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“Drink up.”

A fresh glass of coffee was given to Effryn. Steam slowly seething from the heat as he lifted to sip. It was too sweet.

“More blankets are in the closet if you get too cold, and there is an extra pillow incase this ain’t high life enough for ya.”

Eizer wiped the sweat off his brow, admiring his proud work of quickly making his once trashy waste room, into a bonafid guest room. Though who could really blame him? Everything happening was such a surprise shocker, that not even God would have seen it coming.

“Ah, and make sure to lie low for a minute. After all, coppers are sure to trail if you don’t play dead.”

Eizer tried laughing off the atmosphere, but only met an awkward silence. One boy was already trying to sleep, while the other sipped away at his drink, and made a sour face after each attempt.

“Well, I should get going.” he announced, stretching off the embarrassment. “You two take care and be mindful. You never know what sort of shit will happen next if you do anything stupid.”

He strode to the door, lightly opening it, before hesitating. His mouth moved as if something was urging to escape, but he bit his tongue.

“Good night you two.”

And he left.

Effryn took a sip of his drink, and peered over at the sleeping boy. His breath was quiet, but steady enough to be audible.

“I had to do it.” Effryn muttered.

“But why?” the boy whimpered.

“I did it for father, Gale. He showed me how much he loved me, as well as how much he hated me. So in return, I wanted to show how much I felt about him.”

Gale twisted around in his covers, flipping his body away from Effryn, and covered his face.

“No matter how many times you respond with that insane answer, I’ll never understand it.”

Effryn wanted to say something to him, but he knew nothing would fix his mind. Not yet, anyways.

“Good night.”

Gale didn’t respond, only leaving the night sounds to answer.

Effryn took another sip at his coffee, and made a sour expression. Why give me coffee as a beverage when it's this late?

 

Days ever so slowly crawled by as the two went on residing in Eizer’s house. Three meals were brought into their rooms once a day, and they eat at their respective beds. Effryn made sure to gulp every bit of crumbs he could find, while Gale could hardly force any down.

When night came, Effryn could often hear Gale softly whimpering away under his covers, whispering some kind of phrase over and over. But he never could understand what it was he kept whispering. He didn’t need to. Not when the only thing he could make out was “Frael.”.

Though, Effryn couldn’t really blame them him for crying. He probably loved her after all. Or at least he did in term for being a child.

Life was passable for the time being, and if they kept it up, they could probably stay like this forever, hiding away from the dangers under the shield of Eizer until the dust settles. Just a few years away, maybe the bad people after Effryn would probably forget everything that ever happened, and just move idly along…

-But Effryn himself wouldn’t. He couldn’t. Not after what they did.

There was no love in their actions. There was no hate. It was purely a strategic move to get Effryn mentally, since they couldn’t get hit him physically.

‘The effects of US, and how it could change the world…’ a current events headline read. Effryn tossed the paper aside, and switched the television hoping to relieve his boredom.

‘...in recent news, the sudden arson of the Hope orphanage still remains a mystery as investigators are searching for the exact cause, but they speculate the flame was sparked by a group of individuals. The groups name, and their motive, still remain are also still being investigated at this time. Please stay tuned after these sponsors.”

So they still haven’t found the bastards responsible for this. How incompetent.

Flicking his fingers against one another, he began to grow impatient.

“Gah! How much more sitting around do we have to do?!”

“What else could we possibly do but listen to Eizer.” Gale unexpectedly answered with a sheepish groan.

True, Eizer did say to stay inside for everything to blow away, but…

“That doesn’t necessarily mean we have to listen.” Effryn beamed with his answer.

“And that doesn’t necessarily mean we have to break the rules.” Gale rebutted, making his position on staying clear. “Besides, God knows what you’ll do.”

“Oh?”

Effryn flicked his fingers with more force, and looked back at the boy hiding underneath his covers.

“You might hurt more people...the same like father.”

“There are times when you need to preserve yourself and your kin. I only did what I did in the name of family.”

“Then please…” he poked his head out from the covers, and peered with fearful eyes at Effryn’s soul. “...don’t hurt me.”

Effryn merely gazed at the boy, who was calculating everything in his mind. From what Effryn knew, Gale was a logical boy who used his brain to get out of every problem he encountered.

So right now, he was probably thinking up ways to counter Effryn incase he did anything.

“Jeez, why would I do that?! The probability is practically zero!.”

“The ‘probability’ is a 27% chance.”

“Where are you getting these numbers?!”

Effryn raised his fist to the sky, as if he were bickering like some housewife. For a moment, even this small skit nearly made Gale flash a smile. But he lowered himself to the covers once more, hiding himself.

Ah, well maybe some other day.

Effryn looked back to the television, which was playing some ads about an automatic clothing hanger.

Maybe one day I can see my last remaining family member smile again.

He could convince himself to the point of blind belief on pretty much anything, but Gale himself wasn’t like that. There was always a bit of stubbornness following that boy. In the end, he always followed what was right and logical.

Maybe that’s why his brain was hurting? An ever nibbling attack on his conscious.

“Hey. Quick hitter: Are you mad about the parent thing?”

Curious as he was, Effryn was still a bit shy asking the question. Sure he did kill father, but it really was out of survival. And for mother…

“Of course not.” he flattly said, keeping quiet as if he were hesitating. “Well… I know it wasn’t you exactly, but that doesn’t change how I feel about them.”

“And you loved them?”

“-Only love.” he quickly added. “No hatred.”

“Oh.”

That isn’t possible, but livestrong little brother. He thought.

The television continued rambling as a mad man trying to sell them any and everything they could.

Gale ruffled through the sheets, and from the corner of an eye, his body perked up.

“But they aren’t the main ones I’m wrapped around about. It’s Frael…”

Frael. A precious gift this world kindly received from the heavens, but humans just weren’t ready for her.

