The super night terror gave me a long chase. The forest didn’t seem to have an end—on and on it went, and I ran.

I started to get tired, but the monster behind only laughed harder. I didn’t dare turn around to look—that’s what it waited for. The saying, never look back when you’re on the run from something holds so much truth. If you look back, that gives the demon the ability to instantly teleport to you and boom, it’s over. Too bad I didn’t get the luxury to keep running, to see if the myth of being safe from never looking at it was true.

A bright light covered my vision. This fucker was about to send me into another delusion. I tried to change direction of my run but it was too late.

Memories still intact, I found myself somewhere…I observed the area. Giant carrots, potato slices, and other things floated in a brownish liquid. I stood on a long carrot, realization coming to me. The smell of beef broth, the steam and rising heat, and the bubbling gave me the unfortunate clues. I was in a huge pot of stew.

As if to confirm my comprehension, an enormous spoon crashed from above into the pot. A giant blue woman with gleeful purple eyes and shark-like teeth grinned down at me, then stirred. There was nothing I could do—the heavy stir took me by surprise. I hit my head against solid steel.

As I lied, stunned and helpless, the demon scooped me up, opened its mouth wide, and slowly brought me to it.

I succumbed to a brief moment of suffocation as the throat swallowed me into fleshy pink, before a bright light covered my vision. Apparently, that’s just too boring for the demon.

When the light cleared, I froze, intaking the white void I stood upon. Conus, stood in front of me, eyes full of hatred. In fact, I was surprised that I’ve never seen this look from him before—he always gave me the disappointed father gaze. Expected, right?

This wasn’t…him.

Even if we were polar opposites, never seeing eye to eye, I somehow knew he’d never give me this look. The fake’s eye color changed to red, an ugly contrast to the blue he, Hialucus, and I shared.

“You were always a disgrace, boy,” Conus said, his voice booming like thunder. “Look where that arrogance has gotten you. You never heeded my warnings, deliberately disobedient, a shame upon our great family name. I am glad to be rid of you. I am glad that poor girl no longer has to babysit you.” He took one step toward me. “It is time I teach you what happens to the bad eggs who dare disrespect me.”

The entity may have not been the real Conus, but he mimicked his power all the same. The fist came so fast, I didn’t know until it connected with my nose, breaking it. My vision swam as the force of the blow spiraled me to what felt like a mile away from Conus. No…it really was a mile—I just knew it.

I pulled myself together, only to look up to a hand of glowing red energy. I tried to quick-ascend behind him, but my tank didn’t oblige. The fiery pain made me yell. “This is your fault, boy! You’ve done this to yourself. An eternity of torture. No escape.”

He laughed, a dark and un-Conus laugh then grinned shark-like teeth. For the first time, anger surged through me, eradicating the fear and sorrow that poisoned the air.

My wrath triggered a barrier of heavenly-light around me. I no longer cared if this was a fake, I’d give this prick a piece of my mind. I stood up, pushing his hand aside, teeth bared.

“Shame upon the family you say,” I snarled then laughed. “Some family I’ve got. I’ve enjoyed life with Amelia and away from all of you. Despite your so-called lessons in elegance and your iron-fist, old-style rules, at least one of my brothers were jealous over the throne. Remember when Tack came after me? How many others besides Hialucus want the throne that I don’t want? I bet even your wife would love to have it. No one put out a hand to help. Just forgotten me in that place. That’s why I decided on my five C’s…an internal self-defense mechanism, so way to bottle up my anger and hatred. Then…Amelia showed me what it’s like to not wither away like a dying rose. She’s no softy or damsel in distress. Not the nice girl and pretty damn straightforward about everything. Naïve at times, but pulled me out of a hole and brought me to myself. So, let me be a shame to Helios. But I won’t be a bigger shame than all of you.”

Conus’s mouth was agape by the time I finished my rant. His eyes were wide, incomprehension in them.

A bright light flickered and I found myself back in the forest. I looked to the side just in time to see a soul, thirty yards away get crushed by a giant fist of spikes that were as large as swords and as jagged as a cave of stalagmites.

Another, a woman, was attacked by…some pitch-black thing with large claws. Her screams lit up the forest as it tore her apart. The smell iron became palpable. The sounds of ripping and tearing, followed by loud chewing and crunching pierced the air.

It threatened to reinstall the fear from earlier back into me. Four more souls nearby started running. The night terror laughed and chased after them, ignoring me. It was as if it forgot I existed. That or somehow felt bad for me. Nah. With that many souls to tear apart, why would it waste time on me, who gave it no entertainment value.

I didn’t waste any more time and ran for it. Nothing chased me. The forest’s dark lit up slightly. Soon, I made it out, only to see a new obstacle of uncertainty.


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About the author


Bio: Alvin Atwater is a man of humor, a starving author. With a unique writing style that can outshine even Jim Butcher, Patria Briggs, or Kevin Hearne (It's a joke. These are among my favorite authors) , he is a character-driven lovable lump of mass. Born in Florida, he's on a mission to defeat his arch nemesis, Florida Man, once and for all.
Don't be shy. Give him a wave. A read. And maybe whisper, "waffles," because the man loves his waffles. It's a miracle his keyboard doesn't have maple syrup all over it.
Best of all, Alvin Atwater can be found all over the net. Read some seriously funny things from Webnovel, Wattpad, Penana, Scriggler, StoryStar.

Author of the Blood for Soul series and a secret coming-of-the-age epic fantasy. Lover of anime and manga: so yeah, weeb shit? Fun. Sue me haha. (Advanced Chapters) (Official ATS Website beta. Manga is here.)
Discord channel:
Full-time author.

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