Answers.' *
"To my questions?"
* 'No.' *
"To what questions?"
* 'Ones that you haven't asked yet.' *
"I need answers."
* 'Just as much as the right questions.' *
"How do I find these right questions?"
* 'When you choose to question the right things.' *
"I think I want to start looking for the right things now."
* 'Then go.' *
Bai Qi felt the corridor spin, losing control over the gravity, as he started to fall backwards, into the dark corridor, the exit made of light high above his head, moving further and further away, until soon, nothing was left.
Falling faster and faster, light disappearing, falling deeper and deeper, until he couldn't feel himself fall anymore. And then he woke up, opened his eyes, back into the dreamscape.
The light was painful, stabbing needles into his eyes, his head pounding. His body was sore all over, though he couldn't feel his right arm. Sticky dried blood riddled his clothes, staining them dark brown. As he turned around, he saw the back of an elder, the same elder from before, peering out a giant window. Clouds surrounded them, the sun dipping into the horizon, the skies blue, the clouds grey.
They were in an airship, jutting high above into the sky, skimming the top of the clouds.
"Beautiful, isn't it?" the elder asked. "Makes you wonder if there's any point going higher."
The elder turned to look at Bai Qi. His mouth curved into a smile. "I've always dreamed of being at the top, as far as I could remember." The elder turned around to spread his arms at the clouds outside the airship. "Not much further up you could go from here. And yet, you can never truly make it there."
"Alas. it's not all that great to be up here. Sometimes I wish I had lived an ordinary life, one where I died alongside my family and my loved ones, thousands of years ago, just to stay ignorant for another day. The further up you go," the elder continued. " the more you see. The more you learn. And it comes with a cost. The violence, the blood that was shed, the hate, the deaths." The elders voice grew colder, losing the amiable and indifferent tone from before. "And even if it's blue skies up here, the grey clouds still hang dark above the ones you leave behind."
Bai Qi felt dread, at the elders words. The room felt a bit colder, a bit darker, the fear in his heart growing.
"And sometimes you need to make a choice. To see the truth, or to remain ignorant. So what do you choose?" The elder turned to look at Bai Qi.
"The truth," Bai Qi's voice croaked out. It hurt to talk.
"No matter how heavy it may be?"
Bai Qi felt himself remain silent. The room continued to get darker, the shadows deeping around the corners. A chill had set in, and Bai Qi could feel a slight aura of pain, of anguish, rolling off the elder.
"So be it." The elder raised his arms, and waived once. A screen of light appeared in front of Bai Qi, and the elder turned away, looking out the window once again. The sun had taken a tint of red as it slowly set, dipping below the clouds. Fog started to set in, the blood red light permeating through the tendrils of the clouds, a mask of death in the air.
Bai Qi looked at the dark screen that was forming in front of him, in the air.
The screen showed an image of a village. The buildings, the paved streets, slanted roofs, old walls, all silent and lonely. The darkness of the night masking everything in shadows, yet the picture was clear, everything was still, everything was silent, everything felt peaceful, but something felt wrong.
It wasn't until a few seconds later when his dread was confirmed. It wasn't until a few moments later when he saw the first body.
The remains of a body. Oddly melonchic, slumped over alongside a wall. Half the body was charred off, the right half. The look of horror, etched onto the dead face, arms raised to protect his body. Parts of his bone, sticking through the skin, bent at odd angles, glistening in the moonlight. Patches of his skin, hanging off in bits and pieces, charred. There was blood pooled around him, slowly trickling down onto the cobblestone. Drip, drop, drip, drop, dark red, reflecting the silvery light of the moon.
And the path. The cobblestone path. The empty street, dyed red, with sticky blood. The buildings, the peaceful buildings, the walls, bits and pieces broken off, crumbling down. Parts of the building simply burned off, roofs sagging, threatening to fall down to the sticky road.
And more and more bodies started to appear once the illusion of peace was so suddenly broken. Hidden in the shadows of the building, covered by a thin layer of ash, hidden in corners, hidden behind walls, hidden in the silence of the village.
Bai Qi wanted to look away, about to vomit, but a invisible force kept his head pointed at the screen. Kept him from turning away from death, from turning away from the bodies. The blood on the ground, forming a stream, giving away the locations of each body, horribly mutilated, each worse than the next.
A mother, holding her daughter, in her grasp. Hoping to shield her daughter, to hide her daughter away in her embrace, to turn her daughters eyes away from the horror around them. Her face pleading to the man that took her life, a single lance boring through her body, through her daughter that she tried to protect. Disbelief in her eyes, soulless for the rest of eternity, embracing her cold daughter, a pool of blood around them.
And another body here, another there. A broken building over there, a wall that came crashing down. A child's lifeless body laying dismembered in the middle of the street, clutching a playing ball, his head a few feet away.
Scattered. Lifeless. Silent. Some with resentment, some with disbelief, some eyes with fear, some with hate, some with pain, some with anguish. One after another, the haunting eyes told the stories of the emotions, of what the people were going through.
And that's when Bai Qi finally recognized the village. A sense of foreboding, deep within his heart, dug just a bit deeper.
"No, please no." Bai Qi felt his body wimper. "It can't be."
And yet he couldn't turn away. An invisible force held him there, forced his eyes open, forced him to see what had happened.
The elder remained silent.
The image shifted once again, turning the corners of the streets, until it stopped in front of a large house, one of the mansions, the house where his dreamscape first started. Outside were several poles, sticking out from the ground, each with a head attached. Bai Qi saw the heads of the servants he had grown up with, lining the path leading to the front door. As the screen moved closer and closer to the house, Bai Qi saw broken bodies littered around the path, headless, eerily still. The door was wide open, the inside of the house, the familiar stone wall, the worn out rugs from the years spent inside, stained with the heavy musk of blood. The house itself was empty, cleaned out of all the bodies, but the damage from fighting was quite evident. The picture continued to move deeper into the house, turning that corner into that ever so familiar corridor.
Looking ahead, Bai Qi noticed small arched doors. Around him was a hall, old and decrepit, showing signs of wear from the small pieces of stone chipped away. Musty and dirty banners lined the walls. He couldn't turn to see what was behind him, rather as he tried, his head kept turning to face the small dark door at the end of the hall. It was worn out as well, the oak had long since lost its glory. With holes and indents, pieces of the door scraped away near the bottom, threatening to splinter anyone who ran their fingers along its surface.
One spot seemed brighter than the rest, a small corner in the bottom left that had a carved heart with the word "Dad." The writing was uneven, the heart crooked, letters written by a small child that emanated a sense of love tainted by the darkness of the corner it was located in.
The door was opened slightly, into the room with the messy desk, though this time, there was nobody hunched over the books. Books outlined the rest of the rest of the room, though once again Bai Qi couldn't make out the names.
Hey ho fellow non psychopathic humans. This memory fragment is quite long, I don't want to separate into several parts sprinkled between the main story because there are some details I want to keep together, the second shard is going to have a part 3, maybe a part 4, probably not.
Silverbro with #1, SkylarWolfe closing in, i got bumped to #3 ;-;
We recently hit a milestone that I forgot to mention, 100 collections, 100 different people have put this novel in their library. Cheers.
If we can get over 100 powerstones in one week, any week, I'll drop an extra chapter that week.
If you find mistakes, feel free to point them out, either in the comments, or messaging me on discord.
Discord server is up, https://discord.gg/B7xQSKS
It'll grow slowly.
If the link doesn't work for some reason, msg me directly at Paradoxicality#1088