“I-I really liked her. I mean, not like that! Or, I mean, I didn’t like her as much as some people might do! NO! I mean… I mean… um…!”

Gale frantically moved his small body around, trying to find the right words to finish.

“Love?”

“L-love…? How can I follow that? She’s not father or mother, so that’s out of the questio-”

“-So you did love her.”

Gale’s face flared red. He instinctively pulled the covers up to his face.

“N-no! I mean, yes I guess I did? But then wait, how would I even know what that feeling is if barely even ten?!”

Effryn chuckled, releasing his fingers from the prison of tapping. “Calm down. I’m sure you loved her.”

“Yeah... I sure did.”

Gale released the cover from his face to reveal a small stream parallel to one another down his face. He fell flat a moment later, burying himself once more.

“Why did she have to go of all people? Did she work herself to death by overworking on her one project? Why couldn’t I do anything? Why…?”

As Gale spewed out more questions, the more he tensed. His grip grew shaky, and he felt a rush of asphyxia overtake him. That was, before Effryn reached over and gave his head area a head pat.

“Don’t think like that, or you’ll create a snowfall of thoughts. Take your time to rest up on her, but I’m sure you know best we’ll have to move on from this.”

“Yeah… And please stop rubbing my chest. It feels weird.”

“Oh, sorry.”

He lifted his hand from the area he mistook for a chest. After awkwardly smiling as apology, Effryn faced back towards the television.

Forget, huh? Cause that’s exactly what I can do. To hell with that, I can’t ever move on from Evvryn.

As his thoughts were completely enveloped in thought, the prior news network returned to its program in an unnecessary manner:

‘Good evening Heeth city! I’m James, your news host, and today we have received some information regarding the orphanage case, and instructions if you fall in the following position.’

Effryn focused on the words, while Gale’s ears poked from the covers.

‘For this story, we have chief detective Knox giving information on what is known and available for the case. Detective Knox, if you may.’

A man who Effryn had never seen leaned closer to the microphone. He thought nothing of it, since he’d never seen him, but he noticed Gale act differently. His mouth was frozen in the air, and his gaze was purely on the man.

“Ahem, yes. Though we don’t have much information now, we can spare some. For starters, we know the orphanage Saint hope’s building was burned, and nearly every child currently residing there was found dead or murdered. Nearly, with one exception. Now, in normal circumstances, regulations prevent us from releasing a child’s name due to their safety, but for this occasion, we agree it’s the best decision.”

The knox chief guy inhaled deeply, staring right at the camera as if he were looking at a specific thing.

“The child is Gale Lander, and our intel informs us he is in a currently dangerous position. A week prior, we entered the estate searching for a crazed man named only Effryn who had been in an earlier incident this year, and we confirmed a connection of him recently visiting the orphanage and the other incident. So with this information, we have reason to believe he is the primary suspect in this case, and we want any eyes who spot him to alert the police immediately. That is all the in-”

“Bullshit!! Why is he pinning the blame on me?! I did nothing here, so why bring me up?!” Effryn suddenly erupted while the chief was still announcing his speech.

“-formation we have now. Please bear with us and deliver any tips to the police immediately. Thanks for the time.”

The detective tilted his head down at the camera, before completely walking away.

“That son of a…! How does he even know I was there before?!”

“I knew he was rash, but this is insane at this point.”

“Do you know this jackass?!”

Effryn quickly turned to face Gale, who was left staring at the pictures on the screen. Though he may not know it himself, his expression was that of pure annoyance.

“I had the opportunity of meeting him once. He swung by home asking questions about whether you showed up or not.”

“And did you answer him?”

“I tried looking out for you, but that guy really knows how to get in your mind. He got in mine easily.”

Gale slumped back down on the bed, and embraced the comfortable green sheets he grew to appreciate.

“Did you notice the way he said and acted everything?”

“Huh?” Effryn responded, not knowing what Gale was getting at.

“He looked at the camera, sure. But to me, it was more like he was staring at a specific someone. That someone being you.”

“Why do that?”

“I think… No, I know he knows everything he just said was a lie. He wanted to get more eyes on you. That’s why he said everything.”

Astonished that someone would do so much just to get him, Effryn felt his hands tremble. Tremble with anger.

“B-but that’s illegal! Can’t we just arrest him for false incrimination of evidence or something?”

“We may not have done anything, but that doesn’t mean much. I see this in two ways, which is either we have the upper hand in them not having evidence, or them lying about having evidence and using this as leverage to bring out attention to us. Or more specifically, you.”

Why do all to chase after me damnit?! I’m not even the one who did anything, so go after the real criminals!!

As Effryn felt his index nail digging in the tip of his thumb, the news grabbed his attention once more when two photographs appeared on screen.

‘Here we have are the photos of young Gale Lander on the left, and the prime suspect of the case, Effryn, on the right. Please alert the authorities on any information about these two. Thank you, and continuing to our next story…’

“Damnit!” Effryn yelled as he slammed his fist against the table, which shook a glass, causing it to wobble but not enough to fall.

“I never would have thought he’d pull something like this.” Gale muttered.

“This is practically cheating at this point!”

A trap built upon a lie. That’s what this was. It relied on the extra eye’s gained from the people after relaying information of a dangerous man on the loose.

-It was as brilliant as it was illegal.

If that’s how your playing your cards, then I might as well start setting up my deck.

Switching the television off, Effryn picked himself up and went to the bathroom to change.

“And where do you plan to go?”

“I have some things I rather take care of soon.”

For a moment, there was no response. But after a bit of silent awkwardness, Gale finally replied in a low tone.

“Please don’t do anything stupid.”

“I can’t make any promises.”

Afterward, Effryn went to the bathroom to get ready for today’s plan.

 

~Heeth city police station~

“Sir?!?! Do you fully understand the implications of everything you just said?!”

