Alice woke to the pleasant humming sound of her alarm. Rubbing her eyes, she looked to her white robot plugged into its charging station on the other side of the room. “Thank you, R.B.B.T.”
The robot’s white, glowing eyes flickered to life as the sound ceased. Ethereal voice sounding. “Good morning, Alice.”
She watched it rise with the grace and fluidity clearly not based off human movement. The exotic android was sleek, built for speed. As per the alien race that inspired its design. Why it was her household robot, she wasn’t sure. But she had it ever since she could remember.
“Morning request, ma’am?”
“The usual.” She performed her morning ritual of stretches as the tint of her windows changed from black to almost clear, letting in the simulated sun. Then she moved to her bathroom. The door slid open in response.
R.B.B.T. entered the bedroom. “Breakfast is ready.”
Alice braided her light hair in a ponytail. Paused. Studied the mirror. Tilting her head, she ran her fingers down her neck. Her brows furrowed at the faint bump and discoloration that traversed around the middle of her neck. Something she never paid attention to before.
The android shifted. “Breakfast is ready, ma’am.”
She leaned closer to the mirror. “I know, but how did I get this? I don’t remember doing anything that could cause this. It’s like a scar.”
The robot’s eyes turned red as it sent a beacon to its true master.
There was a flash of light in the front room of the virtual house. The feminine voice of the home echoed. “General Cooper has arrived.”
Alice poked her head out of the bathroom, running to the front room. “Dad!” She threw her arms around him. Then frowned at his stern face. “What’s wrong?”
He sat her down. “R.B.B.T. has notified me you discovered the scar around your neck.”
One of her brows lifted. “Yes? What is this all about?”
Sighing, he sat across from her. Put a hand on her knee. “Do you remember you’re an agent for me and the government?”
“Yes…I just went on a mission not too long ago…”
“Well, last rotation, you were assigned to a highly sensitive mission. One I didn’t even know all the details for. Our greatest enemy traveled back in time to rewrite the future to her design. You were sent after her, you being our top agent. With its impressive shifting abilities, R.B.B.T. was sent along with you.”
Alice glanced at the exotic robot.
General Cooper continued. “Our enemy had been there long enough, she killed the king and placed herself as queen. We didn’t know at the time. We sent you straight in to explain a pre-scripted situation to the king. She had you beheaded on the spot. Thankfully, R.B.B.T. is equipped with the most advanced in medical science. It killed the queen and saved you simultaneously. It was able to fuse your head back on. Our damages team handled the rest.”
She sat in silence, blinking. Not given enough time to process the information. “This doesn’t make any sense…why don’t I remember any of this?”
“The queen, the enemy, was your mother.”
Her eyes lifted, realizing why her memory had been wiped. “How many times have we had this conversation?”
His expression stiffened. “About three times a week. There is so much we keep you from remembering. It’s why we keep you in constant surveillance at this facility. Your world that you think exists no longer does. You loved those Wonderland myths so much, your mother wanted to emulate them. In a way, I think she succeeded.”
“Why are you telling me this now?”
“Because your memory will be wiped once more. Goodbye, Alice. I’ll see you the next time this happens.”
“What? That’s it? You incredulously deceiving person!” She rose from her chair. Only to be forced back down by R.B.B.T. She screamed and kicked, but nothing set her free.
General Cooper transported out of the virtual house to monitor the rest from a station in the corner of the simulation room.
The last thing she experienced before she would forget was seeing the android’s white eyes blending into one piercing light, blinding her vision. And its mellifluous voice growing more distant as consciousness faded.
I’ve never had a problem sleeping at nights. Not until recently. For the past week, I swear I’ve heard this scratching sound. But I passed it off as raccoons or such. Too bad I didn’t have a pellet gun.
One particular night was my same routine. Got home from work. Ate dinner. Watched TV. Went to bed. I yawned as I checked my phone. Close to midnight. That was late for me. I paused. Remember when I used to pull all-nighters just to play a video game? That was the price of adulthood, I supposed.
I entered my bedroom and turned off the light. My legs prickled for some reason, and I all but jumped into my bed. Knocking a pillow off the other side. I sighed. Rolled onto my stomach and slid my arm between the mattress and the wall. Something scaly grabbed my arm and pulled. Yelping, I yanked my arm free. Sat in the middle of my bed. What the–? The pillow could stay down there for tonight.
The covers were more inviting anyway. I crawled under them, leaving my shoulders and head exposed as always. The feeling of my arm being touched finally went away. I drifted to sleep. Something tapped my shoulder twice. My eyes flew open. Two more taps. I rolled over. Nothing was there. Except for my fallen pillow. My heart raced. No, there was nothing or nobody there. My pillow must’ve never fallen. That was possible. And I had rubbed my arm against the wall. No big deal. I situated myself again.
After some time, I grew hot. Having the covers off proved too cold, so I resorted to only having one leg out of the covers. Satisfied, I fell asleep. Dreamed of wading through a pleasant beach. Though my dream was sadly interrupted. Stretching, I rolled over. Closed my eyes. Snapped them open again. Was something…licking my foot? Crying out, I kicked hard. Sat up. There was nothing at the end of my bed. I touched my sock-less foot. It was covered in sticky slobber. I didn’t own a dog. Or any pet for that matter. I couldn’t reason this incident in my head.