Looks like Watt isn’t too happy about my recent push for developments.

“I have my reasons, rookie.”

“I mean no disrespect to you sir, but I don’t think anything can justify this!”

With the city-wide broadcast he set out earlier, the police had the eyes of the entire city with them. Though his partner may have rushed to his work station as soon as he got back, it was an event he knew would happen.

“Calm down rookie, or your face will rot off. I have my reasons for this.”

“And what could they be?!”

The chief reached into his pocket sleeve and pulled out a cigar. He gently surrounded his lips around the bud, and lit.

“I can hardly care for that boy, Effryn. But It’s still my job to find a missing person, and I’m more than positive Gale is with him.”

Watt slammed against the desk, with anger surging through his fist.

“Then solve it conventionally without putting the kids at unnecessary risk!”

The chief heard the fierce words, but only continued puffing on his cigar.

“I would, but they aren’t even my main target with this. No where close.”

“Then what is?!” Watt looked at the chief puzzled, scratching his head, until the answer dawned on him. “Wait… You don’t mean for that rising group in the streets?”

“Atta boy. That’s my partner for you. I used the broadcast not for the people, but for the group, or mouse. I’m hoping I can get them to lure out each other in a way we won’t have to do anything.”

“S-sir…”

Watt stood deadpanning, without any words to say. Leave it to his chief to use a totally irrational plan and make it fully work for him. Though…

“Isn’t this a bit dangerous sir? I mean, what if the children get hurt?”

Placing his finished cigar down, the chief casually stood from his chair, grabbing his coat.

“Well, I thought about such a thing happening, but I placed it on the low scale. And besides…”

The chief stopped himself for a moment, with his arm about to slip through the sleeve.

...besides, that kid Effryn knows how to take care of himself already, so I doubt they can get him just yet.

“And besides?”

“It’s nothing. Follow me, we have a call for traffic duty.”

“Nothing? Wait, traffic duty?! Aww, we just did that yesterday!” Watt cried, pulling over the yellow jacket that was made mandatory for the boring job.

 

~Deep within the city~

Patterned nightlights began illuminating everywhere, almost as if they lit on their own discretion. Though normal life in the city died hours ago, another life style was just being born.

This time of night, bars start to shine, lust fills the lungs as rapid as oxygen, and the true monsters come out from hiding.

“Hear the news? The orphanage was set ablaze, and they know who did it.”

“Do they know? Who could have done such a horrible deed…”

“Apparently, the detective announcing the news pushed that one of the kids who lived there did the whole thing, and want the city to keep an eye out for him.”

“And what was his name?”

“Ooh, I wonder, how old is he?!”

“Quiet down. Was there anything else?”

“Nope!”

“Nothing at all…”

“So it seems.”

“Hazzah!! Those dumbass pigs really thought they were on to something, and they even had me fooled!”

“Haha, I know right! What a bunch of zero-valued workers hitting their work off the board!”

“So are we free bound? ‘Cause I really am tired of looking for that Effryn kid.”

The assembly fell silent, waiting for the response from the leader of the rig.

“I honestly don’t see why we should even bother anymore, so no, call it off. Though someone else has recently decided to start a feud with us.”

“Who the hell would wanna start something like that?!”

“Boss, just tell us the person, and I’ll personally go fetch their corpse for ya!”

Voices began shouting, and the room fell into disdained chaos.

“Shut the hell up, all of ya! We already got the situation under control, so no need to worry.”

The boss shot Glares at everybody in the room.

“Sheesh, we already got the identity and name of the person, so no need to worry about it. Anyhow, I’d say it’s about time we end this meeting, so scram! And remember, never pass by opportunity!”

“”Right!”” the halls echoed, leaving everyone with high spirits.

“Hunter.”

“Sir Sir Sir Sir Sir Sir Sir Sir Sir Sir Sir Sir Sir Sir Sir Sir Sir Sir Sir Sir Sir Sir Sir Sir Sir Sir Sir Sir Sir Sir Sir Sir Sir Sir Sir Sir Sir Sir Sir S-!!”

“Quiet yourself. I need you to hunt down this troublesome man. Can you do it?”

A picture was flashed to him, revealing an older male covered in medical garments.

“A joke? Joke. You're joking with me! You have to be! I can kill him. I can maul him! I can pierce him! I can severe him!”

“Stop.”

The hunter immediately stopped, and began vigorously taping over his mouth until there wasn’t a piece of tape left on the roll.

“Now go. And please, kill him before he gets you. Don’t underestimate him, he’s killed plenty of our men already.”

“HmmHMMMMhmmMMMMMM!!!” he spoke, ripping his nails underneath his skin to dig out of the tape. Luckily, he was able to puncture blood from below and slip the tape off.

“Count on me Sir!”

 

***

I hate the city life. Night and day.

The style of life had easily switched from serious work and business, to play and foolery. Like the flick of a light switch.

Though this switch was much more annoying than useful.

Effryn tucked his face deeper under his face-covering bandages as he walked through the city crowds. That was one thing he made sure to change in the bathroom, but that didn’t make it any less of a pain in the ass.

Sure, people shot stares, and probably thought ‘What the hell is this kid wearing, some kind of edgy fashioned zombie?’ But they couldn’t recognize him with only glances. The photo they used was much older, somewhere around six months or so, and was nowhere near how he looked now with his injuries, so he was in the clear for a moment.

I hope Eizer doesn’t get too mad at me. A thought crossed his mind.

“Don’t worry Eizer, I’ll be back soon.” he muttered, pulling his hoodie even more over his head.

“If I may ask, where are you going?”

Then, a voice erupted in his mind, one he hadn’t heard in a good while. It was familiar as he remembered, with a stinging touch.

-The voice of someone he loved, but while not being that person.

“Where have you been?”

“With your persistent presence with that younger child, it created an environment impossible for communication.”

“Sorry we live with each other.”

...

Their conversation ended there, leaving the wind as the main background noise.

 

Half an hour passed, or at least it felt like it. And neither the ghost or Effryn had muttered a word. He’d only just blindly walked around, hoping to find something, before a question popped in his mind.

“Sudden: Why are you still here?”

“I don’t recall needing a validating source to remain.”

“But your goal is complete; is it not?”

Now there was something that was only a couple weeks ago, yet felt like they happened in a never world. A deal to ‘find the keeper’ or something, and in return, the ghost would revive Evvryn.

The deed was done, but at a greater cost than Effryn could have hoped for. Not only did he pay with Frael and his family, his wish was never granted.

But now of all times might be…

“Hey ghost. I have a request for you.”

“Depending on what you may seek, I will do my best in listening.”

“About earlier, can you rivi-”

Hmpf!

Seconds away from asking his prize of getting back his friend, he accidentally bumped someone passing.

“O-oh, I’m sorry, excuse me…”

But as Effryn looked up in the middle of his apology, his thoughts were wiped from everything except one emotion. Fear.

“Oh my oh my oh my oh my oh myyyy!! Forgive me for pressing into on such a busy, sleeping night, but may I ask a question for such a busy body like yourself???”

“Eh? I uh…sure.”

Effryn tried backing off from this weird guy was coming on his, but each time he tried moving back, the guy moved closer.

“Here is the particular person I need help finding, so if you may please deeply press this image in your mind and relinquish any thoughts or feelings you have on this man!”

He reached in his pockets, and fastly pulled out a crumpled piece of paper, putting it in Effryn’s hands. Effryn looked at the paper, puzzled at what to do, and looked up at the guy. He shook his head slowly at first, cocking his head at a fairly slow pace, until each passing moment his head increased in speed. Up and down, up and down.

-A wicked smile was wildly plastered on his face.

“Sorry, but I don’t think I’ll recognize anyone…”

Effryn didn’t think he would know anyone out in the city. How could he? He was a shut-in, turned bed ridden kinda guy his whole life, so what were the odds he would know someone?

“Hehe, that look gives me the tingles and says that you do know said person! Great! Now if you can tell me his name, address, work place, city area, distance of police from his estate, and any known family members, that would be highly appreciated!” The insane person had been practically yelling in his face at this point, with a strange tone of dying excitement. “Oh yeah, and his methods of killing!”

Who the hell is this?! Why is he on me like this, and how does he know the doctor?

Though not knowing the reason as to why this strange man was in his face, Effryn could tell one thing: His next words hold the value of his life.

“I’m sorry, but I don’t know this person.”

In the next moment, the crazy person’s brown coat brushed against the wind, and his smirk was crushed.

“You lie. You lie. You are lying. YOU DARE LIE?!”

“I’m sorry, but it’s the truth.”

“Nonsense. Nonsense. Utter idiocracy! Then explain to me your previous attitude towards my earlier remark!!”

“Can you really blame me? He looked like a serial killer doctor.”

Calmly staring back at the hatred oozing eyes of the crazy man, Effryn did his best not to push him anymore. He thought silence was best in this situation. Actually, he would have thought silence was the best in this situation if his mind weren’t on another topic:

I”m dead. I’m seriously dead. This fricking nut-guy is gonna kill me! I’m gonna die from some jackass just because I just so happen to know the doctor! Why, why God, why do this to me…

“Fine.”

Huh?

“Fine. I’m bored of watching your lost eyes anyways. Now get lost; I want to have food, so I’m going home!”

More confused than ever, the man who sounded as if he were going to kill Effryn a second earlier was now walking away as if nothing had ever occurred.

Guess I live today.

“Oh yeah,” he called out, appearing from what seemed the fibers of space. “The name is hunter, and don’t you bother to forget it. I doubt you should, ‘cause I got the feeling I might have to kill you someday!”

And hunter disappeared in the crowd. There were some stares at him, but most brushed it off as merely a cosplay.

“That was unexpectedly annoying.”

“That was could have been a very costly situation. And with certainty, I would have wagered your life with how you responded.”

And since now there were no person directly talking with Effryn, the ghost could pop out of nowhere and say whatever it wanted.

“I feel like if I did say I knew doctor labor, it would have saved me the time of having to deal with a troublesome man like him.”

“So why falter?”

“Because I kinda felt it was one of those times where they ask ‘how are you connected to his person? Are you working for him?!’ or some crap. And then kill me.”

In any other situation, if there was an actually competent and sane hitman after the doctor, he would have told them his entire info, practically doxxing them. But for the psycho…

“Hmm, I perceive this. You were worried about your life, weren’t you? Quite a different turn from merely a week earlier, when you wished death upon yourself after every step.”

 

A dreamy radio, cheering on the nearing dead come of the sun.

 

“Well duh, even a dream can be born from hell.”

And to this response, the ghost fell silent for a moment, only to return with a chilling, spiteful tone:

“Is that so? Well, we shall see if dreams can not only be born from hell, but also survive a hell as well.”

 

Today was especially bright, and the sun even made its own aurora borealis kinda effect. Y’know, the kind that looks like a far stretch of sunlight in the sky reaching from the contours of the stratosphere? Well kinda like those.

 

The ghost sounded playful, almost as if were mocking Effryn. This came as a surprise to him, as the ghost who always sounded one-sided was now showing a small bit of her emotions.

“Goodluck, human.”

 

But something happened in a moment unlike any other. There was no explanation why, but no matter how much I tried to turn down the radio, the volume only went up. At least, I think that’s what I wanted it to do?