I was too scared to get out of bed and turn on the lights. Was this some sort of prank? By who? I lived alone. I had no friends. My breathing quickened. No. No, this had to be my imagination. It was too many hours after my bedtime. I had been sleeping lightly. My brain was tired. That was all. After a peptalk, I curled back under the covers. Closed my eyes. But sleep never came. Even though nothing else happened. I sighed. This was old already.
Seeing how I was awake, I opened my eyes. Froze. Two white, glowing orbs peered at me from a corner of darkness. A pair of eyes? My gaze remained transfixed. Until the orbs moved and crept closer. I squeezed my eyes shut. Remained huddled beneath the blankets. A presence hovered at the edge of my bed. I prayed it would be day soon.
I have hardly slept since.
You know when you have an idea, and you just have to get it down? That’s what happened to me yesterday after I woke up from a nap. I had this idea of a shadow/darkness spirit. She was drawn with graphite, charcoal, and ink. It’s been while since I’ve just drawn from inspiration without any sort of procrastination. There was much joy in this creation. I apologize for the picture quality.
Out of the darkness formed an angelic creature with black-tinted skin and white, feathered wings. He stood tall and strong, waiting in the darkness patiently. It was not often someone visited the ruins of Elion, and he surely didn’t expect it to be a wandering soul of the female creature race. He stared with electric purple eyes as she stepped foot onto the main road. The night wind unsettled years of encrusted dirt and rust. The deteriorated buldings groaned. A familiar sound to him.
He stepped back when she found the monstrous markings in the dirt that would never pass. Though he was many yards away from her. With narrowed eyes, he passed her off as a careless creature who had been forsaken. He paused through the dirty haze, a structure forming. A structure made of the ribs and skull of an unsightly, many-horned creature that had fallen long ago.
The girl continued walking the ghost town. Unsure of what would happen. She missed her dragon companion. And she couldn’t shake the memories of the last creature she encountered. She came upon a great beast’s forgotton remains. A creature stood in the skull’s gaping mouth. He was similar to the one she met a few days back. Except this one’s skin was black and his eyes purple. His wings were ragged, one permanently broken while the other was half missing. “Who are you?”
His intense gaze tracked her movements. Head turning as he watched her in silence. Her words were foreign to him, but he could still understand what she wanted. But he turned away. Noiselessly moved deeper into the skull. “Wait!” she cried. “I’ve met someone like you.”
Pivoting, a purple aura emanated from his form, veins illuminating like violet lightning on his skin. His shredded wings arched as much as they could. He beckoned her until she cautiously approached. Then his eyes flashed with lightning, sending her to the ground as he gained access to her mind. A blast of electricity broke through her eyelids, radiated into her skull, then left her body of nerves tingling.
Axxeriorat–for that was his name–still remained in place. His aura spread further from him. Lighting the inside of the skull. He cared little for the torment she suffered upon the dirt. Not many knew of Elion’s brutal history. Not many cared. Tortured by the silence of the dead around him, he continued staring. She managed gaining control of herself. Her eyes wide in horror.
He had given her a brief history. Had shown her what had passed. His jaw set as he relived the memories himself. It was his brother and him. Together, they led the charge against the invasion of their peaceful civilization. They were successfull until the fell beast was summoned. Only diaster followed. For three days and nights, their town was burned, defiled, and shredded.
Nothing stopped the brutal phenomenon. Streets lined with blood. Homes filled with screams that turned silent. Everything burned to ash. The brothers failed in their sworn duty. They were the best forces Elion had to offer, and their best wasn’t good enough. He was the last survivor. Only because he had fled like a coward.
When he returned weeks later, the beast was nothing more than a rotting carcass. It was off the carcass he lived. Until only bones remained. He assumed the beast had served its purpose then was killed by its summoners. That mattered not. What mattered was he failed. Failed to destroy the relentless attackers and foul creature. Failed to save his people, his brother. His battle-torn wings helped pay the cost. But according to tradition, his tongue needed removal. So he could never speak of his failures.
The deed had been done. He had drawn the sword from his wings and cut out the apendage long ago. Not that he was a chattery creature. A constant power he possessed was that involving the mind. He had also tapped into her memories. Seen the creature she had spoken of. His cruel stare found her once more. She begged him to stop the mental intrusion. She couldn’t bear the horrid images of his past world.
Lighting flashed from his eyes, releasing the hold he had over her mind. His aura dimmed until it vanished. Darkness flooded the skull. But his veins illuminated. This being had mere seconds to flee before he unleashed more power upon her. How many other creatures had he turned to ash? This one would be no different. His eyes glowed with his electric purple light. She was on her feet and sprinting from the skull.
The display of power only increased. His aura emanated again. This time filling the skull with blinding light. He was enraged. Had he only continued his failings? His brother was still alive. Yet, he hadn’t taken it upon himself to search. A snarl took over his lips. He had failed his brother even when he thought his family enjoyed the afterlife. Apparently, their other-life celebration wasn’t so. How many others did he leave behind when he fled?
Axxeriorat released a burst of power, finally bringing his emotions under control. But the damage had been done. The skeleton crumbled around him, disintegrated. He strode through the ash, ready to smite anything in his way. This place that held his brother, this Saison Burn, would not enjoy his coming presence.