 

“G-goodluck for what? Hello? Hey, goodluck for-”

 

And in the next moment, my baby I’d been driving for months without end somehow crashed without warning into some buildings in some random street into some random city I’d never heard before. It sucks. I think I hit, or killed, a couple dozen people along the way, but that doesn’t matter. It’s…

This damn radio. It’s blaring its song louder than ever…! Please, turn it off. Turn it off! It’s driving me insane! I swear to God, I’ll keep driving, and hitting, and driving, and hitting, until finally a respiration time comes and delivers me from this human realm, to the point where my physical being is no more! Now than, ?-?-??, please deliver me from this world and-

And after doing everything in my power to silence the never ending radio, the power of God answered, as my entire self was enveloped in a flash of inferno, killing me and probably everybody around me. That damn radio. I’ll never be able to get that alluring tune out of my skull… Especially now that I’m dead.

 

“HOLY SHIT.” was the only response Effryn could come up with from what had happened.

From one seemingly peaceful moment to a horribly monstrous event, a fuel truck had the sudden urge to drive full speed on the sidewalk, hitting God-knows how many, until eventually reaching its limit and flipping over, to which something caused the fuel to ignite, creating a bowl of fire.

The explosion wasn’t too far from Effryn, but that doesn't really make the horror of the situation any better. People were sporadically running, screams were heard in a haunting prism, and the flame began to outmatch the chills of february.

Effryn wanted to do something, but what could he do? He really thought he could do something if he went to the crash site and tried helping anyone who might have been unlucky enough to be in the middle of everything. But how much help would he really be?

Thinking about how little he would actually affect the people in danger, Effryn decided the best thing to do was leave. Follow the steps of everyone else around him, and run like hell. Why get mixed up in this hellish scenario if he could just scream and run away like everybody else?

As Effryn made up his mind in running and prepared himself to leave horrors he witnessed behind, another explosion followed the flame.

-But this one felt different.

A strange aroma mixed with the smoke of burning asphalt and meat, causing a stir in Effryn’s nose.

What is that…?

Police sirens started to alarm all around the city, no doubt coming to this nightmare scenario and try to undo all the lives and damage lost in whatever happened

Or so, Effryn hoped it ended like that. If only the nightmare ended at that point, then maybe everything would have been a little better…

The cops… Holy cops, I’m wanted!

. He forgot one important thing through all of this: he was still a wanted man. From the earlier news broadcast, he had been pinned as the main killer of everyone at home, and also named a kidnapped. Was this his plan?

No, no one could have anticipated this happening. First off, I need to run.

Quickly glancing at the surrounding area he was in, through all the apartment complexes, there were a few alleyways barely being breachable. So he bolted for the nearest one and hoped nobody would see anything.

As he ran, he could feel his soles sap against small rain puddles and piles of muddy trash. The alley grew desolate, as it soon became just enclosed walls of tattered bricks.

The police sirens grew louder, and Effryn could see the flashing lights of blue and red. Above anything, it was more of an incentive for him to keep pressuring forward.

It was clear enough that Effryn could escape the cops easily without even being noticed. So he started to slow his pace down to jogging speed. After he got out of whatever curse God wanted to bring upon the citizens, Effryn was going to make damn sure he was nowhere near any more events.

Good-O! If I can just slip by here, maybe I can get through this entire ordeal with me going home, and having a nice sleep at my-

But before finishing his thoughts of having a wonderful dream of one-on-one time with his bed, a stranger creeped out from a side alley.

He had some kind of weird assortment of clothes on, almost like it was a uniform or something. He wore a purple polo, some black khakis, and a crazy swirly hairdo Effryn had never seen before.

“H-hey! Who are you?! Are you with him?! Are you a snitch?! Are you the-” the man spoke fast without wasting any breath.

“Calm down! I can’t tell what you’re saying!!”

Effryn tried making some sense out of the guy, but it was clear to him he was lost in some horror from the mind. He kept talking insanities, and had no stop in speech.

“It was you it had to be there are no other reasons why so many bad events happened in one day that just doesn't make sense so it has to be you.” and after he finished his crazed vent, a knife glimmered out from his pocket as he unsheathed its blade. “So if I take out the root of my problems then maybe I can get out of this!!”

Swirly hair or not, this crazy douchebag’s gonna kill me!

And so Effryn started up what he had been doing earlier, which was running profusely for his life.

“Come back here you small cunt! Just let me gut you down so everything can go back to normal!!”

Effryn listened to more bad insults like that as he kept running through the labyrinth of living complexes. So far, everything connected like some sort of maze of apartments, where the deeper they went from the streets, the darker and trashiery everything got.

What kind of stupid cat and mouse game is this?! I swear if I had a weapon I’d bash him, gut him, or slice and maul him with no trouble whatsoever!

“Hehe...HaHa!”

And without knowing it, a wicked smile plastered itself on his lips.

“What's so funny?! Just come here and let me kill you, before that psycho comes for me!!”

“Why, why… Why?! Because I forgot how much Fun this feeling is! I forgot the pure adrenaline rush of mixing hope and dread splashing against my blood stream, I forgot-” Effryn came to an immediate stop, and turned to face the helpless killer who was timidly holding a knife. “-how it feels to kill someone.”

Effryn licked his lips, tasting only the heat caused from the truck explosion along with sweat.

“W-who are you…? You… You definitely are the reason why josh and zem wrecked without warning! You bastard! I swear I’ll tear out every organ you own and sow them back together, so that I can--!”

From one moment of frantically spewing nonsense to the next, his mouth stopped moving without any warning. He just merely stood, with the shadow of darkness looming over him.

Then, he slumped against the wall, pushing himself with what seemed like all his body force to stand, only to slump back harder on the wall. He attempted to speak, but his tongue only slurred words with no apparent meaning.

Watching the man who was once chasing him with a sharp weapon, Effryn could only laugh at how pitiful the man before him was.

“HaHa… How sad are you be in moving like this? What happened to all that hype of ‘gutting me down’ huh?! You’re just as sad as you ever were.”

The man lifted his head and tried to speak again, but only saliva seethed from his lips. He forced himself forward, dragging his feet through muddy trash, until he tripped on some bags falling head first in a puddle of mud. He raised his hand that held the knife ever so slowly, and tilted his head to the point where his nose could breath oxygen.

“I’m sorry you got so sleepy. Here let me-”

Effryn lifted his right leg, and pushed down with his body weight, pressing hard against the head of the dying man.

“-help you rest!”

Effryn kept the man locked under the mud with his leg, making it so breathing was impossible. The man struggled, though for whatever reason, he grew more and more tired as time past. There was even a point where his attempts grew so bad, Effryn couldn’t help but laugh.

After a while, a point came where the man no longer tried escaping, and he suffocated in a pile of mud.

“...Gah!” Effryn exasperated as he lifted his shoe. He didn’t think he’d be killing someone with his mind going crazy again, but here he was, standing before someone he drowned in a mud puddle with his shoe.

Calm. Calm down. Cease all thinking in the brain…

Calm… Okay! Now think about this Effryn: he was killing you, so you had to kill him! That story fits! But in a side chapter, say during some filler beach episode, there was an important event that occurred but you skipped it ‘cause it’s a filler. What happened during that time?

Though he was thinking it in a weird way, he really did wonder what happened. Or in other terms, what made the man, who was perfectly chasing him just before, make a 180?

Gathering his thoughts, he kneeled next to the man, and inspected his body.

Everything is annoyingly normal. Clothes, skin, a couple stupid tattoos, and…

As he was checking his skin for any irregularities, he felt a rough liquid slowly seeping from the man's neck. After getting into an area with more light, he was able to see the liquid had a deep color of red: blood.

“Ugh, I’m getting sick of looking at red.” he sighed as he flicked off the blood.

Whatever did it, I don’t really care. He’d dead. And that’s that.

He decided everything was done for, and began walking out of the maze of apartments he was in, before another annoying problem popped up…

“Excuse me, hello, johnny? Where the hell did you go? We have to get out of here before either the cops pull up or that bastard comes crawling through here! Johhhhhnny!”

Johnny? Oh, is it that unlucky bastard I killed? Effryn thought as he looked back at the corpse.

“Johnny? Please answer me. We need to get out of here before any more trouble comes our…”

“Way?” Effryn interrupted the new person, as he walked right in his line of sight. “Sorry, but are you an acquaintance of this person?”

He looked similar to swirly, with the same uniform like dress code going, and even the same tattoos the other guy had of the fish. The only thing different was his non-swirly hair.

“Who the hell are you?”

“Just a kid passing through.”

His brow furrowed, and he focused his gaze at him.

“Do you know how dangerous this place is? A kid can easily get hurt around these parts.”

“Is that so? I did hear something about a lunatic going about, but I haven’t really decided yet.”

“Decided on what?”

Looking at the new guy, Effryn grew more curious at the uniforms they both wore.

“Do you guys work at the same company, or is there like some bro-ship between you two…?”

The guy’s expression became pissed, and he began yelling.

“This isn’t some kind of ordinary get up! This is our life; we represent the greatest clan to ever rise!” he raised his fist as he went on yelling about how great their boys club was.

A group huh? This might be the group the doctor kept talking about. If he’s right, then…

But while being his own hype man, the guy without the swirly hair stopped hyping himself, and looked at Effryn. He clenched his fist that had been once raised.

“You said you guys, didn’t you? How do you know there is one than me?”

Effryn fell silent for a moment, and stood dead still. A bitter sob was heard, and the men drew closer to him.

“H-hey?! Why you crying, I didn’t mean to make you…”

But the closer he got, the better he was able to hear:

-It wasn’t the sound of crying he heard, it was the low pitch of giggling.

Effryn couldn’t help himself, and he fell against some rubble, dying of laughter.

“I...couldn’t help but...think you were...even remotely that intelligent!”

The non-swirly hair completely lost, and was unable to read what Effryn was planning.

“H-hey, what the hell did you do to johnny?! I swear to God if you just scratched him I’ll kill ya.” The non-swirly slowly crept to Effryn, while retrieving a knife from his pocket. “Hey now, you look kinda familiar. Are you… Effryn?”

Surprised to hear his name, Effryn stopped laughing, and looked up at the approaching idiot.

“Woah, am I famous or what? How do you know me?”

“You don’t know?! You were a highly sought after person, until our group reached a point where cutting you out became too difficult, so we figured we oughta strike your family instead!”

The non-swirly stopped in his tracks, and raised the knife at Effryn.

“But since I’m here, I oughta take care of you for my family. I could really use a promotion or two, ya’know?”

So I finally found the bastards who caused everything.

Heh. Effryn couldn’t help but chuckle.

“So before I ‘die,’ let me ask: Was it you guys who killed Evvryn?”

Non-swirly bent his legs, preparing his entire body to sprint in an all forward motion.

“Of course, who else?!” he exclaimed, as he lunged a knife with full force at Effryn.

He’s really going at me with his whole body? I like the boldness of this man!

Though Effryn hadn’t pictured the non-swirly to rush at him with full force, he still had a picture on what to do. He prepared to jump on the ground next to him in a dolphin-dive manner, and pray the trash would make a neat landing zone.

But what happened next was something Effryn wouldn’t have thought of if he could visit every transportal timeline in existence:

“Gah--?!?!”

From a smaller side alleyway, a hand reached out from the depths, cupping non-swirly perfectly around his throat. Non-swirly dropped the knife, and tried to free himself. He struggled for some time, until eventually the hand released its grip on non-swirly.

Effryn could only watch in awe, observing the man as he dropped to the ground gripping his own neck with great force. Blood began to ooze from his hands as he writhed around the ground struggling to keep himself from seeing any more blood flow. He twisted and churned, while murmuring intensely in pain as he removed his hands and began tearing away his scalp. Upon getting a better view, Effryn could see how non-swirly was in so much pain from a neck chop.

What the hell…?

It wasn’t an ordinary choke, there were countless needles injected from the throat reaching into everywhere from his lower jaw, to his upper abdomen. Non-swirly tried pricking away at the needles, but each one he removed, the more blood flowed out his body.

“This means…”

Non-swirly stopped moving, showing that all pain had left his body. Yet, different types of liquid continued to pour out from every hole.

As Effryn came to the realization of how non-swirly died, a sudden instinct of jumping forward urged through his body, making him do just that, landing next to the now dead non-swirly, who lay face down in a pile of trash.

“...that you’re here, aren’t you you crazy sadistic lunatic!”

“Ooh, what an innovative and unique environment the queen of luck mended together for us! Come now, listener to God, and allow me to finally put your immortal soul to rest!”

Effryn forced his body into sprint mode, just in time to dodge a fist full of needles.

“Like hell I will!”

Sprinting with every ounce of strength, Effryn wanted to get out of the apartment labyrinth as fast as possible. But with the tricky side-alley ways being fifty-fifty on dead ends, and doctor Zylar blocking the only clear entrance out, the only way to live was deeper in the mouse trap.

“Run my little listener, for I shall sniff out your strings to God, and personally cut your ties with any deities!”

Effryn kept running, praying he could outrun the doctor in the maze long enough to escape before running into him.

I swear to God, why now of all times do I have to deal with an asshole of this calibre now?!

 

Ever run in a curved line that was stupidly dark, filled with trash, and had a smaller alleyway nearly every ten feet from another? Especially from a psychotic doctor who poisons you? Well Effryn absolutely despised it.

He was able to get a good distance away, and since the doctor had only been walking, he thought it was a good time to get a break.

I might be good enough to stop running for some time. At least for now anyways.

He slowed his speed, and was now on walking pace.

Everything still looks the same… Do these people just throw trash out the back window?!

Although not having the specific time margin of his total duration stay in the alley, he could positively say everything there was beyond garbage. Like rotten moldy bags filled with death.

“If I keep going, I’m sure to reach the other end.”

He had to. The world wasn't infinite or anything, so there was bound to be an end…

“So why the hell is this taking so long?!”

It’s getting too dark. I should be getting home before the light makes another rotation.

Any second now, the Gods should reveal the city lamps beaming illumination across the streets. Effryn could only pray as he leaned against a wall while trying to cross a huge pile of trashy water.

“Just a glimpse. I’ll take a shimmer of a ray! Just please, let me see light!”

Then in the distant of his view, a faint hope began to arise. There was chatter far off towards the direction he was practically crawling to, and he could see light bouncing off the walls.

Civilization was near.

Good! Great!! Perfect!!! Now I can finally get out of this dump, and into the real breeds of mankind…

And just as he inched his way across the mud, a sinister laugh echoed in his brain, bouncing off his retina.

“Goodluck for this next motion.” whispered the ghost, as small needles were shoved outward of the wall, each one spread throughout.

“The hell…?!”

Before even getting the opportunity of grasping the situation, Effryn slipped from the small piece of wood he was using as a crossing and slumped straight into the mud.

As he tried lifting himself from the ground, the loss of friction caused him to fall once more. Instead, he looked to where the needles were stretching out from the wall, and was able to notice that he’d been leaning against some kind of sturdy plastic, instead of the brick wall he thought he’d been holding for his sanitary values.

How the hell is someone that strong to pierce a needle through that?!

While straining his eyes with disbelief, he saw one needle easily slide from where it came from. Then another. Then another. Then another after that. And after that one. And one, and one, and one, and one, and one, until one, or the final one, was finally plucked.

“Damn you doctor! I swear this game isn’t funny!” Effryn exclaimed as he started crawling through the mud.

And as if this was part of his response, the earlier wall that had been filled with needles was destroyed, and through the rubble a matte black boot held through the smoke.

“Ahhhhhh! My fine specimen, I shall reap my reward I have long sought after!”

The doctor couldn’t help but feel himself with tingly excitement, as he had missed his chance with Effryn during their first encounter, and on their second encounter, he had to hold himself as needed money from his father.

“But that was all a pointless roundabout, wasn’t it Effryn? You killed my pay that day. I know you did!!”

There were garbage bags, forgotten leftovers meant to be eaten by scavengers, and excessive amounts of waste items all throughout this one tiny alleyway.

Son of a bitch… I don’t wanna die by trash…!

Effryn tried using momentum as a force to get himself up, but the end resulted in him slipping in another trash heap. He lifted his head as best he could, and peaked to see how much longer this nightmare of trash held. But he only saw and endless amount to the stackings.

He decided that he should just keep moving, and glanced behind to see how much ground there was between him and the doctor-

-But as he saw the world he crawled from, a reflecting injection of God only knows was moments away from pouring everything into Effryn’s bloodstream.

In an instant survival reflection, Effryn quickly glanced to his left, and saw a smaller branching alley way, and pulled his body to force his legs against the wall to his right, and pushed, shooting himself into the smaller alley way.

Once again feeling the stableness of hardened ground underneath him, he was able to pick himself up with much more ease, and sprint to the end of the alleyway. Once at the end, he found himself at a crossroads splitting from left to right.

Screw this! I’m sooo close to civilization that I can practically kill them!

As he broke into a sprint, his gaze glanced to where he came from, expecting to see the doctor right on his trial. But what he saw was merely an empty alleyway, with no signs of life.

So we’re playing it like pussies, are we now doctor?

Kneeling to grab a part of rubble, Effryn now held a scrap of wood as his defense item. Or if he used it right, an offensive weapon.

Now then. Let’s play this mouse trap!

 

From what Effryn could tell of the entire alleyway maze of apartment buildings, there were two parts that made up of the back: the main alley, and the side alley.

The main alley was pretty much a straight line, though it did get a bit curvy due to how the buildings were lined up. Then there were the sidealleys, which made up everything else. They connected to the main alley, though in many different and seemingly random spots, and branched off to even more, smaller alleys.

Small alleys were completely built upon luck, as one side might lead you here, while another might lead you to a totally different way. Some ways don’t even lead you anywhere, and you end up at dead ends.

And if that’s the case, then for Effryn…

It’ll be a shitty day in hell tomorrow if I die from a dead end!!

The surrounding areas of the alley way zipped by as Effryn dashed in full speed. He was hoping he could shoot for the outside being he could just about touch the light of the street, but with the RNG of the side alley, God knows where he’d end up.

So far he’d encountered only split offs at each end, but his luck can only last so long till he deadpans at a dead end.

I have to be nearing the end by now, ‘cause if not, then this damn place HAS to be about a fourth of the city!!

There were no signs of the doctor ever since he last saw him fade away, and there was a good chance he made good distance from him. But unlike last time, that wasn’t a good enough excuse for him to stop just to end up getting injected by every known/unknown disease possible to man.

Only a little bit more, and there might be salvation to this hell-

Hunh?!

-But before hope can blossom, the threat of fear must be evaded, like a needle being swung as if it were a baseball bat hitting the pitch, or Effryn.

Reacting to the sudden attack, Effryn let his legs fall, using his own momentum and weight to slide under the imposing injection. Though, with his height, he probably would have been safe either way.

“Damn you listener! Did your God give you my coordinates?! No, I don’t foresee that as the cause. Maybe you had an ounce of luck following your endeavours, or maybe your spring of ever flowing need for killing proceeds all expectations of survival, or maybe…”

The doctor went on and on with his usual insane antics about Effryn as he adjusted himself, and disappeared back into the shadows of the alleys.

“You asshole, when will you learn it’s best to quit early!”

He could have used any alley to move forward. But then again, he could have gotten a dead end, but Effryn thought the God of luck wouldn’t be so generous today, so he counted it out.

I think up here should lead me out. Just one more push, and I’m finally…!

But before getting to even finish his thought, a sharp grip the size of Effryn’s stomach wrapped tightly around his throat, encasing any possible breath.

“Ga-yo-b-tch--!”

Without warning or any signal, the doctor had popped out of seemingly nowhere and began holding Effryn with one hand. Then, with a smile plastered as happy as a baby with a new toy, he revealed multiple syringes in his free hand.

Shit! Shit! Seriously, shit!! What the hell?!

Surprised by the pure strength the doctor showcased, Effryn could feel his fingers grasping for a chance. A chance at breathing. A chance at living.

-Yet, the doctor responded by tightening his grip and slamming Effryn against the wall. Upon impact, bits of blood reached Effryn’s throat and nose, which he coughed up.

I don’t wanna die! Not like this! By some random disease that shouldn’t even exist here? Yeah, screw that shit!

And with a surge of determination, and the desire to live, Effryn reached in his pocket to grab the scrap wood he picked up earlier. He could force the stick with all his strength to stab the doctor and hopefully stun him. But before he could decide anything, a fist full of poison was already heading its way.

“Receive your cure, listener of God, and you shall be freed from all of his teachings. You shall return to man like every other, and be worked like the normal cattle here on ear--!” the doctor was cut off as a small stick jabbed his strike, causing his arm to flinch.

Effryn felt the grip on his throat release as he fell to the ground, landing in murky water. He rubbed his neck, making sure to see if everything was all right, and looked up at the monster. And to his surprise…

“You… Bastard! Bastard of a follower! Herd to the church! I swear… YOU WILL ALWAYS SWEAR TO THE ONE UP ABOVE, YET WHEN YOU NEED HIM THE MOST, YOU WON’T EVER RECEIVE A RESPONSE…!!!”

...there were five, maybe six broken needles on the piece of wood Effryn had used to deflect the injections. But the most amazing part was somehow, the doctor had managed to stab himself with a few of his injections. Maybe only two actually made it in him, but still, he could probably kill an elephant with those syringes.

The doctor fell a step back. Then another. He reached for the syringes, quickly pulling them out. But it seemed like it was too late, as the effects of whatever poison was used was already underway.

“Medicine. I need...medicine.” the doctor whimpered to himself. “Or else...I will perish before getting to see your full potential.”

The doctor reached out to Effryn, but blood rushed out of his eyes, creating a red covering over his face mask.

“Damn… Damn this! Damn you! I’ll kill you Effryn, I swear! By my family name, you shall experience death!”

The doctor began staggering away, trying to keep himself awake at all cost. And so, Effryn saw this as a prime opportunity to do a final strike. Grugdenling picking up a broken needle, Effryn rushed with everything he had. He picked his arms up, angeling to jab somewhere in his stomach area.

Please just die!

But before shoving glass inside the doctor, the doctor grabbed hold of the piece, and instantly crushed it in his hands. Blood soaked the gloves as he shoved the boy down.

“Don’t fuck with me listener. I love these games, but if you really want to get serious, then I’ll show you hell.”

And he disappeared into the maze of alleyways just like that.

 

After a while of wondering like a lost dog, dirty, wet, and heaving Effryn eventually found his way out to the lusting city. People gave him stares, but paid no close attention to them.

Finally! I never thought I was gonna get out of there. I hope Eizer isn’t too pissesd about me going out for a bit. But to be fair...it has been nearly a whole day.

 

“Ya dumbass! What if you had been found out by the police, or been sniffed out by the bastards goin’ after ya? Then what? Gah, just go to bed!”

Thankful he only got off with a soft chewing and no dinner, he considered himself lucky, and promptly followed the orders given.

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About the author

Kaiydyn

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